Longyearbyen Campsite: Cold, but comfy campground
Svalbard campsite is a good, basic campsite for those who want a real (or, sort of real) Artic survival experience. Warning - it is cold, even in summer. When we were there, the sun shone on the first "day", then it rained most of the time (so much for a desert environment) but the rain was relatively light. In mid July, the outside temperature was around 5oC, and that is COLD to most people. We hired a nice big tent (2.8 m tall tee-pee, 4 m base) - it was wonderfully roomy, but not warm. We also hired "American army" sleeping bags - narrow at the base, with a kind of hood - to reduce our luggage. There were bicycles for hire too - at 100 NOK's per day, cheaper than in town (200 NOKs) but most not in a very good condition. Mine was fine, but the guys complained about theirs. The walk to town is long (4 km) although we did it several times just to enjoy the atmosphere. You can also take a taxi to town - around 90 NOKs, warm, and worth it if you're in a hurry. The showers were mostly nice and warm, but needed forward planning to buy a shower token for 10 NOKs.
It was wonderful to meet the variety of characters who frequent the campsite. The cooking room has hot plates, and a good variety of cooking utensils. The fewest people I ever saw there was around 2, and it was often pumping with 20 or 30. People may also leave unwanted food behind, and so a great variety of basic stuff like oil and spices were available (some however, only named in Russian). It was amazingly international. It's also just next to the airport (although the path is not very user-friendly, or visible from the airport at 01h00). I recommend taking tea and coffee and thermoses for comfort, as well as back-up toilet paper. Air mattresses may be hired, but quality not guaranteed - I recommend taking your own, for both comfort and warmth. Note also that due to the sensitivity of the artic vegetation, you're not allowed to camp on it (a wierd rule to foreigners) so don't expect any comfort or warmth from this source. There was a lot of loose soil in our tent (my husband thought it a lot like copy toner) because the ground mat didn't cover everything - a lightweight additional groundmat would have helped.