I have just returned from a quick visit to Norway on a mix of business, pleasure and indoor tenting* and now it is time to pack for our short Spring CF, which is likely to be a lot colder than we had hoped. We have been keeping an eye on the long term forecast on yr.no and eltiempo.es and they tell the same story: Rain and temperatures up to 10°C. Yes, up to. Which means not just cool mornings, but cold and possibly rainy ones. It might just turn out to be the perfect practice run for my Norwegian adventure in May and June!
I did buy goretex mid boots before I went to Oslo, and have been wearing them every day, all day, walking around on tarmac. Luckily it seems they fit my arches perfectly and there is no hint of the Plantar Fasciitis. Long may it last.
I was planning to walk in a skirt, as usual, with running tights or merino tights under, and pull on my lovely and lightweight goretex trousers if it started raining. I have been on day walks in tights and rain trousers and found that it breathes well, is wind proof and of course also keeps the rain out, so I will test that out in colder weather. However, I have decided to leave the skirt this time and bring some trousers for walking and/or evening, and put tights on under if necessary. I have found some Fjällräven Nikka half-stretch, half-wind and rain proof trousers that are really long and cover the tops of my boots. They can be made more or less waterproof by waxing and washing, which I like. Not cheap, but I have ordered them to try and should get them before departure. I will miss the ease of walking in a skirt though.
Next to evaluate the necessary amount of merino. I was planning on packing one short and one long for walking, and a dress and merino cardi or zipped jacket for the evening, but if I am going to be cold and/or wet all day that won’t make me feel snug and warm in the evening. So now I am taking two long and two short sleeve tops, one set for walking and one for the evening now that I will be in trousers instead of a dress, plus a light fleece top for extra insulation and putting on at breaks during the day and the merino fleece jacket for the evening. That should hopefully do it. That way I also have some spare to sleep in in case the bedrooms are damp and chilly.
I would never dream of going to Galicia without my trusty poncho! This time I am taking the same lightweight Altus that the Scouse Spouse used before his accident, and hopefully that will be able to ward off the deluge. I am also leaving the wind jacket behind and bringing a lightweight Marmot Precip rain jacket instead, with pit zips! Hopefully it will breathe enough that I can wear it for wind protection and keeping the heat in.
Last, but not least, I decided to get a light water repellent down jacket from M&S, which made it substantially cheaper than the proper outdoor brands. I just want to be able to put it on in the evening or on a break for insulation and sheer snugness. If I decide not to take it for any more long walks, I will still use it at home.
So my previous summery packing list, heavy on skirts and dresses and a few layers for rainy days, has changed quite a bit. If these Nikka trousers work for me, I might still take the skirt to wear over tights on sunny days, since it weighs very little and is very versatile. The thought of leaving the merino dress behind is almost the hardest of all – I have gotten so used to wearing a dress after my shower that it has somehow become my trademark, like my little pink cardi. I’ll keep an eye on the weather before we go, but for now I have to accept that it might not be coming with me.
Another small change – I am leaving my trusty cross-body sidebag at home and taking a bumbag … I really don’t like them but I realise they are very practical, and with a heavier pack I would appreciate less pressure on one shoulder. I have added a longer strap to it though so I can still use it as a slightly daft looking cross-body bag in the evening.
Other than the clothes, the kit I am testing is pretty much the same – my upgraded Jagbag silk liner, Scrubba washing machine, peg-free clothes line, and an inflatable pillow.
As we say in Norway: There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices.
*When I visited my friend G to go through our packing options for the cooler and wetter weather, we decided to take the tent fly for protection from the weather in an emergency or even for long, bright nights in case we wanted to sleep outside. But Oslo was full of snow and ice and not a green patch could be found. So naturally we pitched it in her living room, tying the ends to a chair and a heavy sewing box, crawled inside (it is a Force Ten Helium 200, with two openings to make it easier for two people to get in and out) and had a glass of vino tinto to break it in.