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What Pack for Winter in Norway: 17 Must-Have Packing Items

by Michele
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What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Packing List
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Keep warm with the right winter boots and winter clothing. From coats to crampons, here’s everything you need to know about what to wear and pack for winter in Norway.

Since moving to Europe, a world away from a toasty Australian climate, I’ve experienced all sorts of cold winter climates. From a cool European winter to sub-zero conditions in Scandinavia. My most memorable winter trips were when I travelled to Oslo, Tromsø, and Iceland.

After successfully surviving the winter bite on many occasions, I’ve pretty much nailed my winter-weather gear and clothing and have compiled the ultimate packing list for what to pack and pack for a winter trip.

As the Norwegian saying goes, “Det fins ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær” (there is no bad weather, only bad clothing).

With that in mind, here is what I recommend you wear to stay as warm as possible so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Winter in Egypt is very different from winter conditions by the fjords of Norway. My top tip is to do as the Italians do and “vestirsi a cipolla” (dress in layers). This is absolutely key. This way you can adjust your winter outfit each day depending on how cold it is. At the very least, you’ll need a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer.

The longer the trip, the more layers you’ll need to take so you can wear something fresh each day. Alternatively, you can buy these travel sachets to wash your clothes with at the end of the day.

Norway Winter Trip Packing List

Outer Layer

1. Weather-proof Winter Coat

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Packing ListFor your outer layer, having a windproof and waterproof jacket is essential to keeping dry. If you’re spending more than a couple of days in the destination, then taking a second jacket is nice to mix up your wardrobe a bit. I wore this lovely blue Jack Wolfskin jacket and a cheerful yellow jacket which is no longer available for purchase. Both are great for keeping the warmth in and elements out. They both fleece lining, lovely deep pockets and a hood.

Pro Packing Tip: Take 1-2 coats, depending on the duration of your trip.


2. Fleece and Sweaters (Jumpers)

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - FleeceUnderneath your coat, you’ll need your mid-layer. For freezing conditions, you can’t beat a cosy fleece jacket. I wore this one by Colombia. If the weather is milder, then a woollen sweater is a great choice.

Pro Packing Tip: Pack 3 sweaters and 1-2 fleece tops.

3. Jeans or Winter Pants (Trousers)

Jeans are great because they go with everything and make for a great addition to your winter packing list. To make the jeans a little warmer, I recommend wearing either a pair of normal leggings, fleece-lined leggings or thermal pants.

For anything below 5°C (41°F), I recommend a proper winter pant with fleece lining. Trust me, a fleece lining on pretty much everything you wear is the best way to combat the cold. I wore these black wind and waterproof trousers.

Pro Packing Tip: Pack 2 pairs of jeans or 1-2 fleece-lined pants (trousers)


4. Thermal Underwear

For the all-important baselayer, you can’t get better than a merino wool thermal top and thermal pants. Not only is Merino wool nice and soft, it’s also the most breathable fabric and absorbs moisture better than any other fibers. It’s odour-resistant and since it absorbs moisture so well, it keeps your body dry which is important to keep warm.

Pro Packing Tip: One top and pair of pants should be enough for a short 2-3 days trip, any longer and I would set a second set. After you trip, you can use them as pyjamas.


What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Winter Clothing

Rocking my Sorel Winter Boots by the Fjords of Norway

5. Winter boots

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Winter bootsKeep your feet warm with these super cute Timberland winter boots, they great in all conditions and even in the snow. If you’re spending a lot of time in the snow or in sub-zero temperatures, these Sorel winter boots are even better and a very popular choice amongst Norwegians and the boot on choice on most Northern Lights tours.

6. Thermal Socks

Woollen socks or long thermal socks are a must. Be sure they aren’t too thick you can’t put your boots on!

Pro Packing Tip: Pack 2-3 pairs so you don’t have to wash them out every night.

7. Stabilicers (Traction cleats or Crampons)

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - CramponsIf it’s snowing in the destination you’re travelling then you’ll need some kind of stabilicers to give you some traction on the snow. Choose from either a pair of traction cleats or crampons.  Personally, I feel like crampons do a much better job and I feel more secure. Before I got these crampons, I almost threw my back out on my first trip to Norway. Don’t risk it, definitely get yourself a pair.

Remember to be respectful and take them off before entering shops, hotels, and restaurants as the spikes will damage the floor.

Pro Packing Tip: Stuff these inside your boots or something hard to prevent the spikes from damaging other items in your suitcase. 


8. Beanie

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - BeanieProtect your head from the brunt of the cold with a beanie, preferably with a fleece lining. Even with a hood on your jacket, it’s nice to have an extra layer of warmth.

9. Scarf

Warm yourself up in this lovely microfleece scarf or this beautiful microfleece neck gaiter.

Pro Packing Tip: You can never have too many scarves. Pack at least two and keep them on rotation. Use these roll-up travel space bags to save space in your suitcase.


10. Winter Gloves

Keeping your fingers warm is one of the biggest challenges. If you want to use your phone, you’ll need these touch-screen friendly gloves so you don’t have to expose your fingers to the cold when you want to use your phone.

If you’re planning on taking photos, then you need to be able to access the dials and camera settings properly. For that, I used these photography gloves which only expose your fingertips when you need to adjust your camera settings.

12. Heat packsWhat to Pack for a Winter Trip - Heat packs

Heat packs are a sure fire way to warm up quickly, especially your hands. They are activated once exposed to air and last for hours. I put them in my shoes and gloves mostly but you can put them anywhere you feel the cold.

Pro Packing Tip: Take all the heat packs out of the box and scatter them around your suitcase to save space.

Other Essential Items

13. Space Bags

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Space bagsWinter weather gear can get really bulky in your suitcase. I swear by and never travel without roll-up travel space bags. They are super effective at saving space and a great way to organise your stuff.

Pro Packing Tip: Save your larger space bags for your larger bulky items and set aside a medium-sized bag to organise your mid-layers from base layers, gloves, scarves, and beanies.

14. Waterproof Backpack

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - BackpackI carry a lot of expensive camera gear with me so knowing everything is secure and dry is very important to me. I use this waterproof Thule camera-bag. It has loads of pockets, adjustable lens compartments, laptop sleeve and a quick access section on the side. I’ve taken this through the snow and rain and it’s kept everything as inside dry as a bone. Its ergonomic design provides both great support and cushioning.

Pro Packing Tip: This bag is cabin-ready and has a spacious rolltop compartment for personal items which means you can keep it with you at all times as you travel.

15. Moisturiser

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - MoisturiserThe cold air can quickly dry out your skin so it’s important to keep your skin hydrated to prevent cracked skin. Every evening I use this moisturising night cream by No.7 and during their Advanced Day Cream, you guessed it, during the day.  You can buy them separately or together as a set.

16. Lip-balm

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Lip balmI wouldn’t be a real Australian if I didn’t use Lucas’ Papaw Ointment to keep my lips hydrated. This is my, and most Australian’s go to for fixing chapped lips, minor burns, sunburn, cuts, insect bites and diaper rash. Yup, paw paw ointment is a life-saver and something every Aussie swears by.  This one comes with a lip applicator.

17. Power Bank and Spare Camera Batteries

What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Power bankBatteries don’t like being exposed to the cold. So, unless you keep your phone and camera batteries close to your body, they will drain quite quicky. As a back-up, take extra batteries and a power bank to keep your phone charged on the go. This compact power bank by Anker is lightweight and perfect for travel and even has two USB ports so you can charge two items at the same time.

For more inspiration, don’t miss my guide to the best travel accessories and travel gadgets here.

Planning a trip and need travel insurance? Get a free quote from World Nomads here.

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What to Pack for a Winter Trip - Ultimate Winter Packing List

Want more travel tips? Don’t miss these

Over to you!

Which item/s will you buy? What else would you add to the list??

Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

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1 comment

Anna November 23, 2020 - 22:29

I agree with the heat packs! I also suggest buying a large pack of the toe warmers not just for feet but I find that they really keep me toasty if I slip them into my front pants pocket to heat my mid section. Also, if you’re going to be camping or sleeping in the cold, I also recommend the body warmerrs (large square heat packs) because the small of my back always gets cold. I was in a tent in Wadi Rum in late December with no heat. I put on two body warmers (lower back and front belly), put the hand warmers up my sleeves on my forearms, and toe warmers into my socks and I roasted! Slept like a baby and ended up kicking off the covers; everyone else spent a miserable night freezing. The packs were still warm the next day, so I kept them on me for our sightseeing which was overcast, cold, and miserable (shifted the toe warmers to my front pockets and stayed perfectly warm the entire time). I’m planning a winter trip to the Alps next and will take along a whole big box!


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