I always thought I hated the cold. I was one of those people that could never understand why anyone would want to go on a winter holiday. It seemed like such horrible punishment. I had also always lived in tropical locations so the idea of cold was very foreign to me, which I think added to my dislike. This year I have been pushing myself outside of my toasty warm comfort zone to experience actual cold winters with trips to Switzerland and even a week in northern Norway. I have to say that once I learned what I needed to keep warm in the cold weather and invested in some the right gear, I actually had a great time! Now I am already looking forward to my next winter trip! I’m sharing these recommendations on the blog to help you get ready for your next winter trip.
I wrote this post based on my experience packing for a week in the northern Norway but I’m sure you will find these tips and products helpful for any winter getaway. If you would like more information on any of the products simply click the photo or text link. Full disclosure, these are affiliate links which means I get compensated by Amazon for referring traffic, however, these are all the products that I found useful on my travels so I hope they will serve you well too.
What to Pack for a Week in Northern Norway
For my last two trips I used this Patagonia backpack and it allowed me to carry the clothes I needed (which is a lot because I’m not the best at packing light) and also all my camera equipment. This one is a decent size so I use it for travel and I love it!
If you are heading out on an adventure to explore a town or activity nearby then you are going to need something a little more travel friendly than the bigger travel backpack. Just something big enough to carry your essential gear without being so conspicuous and yelling ‘I’m a tourist!’
During my trip to Norway, I used these Baffin Chloe Boots and they were ah-mazing! They kept my feet so warm the whole time I was outside walking through the snow and were also very comfortable for long stretches of time out on my feet exploring. I loved that they were easy to slip on and off so that when I wanted to race outside to capture the Northern Lights, I didn’t have to waste time with shoelaces.
Investing in a good pair of wool socks will make a world of difference to your feet. Wool keeps insulating when wet, unlike cotton, meaning that it can keep your feet warmer for longer even if your feet get sweaty or wet from the snow.
That first layer of thermals makes a huge difference when you are out and about. Not only do you get an extra layer close to your body but they can help wick away sweat to keep your skin dryer and warmer. They also make cute-ugly pj’s!
My layering was usually thermals, sweater and a jacket when I was outdoors and it always kept my chest toasty warm. I actually had a Christmas sweater that I bought for my holiday photos and I wore that most of the time which was quite the fashion faux-pa I’m sure but ’tis the season right? Either way, get a couple of cute sweaters to wear and keep your chest warm.
Lately I have been loving the Levis Curvy Skinny Jeans because they keep me warm and the fit is just so comfortable (which is so hard to find in a pair of jeans!) On extra cold or windy days I would put a pair of warm exercise tights underneath, otherwise, on most days I was warm enough with just jeans and thermals.
A good winter jacket is a lifesaver when you are out in the freezing cold temperatures! I like to use one that allows me to mobility to move around easily for adventures and also for leaning and bending if needed to take photos.
You will not regret picking up a packet of Hand Warmers. One of these in each glove can make an outdoor experience much more comfortable, especially if your hands get cold really fast like mine do. I also used these to help keep my GoPro and camera batteries lasting a little longer since they drain quicker in the cold. Don’t put them directly on the battery, just nearby to keep them warm.
When I was out taking photos, I used a set of lightweight gloves that allowed me to use the screen on my phone as well as the functions on my camera. A pair of lightweight gloves in addition to a hand warmer worked perfectly to keep my hands warm but still allow me to do what I wanted to do. I also used a pair of waterproof mittens for more heavy duty warmth during activities like making a snowman sledding and for long periods outside.
A good beanie is also a great investment for your trip not only for hiding bad hair days but also to add a touch of super cute and most importantly, keep your head warm while you are out and about. You just can’t go wrong with a chunky knit right?
The camera, aka my baby, I used for my pictures was the Sony Alpha a6000. This is my beginner camera and has served me so very well. It’s compact which makes it perfect for traveling and hiking so I never have to worry about lugging around a bulky camera. It also has all the features I need to take great shots and didn’t cost a fortune.
Side note: also pack a few large ziplock bags to protect your camera. Before you go from the cold outdoor temperature to the toasty indoors, put your camera inside the ziplock bag and make sure to seal it well. This way it can adjust to the change in temperature slowly and this will help protect your camera against condensation in its inner workings.
I also took my GoPro Hero4 as a backup camera. I didn’t use it as much on this trip but it did come in handy when making videos of active activities like walking through a snowstorm and sledding down the snowy hills.
If you are going to be taking photos of the Northern Lights, then you will definitely need a tripod to keep your camera steady and prevent your pictures from being too blurry. I use a Manfrotto tripod and love it because it is always sturdy and when I lost a part while hiking it was really easy to order a replacement instead of having to buy a whole new tripod.
I hope this helps you prepare for your next winter getaway! If there is any other must-have items you swear by then please share them in the comments below.
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