A few years ago I became interested in Svalbard, we now have a trip planned. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean north of continental Norway, about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) from the North Pole. Svalbard is home to the Global Seed Vault. It’s also the northernmost year-round settlement on Earth (excluding research and military sites), with a population of about 2,700. It’s known for its rugged, remote terrain of glaciers and frozen tundra sheltering polar bears, Svalbard reindeer, and Arctic foxes. This is an extreme cold weather trip for us.
So, what’s the problem? I live in Atlanta where we shut down the city if there is a threat of the white fluffy stuff falling from the sky. Therefore, we do not have cold weather clothing and we don’t need it most of the time. As I began planning for the trip we realized that none of our clothing would handle 0F/-18C weather, much less -30F/-34C with a -45F/-42C or lower windchill. That is when panic kicked in and we had to look for warm clothing for the trip.
Cold Weather Clothing Research
All of my research pointed to layers and layers, and maybe more layers of warm clothes. We will be doing a couple of 7+ hour trips on snowmobiles. Luckily the tour company provides extreme cold-weather gear including boots, snowmobile suits, helmets for the tour.
We decided to go with multiple base layers of Merino wool with various insulation layers plus waterproof and windproof layers. After days of research, we bought Woolx heavyweight and midweight Merino wool base layers with insulated pants and tops. If we will be exposed to the elements for more than a couple of hours, we have ski suits to protect from the wind and moisture.
In my initial test of the Woolx items we purchased, they performed extremely well. I only wore my heavyweight base layers including the Balaklava in 25F/-4C weather. That was a single base layer and nothing else and I was comfortable for the 10 minutes I spent outside. We also picked up a pair of snow boots and insulated jeans for just walking around when it is not below 0F/-18C.
I will have to see how well the clothing performs in the frigid winter temps in Svalbard. an update will be posted after the trip with my results. We will also be visiting Tromsø, Oslo, and Lillehammer on this trip so plenty of time to test the products.
See the cold weather clothing update here