The right clothing is the basis for benefitting the most from a trip where you spend a lot of time in the outdoors and the world’s most beautiful nature. This packing list is for summer trips in Greenland and for you who are going on tours by ship or boat and for you who are going on a trip with a lot of day hikes.
If there is anything you are in doubt about, you are always welcome to contact Greenland Travel. We would also like to hear if there is anything else you think we should include on this packing list.
About clothing in general in Greenland
Clothing in Greenland is both practical and informal, so you do not have to pack the “fine garments” in your suitcase on a trip to Greenland. Today’s great choice of outdoor clothes will let you find something which is practical, smart, and comfortable in both the mountains as well as in the towns.
On a trip to Greenland, the right attire is of great importance, as you can experience heat and cold in the same day, for example, if you hike in a valley, followed by sailing among icebergs.
Most people who travel to Greenland like northern and adventurous destinations, so a lot of people already have the right clothing, but it is still important that you get the right clothing packed in your suitcase. As a starting point, it is always important to make sure that the following are in place:
• Good footwear
• Convenient clothing for different weather conditions
• Wind and waterproof outerwear
• Hat and gloves for cool evenings (they should always be packed for a trip to Greenland)
• Thin woolen undergarments are always good to have in the suitcase.
It is an advantage to use loud, eye-catching colors in the mountains, but it is also nice to be able to look “ordinary” when traveling in the towns. We recommend that you use what you have as a starting point.
It is always a good idea to bring a smaller day backpack on a trip to Greenland. A day backpack is a smaller backpack with a size of 20-30L. It can be used for everything from sailing trips, shorter walks, and just as a handy bag if you suddenly need one. If you have to go hiking on your trip, we recommend a backpack of approximately 30L with a hip belt and chest strap. If you spend your time in the towns, primarily, you do not need a hip belt and chest strap.
Suitcase or backpack
On most of our trips, you will not have to carry your luggage very far. You will have to handle your suitcase by yourself at airports and hotels, but in connection with transfers, it is taken from place to place by hotel staff or others. Therefore, you have the choice of bringing a suitcase or a backpack. If you are going to stay in smaller settlements, be prepared for your luggage to be transported on a truck, tractor or a similar vehicle. Therefore, you should expect that the luggage may get dusty, and the potholes in the dirt roads can be rough on a brand-new suitcase.
For travelers staying at Glacier Lodge Eqi or Ilimanaq Lodge
If you are lucky enough to stay in one of the beautiful lodges, be aware that you must carry the luggage from the boat to the cabins in a hilly area. Suitcases are not suitable. You should also be aware that since you have to carry your bag yourself, you should not pack too heavy.
For travelers to Glacier Lodge Eqi, it is possible to leave some of your luggage at the hotel for luggage storage. Therefore, we recommend that you bring a smaller backpack that you can use during your stay at Glacier Lodge Eqi.
On a round trip with a stay at Ilimanaq Lodge, naturally, you will have all your luggage with you all the way. You can choose to pack in a backpack or a larger soft bag. You can also choose to pack two smaller bags if carrying all your luggage in one bag is too heavy.
Of course, you may be able to get some help if you are traveling with tour guides in groups will, but the main rule is that you have to pack so that you or someone you are traveling with can carry it, preferably in smaller bags and not in suitcases.
The layer principle
The layer principle is in true effect in Greenland. The layer principle simply means that one dresses with several layers of clothing. The innermost layer helps to keep the warmth inside, but at the same time keeps away the moisture from the body. The middle layer isolates against the cold. The outermost layer protects against rain, wind, and moisture.
When you choose clothing, you should pay attention to the principle of layers. This allows for quick and easy regulation of the temperature by taking an extra layer off or on and thereby creating an optimal climate under the clothes. As you move, the body develops heat that it needs to get rid of – and vice versa, when you stand still, you can get cold if you are not protected from wind and weather.
The inner layer
The purpose of the inner layer is to keep the body dry. It is important to have a layer of sweat transporting materials close to the body. Especially on a longer day hike, it is good not having a heavy cotton sweater close to the body. If you have a small backpack on, you can get very wet on your back – and, through this, cold when standing or sitting still.
The intermediate layer
The middle layers can consist of a shirt, T-shirt, fleece, and/or a vest. One of these intermediate layers could be windproof or should at least protect against the wind.
The outer layer
The outer layer must protect the body from rain and wind while allowing moisture from the body to escape. The outer layer need not be thick – on the contrary, it is an advantage if it is just wind and waterproof.
The inner layer
Tight-fitting pants and blouse
You may know this clothing from the annual ski holiday – long underpants and a long-sleeved shirt. Some people call it “super underwear.” This clothing should transport the moisture away from the skin and keep you dry. Typically, you need the long underpants on evening sailing tours, where it can get cold – and the same applies to the shirt. However, the shirt can also be worn during the day when you are walking or hiking.
The choice of material is a matter of taste. Synthetic fabrics are good at transporting moisture away from the body, but they quickly smell. Wool warms the body even if it is damp and it does not smell at all. Today, you can get woolen shirts that are comfortable and also incredibly smart – very often you can’t even see that it is a “practical” piece of clothing.
The outer layer
It must be completely wind-proof, and it should be so large that you can have a sweater or something similar underneath it. It is an advantage if it is so long that it covers the hips and you should be able to open and close it completely at the neck and preferably at the sleeves. This allows you to regulate the temperature. Modern breathable materials make it possible to combine wind and waterproof materials in one jacket. Be aware that many materials are water resistant, but not 100% waterproof. Sometimes this difference is not stressed enough.
Wind and waterproof pants
It is always a good idea to bring thin wind and waterproof pants that you can use if it is raining or if you are out sailing at night, where it can get cold. Some hiking trousers are so tightly woven that they are windproof and almost waterproof. You can use them on a summer trip in Greenland, where you do not have to stay in the mountains for several days.
Hat, mittens, and scarf
Remember these, even if you don’t normally wear these items. Depending on the weather, 10 to 40% of body heat is lost through the top of your head and the neck if you are not covered. The weather in Greenland is very changeable, and even in high summer, you may need a hat, mittens, and a scarf. It can get cold in the evening and morning, especially in connection with sailing tours.
The intermediate layer
Sweater or fleece shirt
Wear a thick, woolen sweater or, even better, two thinner ones, so you can more easily regulate the insulating layer. Also, a modern fleece or fiber coat is an excellent solution; It is light and dries quickly.
A vest is an excellent piece of clothing when you want to use the layer principle. The vest has the good feature that it warms the vital parts of your body, but at the same time, it is easy to get rid of the heat. These days, there are now some incredibly lightweight fiber vests that weigh close to anything, and you can hardly feel you are wearing them. They are very convenient to have in your bag.
Shirt or blouse
A shirt or blouse made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fabric. It should be able to absorb moisture without getting cold. Synthetic fabrics dry quickly and are lightweight. Wool, on the other hand, heats even if it is damp. Today, you can get many hiking shirts, which are both practical, convenient, and look good.
Loose, strong performance pants are the best. Jeans do not provide sufficient freedom of movement when hiking and are neither warm nor windproof. There are many hiking pants on the market that are made of materials that combine many qualities.
It can get hot in Greenland in the summer. Most people prefer to wear long trousers because of mosquitoes or cool winds, but it can be very refreshing to get some air for the legs. Some manage by rolling up their pants. However, there are hiking pants on the market, zip-off pants, where you can shorten the length of the pants. If you have such a pair, you are never more than a few seconds from a pair of shorts.
Almost all hiking in Greenland takes place in the mountains outside of trails. Modern hiking boots come in so many different shapes that there is always a model that suits you. It is important that the boot is waterproof and that the shaft goes slightly up the ankle to provide support and to keep twigs and mosquitoes out. It is important not to buy the boots too small: there should be room for at least a few thick socks. Remember to break in your boots before departure. It’s also a good idea to bring a pair of light shoes for walking in the towns, indoors, or to cross rivers. You should never walk barefoot.
If you are going on a trip where you do not have to walk a lot much in the mountains, you can settle for good footwear with a strong sole. We recommend that the shoes are water resistant if you are going out in slightly swampy areas. A pair of running shoes are comfortable, but they get wet in damp terrain.
If you are a light sleeper, you may want to bring earplugs to keep the sounds of snoring participants out of your night’s sleep.
On cabin trips, you do not need sleeping mats, but it may be advantageous to bring a smaller piece of padding to sit on.
On most of our trips, you do not have to carry your luggage yourself. This means that no great demands are placed on the backpack or the suitcase.
On the easier walks, you need a good day backpack of approximately 30 liters. It is an advantage if the day backpack has a hip belt and a chest strap.
Sunscreen and mosquito repellent
You should use a sunscreen with a high protection factor. In Greenland, you will be outdoors a lot so you will get tan anyway. Mosquito repellent is not always enough in tundra terrain. You may need to protect yourself further. A fine-meshed mosquito net is highly recommended! We also recommend that you buy mosquito repellent in Greenland. “OFF” is an especially effective brand.
Safety in the mountains
Never go out on your own
All of us who travel in the mountains sometimes need to be alone. There is room for this, of course, but stay close to the cabin, the group, etc. You should notify at least one member in your group before you go and, importantly, make sure not to change your plans along the way. If several of you go off together, it is still important that you inform others of your plans.
Hiking in the mountains is not riskier than many other recreational activities, but if an accident should happen, it can have serious consequences if you are alone. In a few hours of hiking, you may have gone somewhere where it will take days for others to find you if, for some reason, you cannot move by your own help. However, if you go together and act sensibly, there are rarely any problems with obtaining help.
If you get lost
If you, despite all caution, get lost from your group, stay where you are. The others will soon miss you. If you are down in a hole, crevice or ravine, go to higher ground, so it is easy to see you. If you wear or have brought something very colorful, make it visible.
We can all get tired, no matter how good we are! This may be due to jet lag, lack of sleep, an unfamiliar terrain, climate, food, etc. It does not matter, just make sure that the others in your group are aware of it. Do not try to be “brave” because you don’t want to bother others; It is misguided consideration. If you are tired, you are not so steady on your legs and, generally, there is a risk that you will be less attentive. Therefore, there is a greater risk of small accidents that can easily ruin the trip.
Beware of the vulnerable nature
Our hikes in Greenland go through undisturbed and remote landscapes. The water in the creeks is good to drink, and, in many places, you are alone as far as the eye can see.
This is how it should continue to be, and everyone who visits and uses the Greenlandic nature must help to look after the vulnerable Arctic environment: Bring all your waste back with you. Do not set up camp right next to streams. “Deposit” food waste and make your toilet visits several hundred meters from streams. You can visit and experience ruins and burial sites but leave the sites as you found them. Don’t walk on the ruins. Leave any archaeological finds to the museums.
The nine mountain rules
1. Do not start on long trips without prior training
2. Notify when and where you are going and when you expect to be back
3. Respect the weather and weather reports
4. Listen to the advice of experienced mountain hikers
5. Be prepared for bad weather and accidents – also on shorter trips
6. Remember maps and compass – and learn how to use them
7. Never hike alone
8. Start your return trip in time – it’s no shame to be careful
9. Save your strength and seek shelter in good time
Checklist: Packing list
Sweater (wool or fleece)
Scarf or buff
Raincoat (if your windbreaker is not waterproof)
Footwear with a strong profile sole
High factor sunscreen
Medicine for your own use
Mosquito nets (fine mesh for the face)
Sunglasses (very important)
Water flask (very important)
At your pleasure
Notebook and pencil/pen
Money, tickets, ID with photo
If you have any questions, you are very welcome to contact Greenland Travel.