Northern Norway / Qilak Equipment List

Packing Notes

Boots: if you carry anything onto the airplane on your way to Norway make it your boots. Many other items can be replaced at the last minute, but not boots.

Ski crampons are a must for spring ski touring in Norway. They are specific to your binding type. Order well in advance as this is something that’s often not available at the last minute. If you can’t find a crampon to fit your binding, G3 crampons have an attachment system that works for many bindings. Again, do this well in advance of the trip.

There may be appropriate ski rentals out of Tromso, and there are a few shops that sell high quality gear including boots, but there are no bootfitting services available. Please be aware of the risks of counting on rental gear being available in this remote Arctic location. Sawback does rent ski gear with advanced notice. If you need to rent from us the fee is $550 CAD for this trip, and you must sign a rental waiver. In any event it is highly recommended you bring your own equipment and that you make sure it is in top condition. The Norwegian sea is not a great place to go shopping for new gear after breaking your ski in half!

You need to bring all of the following personal equipment. Please don’t bring extra equipment as storage space on the boat, and especially in the cabins, is very limited. If you have any questions at all about gear please do not hesitate to contact us.


There are no laundry facilities available on the Qilak so please bring enough clothing to last the week.

  • Wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
  • Long underwear top – synthetic or wool
  • Light fleece or wool sweater
  • Wind shell – nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type jacket
  • Waterproof breathable jacket
  • Warm insulated jacket – down or synthetic
  • Long underwear bottoms – synthetic or wool
  • Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
  • Waterproof breathable pants
  • Warm hat – wool or synthetic
  • Brimmed cap for sun protection
  • Face warmer – scarf, neck tube or balaclava (optional)
  • Light gloves – wool, synthetic or leather
  • Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell
  • Spare gloves or mitts
  • Handkerchief for blocking the sun (optional)

Snow Safety Equipment

  • Avalanche beacon with good batteries (and spares)
  • Shovel
  • Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)

Travel Equipment

  • Skis or split board
  • Ski strap
  • Ski or snowboard boots
  • Poles
  • Climbing skins
  • Skin wax (or a simple wax candle) — pre-treat your skins ahead of time and bring extra skin wax. Spray-on or liquid wax is a great idea too for field treatments.
  • Ski crampons (mandatory)
  • Boot crampons and lightweight ice axe (optional; don’t bring these if you don’t have them or don’t like steep skiing)
  • Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
  • Ski helmet
  • Ski scraper

Personal Equipment

  • Ski pack (30-40 litres)
  • Sunglasses (both orange and dark lenses help a lot for travel in all conditions)
  • Goggles (orange lenses)
  • Sunscreen and lip cream (SPF 30+)
  • Head lamp with good batteries
  • Insulated water bottle or thermos (1-2 L)
  • Lunch bag or container
  • Personal blister kit (i.e: Leukotape-P and Compeed, blister pads). Be sure to pre-tape problem spots on your feet with Leukotape, prevention is the best medicine!
  • Tincture of Benzoin (see this how-to for an explanation) or a medical product by 3M called Cavilon — these products help the Leukotape stick for the whole week if necessary.
  • Pocket knife (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Utility cord for hanging stuff to dry (helps if you want to hang personal items in your cabin)

Glacier Gear

  • Harness – fitted for over your ski clothing
  • Locking carabiners (x2)
  • Non-locking carabiners (x2)
  • Prussik cord – 5m x 6mm (optional)
  • Sewn sling – 120cm (optional)

On the Sailing Boat & at the Hotel

  • Small soft-sided duffle bag (30-50 L) to contain your clothes in your berth
  • Shoes
  • Winter boots for wearing around town
  • Micro-spikes — especially the early season (late April / early May) trips as melt-freeze cycles can create very slippery conditions in the town
  • Slippers or Crocs, etc.
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Personal medications and toiletries (including small-sized soap and shampoo)
  • Ear plugs
  • Reading material
  • Chargers & adapters for electronic devices (normal AC power is available as 220V Euro plug)
  • Norwegian cash in NOK or Euros to pay for your beer tab, souvenirs, and tips/gratuities (for both guiding staff and boat crew)

Note the following are provided:

  • Beer and wine are available to purchase on the boat at a reasonable price. If you choose to bring your own you must declare it to the crew when you board. A corkage fee may apply (approx. 15 EUR per bottle of wine for reference). Please do not bring any hard alcohol and be modest with quantities — this is an expedition, not a party, with crew who work hard and keep long hours.
  • Pillows, duvets, bed linen and towels supplied on the boat (& hotel)

Group Gear (supplied by the guides)

  • Altimeter
  • Map and compass
  • GPS
  • Snow study kit
  • Snow and/or bush saw
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency tarp
  • Emergency toboggan
  • Group repair kit
  • Radio & satellite phone
  • Ropes for glacier travel
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