Packing List for Winter Trips in Swedish Lapland

The right clothing and equipment can make the difference between a good and bad experience in the Arctic Circle. Bringing quality cold weather clothing is the most important step to having a comfortable, warm trip to Swedish Lapland. 

Packing for the Arctic Circle can be intimidating, but it’s actually easier than you might think! All you need to remember is that warm and dry go hand in hand. Keep your eye out for wool and synthetic, moisture-wicking underlayers, and then add a windproof, waterproof outer layer to stay warm and toasty. 

Here are our best recommendations on how to dress for the Arctic Circle. 


What will the weather be link in the arctic?

We are located in Abisko and Kiruna, 200 km above the arctic circle, in Swedish Lapland. Winters in Swedish Lapland are long and cold, and in a very dry climate. Most winters we have a full snow cover from the end of October until the beginning of May. 

During the coldest period in December, January and February, we expect temperatures between -15° to -25°C (5° to -13°F) but it may drop to -40°C (-40°F). 

While our tours include snowsuits, it’s important to pack appropriate underlayers on the tour. For the rest of your trip, you’ll want to make sure that you are well equipped to stay warm for your whole visit.

How to dress for winter in lapland

Dressing in warm, comfortable clothing is so important to enjoying your stay in Swedish Lapland. As you pack, consider how long you will stay, what activities you will want to take part in, and what your space availability is like in your suitcases. Most importantly, pack layers of windproof and waterproof clothing to protect your body from the wind, ice and snow. 

When thinking of fabrics, we recommend wearing 100% merino wool or synthetic (polypropylene) inner layers closest to your body. Wool or synthetic fibers retain body heat far better, key for staying warm in the Arctic. 

Lastly, always layer your clothing, so that you can easily regulate your temperature by removing or adding a layer of clothes. Several thin layers are better than few thick layers, which may cause you to sweat. Your sweat will make for a cold feeling and once you get wet, your body will lose its natural warmth. As we like to say, ‘dress like an onion’.

How to keep your feet warm in the arctic

  • Two layers of socks: Bring thin liner socks and thick outer socks, wool or synthetic, not cotton. You should always carry a spare pair of socks  in case your first pair gets damp or wet.
  • Winter boots: Wear comfortable and warm boots. Choose one or two sizes larger than you normally wear so that you can wear two layers of socks and still have plenty of space to allow air to circulate. 

How to keep your body warm in the arctic

Base and middle layers are key to staying warm when you’re in the Arctic, as they trap air close to your body and hold in its natural warmth. On top of one or two base layers, add a sweater or fleece layer, and as your outer layer, choose a wind- and waterproof jacket.

Lower body
  • Base layer: thermal underwear in wool or synthetic fabric, not cotton
  • Middle layer: Fleece trousers
  • Outer layer: Waterproof, insulated trekking or skiing trousers
Upper body
  • Base layer: long sleeved top or thermal base layer, wool or synthetic, not cotton
  • Middle layer: thick wool or fleece sweater or jacket.
  • Outer layer: insulated jacket that protects you from wind


How to keep your head and hands warm in the arctic

While keeping your core body temperature stable is important for your health and comfort, don’t forget about your head and hands. These exposed areas are vulnerable to becoming wind-chapped or frostbitten if you don’t take care of them.

  • Winter hat that covers your ears
  • Gloves or Mittens. Ski gloves are very good.
  • Buff, neck gaiter or warm scarf

We also recommend bringing lotion or vaseline to protect your hands from windburn, as well as sunscreen to protect your face.

Our tour’s winter clothing set

We will make sure you stay warm on your tour! Our tours include snowsuits. The snowsuits will be worn as an extra-layer on top of your winter clothes and will give you more protection from wind and snow.

Where to buy winter clothing for the arctic

Here are some places to get winter clothes. 

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Cristina Masferrer

Co-founder of Lights of Vikings

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