Packing for Norway is difficult enough. To help prepare for our industrious Norway Gay Expedition, please find a thorough packing list below with some helpful tips and tricks.
Let’s begin with our tender toes. For our Norway expedition you must pack a worn-in pair of hiking boots. This adventure features some rigorous ravines and formidable fjords. To avoid blistering, take your boots out for more than a few practice hikes. These dress rehearsals will toughen your feet and loosen your boots. NOTE: If you’re in the market for hiking boots, check out our Ultimate Guide To Buying Hiking Boots.
Beyond boots, please pack either sandals or water-shoes as we’ll be kayaking in fjordland. And while the expedition is certainly an active adventure, you’ll still want to pack a pair of ‘nice’ shoes for beautiful Bergen and sophisticated Oslo. Finally, a slew of socks (ideally hiking or quick-dry) are absolutely necessary.
Norwegian summers are volatile affairs with highs rising to 24C and lows sinking below 6C, depending on the region. Coastal winds and seasonal rain make the situation even more tumultuous which is why we recommend a pair of light-weight, moisture-wicking hiking pants with zip off bottoms. These versatile pants are easy-breezy when the sun is high and the sweat is pouring. But when the weather takes a turn, zip on the leggings for maximum comfort.
Other bottoms to pack for Norway include shorts, swimwear, water-proof pants and one pair of ‘nice’ pants or jeans for restaurants. Regarding underwear, we recommend picking up a few pairs of moisture-wicking briefs. In our experience, briefs cause less chaffing.
To prepare for a volatile climate we recommend the four layer system: Base, Second, Outer and Functional Layers. You’ll be thankful for warm layers while conquering Norway’s fjords in the early morning, but more than happy to shed the extra weight when the sun is high and sweltering.
Your base layer is directly on the skin and should be made of a moisture-wicking fabric. Either a short- or long-sleeved synthetic shirt will suffice.
On top of your base, you may add a second layer such as a thin synthetic long-sleeved shirt, collard shirt or a fleece sweater depending on the temperature. This layer helps insulate the body and keep you warm. We highly recommend fleece sweaters as they’re very warm yet still light-weight.
After your second layer is the outer layer or jacket. On this tour you’ll just need something light to break the wind. Ensure it is breathable and appropriate for extended hikes.
Your functional layer consists of items to protect you from wind, rain or snow. We recommend packing a quality rain jacket or rain poncho that is water proof (not just water resistant!) in case of seasonal showers.
On “Moisture-Wicking”: as you may have noticed, we throw the term moisture-wicking around quite a bit. Essentially, moisture-wicking refers to fabrics that move liquid (aka sweat) from the inside of your clothing, to the external surface while also drying quickly. Most synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester are considered moisture-wicking. While not quite as effective as synthetic, wool does the job. On the opposite hand, avoid anti-moisture-wicking fabrics like cotton which trap sweat and take a long time to dry.
While you won’t necessarily need a winter hat, a versatile buff can be a godsend. Buffs are stretchable tube bands that can be worn over your head, ears or neck (see the man in the picture above). And even though it’s summer, you may want to pack a very thin pair of gloves.
Other important items to pack include sunglasses, a hat and a refillable water bottle or hydrapack like this. Meanwhile, a few nice-to-haves include an umbrella for city drizzle and walking poles.
Finally, it’s very important everyone brings a daypack. While the choice of daypack is completely personal, we recommend padded straps, something compatible with the aforementioned hydrapack, and has 15 litres of space.
Don’t get us wrong, our Noway: Gay Expedition is an active, outdoor adventure. But the schlep begins in Bergen and ends in Oslo, both of which are quite cosmopolitan cities with some surprisingly stylish residents. We recommend everyone bring at least one ‘nice’ outfit to wear at our Welcome and Farewell dinners which will be hosted at upscale restaurants. For this tour, a stylish pair of denim (no tears or rips) is fine when paired with good shoes and a collared shirt.
Health and Personal
To keep your toiletries and meds simple, here’s a checklist you can consult before you pack for Norway:
- Small First aid kit including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, zinc oxide tape and small scissors, blister pads, diarrhea tablets, dioralyte rehydration packs
- Personal Medication
- High protection sunscreen/lip balm + sun barrier cream for nose/ears
- Insect repellent/bite cream/antihistamine
- Antibacterial gel/wipes
- Prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste & deodorant
- Vaseline to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters
- Blister pads such as Band-aid or Dr. Scholls blister cushions
Get in Touch
We’re well aware packing can be a tricky endeavour, especially for an active expedition. Our sales team is actually a group of seasoned hikers who have even more great advice you may want to pick their brains about.
To ask a packing-related question (or to book this tenacious mystery expedition), call 1-866-360-1152 (INTERNATIONAL: +1-416-531-8795).
Photo credits from top to bottom: Alice Donovan from unsplash.com, Shutterstock, Hvitserk.
Spoiler alert: Bjørn means bear in Norwegian, and that’s literally our local guide’s name. Given his beard, it feels appropriate. He’s a certified kayaking, climbing and skiing instructor. He’s also a striking landscape photographer who channels the rugged spirit of Norway onto his Instagram feed. Read More