Packing List Of Essential Gear For Northern Europe

When the weather is unpredictable–whether you are on the deck of the ship, traveling by zodiacs or exploring ports–packing for sun, rain and cool temperatures is crucial. Selecting appropriate gear can feel daunting. Thankfully, we have over 30 years of experience in providing quality expedition clothing and equipment for professional and amateur travelers. We’ve put together a curated packing list: to eliminate the guesswork, and to set you up to have the best and most comfortable experience on your upcoming expedition. Use this packing list as a guide and be sure to check the weather conditions before your departure.

Packs & Travel Bags

Travel Luggage: The first step in preparing for your cruise is selecting the right travel luggage. Choose a travel bag appropriate in size to the amount you’re planning to pack to ensure your luggage doesn’t become bulky and difficult to board.

Expert Tip A soft-top bag is easily compacted and stored during your stay on board.

Backpack: A lightweight backpack can help carry your essentials while keeping your arms free for safe disembarking off the vessel getting in and out of the zodiacs. Choose a backpack that is waterproof to protect your technology – from camera gear to your phone – and keep your layers dry while you have them stored in your backpack.

Expert Tip Choose a backpack with a waist-strap–the extra strap helps distribute the pack’s weight, alleviating pressure off the shoulders, making for a more comfortable experience on a longer adventure.

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Base Layer

Expedition Stretch: In cold weather, this layer makes all the difference. Our expedition stretch forms an extra barrier against cold without becoming too bulky. We designed and manufactured this layer specifically for expedition use: with soft fleece on the inside, smooth on the outside for easy layering, a tapering leg and fabric designed to slide effortlessly into your knee-high boots.

Expert Tip Not all layers are created equal! Though your favorite jeans are often comfortable, they don’t hold up in cold weather, retaining moisture and will not keep you warm like gear that incorporates the latest technologies in design and materials, and has been repeatedly tested by professionals in the field.

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Insulation Layer

Light-Weight Loft Jackets and Vests: This layer is at the center of your adventuring gear, consisting of elements that can be worn together or alone. Wear the vest on board the ship so you will be prepared to head out to the deck to get a closer view of passing vistas. On cold days when you don’t need a waterproof layer, wear the jacket on its own or over a vest.

Expert Tip Loft vests and jackets trap heat with remarkable efficiency even when they are wet. They are also water-repellent and windproof and double as outerwear in mild weather. Consider also adding fleece as a layering option.

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Outer Layer

Rain Jacket: To ensure you’re able to stay comfortable and protected when traveling on zodiacs or when it rains, include a light-weight rain jacket, preferably with a hood.

Expert Tip Waterproof doesn’t have to mean airtight! Choose a rain jacket made from breathable fabric to allow moisture to escape, and stay comfortable while you keep dry.

Waterproof Pants: Waterproof pants are crucial when navigating almost every single landing, as well as protecting you from spray during zodiac rides. They will also be a welcome addition during rainy days on shore. Ideal pants are lightweight, breathable, and feature a comfortable waistband. Crucially, they should be wide enough to fit over your boots. It’s important to note that the ideal waterproof pant is not a ski pant. Ski pants are usually too hot in temperate climates, often create too much bulk for adventurers, and rarely fit comfortably over boots.

Expert Tip Choose a pair of waterproof pants with a zipper at the bottom, making sure you’re able to comfortably take off and put on your boots.

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Hats, Gloves & Socks

Hat: Keep your head and face protected when the weather forecast calls for rain. Choose a waterproof hat with a shaped brim to direct water away from your face and neck during showers. The same hat will provide valuable sun protection on a warm day.

Expert Tip Keep your hat secure in windy conditions with a chin cord.

Neck Gaiter: Neck gaiters are the smart improvement on a traditional scarf: Warm, compact, and secure, a gaiter can be worn as an insulating layer around the neck, pulled up over the mouth and nose for wind chills, or worn over your head to add warmth to your head gear. A quick-drying gaiter is easy to wash, versatile, and much easier to pack than a bulky scarf, while providing just as much warmth and insulation.

Expert Tip We recommend you bring two gaiters to be able to wash them between each wear.

Quick-Drying Wind or Waterproof Gloves: When your day calls for traveling by Zodiac, keep your hands warm and dry with lightweight, waterproof gloves. On a cooler day on shore or on deck, glove liners on their own are a great option for keeping your hands warm without adding bulk.

Expert Tip Not all gloves are equally effective. When the temperature drops, ensure your hands stay warm with a pair of high-quality, resilient gloves. If you’re prone to cold fingers, opt for a mitten instead of a glove, to accommodate a hand warmer along the fingers easily.

Socks: Prepare for the adventure of the day by packing socks that wick moisture, are made from wool or a wool blend and that cushion the heel well.

Expert Tip The thickness of the sock is important for more than just warmth: It also makes a significant difference for comfort. A robust, cushioning sock can help your feet not only stay warm, but blister-free.

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Boots: Comfortable hiking boots. Preferably splash- or water-proof.

Expert Tip It’s essential that your boots are 100% waterproof. Getting your feet even a little wet can make a big, uncomfortable difference.

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Trekking Poles: Trekking Poles provide crucial stability while navigating uneven or slippery terrain. A helpful tool both when ascending and descending, trekking poles help ensure safety, stability, and ease along any expedition.

Expert Tip Collapsible trekking poles are a practical choice. Collapse the poles, pack them into your backpack so your hands are free when you are getting in and out of zodiacs.

Binoculars: Your expedition will undoubtedly offer stunning views and rare peeks at wild aquatic life–moments you won’t want to miss! Compact, high-performance binoculars help ensure you experience every single unique vista along your cruising journey.

Expert Tip When choosing binoculars, be sure to select a pair with at least 10X power and 25mm objective diameter–this is considered ideal for scenic and wildlife watching.

Sun & Wind Protection: The sun will play a significant role in the everyday considerations of your expedition cruise, especially on overcast days. Stay protected by bringing sunglasses with UV protection, and a sun lotion suitable for use on your face. Sun lotion also helps to protect your face in windy conditions.

Expert Tip Often forgotten, but no less important: Be sure to bring an SPF-charged lip balm along on your trip.

Protecting Your Valuables: Your phone or tablet are important tools for capturing your experience. Ensure they stay dry and safe throughout your journey. Slide your cellphone or tablet into a waterproof floating case for maximum protection on land and sea. You will have full use of your device when it is in the case.

Expert Tip Use sturdy, leak-proof bags to keep other valuables dry in even the most challenging conditions.

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  • Consider compression socks. In addition to helping to reduce foot swelling during your flight, they help prevent sprains and offer additional stability over rough terrain.

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  • Reduce microfiber plastic entering the oceans by washing garments in the GUPPYFRIEND washing bag.