There is an often used Norwegian phrase that means, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” (it rhymes in Norwegian). Bergen celebrity band Ylvis translated this more punchily into English as “you know there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad kleather”. (This is perhaps funnier if you know the word for weather in Norsk is “vær” and clothing is “klær”. Or maybe, as my friend told me recently, you just don’t find it funny. I can be easily entertained.) Whether or not you find it amusing, the value of the phrase cannot be underestimated. In a place like Bergen, where it rains more than 200 days per year, it is vital to not let rain stop you from going outside and having fun, or just getting stuff done. If you need some encouragement for that, try this post as well.
The traditional Norwegian cabin (hytte) can be extremely rudimentary, and Norwegians love it; this Ylvis video offers an excellent (only somewhat tongue in check) illustration this phenomenon. And, of course, it is the source of the quote, “no such thing as bad weather only bad kleather”.
So, what on earth is today’s post about? Why, the frequent questions I’ve gotten on warm and weather appropriate clothing here in Bergen, Norway, of course! An understandable concern, especially when coming from another climate. So – how does one go about getting clothes in which to stay warm and dry? Read on!
I have to admit, I made it almost 2 years in Norway with outdoor gear I’d brought from home and have only finally gotten a (Bergans of Norway) rain jacket and rain pants – these cost roughly kr 1400 each. So far though, I’d have to say I’m pretty satisfied with their quality – they are keeping me dry in some impressive rainstorms. Because my raingear shopping experience is limited, and I hate shopping so I went for the first things that seemed functional, I asked around a bit for advice for this post. Any other experienced Norway shoppers out there, please feel free to comment below and add more valuable information!
Prices really range. For a winter coat there may be choices as low as kr 499 and all the way up to the kr 3000+ (I’m seeing a price range that goes from 449 to nearly 6400, for example on the website highlighted in the “Online” section).
My friend, who has lived here for over a decade, believes the lowest price you can pay for a quality coat is around kr 1200, those really inexpensive coats (in the 449 range) may not be made well.
But remember, while it can be fairly chilly here, it is rain more than snow that you’ll have to contend with in Bergen. Raingear may also be expensive, raincoats still often landing solidly in the above kr 1000+ zone, umbrellas rarely under kr 99 (or if they are, they are even more breakable), and rain-pants? Those are for dorks, right? Well, they may come in handy in a city where it can rain sideways. I am pretty happy/distinctly dorky in mine (my partner, Grim say, “This isn’t a fashion statement, it’s an ‘I don’t want to get wet statement'”. I suppose he has a point, although there are more fashionable options out there for the style-conscious).
I know, clothing prices look pretty expensive. Sales, however, can really slash prices, so keep your eyes out for those as well as the potentially cheaper options discussed below!
Gear for a student budget
Some lower priced ideas may include:
- Used clothing shop, Fretex (you may be able to hunt for some inexpensive treasures here).
- Flea markets may also offer some cheap finds for the patient. Check out my post, “Loppemarked (Flea Markets) and Beyond” for suggestions for finding flea markets in Bergen.
- XXL, a large sports store, may be worth a look.
- Stormberg, I’ve been told they may have more reasonably priced outdoor options.
- Coop OBS Hypermarked at the Storsenter (mall) at Lagunen may have some cheaper basic rain gear options.
- Spar Kjøp (next to the police station in the Sentrum), may also have inexpensive, if potentially utilitarian, rain coats.
- Vera Moda (woman’s clothes), H&M, and Cubus may be worth checking, if not for hardy outdoor gear, at least for those warm accessories at a more reasonable price.
*Warning, these sites are in Norwegian, so get a translator plug in on your browser!
I’m told that the online option Zalando.com provides a wide range of clothing/brands, and the prices will also range dramatically.