Beanies of wool, mittens of wool, socks of wool, sweaters of wool, even underwear is now made of wool! You can find it dark, light, soft and rough. Merino, angora, mohair and different mixes.. I will never forget the woolen base layers I was given as a present every Christmas. Wool, wool and wool! But why?
What makes this soft (and sometimes itchy) material so good for outdoor activities?
Warmth from the nature
Wool is 100% natural product. You can find it all kinds of different types, from camel to alpaca, but most commonly known it is a textil product made of sheep wool.
If you take a closer look at sheep and other hairy animals, you might notice that their hair is curly (and maybe also to the fact that they don't use Gore Tex). Wool is so warm, because of this curly structure, which creates a system that holds heat inside it. At the same time the material breathes, which is why your body temperature doesn't rise even when doing physical activities and sweating. Technology from the nature!
It keeps you warm, even if wet
If I ask you what you would wear if you get cold, what would you say? Wool socks? Maybe a warm cardigan.
Thanks to its warming feature, wool is one of the most popular materials in producing clothing. For example, a woolen base layer can be the best competitor to one made of completely technical materials, thanks to the warming system mentioned before. Sweat is removed from your skin and transferred into the fibers of the textil, which means that wool keeps you warm even if it gets wet.
In outdoor adventures where you will make fires and spend time around them, wool is excellent option also because it doesn't burn easily! (I am also guilty for burning my sleeves while fixing the fire)
How to take care of my woolen clothing?
I have often heard people say: "No way I'm buying woolen clothes, they are too difficult to wash."
Most of your woolen products is better to hang outside in fresh air, instead of washing it. I hang my woolen base layers, beanies, mittens - sometimes even wool socks, outside for at least 24 hours. This is how you get unpleasant smells out and the end result is fresh and natural. Even after spending time around fire, the smell of smoke comes out by hanging the cardigans outside - especially in cold weather!
What about the classic spaghetti sauce -situation? (If you know what I mean..)
You can also wash woolen clothes in the washing machine, in low degrees and with mild washing products. Most machines also have a separate program for woolen clothing. The most careful ones wash their woolen clothes by hand. Remember to always dry your woolen products flat, because when wet the fibers of the textil can stretch easily and your lovely cardigan loses its form.
When wool makes you itch
For many, wool unfortunately is not an option, because it itches and scratches uncomfortably. Your beanie leaves an awful mark on your forehead and the collar of your cardigan feels like needles.
As mentioned, there are many different types of wool. If you are the itchy kind, I would recommend to try merino or soft alpaca wool. Often it is enough to use mixed materials of wool and other artificial textiles. This is when the amount of wool is lower which makes it less itchy. Mixed materials are often more durable too and therefore amazing option for outdoor activities!
In the photo above we are on a snowshoeing adventure to the Pihka Outdoors secret cabin. Under the outer layers, we are wearing base layers of merino wool, woolen socks and cardigans made of wool. Beanies, mittens and neck warmers are also woolen.
Wool is an amazing material for outdoor activities - especially in the cold of Lapland!
Wear the right gear and head outside to enjoy the fresh air!
Holidays are approaching and the snowy Lapland is calling for many travelers. It is often a good idea to plan your vacations beforehand to make sure you get everything out of the time - even if it was short. This way you get to create great memories and experiences to be shared with others. Pallas-Yllästunturi national park is one of the most famous in Finland, and for a good reason. Trips and activities are available throughout the year and the local professionals are offering their help and services for many kinds of adventures.
One of the great winter activities to try is snowshoeing. Wide, light and well-fitting snowshoes make walking in the deep snow a lot easier and therefore you get to enjoy the wintery trails - even with meters of snow. If you're heading outside of the marked trails, it is always a good idea to turn to the local guides to make sure your adventure is safe and enjoyable. On a guided tour you get to experience the extreme nature of Lapland, carefree!
Beautiful day-trip to Tuomikuru's kota
In Ylläs you can find several trails for snowshoeing. One of these is the trip to Tuomikuru's kota, where we went for an adventure a few days back. The difficulty level is medium but every step is worth the effort. Arriving to the refugio, you get to enjoy the warmth of the fire inside the kota, looking over the beauty of the snowy nature.
To get to the refugio you need to climb slightly uphill, breaking the sweat! The marked trail starts from the Ylläs -ski center and curves into the forest. The trail gets a tiny bit easier towards the refugio and the last part before arriving is already flatter. On the way back to the starting point, your muscles get to relax a bit in the slight downhill - following your previous tracks or continuing the circuit of Tuomikuru (Tuomikurun kierros).
What do I need for a snowshoeing trip?
Snowshoeing does not require any special equipment apart from the snowshoes. Also, in the snowy and hilly nature, poles make the trip a lot easier. Using poles while walking, your upper body muscles get to work as well - you won't do all the hard work with your lower body. When choosing your poles, it is important to make sure they are the right size. Thumb rule in this is to have your elbow in a 90 degree angle, while the pole is resting on the ground and your hand on the handle.
What about clothing? Often, especially in winter sports, the correct clothing is a somewhat question mark. The magic word is layers! High quality first layer (wool, wool and one more time wool), that removes sweat from your skin, is a must. For winter sports in cold weather, the material of your other layers needs to maintain heat. The secret in staying warm is the air that stays between the different layers and lastly the top layer that stores the heat underneath. Pack a warm winter jacket and possibly an extra pair of warm pants as well - especially for those snack breaks when you're not moving around.
Gloves that don't get wet in the snow and a warm beanie are very important. Also make sure you will have comfortable warm high rise shoes and those woolen socks - who would want to climb up the fell in wet socks with toes frozen?
You can check more tips and advice for choosing your winter adventure's clothing from this link!
Make sure you'll also bring snacks and a flask with warm drinks to make sure you'll maintain your energy levels and keep warm throughout the trek.
With us you have the opportunity to experience the untouched snowy forest and hidden trails also on snowshoes!
Check details for our day adventures here!
Have fun snowshoeing!
Now that we all spend a LOT of time at home, there’s a chance to do something useful. Hiking boots are your best buddies on adventures, whether you do day hikes or longer treks. If you look after them, your leather boots remain your friends for a very long time. Now is the time to do proper maintenance before Summer season (when we all can hopefully move more freely again). If you’re an outdoors person waiting to get out, or if you’re just bored, read on!
Is the magical winter wonderland of Lapland with reindeers and northern lights on your bucket list? But perhaps you are not sure about the extreme cold weather and how to survive alive? Firstly, have mercy on yourself, it takes a couple of weeks for the body to get used to the cold, so it does feel harsher for you than for us living here. Secondly, worry not and keep reading! Here are some tips of what to consider before packing for a winter holiday. Some of the stuff you can rent, like shoes and overalls, so no need to buy everything.
Finland is covered by forests by 70 % of the land. Most of them are being used by the forest industry but we still have nature left to roam in. Besides forests there are 187 188 lakes, 40 national parks and in the north there are many ancient mountains called fells. We love to wander in the wild, doing different things: walking the dog, picking berries and mushrooms, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, you name it.
In the spring of 2016, I hit a wall. Got a burnout, spiced with anxiety and depression. I lived alone in Helsinki, capital of Finland. I was in total dead-end, although everything was supposedly fine. Nice job as nature journalist on TV, great friends, family near and opportunity to do whatever I liked. Still, something had to change.