What to wear to the Arctic Circle

When I first got the job in Lapland I had no clue what to expect. I knew that the weather was cold, there would be a lot of snow and minus temperatures are the norm. I was apprehensive as I am one of the coldest people I know and have been known to go to bed wearing 3 million layers (including gloves) when it has been the slightest bit cold!

I had never been to a cold climate country so really had no idea what to buy and to pack, nor how to keep myself warm- I was convinced I was going to freeze to death. However I needn’t have worried and ended up being quite toasty during my time in Lapland. I realised that I couldn’t have been the only one with concerns about what to buy and pack so I decided to write this post to share what I learned.

This blog post, if you hadn’t guessed will be a guide of what to wear when visiting a sub arctic country. I will give you a guide on what to take, how you could possibly save some money and also hints and tips I learned during my trip to Lapland. So here goes:

  • The first, and possibly most important thing I would say is LAYERS!! Layers are essential as they trap in the warm air that keeps you nice and snug throughout the day. A lot of people have the misconception that big, chunky items will warm them up. Whilst that might work in the UK, it will not work when you are knee deep in snow in -10 (and that’s warm!). On the days where I would be outside I would wear no less than 7 layers on top and no less than 3 on the bottom! I think that might be a bit excessive if you aren’t planning to be outside all day, but the layers are worth having when it gets past -30.

Here’s list of the layers I wore:

–  1 pair of trouser thermals

–  1 pair of leggings

– 1 pair of salopettes

–  2 pairs socks (I will cover this more in a moment)

– snow boots

–  2 thermal tops

– 2 thermal fleeces

– jumper

– snood, or scarf


– soft shell jacket

– coat

– glove liners

– gloves

  • Socks- there is a lot of debate about how many socks to wear, what type of socks to wear and what order to wear them in. I had people who swore by wearing a pair of normal socks underneath a pair of ski socks,I had other people who wore normal socks over ski socks. I had people who said that normal socks were completely pointless.

Really, I think it’s just a case of what feels best for you. I would always just wear 2 pairs of ski socks. I did try wearing normal socks underneath but found it made absolutely no difference, but as I say see what works well for you.

  • Don’t spend a fortune- the majority of the things I got I spent hardly any money on. The thermal layers, snood, salopettes and fleeces I got cheaply from amazon and eBay, and the socks I think I got 6 pairs for £5 or something like that. They were all good quality and really did the job! You can find snow boots quite cheaply online and just use a jumper you already own.

The only things I would say to spend more money on is the coat, glove liners and gloves. Luckily I had a friend who leant them to me but I know that I would have been lost if I didn’t have them or hadn’t had good quality ones. It is really worth scouting around eBay for cheaper second hand ones if you don’t want to spend the money on brand new ones.

  • Body warmers- Ok I’ll be honest, I did think body warmers were cheating and for the wusses who couldn’t handle the cold. However, I decided to treat myself to some disposable hand and feet warmers on Christmas Day and I wish I had done so earlier.  Christmas Day was one of the coldest days in Lapland whilst I was there and I was freezing; I had given my hand warmers away to a cold child pretty much as soon as we stepped outside but I hate to think how much colder I would have been had I not had my feet warmers. For a lot of families, the warmers were a godsend and I can definitely understand why, particularly on the colder days. They are not terribly expensive either and they last for 8 hours before they run out and can be disposed of.

That is all I can think of for clothing tips. I will be adding more posts about tips I learned that will hopefully make your trip to the cold climates a little easier so keep your eyes peeled!


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