Packing for Norway: Winter Gear

I’ll be heading off to and in just under a week! The excitement is palpable. We’ve pulled down the suitcases and started to fill it with stuff – gifts and goodies for the friends we are seeing during a stopover in London, guidebooks and gee gaws – but the most important stuff is what we’ll bring with us to keep our fingers and toes from falling off during a dog sled ride, or during the hours spent outdoors watching the Northern Lights, or wandering the cobble-stoned streets of . This is how I’m planning to layer up:

Thermal layers (Pic from:
Thermal layers (Pic from:


The first layer is the most important – get it right and it’ll help you retain heat. Wear cotton, and you’ll be shivering for hours. Nothing beats a technical thermal layer for heat retention. I had some thin Uniqlo Heattech tops, but I felt like these weren’t heavy duty enough for a wintry March in , so I stocked up on Patagonia’s Capilene 3 midweight baselayersΒ – tops and bottoms. These wick away moisture, which will help keep me dry and warm even in the snow or rain.

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Hooded down jacket (Pic from:
Hooded down jacket (Pic from:

Wool or cashmere

The middle layer/s should be insulation – warm woolens or cashmere tops will work. I’m bringing three of my favourite cashmere jumpers, a thin fleece, and two down-filled jackets, one thicker than the other, with a hood, to cope with changeable temperatures. I plan to layer these as much or as little as I need to.

Goretex jacket and ski pants

It doesn’t matter how many layers you have on, if you get wet, you won’t be able to keep warm, so a weather-proof outer layer is key. To keep rain off, I splurged on a triple layer Goretex jacket, with a hood. This will help keep me dry, cut out the wind and retain heat. To allow for space underneath for the many layers I will be wearing, I bought this in a slightly larger size. I’m borrowing a quality pair of ski pants from my mate in London as I was advised against the thinner, snowboard style of pants.

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Goretex jacket
Goretex jacket outer layer


Finger and toes are usually the first to feel the cold – so I’m bringing a pair of Thinsulate gloves as a baselayer, then throwing on a pair of ski gloves. The additional base layer has the advantage of dexterity, which I will require for fiddling around with my camera settings in the cold! I’m also bringing along a lambswool scarf, a Thinsulate beanie plus an alpaca double layer beanie and a heavyweight wool sock along with a thinner, moisture-wicking liner sock. I’m also bringing two pairs of reusable pocket warmers – they’ll be a comfort in the cold!

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Thinsulate soles
Thinsulate soles


I was advised by a friend to bring snowboots; however I doubt I would ever use them again if I bought them, and snowboots are not cheap! Instead I’m going to wing it in my ankle high hiking boots, which has a medium thick rubber sole – but I’m amping it up with 3M’s Thinsulate Thermal InsolesΒ and some icegrips for better traction on snow and ice.

Winter accessories (Pic from:
accessories (Pic from:

What else should I be bringing to withstand the temperatures? Any other suggestions on how to beat the cold while on an aurora hunt or while walking on cobblestones around a Northern city?

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  1. Tina Schell says:

    I got cold just reading your post πŸ™‚ Enjoy!!!

    1. Peggy Tee says:

      Lol. Trust me, I’m rethinking this mad decision to go to Scandinavia in March! But it’s supposed to be a good time for the Northern Lights, so go we must. Am hoping that all this gear will be sufficient.

      1. Tina Schell says:

        You’ll love it I’m sure! Good luck on the lights!

  2. Susan Duncan says:

    Burr! Reading this made me happy I’m headed to SE Asia where the temperature is a little more to my liking. Hope you have a great time on your trip. I’m sure the view will be well worth the cold.

    1. Peggy Tee says:

      I hope so too! I envy your trip – at least your packing will be much lighter than mine. Have fun! πŸ™‚

  3. 76sanfermo says:

    Have a good trip!
    I appreciate your pics on the garments you’re going to wear…

    1. Peggy Tee says:

      Thank you! πŸ™‚ My actual clothing isn’t half as cool as these pics I’ve put up – the thermals make me look like a gnome! Lol.

  4. Shelley says:

    Oh I’m jealous! I am dying to get to the Scandinavia to check out the northern lights…did you know that this is the best year in 100 to see them because of extra solar flare activity? Enjoy and take lots of pics!!! πŸ™‚ I’ll have to live vicariously through you I think…

    1. Peggy Tee says:

      That’s why we planned it for this year!! I heard last year was pretty good too, a friend of mine went and it was on the strength of her recommendation that I made sure I was going in 2013. I hope I manage to get some good pics – the lights are notoriously difficult to shoot! πŸ™‚

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