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What to wear in the arctic circle

In cooperation with: Visit Norway
Level Contributor
3 posts
4 reviews
5 helpful votes
What to wear in the arctic circle

We are a family of 4, with two children 8 and 5, we are doing a hurtigruten holiday for 12 days from bergen to kirkenes. I want to get the right gear but not necessarily the most expensive. What I mean is I'm prepared to pay for what we need but don't want to go over the top. For example I'm looking at £300 parkas from North face but are there cheaper options that might do the job.

We will do about 3 excursions that will involved snowmobiling and husky riding in the north of norway so

1) has anyone got a comprehensive list of what must haves I should take.

2)I have got so far things like 1 pair of merino wool long johns, how many shuldl I have?

3) How many of the very warm socks should I have?

I have north face chilkat boots and sorel for the kids, both are windproof waterproof and insulated.

4) One thing I'm really not sure about is what sort of trousers should I get.I know they need to be windproof but how insulated should theye be?

5) What gloves are best

6)do i really need to get new polarised sunglasses or can I just use the sunglasses I have?

7) any tips on what will help keep kids occupied that would be compact or otherwise?

8) best brand hat that is waterproof etc

9) in general best brands to look at

I think that is about it.

I'm feeling very overwhelmed looking at what i have to get and the choices involved and trying to get the best and right gear for the least amount of cash so I would really appreciate anything anyone has M on the subject

Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
740 posts
1. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

What time of year are you going to visit?

Level Contributor
3 posts
4 reviews
5 helpful votes
2. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

Oops. .did I forget? February.

Hong Kong
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928 posts
124 reviews
94 helpful votes
3. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

Just want to tag on a question -

Can I wear a normal short water resistant hiking boots with wool socks for outdoor activities when the temperature is -20C?

Oslo, Norway
Destination Expert
for Norway, Oslo
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18,850 posts
36 reviews
39 helpful votes
4. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

1) Snowmobile and husky tours normally provide required outer clothes

2) Depends how quickly you can wash and dry and how fastidious you are. For 12 days at least 2 pairs each

3) Plenty - see 2.

4) Trousers should be windproof but not insulated for normal use - see 1.

5) Gloves are no good at all - you need mittens. Type depends on temperature, in really cold conditions have 1 or 2 pairs of wollen mittens inside windproof outers. mix and match as required.

6) Depends what sunglasses you have. In really bright snow conditions you need proper snowggoggles which protect the eyes from the side. But not much sun in February, so probably don't need.

7) Poor kids - 12 days of boring scenery with a bunch of oldies. This is not a cruise, but a working ferry - don't expect too much entertainment to be provided. Take your own and hope that there are other kids on the trip.

8) Forget waterproof in cold conditions - just a woolen cap that covers your ears is enough. For wet conditions a southwester is best - any make - Helly Hansen have them.

9) For a 12 day trip for kids that'll grow out of them go for the cheapest.

Note that you need different clothes for wet and cold conditions. You do not want waterproof in cold conditions. Sweat will condense inside and you'll get wet and cold quickly.

Honkie - please don't tag onto other questions - it gets very confusing. Just start your own thread with the 'Ask a Question' button please.

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
10,763 posts
147 reviews
93 helpful votes
5. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

Just a word of warning, it could be very rough on the northern part of the journey especially around the top. It's all in open sea and sometimes the ships are unable to stop in the exposed North ports because of rough seas. Make sure you have plenty of seasick tablets and look at using the wrist bands. I needed both in July!

It will be very very cold on deck so you may not spend that much time on deck. IMHO wind proof gear is very very important, I've use salopettes when I visit Iceland in winter, you can sometimes get cheap one from Go Outdoors or TK Maxx. Don't underestimate how cold it will be, much colder than temps suggest as you need to add wind chill.

As said there's no entertainment so you youngsters will need to be resourceful, I hope they are avid readers. Not too sure if there was a wifi or mobile signal.

This should give you an idea on daylight hours.


If you are prepared I'm sure you'll have a good trip.

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
6,510 posts
18 reviews
8 helpful votes
6. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

5. About numbers of socks; To many are using to many pairs of socks... so, if you can`t moves yours toes, then you will freeze!

Another details:

If you stand still you will freeze, so walk around, move your body; dance with your face and play piano with yours toes... and the best hand wamerss, are your own fingers; Move them..;)

In generel out on the boat, it will always be windy, so water and wind proof is the best, for example Gore-tex.

And just be aware; it you think Tromsø are cold, you will freeze a lot further east!

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
6,510 posts
18 reviews
8 helpful votes
7. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

Keep your fingers warm with Mitten gloves!

Please check - https://www.youtube.com/watch…

Level Contributor
3 posts
4 reviews
5 helpful votes
8. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

Wow, overwhelmed with great advise

I think it has really helped especially proposing for the most northerly conditions. My kids are typical for their age but also good readers and resourceful. .......i am expecting to have moments of boredom but hopefully they will love it, it wasn't a personal choice but this holiday was a gift from their grandmother who is coming with us with aunts and uncles etc so between us we should be able to give them lots of attention!

Thank you again all. And anything else you feel you would like to add please do.

Abu Dhabi, United...
Level Contributor
47 posts
184 reviews
82 helpful votes
9. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

FWIW we got all our gear for the same trip, from a chandlery in Southampton.

Most of it was relatively lightweight, but layering is critical and we didn't need to plan as if going to the Himalayas.

On the snowmobiles we got too hot as the suits they provided were excellent.

10. Re: What to wear in the arctic circle

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