Scandinavian winters are known to be one of the coldest winters. The temperatures in major cities like Stockholm and Uppsala can drop to -15 to -20 degree C. Thus, preparing oneself for this in advance is very important.
Absolutely essential winter wear one might need for daily city life is a good winter jacket and a good pair of shoes. I strongly recommend buying these two things from Stockholm or Sweden and not from any other place, as the specific products are better available here and one can get a wider variety and price range.
Before telling more about what to buy, let me tell you something about the weather conditions. First and foremost let me start by telling you that the extreme negative temperatures of -15 or -20°C last maximum for a period of a week, typically in the month of December or January and that too late at nights. So it is a rare possibility that one might actually have to be outside when it is -20°C. However, facing -10°C is quite common during peak months of winter. So having a mental preparedness surely helps to get through most part of the winters with just enough winter wear.
Apart from negative temperatures, one can experience high wind speeds both in and around the city, as there are many open landscapes. Typically on a windy day the wind speeds are in the range of 18-25 kmph. So, most of the times it is not the cold temperature, but the freezing gushes of wind that makes it difficult to go out.
Now that you have an idea of the weather conditions, the need for the good and specific type of winter wear will be self explanatory.
Buying a good winter jacket is of utmost importance. A jacket needs to be water-proof and thick enough to resist the winds and keep inside warm. The winter jackets are typically quite thick, as they have a sandwich architecture.
The outer and the inner most layers act as the envelope in which the warm material is filled. It is this material that makes all the difference. The best material that one can get is ‘Down’, except fur of course. The winter coats have different percentage of Down blended with cotton or other materials.
The description of this is mentioned on the product and can also be inquired from the staff at the stores. Good winter jackets can be brought at a starting range of 1000 to 1500 SEK (after discount).
Stadium, Stadium Outlet, Decathlon, Intersport, XXl, are names of few stores where one can buy good winter jackets at discounted price. I personally recommend to check out Stadium Outlet (note that it is separate from the Stadium store), as it has many products at discounted prices throughout the year.
Warm inner body wear are also easily available in any of the above mentioned stores.
Other useful things: Neck-warmer, scarf, winter cap.
These are equally important, but can be bought easily at any of the above mentioned store and no specifications are required while buying them.
Feet are the one of the places that get cold the fastest and keeping them warm is equally important. Further, once it starts snowing and ice deposits, it can be really slippery. Thus, having a good pair of shoes is mandatory.
While buying shoes, there are two main things that need to be taken care of : A) sole of the shoes B) Length and the inner lining.
A) Sole of the shoes
Shoes that have deep grooves and the smaller space between grooves are good winter shoes. As these give more surface area for contact and improves the grip while walking. Deeper grooves also help to walk in snow.
However, irrespective of the type of shoes you buy for winter, there are high chances to slip when the snow turns into ice. To avoid this, there are extra grips available for 100 SEK, that can be attached to the any kind of shoes.
B) Length and inner lining
The minimum length of the shoes should be above ankle, or you will find snow inside your shoes making you cold, if some day you decide to go hiking, or if its one of those days when the snow is not yet cleared. Getting a inner lining of fleece is a good way to keep feet warm. But make sure the shoes you buy are breathable, or when you remove them your feet might stink the room. Another alternative is to layer socks. It is easier and you can decide how warm you need your feet to be and decide accordingly.
Ecco and Sorel are names of some good brands for buying winter shoes.
Last but not the least, buy a pair of warm gloves, that are breathable, water-proof and wind-shielding. Gortex is a good material for both shoes and gloves as it encompasses all these qualities.
All the above mentioned stores and many others have websites, where all their products are listed. Be sure to check them and look out for discounts that can availed while buying the same product online. You can always return the product if you don’t like it according to the store policies.
Hope this is helpful when you go for winter shopping. Stay tuned for more such posts on life hacks in Sweden!