I don’t like travelling with hand luggage only and I don’t have to do it too often but this trip to Norway is one of those times. It’s the price you pay for getting a direct flight to Tromsø from London – that and taking off at ten to six in the morning.
I go on 22nd February and by the time this post is up, I’ll have been back for nearly a week but right now it’s 13th February and I’ve spent this afternoon packing. I quite like watching packing videos on YouTube except that YouTubers have a very different idea to me about what needs to be packed. Admittedly, they’re into fashion and makeup and I’m into not freezing to death in the Arctic in winter so our requirements are a bit different. So this is my packing:
First, my bags.
The actual bag I’m taking is the big purple one. It’s my 40l Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry Kit Bag which I’ve been coveting for years. It’s bombproof, it can swallow just about anything and it’s airline-sized. Although it won’t be leaving my side, it has a name tag on it, which I bought at Skogafoss over the summer because it’s adorable. It’s by an Icelandic artist called Ninna Thorarinsdottir.
The smaller bag is my day bag. It’s small enough to just get flattened under my stuff and then I can carry that around during the day – just enough space for a drink or two, a spare camera battery and my headtorch.
The Carry A Bag is a folding shopping bag which I’ll take to the local supermarket. Normally I have a big 45l backpack which makes a magnificent shopping bag but I’m not going to get much in my day bag. I’m looking forward to finding that Norwegian flatbread people keep feeding me but I can’t find in the shops and to some pear juice. I love pear juice.
And finally, the little roundy bag is the bag my waterproof trousers will go in when they come off the line. I had to wash them after Sparkle & Ice, after it proved that merely hosing them twice wasn’t going to get the mud off.
Next are my clothes. This is messier because I’m going to be packing some and wearing some, and there are things not pictured. So, from left to right:
My Cintamani jacket. I call it a softshell but really it’s a fleece. It’s fleecy inside but sort of foamy outside, it’s very light and warm and easy to wear and it’ll be ideal for those occasions when I don’t want to go quite as far as The Huge Fleece.
Two t-shirts. I’ll be wearing one, packing the other. One is slightly thicker, has long sleeves and a van on the front. The other is a normal t-shirt except that it has the coordinates for the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi on the front. I might swap it for my Svalbard t-shirt.
Two thermals. I’ll probably pack them both. The blue striped one is my proper expensive merino Icebreaker one, the black one is from Primark and although I’ve invested in proper merino, I don’t think it’s noticeably better than the thin cheapy Primark ones. I will always, always, recommend Primark thermals, I think they’re great.
Thermal leggings. Both Primark. One is the leggings to go with the top, the other is a pair of Velvets that I talked about the other day.
Underneath all that is a blue packing cube to put it in. I’ve got a black one somewhere but it’s got misplaced since last weekend at camp.
The small packing cube contains underwear.
Then there are my gloves – my merino liner gloves and my big mountain mittens. You’ll hear more about them in one week’s time.
Not pictured: I’m going to be wearing a pair of lined trousers and I’m going to pack an unlined pair, which I was wearing today and refused to take off so I could include them in a picture. I’ll also be wearing my Huge Fleece and my Even Huger Ski Coat. The coat is guaranteed warm to -42° and the beauty about that is that it’s the same for °C and °F. I don’t think it’s quite that warm. I bought it big to fit over the Huge Fleece, which in turn has to fit over at least two layers. The result is that I look like the Michelin man. The thing is nearly knee-length and the sleeves are far too long. Do you want to see me looking a bit drowned in it? Yes, you do.
Oh, and I’ll be taking that hat. And I’ll be wearing my snowboots.
Next, electronics. Sorry. I’m leaving things like my tablet & my laptop behind but I’m taking:
My headtorch. It’s going to be pretty dark pretty early (early-to-mid January in the UK sort of dark, not extreme dark) and a headtorch is a very useful thing to have.
A mini tripod. To be honest, it’s never been much use but I have hopes.
A 3-way USB charger, with European adaptor and the assorted cables. It takes up a lot less space than a four-way multiway and four separate plug blocks.
Camcorder, action camera (not a GoPro!) in protective case, Instax camera and spare film for photo-taking.
GPS tracker so 1) I can see where I’ve been 2) I can see how I got there 3) I can see how fast I went. This has been a bit shameful in the past – the death-defying dogsledding run turned out to reach just 8mph…
Finally (in the picture round, at least), we have the stuff.
Hairbrush. I have a lot of hair and it takes a lot of brushing.
Mini travel towel – takes up no space so doesn’t matter if I don’t actually need it.
Windshirt. This should go in the Useful Travel Items, actually. It’s a gossamer-thin smock thing that protects you from the wind. I wear it under warmer items.
Guidebook. I have strong feelings about guidebooks.
Kindle. I also have strong feelings about Kindles but I inherited this one and I grudgingly admit that it’s useful to be able to carry nearly a dozen new books with me in the space of one.
Scrapbook/journal and supplies. I like scrapbooking, I like writing in my diary of an evening and I like sticking bits and pieces like tickets and maps in. In the way of supplies, I’ve got some glue dots, four rolls of washi tape and a few labels. I’ve taken out the ink pads. I use them for stamping in the day but I’ll leave spaces and put them in when I get home. I took a Swiss army knife to Iceland in the summer but I didn’t use the scissors much and I can’t take them on the plane this time.
Wallet – it contains my debit & credit cards, EHIC, SAS points card, Norwegian kroner, a few cards with my contact details on (because it’s easier than finding a scrap of paper to give your new best friend your email address) and the wifi passport for the chain of Thon hotels. I use a separate wallet when I’m travelling because day-to-day I carry a lot of things like loyalty cards, a lot of receipts, a lot of shrapnel and a lot of junk and I don’t want to take that on a plane with me.
Travel pouch. I’ve talked about this recently.
Not pictured: Pyjamas. Flask & water bottle. ID bracelet. Watch. Camera, because I’m using it to take the photos. Sore shoulder from carrying this thing. Gratitude to Norwegian staff for putting it in the hold for free on the way home.