What do you wear to Svalbard?
Finding out what to wear to Svalbard before your trip is essential as this isn't somewhere you want to be caught short. During the months you’ll be visiting Svalbard, July - September, the mean temperature is +5 C. Due to the wind chill factor, and when travelling to the eastern part of the archipelago, you can experience temperatures a few degrees below zero. There is normally very little rain in Svalbard, which is considered a semi-desert. When going ashore on the Zodiacs, make sure to wear waterproof jacket/trousers and Wellington boots. Below you will find some instructions on how to dress in polar climates, please also refer to the comprehensive packing information available in your journey essentials document post-booking.
A FEW WORDS ON HOW TO DRESS IN POLAR REGIONS
The key is to dress in three or more layers, which get rid of perspiration, insulate you from the cold and protect you from the wind. The layering method also allows you to easily adjust your clothing when the weather and temperatures change.
THE INNER LAYER
Clothing next to your skin must get rid of perspiration from your body to keep you dry and warm. This layer should be close to your body and should therefore not be too loose, but quite tight. Good materials for this first layer are wool or synthetic ones such as polypropylene. Cotton should never be worn close to the body, or preferably not at all.
THE MIDDLE LAYER (OR LAYERS)
This layer provides insulation and retains body heat without restricting movement. Suitable materials for this layer are polar fleece or wool. This will help you control your body temperature, and on a cold day we recommend two or more middle layers. It is better to wear several thin layers than one thick layer.
THE OUTER LAYER
The main function of this layer is to offer protection against the wind and water, but also to let out excess body heat. Therefore it is good to have a breathable material here such as Gore-Tex. Impregnated cotton materials are not recommended. On cold days you may need extra insulation.
Your mum was right! 80% of your body heat is lost through your head. Your head is like the body’s funnel, and you should always wear a hat. The same principle applies here – preferred materials are synthetic fibre or wool, preferably wind-poof.
HANDS & FEET
These parts of your body are extra sensitive. It is important to keep hands and feet dry and warm! The same layering method applies here. Use inner gloves made of synthetic fibre, silk or wool and cover with a wind/waterproof mitten. Mittens are much warmer than gloves! Please remember to bring an extra pair of mittens. You should wear inner socks of synthetic fibre and cover with layers of wool or synthetic socks. A pair of solid Wellington boots are the secret weapon when going ashore on the Zodiacs. It is also wise to bring wool insoles.