When we decided to do a Norway road trip for the first time ever, we had absolutely no idea how our Norway packing list could look like. We knew we wanted to hike a lot, be in nature and visit a lot of places, but didn't know what to expect from Norwegian weather. Looking back, we realise the importance of having the right gear for both rain and snow. We spent two weeks in Norway, at the end of September, and had sunshine. wind, rain, snow and a mighty blizzard.
Our Norway clothing were primarely designed for windy and rainy conditions. We didn't use jeans or wooly jackets, but professional clothing made for hiking in harsher weather. Our Norway packing guide is for couples who want to enjoy the outdoors in Norway. If you check our Norway itinerary, you will see that we spent our time exploring the nature in Norway and not the city life. We only spent one day in Bergen, where we dressed for the city (jeans and a wooly sweater) and one day in Tromsø where we used our waterproofs.
We researched the brands we used, to ensure they are fit for the job. We tried hiking without the right gear before, and had a hard time in the rain. We wanted to avoid being cold or wet and invested time and effort into finding everything we needed to pack for our Norway trip. We hope you will find our guide useful.
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Our Norway Packing List
Our Norway packing list may appear quite light for a two-week itinerary. But we had everything we needed so we can enjoy a proper outdoorsy trip. This was also the first trip where we wanted to take our photo and video gear with us so we can take enough footage irrespective of the weather. I'm sure you know how annoying it can be to want to take that picture but not be able to do it because it's raining cats and dogs.
Before the trip, we were a little reluctant to invest money in our gear, but we now realise we can use it for years to come. Quality over quantity, always. So here is our Norway packing list for a two-week itinerary around the country (including a trip to Tromsø, which is located in the Arctic Circle).
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It took us so much research to find the right hiking trousers which are warm but also waterproof. For about two weeks before the trip, we went back and forth around the city trying to find the perfect product. We didn't, to be honest. Well, we found the right trousers for G, but not for me. I had to get creative. Once I figured out the trousers, I needed to get the right hiking boots. I asked around on forums and groups about the right brand, but everyone had subjective opinions so it became a little difficult to make up my own mind. I went from store to store, ordered several pairs of boots and tried over 50 different brands. You won't believe it, but the last pair I found in a mall in Budapest was the right match! I had hiking boots before and they never seemed comfortable on my toes. So to find the right boots, seemed like I've reached boots nirvana.
Thermals are a must when it comes to any outdoor activity. We use them year round because they are breathable. They also stop you from sweating which is super important when you hike. There is nothing worse than getting wet, than getting cold when the wind blows a little.
You have several options for thermals on the market, but we are huge fans of merino wool. We also tried the new range of thermals from Helly Hansen, the Lifa Merino ones which are base layers for extra warmth. They are basically a 2 in 1 because you get the Lifa technology interior which pushes moisture away from the skin while maintaining an itch-free feel. The 100% Merino Wool exterior generates extra warmth while wicking the moisture.
In the car, during the drive, we both used our Helly Hansen Lifa Merino thermals which were great at regulating our temperature. They are incredibly comfortable too, which sure made it better.
Every wind and waterproof shell needs an epic insulator for lower temperatures, and we knew we are going to venture out in 0 degrees. We tried hiking with woolly sweaters, several layers and woolly jackets in the past and it didn't take long to realise that we actually need specialised gear for these conditions. It's one thing to wear a nice coat in the city and one thing to take it out on the mountain. We sure learned our lesson.
And since we didn't want to find any excuses for not going out hiking in the cold, we wanted to research the right gear for the job. We came across Helly Hansen's Lifaloft hybrid insulators which are meant to be lighter and warmer than standard polyester fabric. We never heard of Lifaloft before, which is basically a new type of fibre 20% lighter than polyester, warmer because it creates more pockets of trapped air, has a quick dry insulation and has better moister transportation properties. This was created for intense activities in variable conditions.
My jacket was a light blue and G's jacket was black. We sometimes used them for shorter hikes during overcast days, and sometimes we had them underneath the shell jackets. We both had them on top of the base layers: super comfortable and warm. I'm usually very cold some saying that something keeps me warm is a big thing! It was a little hard for G to believe that I'm not actually complaining about the weather for a change.
Well, one thing is for certain: Norway's weather is super unpredictable. You will have wind, drizzle, torrential rain and even snow if you visit during Autumn. Throughout our travels, we went through so many brands and jackets and never have we found something which is capable of keeping me warm and dry. However, we thought, ok, Helly Hansen must be right for Norway... I mean the brand itself is from Norway so perhaps is the right technology. Helly Hansen was designed and developed in Norway since 1877 and they came a long way since. The clothes are great for outdoors enthusiasts.
We had the Helly Hansen Odin Jackets for her and for him. I went for a super bright orange colour and G went for a bright blue. Without even knowing, we picked the right colours for taking pictures in Norway. I mean we really stood out in the forests, that'd for sure. And they were a pretty good contrast against the white in the Arctic Circle. We were pleased.
So do we recommend the Odin jackets? Yes, we do. They are waterproof and breathable. They behaved wonderfully in super windy conditions and kept us perfectly dry in the rain and snow. These are professional jackets from the Helly Hansen professional range. The official name of the jacket is Odin 9 worlds, and that's because this durable outdoor jacket was named after Odin, known to have travelled the length of the 9 worlds for extended periods of time. So the brand decided to create a jacket which holds up the name allowing excellent protection for extended expeditions. We thought that was quite catchy really.
Quick dry thermal trousers for her
As you remember me saying, we went from shop to shop in search of the perfect thermal, quick dry trousers. I wanted something which fits my legs perfectly so it's fairly tight. I didn't find anything which acts like a legging but has great tech behind it. In the end, I decided to buy two pairs of trousers: a pair of climate tights from Adidas with a polar interior and quick dry exterior and a pair of hiking trousers from Prana.
I am going to tell you about both of them. The tights from Adidas became my go-to trousers for the duration of the trip. They were comfortable, extremely warm (thanks to their interior insulation) and super quick dry (they dried within minutes after the rain). They behaved extremely well and fit me really well as well, which was the added bonus I was after. By the end of the two weeks, however, they had the most horrible fabric pilling on the bottom area. We don't know if that happened because I was using them for my long drives as well as hikes, or because of the jacket shell which was touching the material in that area. Either way, this was a major disappointment.
The second pair of trousers I used, was also warm but not as comfortable as the tights. They were quick dry as well and perfect for hikes. The material had no issues from the rain, drives or jackets. They look like new still and that gives me confidence that they were a better choice than the Adidas thermal tights. The only downside, since they are not tights, they go over your hiking boot, which is not something I like. It's a personal preference.
Quick dry thermal trousers for him
G found his trousers super quick so I was rather jealous. I wish shopping for women would be as nice and simple. I sometimes feel like I should just wear oversized jumpers bought from the men sections. They are cheaper, better quality and a lot more functional. G bought two pairs of trousers from Columbia. We decided that it will be best to have both of them, in case one of them breaks, gets too wet or simply doesn't perform as well as we hoped. Both trousers behaved perfectly so we strongly recommend them to outdoorsy men in search of something comfortable and warm.
This was also a bit difficult to find for me. G already had a pair of hiking shoes from Chatham which he loved. They were waterproof and super comfortable. I had a pair of hiking shoes from North Face but unfortunately, they put a lot of pressure on my toes after about 10 minutes hike. So I wanted to invest in something comfortable. I ordered a pair of Helly Hansen hiking boots online. Since we were already so impressed with their jackets and thermals, we thought it makes sense to make Helly Hansen our go-to brand. Sadly, I had the same issues with my toes. I went to their store to try a larger size of shoes, thinking maybe it's the reason for my toes feeling too much pressure. Turns out, it wasn't.
To be fair, I didn't know what to do. I just assumed hiking boots are simply uncomfortable. Well, I looked online and read that the right hiking boots should be like a glove. Comfortable and amazing. It felt unrealistic really, but then I decided to go from store to store in search of the perfect hiking boots. After a whole week of trying on boots, I gave up and decided I'm going to hike in my New Balance shoes (no joke guys!). I love my New Balance shoes, so why not? Well, obviously that would have been a silly idea given the amount of rain and snow we had to hike through.
As we went to a nearby mall here in Budapest to buy a new pair of New Balance, I saw there is a Columbia store on the top floor. I thought, hey, at least I try, right? And OMG, the moment I tried their boots on, it was like the universe has found a way to gift me the perfect pair of hiking boots. They fit like a glove. No toes were pressure, everything just fit. They also looked awesome! Like, we are talking style and comfort here. I was in love. Columbia, you got yourself a very happy customer.
Waterproof hiking socks
We never used waterproof hiking socks before this trip and to be honest, we only bought them because they had some nice padding around the ankle and toes which we thought might be useful to avoid blisters. After seeing how well they behave in rainy conditions, we don't think we can ever leave the house for a hiking trip without these hiking socks.
They were comfortable, they indeed padded the right parts and had no blisters for the whole duration of the trip and kept our feet nice and warm. The only downside is that they are quite thin, so in snowy conditions, we needed to add an extra pair of woolly socks on top to ensure proper insulation. But they are totally worth it.
Whether you buy hiking socks or not, I can't imagine going to Norway without several pairs of nice, warm woolly socks. In fact, I use woolly socks all the time. In the winter, I have them during the daytime, when I go out, at home and even during the night with my pyjamas. You can call me a woolly sock hoarder if you want. G, however, prefers cotton socks, usually thicker ones from Marks & Spencers for winter, but he rarely puts woolly socks on. I guess this is down to personal preference, but you should always have several pairs of warm socks for your hiking endeavours. Guys, Norway is cold, you need proper feet insulation.
Hello there cold Scandinavian nights, we are not afraid of you anymore. Well, there is nothing to fear when you have thermal pyjamas on with a pair of woolly socks. Spoiler alert, we don't actually use pyjamas, but more like a pair of base layers, we use exclusively for sleeping in. I have a black merino wool top and bottom and my husband uses a green merino wool top and bottom. The only difference is that he rarely uses socks when he sleeps. To be fair, I think I am the only human who can wear a woolly top under a massive down duvet and still be cold.
We love the merino wool base layers because they keep us warm and they don't make us sweaty. They are light and you can't easily get a comfortable night sleep. For winter, we recommend merino wool layers for home as well. I have several colours and I use them all the time. You can even put them under a blouse or a nice sweater when you go out and nobody will notice. They are perhaps the best invention which makes winters awesome for me.
You didn't think we'll send you to Norway without gloves now, did you? My husband and I have different preferences when it comes to gloves. I used to wear leather gloves, but I recently replaced them with synthetics. I bought a pair of gloves which allow me to use my phone whilst having them on which is a huge bonus for me as I hate taking them off just so I can make a call. I think I found my gloves out of pure luck, as these tech gloves were also made with a special insulation layer which can withstand temperatures up to -2 degrees C. To be fair, they were very warm and cosy during our time in Tromsø.
G, on the other hand, is not really a gloves man. We don't like wearing gloves unless he actually plays with snow. For a surprise trip to Denmark, I bought him a special pair of waterproof woolly gloves which he still loves and wears today.
And finally, you can't leave without a hat! You will have your waterproof hood when you buy your Odin jacket from Helly Hansen, but when it's just cold and overcast, we recommend having a woolly hat on. We both had hats we got in Helsinki but during the trip itself, I came across an amazing blue hat in one of the supermarkets. I fell in love with it so I purchased it immediately. It was about £10 but had an insulating layer in the inside. I still think it's the best hat ever.
If you decide to send 1-2 days visiting a city, you might want to consider bringing a pair of jeans and a woolly sweater. I had a pair of black jeans and my alpaca sweater. I also had a shirt which I never even touch during the whole trip.
As you can tell, we didn't bring many items with us for the Norway trip. We had the strictly necessary items and we promise, we didn't miss anything else. What made the luggage heavy, however, were our electronics as you will see below.
We had two different backpacks with us on this trip. One which was perfect for all our electronic equipment and one which was fully sealed and waterproof. They were both needed and they both behaved extraordinarily, so we recommend them with love.
This was my bag where I kept my laptop, my camera and most of the lenses for the trip. Thule Aspect has a dedicated compartment for the camera and the lenses. It also has a super padded compartment for a laptop and iPad. The top part of the bag is where we kept some snacks, water and spare socks for the journey. I fell in love with my Thule bag so much, that it now became my go-to bag for pretty much any trip where I need all my electronic items with me.
This is our bigger Thule bag and the one which normally G uses. We have his laptop (which is slightly bigger than ours), the drone and some spare parts and batteries, the cables and the tripod. We also use it for some of my camera accessories. There is still some room a the top for water and snacks so that's the added bonus for it.
Both our Thule bags are epic and accepted as hand luggage for pretty much all flights.
We are always happy to use our Thule bags but when it comes to hiking in foul weather, we don't want our electronic devices exposed to the elements. We wanted two bags which are fully sealed and waterproof and we found OverBoard. We are in love with them! Most of the time, you will find these type of bags without any back support but our OverBoard had proper padding at the bag and at the straps as well. The only downside was that we had no compartments for our electronics, so we had to get creative. Well, luckily our Thules came with a detachable DSLR compartment so we could use those to pad our electronics and simply put them in the OverBoard backpack. Job done!
We used our OverBoard backpacks in the snow, on a very wet motorboat on a glacier lake and during a hike towards the glacier in knee deep snow. They kept our electronic devices super dry and allowed us to enjoy the journey without being afraid of getting our stuff damaged. We would definitely recommend them.
That's it. This was our Norway packing list with all the Norway clothing we had on us. We hope you find it useful and you will consider using some of our links to get your awesome gear for your Norway trip.
We always give you our honest opinion because we want you to have a good time when you travel. So we want to tell you a few things about our gear we reviewed in this post. We worked in partnership with Helly Hansen who kindly provided us with their base layers, insulator jackets and Odin jackets to test and review. We worked in partnership with Thule to test their two backpacks which are now our go-to backpacks for any trip we take. We love them so much, we can't stop raving about them to all our friends and family. We also worked in partnership with OverBoard to test their backpacks during our motorboat ride on one of Norway's cool glacier lakes. We genuinely loved these products and you will see us use them for many trips to come. We recommend them with all our love and we are confident you are going to love them too and they will make your hiking trips a lot dryer, warmer and better.