Author Topic: Layering on the Cheap?: Dressing for a Finnish Winter (When you're from Texas)  (Read 5751 times)

YoungAndWise

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This coming year I will be studying abroad in Finland, which includes the winter. Considering Finland is on the same latitude as Russia, I presume that it will be very cold.
The area I will be studying will be around the southern coastal area of Finland, so it will not be like I will studying in Lapland. However according to Wikipedia, it will still be relatively cold, the average being around ~20 F (~-7 C).
Also I am from Texas so temperatures like these are something I am not used to.
My budget is around $100.
Any advice?

Jennifer in Ottawa

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-7 celcius is positively balmy.  You'll probably be able to make do with a light jacket, hat, scarf and mitts or gloves.  Layer your clothing.

If you are arriving there in fall, by the time winter arrives, you'll be acclimatized anyway.

ruthiegirl

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When we lived in Sweden, I wore a knee length down coat for 5 months straight.  A fleece hat, wool long underwear.  Good, heavy boots.  The downside is that I spent about $300 getting good outerwear. 

For your budget, I would beg and borrow from friends and family and use your cash for what you don't have.  People often have a closet full of clothes that don't get worn.  Maybe someone has a good coat you could bum for the year. 

Have fun.  Studying abroad is an awesome experience. 

apfroggy0408

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I moved from El Paso Texas to Indiana a year and a half ago. Seen some -20 days, my Carhartt jacket did me well with another sweater under it for whenever I was dumb enough to be outside.

curlycue

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I was just abroad in a very cold part of the world - fortunately I was in a low-income country so everything was affordable at the bazar. Finland will not be too bad actually, since they have money you will be in heated buildings most of the time. Something to consider is - will you be walking a lot? If so, you will need warmer clothes. If you will have a car or be on heated transportation most of the time, it won't be so bad. They will have plenty of things to buy there, it might be tough to purchase things in Texas. But the things there may be expensive - you might want to check what would be cheaper, buying things here are there. Also, brining warm stuff takes up a lot more room in your suitcase. If you buy things here and there isn't much in your area, sporting good/outdoor stores like REI are great if you can get sales.

Things you will need:

Down or fur coat with very good hat, scarf and gloves

Lined boots (fur or fake work)

Long underwear (multiple types to layer, i.e. a thin pair like silk and a thick pair like fleece)

Thick wool socks/knee socks

Wool sweaters and fleece (also multiple thicknesses so that you can layer on two sweaters or two fleece on top of a long underwear shirt)

If you are cold inside make your sure have a beanie hat on, thick warm socks, and get fingerless gloves (preferably wool and fleece lined) so that you can do things like type with them on. Also, drink lots of tea or hot liquid. If you have a good thermos that helps.

Enjoy the experience!

oldladystache

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When my friend from Finland visits me in California he shops for shoes and other clothes here because he says they are so much more expensive at home.

YoungAndWise

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More information:
I will try to walk to school as much as possible, for health and financial reasons. And that is about an hour's walk.
Also I will be there from August to May.

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Are you going to Helsinki?  If you are, it is mild, but snowy.  You'll want boots to be sure, but you are not going to experience arctic winters.  Splash out on some good boots, pickup some long underwear for the really chilly days, and then visit a secondhand store while you are there for the other bits.  Like I said above, you will acclimatize quickly.  Now, if you were going there in January from Texas, it would be rather a shock to your system, but you will have ample time for your system to get used to a cooler climate.

Eric

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If you only have $100, get the best/warmest pair of waterproof boots you can find.  The rest, you can probably piece together with layers.  Wear sweatpants under your regular pants.  Wear 2-3 pairs of socks.  Wear a sweater with a sweatshirt under your coat.  If it's a hooded sweatshirt, even better.  Put the hood up over your hat.  Scarves are nice and you can wrap your scarf around your face, ears, and stocking cap if needed.

The temperature probably won't be too awful once you get used to it.  If it's windy though, that's when the layers will help.  Keep your feet and head warm and you'll be warm enough as long as you're on the move.

Thegoblinchief

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+1 to good boots.

My favorite outer layer is a rain jacket made out of a GoreTex equivalent. You'd be surprised how warm you stay when the wind can't get through your outer layer.

I picked up a Marmot PreCip for $45 from Sierra Trading Post (sign up for their emails and you will regularly get 30+% off coupons). Bonus: because it is just a rain shell, it takes up almost no space in luggage.

curlycue

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More information:
I will try to walk to school as much as possible, for health and financial reasons. And that is about an hour's walk.
Also I will be there from August to May.

The walking will warm you up so it won't be that bad. $100 is not much to get winter gear, but with that little you will need to buy used.

lizzzi

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Based on my year in Sweden and on what my friends and I wore, I would say hat, gloves, parka, boots. Think about how much you'll be outdoors, and also if you'll be skating or ski-ing and how often. My niece moved to Vermont from Texas and was in your same position--no winter clothes and a limited budget. People just gave her things--maybe you could hit up your friends and relatives who may have some winter  clothing they could give you. I don't know if Finland has the same kind of second-hand stores as we do here in the States, but if they do, that could be helpful. If you could get your family to give you money as early birthday or Christmas gifts, you could use it for winter clothing.

YoungAndWise

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Are you going to Helsinki?  If you are, it is mild, but snowy.  You'll want boots to be sure, but you are not going to experience arctic winters.  Splash out on some good boots, pickup some long underwear for the really chilly days, and then visit a secondhand store while you are there for the other bits.  Like I said above, you will acclimatize quickly.  Now, if you were going there in January from Texas, it would be rather a shock to your system, but you will have ample time for your system to get used to a cooler climate.

No going to Turku, actually.
And

UPDATE:
Got a large wool jacket from my Dad, which fits.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 08:25:53 PM by YoungAndWise »

MBot

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I moved from a warmer part of Canada (Hamilton area) where often it was only -5 or so. Now I'm in a much colder area in Sault Ste Marie. -30 lots of days!

Long underwear may not be necessary. It's a bit warmer where you are and you'll be walking a lot. I wouldn't invest here.

My 3 priorities would be:
1. A coat that is at least KNEE length, not just hip length. A warm seat and upper legs makes a great deal of difference in windchill.

2. Waterproof footwear that has a "lug" sole (with traction on the bottom and a rubbery material. Not a smooth or barely traction-giving sole of a less durable material).
 I got a pair of mid-calf dark brown leather of La Canadienne boots for 90% off on 6pm.com a few years ago. $35 and they have lasted five or six winters already. Sorel also makes some nice ones.

 3. Two scarves. First, a thick, wool-blend one that stays warm when wet. Mine is from h&m 8 years ago and cost under $15. But also a second thin "pashmina" style scarf or infinity scarf to wear under. It will block out the windchill under the bigger scarf and let no wind get thru. And on warmer days can be worn alone.

That's where I'd start :) (edit: I also like leather gloves with Thinsulate lining in climates it's not too cold. They're waterproof. So they don't get dingy or soggy/dirty, and they're more wind proof than other fabrics.)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 09:47:28 PM by MBot »

ampersand

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I'm from Minnesota, but figure it might take you awhile to go through the adjustment coming from Texas. If I were you I'd purchase a couple sets of cheap long underwear. These will be able to go under any of your normal clothes to add a few degrees. I'd go ahead and spend the money on a good pair of snow-packs (boots)with removable liners. Sorel makes a great pair with a rubber lower, and thick leather upper with a fleece liner. The last thing is a pair of INSULATED coveralls (ideally car hart). These will last you forever, and you probably have a good shot at a sale now. Pair in a cheap hoodie/jacket and knit cap and you'll be capable of withstanding long periods of walking in the cold. Then when you get to school you can just slip out of the coveralls. By mixing/matching long johns/hoodie/coveralls you'll be able go to Siberia, or deal with minor chills. Anyway that's my two cents, though scavenging goodwill might turn up some alternatives.


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