Here’s a general and suggestive list.
So there are only a few days to go, before your first trip to Greenland, but what do you pack and why? Well, it depends who you are, where you are going and for how long, of course, but here’s a general list with suggestions for some of the most fundamental kinds of clothing to keep you warm and comfortable.
Protect those feet and walk farther
Footwear is of the utmost importance in Greenland.
It must be comfortable yet supportive, as it is what protects your feet - your greatest asset - and will keep you going all day long.
For a summer trip to Greenland, two pairs of shoes/boots should do, plus several pairs of breathable, lightweight woolen socks.
The best active footwear provides support for ankles, is waterproof or water-resistant and is slip-resistant (has a sole with good traction) which is good for both rocky terrain and wet boat decks. You might also want to wear your new footwear in, as breaking in brand new shoes and getting blisters on the first day won’t make you a happy camper.
“Comfort footwear”, like supportive sneakers/running shoes, is a nice alternative to have for taking easy walks in town, as well as for relaxing in the evenings.
Yes, you can get a tan in Greenland
In summer in Greenland - above the Arctic Circle, that is - the Midnight Sun is out 24 hours a day. Couple this never-ending daylight with the fact that there are no trees for shade - as well as with the reflection off the water and nearby icebergs - and you’ve got yourself the equation for some fierce sun exposure.
It is recommended to bring sunscreen and sunglasses and, if you like, a hat with a visor. If you’re not picky about brand or style, it should be possible to purchase these items at the local grocery store.
It is recommended to bring sunscreen and sunglasses.
The Arctic summer is notorious for small pesky insects like mosquitoes and flies.
You can’t kill all the bugs, but you can keep them away
The Arctic summer is notorious for small pesky insects like mosquitoes and flies. They are not usually a problem when sailing, but on land they’re sure to find you soon enough. Only a light breeze will give natural respite from the bugs.
Thus, bug repellent and a mosquito head net are your friends. Not very fashionable, but oh-so-functional.
Like the sunscreen and other sundries, it should be possible to purchase bug repellent at the local grocery store, but know that we don’t play around with our repellents. It will be the strong, chemical, non- environment-friendly stuff, so if you prefer a natural-based product, you should bring your own
Low humidity means you need to drink
A sailing or hiking trip in Greenland wouldn’t be complete without a thermos of coffee and tea (and something sweet) in the guide’s pack, but as these drinks are diuretics, you will also want to be sure to keep hydrated yourself. In general, there’s very low humidity in Greenland.
Bring your own water bottle or CamelBak to fill up with the freshest, cleanest, tastiest water you can find at convenient streams and waterfalls - or at the faucet, if you want to be like the rest of the world.
A sailing or hiking trip in Greenland wouldn’t be complete without a thermos of coffee and tea
Aside from taking a city break holiday, backpacks are ideal for traveling in Greenland.
Travel light with a foldable daypack
Aside from taking a city break holiday, backpacks are ideal for traveling in Greenland, though a frame is not necessary unless you are actually carrying your own sleeping bag and tent. Many of the towns have simple dirt or rocky roads which are not exactly ideal for pulling luggage with wheels.
For maximum versatility, a small foldable daypack is nice for carrying an extra layer or two and your water bottle during short hiking excursions, so that you don’t have to bring everything along. And remember, the less you bring, the easier it is to move around.
Dress in layers
Whether it’s to protect you from wind and rain on land or from ocean spray while sailing through the Arctic waters surrounding Greenland, having good outer layers to protect against the elements will make the difference between a pleasant and an unpleasant trip.
Bring both a lightweight, windproof/waterproof jacket and a pair of lightweight, windproof/waterproof rain pants.
Having good outer layers to protect against the elements will make the difference between a pleasant and an unpleasant trip.
Do not use cotton but instead a lightweight wool or other fast-drying fiber.
Use base layers
Base layers are designed to keep you warm, even if they are damp with sweat for example - and should not therefore be made of cotton, but instead lightweight wool or other, fast-drying fiber. Base layers will also keep you warm if, for example, your outer layers are not entirely windproof or waterproof.
If there’s one thing to stress over and over and over, it is that having several light layers to choose from, or to use in combination with each other, is FAR more valuable for regulating body temperature than having one or two heavy layers that might make you too cold or too hot, but never just right.
Wool is always nice
A woolen layer is always nice to have as additional warmth.
For a summer trip, don’t take your heaviest winter sweater, but just something you feel could make you warm and cozy if you had a persistent chill.
Winter clothes can be necessary during summer
A little wind, a mammoth iceberg nearby and even fog can have more effect on the air temperature than you might imagine and it can be magnified when sailing or standing a few hundred meters above sea level. Even though it is summer and there is not a single patch of snow to be found, you still need to be prepared with a few of the more ‘wintery’ items.
Dig out a warm hat and gloves from the back of the closet. As a light version, a buff to wear around your head or neck is also useful.
Dig out a warm hat and gloves from the back of the closet.
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