Here is how to keep warm and how to dress for an Arctic safari.
One of the most important things in staying warm in temperatures around minus 30 or minus 40 is layers.
That’s really the key.
We’re gonna start out at our base layers and then get all dressed to show you what we do when we’re trying to stay warm.
Let’s start with the base layers, which really are the most important. They have to be breathable and they have to be warm and that’s why we choose merino wool.
We use Icebreaker ones, they’re made out of merino wool, they breathe, they absorb the sweat and they keep you really really warm.
These are 260 weight so they’re the one of the heaviest that they make. That will keep you nice and warm and wick the moisture away from you.
The same goes for socks. Personally I use wool socks and I also use a liner socks. No blisters develop or anything like that.
Once that’s all done, you’ve got your base layer ready to go, it’s time to start adding on.
The next important part is your mid layer. I like to use a very light puffy coat. This keeps you pretty nice and warm but still breathes.
On a warmer day, you might want to go with something a little bit thinner like Arc’teryx fleece mid layer, which is thinner and keeps me warm.
Next is our outer shell.
For our pants we don’t really need any fleece pants because I have down filled snow pants or synthetic down filled snow pants. These keep my legs nice and warm.
If you just have outer pants, then you might want to go with a fleece pant over top of these and make sure you get ones with nice wide legs at the bottom, because the wide legs at the bottom are really great because you’re gonna be putting on these big boots afterwards and you want to be prepared.
Next we want to take care of our head.
So for that because the wind is such a big factor, go with a high quality balaclava. This keeps your head, your neck, everything else warm, while leaving you a nice opening for your sunglasses or your ski goggles.
And then I put my hat over top of it. Now my head is ready to go.
Our extremities are things that are going to get coldest the most. Again, it’s all about layering, so you can peel them off if you get too hot.
I like to use knit liners, they’re nice, they are wool and they breathe.
If you’re operating your camera or anything like that, these will allow your skin not to be exposed, because frostbite is a real thing when you’re talking minus 42 of the wind-chill.
Then comes the mitten, the oversize.
What you want to do is make sure that you have a mitten, not a glove. A glove will keep your fingers separated and not warm. So I recommend getting the ones that have little elastic things that go around your wrists, so that if you are taking them off to photograph or anything, you don’t have to worry about them dropping on the ground or picking them up.
So your hands go in two layers and you are toasty.
The final piece of your puzzle is the outer layer. This is super important. You want something that’s down filled and windproof and something with a great hood.
I use one which is rated to minus 40, which is what you want and you want to make sure you put this on outside, so that you don’t get too overheated.
Eyewear is also a really important factor when you’re out there in the Arctic or subarctic.
I like to use goggles but always remember with goggles they have to be against your face, otherwise when you breathe it will completely fog up.
Sunglasses work well also but your face will get a little bit cold. So I recommend goggles.
One of the things you must have when you go out on a polar expedition or you’re up in the Arctic or something like that, it’s foot warmers and hand warmers.
There are a couple different kinds of foot warmers. There are toe warmers. They work really well. They just go on the sole of your foot.
There are the full actual insoles. What they do is they end up generating heat inside your boot and obviously you have a boot where the top is closed and it keeps the heat going in and out.
Hand warmers are another very important part of keeping your hands warm. Some last for ten hours. Just activate by shaking, stick them inside your glove and they’ll keep your hands nice and warm.
And you should always make sure to put these between your liner gloves and your big mitts.
The extremities are the ones that are the the most important on your body, so that’s where boots really come in.
You need something big and heavy duty with a great liner like the one from Baffin and these keep your feet nice and warm. Just make sure there’s enough space for the heat to move around.
And that was an Arctic Safari.
For over 12 years, I have been testing and reviewing heating technologies that overcome cold weather conditions. In recent years, I have specialized in the heated apparel. I’ve made it my mission to educate people about heated clothing.