There are some typical questions, which we are asked repeatedly. Partly, they are answered also in other sections of this webside, but we have included them into this collection, nevertheless. Following, you will find answers to the following approximately 20 questions - scroll down to the answers in the same order:
1) Isn´t the location near the airport inconvenient ?
2) Do we need a reservation ?
3) Can I arrive also off the regular office hours ?
4) What should I bring with me ?
5) Children on the campsite
6) Pets (dogs, cats) on the campsite
7) What about shopping and range of products ?
8) Cooking and eating in the service building
9) Food provisions and storage, refrigerator
11) Why do warm showers have to be paid extra ?
12) Washing and drying of clothes
13) Telephone and internet
14) Electric devices, loading of batteries
15) Transport: bus, taxi, bicycle, car rental
16) Can I get post to the campingsite ?
17) Storage and tent on campsite during longer absence
19) Alcohol, smoking and other drugs
20) Use of the campsite off season
21) Safety on Longyearbyen Camping - Polar Bears and other issues
22) Is the road to Longyearbyen safe ?
Some travellers are intrigued by the beautiful setting of the campingsite, but are worried about possible noise from the airport and also the distance to the center of Longyearbyen.
As for the aircraft noise, most guests are pleasantly surprised that this is usually less a problem than feared. First of all, traffic is limited - this is not a major airport. During peak season, there are about 2 scheduled jets landing and starting per day. In addition comes some local air traffic by turboprop plane and helicopter, and some extra flights from and to the mainland. So activity is limited. Moreover, even that occasional noise is reduced considerably by the airport buildings, which act in practice like a noise reduction for the campsite, plus the location of the campsite under the slope, which results in additional noise reduction. So complaints by customers about airport noise are fairly rare.
As for the distance to the center: Yes, this is about 4-5 km. Walking this distance in between can be nice - if you do not want to do this too often, you can use the airport shuttle bus which operates in connection with all scheduled mainland flights, you can order a taxi or you can » rent a bicycle or a rental car. Some campsite guests are also quite successful with hitchhiking.
And for many guests, the distance to the center is more than compensated by the great setting of the campsite with the fauna, flora and the impressive fjord panorama. For many, this is even a reason to come back again and again over the years. And, by the way, this is also very helpful on arrival and departure days. Upon arrival, you have to cover only a short distance to your place of stay. And before departure, the way is also short - a fact which has helped not least those who have difficulties with leaving.
Being out of town in this nice location, is a plus.
For up to 8 persons in summer season: No, only for equipment you may want to rent. For groups of more than 8 persons a reservation is mandatory.
For stays in September we recommend a prior information in any case - with sufficient request, we can even prolong the season then, while we may cut down services or even close earlier around middle of September in case of too little reservations for after September 10th by August 1st. For more information, see relevant passage about reservations in the section Services, Prices, Reservations ... .
Yes, we try to be unbureaucratic. However:
Show consideration: If you come at night, please keep in mind that most likely people sleep in the tents on the campsite. This is often forgotten by newcomers who are fascinated by the full daylight even in the middle of the night, and who then talk loudly or make other noises.
Registration and payment: After arrival, check first whether someone of our team is available - this is usually the case also for the night flights.
Make yourself familiar with the campsite rules (for instance from this website) - main aspects are:
• No shoes, which have been used outside, should be worn inside (fine dark dust).
• No storage and sleeping inside,
• Clean up in kitchen and also on and around your table immediately after use. Dishes, cutlery and cooking gear are to be dried up and stored away immediately, no dripping piles left to others !
• Splash water in the bathrooms has to be removed immediately so that others do not get wet socks.
• Sort your garbage, no food into the garbage (food remains except of bones into toilet), no littering on the campsite (also no cigarette stumbs !).
• No public consumption of alcohol and other drugs inside and outside, smoking only outside in places where others are not disturbed (not under windows, not in front of entrance, no littering with cigarette stumps).
• No disturbance of wildlife, no feeding of animals. Do not follow retreating animals (also for pictures), retreat in case of bird attacks - they defend their young, not for entertainment or pictures.
• No damages to the tundra vegetation, including no fires.
• Put up your tent within the area of the campsite (the flat tundra below the airport parking place - pipe dam as eastern limit, coastal road northern limit), respecting a certain privacy of others and avoid spots where obviously another tent had been standing just before, so that the vegetation can regenerate.
• Stones evtl. used for securing your tents have to be collected on vegetation-free ground afterwards to minimize tundra coverage during the short vegetation period.
• Avoid noise during night hours, respecting the sleep of other guests.
We try to make it easy for you by allowing arrival and setting up of tent also without registering during office hours. In return, we expect cooperation from your side by registering and paying (cash only, norwegian crowns (nkr,NOK)) during the next office hours, without having to be asked.
Our principal assumption is that our guests come with all necessary equipment. The items we offer for rent, are first of all thought as a backup for emergencies (baggage lost on the way up, etc.).
Criminality on the campsite and in Spitsbergen in general is extremely low - but on the other hand, we do not have any lockers, etc. for storing valuable or dangerous goods. Even if we are willing to store some items temporarily, we do not accept any responsibility for them. Please take this into account when planning what to bring along.Camping equipment: Your gear should be suitable for arctic conditions - also on our campsite. This means for tents first of all very high wind stability. Of lightweight tents, tunnels or cupolas/geodetics of high quality and with many lines and plugs to give them extra stability, are most suitable, alternatively also teepee tents of high quality, made for hard wind conditions. Of course, there are also many days with no or little wind, but one should be prepared also for other conditions.
In winter/spiring season, snow accumulation, snow pressure and intruding very fine snow can be serious challenges in a snow storm. A lot of tents have collapsed already under accumulating snow, even with the users trying to dig them free repeatedly, other tents got full of drift snow, entering through small openings and making the interior uninhabitable. If you camp outside our season with the service building locked, you should make sure that your stove does not strike with the locally available fuel types.
Shoes for inside: Inside the service building, no shoes are allowed which have been worn outside, because the dark fine dust turns the interior quickly into an unpleasant mess, especially in combination with just a few drops of water on the floor. If you do not want to walk in socks in the building (most guests do), you can bring slippers or flip-flops along for inside - as long as you do not use them outside on the campsite, too. Also a training suit or something similar can be comfortable and nice - also for a nightly quick tour to the toilet. It is not so clever to leave indoor shoes in the entrance - there they may be appreciated as a nice service also by other guests (less risk if you mark them very clearly with a name).
Rubber boots for summer excursions: If you want to join some excursions into the wilderness in summer, rubber boots (at least knee-high) are very recommendable for wading swamps, icecold and rapid streams or deep snow full of meltwater. Some people do all the excursions in hiking rubber boots ("green wellies"), others change between sturdy hiking boots and rubber boots.
And for having your meals and drinks: While we have some pots and pans in the kitchen, it is recommendable to bring along cups, plates and cutlery, as these often seem to "evaporate" from our cupboards and drawers. Regarding drinks: public consumption of alcohol is forbidden in non-licensed places, so obvious bottles for alcoholic drinks are not so welcome to be used in the building and openly on the campsite. On the other hand, we cannot control every thermos and cup, as long as the behaviour gives no reason for suspicion.
Children are among our welcome guests every year and as long as they are used to nature and travelling to such location, and as long as the parents adapt to the needs of children, this can be a very nice experience for them. However, please note that we have no special facilities for children (playground, toys).
Accompanying grown-ups should take care that children show consideration to the local flora and fauna and avoid possible contacts with firearms, explosives and fuels. It has to be expected that at least some of the guests have such dangerous items with them and though it is the responsibility of the person bringing along such items to make sure that these cannot cause harm to others, it can be wise to make sure that children do not get in contact with them also as a parent or other person accompanying children.
The campsite attendant is willing to give children a special introduction into what can be seen on and around the campsite, and where one has to be careful.
As a support to families, children up to the age of 12 do not have to pay for staying on the campsite.
Child care: Over the summer season, we offer a child care service on the campsite on request for children age 4-10, with booking and payment in advance, to give the other family members the possibility of doing some more demanding day excursions.
Dogs can be brought to Spitsbergen, provided some rules are followed, inclucing a mandatory rabies vaccination (there is rabies on Svalbard) - check the rules in detail with the governor (Sysselmannen). Please note that dogs MUST be kept on a lead all the time, also at the campingsite - one reason is disturbance of animals by dogs. If you bring along a dog, it is your responsibility on the campsite to remove and dispose its faeces. Moreover, you have to make sure that a dog does not unduely disturb other guests.
Cats: it is forbidden to bring cats to Spitsbergen.
Other animals: importing other animal species, also as pets, is very restricted in Spitsbergen. To avoid problems, check regulations first - or do not plan it, at all.
Sales on the campsite are limited: the attendant will sell usually postcards, stamps and possibly some beverages. Toilet paper rolls for those going out on longer tours are available, as well. Fuel (gas, petrol, paraffine, etc.), left behind by other guests, is passed on to interested customers free of charge. However, we are neither a store nor an expedition outfitter - for logistical services, get in touch with Spitsbergen Tours, and for normal shopping, you find a wide choice of products in the shops of Longyearbyen, which is perfectly sufficient for the needs of self-catering on the campsite. Furthermore, Longyearbyen can boast with 4 (!) sports shops and there is a post office, bank, pharmacy, the supermarket Svalbardbutikken and a range of further shops from souvenirs to technical articles. Fresh products (especially milk fruit), and some other articles (for instance chocolate) are considerably more expensive than in central Europe.
Alcoholic beverages: for beer, strong wine and alcoholic beverages with higher content of alcohol, the only shop is "Norpolet" in the Supermarket Svalbardbutikken - contrary to the supermarket itself, this shop-in-shop is open Mo-Fr only 10-18, not on the weekends and - important - for all alcoholic beverages with the exception of wine, there is a quota. For buying your quota, you need your flight ticket, on which your prchases up to the maximal quantity will be noted. Observe that public drinking of alcoholic beverages is forbidden, with the exception of licensed places. The campsite is not licensed, so no obvious drinking of alcoholic beverages there !
For going out, there is a wide range of restaurants in Longyearbyen, from the pizza stand to quite advanced cuisine, and also a wide range of bars.
The combined eating room and kitchen with its electric stoves, sink with water tab, some pots and pans is meant for all guests during the season. Cooking and eating here, includes also the duty of cleaning away the traces of your cooking in the kitchen area immediately so that also other guests can use the kitchen in an acceptable way. Please wash up also the cooking equipment, which you have used, soonest possible, so that it is available for other guests again, and do not use the kitchen area for storing your food provisions or half-emptied pots, blocking the area and the equipment for others. Cooking utensils, dishes and cutlery should also be dried up and stored away immediately, instead of just piling it up wet besides or in the sink.When having finished eating, everybody is expected to clean both the used tables and benches, and also the floor under them of food remains and other dirt. As long as the campsite is not very full, you can stay sitting in the service building also for other purposes. However, if all tables are in use, it is quite likely that also other camping guests wait for having their meal inside. Then those who have finished, should give the next ones a chance for getting some space.
Undesired bad habits:
> Entering the room with any kinds of shoes used outside
> Occupying additional tables with items
> Ignoring proper waste sorting
> Throwing soft wet food remains into the residual garbage
> Not cleaning up around stoves and on and under table
> Not drying and putting away used dishes - do not just leave them next to the sink !
> Leaving cooked meal remains standing in pots etc. for next day or others - usually, this just occupies place and pots, and will be thrown away later, anyway
> Occupying the eating room longer than needed for cooking and eating when the campsite is full
> Leaving personal items in the room over night.
It is not allowed to use the service building as a storage place. This refers both to food provisions and to other items (cameras, computers, hygienic articles in the bathrooms, etc.). Please take all your properties back to your tent, when you leave the service building. As for refrigerator: we do not have any for our customers - not least because the typical temperature in a fridge is around +7° C, while typical temperatures outside in the shadow in summer are usually +3° to +12° C, so there is not so much need for a refrigerator, really. Just make sure that your provisions are not too invitingly offered to possibly visiting foxes, skuas or gulls.
Provisions left inside the eating room are regarded as left behind for general use by everybody. For such provisions, which are still OK, also the cupboards in the kitchen section can be used and all guests can use from there what they like.
Garbage is a serious problem in the Arctic, and especially in more affluent places like Longyearbyen. Things take very long for natural decay, and sins of the past stay visible for decades, which in lower latitudes have been grown over long ago. Virtually almost everything has to be brought up over long distances, leading to lots of packaging materials. And things which are to be discarded or sorted out, are a bigger challenge, too: in these little and isolatded settlements, chances for second hand use or even for giving things away free for reuse, are more limited than in a big town, and freight back to the mainland is complicated and expensive.
Our guests can contribute to keeping the garbage problem low by not bringing too much foreseeable garbage. Portionwise packed meals, for instance, cause a lot of garbage.
Longyearbyen still has a dump for residual garbage, but is on the way to complete a waste handling concept which will return all wastes, which are not easily biodegradable, back to the mainland.
You can support this by carefully separating your wastes into the right fractions and put them into the appropriate containers in the service building (paper/cardboard, aluminium, other metals, glass, residual dry garbage). Unfortunately, this still seems to be a mental challenge for some guests, who otherwise often pretend to be very environment-conscious. Here more details about the waste fractions:
> Paper and Cardboard - only corrugated cardboard and writing paper /newspapers / magazines are collected in a separate container for recycling. All other types of paper (paperbags, cardboard cups and plates, pizza boxes, toilet paper rolls, cardboard beverage boxes, and so on) should be discarded in the residual garbage, which will be delivered to a waste power plant on the mainland.
> Aluminium beverage cans - separate container for separate recycling, to be emptied before disposal.
> Other metals (including other aluminium) - these are mostly other metal food cans, ruined tent pegs, and so on: separate container for recycling, again: cans carefully EMPTIED !
> Glas - please no plastic bottles, and glasses placed here should be emptied thoroughly.
> Plastic - no separate recycling, goes into the residual garbage as fuel for a waste power plant on the mainland.
> Residual normal garbage - this container is not for liquids and not for wet and soft food remains. Glass and thicker metals are especially unwelcome, as these wear out or even damage the crusher/mill, which processes the residual garbages in the waste treatment facility in Longyearbyen. Bones free of meat and bigger fruit kernels are OK.
> Wet food remains: In 2011, we hopefully will get a shredder for these in the kitchen, washing them then into the sewage system. Until then, wet and soft (no bones, no bigger fruit kernels) food remains are to be disposed into the toilet, as food remains otherwise will rotten between the other garbage and cause various hygienic problems there.
> Bulky objects: Ask campsite attendant.
> Residual special garbage: Ask campsite attendant.
> Toilets/bathrooms: The small dustbins are for residual waste, only (hair, tampons, etc.) - not for empty shampoo bottles, toilet paper rolls, etc., which belong into the respective sorting containers !
> Tour garbage: Waste brought back from tours is not part of the responsibility of Longyearbyen Camping, but should be disposed in Longyearbyen - sorted, and optimally delivered right to the waste processing plant at the shore. Quantities up to a few kilos are accepted free of charge.
Providing running water, especially hot, is one of the most expensive amenities in the Arctic, and especially in a location like the campsite, at some distance from other buildings, requiring costly long insulated and frostprotected (temperature-sensitive heating-cable) supply pipes and a water system inside the house, which needs frequent maintenance due to frost every winter when the campsite systems are shut down to save energy.
Showering is the main use of hot water. By charging for shower time extra, each customer makes a conscious decision about how often and how long he or she uses hot water for showering, and pays for this, accordingly. By experience, most guests manage their shower within the 5 minutes per token, those who want to shower longer, can spend more tokens on this. Statistics over many years show that the number of shower tokens we sell, equals about 2 minutes hot shower per guest and day (as most guests shower only every second or third day). If we would include showering into the overnight price, and thereby without incentive for low water use, consumption of hot shower water would go up - what is seemingly free, is used more and longer - and in addition to more water and energy, we would have to invest into bigger boilers for providing the necessary hot water quantities, etc.. In reality, however, the hot shower water would not be free of charge: To compensate for this, we would have to increase overnight prices considerably, for instance by NOK 15 per person and night. This would not be fair against guests who are more conscious about saving water and energy, having to pay for a higher average consumption nevertheless, which they do not use, subsidizing others who like to shower more often and longer.
In view of this alternative, we consider it more fair to allow each guest to decide him- or herself, how much he or she wants to shower - and have to pay for this amenity, accordingly. Quite surely, this leads to lower total average costs of stay for the campsite guests, and also to less consumption of electric energy and water, while respecting the freedom of individual choice.
Currently, we have no washing machine for guests on the campsite. However, there is a washing service in Longyearbyen. On the campsite, you can wash clothes by hand in the bathrooms.
For drying, we have some lines on the balcony. Wet , shoes, socks and other wet clothes are not to be dried on the radiators of the heating in the building - both for smell and fire safety reasons.
There is a telephone in the attendant´s office on the campsite, which is not meant normally for calls by guests, but for urgent cases, you can leave the number (international: 0047-79021444, 0047-97744696) to your relatives and friends. Please observe that the office is manned only short periods per day.
The campsite is within reach of the local norwegian GSM mobile telephone nets of two Norwegian providers. These nets are basically limited to the areas of Longyearbyen, Barentsburg and Svea, with only occasional contact also a bit further out. Norwegian SIM cards and fitting amounts of units can be bought in several shops in Longyearbyen (you need an identity proof for this).
Internet: So far, we have no own WLAN internet on the campsite. Internet via highspeed mobile phone of the local GSM providers is possible also from the campsite. Alternatively, the public library in Longyearbyen offers registration on a list for half an hour internet use - free of charge, during opening hours.
In the service building, there is a number of electric sockets (Euro-plug format, 220 V), which can be used for operating electric devices including battery chargers within reasonable limits and as long as certain sockets are not occupied mostly by just a few users.
Nothing should be left over night by our guests in the service building - this applies also to electric devices like battery chargers. Items left behind will be collected and locked away, which may cause problems for the owner, for instance if the campsite attendant is not available in time on the following day. For exceptions, an agreement is needed with the attendant.
There are no outside sockets on the campingsite and as a rule, the use of electric cords through windows etc. is not accepted (risk of accidents, loss of warmth).
During the main season, there are on average 2 bus connections per day between Longyearbyen and the airport (shuttle bus for the flights), which can be used by anybody (about nkr 50 per tour).
Taxis can be ordered by telephone (see numbers on board in service building), preferrably from and to the nearby airport parking place, prices depend on day and daytime.
We do have a few outworn older bicycles on the campsite, but cannot guarantee their functioning, so we do not advertise bicycle rental. If you find one to be sufficiently OK, you can make a deal with the attendant. But we recommend to rent good bicycles in Longyearbyen. If you stay longer, even bringing along an own bicycle can be an idea in some cases.
Cars can be rent in Longyearbyen (one company also at the airport). If you rent a car, please remember: it is forbidden to drive off the roads, so no driving onto the campsite tundra to your tent, either.
In principle: yes. Post arriving in our postbox for guests will be pinned to the pinboard in the service building from where you can collect it as we have no guest postboxes. We do not accept any further responsibility for such post. When giving the campsite address to other persons, please keep in mind (and tell everybody who gets this address), that post to Longyearbyen may take some time. Post which is not collected from the pinboard after a week, will be given back to the post office, which may lead to extra costs for the sender or receiver of the post.
Furthermore, we accept for guests only normal letters and postcards. Parcels, small parcels, recommanded letters, etc. for guests will be accepted by us only if there is a specific agreement about this in advance with the guest.
The post address of the campsite: Longyearbyen Camping, Postboks 6, N-9171 Longyearbyen.
Unmanned tent: If you have been our paying customer for at least 4 days, you can keep your tent standing on the campground also unattended for some days (for instance going on an organised tour) - this has to be reported to the attendant in advance. As long as nobody lives in it, this will be then free of charge. However, you still have to make sure that it will be moved to a new spot on the campsite after maximally 7 days on one spot, to let the vegetation underneath recover. If the attendant realises that a tent has been standing longer than 7 days on the same spot, he can move it to another spot without consent of the owner, if the owner is not accessible then, and can charge the owner afterwards NOK 100 for each moving of the tent. The attendant is not obliged to look after unattended tents - make sure that such a tent is well secured against possible storm during your absence.
Storage inside the service building is not permitted, otherwise, we would quickly have a mess of personal belongings in there. Upon special agreement with the attendant, some items may be stored in the campsite office temporarily. However, we do not accept any liability for items stored there, nevertheless, and you accept the risk of possibly not getting them back at the planned point of time, if the attendant is hindered to be there, then.
The storage area under the service building can be used free of charge for temporary storage of equipment by guests, who have been paying customer of Longyearbyen Camping during the same season for at least 4 nights per person. Please note that this storage area is not always locked and Longyearbyen Camping accepts no responsibility whatsoever for items stored there. Stronger wind can blow dust and humidity under the building, so items stored there should be packed accordingly. This storage is possible during the season, only. Items found under the service building at the end of the season without specific agreement for long-term storage, will be removed and discarded. Alternatively, you can make a long-term storage agreement with us, which exceeds the present season - but only on payment basis and again without any liability on our side. Until we installed this regulation, the storage area under the building gradually was filled up with items from guests who had vague ideas about possibly coming back somewhen in the future.
Storage of dangerous goods (fuels (gas and liquids), weapons, explosives, dangerous chemicals) is not accepted under the service buildings.
Food provisions stored there have to be in waterproof and mouseproof containers.
As we have stoves in the kitchen, there is not much need for fuels on the campsite during the season. We do not sell fuels, normally. However, we do sometimes have spare fuel of more or less unknown origin and type, left behind by some guests before departure. You are very welcome to check these bottles, cans and cartridges (gas), if there is anything you consider suitable for you and take it with you for free, at own risk. We recommend, however, that you give it a serious try before taking it on a longer expedition. Some expeditions have failed, even needing rescue operations, because on tour, their stoves started refusing to operate even with regular fuel bought in Longyearbyen. In winter, some day marches from the next settlement, without possibility of melting snow and cooking water for preparing modern instant meals, can indeed be a serious problem.
We are no collectors of half-empty fuel containers (gas cans, strange bottles with uncertain content of liquids) - and demand by other guests for such started fuel containers is minimal. So please finish your fuel and do not just leave it behind ! Residual fuel is special waste and has to be delivered as such to the waste treatment center in Longyearbyen.
No fuel inside the service building !
Alcohol: According to Norwegian law valid also in Spitsbergen, public consumption of alcohol is legal only in licensed places. Longyearbyen Camping is not licensed. Therefore: no obvious consumption of alcohol in the service building or visibly on the campground. Naturally, we cannot control every thermos bottle or every cup, nor what you do inside your tent, as long as there are no visible or audible symptoms of alcohol consumption, which may annoy other guests. But bottles of alcoholic beverages are not accepted publicly on the campsite.
Smoking: According to Norwegian law, smoking is forbidden in public places. For the camping site, this means: no smoking anywhere inside the service building (also not in the toilets) and outside no smoking in places where it is likely to disturb other guests (near windows, near entrance, on balcony to the outside toilets). Cigaret stumbs are to be collected and disposed into the residual garbage - not just dropped or hidden under stones, etc..
Other drugs: No other drugs on the campsite - Norwegian law is very strict about drugs.
As explained also on the sides Seasons & Climate und Spitsbergen Camping in General , Longyearbyen Camping is the only place where camping is permitted in a large area around Longyearbyen. Also outside our seasons, campers are therefore expected to camp on the campground, if they want to camp in the Longyearbyen area. Outside our seasons, the use of the campground is free of charge. However, also the service building will be locked then (including the outside toilets on the balcony) and our freshwater pipe will be emptied to prevent frost damages - so outside the seasons, there will be no facilities and services whatsoever available on the campsite, except of the terrain for setting up your tent. As this are mostly periods with snow, snow can be used for melting it into water on your stove.
For urgent toilet purposes, we ask users of the campground outside the seasons, to head for the tidal zone of the beach for "natural flushing", while used toilet paper should be collected and burnt.
Garbage has to be delivered to the waste facility in the shore area on the eastern side of Longyear river in Longyearbyen.
Extra opening: Alternatively, you can also make an agreement with us about a special opening of the campsite.
This is easiest right before or after our regular season, because then, you do not have to pay also for an extra opening, check and closing of the water system.
For extra openings considerably after/before the season, costs will also be considerably higher, because then, also an extra opening, check and closing of our water system will have to be paid, which together costs around NOK 10.000 extra.
The nearby airport does not want to be abused as a free-of-charge waste disposal facility or as an alternative service building for campers using the campsite off season.
Also, the airport does not like the sewage pipe dam from the airport to the fjord to be abused as a footpath, as this wears down the dam.
Criminality: Crime is extremely low in Spitsbergen. Cases of items disappearing on the campsite are very rare - and practically always, the reason turns out to have been an error, or absentmindedness of the owner.
Natural dangers (except of polar bear): On Spitsbergen, there is both rabies, and also at least in a limited area some 5-10 km west of Longyearbyen a stable occurence of the fox tapeworm - both potentially lethal for humans and transferred most likely directly or indirectly by polar foxes, less likely also by other animals or other ways. This said, it has to be mentioned, too, that infections of humans with either disease are extremely rare in Spitsbergen, but it is worth taking basic precautions, nevertheless. Most important: do not feed any animals, including foxes, or give them easy access to food - even if it is tempting. Ecologically, feeding is an unnatural interference with the highly intact arctic ecosystems. And as a practical aspect, feeding takes away the last shyness from the animals, who are not really shy, anyway - and stimulates them in the end to enter tents, actively search for food and by this become a nuisance and a potential risk. Polar fox visits on the campsite are quite normal, almost daily in summer, and a great experience, but one should not invite trouble by actively attracting them.
Injuries by attacking birds (scratches, especially on head) are another possibility - most likely if an intruder threatens their eggs or young by coming too close to them. Most prominent for such attacks are the arctic terns, breeding especially around the bird lagoon on the other side of the coastal road, a few also on our side of that road. More severe attacks are possible by the much bigger skuas, but this is much less unlikely on the campsite area, as skuas do not breed on or very near to the campsite normally. Attacks come quickly to a halt, once you have brought some 30 metres of distance between you and the (often invisible) offspring. So in case of a bird attack: simply move away. Circling with a hand or a stick above the head prevents injuries to the head, as the bird always attacks the highest point - and if that point moves quickly, this is usually enough to prevent that it is hit by a bird. Remember: the birds are protected, you are the intruder into their small territory, and the bird cannot read your intentions (and often enough the most harmless intentions do not help if one steps onto a well-camouflaged egg or chick coincidentally - so the aggression of the birds does make some sense). To a large extent, bird attacks can be prevented by reasonable behaviour. By law, it is forbidden to intentionally disturb animals, do harm to them or to pursue retreating animals. This includes provocation of attacks for fun or photos - the bird wastes its precious energy and the eggs or young get cold or become victims to opportunistic predators. Also hitting against attacking birds with sticks etc. is both unnecessary and forbidden - a broken wing will mean slow death by starvation at least for the bird and possibly also for its offspring.
Polar Bears: Longyearbyen Camping is not fenced in and has no own alarm systems or guards. A polar bear proof fence would be first of all a massive and high and accordingly ugly and costly construction, and secondly of little value at least in winter and spring in view of snow drifts possibly building up exactly due to such obstacles, making them useless.
Instead, each user of the campsite is responsible for his or her savety himself or herself. Nevertheless, most guests during the summer season abstain from special protective measures (own alarm system, loaded gun) against potential polar bear visits, due to several statistical reasons: First of all, as Isfjords gets increasingly free of ice from June onwards, also the number of bears in this huge fjord system decreases, as they move mostly to more remote areas with more ice. Second, the terrain of and around Longyearbyen Camping is fairly flat and open, with permanent daylight for most of the summer season. An approaching white polar bear in this brownish-greenish environment would would therefore be usually visible on a good distance, already - and in summer, there is both a little car traffic and some activity on the campsite practically all around the clock in the full daylight, so an eventual bear would be seen most likely, and reported to the police by cellphone. In total, these factors make it very unlikely, that an undetected bear comes out of the fjord and jumps right onto your tent, before having been seen by anybody else. Since at least summer 1985 (opening of the service building with a permanent attendant), to our knowledge not a single polar bear has been discovered on the ground of Longyearbyen Camping during the summer season. Therefore, the risk of a polar bear attack on Longyearbyen Camping during summer may exist in theory, but is probably very marginal. It would not surprise us if the risk - highly marginal, too - of being killed by a car on the coastal road to Longyearbyen during summer should be calculated as higher, in spite of relatively little and mostly very disciplined little traffic on that road. The same risk assessment can be taken over also for moving around in Longyearbyen or on the connective road between airport and Longyearbyen: also on these popular roads, the risk of meeting a polar bear during summer in full daylight is pretty marginal. We would not be surprised, if the risk of being killed by a car accident is higher in the home countries of most of our guests - without anybody ever thinking much about such "normal" risks of life, inspite of ten thousands of persons killed in road traffic in Europe every year. So in summer, it is also up to you to take polar bear safety measures on the campsite, but the need for them should be pretty marginal, while at the same time, the risk of harming others (including children) with such safety measures has to be excluded, too. In essence, most visitors therefore abstain from such measures in summer.
The situation becomes quite different during other parts of the year: if daylight disappears, if the landscape becomes white and the fjord frozen, all this can make it easier for a polar bear to come close without being observed. Therefore, outside summer, we do advise to take polar bear safety precautions, also on the campsite, but again, injuries to others from such measures have to be excluded.
If you go on excursions out of the immediate area of frequently trafficked roads with open terrain around, proper arms (gun plus additional means of deterrence) are required to be taken along (either by you yourself, if travelling independently, or by the guide of an organised group) - because then, chances become much higher, that you are the first to encounter a bear not observed by anybody else before.
The use of alarm systems with explosives is forbidden on Longyearbyen Camping during summer due to the risk of injuries to others. Other alarm systems (electronic, mechanic noise, etc.) may be used within reasonable limits (risk of disturbance of others by wrong alarms, triggered by other animals or persons, etc.). In other parts of the year, with low activity on the campsite, alarm systems with explosives are not forbidden by us, but the persons using them have also the full responsibility for eventual damages and injuries caused by them.
Firearms may not be carried on the campsite and in Longyearbyen with ammunition inside the firearm. According to regulations, firearms have to be stored in a certified locker. This is difficult in a tent. As a minimum measure, we expect visitors intending to store a firearm in their tent to remove the bolt assembly and all ammunition and to take these items with them, making it impossible for others to abuse the weapon.
Owners of explosives including also ammunition, and of firearms, carry the full responsibility for bringing these dangerous items onto the campsite and have to make sure that these cannot harm others, including children.
As this question was asked often in addition to the general safety question, we give also an additional answer to it.
Short answer: In summer, with good visibility, the polar bear risk on that road is very marginal and then, most people use it unarmed. In the dark periods or in fog, and when there is ice on the fjord, one should be more careful.
Long answer: Basically, the answer is the same as for the campsite: In frequently trafficked places (like this road) under good visibility (i.e. not in darkness or dense fog), chances are very small that you are the first to run into a polar bear, before it has been spotted by a car driver, who normally would report it to the police by mobile phone. So normally, with good visibility and daylight, the risk of being hit by a car on this road is possibly bigger than a dangerous encounter with a polar bear - and also such traffic accidents are very rare. Strangely, the minute traffic risk is regarded as "normal", while the probably even lower polar bear risk on that road is worrying a number of visitors. Under good visibility conditions, the airport road is used without gun also by many local joggers or persons taking a stroll.
To be on the safest possible side, we recommend unarmed persons in autumn, winter and spring (then white terrain and eventual ice on the fjord makes a possible bear less easily visible), to go straight up from the campsite to the airport (Careful: the slope can be very icy. Again, an unlucky serious accident from falling may be more dangerous than the small chance of meeting a bear) and use the main route from the airport to town instead of the coastal road between campsite and coal harbour.
If it is dark and/or foggy, being armed on the road is more advisable, because then, also drivers will not spot a possible bear so easily, but keep in mind that latest when arriving at the buildings of Longyearbyen, your gun should be free of ammunition - and also when hitchhiking in a car !
Again, also in darkness or fog, the risk of being hit by a car is probably be bigger, especially when wearing dark (or in snow and fog: light-coloured) clothes. Strangely, many people worry a lot about possible polar bears, while spending no thought on the much more obvious risk of being overseen by a driver in fog or drifting snow. In darkness, it is generally recommended in Longyearbyen to fix a reflector to front and rear side of the clothes.