1. Base layer
A quality base layer is vital when venturing into the Arctic. You can opt for ‘wicking’ or ‘non-wicking’ fabric, we prefer the former. ‘Wicking’ means it absorbs and evaporates your sweat to keep you dry, comfortable and avoids chafing. It’ll also give you your first layer of insulation, keeping you warm and toasty. We recommend a long merino wool base layer because they’re durable and comfortable. Plus, it’s a natural material and kind to your skin.
2. Mid Layer
Get your sweater out, but don’t sweat it out. A lightweight, insulating fabric that’s not too bulky so you can stay comfortable and mobile. Wool, fleece or down are our top choices.
Fleece is great, but not when it gets wet.
Down is very insulating, so it’s best for those especially cold days. An ultralight down sweater will keep you warm, yet can be too hot for those particularly strenuous days where you’ll be more active. For that, we recommend a lightweight wool sweater.
For your pants, wool or fleece is best.
3. Outer Layer
This layer is there to protect you against harsh weather conditions. So you want something that’s waterproof and wind-resistant.
Bring a lightweight shell that protects you from the elements. Most of your insulation should come from your layers and other pieces of clothing, so it doesn’t need to be heavy which’ll make you more hot. You want this outer layer to just keep you dry and comfortable. We recommend gore-tex, and anything with vents and zippers to keep you ventilated.
If you have the space, you can still bring a heavy, thick winter jacket for those especially cold nights. But you should be able to keep warm with the right layering.
We lose most of our heat through our extremities. Make sure your hands, feet, head and neck are properly warm and protected. Bring a wooly hat or merino wool beanie and gloves. We recommend a two-glove system with a thin liner glove and thick outside glove so you can move between them depending on the temperature.
Scarfs are great, but can get in the way when you’re adventuring. Take a neck gaiter instead, which can be used as a hairband or an extra layer under your hat. As well as your normal socks, bring some thick wool socks too.
5. Winter boots
Winter boots are an essential piece to the Arctic puzzle. If your boots are too small, they’ll lose their power to insulate your feet and you’ll absorb the cold from the ground. Go a size up with your boots and wear them with one of your pairs of thick wool socks, still with enough room to wiggle your toes.