When people travel in the Arctic we say: "There is not bad weather- only bad clothes".
The weather in Greenland changes very suddenly, and it is important that you wear different layers (see the details about the layers below).
Adequate outdoor clothing should meet the following criteria:
1. Insulate the body from cold
2. Water and wind resistant
3. Maintain its insulating ability when wet
4. Durable and long lasting
5. Breathable to allow body moisture to escape
6. Light and flexible
7. Packable / compressible
The tried-and-true layering system is a 3-layer structure whereby each has its own specialised role and purpose. If properly selected, these layers act in harmony to fulfil the demands of the adventurer and the elements.
A simple layering system consists of a transfer layer (base layer) next to your skin, adjustable insulating layers, and an outer shell to protect you from water and wind. Rather than a few warm and bulky garments, we recommend a selection of lighter and more versatile pieces that can be worn in various combinations to better manage the wide range of conditions that you will encounter in Greenland.
Transfer Layer (Base Layer) / 1st layer
Worn directly against the skin, this layer is designed to move or "wick" perspiration away from your body, thus keeping you dry from the inside. When this layer gets wet (from sweating), it is important that it maintains its insulating value while minimising absorption. For this reason, it is generally made of wool or synthetic materials, and never of cotton.
Since this layer is directly in contact with your skin, comfort is also paramount, so consider something that doesn't rub you in sensitive places. Consider packing an extra set so that you can use one for hiking and the other for comfortable evening relaxation and sleeping.
(Examples: undershirt, sports bra, underwear, long underwear, socks)
Insulating Layer / 2nd layer
This is the most versatile of all layers, and will be determined by the activity levels as well as the outside environment. The purpose of the insulating layer is to manage body heat appropriately. Light and medium weight fleece jackets are ideal during the day, when activity levels are higher and daytime temperatures are warmer. Hiking pants should be made of light, strong, and quick-drying fabrics. Fleece pants or expedition (heavy) weight long underwear also works well.
Again, garments made of cotton such as jeans are a poor option, for their lack of ability to manage moisture. On cold days and during the evenings, two insulating layers work well together to provide extra warmth. A down or PrimaLoft jacket is also a good idea to bring along, for quick access to warmth during stops and lunch breaks, as well as a light and comfortable layer for relaxing in the evenings.
(Examples: toque/hat, gloves, fleece sweater/jacket of all weights, hiking pants)
Outer Shell / 3rd layer
This layer is mainly meant to protect you from the two most threatening elements: wind and rain. The other critical function of the outer shell is the ability to allow moisture to escape or "breathe", so as to prevent you from getting wet from the inside as a result of your own perspiration. Additional features such as hoods and zip ventilation systems allow for more precise adjustments and help to maximise warmth and comfort in the outdoors, although they are not essential.
It is very important that jackets and pants in this category be waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Keep in mind that favourable weather conditions may often be such that the use of the outer shell is not needed, however it is always wise to have this layer easily accessible as conditions can change quickly.
(Examples: sun/rain hat, waterproof/breathable jacket and pants, hiking boots)
- 1x sleeping bag
- 1x sleeping pad (lightweight, packable, inflatable or foam)
- 1-2 trekking pole/s
- water bottle or camel bag (minimum 1L)
- personal hygiene kit, toiletries
- lip balm
- blister care / prevention kit
- biodegradable soap (50ml liquid)
- personal medication
- lighter and/or matches
- ear plugs / eye mask
- mosquito net and/or insect repellent
- maps, GPS
- insulating foam pad for sitting
- pen, paper, journal
- entertainment: mp3 player, book, cards, mouth organ, etc.
- chargers (for cameras, mp3 players, etc.)
- pocket knife / multi-tool
- dry bags for clothing and other gear