LAPLAND

What to wear, what to take and other general tips.

Here is my guide on what to wear in Lapland, where to get the clothing and other things that you may wish to know about.

It's pointless not being kitted out properly when you have spent so much money on the trip in the first place, don't let a lack of planning ruin your dream holiday

Click on the headings to  open a page of recommended brands and where to get them from.

 

BASE LAYER

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This is the first layer you put on. This layer is designed to regulate your body temperature, keeping you warm when you are still and the allowing your body to breath when you are more active. This layer provides a little warmth and should not be too thick or bulky. This layer should be tight fitting but not too tight that it is restricting or too loose that it could bunch or chafe. The fabric in this layer is designed to draw the moisture away from your body and passing it to the next layer, these types of fabrics are known as 'wicking'. 

Other fabrics that you can use for your base layer is wool, polyester and other synthetics.

The most important thing to remember about this layer is that it must not contain any cotton as cotton absorbs the moisture and keeps it against your body, a bit like having a cold wet flannel next to your skin. You will find lots of base layers that do are a cotton mix, if you can, steer clear of them, especially if you are planning on being active.

For your base layer I would recommend that you get either a silk or thermal (that wicks) long sleeved top and leggings. I would then recommend that you get a silk pair of socks and silk glove liners. 

 

MID LAYER

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This is then your second layer, this layer is to insulate. This layer should have a loose fit but it should not be too bulky that it  sags or bunches under your outer layer.

Again this layer needs to have wicking properties so the moisture can be drawn away from the skin and out towards the outer layer.

There are a variety of fabrics you can have for this layer, once again, cotton is not recommended as it will only absorb the moisture rather than moving it away.

The best fabric for this layer is fleece or wool, the only problem with wool is that it can be bulky and can shrink when it dries, fleece on the the other hand will not have any of these issues. Given that in some conditions you may want to have 2 mid layers you need to  think about sizes, try to get two fleeces that are slightly different in size so you can wear one on top of the other without it bunching up too much. 

You should also try to minimise the zips on this layer as these could be uncomfortable, also don't get V-necks if you can help it as you need this layer to come up to your neck. You can get a variety of thickness when it comes to fleeces, try to get light to medium weight, especially if you are possibly going to use two layer. The other thing to remember about this layer is that it might be on show if you go inside and take your outer layer off, so think about how you may look (that's if you care). You should get tops and bottoms for this layer.

  

OUTER LAYER

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This is now your last layer, there are a variety of options when it comes to this layer and naturally, style can play a part. You can get all in ones, these are great for children as it means they can roll about in the snow without snow getting inside their outfits, older children may prefer 2 pieces as it does give more movement. The only issue with children wearing all in ones is when it comes to going to the toilet, so think about this when you are purchasing. Adults should not wear all in ones, it's just so very wrong, especially if you are a man.

For the 2 pieces, this consists of a jacket which should have a snow skirt, this is a flap of fabric on the inside that is elasticated at the bottom so it fits tightly around your hips or waist, this stops the snow from getting inside your suit if you fall or you are doing snow angels. 

The trousers either come with braces or without braces or they are the bib type that are more like dungarees, this added bit of fabric at the front of the bib style  keeps your chest warmer, if you don't like things around your waist then go for the bib type as these will be more comfortable. This outer layer must be wind and snow proof, it should be breathable and still keep out the wet, if you are planning on being very active then try to get a jacket with vents, these vents can be opened to let the heat and moisture out, they are usually under the arms etc and held closed with zips or Velcro. This layer does not have to be like a quilt either, with modern insulation you can get great warmth from a reasonably light weight and thin outer layer. Most of your warmth has been generated by your other layers so having a big fat outer layer could be too heavy, too hot and too restrictive and I know it should not matter, but you could end up looking like the Michelin man. It's a personal choice if you want your outer layer to have elasticated cuffs, personally I don't like them as if they are elasticated at the bottom of the trousers then they can be uncomfortable with your boots, they also can ride up, with the elasticated wrists it's not so restrictive but there can always be that gap between your gloves and your jacket where the cold can get in. 

 

SOCKS

Images supplied by www.maion.com I would recommend that you have a pair of silk socks as your first layer (these are thin and will draw the moisture away from your skin), then use a pair of good thermal socks or wool ones if you prefer. Don't have your socks too tight as you have to still be able to move your toes and try to get socks that come up your leg a bit, this not only will keep you warm but also stop your boots from rubbing. 
If you have chunky legs then ensure that the tube socks are not too tight around your calves (tube socks are mainly used when skiing/snowboarding). Use them with your silk socks and again, make sure they are not too tight.

 

GLOVES

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These are a must, you can either use gloves or mittens, they should be waterproof,  breathable and insulated, also if you are going skiing etc then get ones with reinforced areas to protect your gloves and hands when holding the ski poles

When trying on gloves and mittens it is important that they are not tight, there needs to be some room for your fingers to move about and for the air to circulate, also if you are using silk glove liners (which I recommend) then try your gloves/mittens on with your liners on too, also clench your fist with your gloves/mittens on to ensure that they are big enough. I would recommend mittens for children as they are easier to put on, they can move their fingers about, you can put the heated pads inside them, they also look really cute tied onto strings.

If you are snowboarding and using wrist guards then ensure that you mittens/gloves are large enough to go over the guards.

 

HATS

Images supplied by www.maion.com These are a must, most of your heat is lost from your head so keep it covered. There are loads of styles of hats you can get but if they are too tight they can be itchy on your forehead, also wool ones can be itchy and scratchy. Make sure your hat covers your ears too. If you have got loads of hair then you can get hats that are like long tubes that you put your hair through and it covers your head and ears with your hair sticking out of the end.

 

SCARVES & NECK GAITERS

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You are going to need one of these, scarves are great as you can wrap them as tight or loose as you like, however, they can be dangerous when skiing as they can get caught, the same can be said for children using them too. Neck gaiters are a tube that you pull over your head, they usually have a toggle at one end for you to tighten if you want to. 

You can have your scarf or  neck gaiter in any fabric but try to get one that is wind proof and also consider that if it is by your mouth that it may get wet, so cotton may not be the best option here.

I personally don't like neck gaiters as I don't like things tight around my neck so if you are like me, then try on the neck gaiters before you buy just in case you can't stand them. They do come in different sizes so you maybe able to find one that does not feel like it is strangling you. 

Neck gaiters are also called snoods and neck tubes, they will need washing often, especially if used by children as they are often close to the mouth and nose.

 

FACE MASKS/BALACLAVAS

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You will only really need a face mask if you are skiing (and only really if you are whizzing about a lot of the ski slopes, as a novice, you are not going to need one) as your scarf/neck gaiter will cover your face if you want it to.

The face masks are usually made from a foam type of fabric, it's stretchy and fits very tightly over your nose, mouth and chin, they are usually tight around your neck too, they go around your face and usually do up at the back of your neck. They also usually have either air vents around your nose and mouth. 

Balaclavas are good for under a helmet, you can get them in all types of fabrics but silk is good as it's thin and comfortable. 

Personally I would not wear a balaclava, they are so ugly, but for children they really are a must, try to get the ones that cover the mouth rather than a fully open faced one.

 

BOOTS

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If you are skiing/snow boarding you will have a different pair of boots to do these activities, these type of boots are not the ones that you walk about in. Most people hire these types of boots so I don't think I need to give any info on ski/snow board boots.

It is vital that you have a good pair of boots, they should be insulated, waterproof and  have a good tread. I would also recommend that you get ones that come up the calf a bit rather than stop at the ankle, the further up the calf they come the less chance you have of having a gap between your trousers and boots. The boots must not be too tight, you need some room to move your toes about, remember that you have got on two pairs of socks too. There are loads of different types of boots you can get, moon boots are big fat boots with a removable foam inner boot, these are easy to put on, they are warm and I think they look cool, however, the tread is not great on them, but if you are only in snow rather than on ice packed areas such as pavements etc then these will be fine.

Another type are ones that have a removable inner felt boot, these tend to keep feet warm in extreme temperatures, they are usually American/Canadian brands, these are great for children but get the next size up as the felt inner boot can be snug. The outer part of the boot is waterproof and has a good tread. These are also easy to get on and off.

The other type are lace up boots, these are fine but the laces can get wet and they are harder to get on and off. It really is a personal choice but it is important to ensure that they are insulated and waterproof. There are many boots out there that look great, especially for children, but you need more from a boot than it's looks so be careful when you are drawn to cute pink snow boots with fur trims as they will not keep your little ones feet warm.

Also, if you have the boots that you can pull on and off you can easily pop the heat pads inside these types.

 

GOGGLES & GLASSES

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What do you need? Well, given that there is a massive lack of sunlight in Lapland during some months it's pointless having sunglasses so go for the goggles, however, you may not actually need them if you are not planning on doing any activities such as skiing, husky and reindeer rides. Your goggles should be the anti fog type, they should also be flexible, I would recommend given the lack of light that you get goggles that are tinted (usually orange/amber) as this assists in seeing the contours in the snow. 

Your goggles should fit well, they all have elastic that holds them on. There are many different types and styles of goggles from ones that cover literally your whole face to those that are more like swimming goggles, again, it's a personal choice.

You can easily get ones for children, you can also get them that go over glasses.

I would recommend that you ensure that any goggles you buy, particularly for children, have enough elastic to fit over a ski helmet, most ski resorts will insist (and rightly so) that children wear helmets. When trying on goggles make sure that you can still blink when wearing them, if you are using a helmet then try the goggles on with the helmet on too as some goggles maybe pushed down onto your nose if the helmet comes down on your forehead.

 

HELMETS

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Most resorts will insist that children wear helmets when skiing, they may also insist this when doing such activities as the husky and reindeer rides.

Most of the resorts/trip organizers will supply you with helmets but if you want to buy one yourself then make sure that it has the clip on the back to  hold the goggle strap and that it is not too tight, air still needs to circulate around. 

It must not be too loose that it falls off, remember as well, to do up the chin strap otherwise it's pointless wearing it. When trying helmets on make sure they are ok with your goggles as if they come down low on  the forehead the goggles can be pushed down onto your nose, also if you can move the helmet around then it's too big, with the helmet held you should not be able to twist your head about in the helmet, you need some slight movement but not massive amounts. Check what type of helmet you have as some are multi impact and some are not. I would recommend that everyone uses a helmet when skiing and snowboarding, the latter is probably more important when learning to snowboard as there is a tendency to fall back and whack your head on the ground
 
BABIES/TODDLERS
Images supplied by www.maion.com If you are going to Lapland with a baby/toddler then you must be prepared. You have to ask yourself if you need to take a buggy with you and if you do, would you be able to use in your chosen resort. If you have not yet booked then do some research to the buggy suitability, most resorts have well maintained paths that are packed solid with snow so it is easy to use buggies on these paths, they are usually the same paths that are used by the cross country skiers.
The other option is to use a back carrier, but be careful as they can easily restrict the blood flow to the baby’s feet which can very easily lead to frostbite in the sub zero temps that can occur. One option is to put your baby/toddler in a sledge that you can pull around, they are ready available in most resorts, wrap them up and away you go but they must be as far away as possible from the ground so  make sure there are lots of layers under them. Also remember to try to keep their temperature even, so when you go into a shop etc, de-layer them a bit otherwise they could overheat. Clothing for the very young can also prove problematic to source so click on heading for more info.
 
WHAT TO WEAR ON THE PLANE
Images supplied by www.maion.com If you are not hiring your gear then I would recommend that you wear just normal clothing but take your ski jacket, gloves, hats and scarves on as hand luggage, also, if you can, wear your boots too as this will save on space in you luggage. If however you are hiring your gear then make sure you are still prepared for the walk from the plane to the airport and vice versa, in most cases you probably will not be outside for long.  
But you never know and you should be prepared, especially if you have children. so still take out a winter coat with you along with your gloves, hats and scarves etc.  If you have young children then take a blanket too if you can, great for using on the plane, even better for wrapping them up and carrying them. At most Lapland airports you literally get off the plane and straight onto bus that takes you to the terminal, it's the walk to your resort bus that can be some distance away so be prepared for it.

 

HAND WARMERS

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These are little heated pads that you can put in your clothing, boots or gloves. There are two main types, the re-usable ones that you can use once then to reactivate you have to heat them, or the single use disposable ones, the latter are easier but it is a more expensive choice and not as environmentally friendly. I would recommend that if you have young children and you are going on a husky or reindeer ride that you take a small covered hot water bottle with you too. 

You can get the normal water ones or the ones that have barley inside and you heat them up in the microwave.  As the children can be sitting in a sleigh for some time the hot water bottle inside their snowsuits may just make it a bit more comfortable and warm for them.

 

MOISTURISER/LIP BALM

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It can be very cold in Lapland and the wind can chap your face and lips, it is a good idea to use lip balm and moisturiser before you go out.

Try not to use moisturisers/lip balms that have water in them as this can freeze. The Finns use a brand called Vatalis Vedeton, it should be available in most resorts but if you want to take some out with you then Vaseline is an option or the thicker, greasy creams such as Nivia may also be ok.

  

SNOWMAN KITS

Images supplied by www.maion.com You can not go to Lapland and not build a snowman, I don't care how old you are, it's a must and to help you dress your snowman are the snowman kits, inside the box there is wooden buttons, eyes, pipe and nose and felt hat and scarf, everything you need for the well dressed snowman. The snow in Lapland may not be the best type to build your snowman but it will be great fun trying.
  
CHRISTMAS TREES/CRACKERS

If you are lucky enough to be spending Christmas/New Year in Lapland and you are self catering then you can get Christmas trees delivered to your cabin, your best bet is to contact the resort tourist information who can assist you on this, there will be a delivery charge so if you are also thinking of getting a welcome food pack delivered too then do the two at the same time if possible to reduce your delivery charges. 

You probably will not be able to find crackers in Lapland so if you want them, you will need to take them with you, you should check with your airline if you can take them. I believe that in most cases you won't, but if you remove the bangs from them then I can not see that they would be an issue or you could just put them in your suitcases and take the risk of them being removed.

  

FOOD/DRINK

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You can bring any food product into Finland from the UK as long as it is for your own consumption, you will however need to check with your airline to see if they have any restrictions, I think it is probably best to put all food products in the hold rather than carry on as if they do stop you boarding with it, it may be too late to put it in the hold. Finish Christmas food is not the same as ours, if you want traditional British Christmas foods such as minced pies etc then take them with you. 

Meat and vegetables are readily available in the supermarkets. As for alcohol, this can be expensive, you can get lager and cider in the supermarkets at a reasonable price, wine and spirits are not available for sale in supermarkets, you will need to go to state owned Alko stores, again, the prices are ok, it's when you go out to a restaurant or bar that you notice the cost of alcohol.

 

SIZE CHARTS

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As you might be buying stuff from outside the UK, I thought a size chart might be of some help, it's just a rough guide.

 

COSTS & LINKS

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So how much is all this going to cost me? Well, if you do it on the cheap and you get basically one complete outfit with all your silk bits etc I reckon you can do it for about £150 per adult, children are going to be much cheaper, you can always sell your items on afterwards to recoup some of your costs. You can also hire suits from your tour operator and some of the shorter trips supply you with clothing included in your holiday price, you will still need some bits and pieces so check out what you can hire/is being supplied and purchase the rest. 

If you need more info on Lapland then go to the Lapland Forum for more assistance

 

The images used on this site are from www.maion.com and are for non commercial use only.

 

Just to let you know, this site it not associated with any of the brands or websites that have been mentioned, I take no responsibility for any of the choices that you may make from the info you have received from this site, if you look bad in a ski suit, it's not my fault!

 

There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!
LAPLAND FORUM