If you’re someone who’s not acclimated to winter destinations, making a packing list for winter travel may seem daunting. You might be wondering what appropriate clothes and shoes you should bring to prevent your fingers from freezing off and at the same time be sufficiently warm to enjoy your trip. And let’s face it, where do you even begin to stuff all those bulky clothes into a single bag or carry-on?
Well, we’re here to help! Whether you’re embarking on a frosty city break, chasing the aurora borealis, or shredding some powder on the slopes, we’ve got the essentials that’ll have you packing like a pro. So, sit back, sip some hot cocoa, and let’s dive into the cozy realm of winter travel packing!
What to expect during winter travels
First things first, here are the things you should know when traveling during winter:
The key to traveling in winter is to layer clothes, instead of bringing warmer clothes.
If you’re unused to the cold, chances are you will struggle worse compared to those who are more cold tolerant. Hence, you might need to bring warmer clothes. But don’t worry, you’ll survive and hopefully enjoy the trip with this guide!
Your winter travel essentials will depend on where you’re going, how long for, and what activities you’re going (e.g., are you going to be outside a lot of time, are you going for adventure activities, etc.). This will help you determine what clothes and other items to bring and whether you can use a one bag or need to check-in an additional suitcase + personal item.
Packing List For Winter Travel
Winter trips demand more than just sweaters and socks. Oh no, they ask — nay, demand — layers, warmth, and waterproof wonders that laugh in the face of Jack Frost.
So without further ado, here’s the ultimate winter travel packing list to ensure you stay toasty from takeoff to touchdown and beyond.
Basically, what you need is called warm layering. This packing list covers essential top and bottom layers that you will need on your winter trip.
For the top, you will need:
- Base layer. Start with a snug thermal that will help you trap precious body heat. Merino wool makes for a great base layer, as well as silk or hemp. Avoid non-insulating fabrics like cotton, which won’t dry out when you sweat and will draw heat away from your body.
- Midlayer. A fleece or wool sweater. If it’s only mildly cold, a long-sleeve shirt will do.
- Puffy jacket. A synthetic or down jacket that’s basically a duvet with sleeves.
- Rain shell. In case you’re going in places with pretty cold temperatures.
- (Optional) Sweaters: Cozy and stylish? Yes, please!
And for the bottom:
- Heat-tech leggings and pants. Layer them up or go it alone on milder days.
- Snow pants. For those planning on making snow angels or slope-side antics.
Keeping your head, hands, and feet warm and dry makes a world of difference and helps keep body temperature. For this, you will also need the following:
- Wool Socks. Toasty toes are happy toes. Pack plenty!
- Waterproof boots
- Beanie, Scarves, Gloves: The terrific trio of winter accessorizing.
- Sunglasses: Snow glare isn’t a myth; protect those peepers.
- Daypack: To carry your essentials while you explore.
- Insulated water bottle: Hydration at the right temperature, all day long.
- Travel towel: Quick-drying and space-saving for any impromptu snow-soaked events.
Additionally, consider bringing other hydrating beverages, such as herbal teas or hot cocoa, to enjoy during your trip. You can also buy Maeng Da kratom, a natural supplement known for its potential energizing effects, to help you stay refreshed during your travels.
- Smartphone with a sturdy case: Because cold hands equal butterfingers.
- Battery pack: Cold zaps battery life — don’t fall victim.
- Camera: Capture the winter magic without freezing your memories.
- Headlamp/Flashlight: With fewer daylight hours, you’ll want this.
Personal Items: Comforts & Necessities
- Chapstick and Moisturizer: Combat the chapped and the chafed.
- Sunscreen: Yes, even in winter.
- Travel first-aid kit: Always a good idea, no matter the season.
- Prescriptions and medications: Include some cold and flu remedies, just in case.
- Copies of important documents: Keep a digital and physical copy separate from the originals.
Tips for Traveling During Winter
Traveling in winter is a magical experience laced with a bit of logistical wizardry. Here are some pro-tips to ensure your trip is nothing short of spectacular:
Choosing what to wear
As mentioned previously, layering is key to winter travels. You want to be flexible so you won’t overheat inside buildings or get too cold outside.
Don’t overdress when active; instead, bring a jacket that you can easily put on or remove when you start or stop to cool off. Opt for synthetic insulation when heading to a place with a wet cold climate and down for a drier climate.
Packing is tricky when it comes to winter clothes. Many people prefer to just use one bag, in which case you will need to wear or carry the bulky items on hand at the airport and pack everything else in the bag. However, if you want to be comfortable, it might be best to opt for a carry-on luggage and a personal item (backpack).
We recommend making a detailed packing list and planning your outfits in advance to avoid bringing unnecessary items. It’s fine to rewear clothes multiple times (especially jeans and tops like sweaters), especially as the climate will prevent you from sweating too much and hence preventing body odor. Plus doing a mix-and-match is fun!
If you find missing more items, look for shops such as Uniqlo, which offer reasonably priced but good-quality winter travel essentials such as heat-tech tops and bottoms.
Know Before You Go
Do your homework on your destination’s weather, festivities, and local customs during winter. Some places embrace the chill with open arms and winter festivals (looking at you, Quebec City!).
Keep your electronics close to your body warmth when outdoors to preserve battery life. Your future Instagram postcards will thank you for their prolonged life.
Check the weather forecast regularly and always let someone know your itinerary for outdoor adventures. Mother Nature can be unpredictable, after all.
Embrace the Après Ski Life
Even if you’re not hitting the slopes, there’s nothing like a warm fireplace and a hot drink to relax after a day in the cold.
Wrapping It Up
Winter travel is an incredible adventure that leads to unique experiences and unforgettable memories. By following this trusty packing list for winter travel, you’ll ensure you’re prepared for whatever your wintry expedition throws at you.
And remember — cold is just a state of mind (but so is frostbite, so wear your gloves).
Do you have anymore to add to this packing list for winter trip? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is contributed by an expert guest author.