Conquering the Cold: Abi's Arctic Advice |

Arctic Advice

Top Tips straight from the Arctic:

Expert Insights from Abi…

To start, say hello to Abi, an integral part of our leadership team at Adventurous Ewe who has recently returned from leading our Kings Trail Arctic Snowshoe Expedition together with our Local Arctic Guide, Sofia! With a degree in Sport Science and Outdoor Activities from Bangor University, Abi’s not just about the books; she’s lived her studies, turning passion into profession. Armed with an MTA Mountain Leader Qualification and fresh from conquering her Winter Mountain Leader Training in Scotland, Abi’s as versed in the wilds of the mountains. Beyond her impressive credentials, Abi’s known for her vibrant spirit, can do attitude, and knack for turning challenges into adventures. Whether leading a trek, providing top advice & unyielding engagement or sharing stories, Abi’s the person you want leading your Arctic journey and by your side.

Having recently returned from the remote north of Sweden, Abi shares her invaluable advice to ensure you’re well-prepared for the unique challenges and joys of Arctic exploration.

Kungsleden: Arctic Advice

8 Packing Tips:

  1. Keep your down jacket handy: The Arctic climate can change rapidly, so having your down jacket accessible ensures you can adjust to temperature shifts swiftly.
  2. Colour-coded dry bags: Organise your gear in colored dry bags. This system saves time and keeps your belongings dry and sorted.
  3. Pack heavy items low: Place heavier items, like your sleeping bag, towards the bottom of your backpack to maintain balance and reduce strain.
  4. Internal bottle storage: Prevent your water from freezing by storing bottles inside your backpack, not in external holders.
  5. Proper rucksack adjustment: Ensure your backpack is fitted correctly to avoid discomfort.
  6. Layers with zips: Opt for layered clothing with zips for easy temperature regulation
  7. Invest in good socks: Wear high-quality socks for foot protection, comfiness and warmth.
  8. Multi-functional water bottle: Use a bottle in which you can fill it with boiling water at night, place it in one of your thick socks and put it in your sleeping bag for a ready-made hot water bottle and then drinking water in the morning.

Preparing for the Arctic

Layering tips:

Think like an onion!

Thinking like an onion means dressing in layers so that you can put them on and peel them off when you need to. One of the most important ways to achieve a successful (and enjoyable) snowshoe adventure is to manage your body temperature and prevent yourself from sweatingSweating causes you to become dangerously cold even when you stop for short rest breaks. To keep yourself dry, you’ll want to shed layers as you heat up, thus staying slightly cool but not cold while walking. When you stop for a break, immediately put your warm layers/down jacket back on and save all that body heat you’ve rightfully earned. By adjusting layers for your trekking level and the weather, you can manage to stay comfortable and dry all day. 

Abi’s tip: Be bold, start cold! If you’re comfortable when you’re standing around, take off one layer prior to starting out. This will prevent you from getting too hot 10minutes down the way. 

Best Treats to Pack:

  1. Snack along the track: It’s crucial to bring along enough water and snacks like chocolate and dried fruit while snowshoeing, as it can be physically demanding. The cold weather often leads to increased calorie expenditure, necessitating regular refreshment. Munch away.
  2. Electrolytes: Flavor your water and stay hydrated.
  3. Hot Chocolate Sachet: A comforting treat after a day in the cold.
  4. A Fun Card Game: Lightweight entertainment for downtime.

Top 5 Snowshoeing Tips:

Snowshoes are designed to make walking over snow much easier, which can often be breakable, deep or powdery. The width of the snowshoe distributes your weight over a wider “footprint” or area and move with significantly less effort than you would in normal boots. The snowshoes also have “teeth” on the outside and a small crampon-like base under your foot to “bite into the snow”. This makes it easier for us to access hard-to-reach vantage points and allowing for easier exploration of our landing spots.

  1. Adopt the cowboy walk: A wider stance prevents stepping on the frames, making it easier to maneuver.
  2. Move slow and steady: It’s best to move at a slow and steady pace to avoid building up a sweat, particularly when moving uphill. When going downhill, take smaller steps to let the snowshoes do the work and use your poles for balance.
  3. Pole position: When using poles, keep your elbows at right angles for optimal support.
  4. Invest in good boots: As the name suggests, it’s cold in the Arctic. Insulated, waterproof winter boots with higher ankle support, thick soles and rubber or leather uppers are ideal. Eg. Salomon Toundra Pro boots or The North Face Chillkat snow boots. Both available in mens and womens makes.
  5. Break-In your boots: Use the boots you plan to snowshoe in beforehand to avoid discomfort during the expedition. 

Top Tips for Fetching Water from Ice Wells:

  1. Use the pulk: The pulk (sled) makes transporting water containers easier. Though make sure you attach the container to the pulk down before heading uphill to prevent it sliding back down the hill (trust me, it has happened)!
  2. Insulated water-proof gloves are essential: Protect your hands from the cold with insulated gloves. I recommend Hestra Alpine or Mountaineering gloves.
  3. Teamwork: Fetching water is easier and safer with a buddy.
  4. Drag, don’t carry: It’s more efficient and less strenuous to drag containers back to your mountain hut.
  5. Savor the taste of fresh water: fully valuing its origin and the effort you put into fetching it.

Arctic Advice

Overnight Train Travel Tips:

  1. Top Bunk Preference: For more comfort and privacy, opt for the top bunk.
  2. Pack Essentials on Top: Keep overnight necessities like your toothbrush and book easily accessible.
  3. Earplugs: Ensure a peaceful night’s sleep amidst the sounds of travel.

Overnight Train Travel Tips

Top 6 Winter Activities in Sweden:

  1. Winter dog sledding: enjoy a dog sledding adventure driven by a professional musher. Visit Lights Over Lapland.
  2. Panoramic hike of Mt Nuolja: take the chairlift up Mt Nuolja, and hike to the summit (you’ll need snowshoes and clear weather) and hike back down. 
  3. Night visit and guided tour at STF Aurora Sky Station. Take the chairlift and visit Aurora Sky Station
  4. Capture the Aurora Adventure: Professional aurora guides for an opportunity to see and photograph the aurora borealis. Visit Lights Over Lapland
  5. Abikso Ice Climbing: Take on a thilling morning of ice climbing
  6. Stockholm Archipelago Boat Tour: A perfect way to spend a few hours marveling at Sweden’s natural beauty, even in winter.

Top Tips straight from the Arctic

In summary, the best part of journeying along this trail is the wonderful people you will meet. As the trail is less frequented off season, you soon turn into a small community of like-minded hikers tied together by the challenges that an early start may bring. From all nationalities, from all walks of life, from all different professions, you all come together on this trail and share one heck of an adventure, and many laughs too.

We hope you find Abi’s tips really helpful. With these insights, you’re better equipped to face the Arctic’s beauty and demands, ensuring an unforgettable adventure. So why not join us on one of our brrrr-illiant winter adventures and experience the Arctic for yourself.