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The essential packing list for Lapland

Tell me to pack for a beach holiday and my only question is whether I need to restock our stash of SPF. But packing for a snow holiday? When it came to starting my packing list for Lapland, I knew I’d want thermals and cold weather gear – but before our trip, our shelves were pretty well bare of anything useful.

My daughter in winter snow gear scoops more snow up from a drift in Lapland - my essential packing list for Lapland
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What I needed was a one-stop shop. Somewhere which had everything you need for a snow holiday with kids, and the essentials to keep me warm, plus plenty of choice to browse so I’d spot the things I hadn’t thought of straight away (hand warmers! Gaiters!)

Happily this was the point where I turned to Mountain Warehouse, who kitted us both out for our Santa break – here’s what we took and everything you need on your own packing list for Lapland, plus there’s 10% off if you spend £50 using SAVE10AFF before December 31, 2021.

For more tips on visiting Lapland with kids click here, or jump to the bottom for a downloadable list

What to pack for trips to Lapland

The Lapland temperature does fluctuate, but whether you’re taking a Santa break or visiting Lapland after Christmas, it’s going to be cold, with temperatures below zero and as low as -30C.

Thermal layers

First of all, thermal base layers are essential. Plus with long-sleeved thermals on the bottom and decent outer layers or a thermal suit, it’s easier to use items from your kids’ existing wardrobe to fill the gaps in between.

Trips to Lapland aren’t cheap, so while you don’t want to skimp on clothes to keep them warm, there’s no point spending more than you need to either.

Merino wool is the best option as it’s lightweight but very warm and dries quickly. I picked up two sets of long sleeved tops and leggings (or long johns) for my daughter, which was perfect for our four-night trip.

My daughter in stripy merino wool thermals with thermal socks and toy husky dogs at our hotel - my top tips for visiting Lapland with kids including what to pack

These base layers – striped thermal pants and round necked top were cute enough to be worn on their own in the hotel.

And I loved the colours of this merino wool thermal top, one of five different options, as well as a pair of pink thermal pants – they also come in other colours.

With a few long-sleeved thermal tops of my own already, I just needed some leggings, choosing this lightweight pair – there are matching merino wool tops in brighter shades too.

And I couldn’t resist trying this fleece lined pair too. Still thin enough to wear under waterproof trousers (my usual approach to cold weather trips), they are deliciously snug – perfect when it’s really cold, with IsoTherm heat retention technology.

Frankly, it felt like wearing a bear.

We layered fleecy tracksuit bottoms over the top – very comfy and also meant I could raid my daughter’s school PE kit! – along with her existing jumpers, then a thermal suit over the top.

Lapland packing tip

It’s well worth packing a variety of thinner layers rather than relying on one single thick layer, and also mixing a variety of different weight layers.

Too many thick ones won’t fit inside a thermal suit (and you may not need all of them) but they can come in useful under a ski jacket.

Check out my complete set of tips for visiting Lapland with kids for more recommendations from our trip.

Collage showing my daughter getting ready to throw snowballs while sitting in the snow in Lapland, and lying in the snow, hat pulled down and fleecy snood pulled up over her face against the snow - two things on my essential packing list for Lapland

Ski pants and jacket

We also needed outer layers which would keep her warm enough for the journey, before picking up the thermal suit.

These also turned out to be perfect for the first day when temperatures hovered around -6C, warmer than I had expected.

Ski pants were warm and waterproof for rolling around in the snow – these Honey Kids snow pants come in several colours, have a zip and popper on the leg to get them easily over snow boots and stay secure, plus there are adjustable and detatchable braces.

Ticks the boxes for practicality, such as integrated snow gaiters and zip pockets, plus my daughter’s purple pair looked fab.

Perhaps the hardest decision was which ski jacket to get – there are some lovely padded options with fur lined hoods.

But when I saw the Enchanted kids printed ski jacket, I knew we’d found a winner – sadly now out of stock but there are some similar fun colourful kids’ ski jackets in the latest range.

The swirly snowy blue and violet pattern led my daughter to call it her ‘Frozen’ jacket and as soon as the temperature dropped low enough in the UK, to demand to wear it to school as well.

With a fleecy lining and hood, it’s fabulously snug, there are ‘hidden pockets’ (including one which is perfect for a ski pass), adjustable cuffs and it’s also snowproof.

As my six-year-old spent a lot of time making snow angels and sliding down snow-covered slopes on her back, I can vouch for the fact she stayed dry and the design kept the snow out.

Frankly, I felt a bit jealous in my old ski jacket which I dug out to wear from its last outing eight years ago – next time I’ve got my eye on this cool Nordic Extreme printed ski jacket.

Accessories – gloves, hats & so on

Then there are the extras… gloves, hats, neck gaiters (or buffs/snoods), socks.

Picking the hats, I wanted something to cover her ears, warm enough to keep out the chill but cute enough that I wouldn’t have arguments about getting her to wear it.

Her Snowflake Kids knitted deerstalker ticked all the boxes – a minty green colour to match her thermals, with a soft faux fur trim, ear flaps with tassels (which could have been tied under her chin if needed) and little ears on top. Beyond cute.

Then with its ultrasoft fleecy lining and bright pompom, a patterned stripe knit kids hat made a perfect second – with falling snow and general playing, her hat tended to get covered in snow by the end of the day.

This Fox fleece hat is similar, or check out this cute pompom version and this patterned option.

Although both dried quickly, it was great having a back-up (and just in case we lost one), and both had earflaps and tassels.

My own hat had its own soft fleecy lining and soft faux fur style pompom to keep me beautifully warm – I love hats even if I look slightly ridiculous in them – but envied some of the kids’ fun designs.

I also had neck gaiter envy! What I’d have called a snood, and what I’ve also heard called a buff, it’s a circular alternative to a scarf – and definitely an essential.

Tucked down under her jacket, it filled any gaps between multiple zipped up tops, but could also be pulled up over your face against the wind chill of a husky ride.

Hers was fleecy pink/purple and soft enough that I tried it on just to feel it around my neck (it just fitted but there was no chance I would get to pinch it!).

Mine – now out of stock but check out the current range here – was just as warm and useful, in a swirly pink and purple pattern, if less strokeable.

Printed ski gloves kept her hands dry although her fingers only came around half-way up the glove fingers of the smallest size – not that it stopped her making snowballs.

We also had a pair of thinsulate gloves but soon realised that although these came up fairly tight on her little hands, we couldn’t squeeze them under the waterproof ski layer.

A good option on their own though – I wore my own Thinsulate pair every day over silk glove liners, which are essential to stop your own hands freezing when you constantly have to pull off the outer layer.

Instead, we found a thinner fluffy thermal pair under the ski gloves worked best for my daughter.

Although be prepared for some tugging and pulling to get two pairs of gloves onto a six-year-old who delights in announcing that her little finger is in the wrong place. Every. Single. Time!

Snow boots and thermal socks

As well as double layering our gloves, I know how quickly feet can get cold – and how miserable it feels. So along with some ordinary everyday socks, we added thermal ski socks to put over the top.

Next time I’d also pack thicker walking socks or even layer thinner thermal ones with the thicker, but there’s no doubt the ski socks made a big difference.

Both ours had a fun Fair Isle pattern, were knee high and close fitting, so easy to layer over (or under) thermal leggings to keep that pesky snow out – mint green and grey for me, pink for my daughter.

Last but definitely not least, some boots for stomping through the snow. On our Inghams Santa Break, we were provided with boots along with a thermal suit but I’m really pleased we took our own.

Both pairs from Mountain Warehouse seemed sturdier and were a better fit – my Ohio snowboots (also available on Amazon) had laces to keep them tight, while my daughter’s Caribou boots had adjustable Velcro to ensure they fitted properly.

As well as the fluffy faux fur trim on mine, both had an insulated fleecy lining and very grippy treads. Which meant that any tumbles in the snow were entirely deliberate!

What else to pack for Lapland with kids?

To supercharge the gloves, we had hand warmers as well – I went for reusable ones (there’s a variety of cute winter designs from snowflakes to penguins).

Both worked perfectly the first time we used them, warming up quickly when you crack the metal disc inside.

Unfortunately they weren’t such a success to reuse: trying to return them to their squashy state, one popped and two simply didn’t alter despite putting them in boiling water several times (one, sadly, got lost entirely in a snowdrift by the hotel, where presumably it was found months later when the snow melted!)

It might have been user error, as they’re not something I’ve played around with much, but next time I’d take more (in case of snowdrift accidents) and stick with the disposable air-activated options.

Looking for something fun to do on the plane (between singing Christmas songs) or for after a busy day in the snow? This Lapland children’s activity book and journal makes a fun memento too.

Packing list for Lapland

This list is based on a four-night trip so you can adapt the numbers if you’re staying for longer or on a shorter Santa Break. If you’re not travelling with a company that provides a thermal suit, you’ll need one of these too. 

Download it here.

Lapland packing: For kids

  • Merino thermal long sleeved top (at least two)
  • Merino thermal leggings (at least two)
  • Fleece lined trousers, such as jogging bottoms
  • Snowproof ski trousers
  • Thin jumpers/hoody (to wear under ski jacket and thermal suit)
  • Thicker or thermal hoody, eg a fleece or faux fur lined ones (to wear under ski jacket alone)
  • Snowproof ski jacket
  • Hats with ear flaps (at least two – a balaclava is also useful, especially if you know it’s going to be cold)
  • Waterproof ski gloves
  • Thermal gloves to wear under them (after nearly losing my daughter’s pair on day one, a back-up pair is a good plan!)
  • A neck warmer – whether you call it a snood/gaiter/buff
  • Thermal/ski socks (at least two pairs)
  • Ordinary socks (pair for each day, ideally thick socks)
  • Ski boots – optional if you’re travelling on a package, but you’ll need boots which can cope with snow as soon as you get off the plane

Lapland packing: For adults

  • Merino thermal long sleeved top (at least two)
  • Merino thermal leggings, or fleece lined leggings (at least two)
  • Waterproof trousers or ski trousers – you can also get lined waterproof trousers, although I found ordinary ones plus thermals were fine
  • Jumpers (to wear under fleece/ski jacket/thermal suit)
  • Thermal or warm fleece
  • Ski jacket
  • Hat that covers your ears
  • Thermal or ski gloves
  • Silk glove liners – it’s hard to do anything wearing thick gloves, so I was forever pulling mine off. The glove liners stop your hands from freezing as you do but are more sensitive
  • A neck warmer (snood/gaiter/buff)
  • Thermal/ski socks (at least two pairs)
  • Ordinary socks (pair for each day, ideally thick or walking socks)
  • Ski boots – optional if you’re travelling on a package, but you’ll need boots which can cope with snow as soon as you get off the plane

Check out my tips for what else to pack for Lapland, including hand warmers, hot water bottles, extra batteries/portable chargers, snacks and hot chocolate sachets, as well as a rucksack to carry it in.

PIN FOR LATER: PACKING LIST FOR LAPLAND

My essentials packing list for Lapland - everything you need for a family trip to Finnish Lapland, including thermals, snow boots, accessories and ski clothes.

Disclosure: Mountain Warehouse provided many of the items on our trip for the purposes of review, others have been added based on our experience. All opinions are my own, including the difficulty of getting multiple gloves onto a six-year-old. This post contains affiliate links – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission. My trip was courtesy of Inghams.

Images copyright MummyTravels

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