Equipment & weather
Greenland has an Arctic climate with average temperatures generally not exceeding 10°C during the hottest summer months. However, in the southern part of the country and the innermost parts of the long fjords, the temperature can rise to more than 20°C in June, July, and August. Weather conditions in Greenland can change rapidly and the changing weather varies locally between different areas and from fjord to fjord. Mean temperatures are only advisory and are averages over a period of years. You may encounter considerably colder or warmer temperatures on site. Above information and below table with average temperatures is from Visit Greenland's website. As these are 24-hour mean temperatures, the average daytime temperature will be a little higher, whilst the average nighttime temperatures will be a little lower.
The humidity in Greenland is generally very low and the country's geographical location makes the air quality among the best in the world. Due to the dry air and low humidity in Greenland, summer temperatures can often feel warmer than you would otherwise expect.
However, please be aware of the wind chill factor, which also takes wind speed and humidity into account, to assess how the human body actually feels temperature. The 'feels like' temperature can cause us to experience some days colder than what the thermometer shows.
We recommend you dress in layers; it allows you to easily adjust to variations in temperature. Wear three layers or more to get rid of perspiration, insulate you from the cold and protect you against the wind. The layering method also allows you to easily adjust your clothing when the weather and temperatures change.
When going ashore by Zodiacs, make sure to wear waterproof jacket/trousers and tall rubber boots. Below you will find some instructions on how to dress in polar climate, followed by an equipment checklist.
HOW TO DRESS
The layer closest to your skin must get rid of perspiration from your body to keep you dry and warm. Recommended materials are wool or synthetic materials. Cotton should never be worn close to the body.
This layer provides insulation and retains body heat without restricting movement. Suitable materials for this layer are fleece or wool. It is better to wear several thin layers than one thick layer. On cold days you may need extra insulation. This way you control your body temperature.
THE OUTER LAYER
The main function of this layer is to offer protection against wind and water, but also to let out excess body heat. Therefore, it is good to use breathable materials such as Gore-Tex or similar.
Your head is like the body’s funnel, and we always recommend bringing a warm and windproof hat! Preferable materials are synthetic fibre or wool.
HANDS AND FEET
These parts of your body are particularly sensitive. It is important to keep hands and feet dry and warm. The same layering method applies here. Use inner gloves made of synthetic fibre, silk or wool and cover with a wind/waterproof mitten. Mittens are much warmer than gloves. Please remember to bring an extra pair of mittens. We recommend wool socks and preferably in layers. A pair of lined, solid and knee-high rubber boots is the secret weapon when going ashore with the Zodiacs, as you often need to wade ashore during nature landings. It is also wise to bring wool insoles.
Greenland invites to great hikes. It is strongly recommended to use sturdy and comfortable hiking boots on longer hikes. The terrain is uneven and rocky, and there are hardly any existing trails.
If you are considering bringing special equipment of any kind, please contact the PolarQuest office before travelling.
EQUIPMENT CHECK LIST
- Medicines (if applicable)
- 1 soft bag – a large backpack or soft duffel bag for clothes and equipment to check-in. A soft bag is recommended as it is easily stored in your cabin.
- 1 backpack – small and preferably water resistant, to use in the rubber boats and during shore excursions.
- Jacket – water and windproof for example Gore-Tex.
- Trousers – water and windproof for example Gore-Tex.
- Hat – warm and windproof that covers ears.
- Gloves – water and windproof (bring extra pair).
- Rubber boots – Sturdy knee-high and lined and with warm wool soles.
- Hiking boots for longer nature hikes.
- Regular shoes/sneakers to wear on board the ship, with sturdy rubber soles to avoid slipping.
- Inner gloves – wool, synthetic or silk.
- Base-layer top and trousers – wool or synthetic fibre.
- Warm trousers – wool or fleece.
- Warm sweater – wool or fleece.
- Warm socks – wool or synthetic fibre.
IN ADDITION, WE RECOMMEND
- A good pair of binoculars
- Camera & memory cards
- Cleaning cloth for camera lenses.
- Charger & extra batteries
- Waterproof bags to protect your camera from getting wet during rubber boat cruises.
- Sunscreen with high sun protection factor for face and lips.
- Sunglasses, preferably with necklace, so you do not drop them in the water.
- Bug repellent and a mosquito head net are your friends.
- Cap, during the summer months the sun can be strong.
- Motion sickness medicine – pills, wrist bands or patches for seasickness.
- Swimwear in case you get the opportunity to take a polar plunge.
- Water bottle
- Ear plugs
- Heat packs for your gloves or boots, if you know that your hands and feet easily get cold.
- Walking sticks – please note that they must be foldable and stored in the checked in luggage. (There will also be a number of walking sticks available for use on board.)