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What to Wear in Lapland, Finland: Essential Winter Packing List

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Lapland is a region in Northern Finland characterised by freezing temperature and a magical snowy landscape.

Winter is from December to February, and the days are the shortest. The temperatures range from -16°C and 5°C during the day. At night, they can dip as low as -30°C. Snow is practically guaranteed.

If you’re travelling to Lapland in winter, make sure you’re prepared for the frosty landscape so you can best enjoy all it has to offer.

For a light packer like me, who loves tropical beach destinations and hates winter, I was pretty wary about coming to Lapland.

It’s a trip that had always been on my bucket list, but the cold temperatures scared me. I was surprised to find that with the appropriate clothing, which you can easily purchase before going, I barely ever felt cold.

This list includes all of your cold-weather essentials, from the best jacket to wear in Finland in winter to useful accessories to pack. So what are you waiting for? Start packing for your Lapland winter trip!

Me during my Lapland trip enjoying a sunrise / sunset sky at noon and -13°C

Me during my Lapland trip enjoying a sunrise / sunset sky at noon and -13°C

What to Wear in Lapland: Winter Clothing Essentials

Before we get into the list, it’s important to point out that many activity/tour providers supply suitable arctic clothing for you – with all the necessary bits and bobs.

So if you want to try out a unique activity, like ice floating, you won’t have to worry about packing or buying suitable gear. Even for more common activities like husky sledding or snowmobile safaris you will be geared out in arctic suits.

You can also rent arctic suits in Rovaniemi, however I don’t think this is necessary.

Since you will be decked up for activities, you only need to ensure you have appropriate gear for the times you’ll be outside but not doing an activity, which realistically won’t be often (unless you’re planning on doing long walks in the snow).

Therefore, here are some clothing and accessory items that you’ll definitely want to pack for yourself so you can always have them on hand.

Getting to know my sledding tour husky dogs in full Lapland winter gear

Getting to know my sledding tour husky dogs in full Lapland winter gear

Winter Jacket

Lapland, Finland is all about snow and adventure. To keep up with the cold, a waterproof/windproof jacket will suit all of your needs. It will be your main shield against whatever weather Finland has in store for you.

For optimal comfort and warmth, look for features like elastic cuffs, a hood, and a soft, fuzzy lining.

Snow Pants

Snow pants will keep you extra snug when you’re outside. Make sure you buy a pair that aren’t too tight and allow you to move freely.

You don’t want your movement to be restricted if you’re going to be doing activities like hiking or cross-country skiing. I used the same trousers I usually use while skiing and found them to be perfect.

My snowmobile safari crew in Lapland

All geared up in our arctic suits for our snowmobile safari

Snow Boots

A good pair of waterproof winter boots are one of the most important things you’ll take with you on your trip. Ensure that they are comfortable and have a good grip.

And, remember that you’ll be wearing a thick pair of socks underneath, so it’s a good idea to buy a pair that is half size to one full size bigger.

Thick Socks

The second step to having happy feet is wearing thick wool socks. To ensure they will suit all your winter exploring needs, make sure they’re specifically designed for hiking and outdoor sports.

Depending on how long you’re visiting Lapland for, you’ll want to pack at least four pairs. Again, I had my skiing socks with me and found they suited the job.

Beautiful landscapes you can see in Lapland in winter

Beautiful landscapes you can see in Lapland in winter

Thermals

A thermal set (top and bottom) will serve as your base layer when you’re out in the cold, snowy weather. You don’t want to wear too many layers. This could make you sweat, which will freeze on you and make you even colder.

A pair of thermals with moisture-wicking features will keep you comfortable. They wick away sweat quickly to keep you dry.

And, if you need to remove them, they’re lightweight, so you can just toss them in your bag and they won’t take up much space.

Beanie

A suitable Lapland hat to keep your head warm is a must. Make sure the style you choose covers your ears and doesn’t have any pom poms, as you won’t be able to wear it under your skiing or snowboarding helmet.

My Lapland winter trip group - all dressed up in our own Arctic outfits

My Lapland winter trip group – all dressed up in our own Arctic outfits

Gloves

You’ll have several glove options to consider for your winter clothing list. You might want to bring several different pairs depending on the activities you enjoy.

Waterproof gloves are the most practical, they will keep your hands dry and comfortable your whole trip.

For long periods outside I used to wear thin Touch screen gloves as the first layer, and then warmer ski gloves over them. Mittens circulate warm air across all your fingers and will keep your hands the warmest.

Doing a snowmobile tour in Inari, Lapland

Doing a snowmobile tour in Inari, Lapland

Neck Gaiter

Protect your neck from the cold and wind with a fleece neck gaiter. Unlike a scarf, a neck gaiter won’t unravel and potentially fall off. It has a no-fuss design that allows it to sit snug in place.

This small piece of clothing will make a huge difference.

Bathing Suit

Saunas in Lapland are very popular and part of the Finnish culture. This activity is a great way to warm up in the wintertime. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit to enjoy this relaxing experience.

An outdoors ice bath in Lapland you can swim in after doing a sauna

An outdoors ice bath in Lapland you can swim in after doing a sauna

Winter in Finland – Useful Extras and Accessories

Now that you have a good idea on suitable clothing for Lapland, let’s cover other useful items you’ll want to pack in your suitcase.

Head Torch

During winter in Finland, the sun sets very early. A water resistance headlamp will make it easy to keep enjoying yourself after the sun sets. Especially during night time expeditions, like Northern Lights hunting.

You might think that your smartphone will work just fine, but given the sub-zero temperatures you will find it very hard to remove your gloves to use your touchscreen phone.

Plus, this way your hands will be free and you won’t have to worry about dropping your phone in the snow.

Driving my husky sled in Finland

Driving a husky sled in Finland with my headlamp on

Pocket Warmers

Pocket hand warmers are a simple addition to your winter packing list that will make a world of difference. Just slip one of the small packs into your gloves and/or shoes and they will warm up in an instance.

They only last for a limited amount of time, but for slower-paced activities like snowshoeing and hiking, you’ll be glad you have them.

Moisturiser

Just like you would pack sunscreen to protect against the sun, make sure to pack a moisturizer to protect against freezing temperatures. The cold can be damaging and result in dry and/or cracked skin.

You need the right kind of moisturiser for arctic temperatures, since with a lot of the usual ones there’s a risk it will freeze on your face, making you feel even colder.

Doing a husky dog sled tour in Yllas, Lapland

Doing a husky dog sled tour in Yllas, Lapland

What to pack for a winter trip to Lapland, Finland, in Winter: Final Thoughts

Lapland is one of Europe’s top winter vacation spots. It has so many amazing cold activities to offer visitors, from husky dog sledding to cross country skiing and Northern Lights expeditions.

It can be difficult to pack for Lapland in winter if you’ve never done it before. I was pretty dubious myself before travelling to Lapland, but with the help of this winter packing list I was always appropriately dressed and never cold.

I hope you find this Lapland winter packing list useful for your Lapland winter trip! If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below.

Start packing and get ready to combat the cold, all while rocking the wintertime Finland clothing style!

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Photo collage of snowy landscapes in Lapland, a snowmobile and a girl in an arctic suit with a husky dog and text overlay saying "What to pack for Lapland in winter"

Doing a husky dog sled tour in Yllas, Lapland
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