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Last Thursday and Friday we had temperatures of around -20°C. I am currently taking a photography course (pictures of this to follow soon), and it turns out these temperatures are usually the best for photography. So what do you wear if you have to spend several hours outdoors without moving around much? The answer is: many layers. Unfortunately the amount of layers you can put on hands and feet is somewhat limited by practicalities, so both were freezing cold after a short time. The rest of my body stayed quite toasty though with the below:

Clothing at -20°CAnd I just noticed, the picture is actually missing the thick skiing socks I put on top of the tights and socks, and of course big winter boots. Putting on all these layers makes getting ready to go out a pretty lengthy process, and you really don’t want to be needing a toilet while you’re out either. Also, you just look completely ridiculous in that outfit – Mr Always Right referred to me as Dark Helmet and I think someone took a picture of me on the bus, because I was just so wrapped up. And I feel like in all those layers you have the spatial awareness and dexterity of a two-year-old. I don’t care though, as long as I stay reasonably warm.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to dress up my camera accordingly, so on the second day it started complaining. I think the mirror had started freezing, and every time I switched the camera on the mirror jumped a bit. I was getting really worried, but luckily it seems everything is working fine again now that temperatures have gone back to around 0°C (which happened in an overnight jump of 20°!).

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One thought on “How to Dress in -20°C

  1. I usually wear a bit less when it’s -20 🙂 But it’s definitely better to have too much than too little…

    I also experienced problems once with my camera’s mirror, while taking photos for a couple of hours at -20 degrees. (It’s hard to stop taking photos when there are awesome northern lights up in the sky!) Afterwards it seemed fine as well. One of my batteries had problems afterwards, though.

    One thing which is important when taking photos: good vs. flexible protection for your hands. I also have two layers of gloves; one light with good grip (I used to have some mountaineering gloves, which were perfect, but then I lost one of them and couldn’t find a good replacement), and some big warm ones where my hands fit in with already one layer of gloves on 😉

    I also like to have a balaclava on me when taking photos for hours at these temperatures. Also looks stupid, but when you’re out alone in the night in the wilderness nobody cares 😉

    Another thing which looks stupid but helps a lot: if you use a metal tripod, add some layers of duct tape to places where you want to handle it. And don’t take off all layers of gloves when doing so. Otherwise your fingers might get stuck 🙂

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