How to prepare for winter in the arctic

In the Arctic they say that there is no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad clothing. Dressing in the right way with the right clothes will help ensure you stay warm even in our arctic winter temperatures which can be anything from 0 to -35

The secret to staying warm is having layers of clothing starting with wooden underwear and finishing with winter overalls, boots, gloves and hat

Most of the hotels and activity providers that we recommend provide guests with the last layer being winter overalls, boots, gloves, hat/beanie and sometimes even socks.
You should bring with you warm wooden underwear (long johns) in one or two pieces as well as fleecy pants and shirt/jacket and several pairs of warm, preferably woollen socks.

The clothing layers

  • Base layer – Which Controls warmth and moisture.
    The base layer should be soft, comfortable – and breathable. It should wick away any perspiration, so your skin stays dry. If you ask anyone in Swedish Lapland, they’d probably say that (merino) wool is the way to go while cotton is a poor choice. A long sleeve top and long-johns along with a pair of thermal socks should do the trick. Add layers of socks to your liking and an extra pair is always good to have within reach in case your feet get wet.
  • Mid Layer – To keep in the heat.
    The mid layer is the insulating layer and should be designed to keep you warm, it’s optional and mostly for very cold conditions. A fleece jacket or a thick wool sweater are both good insulating layers. Thick warm pants of polyester or fleece will keep your lower body warm. The key is flexibility: adding or removing mid layers quickly, pulling up or down a zipper or unbuttoning a collar without a hassle will make your life easier.
  • Outer Layer – Which protects you from the elements.
    To stay dry in a snowy climate, your outer layer should be water- and windproof. In Swedish Lapland, we often refer to our outer layers as ”täckisar” which refers to clothes stuffed with down feathers, or just plain warm and puffy. Even though nowadays they are made by other insulating, synthetic materials, warm and durable winter clothing is what you want.

The Weather and the Cold

In a similar way to taking precautions in the sun it is also important to understand the precautions that should be taken in the cold.

  • Never make any journey without wearing the appropriate clothing and footwear. Even on a very short trip you can get very cold.
  • When out for long periods of time ensure you wrap up warm and protect your extremities, such as hands and feet.
  • Avoid applying face moisturisers immediately before going outside as the water in these creams can cause frost bite.
  • If at any point any part of your body feels cold or uncomfortable return indoors as soon as possible. If you are out on an activity inform
    your guide immediately.
  • Should you feel unwell at any time during or after being out in the cold contact your guide or your accommodation provider immediately.

Clothing and Equipment

Many of our destinations are within, or very close to, the Arctic circle and can therefore experience low temperatures. When planning what
to wear we recommend using a layer system, with multiple layers of clothing creating air spaces between the layers. These air spaces serve
to both insulate and ventilate. We recommend taking:

  • A Waterproof winter coat, such as a ski jacket.
  • Ski mittens or gloves, and hat, scarf or buff and sunglasses – it is also worth taking a pair of liner gloves if you intend to take photos
  • Sturdy waterproof walking boots or snow boots suitable for cold icy conditions and thermal socks – make sure your boots are large enough
    to fit good quality thermal socks as wearing boots that are too tight can reduce air circulation to your toes.
  • Ice grips are also a very good item to take with you.
  • Mobile phone
  • Salopettes, winter walking trousers
  • Thermal under clothing

Where possible do not wearing cotton clothing, especially as a base layer as this holds moisture and can reduce the ability to retain heat.

Kit Hire

In many of our destinations it is possbile to rent a cold weather clothing kit like snow suit, boots, hat and gloves. For more information on this
kit hire service please contact us.

Extra Equipment

From our experience in the destination you may want to take the following additional items. They are not essential but might be worth

  • Head Torch with a red light function – the red light will not affect your night vision like a white light will – great for evenings looking for the
  • Hand and foot warmer pads
  • Ice Grips
  • Plug adaptors for the country you are visiting.
  • Phone / camera charger, plus extra batteries
  • Memory card for your camera.