When preparing for a trip to Lapland in winter, one of the most important things to consider is what you’re going to pack. Thankfully, we recently returned from our winter getaway in Lapland, so we can share exactly what was in our luggage, to help you to fully prepare. In this winter packing list for Lapland, I include all clothing (down to our underwear), accessories, cosmetics, electricals, and more.
Lapland is the ultimate trip of a lifetime. It’s a childhood dream come true, and regardless of your age, will have you feeling like a kid once again. Quite honestly, we usually dislike winter breaks, but Lapland is by far one of our favourite trips to date. Our days spent discovering majestic winter landscapes and whimsical villages, followed by cosy evenings by the fire or in glass igloos beneath the Northern Lights. You see, Lapland is both romantic and adventurous in equal measure, so it’s guaranteed fun for all the family.
Wintertime is arguably the best time to go to Lapland. While the Autumn and Summer months seem equally beautiful, it’s the wild winter activities such as husky safaris, snowmobiling, and meeting Santa, which makes you want to trade flip flops with snowshoes. Having said that, with the winter does come sub-zero temperatures. The peak of winter in Lapland sees conditions of – 30 C, so as you can imagine, having the right winter gear is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
So let’s get to it, here’s our ultimate packing list for Lapland in winter.
Planning a trip to Lapland in Winter? Check out our complete guide to spending winter in Lapland, complete with all the best winter activities, the best Lapland resorts, and how to prepare for this once in a lifetime trip.
The Winter Packing List for Lapland – How to Survive Lapland in Winter
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When is Winter in Lapland
Not only is Lapland the home of endless wilderness, jaw-dropping nature, one of a kind hotels, and the legendary Santa Clause, it’s the home of 8 seasons as well. I know, it’s a little hard to believe, but it’s true, I promise.
While Lapland’s main seasons are spring, summer, autumn, and winter just like the rest of the world, the change of weather conditions is particularly dramatic. The lives and work of the locals are highly sensitive to the changing seasons; therefore, it makes sense for them to break down the year into eight seasons instead of four. If you’re interested, the eight seasons are as follows:
- True Autumn: September – October
- Autumn-Winter: November – December
- True Winter: December – March
- Spring-Winter: March – April
- True Spring: April – May
- Spring-Summer: May – June
- True-Summer: June – July
- Summer-Autumn: August – September
So as you can see, Winter in Lapland can span across six months of the year. Although, if you want to make the very most of Lapland’s winter activities, you’ll want to visit between December to March.
As a heads up, December and January tend to be the peak months in Lapland, especially among families with little ones. Naturally, with this comes inflated hotel and travel prices. Considering there are also very few daylight hours during this time, and temperatures drop as low as -40C, you wouldn’t be missing much by pushing your trip into February or March instead.
Things to Consider When Packing for Lapland in Winter
Before we jump into our comprehensive Lapland packing list, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Winter Activities: If you head out on any winter activities such as a husky & reindeer safari or snowmobiling, most tour operators will provide some form of winter clothing (usually a waterproof overall, boots, and gloves). But you’ll still need to have on some warm clothing beneath all that.
Warmth over Fashion: We understand the need to look good in your Lapland photos. It’s a once in a lifetime trip after all. However, never sacrifice warmth for fashion. Trust me; it will ruin your trip if you’re cold all the time. And as we found out, winter fashion can be equally as flattering and trendy.
Check the Damn Material: We never knew this until Natalie’s Grandma told us, but some materials just don’t cut it in winter. Leave your cotton and acrylic at home, and pack items that are wool, wool-blend, or silk.
Be Prepared for a Temperature Shift: While outdoors may be freezing, as soon as you go inside you’ll be submitted to extreme heat. The locals love to have fires blazing, so be sure to have some cooler attire on underneath your winter layers so you can strip off.
Winter Packing List for Lapland
So let’s jump into what you’re really here for, a comprehensive winter packing list for Lapland. I’ll be honest, due to our lack of experience in winter getaways, we were surprised by just how much there was to consider. The closest we’d got to such extreme conditions was the time we trekked to Annapurna base camp, so thankfully we had that packing list to use as a guide.
Overall, we did well with our packing. Most importantly, we were always warm. 95% of the winter activities are outside, and they will be no fun at all if you are cold. On the other hand, we could have made smarter decisions when it came to our footwear. Natalie, in particular, took a few tumbles in her Doc Martins, so that’s a perfect example of what NOT to pack. But that’s why we are here. We make all the mistake so that you don’t have to!
First things first… Travel insurance! While Lapland is generally a very safe place to visit, with any adventurous activities comes a little risk. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. If the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’ll want the best cover money can buy.
For this reason, we always recommend World Nomads for travel insurance. They are affordable, offer a variety of packages and add ons, and allow you to make amendments to your policy while travelling. Say, for example, you go scuba diving or hiking a mountain, World Nomads will amend your plan accordingly. It’s a super handy feature that we’ve used numerous times including the time we trekked to Annapurna Base Camp.
If you need further convincing, read our article on why you need travel insurance. Or get an on-the-spot quote from World Nomads using the form below.
Winter Clothing for Lapland
Lightweight & Waterproof Winter Coat: Arguably the most essential item on your winter packing list for Lapland, you’re going to need a winter coat every time you walk outside. (That is unless you decide to take part in a traditional Finnish ‘cold therapy’ sauna, but that’s another story). While you will want your coat to be warm and waterproof, you also don’t want it to be too heavy. My yellow puffer jacket is from Jack & Jones, while Natalie’s navy puffer coat is from sustainable clothing brand The Pangaia.
Waterproof Boots/Shoes with Grip: There is nothing worse than having wet and cold feet, so investing in a good pair of winter boots or shoes is well worthwhile. Do make sure they are designed for icy conditions though, as it’s incredibly painful (and potentially dangerous) falling over on the ice – just ask Natalie!
Thick & Warm Jumpers: In our experience, it’s better to overdress and have to take items off, rather than underdress and have no choice other than to put up with it. With this in mind, pack some thick warm jumpers to wear underneath your coat. I survived in hoodies while Natalie had her Grandmas wool jumpers. How she managed to rock them so flawlessly, I will never know.
T-Shirts: You’ll want a t-shirt on underneath your jumper for when you transition from outdoors to indoors. Trust me, the heat is real, and you’ll want to strip off immediately.
Ski Trousers/Joggers: If you want to ensure your trousers will be waterproof, it’s worth investing in some ski trousers which are also sure to keep you warm. Personally, we survived with just joggers and jeans with thermals underneath, and our tour operator provided waterproof overalls for the activities.
Thermal Underwear: Leggings, vests, socks – purchase them all. We both could swear that thermals were the reason we never felt the cold during our time in Lapland. They are a gem!
General Underwear: Don’t forget your pants and socks!
Swim Wear: For the lush Finnish saunas. That is unless you want to do as the locals do and go completely naked.
Winter Accessories for Lapland
Scarf: In my opinion, scarfs are one of the most essential winter accessories. They help protect your neck from the wind and therefore help you to feel the cold much less. Again, wool is an excellent material when purchasing a scarf for Lapland.
Beanie Hat: To keep your head and ears warm. Keep in mind the materials to avoid, such as acrylic and cotton.
Gloves: You’ll want to get gloves that are waterproof, windproof, and warm for outdoor activities. Some tour operators may provide them, but it’s worth having some of your own all the same.
Hand Warmers: Hand warmers are the underrated winter accessory of the century. Slip them inside your gloves, shoes, pants or wherever else you might need that added bit of warmth. They work like a charm.
Ski Mask: When taking part in activities such as husky sledding and snowmobiling, a ski mask will help protect your face from windburn.
Sunglasses: For when it’s sunny. Duh!
Winter Cosmetics for Lapland
Moisturiser: The winter weather can be harmful to the skin, so you’ll need a heavy-duty moisturiser to keep your skin feeling soft & smooth. We do not believe in buying expensive beauty products and swear by our trusted Nivea cream for all weathers and situations. It’s best to avoid water-based moisturisers in cold temperatures.
Body Cream: As above, go with a body cream that isn’t water-based.
Lip Balm: The lips suffer just as much as the skin. Take a good moisturising lip balm such as Carmex.
Sun Cream: In the later winter months, the UV rays can be strong, and you can still get burnt even when there’s snow on the ground.
Winter Electricals for Lapland
Camera: You will make memories to last a lifetime in Lapland. But it’s wonderful to capture those moments on camera as well. If there’s any time worth investing in a decent camera, it’s now. We use a Sony A7 II (See a full list of our photography gear here), but even the latest iPhones (XR, 11), take decent photos and video these days.
Tripod: We always joke that our tripod is the third wheel in our relationship as we couldn’t live without it. Perfect for capturing photos of all the family without having to rely on somebody else.
Go Pro & Accessories: Unlike your phone or camera, Go Pros are durable, which makes them ideal for capturing photos and film during your winter activities. We have the latest Go Pro and use it with a chest strap or helmet strap.
Gimble Stabiliser: If you don’t have a go pro, it’s worth having a gimble stabiliser for your phone or camera. This will allow you to capture smooth video footage, even when moving at fast speeds.
Power Bank: What with the cold temperatures and heavy usage, your gadgets will be under a lot of pressure. You may find the battery doesn’t last as long as usual, so you’ll need a power bank that allows you to charge while you’re out and about. We use this power bank by Anker, which enables us to charge multiple devices at a time.
Portable Wifi: Depending on where you stay, the wifi or cell coverage may not be entirely reliable. That’s why we use TravelWifi. TravelWifi’s portable pocket wifi allows us to quickly and securely connect when we need it the most. Click the link for more information on coverage, packages, and the latest offers.
More on Finland
Travelling to Finland soon? Perhaps these other articles from our Finland series will be of some interest to you.
- The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Lapland in Winter
- A Guide to Husky Safaris in Lapland
- A Guide to Reindeer Safaris in Lapland
- 1 Day in Helsinki – The Best 1 Day Helsinki Itinerary
- Helsinki on a Budget – The Best Free Things to do in Helsinki
Did you find our Winter Packing List for Lapland helpful?
Let us know. That concludes The Winter Packing List for Lapland – How to Survive Lapland in Winter. We hope you enjoy your time in this magical location. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below, through our contact us page. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here, where we share further travel advice & inspiration.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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