The mean temperature in Northern Norway in May is +5ºC and in Longyearbyen -5ºC. In many parts of the Svalbard archipelago the temperature is a few degrees below the mean temperature in Longyearbyen.
Please be aware of the wind chill factor, which takes into account wind speeds and humidity to assess how the human body actually feels temperature. The 'feels like' temperature is often different (much lower) from the actual air temperature shown on a weather forecast. The early season in Svalbard, in April/early May, is often cold. Also, each year is different. Last year for example, the thermometer showed -12ºC in early May. Remember to pack an extra warm layer of clothes if you are travelling during this time. Please make sure you check the weather forecast before you leave and come properly geared.
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. Make sure to bring an extra layer if you are travelling early or late season, as the temperature can be a bit lower.
When going ashore by Zodiacs, make sure to wear waterproof jacket/trousers and knee-high rubber boots. Below you will find some instructions on how to dress in polar climate, followed by an equipment checklist.
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. You should wear inner socks of synthetic fibre and cover with layers of wool or synthetic socks. A pair of warm, solid and knee-high rubber boots is the secret weapon when going ashore with the Zodiacs. It is also wise to bring wool insoles.
If you are considering bringing special equipment of any kind, please contact the PolarQuest office before travelling.
- 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 – Mandatory. Sturdy knee-high and lined and with warm wool soles.
- Hiking boots if you prefer not to walk in rubber boots after landing, this is optional.
- 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.
- Ski goggles, especially for trips in May as it is more common with snow fall. It offers good protection for the eyes during a Zodiac cruise.
- Motion sickness medicine – pills, wrist bands or patches for seasickness.
- Swimwear in case you get the opportunity to take a polar plunge.
- Water bottle
- Eye mask – the midnight sun never sets.
- 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.