Ultimate Winter Packing List Lapland Finland – What to Wear in Lapland
If you are looking for a winter wonderland, you will certainly find it in Lapland, Finland. Located mainly above the Arctic Circle, knowing what to wear in Lapland is essential for having a successful trip. With temperatures this cold, it is important to be prepared.
So, I did a ton of research beforehand, and I am excited to tell you it all paid off because I was warm throughout our whole trip to Finnish Lapland. Yup, even when standing out on a frozen lake in -8 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures.
So, if you are looking for what to pack and what to wear in Lapland, this Finland winter packing list will act as your ultimate guide to staying warm!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Ultimate Winter Packing List Lapland Finland – What to Wear in Lapland
- Average Temperatures in Lapland Finland
- Can You Rent Winter Clothes in Lapland
- What to Wear in Lapland
- Fleece Pants
- Winter Boots and Socks
- Hand Gloves and Mittens
- Lapland Winter Packing List Accessories
- Other Lapland Winter Accessories
- What About Dressy Clothes in Lapland
- Lapland Winter Packing Wrap-up
Average Temperatures in Lapland Finland
Before getting into my recommendations on what to pack for winter in Lapland, Finland, let me set the scene for some average temperatures you can expect during the wintertime. I am using Rovaniemi in winter as a base, since this is one of the most popular places to visit in Lapland, Finland.
According to the official Rovaniemi Tourism site, the average winter temperatures are:
- November: 14°F to 41°F(-10°C to 5°C)
- December: -4 °F to 14°F (-20° C to -10° C)
- January: -22°F to 5°F (-30°C to -15°C)
- February: -4°Ft to 5°F(-20°C to -15°C)
- March: 5°F to 23°F(-15°C to -5°C)
We were in Rovaniemi in March, and the temperatures did dip into the negatives at night, but overall, the temperatures stayed around 20°F to almost 30°F during the day. If you’re visiting in January, make sure to bring those extra layers because the cold can be brutal!
Planning a trip to Rovaniemi, too? Here is my Epic Rovaniemi Winter Itinerary!
Can You Rent Winter Clothes in Lapland
You actually can rent winter clothes, and many tour companies give you a winter suit when doing certain activities. However, I personally would not go this route. Mainly because it may not fit the best, and I was able to pack 5 days worth of clothes in a carry-on bag.
I did this by wearing my winter jacket and snow boots on the plane and using space-saver bags. Besides, this likely won’t be your last winter travel vacation, right? I know you want to go skiing in the Alps and visit Ice Castles across the states.
What to Wear in Lapland
When dressing for cold conditions like Lapland, Finland, or really any arctic location, layers are the most important aspect of staying warm. So when covering what to wear in Lapland, Finland, I am going to go in the order from what you should first put on, to what you should put on last!
You should get a good idea of what I wore in Lapland in the photo below.
Thermals – Base Layers
First, you will want to start with your thermals, also known as your base layer. These are the foundation of your warmth! Most people will recommend merino wool for your top and bottom base layers.
What is excellent about merino wool is that it has antibacterial properties, meaning you can wear it several times without it smelling. Merino is also breathable and wicks sweat—all great properties to have against your skin.
I got my husband Smart Wool Midweight Base Layer bottoms (also referred to as thermal underwear) and a Midweight Base Layer Long Sleeve top. Depending on how cold the day is, you might want to double up on the bottoms.
Smartwool is known as one of the top brands in this space, so you really can’t go wrong. Merino wool can be a little pricy, so you can also try the REI version.
However, if you’re like me, your skin will be too itchy from it, even though Merino wool is known as one of the softest wools to wear. So, I went with the REI polyester midweight base layer top and midweight bottom.
It definitely helped keep me warm, but it did smell slightly worse than my husband’s thermal – lol. I also wore a sports bra under this.
BTW- I am a huge fan of REI because I am a member, therefore I can return anything for up to a year, get free shipping, and some other perks. So, they are usually the first place I look when it comes to gear.
Technically, you should be able to wear the Merino wool base layers for at least two days before needing a new set.
I am the type of person who runs cold, and maybe you can relate to that as well. So, having nice warm, and dare I say “fuzzy goodness” leggings over your base layer bottom are a win!
I got these leggings in black and liked them so much that I got another pair. I packed 2 pairs to wear in Lapland Rovaniemi for 4 days.
You may be thinking to yourself, is she serious about another pair of pants? I sure am, because while others returned to the van during our Northern Lights tour, I was completely unphased. It was so cold, that the condensation from my breath on the camera screen turned to ice, but yet I was warm.
So, I recommend adding fleece pants to your Lapland winter packing list! They can be fully fleece or fleece-lined sweatpants. If you’re staying in Lapland for more than a couple of days, pack a few pairs.
We used the REI Branded Fleece Pants. Unfortunately, they are discontinuing the women’s line of these pants.
Visiting Finland in the winter requires snow pants, in my honest opinion. Some might argue that many attractions provide you with their snow jumpsuit. However, I have two main reasons I believe snow pants should be added to your winter Lapland packing list.
You will not be doing activities 24/7, so there will be times you’re not in their suit. Moreover, snow pants are water-resistant, wind-resistant, and insulating. If Finland happens to be brutally cold, which it often can be during the winter, you will be glad you have them.
My second reason to have snow pants is because when we walked around Rovaniemi, which was covered in snow, many times we were sinking 6+ inches down into the snow. Without snow pants, you will likely get snow in your boots, and your pants are going to get wet. That combination equals a bad time.
This will finish out your pants layers to wear in Lapland during the winter. If you are a skier or snowboarder, it’s likely you already have a set that you can wear in Lapland. In the photo below, my brother-in-law (red & white) is wearing Helly Hansen gear.
You may also enjoy these best things to do in Rovaniemi Finland!
Now that we finished your bottom half, let’s discuss what to wear in Lapland on your top half. Start by packing some warm sweaters.
These should be slightly loose-fitting since they must go over your base layer long-sleeve shirt. I even doubled up on sweaters some days.
You should have warm sweaters in your closet, but if you are in the market for new sweaters, you can always find cute sweaters on Amazon. Did I mention these should not be crop tops or low-cut sweaters?
In the below photo, I am wearing a thick long sleeved shirt over my base layer, and then the pink, brown, and white sweater wool blend sweater over that.
Nano-Puff Insulating Jacket
I’ve always seen the thin little puffers at REI and never understood why someone would buy one until I started researching what to pack for winter in Lapland.
These thin, easy-to-pack puffers will act as your insulating layer that helps keep the heat in.
I used this Patagonia Nano Puff. I’ve added it to my fall/spring wardrobe and continue to use it at home. You can buy the same one in the men’s version. I got it in the orange-ish yellow that you can see above.
Lapland Winter Packing Tip: It is best to have jackets instead of sweaters because, once you’re inside, it is much easier to unzip jackets than pull off clothing items. In Rovaniemi, along with the rest of Finland, it is kept toasty inside, aka sweat box with all your winter gear on.
Ok, technically, all the guides I read told me to put the fleece jacket on before the nano-puff. However, after testing it, I found myself warmer when putting my fleece over the nano-puff.
So, I am recommending the fleece over your nano-puff, but you can try it both ways. I brought two fleeces with me—this Columbia fleece and my favorite thick PrAna Zip-up fleece that they no longer make. I found myself wearing the thicker fleece more often, so I would recommend a fleece/sherpa more like this.
You can see my white fluffy fleece from the last photo.
Warm Winter Jacket
Finally, on to our last top layer to wear in Lapland, your warm winter jacket. Like the snow/ski pants, this should be insulating, wind-resistant, and water-resistant. It will also need to be large enough to fit all your layers!
For this, I went with the Fjallraven Nuka Parka, since my normal winter coat is not designed for layers or wind. What I loved about this jacket is that the hood has a wire that helps frame your face better and all the pockets.
I never realized how handy those pockets would become until I found myself utilizing almost all of them. The faux fur hood also helped in keeping my face warm.
Fjallraven’s sizes run a little weird. Usually, I am a small, sometimes an XS, but in this jacket, I am an XXS. They also have a men’s version, and the fur is removable. I have come to truly love Fjallraven, and as a Swedish company (they border Finland), their outdoor gear is designed to keep you warm!
This jacket is insulated synthetically, therefore, the jacket is a little more on the heavy side. If you want to go feathers, look for at least 600 fill power.
Winter Boots and Socks
Lapland is covered in snow during the winter, therefore adding snowboots to your Lapland winter packing list is necessary. Don’t be my brother-in-law who wore “water-resistant” Timberland-looking work boots. Spoiler alert, his feet were wet and freezing the entire trip.
So, proper snow boots are what you should wear while in Lapland and are essential for keeping your feet warm. Some of the attractions we did at Apukka in Rovaniemi provided boots and even socks if you needed it, but this will only get you so far.
My favorite winter boots that I have been wearing for almost 10 years are these Ugg snow boots. They make them in both men and women. Make sure to have a little room for thick socks in your boots. I would also pick boots that sit higher on your legs because the snow is deep.
And speaking of socks, my absolute favorite socks are Darn Tough socks. I wear them all year, seriously. They are made in Vermont and have a lifetime warranty (not that I have ever had to use it). Darn Tough socks are made from merino wool, which, as we learned above, regulates you when you’re hot and cold. Think of it like a thermal mug.
I doubled up on socks daily while in Rovaniemi because I am sensitive to the cold, but my husband was okay with one pair. Get the mid-weight or heavy cushion!
Hand Gloves and Mittens
We can’t forget about your hands! I have always been a glove wearer, but this time around, I decided to get mittens, and I liked them. My husband still prefers gloves.
Anyways, you will want to wear real-deal winter gloves that are waterproof and insulated. I went with these Dakine Mittens that had a zip for a hand warmer and came with liner gloves. I love the liner gloves they came with because the thumb and index finger work on the touchscreen phone.
I must admit, wearing the liner with the mitten wasn’t too comfortable, therefore, I found myself either wearing one or the other and keeping the other in my pocket. Additionally, the liner gloves wrist area is small, so they are a little hard to get on. For men, check out this Dakine Mens Titan Gore-Tex Snow Glove.
Lapland Winter Packing List Accessories
It’s all about the accessories, right? Well, these accessories may not make you look stylish, but they will keep you warm during your time in Lapland, Finland!
Starting with your head, I recommend getting a hat and or beanie with fleece inside to keep your head warm! During my time in Ireland, I bought myself this Aran Sweater Market wool beanie lined in fleece, and it is probably my favorite beanie.
They don’t really have a men’s version, but I found a ton of fleece beanies on Amazon with tons of reviews. I also brought a Carhartt beanie, but it was not as warm, so I’d go with the fleece instead.
I brought a scarf, but I never used it. Instead, I found using a neck gaiter was way more helpful – especially when we did the Northern Lights tour. I would recommend a neck gaiter that is designed for winter sports or activities.
Hand, Body, and Feet Warmers
No Lapland winter packing list is complete without hot hands and feet warmers. This pack worked great because it had regular hand warmers that fit into your gloves, toe warmers that stick to the bottom of your sock, and larger body warmers that you can put into your jacket, or the pockets of your pants.
I think these were the cherry on top for helping keep me super warm during our time in Rovaniemi – the capital of Lapland and the home to Santa Claus. Make sure to get the variety pack!
Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses with you to Finland. I feel like this is an item that is overlooked when visiting winter destinations. I know my husband opted out of bringing his sunglasses and truly regretted it. This is because, on sunny days, the snow will blind you! We had a lot of sunny days in Rovaniemi.
Despite Lapland being a winter travel destination, it does not mean getting into the water is off the table. If you didn’t know, Finland is famous for their saunas.
In true Finnish fashion, you should definitely experience a sauna. You will start off in a wood-burning fire sauna, and then when you get too hot, you run out and take a polar plunge into a frozen lake. If there is no lake, rolling in the snow suffices. Some places even have jacuzzi’s! Therefore, you don’t want to forget to pack your bathing suit when visiting Lapland!
Other Lapland Winter Accessories
Now that we covered the basic things to wear in Lapland, here are some other accessories I am going to recommend you bring with you when visiting Lapland in the winter – in bullet form, because you have read a lot at this point!
- Mobile Power Bank charger – electronics die faster in the cold.
- A professional camera and tripod if you want to take pictures of the Northern Lights. See my camera gear here.
- Space-saving packing bags – I have these and they worked incredible for this trip.
- Reusable thermal – Finland has some of the cleanest drinking water in the world – and they are very proud of it!
- Chapstick/lip balm to protect your lips.
- Universal Adaptor – Lapland, Finland uses types C and F 2 prongs at 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. I’ve used this adaptor all over the world.
- Airtags in case your luggage gets lost.
- Hand Lotion is essential for winter in Lapland.
- Ski Goggles – you don’t need them, but I brought them just in case. I only used them for the husky ride.
- Your normal toiletries/meds/pajamas/pants belts/electronics
What About Dressy Clothes in Lapland
You might be wondering about dressy clothes and to be honest, I don’t think you need them. This is because most people are dressed very casually and/or in snow clothing attire.
However, feel free to pack a pair of jeans or leggings if you plan to go out to dinner at a restaurant and you rented a car. I personally didn’t pack any jeans and just wore my fleece pants. But, I understand the feeling of wanting to look nice while on vacation. It is just not required.
However, if you plan to spend some time in Helsinki after, the dress is more city-like, and it’s relatively warmer, so you won’t need all the layers. Here, you can dress up a little more.
You won’t be wearing your snow pants, and you might not even need your snow boots. I would recommend packing a pair of regular warm boots in this case.
Lapland Winter Packing Wrap-up
Well, I hope you are feeling prepared and excited to visit with this Lapland winter packing list. If you have any additional questions about what to wear in Lapland or want to recommend additional items, let me know if the comments below, or email/DM me.
Additionally, my full Finland Travel Guide covers practical information, travel tips, trip planning, and more!