The one thing I was concerned about before visiting Lapland with kids was the cold.
Finnish Lapland is a magical destination for families but the winters are cold. Very cold. When we visited Finnish Lapland in December, way up in the arctic circle, the temperature dropped to -25C.
The cold weather is not a problem, however, as long as you are properly prepared with good winter clothing. As someone from Quebec, Canada once told me, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
So, if you’re wondering what to wear in Lapland then here is our complete packing list with all the important things you need to keep warm.
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If you are travelling on a package holiday then you will find that most tour operators will provide items such as a snow suit, gloves and boots. You will still need to bring items such as thermals and balaclavas. Check with your tour company before travel.
If, like us, you are travelling independently, then you will need to make sure you have everything with you.
One option, is to hire your winter clothes through EcoSki. This ski rental company has a huge range of winter wear from thermals and gloves to ski trousers and ski jackets for both adults and kids. They stock a large number of brands that not only produce really good quality kit but that are also committed to responsible and sustainable practices.
For more tips on planning your trip, take a look at our guide to Finland with kids.
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- How to plan the perfect Finland road trip
- All you need to know about visiting wonderful Lake Saimaa (+Itinerary)
Lapland winter packing list for kids
You can buy warm weather kit when you arrive in Lapland but it is expensive so it is worth bringing everything with you.
Keeping warm in sub zero temperatures is all about lots of layers. Your first layer should be a thermal base, ideally made from Merino wool. Merino wool traps warm air between its fine fibres keeping you warm while also repelling water away from the skin.
We packed thermal base layers from Polarn O. Pyret and they were great. The company make clothes – including thermals / long johns and ski wear – for children from 0 to 12-years-old.
I would recommend at least a couple sets of base layers per child.
Don’t bother with normal jumpers or sweatshirts, they just won’t keep you warm enough. Instead, a good quality fleece will do the job. My kids used fleeces from Peter Storm. They were perfect for the Finland weather in December and are great if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.
Ski Suit / Outerwear
A good outer layer is essential. Choose a good winter coat such as a ski jacket plus salopettes or an all-in-one snowsuit.
My toddler wore this amazing snowsuit from Polarn O. Pyret, which was just brilliant. It is fleece-lined, has straps at the bottom to put over the snow boots (to stop any snow getting inside) and a detachable hood. If you’re looking for a snowsuit to keep toddlers warm, then this is it!
The older kids wore jackets by Dare 2B, which they loved. They are warm and good value for money. These jackets by Finnish company Reima are a little more expensive but they are really excellent. I’m also a big fan of their sustainability ethos; they create long-lasting durable clothes that can be passed down and reused.
Personally, I like salopettes for kids that come with over-the-shoulder straps as there’s less chance of snow going down their back during sledding / snowball fights and other outdoor activities. For good quality ski trousers, try some like these by Dare 2B or these by Mountain Warehouse.
If there’s one thing you want to avoid in cold temperatures it’s cold feet. Make sure to pack thick socks to keep your feet warm. Ski socks are a great option. Avoid cotton socks and invest in some such as these by Barts.
It’s a good idea to invest in a pair of warm waterproof boots before your trip to Lapland. My youngest had a pair from JoJo Maman Bebe and the older two were each given a pair of Keen boots to try out and they were very good; incredibly comfortable, easy to get on and off, and waterproof.
I’m also a big fan of these Wetter boots by Reima. One of the best things about them is that they are very easy to put on. They are also incredibly warm and waterproof.
Most of our body heat is lost through our head so it’s important to bring a good hat to Lapland. Our toddler had a fleecy hat from JoJo Maman Bebe and the older kids wore hats from Look Mum No Hands that my sister had given them.
You will also want to bring a snood or a neck gaiter. We all had snoods to keep us warm when skiing in Yllas. A balaclava is another option and is a good idea for husky safaris, reindeer rides and going out in search of the northern lights.
Ski googles are really handy even if you don’t plan to ski (although I highly recommend that you do). They’re handy for keeping snow out of your eyes when playing in the snow, sledging or even on a reindeer safari.
If you do plan to ski then you can rent skis, poles, ski boots and helmets.
Lapland winter packing list for adults
For thermal layers for adults take a look at Patagonia. I first used thermal underwear by Patagonia when I went to Quebec (where it was -25C) and have since used them on all ski holidays. They are very, very good.
Winter coat / Outerwear
One option is to wear a thick winter coat. Another is to purchase a waterproof shell and then wear a quilted jacket underneath.
If you’re looking to purchase ski pants and jackets for the first time, then take a look at somewhere like Blacks, which has a good range at affordable prices.
I have ski socks by Falke. They are more expensive but they really are excellent at keeping your toes toasty! You want at least a couple of pairs of good, thick socks.
I have mittens by Hestra. They are not cheap but they are excellent and I use them for skiing as well. If you get really cold hands then try these heated gloves. Whichever gloves you buy, just make sure that they are waterproof.
We both had Sorrel boots for this trip. Nick’s are similar to these Caribou boots and are excellent. We saw many locals wearing the exact same boot so they must be good! Mine are the Cozy Carnival boots and they are very good, although they were not quite as waterproof as the ones Nick has.
As with the kids, I recommend bringing ski googles with you.
Other things to pack for Lapland
Remember to bring hand cream and lip balm.
Don’t forget an additional camera battery. The cold air drains batter life so make sure you have a back up battery (or extra camera) with you.