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  • Writer's pictureReidar A.

How to dress - a good opportunity to leave the high heels at home.

Well, you don't have to dress for the North pole where this picture is taken.

That said - every week guides in Tromsø come across guests in totally inappropriate clothing. We see short skirts, tights, t-shirts, slippers and high heels... - just to name a few. Some days we have time to let the guests change, other days we have to leave them behind. It is just not safe to travel inland to minus 20 in Crocs, and you will not have a good time.

So - a short introduction to appropriate clothing that is not going to leave you broke. And if you have not bought all that you need already, we have a very nice shop with traditional and sustainable wool clothing right here. Choose pickup in Tromsø and we will have it delivered to your ship or hotel.

Dress in layers. This is the way to dress known from the old polar heros like Nansen and Amundsen. Going over Greenland Nansen used 7 layers of silk and wool to stay warm. In our experience three to four layers is a good start - it makes it easy to stay warm and also easy to reduce heat by getting out of layers as you go.

If you can, use wool close to the body. It is not only inflammable and anti allergic, but also keeps you warm when getting wet. Did you know there was a long battle in the courts to get Fleece (basically plastic) to abandon the name "technical wool"? Wool and fleece are two totally different fabrics - while wool comes from an animal, fleece is made from used bottles or plastic.

A mid layer is also nice.This should be enough to keep you warm when walking. A thick wool sweater is usually nice when having a break, or while waiting for the lights. A cotton hoodie will also work, but remember cotton does not dry very fast.

A windproof jacket is a must.We always bring it - mostly because you will experience all four seasons in the arctic during a normal day. You can get everything from rain to a blizzard - be prepared. It is hard to recommend anything - but depending on the season you will need something that can take some rain, snow and wind.

Shoes. Back to the high heels - it´s just not appropriate. Even if you are going on a bus ride, eventually you will have to get out. To get the most out of your excursion you might have to walk in to uneven terrain, and shoes with som grip and waterproofness is more or less mandatory. If your feet get cold take your shoes off and massage the feet. If you can't feel your toes tell the guide - they will know what to do.

What about gloves and mittens? It is a great idea to bring at least one pair, maybe even two pairs when staying outdoors in the north. It can be wet and windy, and it is hard to get your hands warm once they have gone ‘cold’. A pair of knitted wool mittens (that you can get in our shop) is not only sustainable, but normally keeps you warm the whole evening. Another possibility is to use hand-warmers, small bags with a chemical solution that gives heat to your hands and/or feet.

On your head, you put a wool hat. There is a lot to choose from - the hats and headbands from "Haddock" are local, warm, and a nice memory from Tromsø. You will get them in all the bigger sports stores. A good hat retains about 25% of body heat in an adult, up to 75% for a small child.

If you still get cold, remember to move around. Get blood to your hands and feet by moving them. If you know how to get ketchup out of the bottle by swinging it this is how we get cold fingers and hands working after a night out in cold weather. Getting cold is normally not dangerous, and the shower when you get back home is going to feel so much better.

Remember that the coast of Northern Norway is normally not that cold, with an average temperature of about -5 degrees Celsius during the winter. The biggest challenge for many guests flying in is overdressing, and as we see it, being to warm is worse than being a bit cold.

Got any questions? Feel free to ask in the commentary underneath :-)


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