Cold weather clothes (and gear) ?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by IanOliver, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. I'll be in Helsinki FI next week and I think planning to add a week in far north Lapland. What cold weather clothing would you recommend for this environment for shooting?

    I've typically just worn my standard cold stuff (turtleneck+sweater+ski jacket, long underwear + jeans + rain/wind pants, mitts or gloves, wool socks, boots, wool hat. This works OK but not great when standing around shooting and not being active. I've thought several times I should bite the bullet and invest in better cold weather stuff. I've over dressed and sweated and underdressed and froze (and missed shots) so I want to make sure I've got the right stuff.

    Canada Goose expedition sounds great but costly: Canada Goose Expedition Parka Review

    Northface McMurdo might be a better deal: The North Face McMurdo Parka III Review

    Some of the other parkas like the Camosun don't have as many pockets as I'd like.

    Other recommendations?

    Thank you
  2. I'm not used to the north, just a middle European motorbiker. My recommendations: Use proven riding clothes like for example "Thermoboy" brand. Dress the onion way with multiple layers, gloves under mittens, long underwear, thin jogging pants jeans thick jogging pants and then the overpants against cold. Don't cheap out and get electric bits like maybe gloves or insoles to comfort you. or bring a pocket stove and fuel to defrost your gloved paws after shooting.
    So far I got away without any spectacular winter jacket by stacking what I have (including handmedowns from a bigger guy). Some dedicated winter over pants seem a must have to me though.

    The rest is a question of personal taste: Natural or man made fabrics as bottom layers? etc.
  3. Northface has always made good winter gear, and that parka you looked at seems fine. I agree with Jochen, particularly about gloves under mittens. I would think about insulated waterproof pants (which Northface also makes) and avoid jeans or anything else made of cotton.Take care of your feet-- use waterproof, insulated boots, the kind that look huge because of the insulation. Sorrel is a good winter boot maker, but there are many others.

    Check the operating temperature specs of your photo equipment.
  4. In the past, I've used long underwear, flannel shirt, wool cable knit sweater, polartec jacket, a down vest over that and then a gor-tex shell jacket over all. I use thin polartec gloves with ski mittens, thin liner socks with wool socks and a pair of boots that I call my clown boots, because they are larger than my other boots due to the thinsulate insulation with gor-tex liner for waterproofing. I've used a ski mask or a watch cap with thinsulate lining at various times. I put snow seal on the outside of the boots. I keep an extra battery (or two) in my inside pocket next to my body to keep it/them warm. No problems with the lenses fogging up until I go inside. When that happens, I take all the lenses out of the bag, pull off caps and let them warm up for 1/2 to 1 hour. Lens stays on the camera while warming up so not to fog the sensor.
  5. Most particularly, watch you feet and don't try and save money on appropriate boots. Unlike other parts of your body, your feet would not necessarily start sending pain signals when they are beginning to freeze, the more so if the blood circulation is hampered by some kind of pressure (e.g., boots being too tight). This can be a problem with very low temperatures even when moving around, and would become a real threat to a photographer standing in the snow.

    If you want/need to save money (and who woulnd't?), try to locate a supplier of industrial clothing. People working on things such as the pipelines in the upper North need to be properly clothed and footed, but they most assuredly don't wear the fancy and expensive gear you would find in a sport shop. Surplus military clothing is another valid alternative, at a tiny fraction of the cost of new civil materiel.
  6. Roger G

    Roger G Roger G

    First dump the jeans! Then think in layers.

    I dress more warmly from the waist down than from the waist up. If I'm too hot I can remove a jacket, or hat etc. I use long underwear [thickness varies depending on temperature and activity], then Montbell insulated down pants. Then a removable breathable rain/wind pant if temperatures will be near freezing or significant wind expected.

    Above the waist I use long underwear, synthetic shirt with button pockets [keep extra batteries and phone warm] a light jacket, a warmer jacket, and rain/wind shell as indicated. A neck warmer [scarf, neck gaiter etc] is vital. Also vital is proper head gear and gloves/mittens.

    That way I stay comfortable whether I am back-country skiing, hiking, or hanging around waiting for the perfect photo. Temperatures here in New Mexico are often around 0F [-17C] in the mountains. Frequently lower.
    Ed_Ingold likes this.
  7. Thank you all. I do have some Sorel boots so hopefully good there.

    The Northface McMurdo has too small of a hood so it presses down on my head and I feel like my head is carrying some of the weight of the jacket. Otherwise a great parka. In doing some more research others seem to be having the same problem and it appears to be a this year model issue. So it goes back.

    Canada Goose and Arcterx are so far the winners. I sat outside in each for about 40 minutes in about 6 degree f temps and both did OK.

    One issue with these is that they are effectively a mid (warmth) layer and shell layer all in one. If you're getting warm/hot you can't easily remove a layer without removing a lot of layer. You can unzip but that won't help overheating/sweaty arms and there are no arm vents. OTOH, they are quite warm and comfy.

    For cameras I'll have a D850 and D3 along with 2 spare batteries each so the bodies s/b good. Still debating a tripod. I like to keep travel simple so rarely take a tripod along. It'd come in handy for the northern lights though so may invest in something. I'd like to to an RRS carbon but they're pricey.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  8. The Northface, Canada Goose and Arcterx are all in my bag. Don't forget the first layer. For long-johns, a must when your 15-degree Fahrenheit and below, with wind, I use UnderArmor. They have at least four levels. I have 1, 3 and 4. I recently stood out in 10-degrees Fahrenheit, with 20-mph wind with #4, Arcterx bib and The Northface Arctic parka and was very comfortable.
  9. how do you keep your batteries warm?
  10. Carry the extras in an inside pocket.
  11. of course but outdoors?
  12. SCL


    Yes - batteries in inside pocket...especially outdoors. Your gear sounds pretty good to me, as do the recommended items. If I'm going out shooting in near zero weather (today was -10 degrees) and don't expect to be constantly walking, I make sure I have a pair of windproof over trousers as well as layering everything. Also a balaclava, as sudden bursts of cold air in the lungs constrict the airways...particularly bad if you have cardiac issues. Hands, feet, head need special attention. Layering allows you to remove what you don't need as you move around.
  13. So no batteries in the camera? I learned something, thank you!
  14. david_henderson


    I've done quite a lot of winter photography in cold countries these last few years. You're right that standing around especially at night seems a great deal colder than if you're walking or in and out of a vehicle. I have a McMurdo Parka. It works pretty well. It's just a pain to take on a trip because its so bulky. Sometimes though there is just no alternative to something like this. Couple of other points. I always wear a neck warmer in winter- stops the cold air penetrating at the top and you can pull it over your mouth. I don't wear jeans , but thermally-lined walking trousers that are also windproof. I also have a waterproof version as I really hate having to put on overtrousers. My layers tend to be a Patagonia long sleeved , usually merino or similar base layer . Then a double weight fleece with lots of pockets for batteries and phones, usually from North Face. Then the Parka. I also wear snow boots rather than walking boots - higher, much more insulation. Getting all this stuff in my bag isn't fun.
  15. Yes. Of course, Arctic wear is quite variable as to how many pockets you have, but they're easy to get to, designed with the expectation that you'll, at least, have glove liners on when trying to get to them. Turn your back to the wind and reach in.
  16. That'll depend on what you're shooting. If it's wildlife and you're likely to need a quick shot, then you'll have one in the camera and the spare(s) in your pocket.
  17. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

  18. That article says keep one in the camera and swap the spares as needed. That's consistent with this thread. I believe that you should always have your camera ready to shoot, in case a worthy subject surprises you.
  19. If you will have the camera in a bag of some sort you can toss in a hand warmer to keep it going longer in the cold.

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