This is how you dress for a ski trip in 2023
Before you go on a long trip, you need to get to know yourself and how your body reacts to cold, wind and rain. Do you get cold easily? Can you stand getting wet? The most important thing is that you dress according to how exactly your body responds to the climate around you, says outdoor life expert André Spica. For him, wool is a certainty.
He has walked along Norway, across Iceland and has been to some of the highest mountain peaks in the world, including the very highest: Mount Everest. He is currently a teacher, previously he wrote a number of articles about outdoor life, tested hiking clothing (among others for Janus), worked as an outdoor guide, both in Norway and abroad. Some time ago he also gave lectures and courses on the topic. What he doesn't know about moving - and living out in the open - is almost not worth knowing.
The outdoor recreation expert is quick to say that he himself produces a lot of heat when he is in motion, and finds it unpleasant to get wet from sweat. He therefore starts the trip more thinly clad than many others. Nevertheless: Wool is a must.
- Dressing so that you get a little cold before you start your trip is a good tip. A common beginner's mistake is to put on too much from the start, says Spica.
- If it's freezing outside, I must at least wear a pair of woolen boxer shorts on the inside and a pair of shell trousers on the outside. On the upper body, I often only have a Lightwool sweater and a windproof shell jacket on top. But that's only because I'm the type that gets too hot quickly. Most others will probably prefer a woolen longs between the boxer and shell trousers, as well as a slightly thicker jersey on top, inside the shell jacket, he says.
- If you prefer to keep warmer clothes on at the start of the trip, you must take a technical rest in time and remove yourself before the sweating starts. Not bothering is, in my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Then the clothes sweat out quickly, in addition to being far too hot. And many people don't bother, because then you have to leave your bag/puck again and change your clothes, which is a measure, says Spica.
- It depends on the individual whether you want all-wool garments or more technical garments, such as netting with partially all-wool sections. I myself notice little difference between them.
Regardless of the cold start, Spica always keeps your feet warm before the start and very strongly recommends big enough shoes. Wool socks are a must, and if it's really cold, he points out that soles with artificial heat under the boots are perfectly permissible.
- I froze my toes once during a military exercise in my younger days, in minus 40 degrees, and am therefore extra careful about keeping my feet warm. I like to heat water on the camp stove in the morning and pour the leftovers into two pint bottles which I put under my boots. This is how I always start with warm toes, says the outdoor specialist with a smile. In addition, it is important to protect your head from the cold, with a good hat, and that the jacket should have a hood. A lot of waste heat from the body disappears through the head, if it is not covered.
Four conditions influence
He highlights four conditions that influence how you experience the trip physically, and thus how much you should take on:
1. The intensity with which you move, for example if you have a heavy bag or sled with you, or walk on steep terrain. This will increase your own heat production and you will need fewer layers of clothing. Avoid getting wet with sweat, because it won't take long for you to get cold.
2. The temperature outside. Effective temperature is a measure of perceived heat and cooling. It is the interaction between air temperature, wind strength and air humidity that determines the effective or felt temperature. Remember that the higher you are, the colder it gets. The temperature drops by 0.5 to 1 degree for every 100 meters you ascend.
3. How much wind there is. There is a big difference between the perceived temperature in a calm and in a full storm. The more wind, the colder it gets.
4. If there is precipitation. Make sure to stay as dry as possible. There are warm outerwear that can withstand snow and water. Avoid getting too sweaty. If you get wet, it's easy to get chilled too, because water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster compared to air, which is the best insulator.
The truth is that the temperature will always vary slightly during the trip. It is colder and windier on the peaks than down in the valley. If you get wet and sweaty inside, you get cold easily, especially when you stop or sit down. Blows it up, too.
- It might be a good idea to have the option to adjust the clothing along the way, says Spica.
He even has extra woolen garments with him when it's really cold or windy, i.e. clothes that we call midlayers. These usually come in the form of a wool terry jacket/vest or wool terry trousers . Dressing in several layers of wool, with the thinnest layer on the inside against the skin and a thicker one on the outside, provides very good insulation. Then the body heats the air in the woolen garment itself in addition to the space of air between the layers. Here it is important that it is not too cramped, it is the air that warms us. These garments are perfect to have in your bag for emergencies, especially when you sit down to have a rest.
- On a long trip that extends over several days with accommodation in a tent, I always have an extra set of wool sweater and wool longs in my bag. If I've gotten wet, it's wonderful to put on dry clothes when I arrive and crawl into the tent. There it is about getting the wet clothes dried. I almost always light a petrol burner or gas burner in the tent, so there is an opportunity to dry up on cords in the roof. But if it's night and I'm going to sleep, I turn off the burner and dry my clothes in the sleeping bag. Then it's important that the clothes stay stretched out and don't end up like a curl at the bottom of the legs, he says with a smile.
He adds that wool clothes dry quickly, and he is particularly excited about the light wool in this respect (Janus Lightwool), which dries in a flash. Many woolen garments dry as long as they are allowed to air out a bit. But as is known, wool has the ability to absorb at least 30 percent of its own weight without feeling wet, and wool warms even when wet.
- But it certainly warms best in a dry state, Spica says cheerfully.
Take extra care of the children
In recent years, he has completed the longest and highest tours. After he and his wife had two girls, who are now three and four years old, he has settled for shorter trips where the whole family can join.
When it comes to dressing the children, he has realized that experimenting is the best thing there too. It is a fact that children freeze more easily than adults, because they have a larger body surface in relation to their body mass than adults, relatively speaking.
- It is no use starting from yourself and believing that the same applies to the children. They can experience the environment in a completely different way than you. Here, it is important to check at regular intervals whether they are freezing, either by asking them, or by feeling directly on their skin.
When it comes to children, wool is even more of a matter of course than with adults. He says that he likes to have three shifts of wool with him on trips with the children.
- The fact that they are comfortable on trips when they are small has a lot to say about whether they enjoy the outdoors when they grow up and eventually become adults. So here you have to be careful, says Spica.
If it's sub-zero, he usually puts them on a woolen jumper, wool longs and woolen socks on the inside and preferably an intermediate layer of wool, before outerwear in the form of a bubble suit, hat and mittens.
- What about children in sleds and clothes?
- My children have been quick to use skis themselves, so our sledge was sold quite quickly again. It was only used when they were so small that they slept down there. But in general I'm not too worried about children in sleds when it comes to the cold. They are usually so well wrapped in a heat bag, with a screen on the front and all. But they should of course have wool on the inside, like the rest of us, a good jacket on top and be checked regularly during the trip, he says.
- I have taken the girls on an overnight trip in a tent at Hamlagrø (south-west in Voss municipality) and then two layers of wool with a bubble suit on the outside apply. And then I am extra careful to light the burner inside the tent, so it will be summer warm and cozy in there, says Spica with a smile.
- After the children were born, I have distanced myself from the expeditions, I no longer work as a guide and find it more rewarding to be with the children. But I know that I will perhaps take one longer trip alone a year, so I don't completely forget myself, he says introspectively.
Briefly about André Spica
Born in: Lillehammer 1976
Raised in: Trondheim
Lives in: Bergen
Works as: Teacher at Nordahl Grieg vgs.
The biggest trips/expeditions: On foot across Iceland in 2006, across Norway on skis in 2009 and Mount Everest in 2017.
Family: Wife Solfrid and two children Jenny (4 years) and Thelma (3 years)