Geirangerford, by Tristan Taussac

What to pack for Norway in summer

Be warned: this is NOT a packing list for the very trendy travelers. Nor is it a packing list for die-hard hikers. This is for Moms like me, that love window shopping, hate over-packing and loathe polyester fabrics.

The main reason why I’m preparing my holiday with this list: Norway is crazy expensive. Normally, my motto when packing is ‘if I forget anything, I can always buy it there.’

However, last year we met a German family living in Denmark who laughed their asses off at the prices in Costa Rica compared to them back home. Denmark is so expensive that she would buy something at the airport and it STILL would be cheaper than in a Danish store. And Norway is allegedly worse.

Actually, I think Norwegian summers are quite like summers in the Netherlands, my home country. Which is: unpredictable. So if I’m really honest, I just could just pack what I would wear at home. But where’s the fun in that? Besides, I try to be a minimalistic traveler, going on holidays with the leanest bag possible.

But now, the list. Or as Tim Gunn would singsong: Carry on.


1. Convertible dress

If you pick this in black, this still would be Tim’s Little Black Dress. I just wanted to emphasize that a convertible dress is a traveling mum’s best friend. You can wear it as a skirt, a beach or pool cover up or dress up for the accidental city tour.

2. Waterproof jacket

Just as in my home country, it can rain any day in Norway. Here, I can easily change into dry clothes when surprised by a sudden shower, but when traveling there’s only little room for spare clothes and little time to let them dry. So bringing a rain jacket is the best option. Find a light weight and breathable version. Because it may be warm and wet very wet at the same time.

3. Khakis

Also known as the outdoor pants. Yaiks! Or just some chinos. Why for heaven’s sake, you ask? Light colored pants that don’t hug your legs will keep mosquitos from biting. Because just like you, they just looooooveee your legs in those thight black leggings. Hate me now for recommending these sexless pants, thank me later when your camping near a mosquito infested mountain. Banff (Canada) taught me that.

4. White shirt

A white shirt is a white shirt is a white shirt. A wide pop-over version in a natural fiber (chambray cotton, linen or hemp) adds a Out of Africa vibe to my khakis, doubles as an easy pool cover up, or night shirt for breakfast time.

5. Jeans

I love my jeans to much to leave them at home, even though seasoned travelers advise against it as they dry too slowly after a sudden rain shower. But my stretchy tapered jeans are ideal during long hauls in the car and city visits. More importantly, for me, jeans are my dress pants when traveling.

6. Long sleeve

For warmer destinations, a long sleeve shirt is all I need. But for Norway I’ll add a sweater to the staple. It will keep my cosy on chilly mornings and nights. And let me enjoy the midsummer sun without a shiver.

7. Shorts

Shorts are so much more mum friendly than skirts. Back pockets for my phone, maps; front pockets for keys, tissues and back in the day: pacifiers. They’re also more discrete when kneeling down on the beach, picnicking or playing horsey.

8. Tops

Depending on my destination, I either bring more sleeveless tops or more t-shirts and long sleeves. For Norway, I’m bringing them all. Because I except the weather to be all over the place: sunny, dry and warm.  Overcast and husky. Clouded, windy and wet.

For travel gear, I love merino tops. Less wrinkle, less stink, quickly dry. So I don’t need to stuff my bag with too many tops. 2 camis, 2 tanks, 2 t-shirts. Wash and dry one, wear the other, that’s my travel laundry strategy.

9. Zip hoodie

A zip hoodie is easy to put on and can be adjusted to the temperature by zipping up or down. It can suit as a jacket on sunny days and a layer on chilly days. I’ve been wanting this merino wool knit version for so long now that I decided to finally splurge on this €160 knit. O yes.

10. Yoga pants

The travel version of the sweat suit alternative is…. the sweat suit. I love my straight up and down yoga pants as pajamas, lookalike dress pants and even as… Yoga pants.

Bonus: trendy silk scarf

A silk scarf makes anything instantly stylish. Silk cools you down when hot and warms you when chilly. I am still dreaming of a original Hermes scarf, but really, any silk will do.

Bonus bonus: shoes

Honestly, I don’t get why Tim Gunn doesn’t include shoes to his list. I always try to keep my shoes to a minimum when travel, just because they take in so much place! Last year I kept it to a very self-controlled 3 pairs: trail runners; Birkenstock sandals and flip flops. For Norway, I think of bringing the same. I’m still thinking about a pair of waterproof (hiking) boots. I don’t really want to because a) they’re ugly and b) waterproof shoes make sweaty feet.

  • Update 29 June 2018: Bring waterproof hiking shoes. I can tell you from experience.

Bonus bonus bonus: accessories

  • Sun glasses
  • Hat (for protection from both sun and rain)
  • Day pack

So that’s it! Who has experience with Norwegian summers and can help me perfect my packing list? 

xoxo -Irene

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What to pack for Norway in summer by Finkelstein and Sons


10 thoughts on “What to pack for Norway in summer

    1. One of my favorite travel items is a sarong, or is that just a synonym for your cotton stole? Another one is my DKNY cosy which doubles as a cardi; sweater; scarf and airplane blanket!

      1. do you mean the sarong or the cozy? The cozy is made of the softest cashmere and silk knit and I found it at a super bargain at the DKNY outlet store. My fav sarong is a 5 euro ikat cotton woven. I’ll look up some pics of both of them!

  1. Irene- Excellent list. I need all the help I can get since my husband struggles with my overpacking but so lovingly always insists on schlepping my ( heavy ) stuff around leaving me to take his lighter more sensible suitcase.

    1. How much of that overpacked suitcase is never unpacked? It amazes me every time still how few clothes I actually need. On holiday that is.

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