Packing list and tips

What to wear in Finland during winter?

4 minute read

Credits: Juho Kuva

Are you planning your winter adventure in Finland? Wondering about what to wear in the Finnish winter? Don’t worry about the chilly weather, as millions of people live here happily year after year. The secret? It's all about layering up!

How cold does it get? Well, statistically speaking, January is the coldest month of the year, and the farther north you go, the colder it tends to be. The average temperature in Finnish Lapland during winter is -14 °C / 6.8 °F with occasional dips to even -30 °C / - 22 °F. Meanwhile, in the south on the coast of Helsinki, the climate is noticeably milder, somewhere around -5 °C / 23 °F. Brace yourself for some wind, especially atop the fells and along the coastlines. For more details on climate and weather in Finland, have a look on our climate and weather page. For real-time weather updates, try, for example, the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s site and search for your travel destination. And if you are still looking for inspiration on the best things to do during the winter, check out our top tips!

Read on to learn what to pack, where to get the items you need, and how to enjoy winter in Finland like a seasoned local.

Credits: Mikko Huotari

The first layer is essential

It all begins with your base layer – think long underwear. For many, the go-to choice is natural fabrics, such as merino wool, bamboo, or silk. Not only are these materials more sustainable, but they're also easy to take care of. Alternatively, you can opt for technical materials designed to move moisture off the skin – popular among winter sports enthusiasts, from skiing to hiking to ice skating. If you are unsure, stick with merino wool.

Credits: Juho Kuva

The second layer depends on your activity

Regulating your temperature is as easy by removing or adding clothing. These layers hold air between them, each one adding a bit more warmth. Engaging in winter sports? Opt for thinner layers to prevent overheating.

When choosing to do city activities or simply taking a casual stroll, thicker in-between layers are in order. Choose a woollen sweater or a hoodie paired with warm trousers. Remember, tight-fitting garments might feel uncomfortable with multiple layers – size up or pick out something loose. Also, snug layers are less warm, as there is less air insulation.

Credits : Flatlight Films
Credits: Mikko Huotari

Outer layer – Winter coat and trousers

Are you doing winter activities or just seeing the sights around the city? This will affect your choice of the outer layer. For example, if you are hitting the slopes, choose a coat with a “snow lock” – featuring stretch cuffs to keep the snow out.

Regardless of the activity, the best coats are windproof and waterproof. The warmth does not depend on the thickness of your attire but rather on the quality of the materials. Look out for filling materials such as down and feathers for optimal warmth, although there are plenty of other materials and options to choose from. And don't forget, a hood is a must-have feature in any good coat.

Credits: Juho Kuva
Also remember to:

Keep your head warm

Choose gloves or mittens

Pick the right shoes

Wear a reflector

Where can I get winter clothes?

When arriving to Finland, there are plenty of stores selling winter clothes. Head to city shopping centres or sports stores – they've got you covered. In urban hubs like Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä, and Oulu, you'll easily find everything you need for the winter season. Many destinations in Lapland have stores stocked with all the necessary gear.

If you'd rather not buy all the clothes for your visit, consider exploring winter clothing rental options. You can even pre-order rental winter clothing to pick up at the airport for added convenience. Most travel destinations in Lapland, such as Levi, Ylläs and Rovaniemi, offer rentals, so make sure to check your destination’s website. Keep in mind that many guided winter safaris in Lapland for northern lights and reindeer or husky rides typically include clothing rental in the package.

Now you are ready to go out and enjoy the magic of Finnish winter!

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