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Don’t Forget to Pack This On Your Nordic Summer Vacation

Melissa looking out to the ocean from Sky Lagoon. Her hair is in a top-knot bun.

Summer vacation. It’s all flip-flops and beach-hair-don’t-care, right? If you’re going on a Nordic Summer Vacation, pack a bikini… and a beanie, flip-flops… and cozy socks. 

Layers. Don’t forget to pack layers on Your Nordic Summer Vacation.

Layers are the key to happiness in Nordic nations. I spent a week in June in Finland. The weather report I checked said it’d be in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit. Thankfully, I’ve traveled enough to know that wind and shade make liars out of honest numbers. On some mornings of my trip, I wore my beanie, mittens, warm socks, jeans, long sleeves, and jacket. July in Iceland was even colder. While on Reynisfjara Beach, I wore leather Ugg Boots. Both Chris and I dressed like it was winter. 

Chris and me on Iceland's Reynisfjara Beach. We are both wearing winter jackets. This picture was taken on July 31st.
July 31st on Reynisfjara Beach.

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Which layers should you pack for your trip?

You can get every kind of weather during a summer vacation in a Nordic country. Temperatures swing wildly, going from an average of 71 during the day to a cool 42 at night. After two trips to Iceland and one to Finland, here’s what we recommend having with you: 

  • You’ll want a swimsuit or swim shorts for jumping in the invigorating waters of the north, warming up in the sauna, and relaxing in a geothermal pool like Sky Lagoon .  
  • Sunglasses are a must in the land of the midnight sun, so is a good sleeping mask. That midnight sun is no joke. I love the
    Cabeau Midnight Magic Sleep Mask.
  • A warm jacket. I love my Cotopaxi Fuego Down Parka. It’s lightweight enough yet warm enough to keep the chill away year-round, and it did the job just right for me during my summer trips to Iceland and Finland. Shop for current Cotopaxi Fuego Down Parka options.
  • A beanie. The beanie I wore in both Iceland and Finland is one that I purchased after ziplining with Zipline EcoTours in Whistler. It’s a nice hat and supports a good cause. I think the Fishers Finery Women’s 100% Pure Cashmere Cable Knit Hat; Super Soft; Cuffed will be my next winter beanie purchase. I love its look, and cashmere feels so good.
Melissa in Iceland on one of her Nordic Summer Vacations, wearing her Whistler beanie and holding up a kleina donut.
Iceland. July 31st. Me holding a kleina -- a traditional Icelandic donut -- that I bought after we hiked behind Seljalandsfoss.
Chris on our hike of Seljalandsfoss wearing his North Face rain jacket and Merrell hiking boots.
Chris on our hike of Seljalandsfoss wearing his North Face rain jacket and Merrell hiking boots.
A Summer Nordic Vacation must -- Reynisfjara Beach. Melissa on the rock formations wearing her Ugg boots, Patagonia hiking pants, and Cotopaxi jacket.
I'm wearing my Ugg boots on A Summer Nordic Vacation must -- Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland on July 31st.

Have plans to kayak or paddleboard? Pack these.

If you’re going to kayak, canoe, or get on a SUP board to paddle out on an adventure or do some yoga, an ideal outfit includes moisture-wicking tech layers. When I took a SUP yoga class in Finnish Lakeland, followed by a sauna session, I wore:

I was incredibly comfortable during class. Some of my swimsuit-only-clad classmates were not.

If you’re taking a scenic cruise in Finland’s Lakeland regionor riding a ferry to Iceland’s Westman Islands, bring a warm jacket and a beanie.

Finland Finnish Lakeland Lake Saimaa Melissa on SUP Yoga Board
Me in Finland on a SUP board, ready for my yoga lesson.

We hope our list helps you pack everything you need for your summertime Nordic vacation. 

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