We’ve been lucky enough to spend 3 days in Lapland this December where it reached minus 12 degrees. It didn’t get light until around 11am and the light was already fading by 2.30pm. At this time of year the sun doesn’t fully rise above the horizon so it’s chilly! If you’re heading to a similar climate, here’s my 5 top tips;
1/ Wool is your friend whereas cotton is not.
Why? Well once cotton gets wet perhaps through snow or perspiration it doesn’t dry out. It holds in the moisture, which can cool you down quickly. Also clothes that are damp don’t have the breath-ability of dry clothes, which is key in a cold environment. So do try to avoid cotton where possible. Jeans are equally as useless as cotton so ditch those in favour of fleece lined leggings unless you want frozen pins. Wool on the other hand is amazing and seemed to keep us toasty warm.
2/ Layers are key
It’s better to have multiple thinner layers than one thick one. This is because the air gets trapped between the layers to keep you warm. You might feel like a Russian doll getting dressed every morning and going to the loo can be seriously challenging but you’ll be thankful once you’re outside. On my hands I wore liners, woollen mittens and then leather outers. On my feet were merino liners, boiled wool inners and heavy duty boots. I also had thermal base layers, a jumper, a fleece, a neck warmer and a hat. It might sound excessive but it was needed and to be honest, after 45 minutes on a snowmobile even this wasn’t enough to keep my extremities as warm as I would have liked. The children also had fleece balaclavas.
3/ Go for the best quality gear you can afford.
Most of my winter kit is 15 years old and still going strong. Merino is king if you really want to get the best so keep your eyes peeled for bargains in the sales as well as charity shops and stock up for future use. Cashmere is also great for warmth as is fleece. I also really recommend that if you’re planning on taking photos using your smartphone then buy a pair of base layer gloves with little patches on the thumb and index finger that let you use the touchscreen. Thick gloves (especially mittens) make it impossible to work any controls on your camera, and you don’t want to be continuously exposing your bare hands to the cold air to get your camera to work! If you’re investing in snowboots, I recommend you buy them a size larger than your normal shoes. This way, you can wear thick woolly socks and still have extra room inside the boot for warm air to circulate around your toes.
4/ Mind the gap(s)
Where you can, tuck things in. For example, tuck tops into bottoms and put your gloves on BEFORE you put on your coat/ski suit. This helps prevent those little gaps where cold air can seap in (and once it’s in it’s horrid) Don’t underestimate the importance of a neck warmer or a scarf and do your coat ALL the way up!
5/ Don’t forget the moisturiser and lip balm
Temperatures that don’t get above freezing are harsh on your skin and lips. You’ll dry out in no time so take care of your face too and lather on the moisturiser! But.... make sure your products are NOT water-based as water-based lotions accelerate frostbite!
Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. If you dress correctly for the conditions, you can go out in practically any weather…….even I had my limits though!