For the last 8 months I have been studying in Finland and it’s got to the stage where it’s -30°C outside and around -40°C up in Lapland. How do you manage to travel and live in this part of the world during the winter? Heres some tips about how to keep warm in extreme conditions.
The one key element: Layers.
Layers are both sensible and easier to pack than just wearing one bulky piece of clothing. Technical layers can be more costly, but most importantly vital to living and travelling in cold climates.
Step 1, the base layer:
A good place to start is the base, a pair of long john’s and a tight fit vest to start with. Possibly a buff as well to wear around the neck and face, in more extreme conditions maybe consider thermal underwear and tight fit gloves.
Step 2, Under layer:
A good under layer that maintains warmth between the base and outer layers. This can keep your body insulated when inside whilst you take the outer layer off, to keep your body at a constant temperature
This can be a nice technical fleece or jumper and some warm jogging bottoms, jeans can we warn but not advised as once they get some percentage of moisture on the jeans would freeze and become extremely heavy, avoid them if you can.
Depending on the degree of the temperature you might want to consider adding a down element or prim-aloft element to give you some more added insulation.
Step 3, Outer layer:
A good outer layer, it doesn’t have to be heavy, but it must be wind resistant, waterproof and breathable, helping the warmth from the inside keeps that way and letting out any moisture to keep you ventilated.
It doesn’t matter about the bulk of the jacket as long as technically the jacket is advanced to take on those features to ensure it’s working with your body’s heat and moisture.
This is where I think a lot of your money should go into when buying equipment for these conditions and as long as you layer up well the jacket & pants can do the rest of the work.
Thin tight socks act as a good base along with thicker, warmer Marino wool socks around the outside which breathes well and keep in a lot of warmth. Regarding your shoes they should be extremely breathable and this is very important to avoid sweat from your feet to build up which could cause a problem for your feet. Lastly, your shoes should be tough to walk on ice conditions and avoid you falling over. Waterproof shoes are always a must to ensure your feet keep dry, which is very important.
Considered getting some larger heavy-duty Gore-Tex gloves if it plans on getting more extreme.
keep your head on!
Most importantly wear a warm woollen double padded thermal hat on your head, my scout leader told me once that it keeps 60% of the warmth in, if this is true, I would say that not wearing a hat is plain stupid so do pop it on!
Some other general tips to keep warm
Before you go out in cold conditions first of all check the weather and the future patterns to see what you have to prepare for and dress accordingly, you can check this on the internet or a weather dial if you have one.
One tip you can always layer down, but when you outside you can’t layer up so prepare for the worse.
If you get to hot, ventilate, open up vents on your jacket and undo zips don’t sweat it out because you have to make your body work with the equipment and temperature to your best ability to get the best result for your body.
Avoid cold drinks and cold food, warm or hot food and drink works better with your body during cold time times as your body uses less energy to break it down, this is why you should never eat snow if your thirsty.
And most importantly, tell someone if you plan on walking in some extreme locations in remote areas, you don’t want to get lost and have no one to yell help too.
Around the world VS cold destinations?
If you plan on taking an RTW (round the world) ticket and you plan to visit Sunny Mexico and Cold Norway, what’s the best tips I can offer for this?
Maybe consider buying warmer clothes when you get there, carrying them around for 6 months will take space in your bag and will be a pain, but alternatively you could head to the cold place first and post your warm gear home or post your warm gear to a hostel in advance if they let you.
What I like to do is pack the base layer as they double up as PJ’S and pack a really good jacket which doubles up as a rain jacket just in case you get caught in the rain (which does happen in hot climates).
With regards to good boots, when i Heli-hiked Fox glacier in New Zealand I borrowed them so when you need them phone ahead to the places you need good boots and see if they rent them out, saves you carrying them in your backpack for a whole year.
Do you have any tips you want to add? Post them below in the comment section, thank you!