Recommended gear and packing list
The Arctic Circle Trail is a very remote hike that requires you to be completely self-sufficient throughout its length. There is no phone coverage and there is no way to resupply or have someone repair something for you, so it is important that:
- you bring high-quality equipment that will stand up to changeable weather conditions and not break while on the trail.
- you are completely familiar with the operation of all your equipment before you start. Google searching is not an option once you leave your accommodation to start hiking!
- You bring a personal locator beacon (PLB) and have appropriate travel insurance. Search and rescue operations can easily cost 150.000 – 300.000 Danish Kroner (20,000 – 40,000 USD or Euro)!
For those experienced with multi-day hiking, the packing list is not much different to what you would normally take with you. Just modified for potentially colder temperatures.
The secret to comfortable hiking is dressing in layers.
For the ACT, we recommend:
- Base layer. Thermal top and bottom
- Hiking layer. 1 short-sleeved top, 1 long-sleeved top, 1 bottom – all quick dry
- Mid layer. Fleece or down jacket
- Waterproof layer. Jacket and pants. These will also help cut the wind.
- Hiking socks. We recommend bringing 3 pairs. Wear one, wash/dry one, spare one.
- Woollen hat, gloves, buff/scarf. In case it gets cold/windy.
- Sun hat, sunglasses. The Arctic sun can be brutally strong! Make sure you are prepared for sunny days. In winter, sunglasses are a must to avoid snow-blindness.
Ideally waterproof. Parts of the ACT can be quite boggy and ensuring your feet stay dry is very important. In addition, the terrain is rugged and the trail narrow, so ankle support is a very good idea. Make sure you wear in your boots well to avoid blisters on the trail.
Although there are huts along the trail, you must bring your own tent. Several of the huts are very small and may already be full when you arrive. Given the changeable weather of Greenland, it is best to bring a sturdy but lightweight 3-season tent that will stand up to cold and windy weather.
Ideally, bring the smallest backpack you can get away with but one that fits all of your equipment and food. Make sure you fit it correctly and break it in first so that it won’t cause discomfort on the trail.
Sleeping bag + sleeping pad
Each individual sleeps comfortably at different temperatures. Make sure your sleep system will keep you warm and comfortable, even at colder temperatures than you expect. In summer, you should be prepared for overnight temperatures of -5C, though it may never get that cold.
Stove, fuel & cooking/eating utensils
Plan carefully what you will eat during the hike and only bring essential cooking and eating gear. Make sure you purchase the right fuel (including with the correct connection) for your stove and don’t forget the matches/lighter, something to eat off, and something to eat with. The amount of fuel you will need depends on what and how you are cooking. It’s always a good idea to bring more than you think. Cold soaking is not fun!
What you eat on the trail is entirely up to you. There are plenty of websites offering inspiration for your meals but whatever you decide, make sure you pack at least one extra day of food. e.g. if you plan to hike the ACT in 8 days, make sure you bring 9 days of food. And don’t forget the snacks!
See our where to buy supplies page for local options.
Given the large number of lakes along the ACT, you only need to carry 1 – 1.5L of water at any time. We suggest you bring a wide-mouthed bottle that is easy to refill. You do not need to purify water taken from the lakes and streams, but if you are concerned – don’t forget your favourite purification method.
Insect repellent and headnet
You will regret it if you don’t have these when hiking from June to mid-August. The flies and mosquitoes can be quite annoying during this time.
First aid kit
Sunscreen, lip balm, blister care, plasters,etc. Also make sure to pack any medication you need.
Emergency repair kit
It is always a good idea to hike with duct tape (wrap it around your hiking poles if you are using them) and scissors or a multi-tool at the very least.
Extra zip-top bags
Help us keep the trail clean by packing out all of your garbage and used toilet paper. Make sure your waste is strapped firmly to the outside of your pack so it arrives with you at the end of the trail.
Strongly recommended gear
Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
The ACT is an extremely remote hike where it will take several days for others to raise the alarm if you are injured, and search and rescue costs are enormous. Please bring a PLB with you in case of emergency, or hire one from us. Please also make sure your travel insurance covers remote rescue.
They help when carrying a heavy load and are particularly useful when crossing rivers as they provide a third point of stability.
River crossing shoes
It depends on how tender your feet are, but these can come in handy. Paired with neoprene socks, they make for less painful and safer river crossings.
Small, lightweight shovel
Please bury your toilet waste on the trail. A small shovel that can be strapped to the outside of your pack is very useful for this.