How to survive the Arctic

Planning on travelling to the Arctic during winter?

I recently travelled to Scandinavia in winter where I spent a whole week and a half inside the Arctic Circle in Sweden and Finland. If anyone tells you not to travel for fear of being too cold, don’t listen to them! Trust me when I say you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. The Aurora Borealis is more than worth the sub-zero temperatures you will need to endure, not to mention the awesome snow sports and adventures you’ll have while you’re there!

So, here are my tips on how to survive the freezing temperatures in the Arctic!

Dress to Impress
Being Australian, no matter how many times I visit Europe during winter, I struggle to get used to the cold. I’ve spend two whole months travelling Europe, enduring temperatures colder than Sydney will ever experience which officially makes me a pro at knowing what to pack – ok so not officially, but hey, I’ve survived! These are the essentials you’ll need:

  • Thermal pants, long sleeved top, gloves, socks, scarf, beanie and underpants
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Leather and waterproof boots (many resorts in the Arctic will allow you to hire actual snow boots for free so don’t worry if you don’t want to fork out too much money on a pair of your own)
  • A thermal and waterproof snow suit. This thing is a life saver! You won’t have to purchase one of your own because you’ll always get offered the suit for free throughout your stay at any hotel in the Arctic (especially if you’ve booked to go on any outdoor activities)
  • Woollen jumpers, socks, and anything else you can fit underneath your thermal suit. Avoid cotton because the material doesn’t breath and if you happen to sweat, you’ll freeze a lot quicker!

Don’t Spend Too Much Time Outside

Yes the Aurora is lighting up the sky and you didn’t travel this far to sit inside all day, but it’s also -37 degrees Celsius outside and that can be dangerous. Remember to keep moving around while you are outside. Jumping on the spot is a great way to keep your blood flowing. If you happen to get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as possible and don’t spend too long outside at a time. If you start to feel too cold the best thing to do is to get yourself inside and wait until you’ve warmed up again so know your limit and stick to it!

Time Your Showers and Saunas Well!

There’s nothing more dangerous than having a shower before you step outside into the cold (except of course stepping outside naked). Showering will heat your body and leave moisture on your skin. Once you step outside, your body will start to cool and the water on your skin will cool faster. You’re going to get very, very cold very, very quickly. Only shower when you’re planning on staying inside for a while.

Prepare to Catch a Cold

I survived a month in the cold without getting sick but not everyone is as lucky so come prepared. If you feel a tickle in the back of your throat, take something for it. You’ll hopefully kill off that bug before it does any more damage. There are plenty of supermarkets and chemists where you can stock up on cold and flu medicines but it usually works out cheaper if you pack your own.

Ask For Help

If you start to lose the feeling in your feet, hands, or anywhere else, tell someone. There are locals here who know more about dealing with the cold than anyone else so they’ll get you warm in no time. If you’re staying at a hotel or a resort there are always people there to look after you, so just let them know if you start to feel like you’re not warm enough. Never just risk it!

How do you survive the cold? 


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