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Cold Weather Tips for Churchill, Manitoba

Loose, comfortable layers are far better than single, bulky garments, as each layer you add traps warm air close to your body. We recommend wearing a base layer (silk, polypropylene, lightweight wool, etc.) closest to the skin, a second layer (warm sweater or fleece), and an outer layer that is water- and wind-repellent. NHA will provide heavy down parkas and boots for your use during your Churchill adventure. This way, you will stay toasty if outside temperatures are cold, and you can always shed layers if you get too warm.

Wool and silk are superior to cotton because they trap warm air and stay dry. Many synthetic fabrics—polar fleece in particular—are also good for keeping you warm and dry.

It is important to note that rain is a possibility both in Winnipeg and Churchill, especially in October. Please keep this in mind when deciding what to pack.



Fall in Churchill can be very cold, and we want you to be prepared for the possibility of frigid temperatures. We will provide a down winter parka and boots (to be worn with socks only, not over your shoes) for your use while in Churchill, which you will receive and return in Winnipeg. You may be able to pick up your gear the afternoon you arrive. The gear room is typically open from 2 pm to 6 pm, and your shuttle driver will be able to confirm the gear distribution schedule upon your arrival. However, if you require an exceptionally large or small size of either, please call our office to find out if we can accommodate you with our regular supply. Use of boots and parkas is provided at no additional charge.

Typically boots and parkas are not necessary for the Extra Day in Winnipeg extension; however, if the weather warrants it, and you would like to use Nat Hab's boots and parka on that day, please let a staff member know.

Should you wish to bring your own gear, your parka should be warm and roomy enough to accommodate several layers underneath. Your boots should be warm, water-repellent or waterproof (remember, you may be walking in cold, snowy or rainy conditions), and have slip-resistant tread.

We highly recommend removing your boot liners (if possible) in the evenings to let them dry overnight, even if they do not feel wet. Your feet often sweat during the day, and if the liners are not dried properly, they may make your feet feel cold when you put your boots on again.


Body heat is most likely to be lost from the extremities—head, hands and feet. For maximum warmth, we recommend packing two pairs of gloves to protect your hands: thin glove liners and warm outer gloves/mittens (mittens are usually warmer than gloves). Glove liners with fingers are helpful, as you can take your heavy gloves/mittens off to take pictures but still protect your hands from the cold. You may want to pack a second set of gloves or mittens in case the first pair gets wet.

Also pack warm, windproof protection for your head, face, and neck. Be sure your hat covers your ears and you can protect your face sufficiently if there is a cold wind blowing.


Layering works well for the legs, too. Long underwear beneath an outer pair of pants should be sufficient. A wind-resistant outer shell can add further insulation. It's also advisable to bring at least one pair of water-resistant pants so you stay dry if you come in contact with snow on the dog sledding excursion included on all Churchill trips. 


Layering works well for your feet, too. For maximum warmth, wear thin sock liners made of wicking fabrics, such as silk or polypropylene, underneath warm socks. Bring several pairs so they have time to dry completely between uses. Also bring several pairs of thick socks made of wool or warm synthetic material (not cotton) to wear with your loaner boots, to finesse the best possible fit.


Garments that “breathe” will help keep you warm and dry. Wool and fleece are excellent materials that trap heat against the body.


Silk, wool or polypropylene long underwear are great for adding warmth without bulk. Long underwear is available in a variety of weights, which allows you to choose the version that best suits your personal thermostat. Turtlenecks are also good for layering because they provide added warmth for your neck.  

Photo Credit: Brad Josephs
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