Winter Essentials – What Do You Really Need Outdoors

Winter Essentials – What Do You Really Need Outdoors

Our recent holiday in Thailand made me think of how the climate makes all the difference to what you need for your outdoor adventures. Meanwhile we managed two weeks in Thailand with rather light backpacks, our wardrobes at home are full of (old and stinky) sportswear – and still we only have the necessary stuff and nothing more. 

If you come here just for a visit, I'm sure almost everyone has clothes to wear in layers for what you need for a few hours outdoors. It's not rocket science, just remember that if you are active, your circulation keeps you surprisingly warm and the opposite. 

As a local Lappish and active outdoor person,  I consider sportswear as an investment. Good, functional ones make me happy because they keep me comfortable in all conditions, year after year (my gore-tex shell jacket and pants just turned eleven). Neither of us isn't loyal to any outdoor brand, and we generally hate all kinds of prints, texts and logos, and we like to discuss brands even less, because they just don't have any importance to us. However, what we've noticed is that it's maybe worth your euros to put a little more money to buy quality. For example jackets with armpit zips and multiple pockets are nice, but these jackets with many details also cost more. Eventually you'll be happy for your decision when you climb to the top of a fell and when the temperature drops and you can open your jackets ventilation system. 

To get started to build your winter wardrobe, I'd start from:

  • A good gore-tex shell jacket and pants. They work well in autumn, early winter and late spring, and unfortunately also sometimes during our arctic summer. I bring mine with me everywhere.
  • Light down jacket! It's super functional. I use it underneath my jacket if we need to have a break outdoors, for walking to gym or grocery store, on top of my xc-skiing wear to stay warm when I wait Anssi to get ready etc. 
  • Proper winter jacket that can keep you warm in ultimate conditions. This is especially important if you're planning to go aurora hunting, as then you might need to stay still for long time. 
  • Last but not least: warm shoes and socks! If you feet get wet or cold, nothing helps but going back to home. Our next investment will be gore-tex socks. A fellow mountainbiker just told me that even wet feet aren't problem with gore-tex socks, as the humidity stays in the sock keeping the inside nicely warm and stinky. Definitely must have!

For what I wouldn't waste my money is all lycra-related synthetic things like running pants, shorts, long and short sleeve t-shirts, tops, even technical underwear... The material and the country of origin is almost always the same, no matter if you buy your stuff from a big chain or from a special brand store. 

A material that I'm still a bit unsure is fleece. The price of fleece hoodies and sportswear varies hugely, and I don't know is there any other difference but burls that appear eventually to the cheaper ones but not necessarily to the more expensive ones. I also don't have a fleece, because I haven't been able to decide what kind of piece of cloth I should get...If you have better information, please let me know!

Winter wear is naturally more expensive in terms of sportswear, as you need to wear more. I try to do some investments every year to top up my collection. One of the best buys has been my down hood jacket, that I bought last year. I don't understand how I've been able to survive without it! But somehow I have, and that's a good thought to keep in mind for future: it's actually very little that you REALLY need for going out and having fun. Let's keep things simple.  Unfortunately equipments are a whole another story, there's never enough money to have everything...

P.S. The pictures are last year's ones from Pyhätunturi. We'll be at Pyhätunturi the becoming weekend, hope the weather will be as brilliant as in these pics. A little winter festival called Bättre Folk i Fjällen takes place there, and we'll be getting a perfect combo of good music, literature and outdoor sports. Coolio!

Suom: Toisen kerran Bättre Folk, eikä edes tarvitse nukkua teltassa, kuten muutama kesä takaperin Hailuodossa Bättre Folkin kesäfestareilla.