This is the first part in a series on how to survive the northern lights.
The article will cover clothing. Wearing layers is very important. Materials that breath are best. The other articles will include photography equipment, items and food.
In Northern Finland the temperature can vary. So this is a “general guide” suitable for winter. The temperature will change depending on how far north you are. Sometimes there can be extremes of temperatures in the north that can plummet to below -40°C. Check the weather reports at Supersaa they will give you 2 different weather reports to help build a picture.
You don’t have to spend lots of money on winter clothing. But technical clothing is an investment especially if you live in a cold environment. Some articles of clothing appear in Lidl. There technical clothing is cheap but effective. They don’t sell it all of the time so you have to be an opportunist shopper
Northern Lights Clothing
Simply layering is adequate if you are on a budget but check the materials you are using. Cotton is great indoors, but breathable fabrics that don’t remain wet are the best. Wet means cold. Cold is not fun If you are out in -25°C for 4 hours at a time.
Snow boots are best. Hiking or walking boots are fine if they have space so you can wear 2 pairs of thick wool socks.
Thermal insoles or liners are an important method to keep your feet warm, consider it the most important part. If you get really cold feet, it can be a living hell.
Woollen hiking socks or ski socks. The best are wool , especially Merino wool.
- Base layer : Long underwear or thermal underwear. Woollen are the best, polyester is good. Do not wear anything under it.
- Middle layer: 100% polyester jogging bottoms – sweat pants- college trousers.
- Outer layer: Ski pants on top.
- Base Layer: Thermal underwear Wool or 100% polyester.
- Middle Layers: Fleece shirt (polyester) – thick 100% wool jumper. (100% wool jumpers are hard to find.)
- Outer Layer: Fleece coat, insulated jacket. I recommend a high quality jacket. The jacket must perform in extreme temperatures. So buying a quality brand is worthwhile
- Head: Hat, woolly hat, fur trapper hat, balaclava.
- Hands: Gloves It is good to have a thin pair of gloves on under your main gloves/mittens, so you can use a camera. Mittens are better than gloves in serious cold. Good quality ski gloves are even better, as they are usually wind proof. I have a pair of lined leather mittens which work really well.
UPDATE – Wrist warmers by Ruskovilla
- Scarfe: Woollen or Polyester.
All in One
- Body and Legs: In Finland Ice fishing is a popular hobby. They sell a reasonably priced wind proof / weather proof suite. With layers underneath this will make a great option on a budget.
Layers are good. Pay attention to the materials. Polyester and wool (Merino wool) are really good, cotton is bad. Most of the clothing regular off the stuff. Spend a bit extra, for good quality ski trousers and an insulated jacket.
how to survive the northern lights.
This was the first instalment on “How to survive the northern lights.” If you like this article or better still it helps you while you are out in the cold. Then please share this post. I am looking forward to writing the next instalment.