How you pack depends on how you want to spend your time on Lofoten and when.
I have written down a list from the perspective of a relatively active person running around, doing some sightseeing, photography, camping, and hiking during summertime. I usually pack a lot of heavy camera equipment, so everything else has to be light, functional, and compact.
Since the summers are both cool and wet on Lofoten, you should be wearing a lot of layers. You can always take a layer off and hide some of the clothes in your backpack. Summer temperatures average around 12-18˚C but vary greatly. It can be as cold as 5˚ C or as warm as 20˚C over the course of a day. If you’re lucky, you will have sun the whole week; if you’re not, it will rain most of the time – like when we were there 🙂 There is no way to know in advance, so you just have to be adventurous and go for it! But as Norwegians say: There Is No Bad Weather Only Bad Clothing!
- Upper Body Base Layer – I would recommend merino wool ones as they do not smell as bad as normal ones, but anything will work.
- Upper Body Middle Layer – Some light- to mid-weight windproof fleece.
- Upper Body Outer Layer – You will be exposed to all the elements. Make sure the jacket is from a breathable and waterproof material as you might end up like my boyfriend, with a wet coat from both sides (hiking does give you a good exercise) 🙂
- Head – Get a 3-in-1 multifunctional neck gaiter. You never know when it will be too windy or too sunny. I have had the same one for years and use it on all my trips.
- Hands – Usually, you will not need gloves, but getting some that are waterproof might be a good idea, as it’ll often be raining and windy.
- Hiking pants – Having pants made from an elastic material is way more comfortable than hiking in jeans. Not that you can’t do it, it is just more comfortable.
- Rain pants – If your hiking pants are not waterproof, get an extra pair of waterproof pants you can wear on top of them.
- Socks – Any hiking type sock will do.
- Footwear – A good pair of hiking shoes with a good grip. You should make sure they’ve seen some use before you take them on a hike. I was going down the mountain when I found out that my new shoes did not fit me very well. It was quite uncomfortable, to say the least. Make sure the shoes are waterproof, as Lofoten is aplenty with mud and wet grass.
Additional items you might need:
- Mosquito spray and/or net – there are a crazy amount of mosquitoes on Lofoten! There were so many flying around at one of the campsites that we had to run into the tent to escape them to eat our meal (lest we became a meal ourselves).
- Sunscreen – During the summer, you will have daylight most of the time, or at least close to it (thank you, arctic circle!) Thus, you might want some protection 🙂
- Sunglasses – same idea as with the sunscreen
- Raincoat/Umbrella – The weather changes on Lofoten all the time, so a way to shield yourself from rain will come in handy. Personally, I prefer a raincoat since it is more comfortable to move around with, especially if you want to do some hiking. I have a “Sea To Summit” Nano Poncho, and I love it. It is super small, so I can always fit it everywhere.
- Thermal underwear – For sleeping during cold nights and walking during windy days.
- Power bank – Because sometimes you will not have access to a power outlet or even be near one. I have an Anker PowerCore with enough juice to charge my phone around five times, but I also consume a lot of power, so bring whatever suits your needs.
- Swimsuit – There are many beaches – maybe you are not as afraid of the cold as I am. Additionally, many places have outdoor hot tubs. You wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity like that!
- Packing bags – For when you need to fit everything into one backpack or suitcase. Once I managed to pack for a week of ski holidays in hand luggage 🙂 The ones I use are called eBags Packing cubes, and they are great.
- Camera – Lofoten is so beautiful you will want to take pictures at virtually all of the places you go. Bring your camera (or at least a smartphone). At some point, I will make a separate post about what camera gear I use 🙂
- Tent – Bring a hardy tent that will withstand the strong winds found on Lofoten (and of course, it should be waterproof too!). Our tent never managed to dry up during our two weeks in Norway, but nonetheless, it never leaked 🙂
- Sleeping bag – It can get cold during the nights, especially when it is windy. I have a sleeping bag graded for -15˚C comfort that I love, but I am also a person that freezes in +15˚C 🙂 My boyfriend had one graded for -10˚C, which he said was good enough for him.
- Sleeping mat with good insulation – I use Klymit Insulated Static V Lite, and my boyfriend uses Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe. They are both lightweight, insulate well, and pack small.
- Eye mask – Mostly a piece of advice for the summer. It is hard to sleep without one when the sun never sets 🙂
- Earplugs – Because some boyfriends snore like elephants 🙂
- Heating packs – My biggest problem with camping is me freezing. A heating pack on my feet helps a little when the cold gets to me.
- Cooking stove/Gas burner – If you are on a tight budget, you might want to cook food yourself (hint, Norway is expensive!). I have an Odoland Camping Cookware Kit, but there are many similar sets available out there.
- Foldable cups and bowls – See above.
- Camping dry food – This trip was my first experience with dry food, and it was amazing. My friends bought several different bags of dry food. We just needed to add a little water, and we had an amazing dinner on top of the mountain (water in the form of ice was conveniently available at the top)! They are small and lightweight, so it wasn’t a problem to carry them all the way.
- Flipflops – Wear when taking a shower to avoid fungal infections and the like.
- Microfibre towel – A towel that takes little space and dries quickly. I have one from Decathlon, and I love it.
- First aid kit – For when you find out the shoes do not fit 🙂 Or, of course, in case of an accident.
- Backpack – A big enough backpack that would fit extra layers of clothes and enough water and snacks for a day. Maybe even a tent, if you would like to sleep in the wild.
- Backpack rain cover – Same story as with rain poncho 🙂 It will rain – and you will get everything wet, so better take your precautions.
- Water bladder – If you are lazy and do not want to stop every single time to take a sip of water, get a water bladder. It’s lightweight and convenient to use and carry.
- Walking sticks – It is a lifesaver when hiking up and down the many slopes of Norway 🙂 Or, in fact, anywhere. During our walk to Djevelporten, my sticks were the only reason I was not fully covered in mud.
- Dry sacks – If the backpack gets wet, these can help keep important things in your backpack dry.