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Equipment for summer trekking on Svalbard

Technical clothes and equipment for the Arctic

A list of clothes and necessary items is provided by the travel agency which organizes your trip to Svalbard.

The list I was given was not complete. For this reason, I have decided to integrate it by adding the clothes and items which I took with me. Here you will find advice about useful equipment, superfluous stuff and things I should have taken with me but did not.


For trekking expeditions you should take warm underwear. I bought two warm undershirts and i must say you can really feel the difference with cotton undershirts. If you usually have cold legs, take a pair of tights (I had them but never wore them)

Warm socks for your feet.

Trousers, jumper, shoes and other items

I wore a pair of very comfortable snow trousers which I also used to slide on the snow. Over the undershirt, I wore a warm fibre pile jumper. A couple of times I wore waterproof overtrousers to keep the rain and cold out.

For the hands you need two pairs of gloves: a good pair of snow gloves for cold days and a lighter version, in wool or fibre pile for warmer days.

A wool hat should be enough for the head but a balaclava is good to protect your face from the cold. Cold winds are very frequent.

A scarf to cover your neck is necessary.

I missed not having an additional protection for my ears. A fleece ear band or a earmuffs would have been useful.

A good pair of trekking shoes made from Goretex is the best thing. You walk often and every day, in the snow and crossing rivers and streams. Good shoes will save you from any troubles. My trekking shoes were not good and water made them wet all the time. It is better to have two pairs of shoes with you: in this way, you can leave wet shoes to dry and wear the spare shoes in the meantime. A pair of lighter shoes are good for the boat. Boots are not allowed.

Snow tights: my travel notes advised to take snow tights in June. My trip was in July and I saw a lot of snow. Thank God I took them with me.

Down Jacket: take a warm jacket with you. I missed not having a lighter jacket to wear during the excursions. If I sweated had to take the jacket off, I was immediately cold with just my jumper on.

A small backpack is obviously necessary when it comes to take your lunch with you. Do not forget to put some sandwiches, a flask and a thermos in it. The thermos is very useful since it allows you to carry some hot tea to drink when you stop for a break. In it, you should also put a small first-aid kit, a pair of binoculars (if you want to watch bears, seals, whales and walruses) and a camera to take some landscape pictures.

Sunglasses were very useful considering that sun was out for 24 hours.

Personal hygiene: you do not have to take soap with you since there is plenty of it at the camps. You must take your toothbrush and toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo.

In Longyearbyen I bought a hat with an ear band in it and a thermal bag which was used by two guides: it contains 3 litres and has a tube from where you can drink. It is filled with hot water and put into the backpack taking care of leaving the tube close to the mouth for drinking.

Do not take

  • Bathrobe: it is an unnecessary burden. Hotels and boats provide you with towels whilst they can not be used at the camps… since you do not get showers there.
  • Plates and cutlery: plates, bowl and cutlery can be found at the camps. To be on the safe side, take a glass or a mug with you for drinking. We used a mug which was given to us as a present by the Spitzbergen Travel office.
  • Thermal mattress: matresses at the camp are more than enough. They perfectly isolate your sleeping bag from the ground.

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