That sounds mental saying temperature highs of -14c! Coming from England, we’ve never been subjected to such bitterly cold weather before. Although their cold is a whole different ball game to the damp coldness we get here in the UK.
In order to survive the arctic winter we kitted ourselves out with plenty of warm winter clothing, and prepared for our unforgettable and super magical Lapland adventure.
I hope my winter packing list helps you can stay warm on your Lapland holiday.
In this article...
Hiring clothes in Lapland
We toyed with the idea of hiring clothes and snow boots when we arrived in Lapland. But to be honest, this cost soon adds up and I worried the boots would be uncomfortable for the kids.
The last thing we wanted was to spend all this money on a one in a lifetime holiday, to then have the children moaning about their boots rubbing; that they’re too clunky to walk in, or anything else that could cause unwanted issues!
Another reason we bought our own was because we have a few chilly destinations on our travel wish-list like Iceland, Canada and Switzerland. We figured it was better to invest now, then we’re kitted out and ready to go on our next cold holiday.
Financially, for us, it made more sense. But weigh up the pros and cons and see which option suits you and your wallet best.
Stay warm in Lapland by layering your clothing
The most important tip I can give you is, layer your clothing!
You could buy the most expensive coat on the market, yet, without the correct layers underneath, you’re more than likely still going to feel the cold.
If you want to stay warm in subfreezing Arctic temperatures, it’s imperative to have good base, mid and outer layers. So avoid putting all your money into a coat that’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. Instead, spread your money out across your layers.
What base layer clothes do I need for Lapland?
If you want to splash the cash, merino wool is supposedly the superior base layer option. However, it costs far more than its cheaper counterpart and people also comment that its a little itchy!
We didn’t buy any merino wool, instead we went with thermal base layers consisting of synthetic fibres like polyester. We bought ours from Decathlon and the sizing was on point for all of us. They have a few base layer options, but we went with their cheapest range; Wedze BL 100. We bought the tops and leggings in men’s, women’s and kids. They were really soft, stretchy, comfortable and they kept us perfectly warm.
The only thing I didn’t get in this range was the women’s leggings, as on their website photo they appeared cropped. I have long legs and I didn’t particularly fancy cold shins and ankles. So, for my bottoms I went with the next range up; the Wedze BL 500. These came all the way down to my ankles, were true to size, and again very soft & comfortable.
For our 4 day holiday, we packed 2 tops, and 2 bottoms each which was plenty. If anything, we probably could have got away with one set each. I just wanted a couple in case they got wet or dirty. They took up hardly any room or weight in the suitcase either.
Tip: Try and avoid cotton in your base layer. Cotton doesn’t wick away sweat, and the material then stays damp on our skin, which unfortunately will make you feel really cold. Don’t overthink it though, cotton knickers/boxers will be just dandy!
Ideally, your base layer should be quite tight fitting. You want it sitting close to the skin in order to help trap the warmth in and keep the cold out.
Getting your mid-layers right for cold climates
Denim jeans are not your friend in sub-zero Lapland. Leave them at home.
For your mid layers, think warm cosy materials like wool, fleece and fluffy sheep-like-Sherpa.
Some people even go for fleecy pyjamas as their mid layers. Which is a good idea until you take your coat off in a restaurant, and you’re sat there eating your reindeer burger in jazzy Minnie-Mouse Primark pjs. To avoid landing ourselves in that situation, we opted for fleeces.
We alternated between these and woolly Christmas jumpers. These were equally warm, so if you already have thick jumpers, you could potentially avoid buying a fleece.
Tip: In comparison to a fleece, jumpers add much more bulk to your suitcase and your outfit. You may need to size up on your coat if movement becomes restricted.
On our bottom half, we wore snuggly jogging bottoms. I got the boys a double pack from Matalan. I took a pair I already had from Marks & Spencer’s, and we picked up these beauties from Marks and Spencer’s too. They are men’s, but I got myself a pair too because they are the warmest things I’ve ever felt!
They have a thick snuggly Sherpa lining in them, and honestly kept us comfortably warm even in -16c.
What outer layers do you need in Finland?
When it comes to outer layers you want to focus on things to help protect you from the elements. Think rain, snow and wind!
Look for words like windproof, waterproof & taped seams!
Warm coats for Lapland
To begin with we all had ski jackets from Decathlon. I returned mine as I decided I wanted something a little longer, and James sent his back because with his mid layer on he was in-between two sizes. They were fantastic quality though.
The boys loved their Decathlon ski jackets and they never once complained about being cold, I’d say that’s a good testament on how warm they are.
Now we’re home its just become their normal winter coat in the UK, which is ideal. They can use them for school coats too so they will get lots of use.
We got Jasper this nice muted blue one, and Jude had the bright red one. They are nicely padded, feel amazing quality and you can get them for a reasonable price too. Inside they have pockets to keep ski goggles and gloves safe, and they have a small zipped pocket on the sleeve for a ski pass.
Even with the boys rolling around in the snow all day, no water seeped through the seams and they stayed warm and perfectly dry.
Long-line Columbia Jacket
As for me, I ended up going full shebang with a maxi-length puffer coat from Columbia, which was like walking around in a giant sleeping bag. I highly recommend, it was heavenly!
Kitted out with Columbia’s therotech technology, it reflects your own body heat to provide extra warmth. The inside may have resembled something an astronaut would require, but wow this coat was toasty.
Although not the most flattering coat when zipped right up, it did keep me super warm and added an extra layer of protection over my legs too. In the UK I just wear it open to give off less sleeping bag vibes.
This coat’s water resistant, not waterproof, but that was perfectly fine for what I needed. As it’s so cold there, the snow doesn’t instantly melt on you like it does in England. I was making snow angels, falling face first off sledges, and just generally being out in heavy snow fall. So long as I dusted off the snow before going inside (when it would melt) my coat stayed dry.
It also has a draw string on the waist to help add a little more shape if desired. There are poppers down the sides which you could open up for less restrictive leg movement, or you could unzip the coat from the bottom up with the double zipper.
Using coats we already had
James already had an Arctyrex puffer jacket, along with a North Face raincoat. He packed both, either using his puffer jacket alone, or doubling up with the North face raincoat on top. This worked perfectly and James never felt the cold.
If you have decent warm coats already, you might find you don’t need to purchase anything new.
Kids outer layer trousers for Lapland
The boys had these navy blue salopettes from Mountain Warehouse, they were true to size and had detachable braces. Jasper took these off as he found them a hinderance when he needed the loo with so many layers on the top half. They still stayed up just fine without them.
The insulated ski trousers had elasticated rubber grips around the bottom to hug around your ski/snow boots, and were waterproof to keep them dry when playing in the snow all day.
Adult outer layer trousers
I tried a few different ski trousers/ salopettes, all of which were so incredibly wide that I could almost fit both my legs into one of the trouser legs! As we weren’t going skiing, I didn’t need massive wide legs to go over ski boots.
In the end both myself and James got some cheap waterproof trousers from Amazon. These were mine, and these ones were James, both were a much slimmer fit, but still wide enough to get over our base and mid layers.
They were really stretchy and worked great for what we needed when we were just walking around in the snow. Now we use them back at home as waterproof walking trousers or DIY work trousers when building things like our false chimney breast wall!
However, if you do need some proper skiing trousers, these waterproof Trespass ski trousers are a little slimmer in the leg!
What accessories do you need for lapland?
A neck gaiter
Neck gaiters aren’t essential if you already have a scarf. Although neck gaiters are far more convenient as they don’t persistently come unwrapped. Some have a little elasticated toggle too, so you can pull it up over you nose and tighten it to keep it secure. This really makes a huge difference in keeping your nose and face warm.
We got the boys black neck gaiters like these, and they were great. We had Columbia ones, which had he same shiny silver inside like my coat which I don’t recommend you purchase at all. The condensation from your breath (if pulled over your nose) made the shiny silver part wet, resulting in unpleasant dampness and caused your skin to get cold. Because of the condensation they also froze stiff too!
The boys ones were far better.
Any thick bobble/beanie hat will do the trick! The boys had two each in case we lost one. Myself and James just took one each. If you want it to be extra warm, scout for a bobble hat that has snuggly fleece lining.
Our fingers were the first thing to feel the cold, so I recommend investing in decent gloves.
We got the boys ski gloves from Mountain Warehouse, they worked great and the sizing was spot on.
I think if I went again, I’d possibly sway towards insulated mittens over gloves. They can keep your hands warmer than gloves, especially with a ‘hot hand’ inside.
I chose gloves just so my fingers were available, but I had to remove them to take photos on my phone anyway.
Some people wear silk or woollen gloves under their ski gloves for extra warmth too. We didn’t bother and were fine without.
Double up on your socks, again avoiding cotton on the pair that touches your skin, and opt for a ski or thick walking sock as your second pair.
I got the boys some nice thick thermal socks from M&S and they worse a ski sock over the top. Although some days they only went out with one pair and were still perfectly warm.
Best snow boots for Lapland
You really don’t want cold toes ruining your holiday, so I’d make sure you have decent waterproof & insulated footwear.
We got the boys some Sorrell snow boots in the black Friday sale. They had 5* ratings and they must be good as the boys never complained of having cold toes.
They have a fleece liner inner sock/boot, and Velcro straps on the outside. Which was really handy as they could be independent and get these on and off themselves.
Tip: The Columbia boots both came up small, especially as you need to fit a couple pairs of socks in, so size up. I’m usually a 6.5 and the 7 was way too small. They didn’t have a 7.5 in stock so I ended up with an 8 which was fine, it fit more like a 7. Same for James, his size 12 fit like an 11.
Extra items you might want to pack for Lapland
As for extras, the best thing we took was some Hot hands. These things look like tiny bean bags and chuck out some serious heat.
We popped a hot hand inside our gloves (mittens would have been even better) and these kept our fingers warm all day long. We also found if you went inside for a bit, by the time you put your gloves back on to go outside, it’s like they had been recharged! They state they keep warm for 10 hours and that I agree – well worth having!
All of the above kept us plenty warm enough at Santa Claus Village with temperatures ranging from -22c to -14c. Bear in mind some months can get far colder than what we experienced (believe it or not!) so you may need to hire an additional snowsuit if your trip is looking colder than ours.
Hopefully this has helped you figure our your winter packing list. If you’d like to learn how to save money by booking a Lapland holiday yourself, head over here!
I hope you have the best Lapland holiday!