How to dress right
Lapland is the biggest province in Finland and covers almost one third of Finland´s land area. The climate varies in different parts of Lapland, thanks to the seas, fells and mainland. The Arctic Ocean and the Gulf Stream both affect the
climate of Utsjoki by offsetting the temperatures.
The average yearly temperature is -0,5 °C (31 °F) in the Utsjoki area. The coldest month of the year is January, when the average temperature is -12 to -14 °C (10 - 6 °F). But it´s not rare, that the temperature drops down even to -30 or -40 °C! ((-22)-(-40)°F)
Winters last long here because the northernmost part of Finland is above the Arctic Circle, so the sun doesn´t rise at all for a month during the winter. In Utsjoki, the polar night period (kaamos) lasts for nearly two months.It´s not completely
dark, there are still a few hours of twilight around noon. Sometimes one can witness “the blue moment”.
On the coldest of nights, when the temperature drops below -30°C (-22°F), we won’t go out in the van for safety reasons (in case of breakdowns so we don’t get stranded out in the cold). But even then you can stay by the fire at the cottages and stay
warm while looking up.
It really is all about the clothing! And we know from living here what surviving in these weather conditions requires. The temperatures can vary a lot between days, from 0°C to -30 °C (32-(-22)°F). The most important thing to know about correct clothing is to have lots of layers and the correct materials! You can always take off clothing layers if it gets too warm, or put more on if it gets too cold. Being active keeps you warmer but sometimes admiring the auroras forces you to stand still for a while, so proper clothing is essential!
Every layer has its own purpose and together they make you feel comfortable while being outdoors. Luckily the air is usually very dry here, so the coldness doesn´t feel as cold as near the sea. Also the snow is dry kind of snow, so the clothes won´t get wet easily. That means you won´t necessarily need waterproof clothing or footwear. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid feeling a bit cold since it is still winter in Lapland! That is why we have a nice fire near the cottages where you can warm
yourself up, or you can always just go inside your cottage for a while.
TIPS ON HOW TO DRESS APPROPRIATELY
As we pointed out, layers are the key to surviving in the cold, so we recommend you to wear thermal underwear. Merino wool is the best choice for material, but some sort of technical material is also good. Wear it
directly next to your skin. The second layer could be something like sweat pants and shirt, or fleece trousers and a fleece shirt. When it gets really cold (e.g. -30°C (-22°F)) you may need to use a third layer of clothing under your outer jacket, a wool jumper
Winter jacket and trousers:
The outer layer´s job is to protect you from wind and humidity. Winter or parka jackets are often considered one of the best jackets because of a good insulation (down or synthetic). They are designed with added
warmth usually achieved by thicker insulation, and often together with a longer length. Also ski jackets and padded jackets should do the job, as long as they have a good insulation too and are thick enough. Make sure that your jacket comes with a hood.
Same advice apply to the trousers too. So grabbing a great pair of insulated winter cold weather pants can be incredibly helpful in keeping you nice and toasty while braving the coldest of cold weather. It is also bonus, if the material is waterproof (gore-tex).
Just make sure that your outer layer is not too tight because air between the layers you are wearing also acts as an insulator and will help you keep warm.
Snow boots or winter hiking boots are the best choice. Notice! Winter boots need to be 1 or 2 sizes bigger than your normal shoe size, because you need to have enough space inside for normal socks and wool socks. And there still
needs to be space inside your shoe, to feel comfortable and it is the air inside that keeps your toes warm
You can also use thermal insoles. Having your feet warm is really important, because we may spend hours outdoors while watching the auroras.
We recommend not to bring rubber boots during winter months, because they are not suitable for cold weather.
But if you come in the end of February or during March, then rubber boots could be practical if the snow starts to melt. We also provide some
extra winter boots or felt boots, if your own shoes appear to be unsuitable.
Hiking socks or ski socks are a good choice, while wool is the best material for socks, especially Merino wool. We also provide wool socks, if you don´t have your own. It may be best to avoid cotton socks since it is not the best material
in the cold weather.
We recommend you to wear a hat, gloves/mittens (though mittens are always warmer than gloves) and a scarf/buff when being outdoors. Even a light wind can freeze your exposed ears or fingers in seconds. It is good to have thin
fleece (polyester or wool) gloves under your main wool or leather mittens (or ski gloves).
In case you have to take the main mittens off for a while (e.g. to use camera), the gloves protect your fingers from cold. A normal winter hat should be enough but in cold weather a furry cap is even warmer. And last but not least, you can always wear a balaclava underneath your hat to keep your head warmer.
In summary, a minimum recommendation of clothing: hat, scarf, gloves/mittens, underwear clothing, middle layer clothing, fleece or wool shirt, outer jacket and trousers, winter boots and woollen socks. Wool is always the best material in keeping you warm
but technical materials such as microfleece and polarfleece are good substitutes.
We will do everything to make sure you don´t get cold. To ensure that, we can provide snow suits for extremely cold weather.
Make sure that you have also sunglasses when you arrive. Specially in March and April, sun is really bright when it is reflecting off the snow.
If you have any other questions about anything concerning our clothing, feel free to contact us! We know the weather here better than anyone!