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Arctic Circle Trail Packing List: All You Need In One Place


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Stacy Aquino



The Arctic Circle Trail is an incredible adventure that takes you through the untouched wilderness of Greenland. This 165-kilometer long trail winds its way through pristine landscapes, rugged mountains, and picturesque valleys, offering hikers an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a first-time hiker, embarking on this epic journey requires careful planning and preparation.


One of the most crucial aspects of preparing for the Arctic Circle Trail is packing the right gear. Having the appropriate equipment will ensure your comfort, safety, and enjoyment throughout the trek. In this article, we have compiled a comprehensive packing list to help you gather all the essentials in one place.


Before diving into the gear, it’s important to note that the Arctic Circle Trail is a challenging and remote trek. The trail is not marked, and hikers must navigate through rugged terrain, rivers, and marshlands. Therefore, it is recommended that you have prior backpacking experience and are knowledgeable in map reading and GPS navigation.


Now, let’s start by discussing the essential gear that you should have on your Arctic Circle Trail adventure.


Essential Gear

When embarking on the Arctic Circle Trail, it is crucial to have the right gear to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. Here are the essential items you should include in your packing list:

  • Backpack: Choose a sturdy backpack with a capacity of at least 60 liters to accommodate all your gear.
  • Tent: Invest in a high-quality, lightweight tent that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Sleeping Bag: Opt for a warm and compact sleeping bag rated for sub-zero temperatures.
  • Sleeping Pad: A foam sleeping pad or inflatable mattress will provide insulation and cushioning for a good night’s sleep.
  • Trekking Poles: Trekking poles will help reduce strain on your knees and provide stability on uneven terrain.
  • Headlamp: Choose a reliable and durable headlamp with extra batteries for nighttime navigation.
  • Knife or Multi-tool: A versatile tool for various tasks such as cooking, repairing gear, or emergency situations.
  • Water Filtration System: Since fresh water sources are abundant along the trail, carrying a water filtration system will allow you to safely drink from rivers and streams.
  • Map and Compass: It is crucial to have a detailed map of the Arctic Circle Trail and a compass for navigation.
  • GPS Device: While not essential, a GPS device can be useful for tracking your progress and verifying your location.
  • Camera: Capture the stunning landscapes and memorable moments along the trail with a camera or a smartphone.

Having these essential items will ensure you are well-prepared and equipped for your Arctic Circle Trail adventure. It is also important to remember to pack light and prioritize functionality, as every gram counts when trekking through rugged terrain.



When preparing for the Arctic Circle Trail, it is crucial to pack the right clothing to protect yourself from the harsh Arctic climate. The weather is unpredictable, and temperatures can drop significantly, even during the summer months. Here are the essential clothing items you should include in your packing list:

  • Base Layers: Pack a set of moisture-wicking base layers, including long-sleeve tops and thermal leggings, to keep you warm and dry.
  • Insulating Layers: Include fleece jackets or down-filled vests to provide insulation and trap body heat.
  • Waterproof Shell: Invest in a high-quality waterproof and breathable jacket and pants to protect you from rain, snow, and wind.
  • Warm Hat and Gloves: Keep your head and hands warm with a thermal hat and gloves. Opt for materials like wool or fleece.
  • Thermal Socks: Pack several pairs of thick, moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and warm.
  • Hiking Boots: Invest in sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with ankle support for traversing rugged terrain.
  • Gaiters: Gaiters are essential to protect your lower legs and keep water, snow, and debris out of your boots.

Additionally, consider bringing extra clothing items such as a lightweight and quick-drying towel, a swimsuit for potential river crossings, and a buff or scarf to protect your face and neck from wind and sun exposure. Remember to pack clothing that can be easily layered to manage your body temperature as you hike.


Furthermore, it is essential to have a spare set of clothing that you keep dry in a waterproof dry bag in case of emergencies. Should your clothes get wet, you can change into the dry set to prevent hypothermia or discomfort.


Packing the right clothing will ensure you stay warm, dry, and comfortable throughout your Arctic Circle Trail adventure. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress in layers to regulate your body temperature efficiently.



Choosing the right footwear is essential when preparing for the Arctic Circle Trail. The rugged terrain and potentially wet conditions require sturdy and waterproof shoes or boots. Here are some considerations when selecting footwear for your adventure:

  • Hiking Boots: Invest in a pair of high-quality hiking boots with ankle support and a waterproof membrane. Look for boots with a rugged sole for optimal traction on various terrains.
  • Break-in Your Boots: It’s crucial to break in your boots before the trek to prevent blisters and ensure a comfortable fit.
  • Spare Laces: Pack an extra pair of laces in case the ones on your boots break.
  • Waterproofing: Treat your boots with a waterproofing spray to enhance their water resistance.
  • Flip Flops or Camp Shoes: Bringing a pair of lightweight flip flops or sandals will provide your feet with a break from hiking boots at camp.
  • Socks: Pack several pairs of moisture-wicking and cushioned hiking socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
  • Gaiters: Gaiters are essential to protect your lower legs from water, debris, and insects.

It is also crucial to trim your toenails before the trek to prevent discomfort while hiking downhill. Additionally, consider bringing moleskin or blister prevention patches to treat any hot spots or blisters that may develop during the journey.


Remember, your feet will be your primary mode of transportation on the trail, so investing in proper footwear is essential for a successful and enjoyable Arctic Circle Trail experience.


Camping Equipment

As you embark on the Arctic Circle Trail, having the right camping equipment is crucial for a comfortable and safe overnight stay in the wilderness. Here are the essential items you should include in your packing list:

  • Tent: Choose a lightweight and sturdy tent that can withstand challenging weather conditions. Look for a tent with good ventilation and a waterproof rainfly.
  • Sleeping Bag: Invest in a quality sleeping bag that is rated for sub-zero temperatures. Opt for a mummy-shaped bag for better heat retention.
  • Sleeping Pad: A sleeping pad provides insulation and cushioning, enhancing your comfort while sleeping. Consider a foam pad or inflatable sleeping pad.
  • Camp Stove: A lightweight and efficient camping stove will allow you to cook meals and boil water easily. Don’t forget to bring extra fuel.
  • Cookware: Pack a lightweight cookware set that includes a pot, pan, and utensils. Look for durable materials like titanium or aluminum.
  • Camp Kitchen Essentials: Other essential camping items include a compact cutting board, a sharp knife, and a heat-resistant spatula.
  • Food Storage: Bring bear-resistant food containers or bear canisters to store your food and prevent wildlife encounters.
  • Water Bottles and Hydration System: Carry multiple water bottles or a hydration pack to stay hydrated throughout the trek. Consider water treatment tablets or a filter for access to fresh water sources.
  • Camp Chairs or Sitting Pad: Rest and relax at the campsite with lightweight and foldable camp chairs or a portable sitting pad.
  • Repair Kit: Include a basic repair kit with items like a sewing kit, extra tent stakes, and duct tape to quickly fix any gear issues.

When selecting camping equipment, prioritize lightweight and compact items to minimize the weight of your backpack. Keep in mind that you’ll be carrying all your camping gear with you throughout the trek, so efficiency and functionality are key.


Having the right camping equipment will ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience during your nights on the Arctic Circle Trail.


Cooking Equipment

When planning for the Arctic Circle Trail, having the right cooking equipment is essential for preparing meals and staying nourished throughout your journey. Here are the essential items you should include in your packing list:

  • Camp Stove: Choose a lightweight and portable camp stove that is suitable for backpacking. Look for a stove that runs on liquid fuel or gas canisters.
  • Cookware Set: Pack a lightweight and compact cookware set that includes a pot, a frying pan, and a kettle. Opt for sets made from heat-resistant materials like titanium or aluminum.
  • Utensils: Bring a set of utensils, including a spoon, fork, and knife. Look for utensils that are lightweight and durable.
  • Plates and Bowls: Pack lightweight and sturdy plates and bowls that are suitable for outdoor use. Consider opting for collapsible or nesting sets to save space in your backpack.
  • Cups and Mugs: Carry lightweight and insulated cups and mugs for enjoying hot beverages and soups.
  • Fuel: Make sure to bring enough fuel for your stove, considering the cooking duration and number of days on the trail.
  • Fire Starters: Carry waterproof matches, a lighter, or a fire starter kit for starting fires when necessary.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: Include a compact cutting board and a sharp knife for food preparation.
  • Spices and Condiments: Bring a selection of your favorite spices and condiments to add flavor to your meals. Consider storing them in small, lightweight containers.
  • Camp Soap and Sponge: Pack biodegradable camp soap and a sponge for cleaning your cookware and utensils.

When selecting cooking equipment, prioritize lightweight and compact items that are easy to clean and pack. Keep in mind that fuel consumption and availability may vary along the trail, so plan accordingly and bring extra fuel if needed.


Having the right cooking equipment will allow you to enjoy hot and satisfying meals during your Arctic Circle Trail adventure.


Food and Water

Properly nourishing yourself is crucial when embarking on the Arctic Circle Trail. Planning and packing the right type and quantity of food will ensure you have enough energy to cover the demanding terrain. Here are some points to consider when planning your food and water supplies:

  • Caloric Needs: Calculate your daily caloric needs based on your activity level and the duration of your trek. Aim for lightweight and high-calorie food options to minimize the weight of your backpack.
  • Dehydrated Meals: Pack dehydrated meals that require only hot water for preparation. These meals are lightweight, easy to carry, and come in a variety of flavors.
  • Snacks: Include a variety of snacks such as energy bars, trail mix, dried fruits, and nuts to keep you fueled throughout the day.
  • Cooking Ingredients: Bring essential cooking ingredients such as oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite spices to add flavor to your meals.
  • Water Sources: The Arctic Circle Trail offers plenty of fresh water sources along the way, such as rivers and streams. However, it’s important to bring a water filtration system or water treatment tablets to safely consume the water.
  • Water Capacity: Consider water availability and plan your daily water consumption accordingly. Carry a sufficient water capacity to ensure you stay hydrated between water sources.
  • Water Bottles and Hydration Bladder: Use durable water bottles with a large capacity to carry water. A hydration bladder can also be convenient for easy access to water while on the move.
  • Suitable Food Storage: Ensure your food is stored safely to prevent attracting wildlife. Use bear-resistant food containers or bear canisters to store your food properly.
  • Consider Dietary Restrictions: If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, plan your meals accordingly and research suitable food options or alternatives.

It is important to plan and ration your food supplies to ensure you have enough for the duration of your trek. Consider preparing and portioning your meals in advance to save time and fuel during the trek.


Take the time to research and create a well-balanced meal plan that meets your nutritional needs and personal preferences. This will ensure you have the energy needed to fully enjoy and conquer the Arctic Circle Trail.


First Aid Kit

Bringing a well-stocked first aid kit is essential when heading out on the Arctic Circle Trail. While it is important to prioritize preventing injuries, accidents can still happen in the wilderness. Here are the essential items to include in your first aid kit:

  • Bandages and Dressings: Pack an assortment of adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, and adhesive tape for covering cuts, blisters, or other wounds.
  • Antiseptic Wipes and Ointment: Include antiseptic wipes to clean wounds and ointment to prevent infection.
  • Sterile Gloves: Carry a pair of disposable gloves to protect yourself and others when administering first aid.
  • Pain Relief Medication: Include over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Antihistamines: Pack antihistamines to treat allergies, insect bites, or stings.
  • Blister Treatment: Include moleskin, blister pads, or blister prevention patches to treat and prevent blisters.
  • Tweezers: Carry a pair of tweezers for removing splinters, ticks, or other embedded objects.
  • Scissors: Include a small pair of scissors for cutting tape, clothing, or other materials.
  • Personal Medications: If you have any prescribed medications, ensure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trek.
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm: Protect your skin and lips from the strong sun and harsh winds by carrying sunscreen and lip balm with SPF.

It is crucial to familiarize yourself with basic first aid techniques and wilderness first aid protocols before embarking on the Arctic Circle Trail. Additionally, make sure to regularly check and replenish your first aid supplies as needed.


Remember, a well-prepared first aid kit can be a lifesaver in emergency situations. Prioritize your safety and be prepared to respond effectively to any injuries or illnesses that may arise during your adventure.


Navigation and Communication

Navigation and communication tools are essential for a successful and safe trek along the Arctic Circle Trail. As the trail is unmarked, having the right equipment will help you navigate through the rugged terrain and ensure you can communicate in case of emergencies. Here are the key items to include:

  • Map and Compass: Carry a detailed map of the Arctic Circle Trail and a reliable compass. Familiarize yourself with how to read a map and use a compass before your adventure.
  • GPS Device: While not essential, a GPS device can provide valuable information about your location, distance covered, and help with navigation. Make sure to bring extra batteries or a portable charger.
  • GPS Track: Download or create a GPS track of the Arctic Circle Trail on your device to assist you in navigation.
  • Cell Phone: Carry a fully charged cell phone that has signal coverage along the trail. Keep it in a waterproof case or dry bag to protect it from the elements.
  • Emergency Whistle: A loud whistle can be useful for attracting attention and signaling for help in case of emergencies.
  • Emergency Beacon: Consider carrying an emergency beacon or satellite communication device, such as a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or satellite phone, for dire situations where immediate assistance is required.

Before your trek, research and study the Arctic Circle Trail thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the trail’s features, landmarks, and potential hazards. Take note of any recommended route variations or alternative paths.


Always inform someone reliable about your itinerary and expected return date. This person can raise the alarm if you fail to report back as planned.


While tackling the Arctic Circle Trail is a solo adventure, it is advisable to trek with a partner or in a group for safety reasons. If you encounter other hikers along the trail, exchange information and be open to sharing experiences and resources.


By prioritizing navigation and communication, you will be well-equipped to navigate the challenging terrain of the Arctic Circle Trail and ensure your safety throughout the journey.


Personal Hygiene

Maintaining personal hygiene is important to stay comfortable and healthy during your trek along the Arctic Circle Trail. While the trail may lack traditional facilities, there are steps you can take to practice good hygiene. Here are some tips to ensure personal cleanliness on the trail:

  • Toilet Practices: Follow Leave No Trace principles and use designated areas or cat holes to relieve yourself. Always carry a small trowel to dig a hole for burying human waste.
  • Toilet Paper: Bring biodegradable toilet paper and carry a sealable bag to pack out used toilet paper as you cannot bury it in the Arctic terrain.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to clean your hands before and after using the toilet, especially when water sources are not readily available.
  • Washing Cloth: Pack a small washcloth or pack of wipes to freshen up and clean your body when a shower is not possible. Consider using biodegradable wipes or wet wipes to minimize waste.
  • Dental Hygiene: Brush your teeth with a small travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste. Rinse your mouth with clean water and spit away from water sources.
  • Menstrual Hygiene: Female trekkers should pack menstrual products or consider more sustainable options like menstrual cups or reusable cloth pads. Carry sealable bags for menstrual waste disposal.
  • Body Odor Control: Use odor-control products like travel-sized deodorant or talcum powder to manage body odor. Bring spare clothes to change into when necessary.
  • Nail Care: Trim your nails before the trek to prevent discomfort while hiking. Carry a small nail file or clippers for any necessary maintenance.

Remember to always adhere to Leave No Trace principles and prioritize environmental responsibility while practicing personal hygiene. Pack out all waste and avoid contaminating water sources.


By maintaining personal hygiene on the trail, you’ll not only feel more comfortable but also contribute to the overall health and well-being of the environment.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essential gear, there are a few miscellaneous items that can enhance your experience on the Arctic Circle Trail. While these items may not be crucial for your safety, they can add comfort and convenience to your journey. Here are some miscellaneous items to consider including in your packing list:

  • Trekking Poles: Trekking poles provide stability and support, particularly when navigating uneven terrain or crossing streams.
  • Insect Repellent: The Arctic Circle Trail is known for its mosquito population. Carry insect repellent to protect yourself from bites and potential diseases.
  • Sun Protection: The sun can be intense in the Arctic. Pack sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing to shield yourself from harmful UV rays.
  • Binoculars: If you enjoy birdwatching or wildlife observation, consider bringing lightweight binoculars to enhance your experience.
  • Repair Kit: Include a basic repair kit with items like duct tape, a sewing kit, and extra cords. These can come in handy for fixing gear or making temporary repairs.
  • Journal and Pen: Capture your thoughts and experiences along the trail by bringing a journal and pen. Reflecting on your journey can be a meaningful part of the adventure.
  • Entertainment: Consider bringing a book, a deck of cards, or a small musical instrument to pass the time during evenings at camp.
  • Extra Batteries and Power Bank: Ensure you have enough spare batteries for your electronic devices and consider bringing a power bank to recharge them if needed.
  • Trash Bags: Carry a few sealable plastic bags for collecting and properly disposing of any waste, including trash and food remnants.
  • Cash and ID: Keep a small amount of cash and your identification documents in a waterproof pouch or bag for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.

While these miscellaneous items may enhance your experience, remember to pack them wisely to minimize unnecessary weight. Consider each item’s utility and prioritize only those that align with your needs and preferences.


Ultimately, the Arctic Circle Trail offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from modern comforts. Enjoy the simplicity and serenity of the journey, and let the stunning landscapes and raw wilderness captivate your senses.



Congratulations! You are now equipped with a comprehensive packing list for your Arctic Circle Trail adventure. By carefully considering each item and its importance, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on this epic trek through the pristine wilderness of Greenland.


Remember, packing the right gear is crucial for your comfort, safety, and overall experience. From essential items like a reliable backpack, tent, and sleeping bag to clothing suitable for Arctic conditions, each item plays a vital role in your journey. Additionally, cooking equipment, food and water supplies, and personal hygiene items are essential for nourishment and well-being during your trek.


Understanding the importance of navigation and communication tools will help you navigate the unmarked trail with confidence and stay connected in case of emergencies. Prioritize personal hygiene and practice Leave No Trace principles to maintain cleanliness and minimize your impact on the environment. Lastly, consider those miscellaneous items that can enhance your experience and add convenience along the way.


As you embark on the Arctic Circle Trail, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the landscape. Take time to appreciate the untouched wilderness, the rugged mountains, and the serenity of nature. Embrace the challenges that come your way and create memories that will last a lifetime.


With proper preparation, an adventurous spirit, and a sense of respect for the environment, your Arctic Circle Trail trek will be an extraordinary journey filled with discovery, personal growth, and unparalleled natural beauty.


Remember to stay safe, be responsible, and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime!