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Svalbard Packing List: How To Prepare For The Last Stop Before The North Pole


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Korrie Gower



Heading to Svalbard, the last stop before the North Pole, is an adventure like no other. This remote archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean offers a unique and unparalleled experience for travelers seeking a true Arctic expedition. From the stunning icy landscapes and abundant wildlife to the captivating history and culture of the region, Svalbard has it all.


However, due to its extreme climate and isolated location, proper preparation is essential for a successful and enjoyable trip. As you plan your journey to Svalbard, one of the crucial aspects to consider is packing. Ensuring you have the right gear and essentials is vital to stay comfortable, safe, and fully enjoy everything this Arctic paradise has to offer.


In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive packing list to help you prepare for your Svalbard adventure. Whether you’re embarking on a thrilling dogsledding expedition, exploring the icy fjords by kayak, or venturing out on a snowmobile safari, this packing list will ensure you have everything you need to make the most of your trip.


So, let’s dive into the essential items you should pack for your Svalbard expedition and get ready for an unforgettable Arctic adventure!



When it comes to clothing for your Svalbard trip, it’s all about layering. The Arctic climate can be unpredictable, with temperatures ranging from -20°C (-4°F) to 10°C (50°F) even in the summer months. Here’s what you need to pack:

  • Base Layers: Start with thermal underwear made of moisture-wicking materials to keep you dry and insulated. Pack several pairs of tops and bottoms.
  • Mid-Layers: Fleece jackets, sweaters, and softshell jackets are ideal for trapping heat and providing additional insulation.
  • Outer Layers: A waterproof and windproof jacket and pants are essential to protect you from the elements. Look for garments with good insulation and a breathable membrane.
  • Insulated Jacket: Invest in a high-quality down or synthetic insulated jacket to stay warm during colder excursions.
  • Trousers: Pack sturdy, waterproof pants that are comfortable and allow for a full range of motion. Opt for insulated options for added warmth.
  • Gloves and Mittens: Bring both thick, insulated gloves and waterproof mittens to protect your hands from the cold.
  • Hats and Beanies: Pack a warm hat that covers your ears and a beanie for extra warmth.
  • Thick Socks: Invest in thermal socks to keep your feet warm and dry. Pack enough pairs for your entire trip.
  • Scarf or Neck Gaiter: A scarf or neck gaiter can provide additional protection for your neck and face against the cold winds.
  • Sunglasses: Pack a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the glare of the snow.

Remember to choose clothing made from breathable, moisture-wicking materials to stay dry and comfortable throughout your adventures. Layering allows you to adjust your clothing according to the changing weather and activity levels, ensuring you stay warm without overheating.


By packing the right clothing essentials, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the Arctic climate and fully enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of Svalbard.



Choosing the right footwear is crucial for exploring the icy terrain of Svalbard. Here are the essential footwear items to include in your packing list:

  • Insulated Boots: Invest in a good pair of insulated, waterproof boots that provide excellent traction and keep your feet warm in sub-zero temperatures. Look for boots specifically designed for Arctic conditions.
  • Hiking Shoes: Pack a pair of sturdy, waterproof hiking shoes for less intense activities or for exploring the towns and villages of Svalbard.
  • Gaiters: Gaiters are essential to keep snow, ice, and moisture out of your boots. They provide an extra layer of protection for your lower legs.
  • Wool Socks: Pack enough pairs of thick wool socks to keep your feet warm and cozy. Merino wool is an excellent choice as it provides insulation and moisture-wicking properties.
  • Slippers: Although not necessary for outdoor activities, bringing a pair of warm and comfortable slippers to wear inside your accommodation will make your evenings more relaxing.

Ensure your boots are well-insulated and have a proper fit to keep your feet warm and prevent frostbite. It’s also a good idea to break in your boots before your trip to avoid discomfort or blisters during your adventures.


Remember to pack extra laces and waterproofing treatment for your boots to ensure their longevity and performance in the harsh Arctic conditions.


Proper footwear is essential for your safety and comfort while exploring Svalbard’s rugged landscapes, so don’t skimp on this important gear.


Cold-Weather Accessories

When venturing into the Arctic, it’s important to pack the right accessories to protect yourself from the cold. Here are the essential cold-weather accessories to include in your packing list:

  • Thermal Hat: A thermal hat or beanie is crucial for keeping your head warm in freezing temperatures. Look for one that covers your ears for added protection.
  • Scarves and Neck Warmers: Pack a few scarves or neck warmers to provide extra protection for your neck and face against the cold winds.
  • Hand Warmers: Disposable hand warmers can be a lifesaver in extreme cold. Bring a supply to keep your hands warm during outdoor activities.
  • Face Mask or Balaclava: A face mask or balaclava is essential for protecting your face from frostbite in extremely cold and windy conditions.
  • Ear Muffs or Ear Warmers: Keep your ears warm with a pair of ear muffs or earmuffs that fit comfortably over your headgear.
  • Ski Goggles: For added protection against snow glare and icy winds, pack a pair of ski goggles with UV protection.
  • Hand and Toe Warmers: In addition to hand warmers, consider bringing toe warmers to keep your feet warm on longer outdoor excursions.
  • Thermal Face Cream and Lip Balm: Protect your skin from the harsh elements with a moisturizing face cream and a lip balm with SPF.
  • Sunscreen: Even in the cold Arctic, the sun can be intense. Pack a high SPF sunscreen to protect exposed skin.

These cold-weather accessories are essential for keeping your extremities and exposed skin warm and protected during your Arctic adventure. Don’t underestimate the importance of these items in preventing frostbite and ensuring your overall comfort in the cold climate.


Outdoor Gear

When exploring the pristine wilderness of Svalbard, having the right outdoor gear is crucial. Here are some essential items to include in your packing list:

  • Backpack: Choose a durable and waterproof backpack with sufficient capacity to carry your essentials and extra layers.
  • Daypack: A smaller daypack is convenient for shorter excursions and provides easy access to your camera, snacks, and other items.
  • Sleeping Bag: If you plan on camping or staying in remote accommodations, bring a high-quality sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures.
  • Trekking Poles: Trekking poles provide stability and support on uneven terrain and can be especially useful if you plan on hiking or trekking.
  • Headlamp or Torch: A headlamp or torch is essential for exploring during the dark Arctic nights or for any early morning outings.
  • Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by bringing a sturdy, insulated water bottle to keep your liquids cool and prevent freezing.
  • Reusable Food Containers: If you plan on preparing your meals or snacks, bring reusable food containers to store your provisions.
  • Binoculars: Spotting wildlife and admiring the breathtaking scenery are enhanced with a good pair of binoculars.
  • Camera and Spare Batteries: Capture the incredible beauty of Svalbard with a reliable camera and pack extra batteries to ensure you never run out of power.
  • Portable Charger: Keep your electronic devices charged with a portable charger or power bank, as outlets may not be readily available in remote areas.

These outdoor gear essentials will enhance your experience in Svalbard and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings.


Personal Care Items

While adventure and exploration are at the heart of a trip to Svalbard, it’s essential to take care of your personal well-being. Here are some personal care items you should include in your packing list:

  • Toiletries: Bring travel-sized toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Opt for biodegradable options to minimize environmental impact.
  • Towel or Microfiber Towel: Pack a quick-drying towel or a microfiber towel that takes up minimal space in your luggage.
  • Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip.
  • Personal Medications: Include any over-the-counter medications you may need, such as pain relievers, motion sickness medication, or allergy medication.
  • Insect Repellent: While insects are not abundant in the Arctic, it’s a good idea to bring insect repellent for any potential encounters.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer handy for maintaining good hygiene, especially during outdoor activities.
  • Personal Hygiene Products: Don’t forget essentials like tampons or pads, if needed, and any other personal hygiene items you require.
  • Travel-sized Laundry Detergent: If you’re staying for an extended period or plan on doing laundry, consider packing a small container of travel-sized laundry detergent.
  • Moisturizer: The dry Arctic climate can be harsh on the skin. Bring a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.

These personal care items will ensure you stay clean, comfortable, and healthy throughout your time in Svalbard.


Electronic Devices

While disconnecting from technology and immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Svalbard is part of the appeal, some electronic devices are still essential for your trip. Here are the electronic devices to consider packing:

  • Mobile Phone: Your mobile phone is crucial for communication, navigation, and capturing moments along your journey. Make sure to bring a charger and a portable charging device.
  • Camera: A good quality camera will allow you to capture the stunning landscapes and wildlife encounters in Svalbard. Consider packing extra batteries and memory cards.
  • Laptop or Tablet: If you need to work remotely or prefer to download and edit your photos on a larger screen, consider bringing a laptop or tablet. However, keep in mind that charging options may be limited in remote areas.
  • E-book Reader: If you’re an avid reader, an e-book reader can be a great way to carry multiple books without taking up space in your luggage.
  • Adapters and Converters: Svalbard generally uses Type C and F outlets, so bring the necessary adapters and voltage converters to ensure compatibility with your devices.
  • GPS Device: If you plan on engaging in more remote outdoor activities, having a GPS device can provide an added layer of safety and navigation.
  • Portable Speakers: If you enjoy music or want to enhance your outdoor experiences with some tunes, portable speakers can be a fun addition to your packing list.

While it’s important to have these electronic devices, remember to balance their use with immersing yourself in the natural environment and respecting the remote and pristine landscapes of Svalbard.


First Aid Kit

Having a well-equipped first aid kit is essential for any travel adventure, especially in remote and rugged destinations like Svalbard. Here are the key items to include in your first aid kit:

  • Bandages and Gauze: Pack a variety of bandages in different sizes, adhesive tape, and sterile gauze pads for treating cuts, blisters, and wounds.
  • Antiseptic Solution: Include antiseptic solution or wipes to clean wounds and prevent infection.
  • Pain Relievers: Bring a supply of pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for headache, fever, or general aches and pains.
  • Antihistamines: Pack antihistamines to alleviate symptoms of allergies or insect bites.
  • Blister Pads: Prevent and treat blisters with blister pads or moleskin. These can be a lifesaver when hiking or engaging in other outdoor activities.
  • Tweezers: Include a pair of tweezers for removing splinters, ticks, or other foreign objects from the skin.
  • Small Scissors: Pack a small pair of scissors for cutting tape, gauze, or clothing, if necessary.
  • Personal Medications: Add any personal medications you may need, along with a copy of your prescription.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Keep a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities and your embassy or consulate.
  • Personalized First Aid Manual: Consider including a first aid manual specific to your needs or the activities you plan on undertaking.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the use of the items in your first aid kit and ensure it is easily accessible in case of emergencies. Additionally, consider taking a first aid course before your trip to Svalbard for added preparedness and peace of mind.


Travel Documents

When traveling to Svalbard, it’s crucial to have all the necessary travel documents readily available. Here are the essential documents you need to bring:

  • Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from Svalbard.
  • Visa: Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Norway, as Svalbard is an integral part of the Kingdom of Norway. Check the visa requirements in advance and apply if necessary.
  • Travel Insurance: Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation, and loss of personal belongings.
  • Flight Tickets: Keep your flight tickets, both for your journey to Svalbard and any connecting flights or layovers.
  • Hotel and Accommodation Information: Print out confirmation details for your accommodations in Svalbard, including contact information.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Have a list of emergency contact numbers, including the local authorities, your embassy or consulate, and your travel insurance contact details.
  • Itinerary and Tour Confirmations: Keep a copy of your detailed itinerary, including any activities, tours, or excursions you have booked in Svalbard.
  • Identification: Carry a second form of identification, such as a driver’s license or a photocopy of your passport, for additional identification purposes.
  • Credit Cards and Cash: Bring a combination of credit cards and cash for your expenses in Svalbard. Ensure you notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid any card holds or issues abroad.
  • Health Certificates: If required, bring any necessary health certificates or vaccination records for travel to Svalbard.

Keep all your travel documents organized and easily accessible, either in a travel document organizer or a secure digital location. It’s important to have these documents on hand throughout your journey in case they are requested by authorities or necessary for any unforeseen circumstances.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essential items mentioned in the previous sections, here are some miscellaneous items to consider adding to your packing list for your trip to Svalbard:

  • Travel Adapters: Depending on your home country, you may need travel adapters to plug in and charge your electronic devices.
  • Binoculars: To fully appreciate the stunning wildlife and landscapes of Svalbard, bring a pair of binoculars for a closer look.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is important, and having a reusable water bottle will help reduce waste and ensure you have access to water during your outdoor activities.
  • Swimwear: If you plan on visiting hot springs or taking a polar plunge, pack swimwear for these unique experiences.
  • Travel Locks: Bring travel locks to secure your luggage and belongings during your journey.
  • Ziploc Bags or Dry Bags: These can be handy for keeping your electronics, documents, and other items protected from water, snow, and moisture.
  • Extra Batteries and Memory Cards: If you’re bringing a camera or other electronic devices, pack extra batteries and memory cards to ensure you don’t miss out on capturing memorable moments.
  • Language Guide and Maps: While many locals in Svalbard speak English, having a language guide or phrasebook can be helpful for basic greetings and interactions. Additionally, bring maps or a guidebook specific to Svalbard for navigation and understanding the region.
  • Sewing Kit: A small sewing kit can come in handy for quick repairs to clothing or gear.
  • Snacks and Energy Bars: Carry snacks and energy bars to keep you fueled during outdoor activities or in case of delays or limited food options.

Remember to pack these miscellaneous items based on your personal preferences and specific activities planned during your Svalbard adventure.



Preparing for a journey to Svalbard, the last stop before the North Pole, requires careful consideration of the items you pack. By following this comprehensive packing list, you can ensure that you have everything you need to make the most of your Arctic adventure.


From clothing and footwear designed for the extreme Arctic climate to essential cold-weather accessories and outdoor gear, each item plays a vital role in keeping you safe, comfortable, and prepared for the breathtaking experiences that await you in Svalbard.


Don’t forget to pack your personal care items, electronic devices, and the necessary travel documents to ensure a hassle-free trip. Being well-prepared and organized allows you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and unique culture of Svalbard without any unnecessary worries.


Remember, Svalbard is a remote and fragile destination, and it’s important to respect its pristine environment. Pack responsibly, minimize waste, and always follow the guidelines set by local authorities and tour operators to preserve the beauty of this extraordinary Arctic wilderness.


With the right gear and essentials in your luggage, you’ll be ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure, exploring the icy fjords, hiking the Arctic tundra, and witnessing the magic of this untouched corner of the world. So pack your bags, embrace the Arctic spirit, and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Svalbard!