Winter is an excellent time to get out and explore Fairbanks and Interior Alaska! A few tips to consider when packing for Fairbanks this winter…
Dress in layers! Thermal long underwear is a must. When you’re inside consider wearing cotton and silk layers, but in the outdoors stick to synthetics (polyester, polypropylene, etc.).
Bulky outer layers trap warm air near your body – examples include flannel lined pants, wool pants or sweaters, and fleece with a puffy (fiberfill or down) parka on the outside. Wool socks are much warmer than cotton.
Some warm boot options include bunny boots, pac boots, mukluks, insulated boots, and wool boots. Wool felt insoles increase warmth and can be added to any pair of shoes/boots with enough room.
Gloves are needed however in colder conditions (or over extended periods) mittens are better since they keep fingers together and trap heat more effectively than gloves. Remember to avoid touching cold metal and liquids (fuels and alcohol) that can instantly freeze your bare skin.
You will want to cover your neck with a scarf, balaclava, or neck gaiter. Two layers on your head are ideal in extreme cold. Be sure to include a hat and a balaclava or a hat and a jacket hood. In extreme cold or wind, you will need to protect your nose and cheeks from freezing. Balaclavas, wind proof face masks, or scarves will all protect your face from the cold.
And remember you do not want to overdress, you can quickly overheat and then get wet from sweat; and you will pay the price with sweat soaked clothing eventually leading to hypothermia.
It’s also a good idea to pack sunglasses and sunscreen. Reflectivity of ice and snow is hard on your eyes and your skin.