Hiking in Svalbard
IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO THE PARTICIPANTS ON HIKING TRIPS
As with all our Svalbard trips, the goal is to experience the archipelago’s spectacular nature and unique wildlife up close. We plan to go on both shorter and longer hikes in the Arctic nature. The hikes will be interspersed with Zodiac cruises and other interesting landings, which the trip will not only consist of hikes. The exact route is determined by your Expedition Leader and is dependent on weather, wind and other safety aspects.
We will hike in a fairly quiet pace to enjoy nature as much as possible. During the shorter hikes, we expect to be out between two and four hours, and during the longer ones up to six hours. Maybe we take the opportunity to enjoy one or a couple of lunches in the wild!
WHAT IS REQUIRED PHYSICALLY?
This trip contains more and longer hikes than our usual expedition cruises, and hence there are slightly higher physical requirements. Sometimes, it can be quite steep as we like to go up on a mountaintop to enjoy the view. You will need to have a good physical health and be able to hike with a daytrip backpack.
The terrain at Svalbard varies but is often hilled and uneven, which requires good physics, previous hiking experience and a good balance. Gravel, loose stones and more, can make walking difficult. The pace of the hikes will be fairly quiet, but you should be able to increase the pace if needed and be able to walk unimpeded for several hours. You should also be prepared to have to wade. The best way to do it, is to get off your boots, possibly change to a pair of easy-drying sneakers and walk through the cold water.
All expedition participants will take part of the same program ashore, as we are not able to divide the group. As we move in the realm of the polar bear, it is important that we stay together as a group, and that the instructions given by our experienced guides always are followed. The weather also affects the safety situation. Fog, strong winds or similar can limit the number of hikes.
EQUIPMENT DURING THE WALK
The hike will be easier and more pleasant if you manage to bring what you need without carrying unnecessary weight. Important equipment to bring is:
- A well-fitted daytrip backpack with a volume of 30-40 liters. There should be room for reinforcement garments, change of clothes, water bottle, thermos and lunch. Also keep in mind that there should be room enough to pack your jacket and sweater, so you don't have to hike in sweaty clothes if you would get warm.
- Thin and quick-drying sneakers that can be used for wading to avoid soaking your boots.
- Hiking boots, properly broken in and with a thick sole. Svalbard offers a hilled terrain without any paths or roads.
- Walking sticks are good if you have a pair and feel comfortable using them. Sticks can also be borrowed on board.
- Water bottle or water bag with a drinking hose (Camelbak or similar). Appropriate volume is about 1,5–3 liters. It is a good idea to have the liquid easily accessible to be able to drink frequently, but a small amount at a time.
- Seating pad for more comfortable breaks.
- Also keep in mind that when hiking, the overall weight of the equipment can greatly affect the experience. Avoid bringing unnecessarily heavy equipment. Many people prefer to choose a slightly lighter camera and binoculars if possible.
- Hiking should be comfortable. To dress and pack appropriately is something you will learn over time. Practice at home, talk to friends who have made similar trips or contact us if you have any questions.
HANDS AND FEET
These body parts are extra sensitive. It is important to keep your hands and feet dry and warm. The same layer on layer principle applies as for clothing (see general equipment list). On a hiking trip, it is especially important with comfortable hiking boots with a thick sole. Make sure to break in both boots and feet well before the trip!
The dining room has room for all 12 passengers at once. Our chef normally serves three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and a 3-course dinner. We will, as already mentioned and when given the opportunity, carry with us lunch and enjoy this in the wild. Please, don't forget to include if you have any allergies or similar when filling out the personal information form.
PolarQuest provides thermos, plates, cutlery and mugs.