Norway spans more climates than many first time visitors realize (coastal/temperate, continental, semi-dry, polar). From South to North, from lowlands to highlands, from coast to interior, weather conditions vary considerably. Because of rugged landscape, climate differs within short distances. Choice of clothes to bring depends on what parts of the country to visit, time of year, and what type of activities.

Some general advice (for summer visit):

  • Bring a jacket (wind proof, water repellant). Northern Europe can be chilly even at mid-summer, the coast and the highlands are often windy. The ocean is often cool and windy, jacket is useful for cruise passengers.
  • Pack only what you can carry. This greatly improves mobility.
  • Bring an extra pair of shoes, for instance sturdy (and preferably water repallant) walking shoes (sneakers or similar). Delicate formal shoes have limited use and can be ruined in bad weather. Some attractions require walking (on rough ground).
  • A light sweater (wool, minifleece) can be useful along the coast and in the highlands.
  • Sunglasses. There can be strong sun, particularly when reflected from surfaces along the coast and snow. Use UV sunglassesif you walk on snow.The sun sits low on the sky in Norway.
  • Light clothing for the warmest days (up to 30 C).
  • Thin gloves and a scarf can be nice in spring, early autumn, and the sea.
  • For hiking, sports and mountaineering special advice apply (see below).

During winter (including late autumn/early spring, mid-october to early april) conditions vary more. Some parts of the country are in deep winter while other parts may enjoy more pleasant temperatures. For this reason it is difficult to give bothe precise and general advice for the winter season.

Some suggestions for winter clothing (not complete):

  • Layering is more flexible than one big thick jacket. Woolen sweater or micro-fleece jacket is recommended for the winter season.
  • Warm, long underwear is more effective in terms of weight or volume than thick top layers.
  • Jacket should be windproof and preferably water-repellent, should be long (cover bum). Parka-type jacket is useful.For more stylish clothing, long coats can also be useful, for instance trench coat for cool/humid weather or more heavy, thick coats (like duffel coat) for colder weather.
  • Many visitors overestimate the need for very heavy snowboots. Good winter boots are ancle-height, sturdy, with a rough (non-slip) sole, and room for thick socks (like solid hiking boots or light mountaineering boots). In cities the main challenge is often to keep dry and clean, the slushy mixture of snow, salt and dirt in the streets will ruin delicate shoes. 
  • During mid-winter, warm/long underwear (long johns) is useful, wool or microfleece (cotton not so effective).
  • Warm head cover is useful or needed during winter, particularly in the highland and the interior. Knit hat or tuque (covering ears) are the most effective.
  • For the coldest weather Norwegians use mittens (gloves without separate fingers) as these are notably warmer then ordinary gloves. Knitted, woolen mittens with decorative designs are also popular souvenirs.
  • It is a common misconception that snow is cold, dry snow is not cold (dry, fluffy snow can in fact be used as insulant) Snow is cold when it melts.
  • Air is the best insulant.Creating volumes of non-moving air under the top layer is the basic principle for winter clothing.
  • Cold air can be unpleasent, but is not dangerous while in town (except for person with heart or lung illness).

Clothing advice for hiking, mountaineering, sports and active outdoor:

  • Layering is essential. Start with the naked body and add layers meticulously. In cold weather all parts (except face) should be covered in underwear, insulation layer and a windproof shell.
  • Cotton is useless as underwear except in consistently hot weather (unusual in the high mountains). Wool is a fantastic material, stays warm even when wet. Use wool underwear if you stay out in cold weather for long time and with varying activity. Synthetic sports underwear is best for consistently intense activity for shorter periods.
  • Keep a spare set of dry underwear (wool or microfleece) in the backpack on long trips in cool weather.
  • It is surprisingly easy to keep warm when active, even at very low temperatures. Overdressing will cause unnecessary perspiration and condense within clothing layers. Covering head, fingers and neck is more important than thick layers on the body core.
  • Except in lowland forests where there is little wind, the wind chill effect is the main challenge in the outdoors and the main cause of hypothermia and frost bite. Windproof top layer is essential and mandatory in the mountains.
  • Frostbite is unlikely above minus 15 C. However, in strong wind (such as when driving snowmobile or doing alpine skiing), bare skin can freeze in 30 minutes at -15 C or lower. 
  • Dry snow is warmer than cool rain. Wet clothes (from rain, slush and prespiration) is also the second main cause of hypothermia.
  • Above the tree line, temperatures can come close to zero C (frost) even in summer. Always bring head cover (beanie/tuque), windproof gloves and scarf for longer hikes above the tree line.