WHAT TO PACK FOR A TRIP TO SVALBARD?

Updated: Oct 30


Every traveler wonders what would he or she need during the journey and usually prepares for that really carefully. This is especially true and important for such distant land as Svalbard because of it location right next to the North Pole.


Weather on Svalbard


What we need to understand is that although Svalbard is located in the high North, it has a relatively soft climate without extremely low temperatures because of the warm and swift Atlantic ocean current called Golf Stream. Locals call Svalbard "The Arctic Tropics" for its mild weather conditions (compared to other Arctic Regions of course).


In the wintertime, the average temperature here is -11°C, -13°C. Though there are periods during the winter season with average temperatures -15°C, -20°C. It is quite unusual when the temperature is -25°C, -30°C. 


As for the summer season, in July it is approximately +4.4°C, in August it is +2.8°C. Besides, within the last few years, temperature readings are higher. The temperature during the day is + 5°C, + 10°C, at night it is from +5°C to -2°C.


Precipitation is possible, often there is wind. It is pretty rare if it is snowing in July-August. Sub-zero temperature are very seldom during these two months, and even if it happens, then at night. In the afternoon, with no wind, the temperature +5°C, + 10°C feels very comfortable.


But, of course, it is worthwhile to understand that clothing should be appropriate. 


How to dress for a winter trip


Winter is the most popular season on Svalbard that starts in February when the first sunrays appear from the horizon as the polar night is over and ends in May, when there is not much snow left for the snowmobile and dog-sledding trips.


If you are planning to go to Svalbard during the winter season take a look at the video we prepared for you:

In wintertime, average temperatures are not critical but at times it is windy and a snowstorm is possible so it is very important to be well equipped.


The following minimum winter what-to-pack list is recommended: 

  • woolen thermal underwear for low activity (hunting, fishing) 

  • thermal socks (2 pairs)

  • woolen socks (2 pairs)

  • warm woolen sweater, fleece jumper or puffer jacket

  • warm windproof ski pants

  • warm winter windproof jacket or parka

  • warm winter boots with the hard foot 

  • woolen hat

  • neck warmer (buff) or scarf 

  • woolen gloves or mittens 

  • warm windproof ski mittens

The following items could be also useful:

  • fleece balaclava

  • ski goggles

  • sunglasses

How to dress for a summer trip


Summer on Svalbard is drastically underestimated due to the common belief that the Arctic is best for the winter adventures. In our opinion these two seasons are so different that it's impossible to compare. If you prefer boat trips and hiking, summer on Svalbard is your best choice.


If you happen to plan your trip during the polar summer, this video will give you the understanding of what is truely necessary:


In summer, the average temperature is rarely higher than +11°C and it is not unusual when it's windy or rainy. While packing to Svalbard in summer, pay attention to the wind- and waterproof equipment. 


Here is the list of the clothing for the summer tours:

  • woolen thermal underwear for medium activity 

  • thermal socks (2 pairs) 

  • woolen socks (2 pairs) 

  • fleece jumper or woolen sweater 

  • comfy pants for outdoor activities 

  • trekking waterproof boots

  • wind- and waterproof jacket 

  • hat, headband and/or cap

  • knitted or fleece buff or scarf

  • sunglasses 

The following items could also be useful: 

  • binoculars for bird and animal watching 

  • dry bag for luggage transportation 

  • dry bag for devices, phones and/or cameras for that you could take photos during sea passages


Things you won't need


Travelling to the North, one can expect anything but comfortable conditions. In our case it is not that relevant as Svalbard is a popular destination and most of the tourists stay at comfortable hotels like Barentsburg or Pyramiden Hotel. That's why if you go on a tour with Arctic Travel Company Grumant you will not need to take a sleeping bag or a tent.


Even if you go for a real adventure like 11-days Kayaking Trip across Isfjorden or Arctic Mushers School we will provide you with all the necessary equipment, but of course it's up to you.


We hope that this brief guide was useful for you and we always are happy to meet you on Svalbard!


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