Norway isn't just like any other country in Europe, and especially its northern part is a world of its own. In the 3 years that I've lived and travelled around Norway and the Arctic, I've accumulated tons of things that have become vital for my everyday life up north.
(And when I say tons of things, I mean tons of things. Simon and I were the weirdos travelling with 7 suitcases plus hand luggage on our recent move to Stavanger - and yes, EVERYONE stared at us!)
Whether you're actually planning on moving to Norway some day, or are currently planning a trip to the land of the Northern Lights, I've compiled a list of the 15 things I absolutely couldn't live without here in Norway to give you an idea what you should put on your packing list asap!
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I haven't found any jacket better suited for Norwegian summers yet. It keeps me dry (and thus, warm) and has an enormous hoodie that makes sure I don't even get one splash of rain in my face.
And if you're wearing glasses too, you know what mess that could lead to otherwise...
2. My HANWAG GoreTex Hiking Boots
When I first moved to Norway, I didn't own any hiking boots. I owned H&M boots that looked really stylish but provided absolutely no ankle support whatsoever. At that time, I didn't care and it's a miracle that I didn't break my ankle by wearing them on my hiking trips anyway.
However when we planned our trip to Svalbard, I knew I had to buy proper hiking boots. After all, straining my ankle in polar bear territory wasn't exactly high up on the list of things I was keen on doing.
So I made a trip to an outdoor store, looked for high-ankle boots, tried on a few - and in the end settled for my "HANWAG Banks Wide Lady GTX" boots. They are lightweight, keep my feet warm, and are super comfortable to walk in - in a nutshell, I never ever want to wear any other boots on my hikes again!
The Banks GTX is specifically designed for shorter hikes and treks where you only carry a daypack - which is the only kind of hiking I ever do in Norway and which is probably also what you'll be doing when you visit.
I've owned mine for less than a year but they already made sure I returned safe and sound from mountain hiking in Svalbard and marking the newborn reindeer calves up in the mountains of Fauske (my boyfriend Simon is from a reindeer herding family in case you were wondering).
While I can't recommend you to buy these exact same boots as you should always try them on and make sure they provide enough ankle support for your feet first, I can 100% recommend you to buy a pair of HANWAG boots. They are a Bavarian brand and you know what they say about German craftmanship...
3. My H&M Yoga Pants
Again, until recently, I didn't own a pair of yoga/exercise pants cause quite frankly, I'm not that into yoga. However I figured that they might come in handy on my trip to Svalbard as I really didn't want to wear my thick thermal outdoor pants in the middle of June.
6 months of owning them and they have become my favourite pants of all time! I bought a pair of breathable exercise pants from H&M so they weren't expensive at all - but they are incredibly comfortable and oddly enough, make me get up those mountains faster.
No really, they provide so much movement, they make me want to go for a run - and I'm the kind of person who'd much rather sit inside and Netflix instead of going for a run voluntarily...
So if you plan on coming to Norway to explore the outdoors, even if you'd just like to go for a hike in the woods, I think you should bring a pair of exercise pants as they will make everything so much easier!
4. My Cameras
Bringing a good camera to Norway is obviously quite important if you'd like to shoot the Northern Lights or just each and every fjord you can find. I myself am using the Canon EOS 750D which is one of the cheaper DSLR's and perfect if you're a beginner when it comes to DSLR photography and/or have a limited budget.
I'm just using the kit lens for now and am absolutely satisfied with it, although I know that I'll upgrade my lens kit at some point in the future as I definitely need a telezoom lens here in Norway.
While I don't own that zoom lens yet, I occasionally fall back on my Panasonic Lumix which has an awesome zoom and helped me shoot a sea eagle this summer.
5. My Camera Bag
There's no point of owning an expensive camera if you don't store it properly. I keep my camera gear in the Manfrotto shoulder bag which keeps my camera dry and warm - vital if you're taking pictures in snow storms which oddly enough, I tend to do even in summertime.
It has adjustable compartments and fits all 3 of my main cameras - the Canon, the Panasonic and my GoPro, and I can even fit the bag into my hand luggage when travelling. There's of course loads of camera bags and backpacks so the important thing is to own one - really any will do!
6. My Tripods
You can't take pictures of the Northern Lights without a tripod - that's one reason why you would need one. Travelling solo every once in a while, I also like to bring a mini tripod in order to take pictures of myself cause selfie-sticks are just odd.
I'm using the Manfrotto Pixi Smart mini tripod (which is also great for vlogging) and a random aluminium tripod I bought off Ebay 5 years ago, which has served me well in capturing the Northern Lights ever since.
7. My H&M Parka
No trip to Norway without a proper all-round jacket! Now usually, I would recommend you to keep your hands off of H&M outdoor wear as they didn't exactly design their clothes with Norwegian weather conditions in mind. But similarly to my yoga pants, I was surprised at how often I get to use my parka in Norway!
I originally bought it for our trip to Dublin in December as my beloved down jacket would have just been way too warm for Ireland. As the jacket is a true all-rounder with removable inner lining, I've found myself using it all throughout spring and summer, and will certainly use it well into autumn and maybe even winter here in Stavanger as well.
It's certainly not the kind of jacket you should bring on your winter trip to Tromsø, but it's totally alright for an autumn trip!
8. My Bobble Hat
You haven't experienced cold wind until you've lived in Tromsø. I would have froze my ears off living in Tromsø for 3 years without a woolen hat! Now the best option would be to buy a proper one in an outdoor store but those are hardly stylish.
H&M, Primark and co. are fine - just buy one that's made of actual wool!
9. A Sleeping Mask
The sun doesn't set in Tromsø between late May and late July but April and August nights are pretty bright as well. Thus, if you can't sleep with the sun shining in your face (understandably), you definitely need to bring a proper sleeping mask on your trip to Norway. Most hotels have thick curtains to darken your room as much as possible but you'll hardly find any shutters in the country.
The ones with the nose flaps are best by the way. I just bought myself a new one at Oslo Airport (after using my old one for 3 summers in Tromsø it really was time for a new one...), but you can get them much cheaper online.
10. My Osprey Backpack
It doesn't matter if you plan on going hiking or sightseeing, a proper waterproof backpack should definitely be on your list when visiting Norway. I'm using the Osprey Escapist and while it was a tiny investment, I'm so glad I have it!
It can be adjusted pretty much everywhere and has a waistband as well so that you carry most of the weight on your hips instead of your back. I'm suffering from scoliosis and carrying a shoulder bag around for an entire day is just not an option for me - and regardless of your back health, shouldn't be an option for you either.
Not to forget that Norway's weather is quite unpredictable and you need a bag that keeps your belongings dry!
11. My Mohair Jacket
Did I mention that wool is the way to go when packing clothes for a trip up north? And mohair or angora is even better! I own a slightly oversized mohair jacket that I even tend to wear in summer.
Layers are what you should wear in Norway anyway as the weather can change quickly so a high-quality wool jacket is perfect for chilly evenings or a hike up in the mountains.
12. My North Face Down Jacket
Speaking of jackets, if you're visiting Northern Norway in winter, you won't get around bringing a good down jacket. They might not be stylish but they are the only thing to keep you warm if you're outside for 2 hours in -10 degrees, trying to spot the Northern Lights - or feeding reindeer.
I own a North Face jacket which has been my loyal companion through several Arctic winters and without which I definitely couldn't have lived in Tromsø. When buying one, make sure to look out for one that has a hoodie to keep you warm on your head as well - that beanie keeps you only warm for so long in -5 degrees and windchill.
13. My Sorel Snow Boots
If you're a regular reader, you know that I absolutely love snow (hence the blog name, duh!), so a pair of snow boots is vital for me to frolick around in it. Over the course of winter, the landscapes of Tromsø can accumulate knee-deep snow so especially if you're planning to venture out of the city centre, a pair of high-quality snow boots are necessary on a trip between November and April.
I own a pair of Sorel which are the go-to brand for most Norwegians - honestly, you will see Sorel boots in the streets of Tromsø a lot! They are designed like rubber rain boots on the outside to keep your feet dry, and have a warm inner lining to keep your feet warm too.
Granted, they can be a bit slippery on ice, but they are perfect when playing in the snow!
14. A Pair of Slippers
Speaking of warm feet, there's nothing better than a pair of slippers, a blanket and Netflix on a cold November Sunday. Some apartments and hotel rooms come with in-floor heating (which is heaven) but others might not and once you get cold feet, it won't be long until you shiver.
I found my favourite pair of slippers 4 years ago in a shop in Tromsø and even though they are quite worn out already, they still do my feet good service. (Do I sound like a hoarder with my 7 suitcases and 4 year old slippers? Cause I'm really not, I swear!)
15. Reflective Armbands
Winters in Norway are dark. The sun sets at 4pm in December here in Stavanger and it doesn't even rise at all in Tromsø during polar night. To make sure that you're seen in traffic and get to return home safely, it's advised in Norway to wear reflective armbands.
Now before moving to Norway, I only knew them from my childhood in Germany and if you wear them there above the age of 8, you're seen as a total loser. They're completely normal in Norway though and can be bought at most souvenir stores and kiosks upon arrival.
Have you visited Norway already?
What was your most important item on the trip?
Leave a comment below!
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PS: Are you lost trying to figure out what you should pack for a trip to Northern Norway in winter? Read this post and download my packing list!
*Disclaimer: I was not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned in this post but receive a small commission for the upkeep of this blog from sales made by using the links provided.
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