Jon’s tips for long tours in Arctic

Keep warm

Our experienced guide Jon is now sharing his unique tips to succeed on your expedition trip in the Arctic. Jon has great experience in crossings and multiday trips, and has the latest years been teacher for the expedition course for youths in Longyearbyen.

To ensure for a nice trip and a great experience when travelling in winter, it’s important for make yourself comfortable and warm. It’s all about making the days easy for you.

Here’s a couple of tips of how to do winter outdoor living.

Drawstrings on your clothing

Mange trousers and jackets comes without a solid drawstring for the zippers. It makes it difficult to use without taking off the mittens, which is stupid to do when it’s cold. Attach short ropes and a knot to your zippers, and you will see how great and easy it’s to unzip and zip your clothing.

Vapor barrier

Be careful with your feet as well. We can easy be wet and cold, but we do also sweat a lot when we’re skiing. A great tip to keep your ski boots dry, wear a vapor barrier between your thin woolen sock and your thick woolen sock. A vapor barrier is a membrane of plactic, often used plastic bags, which helps avoiding your sweat to evaporate into your boots. Your boots will therefore be dry and ready to use every morning.

Don’t let go of your mittens

It’s usually windy in Svalbard, which makes some demands to equipment control. Do therefore never let go of your mittens or gloves. Attach a hook, carabiner or any string to your gloves.

Liners and mittens

Your hands shall always be covered, because the fact that bare skin easy can be damaged by the cold or wind, or by touching metal or similar. Wear a good pair of gloves when you need to work with your hands. To make my hands happy, I’m always wearing liners inside the big mittens, then I’m both warm all the time, and I don’t expose my hands to the wind.

Don’t sweat, dress layer by layer

Dress yourself with woolen liners and baselayers, and cover your self with wind protective trousers and jacket. It’s a simple and well known tip, but it’s very important. Get used to take off a layer and get another layer on if needed. Sweating is not wanted, because it makes you cold.


When in camp, it’s important to dry and air your feet, and a tip I’m doing myself is to add talcum to your feet. It feels much better to have dry feet. Your wet socks are you drying during the night, and ready to use the day after.


Bring a small and handy brush for brush away the snow on clothes or in the tent. When the snow melts, it will get wet if you don’t brush it away.

Thermo cup

If you bring a small thermo cup, you will always have some hot drink available. It’s very convenient even when skiing and when in camp, such as when you’re doing polar bear watch. Drinking a lot, and especially warm drinks are important to stay hydrated, and it gives you a warm and well-being feeling in the outdoor. I personally like hot toddy (hot and sweet syrup).

Snack bag in your pocket

Without food and drinks, it’s hard to make it to the destination. If you feel cold or you need a little bit energy, a little snack is what it takes to make it to the top. You can combine your own snackbag with chocolate, nuts, salty sausages, raisins, and candy. Having a snack pack in your pocket gives you the opportunity to eat without the need to stop going.

Keep the warmth in the sleeping bag

A trip is often defined by how you sleep during the night. A good and ward sleeping bag is essential, and the mattresses shall also be warm and insulating. We are always using an inflatable mattress and a thin insulation layer underneath. But this even is not enough. A sleeping bag works like a thermos. Before going into the sleeping bag, do some activity to increase the body temperature, which will help you warm up the sleeping bag.

Heating bottle

A heating bottle in the sleeping bag does not only help you keep the warmth, but also arise the comfort in the sleeping bag. Use a bottle that is suitable for hot water (i.e. Nalgene), and pour some boiling water in it. Use a sock around the bottle, and but it close to your body in the sleeping bag.