What to Wear in the Arctic

Rachel Nonoo

13 Jul 2016

Be an Arctic Fashionista...

You might be thinking, ‘when I’m in the Arctic that last thing I’m going to think about is how I look’, and you’d be right, you won’t think about it. So why the blog? Well you might not care about looking good, but how you dress in the Arctic is essential to keeping you comfortable and ensuring you make the most out of this once in a lifetime experience. And you’ll see from the photos below, you can make it look good [note: may not look that good]…

I can’t say it enough times, it’s all about layers. Even in the summer months, it may be sunny in the morning and you think about just donning a t-shirt and jumper, but the weather can change at the drop of a hat. The winds can pick up and the drop in temperature can be quite substantial, and the last thing you want is to be the person who needs to go back to camp to warm up, you never know what you might miss.

The last thing you want is to be the person who needs to go back to camp to warm up, you never know what you might miss.

So I always suggest a warm base layer, your thermals are essential. I used a long sleeve top and leggings made from merino wool and they lasted me the week comfortably, and warmly. In fact, as they were all black when I wore them without any covering layer, I looked a little like a seal – added bonus. On top of this, you need a mid-layer; fleece is a great, warm material for this and if you can put a t-shirt between the two layers then even better. Then you need a top layer which should be waterproof. For my outer layer, I had some snowboarding pants with a warm fleece zip in liner which worked perfectly, but these would not be warm enough for the winter months. For a jacket, I rented a Canada Goose parka which was amazingly snug and the big hood that zipped over my face up to my eyes was a spectacular way to avoid the wind when travelling via qamutik.

I actually bought a few different versions of my layers with me, but ended up wearing the same one each day for comfort, alongside a hat that covered my ears and a buff to cover my face from the wind. Sunglasses are more than essential as the bright arctic sun is reflected in the ice and snow. On your feet, I used ski socks but again, you will want to think about silk liners if you are heading out in winter. I also rented some Arctic boots that were like having a bed on each of my feet and kept my tootsies warm, especially when standing on the ice for long periods of time. For your hands, keep to the layers theme and think; liners, gloves, waterproof layer. Your hands will get cold no matter what time of year it is if you’re anything like me, and having these layers makes it easier to keep warm and adjust to the ever-changing temperature.

You’ll also want some hiking boots for around camp, and maybe some slippers so you can sip hot chocolate by the fire and feel all snug. 

On my safari I did some kayaking which required the use of a dry suit which was provided for me. 

Our version of a catwalk in the Arctic

Relaxing in an igloo, whilst remaining warm! And a close up of my boots whilst travelling in the back of a qamutik.

For more details on how to pack for an Arctic safari get in touch with us, and to buy everything you need you can head to our safari store. I travelled in May / June and the temperature was up and down. So up at times that a few of us got burned (luckily I bought SPF 50 with me and avoided any sign of sun burn, or even a tan!) and so down at other times that I managed to obtain Rudolf’s nose for the entire day. It really is the wind that gets you!

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