Northwest Passage Expeditions
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    • Nature - Clothing make or break

      Clothing and Personal Effects

      Your choice of clothing and personal effects can make or break your Arctic holiday.

      With the proper clothing and equipment, you'll find few obstacles to enjoying yourself. The clothing and equipment you need when visiting the North depends on when you are coming and what you are planning to do.

      In most of Nunavut, summer weather is equivalent to cool spring or fall conditions. The climate can vary dramatically from one region to another. Coastal sections of the Kivalliq and Baffin regions occasionally experience days that are warm enough for short sleeves.. The air is usually chilly and nights can be very cold. Kugluktuk in the Kitikmeot region can have hot spells of up to 30° C..

      Expect conditions near the water to be cold all summer. Warmer weather is possible in the interior. T-shirts may be comfortable on many days and come in handy as undershirts in cooler weather. Check on the weather for the region you are planning to visit. A good breathable set of rain gear, top and bottom is essential for summer travel to the communities.

      Arctic dress is casual. Elderly Inuit ladies wear skirts with trousers underneath. Nearly everyone wears pants, sweat suits or tights, usually with T-shirts, casual shirts and sweaters. Foot gear should be low-heeled and sturdy. Footwear with ankle support is excellent for walking on the tundra. Heavy leather hiking boots are necessary if you plan to walk extensively on the land. Rubber boots with heavy felt or duffel liners and/or heavy wool socks are crucial for those planning fishing or sightseeing trips on freighter canoes. Be sure to bring warm wool or pile sweaters for cool summer days and nights.

      If you plan to visit a community in winter you will need to bring a warm coat or parka. Choose winter gear with a good hood and a face-protecting ruff. Low-heeled warm boots, a scarf, a close fitting knitted hat, and windproof mitts are other essentials. Long underwear, turtlenecks, sweaters and warm trousers are all necessary if you plan to go outside. Windproof outer pants or pile-lined wind pants are indispensable. Goggles are also great for winter snowmobile trips.

      You should bring good sunglasses with UV (ultraviolet) filters. The sun is up at least 20 hours a day in the summer. Reflection off the snow can be intense in the spring. Anyone without sunglasses who is out on the land in the spring risks snow-blindness. A cap with a brim is essential in spring and summer. Remember, baseball caps are a sure bet for visitors who like to trade!

      Spring sunburns from forehead to neck are very common in the Arctic. An 'arctic tan' is a very brown face and hands and pale skin everywhere else.You should plan to bring a good sunblock. It is also a good idea to bring moisturizing lotion and lip salve since the climate is dry. The Co-op store in each community will usually carry the items you may have forgotten.

      Programmation: Patrick Allaire, ptre
      Cartes de souhaits