Seven Ways to Stay Warm in the Arctic

Even though we travel to wonderful northern destinations in the height of summer, it never hurts to prepare for the chill! In the sun, there’s often nothing to worry about–but temperatures can swing quickly in the Arctic. These handy tips will help you stay nice and toasty during your expeditions to the far north.

1. Dress in layers

RaffanWhile a big, bulky parka might be best for urban wear, it will rarely be the best choice for Arctic summers. Instead of one large, cumbersome coat, choose multiple layers of synthetic fibres. A wicking layer close to your skin will help regulate your body temperature, while an outer waterproof shell will protect you from wind and sea spray. If further insulation is required, lightweight down and fleece layers should be used.

2. Stay dry

It’s hard to warm back up once you’re wet! During Zodiac travel, be sure to wear a waterproof shell over your expedition clothing. Even if it’s not raining, this barrier will protect you from sea spray and generally pack down quite small should you wish to remove it on land. Choose wool socks over cotton (which retains almost no heat when wet) and make sure that your hiking shoes have a degree of waterproofness built in–we’ll supply the rubber boots!

3. Protect your extremities

We lose the most heat through our hands, feet, and heads–so do your digits right, and always keep a light pair of gloves and a toque close by. Thick mitts help when it’s truly cold, but often gloves are sufficient–and let you use your camera!

At the foot of Executioner's Cliffs, Icy Arm, Nunavut

4. Warm yourself

The human body is a remarkable power plant, producing heat constantly. If you find yourself catching a chill, try moving about quickly to raise your heart rate and increase blood flow. It’s remarkable what just a few minutes of physical activity will do for your body temperature. And once you’ve created the heat, your layered clothing will trap it in and keep you nice and toasty.

5. Pack warm drinks

You can never go wrong with a thermos of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate–all of which the Ocean Endeavour has on hand twenty-four hours a day for your convenience. So stock up and bring along a hot cuppa to sip from a scenic vista!

6. Stoke the furnace

Being well-fed–meaning consuming more calories than you are expending–will help your body source the energy it needs to keep you warm. We recommend starting each day with a big breakfast and keeping your blood sugar up to make sure that your built-in furnace has everything in place to work effectively. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered–the Ocean Endeavour’s restaurant features three delicious meals each day, not to mention an afternoon tea and evening snacks. We find it’s hard to stop eating, frankly!

7. Skip the booze

Sure, a brandy or a hot toddy might feel like a good way to warm up after a trip around a glacier or brisk Zodiac ride–just make sure you save the hooch for after your expedition! Studies have shown that drinking alcohol before exposure to cold as it lowers core body temperature even as it creates the illusion of heat–a dangerous combination!

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