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How to dress for the cold

Layering. That is how to dress for the cold. Three to four layers provide protection from the cold, wind, snow and rain and are the quickest and easiest way to adjust your body temperature when out in the wilderness.


As a participant of Fjällräven Polar, you’ll be provided with the necessary essentials. But read the below advice to learn more about how and why layering is so effective.

The Base Layer

The base layer, or first layer, is there to transport moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and warm. Wool and its synthetic alternatives are the way to go here. Cotton is a no-no when it comes to base layers and underwear.

The Middle Layer

The purpose of the middle layer is to absorb moisture from the base layer and provide insulation. If it’s really cold, or you’re not moving about very much, two middle layers or a thicker layer is needed. Again, wool or synthetics are best here.

The Outer Layer

This layer should be highly adjustable with zippers and vents to help you control heat and minimise sweating. Its purpose is to resist wind and water as well as keeping the cold out and the warmth from the inner layers in. It also integrates with other layers by releasing moisture. It should protect sensitive areas like your head, throat, wrists, waist and ankles.

The Reinforcement Layer

The reinforcement layer is for those times when you’re less active, specifically in the mornings and evenings when you’re not on the sled. This layer should be large enough to pull over your clothes but should squash down into your pack, ready for you to pull out when you need it. Down garments are ideal here.


You lose most heat from your head so in the Arctic a hat is essential. And when it’s really cold, you’ll need a combination of hat and balaclava. Take spare hats and keep them handy for when you change your level of activity.

  • First layer

    Thin, five-finger liner gloves.

  • Middle/outer layer

    Five-finger working gloves with removable wool liners.

  • Reinforcement layer

    Large mittens, also with removable wool liners, that cover your wrists.

  • And don’t forget

    Never touch metal with your bare hands. For protection, always use a liner glove.


Thick soles are essential both inside the shoe and on the outside. Wool, felt or knitted soles keep their shape better when under pressure and are great insulators.   And make sure your shoes are the right size. Even with thick socks on, you should still be able to wriggle your toes. So this means getting a pair one or two sizes larger than your regular shoes.


Your socks are just as important as your shoes. We recommend wool or synthetic blend socks. Bring several pairs to change into throughout the day. You can hang the pair you’re not using on the inside of your shell garment to dry. Sounds strange, but this can make a huge difference when you’re out in the wilderness for several days.   Don’t ever use cotton socks. They just bind moisture and take ages to dry, lowing the temperature of your feet.

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