What to REALLY pack for Norway in summer

When I wrote about what to pack for Norway in summer, it was a theoretical exercise based upon Tim Gunn’s 10 essentials items for a capsule wardrobe. And although Tim was right about a lot of things, our time in Norway learned you need some other items too.

We went to Norway in 2016, and that summer was cold, even by Norwegian standards. At the Hardangervidda highlands we stopped for the opportunity to stand on some gletscher ice, and two middle aged ladies warned us to put on jackets as it was ‘quite cold’. They themselves put on their insulated outdoor jackets, gloves and hats and their back packs. A while ago, they had agreed to do a multiple-day hike from cabin to cabin this weekend, not knowing the weather would turn out like it had. However, they had planned already, so they decided to go anyway.

What to wear Norway in summer with teens
Junior may be exaggerating a bit here at Hardangervidda.

I really liked this Norwegian attitude. The weather is shit anyway, so what’s the use staying inside and wait for better weather? With the same attitude, we saw people downhill roller skiing when it was pouring with rain. Of course I’m telling you this so you won’t think I’m a pussy when I say Norway was cold in summer. It was cold. The Norwegians themselves thought so.

Bring it all

You want to bring at least 1 of every clothing item you can think of. So tank tops AND t-shirts AND long sleeves AND a sweater AND a fleece AND a waterproof jacket. So shorts AND joggers AND khakis AND waterproof pants. A cap and a hat.

We ended up layering it up: I wore a denim shirt over a t-shirt with my lightweight down jacket and my waterproof jacket in my bag. During a hike, I would get out of my jacket, only to put on my rain jacket moments later when the weather turned bad. In the east of Norway, the air felt warmer than the windier west part of the country. So on sunny days on the fjord, we’d still be wearing our lightweight insulated jackets.

Waterproof it

What to wear Norway-6
Rain jackets in Preikestolen

It rains a lot in Norway, even more than in the already rainy Netherlands where we live. Grounds get muddy so you will be really happy if you have waterproof shoes. When we were visiting Bergen, I saw so many girls walking in hip Wellingtons, colourful rain coats and see-trough umbrellas. It was sunny, so I wondered why. Then the sky went black and rain start pouring down on us. With a shower so heavy, you need he most water-repellent and plastic rain jacket you can find.

What we bought

Fortunately, there is a great choice in outdoor gear, a wider offer than in the Netherlands and for a better price. Especially in the kids department! This is what we bought at the Norwegian outdoor store:

  • Wool hiking socks
  • Waterproof hiking boots or shoes for everyone
  • Light weight down jacket for me
  • Light insulated jacket for Mini
  • Hat for Mini

I’d love to hear from Norwegian natives how they deal with their summers! And from other families that went on holiday to Norway too: what had you wish for you’d packed?

xoxo – Irene.

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