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Written by Savi, 29 Comments

This article is Part 2 of our 4 part series on planning the ultimate trip to Lapland, Finland 

Read Part 1 The Ultimate Itinerary for Finnish Lapland (opens in a new tab)

Read Part 3 The Ultimate Guide to Lapland Safaris (opens in a new tab)

Read Part 4 Staring at the Northern Lights in Saariselka (opens in a new tab)

 

I feel the need to reiterate my favourite Scandinavian proverb “There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing” every time I write an article on dressing up for extremely low temperatures. Never has a truer word been said. Winter vacations are no fun if you look for every opportunity to head indoors or you need to spend 10 seconds contemplating whether or not to plunge headlong into a pile of fresh snow (the answer is always YES 🙂 )

 

It’s easy to conquer extreme temperatures, -5°C to – 30°C in this case, with the right clothes. If I had to summarise the ‘right clothes’ in a sentence, I’d say  – leave your pretties behind! A holiday to Lapland isn’t one where you get to pirouette in skirts or slip on your favourite shoes. You will, at most times, look a li’l something like this and you need to be ok with it 😉

 

Packing for lapland finland
Giant floatation suit and loads of woollens – nom! 😉

 

I kid!

 

Just dress up in layers and you’ll be warm enough to play on ice-slides, make snowmen, dine in snow castles, and sleep on a bed of ice without ever needing a break. Here’s a packing checklist for your trip to the Arctic Circle – you can screenshot it and use it while packing for your trip

PACKING CHECKLIST FOR A TRIP TO FINNISH LAPLAND

  1. 1 55l-75l backpack as luggage- don’t bother with a suitcase. Dragging it through snow-laden alleys is no fun. If you’re going on a cruise or staying just in one hotel, then suitcases work well.
  2. Full body thermals: 2-3 sets of thermal t-shirts and long johns. You will be wearing these at all times, so take extra sets for rotation
  3. Outerwear: 1-2 good-quality down jackets or parkas that are warm and weather-proof. Some good brands are Jack Wolfskin, North Face, Columbia, Kosha (India based), Icewear (Iceland based)
  4. A small waterproof backpack for all your essentials – computers, cameras etc
  5. 1-2 pairs of warm waterproof ski pants
  6. 1-2 smart evening outfits for dinners
  7. Chunky knits and jumpers for layering. Try to stick to pure wool & synthetic fabrics because even the tiniest bit of cotton can absorb moisture and make you feel cold
  8. 1 pair of sturdy, good quality snow boots
  9. 1 pair of Sneakers for flights and walking around in cities
  10. 1 pair of smart shoes or loafers for dinners (flats, don’t even think about heels)
  11. Torchlight – you never know when you might need it
  12. Swimwear – make sure you pack your bikinis and swim shorts because Finnish people love their hot tubs 🙂
  13. Don’t forget your sports bras for winter sports.
  14. 1-2 woollen scarves
  15. Waterproof thermal gloves
  16. Thick ski socks or woollen socks
  17. Warm hats – beanies are my favourite but pack any that protect your ears and head
  18. Ski goggles or mirrored sunglasses as the snow can be blinding at times
  19. Sunscreen & Lip balm (lots of it!) – sub-zero temperatures cause extreme dryness.

 

 

As for us, here’s what we wore during our time in Finnish Lapland :-

1) AIRPORT & HELSINKI

A stop-over in Helsinki is unavoidable if you’re flying to Finnish Lapland. Pack a couple of smart outfits if you intend to get out of the airport and explore Helsinki. We spent just a couple of hours in Helsinki. So I put a bit more thought into what I wore on the flight, instead of my default flying uniform (oversized knit and tracks!). I wore a floaty smock dress, a fringed bag, and a basic coat embellished with a fur collar. Vid opted for basic blue jeans and a bohemian tie & dye sweatshirt with his Adidas Gazelles.

 

 

 

Packing for lapland finland-21
An oversized smock dress is perfect for flights and jaunts in the city

 

 

Packing for lapland finland
Don’t forget to pack a half decent outfit for Helsinki 🙂

 

 

Packing for lapland finland
Comfort is key 🙂

 

 

2) THE GO-TO OUTFIT(S)

 

Our go-to-outfit, on most days, comprised of 2 layers of thermals (top and bottom), a warm jumper, ski pants, and cosy waterproof down jackets. We made sure we wore woollen socks and sturdy snow boots at all times. A word of caution about shoes :- you might be tempted to take your waterproof hiking boots or your fur-lined Uggs with you on your trip to Lapland but DON’T DO IT.  You’ll be cold in no time. Good-quality ski/snow boots are a must – you can pick a pair for as less as £30. You can also rent them at most resorts in Lapland if you don’t own a pair or they take up too much space in your luggage. Just make sure you check with your hotel before leaving.

 

Make sure you carry a waterproof bag for your belongings (cameras, computers etc). We picked up a basic backpack from Cabin Max and it served us well. It’s easy to be blinded by vast expanses of white snow, so it’s best to have ski goggles at hand at all times. At night, we’d change into our loafers – after all, who wants to wear clunky boots to dinner 🙂

 

Packing for lapland finland
If you’re well wrapped, you can play in the snow for as long as you want 🙂

 

 

Packing for lapland finland
Told ya – the fun never stops 🙂

 

 

Packing for lapland finland
Don’t forget ski goggles when you’re packing for Lapland

 

 

Packing for lapland finland
Making friends with reindeer 🙂

 

 

3) ONE FOR THE SAFARIS

 

The highlight of any trip to Finnish Lapland are the safaris and we definitely didn’t want to feel cold while we witnessed the Northern Lights in their full glory or went snow-mobiling on a frozen river. Luckily for us, all safari operators provide appropriate woollen clothing – everything from balaclavas and thermal mittens to Arctic overalls and thermal socks are provided. They ensure complete warmth. In fact, I felt a bit too snug at times, which is never a bad thing in Lapland.

 

But as a conscientious purveyor of travel fashion from around the world, I feel it’s my duty to tell you that the two of us did resemble stuffed piggies once we were clad in thermals, sweaters, and Arctic overalls. Don’t believe me? Take a look 🙂

 

 

Packing for lapland finland
Arctic overalls and chunky woollies – mmm never felt sexier 😉

 

 

Packing for lapland finland travel fashion
Go to the Arctic Circle. Wear a dozen layers and a silly Arctic overall. Get too excited and jump

 

 

4) SOMETIMES YOU NEED A BREAK 🙂

Dressing warmly for Arctic safaris is all well and good. But by the end, I got bored of feeling like a stuffed piggie. So I dug out my maxi dresses (what else!) to enjoy a couple of relaxed days by the fireplace at our rustic log cabin in the Arctic Wilderness. A palette of opulent colours like burgundy, rusty reds, and charcoal is perfect for a getaway to a cabin in the woods 🙂

 

Travel fashion lapland finland-
Sometimes you just gotta get rid of the layers and scrub up 🙂

 

 

Travel fashion for lapland finland-
A maxi dress is perfect for chilling by the fireplace in your Arctic log cabin 🙂

 

 

Packing for lapland finland-
This blanket scarf comes everywhere with me 🙂

 

I stuck to my maxi dresses but threw on a scarf and a few woollies to spend a lazy day catching snowflakes and counting stars on our last day in Finnish Lapland. What better than an all white ensemble for an ethereal ivory land, riddled with storybook landscapes. I felt like I needed to celebrate our trip to this far away land with a jaunt in snow. Besides there’s nothing like mellow snowflakes brushing against bare skin but that’s just me. Try this at your own risk 😉

 

Travel fashion lapland finland
Dig out the maxi dresses and kimonos when you’re bored of feeling like a stuffed piggie 🙂

 

Packing for lapland finland
Catching the day’s first snowflakes – priceless 🙂

 

Want more? Take a look at our travel fashion snippet from Finnish Lapland here 🙂

 

Check out our vlog from Finnish Lapland here :

 

 

Don’t forget to leave us a comment below – we love hearing from you 🙂

 

29 thoughts on “Packing for Lapland, Finland : Staying warm in the Arctic

  1. Ohhh woowwww!! It looks right out of a fairytale! I swear, my nose was an inch from my laptop screen by the time I finished looking at the simply marvellous photos! Savi you look simply gorgeous, even more so because you look like you were having the time of your life 🙂
    1 question though: were the igloos made of transparent glass? I mean, was it possible for someone outside to look in?
    I loooved the videos! The place looks like heaven on earth. Having lived in tropical Indian weather all my life, I can only imagine what the weather must have felt like at -20! Savi, weren’t you cold in the maxi dresses? Though I must say you look like a fairytale princess in them 🙂
    As always, I love the way you brought the photos to life with your words 🙂

    1. Thanks a million Ramya – this place was absolutely surreal. The igloos are made of transparent glass but they do have curtains 🙂 We truly had the time of our lives in Lapland

  2. Wow Savi, you look like a fairy in that white dress and it goes oh so well with the snowy background. You do carry all of it very well. Why I said that? Because there is no sign of chills or shivers on your face in any of the pictures. Looking at these pictures I don’t understand how do you manage to do light backpacking when there is so much you need to take with you!

    1. Thanks a million Pooja – maxi dresses barely take up any space, which is why they come everywhere with me 😉

  3. Urgh, y’all posts always make me want to go on trips. I LOVE LOVE LOVE lists & organization and packing causes me anxiety. Thank you for reducing my anxiety and providing a thorough list of what to pack for Finland.

  4. Hey Savi / Vid,

    We are planning to go for our 10th anniversary celebrations in Feb 2016. We have 3 days in kakslautnen. we are planning to do 1 night in the glass igloo and 2 nights in the log cabin. What do you think?
    Its a 9 day trip where we visit Rovanemi, kakslautnen and tallinn.

    We are saving up the santa claus village for a later time when we visit with our daughters in the summer.

    Also, we are from india and are at a loss as to where to buy the winter wear from. Do suggest!

    1. Hey Meghna – you’ll definitely love Finnish Lapland. We’ll be posting our guide to Tallinn soon as well, so that should help you plan your trip better. You can buy merino wool thermals from anywhere (most shops in India sell them) but it’sbest if you order winter wear on a reputable international website (Zalando or North Face) and have it shipped to India 🙂 You can also get Arctic Jumpsuits at Kakslauttanen – just wear them over regular woollens and you’re sorted. Hope this helps.

  5. Hi!

    I have loved reading your blog on Kakslauttenan, particularly as we are booked to go there in March, beyond excited! All your photos and footage have been amazing to see.

    I just wondered if you could answer a few things for me please:

    1. Did you book your safaris directly through Lapland Safaris or did you book through Kakslauttenan Resort and they just happened to use Lapland Safaris? I read that Kakslauttenan only allow tours to collect from the premises if they have been booked through the resort itself, but I wondered whether that applied if we booked with Lapland Safaris if they are one of their chartered providers anyway??

    2. Did you wear merino wool base layers and socks when you were there?

    3. Do you hire the sledges / toboggans or were they provided free of charge at Kakslauttenan?

    4. Did you use the large smoke sauna when you were there and, if so, is it worth doing?

    5. Finally, are you able to provide some info on the restaurants / bars at Kakslauttenan please? We are staying in the West Village…I’m not sure if you may have stayed in the East so I guess they may have different facilities. Any info on this would be great!

    Thank you in advance! 🙂

    1. Hi Jemma,

      1) We booked through Lapland Safaris in Rovaniemi. In Kakslauttanen, we went for the safaris organised by the hotel.

      2) Yes, we did. Very helpful in the extreme cold 🙂

      3) They were free to use.

      4) No we didn’t use the smoke sauna so unable to comment

      5) We stayed in both East and West village and each has a restaurant of its own. Both were adequate.

      Hope you have a great time in Finland 🙂

      Cheers

  6. Hey guys!!!!!

    Trully enjoyed your vlog!!! I cant wait to see it for myself. I am planning on visiting kakslauttanen and wanted to know how many days is good to see and do the activities. How many days were you there and how many activities were you able to do while you were there?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and look forward hearing from you.

    All the best

    Judie R.

    1. Hello Judie,

      We were in Kakslauttanen for 4 nights and did the Northern lights snowmobile safari as well as the reindeer sleigh with Penti (he is amazing – do say hello from us if you meet him :))

      We could have done a few more activities but we wanted a couple of days just to ourselves – relaxing, doing nothing, and enjoying the beautiful setting 🙂

  7. Hi Savi! Nive vlogss n articles. Thanks for sharing! Just a qn, when did u go for ths trip? The sun looks great in ur vids. Just wondering if it wld appear in nov-dec

    1. Hi Adela,

      We were there in Feb and got really lucky with the weather. We experienced a lot of sunny days and were told that that was rare for Feb 🙂

  8. Hi Savi and Vid,
    It was nice to stumble upon your vlog on YouTube. Finland was on my list for my honeymoon in january 2018, but I wasn’t able to find a suitable iternerary. And finally I get this!
    I just had a few questions in mind:
    1. Do you have flights to Helsinki during 15 january time period, from new delhi, considering the weather.
    2. Is 200 euros pp an estimate excluding the flights?
    3. Is there any package for all the safaris or do you have to pay for each individually.

    1. Hey Harsh,

      Glad you found the itinerary useful. Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) A quick search online shows that flights from Delhi to Helsinki are available.

      2) That estimate does not include international flights but includes transportation within Finland

      3) Usually you have to pay for individual safaris

      Hope that helps.

      Have a great trip to Finland 🙂

  9. Hi I am planning a trip to Norway and Svalbard in march. Can you please suggest a place in Delhi or online where me and my husband can buy good snow boots? Can’t find them.anywhere . Thanks a ton 🙂

    1. Hey we bought our snow boots when we were in London so not quite sure where in Delhi. Perhaps Kathmandu stores?

  10. Hey guys I have planned so many trips following your iteneries .. Slovenia was so much easier and fun thanks to you guys . Also Paris tips were fab. In December we are planning a Finland trip. And just when we were planning you guys published this. We are with a small baby of 3 yo. Want to realistically ask you how doable is it with a baby. Also for clothes do you get all the winter wears on rent? As I am unaware of you can buy these in India. Especially Mumbai where we are from. Thanks again for being life saver.. oops trip savers 😘

    1. Hey Jaita,

      So happy to hear that 🙂 Do share some photos with us!

      To be honest in terms of logistics it’s absolutely doable with a baby. Other than that you might want to see about the cold. We saw many babies in Finland so don’t think it should be a problem but at the end of the day it’s a personal opinion. You can get overalls for rent easily in Rovaniemi 🙂

      Enjoy your trip!

  11. Hey Guys..

    I loved reading your blog on finland trip. My husband and I are visiting finland this december.
    I have planned my entire itnerary based on your blogs. Thankyou sooo much for all the useful tips. I had certain queries though, so could you please help us on the following aspects:
    – When do we need to book the trains and buses for transportation within Finland? or can it be done once we reach Finland?
    – How did you book your winter safari tours? especially snowmobiling. Can you provide us with the link?
    – I have read a lot about the traditional finnish saunas. Where did you guys do that and could you help us with a link to book that??

    Please let me know. Would be great help
    Thankyou

    1. Hi Prachi,

      Yes you can wait to get to Finland to book your transportation but we always recommend everyone to book a bit in advance just to be sure. As for the safari tours, you can arrange from whichever hotel you’re staying at or you can just go to the website of Laplandsafaris and book there. All these details are in the article above as well as the related and linked articles 🙂

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