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What to wear in Svalbard

What to wear in Svalbard

Traveling to and wondering what to wear in Svalbard? If you are traveling to the Artic Circle, what to pack has to be one of your primary concerns. With our Svalbard packing list you will know EXACTLY what to pack for Svalbard for attractions, road trips, outdoor activities and more.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Svalbard Packing Advice

People walking through Svalbard landscape
What to wear in Svalbard (Packing List and Outfits)

Before we get onto specific packing list items we thought it would be a good idea to point out some of our packing advice and considerations.

Waterproof and Wind Resistant Layers 

Given the increase in rain and snow, and the wind speeds in Winter especially you will need some top layers that are waterproof and wind resistant.

You will also need to have some good thermal base layers at this time of year especially if you are going to hunt for the Northern Lights or plan on doing outdoor activities during your stay.


As well as snow and rain, you will also have ice to contend with on the roads and at the attractions. Therefore you will need to have shoes with a good sole that can cope with ice aswell as maybe some spikes for walking on ice.

What to wear in Svalbard

Person sitting on ice in Svalbard
What to wear in Svalbard (Packing List and Outfits)

It is worth noting that normally when I create these what to wear guides that I break it into women and men’s packing lists. However this really isn’t needed for Svalbard as the items you need are universal due to the practical nature of what is needed. So whether you are looking for a men’s, women’s or even a family Svalbard packing list this is for you!

Going to other parts of Norway? Check out our Norway packing lists:

Thermal Base Layers

A thermal base layer comprising of leggings and a long sleeve top are an absolute essential. I recommend packing merino base layers as these are very warm but are also relatively lightweight to pack and also dry very quickly.

If you are spending 4 days in Svalbard we recommend having at least two sets of thermal underwear with you. Merino wool doesn’t smell quickly but for a week you will once at least one change of clothes.

Click here to shop merino wool base layer.


Between your thermal snow suit and your thermal base layer you are going to want more layers. We recommend packing tighter fitting, thinner layers as opposed to big chunky knits as this are way more comfortable for layering up.

We recommend having a mix of

  • long sleeve t shirts
  • merino wool jumpers
  • micro fiber fleeces

Ski Pants and Jacket

Although some packages provide a thermal suit you will also want to have your own ski pants and jacket with you. You will want these on your journey to and from Svalbard when youn won’t have yet picked up your thermal suit.

I recommend picking something that has a good cosy hood. And for the sake of instagram I love a ski suit in a bright colour.

Warm Hat

To protect your extremities be sure to pack a warm merino wool hat or beanie to take with you. This is especially necessary for those who are planning to go out in evenings to hunt for the Aurora Borealis or plan on being in the snow to keep your ears and head warm.

It is a good idea to have two hats with you in case one gets wet and you need to wear one quickly.

Click here to shop hats


Although I tend to wear long wool scarfs, for Svalbard a snood type scarf is preferable so it doesn’t add too much bulk and can be tucked under your thermal suit.


As with hats, I recommend having two types of gloves with you.

The first has to be a pair of ski mittens for when you are out in the super cold weather.

On top of that I also recommend having a thinner pair of gloves that you wear inside your ski gloves that you can also work your electronics while wearing. You won’t want to take off your gloves to use your phone or take pictures because it is so cold

Click here to shop touchscreen gloves

Ear Muffs or a head band

If you are visiting in Winter then you may want to add some ear muffs or a headband on top of your beanie hat to help cope with the wind especially if you want to go out at night.

Click here to shop ear muffs

Thick Thermal Socks

The fact that you will need snow boots means that you will also need thick socks. Be sure to have several good pairs of thick walking socks with you.

There would be nothing worse than having sore feet in boots and thick socks will go a long way to help prevent this.

We also recommend having thermal socks as your feet can get cold quickly. Or another great pick are merino wool socks. These aren’t quite as bulky but are very warm.

Click here to shop socks

Warm Pyjamas 

The weather is so cold in Iceland that you will want to make sure the pyjamas you have are warm.

Best Shoes for Lapland in Winter

Normally I hedge my bet when answering the question what is the best shoe for a destination. However there is no need for Iceland as there is a clear winner.

My number shoe for Svalbard has to be:

Snow Boots

Svalbard is a place where the outdoor activities are unrivalled. From reindeer sleigs, husky sledding, snow shoeing, northern lights and more – you will undoubtedly be spending a lot of time outdoors in snowy and icy conditions.

Therefore snow shoes are an essential. My favorite brands are Columbia, Eddie Bauer and Merrell.

Even though most packages provide snow shoes, you will want to ahve your off for as soon as you get off the plane.

What to pack for Svalbard  (Non Clothing)

three polar bears walking on ice as viewed across water
Svalbard packing list

So now you know what to wear in Svalbard in Winter we will turn our attention to what to pack for Svalbard other than clothes.

Hand Warmers

Even when wearing two pairs of glove, your hands can get cold. Therefore we recommend having a plentiful supply of hand warmers with you.


Useful to have with you as the thermal suits don’t have much pocket space.

Water bottle

Food and drink in Svalbard is expensive, a reusable water bottle is a great way to cut costs and is better for the environment. 


Svalbard is expensive country. To save money, if you have space in your case you can bring some snacks and things like satchets of hot chocolate to help keep the costs down.

Travel adaptor

If you are traveling to Svalbard you will need a electrical travel plug adaptor. Norway uses European C and E sockets. Click here to shop travel adaptors.

Battery Pack 

You will be using your phone a lot in Svalbard for cameras and more which will drain your battery quickly. Therefore if is worth having a battery pack charger with you as well as a USB cable for charging in your car. Click here to shop battery packs.


Svalbard is a stunning place bring the best quality camera you have with you.


The sun in Svalbard is low and when it hits the snow and Ice it can be pretty dazzling. For this reason we recommend packing sunglasses even in Winter.


Normally I leave toiletries off my packing lists. That is because you either have to restrict volume for carry on or need to pack them carefully for hold bags. 

Note: be sure to check liquid volume restrictions if you are traveling with carry on only. preferring to buy them on arrival. However Iceland is an expensive place for food and toiletries.

However I would bring toiletries from home. Svalbard is an expensive place for food as well as toiletries. Therefore you will save yourself both time and money by bringing them with you. 

For me the essential toiletries for Svalbard include:

  • Moisturiser – the wind and rain in Svalbard along with the salinity in the hot springs take the toll on your skin. A good moisturiser is therefore a must. 
  • Conditioner  
  • Toothbrush and tooth paste 
  • Hairbrush and Hairbands – Iceland gets windy even in Summer so tying your hair up can be essential, especially for photographs. 
  • Make Up – I am normally quite minimalist with my makeup in Iceland due to the activities I will be doing. The key however for all makeup you bring to Svalbard is that it is waterproof. 
  • Deodorant 
  • Medicines – as required.
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip BalmAnd as well as protecting your skin also protect your lips with a lip balm that has sun protection. Our favorite brand at the moment is Sun Bum. 
  • Blister Plasters – wearing new hiking boots or getting your feet wet can lead to blisters. This would certainly ruin your Svalbard trip. Have a good supply with you just in case.
  • Travel first aid kit – no one wants to get injured on vacation but it is worth having a small travel first aid kit with you just in case.

FAQS about What to wear in Svalbard in Winter 

Should I pack a dress for Svalbard in Winter? 

Dresses are not appropriate for most Svalbard activities and tourist attractions so you can likely leave this off your packing list.

Should I bring a winter jacket to Svalbard?

Yes, you should absolutely bring a winter jacket. We recommend ski jackets and pants.

Do you need sunglasses in Svalbard?

Sunglasses are needed in Svalbard throughout the year. In the summer, the sun in bright and the day is long however in the Winter the sun hangs low in the sky and can be dazzling on the ice and snow. Therefore sunglasses are needed 365 days a year in Svalbard.

DoI need thermals in Svalbard in Winter?

Yes you absolutely s need thermals