Mid Layers... Base Layers... Woolen Socks! We know, it can be quite overwhelming.
Not a lot of people know much about what materials or how many layers to wear when it comes to Finnish winter weather. This is actually why Winter Wear Finland's story begun - the family behind the rental service felt so bad for a tourist, who they met up in Lapland, that it sparked an inspiration to help other visitors with the big question of what to wear. This poor woman had chosen to wear rubber boots, probably with a couple of pairs of socks, for a Reindeer sledge ride at -32° Celsius. It is unimaginable how cold her feet must have been. Rubber does a good job in keeping feet dry, but it's totally useless when it comes to keeping warmth in. Also, by adding more than one pair of socks the shoes lose their air space and the situation only gets worse.
So, we're really glad you've found us! Let us help you through the clothing questions.
The weather has been a bit unpredictable everywhere, but as a rough outline, here's how winters tend to be and how to prepare for them:
September - The weather cools down, and people start digging out their mid-season clothes. This would mean a light jacket, to wear with a pair of jeans or in case of more active outings or rainy days, a pair of light softshell pants. A hat, a scarf and a pair of gloves are good to have at hand too. Septembers tend to be a bit rainy, so waterproof is always a good way to go.
October / November - Getting colder... Depending on the year, it's soon time to switch over to insulated outer wear. If you're only strolling around town, you should be ok with an insulated jacket and a pair of jeans or similar. But don't forget your accessories: A hat, a scarf and gloves or mittens are a necessity. Again, for adventures in the nature, keep in mind it can be wet and windy so you should gear up with a pair of appropriate pants too. We recommend looking into the below mentioned base layer already during these months too, as with the right materials you'll never be too hot.
December / January / February - These three months represent the coldest months in Finland, but vary a lot depending on the year. There should be snow throughout the country, and Celsius degrees may drop down to something most people only experience in their freezers. This is the season you'll really want to focus on the right materials. So, here's what you'll need:
Base Layer: Go for a woolen base layer. It's great against the skin, breathable and warm. We at Winter Wear Finland think Merino Wool is the best. Even if the weather got a bit warmer, a woolen base layer won't make you sweaty, so it's a great thing to wear on any day when you choose to spend time outdoors. Don't forget woolen socks!
Mid Layer: Choose a comfortable mid layer to wear on the woolen base layer. Most people use a fleece shirt and pants. If the weather warms up and you're feeling hot, this is the layer to take out.
Outer Layer: Waterproof, insulated outer layer is the finishing touch to your set. Shoes should be roomy enough to leave some air between your feet and the shoe itself, this way you'll have the best chances of feeling warm in your toes as well. Smaller kids may benefit from an overall, as it keeps snow out even when playing carelessly in the snow. It's really not a nice feeling to have snow against your stomach!
Accessories: Don't forget to protect your neck. A scarf, preferably a woolen one, keeps the wind out and makes a big difference to how warm you feel. Gloves should be waterproof, as it doesn't take long for snow to melt in your hands. Woolen mittens or light gloves let the cold wind and snow through, and should only be used for short outings while shopping, not if you're planning on spending time outdoors. A hat will keep your head warm, and is one of the most important accessories.
March - Snow starts to melt, and days get longer and brighter. Streets may be fairly dry, but the melting snow and ice create big pools to many places. Please note, that while the surface of those pools may be purely water, it may still be frozen at the bottom. That being said, it's a slippery time of the year! Make sure your shoes are waterproof and be careful with your step. Insulated outer wear is still needed, dress more or less underneath depending on how cold it is.
So, that's it! Simple, right? Choose good quality and waterproofness. If you're up for a fun short video on this topic, go check out Visit Finland's guide "How to Dress Right and Enjoy the Winter".
Don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we're here to help!