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The Extreme Arctic Dress Code

What to wear in the Arctic? Visiting the Arctic is not just about breathtaking landscapes, exciting experiences, and loads of snow; it's about experiencing one of the most extreme climates on Earth. With temperatures frequently plunging to -30°C or lower, a standard winter wardrobe simply won't cut it.

Understanding and adopting the extreme Arctic dress code is crucial for anyone coming to explore this magical area. Learn what to pack for your visit in Kirkenes to fully enjoy the ICE Innovation Festival 2024.

The Multilayered Approach to Arctic Wear

The key to staying warm in the Arctic is layering. Unlike milder climates where a single heavy coat might suffice, the Arctic demands a more strategic approach. Three to four layers of clothing are essential to enjoy your time in the Arctic while allowing flexibility and mobility. 

So, what is it that you will need to consider and pack for your trip to the Arctic town of Kirkenes?

1. Base Layer: The Moisture Manager

The base layer sits right against your skin and has a critical job: transporting moisture (sweat) away from the body. This layer keeps you dry, and dryness is synonymous with warmth in Arctic conditions.

Ideal Material: Merino wool. It is excellent at wicking moisture and dries much faster than cotton.

2. Mid Layer: The Insulation

The middle layer is all about insulation. It traps body heat, forming a warm buffer against the cold, and further transports moisture away from the base layer.

Ideal Materials: Knitted wool or down. These materials provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio and can handle a bit of moisture without losing their insulating properties. Knitted wool is definitely the more recommend one!

3. Outer Layer: The Protective Shield

This is your armor against the Arctic elements. The outer layer acts as a wind and water-resistant shell, keeping the cold out and the heat in. It should be tough enough to withstand rough conditions but also breathable to let out moisture.

Ideal Materials: Gore-Tex or similar materials with waterproof and windproof capabilities. Look for features like sealed seams, adjustable hoods, and storm flaps for extra protection. Your main focus should be on the Base and Mid Layers. A set of normal skiing jacket and pants will do here in the Outer Layer.

Essential Arctic Accessories

Now that you’ve learned about all the key layers, you should also go through the following checklist. This way you ensure that some key accessories are in your luggage on the way to the Arctic.

Warm Beanie

A thick, insulated beanie that covers your ears is crucial. It’s a simple but vital piece of gear since a significant amount of body heat is lost through the head.

Winter Gloves

Look for insulated, waterproof gloves. Mittens are the best choice for extra warmth (absolutely recommended!), but gloves offer more dexterity.

Winter Shoes with Anti-Slip Soles

Arctic footwear should be insulated, waterproof, and have a sole designed to grip icy surfaces. Remember to get a size that allows for thick wool socks without being too tight.

Warm Winter Socks

Wool or a wool-synthetic blend is ideal. These materials keep your feet warm even when damp and reduce the risk of frostbite.

Lip Balm and Hand Cream

Keep your lips and hands moisturized to prevent your skin from cracking.

Additional Considerations


Layer Flexibility

Be prepared to shed or add layers. The Arctic environment can be unpredictable, and your activity levels may vary.

Avoid Overheating

It’s easier to get sweaty than you might think. Overheating can lead to moisture buildup, which is a fast track to getting cold.

Face and Neck Protection

A face mask or balaclava are essential for protection against bright reflections and biting winds.

Hydration and Nutrition

Staying well-hydrated and energized is key to maintaining body heat.

Get familiar with this extreme Arctic dress code and master the system of layering so you can fully focus on meeting interesting people during the ICE Innovation Festival.

Welcome to the Arctic, welcome to Kirkenes!

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