Welcome to Kelsey’s Clever Packing Tips. This is the first class of many, but we don’t have a set schedule, so check back often for more! But today, we’re talking about what to pack for a Northern Lights Cruise. So unless we have any questions— Yes, Steve? Good question! You can take notes, but I’ll be adding a checklist to this post in a few days, so you don’t necessarily need to.
All right, so let’s get started. We’ll start with clothes. What kind of clothes do you need for a Northern Lights Cruise? Obviously it’s quite cold when you go see the northern lights, so you need to dress in layers.
· Clothing Layers: Not cotton, anything but cotton! Cotton doesn’t dry out easily, so if you sweat even a teeny bit, your sweat won’t dry & you’ll freeze. Try wool or silk (but wool is definitely warmer). Jeans also not great if you’re going out onto land and have potential to get snow on you. Opt for long underwear too (especially if you plan on leaving the ship).
· Outerwear: You need a well-insulated coat & pants (or snow overalls). It’s best to err on the side of bringing waterproof coat & pants because it will probably snow. Too bulky? Consider renting some from local shops for the duration of your cruise.
· Hand Protection: Fingers, toes, noses, & ears are the first body parts to frostbite, so you need super-good protection. Bring mittens & gloves, put on gloves first, then mittens. If you run a little colder than most people get a carbon heat pack to put in your mittens or boots.
· Boots: You need boots. Boots, unfortunately, are bulky & heavy, and if you don’t live in northern latitudes, you may not have proper winter boots. Luckily, a lot of places will rent you boots. Be sure to get one size bigger than normal so you can wear multiple pairs of wool socks. And be sure that the bottom of the boots still retain their grip.
· Headwear: Hats are good (especially wool or fleece), but they don’t protect your face from frostbite. If you are leaving your ship to see the northern lights by land, you need a ski mask to protect your nose & cheeks. Wearing a hat and a ski mask together is even better!
· Eyewear: Glasses are a better alternative to contact lenses, because contacts can dry out in the cold. If you are below the Arctic Circle (and more likely to see sunlight), bring some sunglasses or tinted goggles, because the sun can be very, very blinding. Snow blindness is real!
· Bathing Suit: Whaaaaaa? You will get cold on this cruise, and you will be very tempted to use saunas or hot tubs. So unless you want to be naked in those places, bring a bathing suit.
All right, so we’ve covered clothing so far. You still with me, Fellow Traveler? Excellent! Now for the fun stuff!
· Camera: You’re going on a Northern Lights Cruise, and you’re not taking your camera? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?! Take it!
· Binoculars: But only if you love seeing wildlife. If you love missing out, then by all means don’t pack the binoculars!
· Sunblock: The sun reflects off of the snow so easily. Not only do you get sun on your face from the sky, but you get it on your face from the ground, too.
· Lotion & Lip Balm: The cold, northern air will dry out your face, lips, hands—anything that has been exposed. Dry skin opens you up to the risk of getting an infection, so bring some to keep you healthy!
· Toiletries: Most cruise lines will provide you with shampoo & soap, but if you have preferences, bring them yourself.
· Outlet Adapter & Converter: Northern Lights Cruises generally happen in Norway, and Norway does not use the same outlets as they do in the United States. Check with your travel counselor beforehand to see if you actually need to bring one. Some cruise ships will have European & American outlets.
· Necessary Documents & Money: Duh. Change some money before flying over, but you most likely don’t need to change it all.
Final Tip: Don’t bring disposable or recyclable things. Not all ships have the capacity for recycling, so you’ll just end up throwing it away.
For a more complete checklist, check back soon!
Now get out there and go!
If that video doesn't convince you to pack warmly, I don't know what will!