Saturday, January 9, 2010

What to wear in Lapland - for WINTER

This is a question I get asked often, so I thought that I would run a blog on this, both now for the Winter and also another during the Summer. As they obviously aren't the same! :D

The main thing to remember is that creating several layers of thinner clothing is generally far rather better than wearing something really bulky over something thin. Unless you have a canada goose expedition parka - which is the ultimate (if expensive) coat you can get imho! My husband invested in one last year and can't rate it highly enough! He is out in the snow a lot though...

It's been a 'Damn it's cold!' week here this week, the warmest being -20c and the coldest -33 - with everyone either saying Brrr!! (English) or Hrrrr!! (Finnish). Still, we are not even in the coldest part of the year.. that is to come in February, but it has been darn cold. My poor husband has to work in a unit that has doors always part way open.. so in the winter like this he freezes at work! Don't know if that is legal or not.. but there you go! Fortunately Wednesday the 6th was a national holiday, for the last day of Christmas, so he got a day to keep warmer at home!

I walked to town the other day and it was -20c. My friend Amel walked to my house, coming from the other direction, the following day and it was then -26c. That extra minus factor makes a lot of difference, I can tell you.

This is what I wore when I walked to town over my own normal underwear.

Thermal underwear - top
Long sleeved thick tshirt type top
Cowl neck jumper

Thermal underwear - full length leggings, mine are quite thick actually
Short leggings over the top of the leggings
Pair of jeans

Pair of knee high type pop socks which again are fairly thick
Pair of loose top socks
Pair of thick socks over the top of these, similar to fishermans socks - although mine are hand knitted and brightly coloured! :D

Thick fleece type hat
Fleece type fingered gloves
Knitted mittens over the top of the gloves
My good ol' trusty mid length coat

One would think that I would not be able to walk with all that lot on, but it's not bad at all! The only part of me that was actually talking to me was my face - or at least my cheeks - and my knees!

You may have noticed that I was wearing two layers on my hands. Why? Well, fingered gloves are great for having the use of your fingers still, but alone - the heat gets lost out of them very easily. Having another layer all around the hand, with a mitt, makes the world of difference and your hands stay toasty warm. When needed you can slip off the mitt and use warm fingers (still with the fingered glove on) to do what you need them to!

Protection for your face is also vital. If you are going to be out and about much in the cold and the snow, try using a good old fashioned basic such as Vaseline/Petroleum jelly. If you wear make-up (like me) then put a good lot on your skin prior to 'putting on your war-paint' and after a few minutes wipe the surface of your skin with a small towel to remove the excess. Not only does it keep your skin protected, it keeps it supple and gives you a dewy fresh look! :D Of course it also takes care of your lips and eyelashes too! Waterproof mascara is the better option too, as eyes tend to run naturally in the cold and actually, when it's really cold, eyelashes will freeze and go white! (Quite cool looking more ways than one LOL!)

Like this from Amels blog. This is what happened to her when she visited me.

Another thing to mention is that wearing jeans in the snowy environment is fine if you do not intend to be playing snow games! If you ARE going to be in and out of the snow, then your jeans will be useless - if they get wet, they stay wet and will freeze on that is a definite no-no. Really then you need to have a pair padded of ski salopettes or all in one type of padded outfits. Again, even with these you do generally need some layers of other thermals and clothes etc on underneath. Eyewear is paramount for those sort of activities, either ski goggles or glasses specific for the environment.

The main thing to remember is that once you are cold out in the snow, it is very hard to warm up, so wearing more than you need is vital.. you can always take something off!

Other extra little things you can buy are ear warmer headbands, ear muffs or even earbags (these are like little ovals that you hook over your ears - they look a wee bit like a mini french beret for each ear!) Then you wear your hat. This place sells them, but you can make your own.

Worried about slipping? That is a natural concern. One that I TOTALLY understand, having slipped during my first winter here. I actually broke my elbow then, so it made me very cautious afterwards!

During the deep winter, the snow here is quite dry and often so dry it is hard to make a snowball with - let alone a snowman! As long as you have good winter boots, with a good tread, you should be okay. However, at the start (Oct/Nov) and the end (Mar/Apr) of the winter season, we generally have lots (and I mean LOTS) of rock hard ice - several inches thick at that. It's caused because the snow melts and refreezes so much during the seasonal changes and it really builds up. Not nice at all.. everything resembles a skating rink!

Then I put on my wonderful Yaktrax. These are a very simple, but innovatively designed piece of footwear that everyone should own. As the weather gets worse yearly in the UK - these will become more of a godsend than you could ever of imagined! They simply hook over the shoe you are wearing and grip to the snow and ice with the wiring underneath. I cannot recommend them highly enough!

Recently in the newspaper, the ran an article about what to wear to keep warm in winter when out and about. They interviewed a few people and asked what they would wear at -10c and then again at -35... and as you can see, they were all out on the same day but with completely different ideas of what to keep warm in! Interesting. If I recall, they all said they had their thermals on... the young girls were in and out of shops so didn't want to swelter...fair enough I guess, but I do hope they had a hat in their bag somewhere! You cannot NOT have a hat!!

The last guy is certainly toasty warm. In fact you see quite a few people wearing stuff like this here, especially the older generation. Not so many qualms about fur here.....but it's not for me though!

This is what the newspaper suggested.

So, whatever you wear...I hope you will now wear it warmly in Lapland!

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