Do you have plans to go to Lapland? Or maybe another cold, snowy destination such as Canada, Austria or Switzerland? Here are my tips for an affordable outfit!
Once the temperature drops below freezing point, it is always a smart idea to wear layers. Especially with half- or full-day activities outside, layers are essential to stay warm. With temperatures between -10 and -25 degrees Celsius in Finnish Lapland, I wore the following clothing layers every day:
- normal underwear
- thermodry pants & shirt
- regular shirt with long sleeves
- ski pully
- fleece vest
- winter jacket
- 2 pairs of ski socks
- accessories (beanie, buff, liners, mittens)
Some organizations offering activities in regions like Lapland have snow overalls available, which are really warm (but not so charming…). If they think your clothing/shoes are not warm enough for the temperature that day, they might also want you to change your shoes for thick winter boots and/or ask you to put on an extra pair of socks.
Villages with ski slopes usually also have possibilities to rent. However, for any trip longer than a few days, buying is the most cost effective option, as long as you make smart choices.
There are tons of winter jackets offered, but many rather expensive! This arctic North Face jacket that I liked was pretty average in price: around €400. Yikes! Time to look further for something more affordable. My requirements:
- Color: personally I like grey, purple, blue and black
- A belt (not to look too square…) and long enough
- Available in my size and be able to wear layers underneath
- Warm enough for temperatures around -25 degrees Celsius
- Water and wind resistant
- A cap that can be tightened around your head and pockets
- Able to use it in daily life during winter at home too
- Priced preferably max. around €150,-
- Reliable web shop with fast delivery and free return possibility
My lovely Carson Pass II jacket of Columbia met all these requirements. It was especially not easy to find a suitable jacket with a belt; scarce in general and many web shops don’t have that search option (very annoying). Nevertheless, I love this jacket a lot!
You might know that we lose about 10% of our body heat through our heads. So it’s nice to keep your head warm with low temperatures outside. There are thousands of options available. Especially beanies with a pom-pom on top are pretty popular now (and cute!).
I wanted to have two beanies; not just for variation in ‘the looks for pictures’. The thing is: when one beanie gets wet from the snow, I could use the other one! I prefer beanies with fleece inside so the wool does not get itchy on my forehead.
A buff is a small, round scarf which is very comfy when temperatures drop, wind picks up, snow starts to fall, etc. I was especially happy with my buff during our snow mobile trip in Lapland. And still wear it often! A buff:
- fits perfectly around your neck and fills the space with a winter jacket’s collar
- is thin yet very warm, especially when made from merino wool (soft and breathable)
- can also be pulled up over your chin and nose for extra warmth
A regular scarf usually won’t fit in between a winter jacket’s collar and your neck, if you close all zippers and buttons. There is simply not enough space for a regular scarf, yet enough space for cold wind and snow to sneak in. A buff is a great solution.
When temperatures go below 20-25 degrees Celsius, a balaclava (forage cap) is another (extra) option to keep your head, face and neck warm.
Luckily I bought these cuties early enough in season to avoid out of stock. I bought them online for a really low price (see Costs at the bottom of this blog). They might last for only a season or two, but who cares, they are comfy and look so cute!!
Finding the right ski pants turned out to be another challenge. First of all most ski pants are pretty expensive; they easily cost between €120-180, especially from brands like Jack Wolfskin, North Face, etc. And secondly there are my genetically tainted wide hips (thanks mom…) to fit in. Damn it.
Most ski pants are quite wide at the lower legs to ensure real ski/snowboard boots to fit in. Smart to think ahead of this when you go to a destination with cutting wind, staggering snow, extreme temperatures, etc.
Gloves & Mittens
To keep your hands warm below zero, you will have to choose between two main options:
- gloves with 5 fingers, or
- mittens with 1 thumb separate and the other 4 fingers together + a set of liners
At home I wear mostly leather gloves but those would have been too cold for Lapland in December. So I got myself a pair of mittens and wore a pair of liners underneath. Liners are from relatively thin yet pretty warm material. My liners have special grip lines on it to be able to operate a camera or smartphone without having to take them off (and freeze your fingers every time you want to take a picture). I got these liners from my friend Anja as a birthday gift and really like them!
Liners are not only practical; also budget wise it is a smart idea to combine mittens with liners. Liners are around 25 euros and mittens can be very cheap (see Costs below). My boyfriend was stubborn and got himself some really good gloves… for 70 euro! The downside of the average glove or liner is that sweat gets in, which makes them colder. Therefore you might want to wash them after a full days of intense use. .
Furthermore you will need at least: fleece or woolen sweaters, ski pully, thermodry underwear and ski socks. C&A, Hema and Action are good sources in The Netherlands for affordable winter clothing items such as underwear and socks.
Campz has sharp prices for things like winter jackets; the same jacket was tens of euros more expensive in other shops. Both C&A and Campz offer discount when subscribing to their newsletter. Bever had a seasonal promotion on winter accessories. If you go later in the season, it may be an idea to wait for Jan/Feb discounts.
Lidl saved me a lot of money. Especially on the snow boots, which are usually more expensive. All Lidl stuff was ordered online and delivered to a gas station nearby, very convenient. Only with Lidl the ski pants (€19.99) did not fit me and the ski jacket was (€24.99) too thin.
Second hand can also be a good option for winter clothing and boots, if available in your size and taste. However, for me things like underwear have to be new anyway!
Wonder what this outfit for Lapland costs and where I bought it?
|Item description||Brand||Shop||Quantity||Price each (EUR)||Price total (EUR)|
|Buff merino wool||Icebreaker||Bever||1||31.46||31.46|
|Liner gloves with grip||Extremities||*birthday gift*||1||0|
To read more blogs about Finnish Lapland, check out the Lapland Blog Archives.