*In commercial collaboration with Joutsen – Scandinavian craftmanship since 1936, to keep you warm. Please note that this post has affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase.
Are you feeling excited but a bit worried about how to be prepared for the Finnish winter? Don’t you just wish there would be a Lapland packing list already made for you, preferably by a local who knows all the tiny details?
You’re in the right place. Getting ready for another climate is difficult so this post aims to give you a massive sigh of relief.
First of all, winter clothing is actually pretty straight forward and you can fit everything in your luggage, I promise! I have gathered here the ultimate package of winter clothing advice to Finland. As a Finn, I know a thing or two about the cold weather and how to dress properly.
I’ll be talking mostly about Lapland and Finland, but this post is a wonderful reference for Nordic winter anywhere. If you are traveling to Finland or Scandinavia in wintertime, it will be freezingly cold whatever your destination is.
Yup, in Helsinki too, even though it’s in southern Finland. Think of it this way: Helsinki is only 8 hours’ drive away from the Arctic Circle.
This post tells in detail about the most important clothes for the Finnish winter and how to dress warmly even if you are allergic to wool.
Also, I’ll share some tips about kids’ winter clothing. Last, to make things easy for you, you can download my free printable, detailed Lapland packing list.
Näytä tämä julkaisu Instagramissa.
Here’s what this post is all about. Are you ready to get some winter clothing tips? Let’s go!
Table of Contents
- 1 The Basics of Winter Finland & Scandinavia
- 2 The Best Winter Coat for Finland
- 3 The Best Snow Boots for Lapland
- 4 Lighter Winter Shoes for Finland
- 5 The Must-Have Winter Accessories for Finland
- 6 How Many Layers for Lapland?
- 7 Winter Cosmetics Tips for Finland
- 8 What Should Children Wear in Lapland?
- 9 Where to Find Winter Clothes in Finland?
- 10 Lapland Packing List – Free Downloadable
#1 Indoor spaces are always warm. There are a couple of things we Finns do extremely well. One of those things is insulation. It’s always nice and cozy indoors in Finland, so you really don’t have to worry about that.
#2 Comfortable and Cute. We Finns are the most functional dressers on earth. In Finland, you can wear sporty, functional clothes anywhere: restaurants, hotels, cafes, etc. A fleece and jeans is a normal “I’m going out” outfit for a restaurant in Lapland. And many winter clothes are totally cute, too.
#3 Forget 100% acrylic. The fabric may seem fluffy and warm but really isn’t. Choose wool, wool-blend, cotton, silk, viscose, and polyester. You can have acrylic-blend with the above-mentioned materials.
#4 The most important thing to have is quality outerwear. I’m talking about a thick warm coat, waterproof and warm winter shoes, proper gloves, a scarf, and a reliable hat.
For a Lapland visit, consider thick winter trousers, if you plan to do a lot of outdoors activities, like hunting Auroras. All the layering in the world doesn’t help you if you don’t have the proper outerwear suitable for the harsh conditions. Not to say that layers don’t matter. They do. But if you need to prioritize, outerwear is your choice.
#5 Forget heels. They are uncomfortable and dangerously slippery. In the worst case, you’ll have to see a doctor. Finnish healthcare is amazing, no worries about that, but I think you’d rather enjoy your vacation without discovering that. You won’t see any locals using heels in Lapland.
#6 Tour operators might give you winter clothes. If you are going on tours, many companies provide winter gear (a winter overall and thick boots etc.). Make sure to check is clothing included in the price or not. If all your tours include clothing, then you are good without buying insulated trousers but a winter coat is a must in the Finnish winter.
The Best Winter Coat for Finland
The most important winter wear investment is your coat. If you aren’t familiar with the cold weather, here are all the things that you should look for when making sure you have a quality winter coat in your hands.
I have written this winter coat guide with these things in mind:
– Most likely you’re planning to buy one winter coat for Finland
– The coat should be both beautiful and functional to use in all weather conditions
– It should be a sustainable choice, keeping you warm for years to come
The Finnish winter coat brand Joutsen (by the way, that’s ‘a swan’, in Finnish – isn’t that the prettiest company name ever?) makes the best down coats for winter conditions and their global online store delivers all around the world.
Okay, so what are the features that make the perfect winter coat? I have a four-point list for you.
Is your winter coat light?
Many brands offer thick and warm winter jackets, but most of them tend to be very heavy.
At first, the weight feels fine because you get that feeling of proper warmth, but after wearing the jacket for several days, you’ll start to notice how much pressure it actually puts on your shoulders. Also, do you plan to try some winter activities in Finland? Believe me, it’s a lot more comfortable to move in the snow when your jacket is not adding any extra weight.
Joutsen down coats are incredibly lightweight and at the same time, super warm. Down is a wonder of nature. Its thermal insulation capabilities and lightness are impossible to imitate with synthetic materials.
Finnish winter has a lot of those ”in-between moments” early in the spring and late in the fall. Light down coats are the perfect solution for milder winter weather and also when you’re traveling in general.
Essi light down coat has that Scandi chic look, and it’s perfect for a spring visit to Lapland. This coat is a lifesaver also in Helsinki, where the harsh sea wind sometimes (read: pretty much always) blows. The long light down jacket protects your lower back and thighs brilliantly. Yes, I know I sound like a granny, but that seriously makes a huge difference.
How functional is the winter coat?
Does it keep you warm when the wind is strong? What if it rains? Can you wash the coat yourself?
For Joutsen, carefree use is carved into their DNA. You can wash and tumble dry all their jackets at home. The jackets are water-repellent. Responsibility is a huge component of Joutsen, from where they source the down to actually wearing the products (more about their responsible down later).
Joutsen believes that even in the cold climate, you only need two jackets from autumn to spring. There should be a lightweight down jacket and a winter down jacket in your closet. That’s why Joutsen carefully design their coats so that besides functionality, the style of the coat is suitable from the city to out in nature.
I know this is hard to believe, but hubby and I have a unisex coat by Joutsen even though I’m 5’6” (170 cm) and hubby is 6’2” (190 cm). We use the same Tauko jacket in size M. You can see him wearing this coat when I’m wearing the long light down coat Essi.
Tauko coat is a Finnish classic. It was made for outdoor activities, snow shoveling, dog walks, outdoor sports events. If your motto is ”came to play, not to watch,” I can warmly recommend this coat for you. The fabric is a wear-and-tear resistant and water-repellent. And you’re able to pack the coat into the coats’ front zip pocket; it’s insane!
How was your winter coat made?
The down used in Joutsen products is a by-product of meat production. For Joutsen, ensuring animal rights is a must. They never use down or feathers plucked from living birds and only use partners they trust and regularly visit.
I got to visit the Joutsen down factory, just one hour away from my hometown and I was seriously in awe of how much craftsmanship it takes to make Joutsen products. As an engineer, I was impressed to find out that as down is a natural product, the production can never be fully automatized if the quality is a priority.
So why do Joutsen coats feel even lighter than other down coats? Because of their unique production method. Some brands use the washed down as it is, but in the Joutsen factory, they wash and sort in detail, the washed down they purchase from their hand-picked partners.
Each down batch is unique because it is a product from nature, so the skillful staff is checking up and finetuning the process to match that batch. Finally, the ready-to-use down filling up the Joutsen products, is like the first snow itself. Fresh, light and magical. I made the gif below to show you the fluffy swirls in the Joutsen factory.
How timeless is your winter coat?
Styles and prints with the latest trends look outdated soon. Quality winter jackets, like Joutsen coats, are built to be lifelong best friends. The placements and styles of zippers, push buttons, and pockets are carefully designed so that they can be renewed.
In the factory, I actually saw a Joutsen down coat dating back to 1966 and it was in mint condition. For decades, the coat had been used by the Finnish expeditor Erik Pihkala who purchased it to be his winter coat as he skied across Greenland.
My thick down coat Lume by Joutsen is so versatile. I can use it in any outdoor activity, and it’s my favorite winter city coat with its beautiful hood and collar. I love the feminine look and that it keeps me warm even when I’m wearing a dress. This Joutsen coat has made looking cute and comfy so easy, the cherry on top is that this coat comes with a reflector. It’s a must in Finland.
The Best Snow Boots for Lapland
In Finland, we have a saying: If your feet are warm, your whole body is warm. This is so true. I get chills when I see travelers with fluffy down jackets and Nike Free trainers. You’ll be an icicle the minute you walk out of the airport.
Two pairs of shoes are a must for the Finnish winter: proper snow boots and lighter winter shoes. Here’s why: when it’s winter in Finland, the ground can be any of the following:
- Puddles of slush (the winter days with warmer temperatures)
- Ice (standard)
- Slush and ice beneath it (when temperatures change)
- Black ice (especially in the south)
- A layer of snow (standard)
- A pile of snow (until the plough arrives)
- A meter of snow (think Lappish forest)
Hands down the best snowshoes I have ever worn are Sorel Caribous (check price for men’s and women’s here). My hubby actually recommended them to me and said that I’ll love them. As usual, he was right.
You’ll never be cold in Caribous. They are super warm even when it’s -20°F (-30°C), sturdy, waterproof and so comfy. At first, you think they are kind of heavy but you get used to their weight fast. I can’t recommend these boots enough!
By the way, can you believe that my hubby’s boots are ten years old and he wears them every winter?! They are in mint condition. These boots were made to last!
Lighter Winter Shoes for Finland
Lighter winter shoes are a great idea to have so that you don’t have to live in your snow boots. I just love my winter shoes by Merrell (check similar here). They are warm, waterproof, and have a special Vibram-sole that works even in the worst weather conditions, like walking on slushy ice. That makes this slip-resistant shoe perfect for those warmer winter temperatures here in Finland!
My light Merrell winter shoes have a special winter sole called Vibram or “the Ice Plus”.
My favorite city winter boots are by Ecco. They are super comfortable to walk in for hours, waterproof and cute! Awesome for any winterly city destination. Shop for similar here.
As a side note, Ecco does fantastically cute and functional shoes for all Finnish weather conditions. I also have their waterproof white sneakers which I use pretty much every day from spring to autumn.
The Must-Have Winter Accessories for Finland
Beanie. You’ll definitely need a reliable beanie in Finland. Stay away from anything that says 100% acrylic without a proper lining. The best beanies are cuffed wool-blend or fleece-lined beanies. Personally, I love my beanie with a pompom on top. If you are allergic to wool, a fleece-lined synthetic or cotton beanie is a great option and warm enough.
Scarf. Nobody does a chunky scarf better than Acne Studios. The color palette and quality of their Canada scarf makes me cry happy tears. Do you know how some scarfs leave you covered with threads?! These don’t. I’ve worn my luxurious cream-colored oversized one everywhere from Lapland to Helsinki Opera house to a long-haul flight. The material is miraculous; it never gets any makeup stains. The skinny version is perfect if you don’t want a chunky look. Oh, and if you walk in Helsinki and wonder what’s this beautiful big winter scarf Helsinki ladies are wearing – yes, it’s this!
Gloves. You’ll need water-resistant, warm, windproof gloves for winter activities. Something like these. Here’s a wonderful idea to buy from Finland: Mutka leather gloves are very quintessential Finnish winterwear. My granny wears them, my mom wears them, I wear them… These lamb-leather super warm gloves with teddy lining (not wool!) are around 30€/pair and you can find Mutka in Sokos and Stockmann department store or Prisma hypermarket.
Silk glove liners. Silk glove liners are the perfect addition of extra warmth. Keep one pair in your pocket. They are tiny and many times life-saving.
Not exactly a fashion accessory but hand warmers work like a charm and offer instant warmth to you when everything else fails. Slide to your shoe, pocket, mitten wherever! I used these inside my sleeping bag when sleeping in a tent this autumn in Lapland.
Because cold weather drains a phone battery fast, I always carry a portable charger when making winter day trips.
This chargeable phone ring light has been a lifesaver in dimly-lit restaurants and the dark/blue winter days in Finland. For months, my little sister told me that a ring light would improve my phone’s images, but I never got around to getting it. So finally, she bought one for me as a gift. It has been the best!
Also, buy a warm case or pack an extra wool mitten or sock for your phone. That’s a free hack we Finns do every winter.
How Many Layers for Lapland?
You’ll pretty much always need long underwear in the Finnish winter. A warm layer of soft merino wool underneath your jeans and top is heaven. Merino underwear is made to last so you only need one quality pair.
My recommendation is that you buy them well-fitted. Perfectly-shaped wool leggings are cute and comfy. Hanging long-johns are not only ugly but uncomfortable with the other trousers you’ll be wearing. Icebreaker undershirt and leggings are my favorites for quality, fit and cuteness.
If you are allergic to wool, buy a thermal underwear set. Pro tip: I have both wool and thermal leggings because for super cold days, I put on my thermals first, followed by my wool leggings and then pants.
Cotton socks are not enough for Finnish winter. You’ll need either proper wool socks on top of the cotton ones or wool-blend socks. If two socks make your feet too big for your shoes, you really need the wool-blends.
You see, to keep warm, your feet need to be surrounded by a little bit of looseness. This air warms up and acts like a warm air cushion. Not to mention that too-tight shoes are horrible to walk in!
I used to skimp on socks but then I tried cushioned wool-blend socks by Falke, was walking on lukewarm clouds for a day and now I have five pairs of them.
They are my favorite socks when staying up on my feet all day long. My hubby has these, too. Quality wool-blend socks make wonders to your aching feet and circulation. Falkes are worth every penny.
Winter Cosmetics Tips for Finland
You wouldn’t go on a beach holiday without sunscreen, right? For a winter holiday, you desperately need a lip balm, a face moisturizer, a SOS cream and an excellent hand cream. The dry cold air is cruel.
I love the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour products. If I’d only get to pick one beauty item for winter, it would be the classic Eight Hour Cream by Elizabeth Arden. It’s my SOS cream (face, hands, feet – anything) but you can also fix your brows with it and use it as a blush and glow gel. It’s a miracle.
If you are in Lapland in February or later and planning to do a lot of outdoor activities, you need sunscreen too as snow reflects the sun super well.
What Should Children Wear in Lapland?
A short summary of Finnish kids: Babies and toddlers wear warm winter overalls. Finnish little children and primary school-aged kids wear warm waterproof slope sets.
Finnish teenagers wear their down jackets open, refuse warm winter pants, and hide their beanies and gloves in their backpacks the minute their parents can’t see. They are the most cold-resistant people on the planet.
The slope sets are so warm that kids wear just their normal clothes underneath. If it is super cold, they wear a thermal underwear set.
Where to Find Winter Clothes in Finland?
If you need to buy winter clothes in Finland, you have plenty of options as you really can’t live here without proper winter clothes and shoes. All ski resort destinations in Lapland have sports shops.
Head to one of the following stores:
- Department store Sokos or Stockmann
- Hypermarket Prisma (huge selection also for kids)
- Hikers’ store Partioaitta
- Sports stores, e.g. XXL or Intersport (great selection also for kids)
Lapland Packing List – Free Downloadable
Make your life easy and download my free Lapland Packing List. It has all the items you’ll need on your Finland visit.
Looking for more information about winter Finland? Check these other posts:
- Winter Weather Beauty Hacks and Essentials from Finland
- Lapland Holidays: A Local’s Guide to Help Plan Your Dream Trip!
- 15 Things to Know about Northern Lights in Lapland
- Rovaniemi City – Favorite Places in Town
- Ylläs Ski Resort and Winter Things To Do
- How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland with Night Train
Warm wishes from Finland,
After Finnish Culture Compass, you’ll…
...feel connected with the Finnish culture (even if you aren’t in Finland)
...be confident with the Finnish communication style (even when it’s filled with silence)
...be prepared to meet and get to know Finns