How to dress in winter in Lapland?

This is a crucial question when you decide to spend your next winter holidays in Lapland. It pops up in your mind the first time you decide to visit Lapland. You keep thinking about it when you decide to book the activities, and it will be still in your head the day that you start packing your luggage for the trip.

So, here we come with some advice to enjoy our fresh and chilly winter weather, where the temperatures can drop bellow -40°C (-40°F). Ok, that is (very) cold but also unusual. The temperatures that we will normally face are more likely between -15°C and -25°C (5°F and -13°F).

What to include in the luggage

I don’t recommend to spend a lot of money buying expensive winter and technical stuff in your home country, specially if you are not going to use them later to do winter activities such as skiing or snowboarding. But there are some basic clothes which will make your experience warmer (I mean less cold) in your visit to Lapland.

The warmest way to dress is by using a system of layers. Each layer has its own functions so, for different layers, we will have different kind of clothes and fabrics.

Base layer keeps you dry

This is the layer which is in contact with your skin, and it has to be designed to keep you dry no matter what you are doing: just standing or moving. Normally its tight-fitting, and you can choose different material such as merino wool or synthetic fibers. Merino wool is natural and warm, but it dries slower. The synthetic fibers will keep you normally dry, even if you are doing active activities, since they move the moisture out to the next layer.


Best layer clothes for your trip to Lapland

The base layer has to keep you warm and dry

You’ll find them in different thickness. The thicker is normally the warmer :)

Mid Layer: nice and warm

This is the one which will be in contact with your base layer. As the first layer,  it should keep you dry and  move the moisture away from your body, but it has to insulate too.  The best fabrics for the mid layer would be wool (again) and fleece. And again, wool is less recommended if you are planning to do some more active stuff.

Mid layer samples. How to dress for a trip to Lapland

On the left some models of first mid layer. On the right, a second mid layer

For this layer, better two than just one. Normally I have one tightly to the body and another one a bit more loose.

Outer layer: protection agains the elements

This is the final layer, the one which is in contact with the elements. Here it would be good idea to get some fabrics which are windproof. Most expensive are Windstopper and Goretex, but you will definitely find cheaper fibers which do the trick. If you are skier, you will be fine with your ski jacket.

Down jackets and jackets filled with synthetic fibers are good too. And actually, any winter jacket that you might have should be fine for moving around the town if you have a good base and mid layer.


Some samples of jakcers which will be goog as a outer layer for your trip to Lapland

For trousers, ski pants work well, but you won’t need to buy one just for the trip. Think that we, living here, use regular trousers in our daily rutines. So just take the warmest pants you have, and use the equipment provided for the activity companies to have fun, be outdoors and roll on the snow :)

For the activities you won’t need this outer layer, as you will be using the mentioned equipment provided from the activity companies. We’ll write soon about this equipment.

For the hands, you can use as a base layer silk gloves, and on the top of them better to use winter mittens than gloves. Mittens are warmer than the gloves.

mittens are warmer than gloves

Mittens are warmer than gloves. It is recommended to wear them with a base layer silk gloves.

For the feet, you can again use a double layer. Do not use cotton socks, and rather use silk (base layer) and wool socks as second layer.

The shoes/boots should be at least one size too big. If your feet feel really tight inside the shoes, you will feel cold soon. The blood needs to circulate well, and also keep in mind that one of the best insulation comes from the air… so better to have the feet a bit loose insdide the shoes.

And again, do not spend a lot of money for the shoes: the activity companies have good boots to borrow for the activities.

Last but not least, do not forget to cover your head. You will be losing heat through your head if you don’t keep it warm. Use always a hat when you are outdoors.

That’s all. Have a good and warm trip to Lapland!

Author: Lapland Safaris

This is the blog of Lapland Safaris, which is a company specialized in all sort of activities in Finnish Lapland both in winter and in summertime. In winter we enjoy snowmobiling, husky and reindeer-sledge rides, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing among other things. During the summer we cruise on river boats, visit the reindeer and husky farms, and hike in the forests. Do you have questions? Ask us anything in the comments of this post. We will be happy to help you!

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  1. Thank you for the tips,what to wear.

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  2. Where I buy these clothes? Do you sell?

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    • Hi Vanessa,

      Thanks for your comment! We do have some cloting in our shops at Lapland Safaris,but we recommend you to bring them already from your country.

      We have a selection of good base layer clothes, and then we have also hoodies, t-shirts, shirts… But you’ll need a good jacket :)

      Post a Reply
  3. hi what size do you cater for in the winter clothes, i am quite a large lady.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Pam!

      Thanks for your comment! No worries, we have clothes for all. Our biggest overalls are 66 (which would be XXXXL) and biggest shoes are size 52.

      Welcome to Lapland!

      Lapland Safaris Team

      Post a Reply
  4. Dear

    I was wondering if it is possible to rent thermal shoes for one week (not just for activities).



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  5. This is one of the most sensible piece of information I have found online. Thank you!

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  6. Hi is there any of these snow activities available in November. We are two of these people who thought November was a good time.
    We are travelling in November.
    Thank you mags.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Margaret!

      Thanks for your comment.

      The true is that November is probably not the best time to come, specially at the beginning, as it might be that there is not enough snow to do some of the activities. It will also depend where are you planning to travel in Lapland: if you are planning to come to Rovaniemi, in South Lapland, there chances to get enough snow for the activities are less than if you travel to Saariselkä (Ivalo airport, North Lapland), where probably the snow conditions will be better.

      Welcome to Lapland!

      Post a Reply
  7. Hello, I was wondering about the socks, at some website I’ve heard to wear cotton socks for inner then wool for outer, but here it says silk, just wondering what difference it will be if I wear cotton instead?

    Also for base layer, I have several inner from Uniqlo, called “heattech”, mines are “extra heattech” so I wonder if it’s alright that I wear 2/3 of them, one thin down jacket (also from Uniqlo) and a waterproof jacket that has removable fleece attached inside (from “Roxy”)?

    I will go to Rovaniemi Airport but will stay in Ivalo Inari area for my trip in this coming mid-late March and wonder if the ones I’ve mentioned above is fine if I replace my “mid” layer fleece/wool to a light down jacket.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Nik,

      You’ll go fine with cotton socks as well, or even better with merino wool ones.

      With you layering plan for March I’d say that you’ll be more than ok. Then for the activities we will provide you with thermal overall, boots and mittens.

      Welcome to Lapland!

      Lapland Safaris Team

      Post a Reply


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