Merino wool base layer and socks
Merino wool holds in the heat very well while still allowing the body to breathe, it doesn’t hold moisture or odour so you don’t end up feeling sweaty. I used mine every day for a week and when I got home I gave them a gentle wash just to freshen them up. We paid £23 pounds each for tops and the same for bottoms, £9.99 a pair for the socks, all from mountain warehouse . The base layer is very comfortable, the top is long enough to tuck in so no cold back issues and the long johns reach the top of the foot and didn’t slip out of the socks.
These were from Decathlon, £17, very comfortable and hug the legs well. The outside is smooth while the inside is fleece. I found them to be very cosy, I wore them as my lounge wear while I was away.
Fleece jumper plus extra layer
The extra layer was something I already had, I’d bought it from Decathlon from their ski department it was cheap at only £8. The fleece jumper also from Decathlon’s ski range. What I like about this is that is reversible depending on how warm you want to be I paid £10. It had a fleece side and a sleek side; the fleece side kept me warm when worn against the body. What I really like though is the roll top neck, I could pull it all the way up over my mouth, it meant I was able to keep the cold air away from my neck.
Atmosphere and winter walking trousers
The atmosphere trousers are quilted and waterproof, from mountain warehouse at £100 and came with a stuff sack. I’m a size 8 and I felt the smalls were still a bit roomy and I wasn’t overly keen on the draw string waist, I only used them on the night snowmobiling experience and they kept me toasty- we were out for five hours. It may seem excessive to have trousers I wore once while away but it was hard to know if they’d be needed and I would rather have had them and not use them than need them and be cold and subsequently miserable. I used my winter walking trousers during the day, I already own these, they came from ultimate outdoors at a cost of around £40.
I LOVE MY SNOW BOOTS! I was in love with these boots as soon as they arrived, they come very high up the ankle and I feel like I march more than I walk in them. they are rubber with an integral tongue and removable fleece lining. Incredibly comfortable and kept me warm with my two pairs of socks. Boots were from sorel :£75 in the sale. These had a reappearance during the Beast from the East’s onslaught.
This is my arctic coat, we struggled to find a reasonably priced arctic coat for women. The price ranged from £300 to £3000! Even going to Jack Wolfskin I found they didn’t do arctic clothing for women (seriously missing a trick). I was forced to buy a small man’s Jack Wolfskin Cook Parker. Even a small man is bigger than I am, it is a little too roomy and comes down a little low round my legs. We shopped around for this, in the Jack Wolfskin shop it was £300 but we found it on line for £200. Sadly only in yellow, I’d have preferred a less conspicuous colour but I won’t get lost in a blizzard. It did a good job though at keeping me warm, the hood has draw strings to pull it around the face and it is removable. This came with a handy stuff sack.
Balaclava, hat, ear band, gloves and neck buff.
We only used the balaclava on the snowmobiling as well as the one they provided but at speed my ears were burning cold, it is marino but problably not designed for using as we did, also mountain warehouse: £9.99. The beanie hat I already had and the same for the ear band. my outter gloves are old but they came from Go Outdoors a couple of years ago costing £20. They do keep your hands warm but it’s like trying to function wearing oven gloves, they came on and off a lot. The silk gloves came from mountain warehouse costing £15. Mid layer gloves, were just bog standard gloves I already had and the neck buff is what I use when I run, £3.99 from Decathlon. Together with the roll top fleece jumper it worked well to keep the cold awayfrom my neck.
So there you have it, what we bought, where we got it all and how much we spent. In total we spent £900 ish to kit us both out. Yes, it was a lot of money when we were only actually there for four days of our trip but now that we have everything we can take in other winter destination. I expect it to be money well invested for the next ten years or more.