Knowing what to pack for a trip to Tromso can be a challenge. After having lived most of my life in Tromso, I all about how fast the weather can shift in the Arctic. Within just a few minutes, the sun can turn to snow, the wind conditions can become crazy, and the temperature can drop by 5-10 degrees.
Packing for the Arctic requires a different set of clothes and shoes than a trip to a city further south in central Europe. Fun fact, the only months where the temperature has never been below zero degrees Celsius in Tromso are July (record low 0,7 °C = 33,3 °F) and August (record low 1,1 °C (34 °F), which says it all.
There is so much to see and do in Tromso. Outdoor activities like watching the Northern Lights, fishing, hiking in the mountains, boat trips on the sea, dog sledding, and kayaking are among the most popular. Even though the weather might be sunny and warm when you set out on your outdoor adventure, you should always be prepared for a weather change.
My best tip is to dress in layers, that way you can easily take off or add a layer depending on how the weather changes during the day.
My second best tip is to check the weather forecast before you go to Tromso, and before heading out on adventures in Tromso each morning. Us Norwegians are extremely focused on the weather. In fact, it is pretty much all we talk about when doing small-talk. 🙂 Norway’s number one most used app/ website is the weather forecast: Yr.no
Packing list for a summer trip to Tromso
The warmest months in Tromso are June, July, and August. These months are, however, still fairly cool with large variations from year to year. The mean temperature in July is 12,4 °C (54,3 °F), and 30,2 °C (86.4 °F) is the highest temperature ever recorded in Tromso, back in July 1972. So while you may get lucky and experience some warm days, I wouldn’t count on it.
Clothes and Shoes – Dress In Layers
The base layer´s mission is to keep you warm even when you sweat or get wet. It should consist of comfortable soft clothes of cotton, silk, microfibre, or thin merino wool.
These are my favorite base layer clothes which I use all summer in Tromso:
- Underwear (I love underwear made of merino wool as it is antimicrobial, moisture wicking, odor-resistant, and keeps you warm even if they get wet)
- Wool and microfiber socks
- Long underpants/ long johns (if you plan to do outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, fishing, and to put on in the evenings)
- Long-sleeved shirts (I have this from Kari Traa as you see on the picture above, and love the design and quality)
- Short-sleeved shirts
- Tank top
- Bikini/ swimsuit (just in case it gets warm in Tromso, or you want to do a polar swim, snorkeling or hot tubbing)
These are Espens favorite base layer clothes:
On top of the base layer, you should add a middle layer (or have this in your day backpack to put on later). The mid-layer should consist of a fleece sweater, a wool sweater and/ or a thin, light down jacket. A buff/ scarf, headband, and gloves should also be in your day backpack in case of bad weather.
My favorite mid-layer clothes are:
On top, you should wear a top layer of a waterproof and windproof jacket (or bring these with you in your daypack in case the weather changes). If the weather is so nice and warm that you can wear tights, you should bring windproof pants with you in your day backpack.
Casual City Clothes
A Tromso trip is, however, not all about being out in nature. Tromso is the biggest city in Northern Norway with a vibrant cafe, bar and restaurant life. So bring some chic and casual clothes to wear in the city as well.
For shoes, you basically need two pairs:
Packing list for a winter trip to Tromso
Winter usually starts in early November when the temperature drops below zero degrees and typically last until May.
The coldest months in Tromso are January and February, where the daily means is -3,5 °C (25,7 °F). This is the same as Oslo despite it being located a two-hour flight south of Tromso, which is thanks to the Gulf Stream. −18.4 °C (−1.1 °F) is the lowest temperature ever recorded in Tromso, dating back to February 1966.
Clothes and Shoes – Dress In Layers
In winter time, the base layer is even more important than in summer as this is the main isolating layer that keeps you warm. The base layer should consist of merino woo since wool is antimicrobial, moisture wicking, odor-resistant, and keeps you warm even if it gets wet.
Casual City Clothes
- Casual city pants/ Jeans
- Long-sleeved casual shirts
- Casual pants/ jeans
Toiletries and Accessories
- Eagle Creek Packing Cubes (which I L-O-V-E and cannot pack without. We have two sets of Pack-It Spectre Compression Cube Set each) – Read our review here
- Toiletry bag
- Make-up bag (I have this travel “bucket” and love it! Very easy to keep organized)
- Laundry bag
- Sunglasses (I have fallen in love with the sunglasses from Maui Jim, as they have the glasses that protects the best against the sun, and all their glasses are polarized)
- Small day-backpack
- Sunscreen (if you are heading to Tromso in April – August)
- Mosquito repellent (if you are going to Tromso in June – August)
- Travel documents
- Passport, wallet (with backup credit card)
- Travel pillow
- Flight compression socks
- Water bottle (the tap water is safe to drink in Norway and tastes delicious)
- Thermos or this smaller one (16 ounce or 0,5 L)
Gear and Electronics
- Binoculars (for spotting eagles, reindeers, elk, whales and all the other arctic animals in Tromso)
- Noise canceling headphones
- Laptop (there is wifi in all hotels, airports and at the library for free in whole of Norway, so a laptop or a tablet is a must)
- Multi-port adapter (I love the one from Satechi, use it a lot)
- Mobile phone
- Waterproof mobile phone case
- Battery pack (cell phone batteries and camera batteries will empty quicker in cold weather)
- Tripod (for the northern lights pictures)
- Camera bag
- Capture Clip from Peak Design (is a M-U-S-T for those hiking trips and walking around Tromso city! Then you can have your hands free when you are not photographing but at the same time get your camera quickly when those photo opportunities occur)
- Extra memory card
- Backup hard disk (we have the Samsung Portable SSD T5 and it is super small and light, perfect for traveling)
- Europe adapters
There you go! I hope this gave you some ideas and inspiration of what to pack for a trip to Tromso! 🙂
Do you find it challenging to pack for a trip to a place you have never been to before? I do! Do you tend to overpack like I do, or only travel with a handbag? If you find this useful, please share it on social media! Thanks, really appreciate it! 🙂
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