Packing for the snow getaway coming soon? You are at the right spot! We are all about snow-filled winters here in good ol’ Canada and got the perfect snow trip packing list for you to follow.
You will also find carry-on packing tips, along with poses for your winter photography! Aren’t you excited? Let us show you how and what to wear in the snow and also look cute at the same time!
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Packing For The Snow: Trip Packing List
In terms of clothes and gear for winter and snow trips, remember that less is more. You just need to invest in the right piece of clothing and then style it with accessories to look cute (and for the ‘Gram).
What to pack for a snow trip? Snow Packing List
- 1-2 outerwear jackets (preferably puffer jacket or parka, waterproof)
- 1-2 sweaters and/or cardigans
- 1-2 light fleece jackets (1 fleece, and 1 rainproof option)
- 1-2 thermals (long john, top & bottom)
- 4 tops
- 1 sweater dress
- 2-3 bottoms (mix of jeans, leggings)
- 2 pairs of shoes (snow boots, and comfortable walking shoes)
- 1-3 each of the cute accessories (beanies, earmuffs, gloves, scarves, socks)
Before we begin with our snow trip packing list, here are our luggage recommendations.
Salil and I prefer to pack light, and travel using our 45 litre backpacks. It is the same backpack that we carry overseas (in flight) or when we road trip through the Canadian Rockies.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 45 L has served us well for the past trips, and this is what we recommend on your winter getaway too. Invest in a nice backpack like this one.
What we like about Venturesafe is that it opens up from the side like a suitcase and makes it easy to store our packing cubes, and access items conveniently.
It has nice front pockets for organization. We store our charging cables, universal adaptor, notebook, and toiletries here. Pacsafe is made of anti-theft and slash-proof material, and it keeps our belongings safe when we are using public transportation abroad.
Another carry-on backpack option is the Osprey unisex adult Farpoint 40. Just like the Pacsafe one, it also opens up on the side and has dedicated pockets for storage.
Outerwear – Jackets, parkas, wool coats
When the snow is falling, a jacket wraps you around and keeps you warm and comfortable in the cold weather. This is your outerwear.
Puffer jackets and parkas are best for snow trips. They are usually made of synthetic materials like nylon, or polyester/cotton blended fabric. You can also find some parkas in wool or cotton wool blends.
Both jackets and parkas will have a water-repellent coating. Or consist of waterproof shell covering.
In the extreme cold and snowy getaways, jackets and parkas are best, as they have deep pockets, ribbed cuffs (to keep the cold air out), and also a removable hood. Hoods with faux fur trim also protect you when there is snow blowing in the outdoors.
When exploring in a city with snow, but with little to no windchill, a wool coat is a good idea. It makes you look chic and polished. Some coats also have a waterproof coating to protect you from occasional showers.
I prefer parkas and jackets in the outdoors, and when traveling through different winter temperatures (plains, at elevations, morning through the day). They are much more comfortable – with the hood and the ribbed cuffs to keep you warm rather than a wool coat.
If this is your first time buying a winter jacket, we recommend going with brands like Patagonia, Arcteryx, or North Face. Buy something that covers the bum, knee-length is even better.
You must have one reliable winter jacket, preferably in a neutral color (black, brown, beige, taupe). And you can use bright beanies, scarves, or cardigans to look cute for photos. North Face Parka
If you already have a reliable waterproof jacket in a neutral color, then your second one should have a pop of cuteness – think pinks, yellows, reds – they really look great against the white snowy backdrop. Patagonia Puffer Jacket or Arc’teryx (synthetic down) jacket
- Packing Tip: Wear your outerwear or carry/hold it instead of storing it in your luggage
- Photo Tip: Bright colors go well with the snow, but you can also pair a black parka with pretty accessories to stand out!
- Buy Here: North Face Parka | Patagonia Puffer Jacket | Arc’teryx (synthetic down) jacket
Mid layer – Cardigan, Fleece Jackets
For many snow trips, an additional fleece jacket may or may not be all that essential. It depends on the winter activities, temperature and how much cold can you withstand.
My husband skips the mid-layer most of the time, and he isn’t cold at all. I need a mid-layer, and a thick scarf – like all the time – so it really depends.
We will cover the basics of layering later on, in this post. But remember that most people do need a mid-layer in extreme cold destinations and if they are outside for a prolonged period of time. Planning snow play with your kids? Add a mid-layer!
A lightweight fleece jacket acts as a good layer of insulation. You can also use a vest, or a cardigan, as a mid-layer too.
A good and bad thing about a cardigan is that chunky sweaters/jumpers look cozy and cute, but they will be difficult to pack (vs compared to a lightweight fleece jacket). A merino-wool-based sweater/cardigan is a nicer alternative for packing.
Heavy knits are great for road trips, or if you are packing a checked-in bag, if not then opt for lighter fabrics like fleece or merino wool that are easier to pack, and save room inside your carry-on.
- Packing Tip: Wear one. Carry another. I try to sneak in a cute cardigan and one fleece jacket for utility.
- Photo Tip: Chunky knits are great for photos, just be mindful of the weight when you are flying overseas.
- Buy Here: Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan
Baselayers, also known as long johns act as a ‘second skin’ in the cold weather. It is the foundation for all winter clothing layers. This layer of clothing soaks all the sweat and maintains the body temperature by not letting the body heat escape.
It also protects you and gives you warmth by preventing cold air from entering the clothing.
Any type of thermal (heat) baselayer will work. We prefer merino wool-based clothing for this layer. Ensure you pack the top and bottom.
In the stores, you can mix and match – like buy top and bottom separately.
- Packing Tip: Pack at least 2, depending on the duration of the trip and cold temperatures. They can be easily rolled, and compressed into a smaller sizes for packing.
- Photo Tip: Black usually goes well, and you can use it as leggings too. Or wear it underneath half sleeve tops for styling.
- Buy Here: Thermal Top (women’s) | Thermal Bottom (women’s) | Thermal Top (men’s) | Thermal Bottom (men’s)
Pack a couple of tops and t-shirts to wear underneath the mid/outer layer. Pick pretty prints and colors as you will be taking off your jackets when you are indoors – cabins, restaurants, and events.
- Packing Tip: Pack 2-4 tops, roll them up, or lay them flat inside the packing cube. Lightweight tops/t-shirts are easier to carry along with thermal ones.
- Photo Tip: Just like bright outerwear, brightly colored tops also look great in photos. You can mix colors in different outfit combinations to save space inside the carry-on (like a yellow jacket, pink top, navy blue cardigan and you can wear one on different days for photos!)
- Buy Here: SHEIN Button Detail Top | SHEIN Lantern Sleeve Top
This is an optional item, but a sweater dress is a nice outfit when attending festive events in the snow. A dress can act as a mid-layer, and you can still wear your base layer underneath.
- Packing Tip: Opt for a knee-length sweater dress.
- Photo Tip: Deep, festive colors – reds, maroons, greens, navy blues.
- Buy Here
Bottoms – Jeans & Leggings
For snow getaways (minus ski trips), a pair of jeans and 1-2 leggings are great options.
Many people don’t like wearing jeans, but I like to wear my thermals inside and then my denim pants on top. It keeps me warm as the merino wool bottom is the insulating layer.
Snowpants are also a great idea if you are into adventure activities. Opt for pants with waterproof properties.
When wearing thermal leggings paired with tall boots, you will be warm in the outdoors as well. I find this combination to be less restrictive too, and a long parka/jacket provides warmth in the upper body. Try it!
- Packing Tip: Wear your jeans. Pack 1-2 leggings, or leggings and snow pants. You can rent ski gear if you want to travel light.
- Photo Tip: Wear dark colors to get your bright jackets, and beanies do all the talking 🙂
- Buy Here: American Eagle Jeggings | Lululemon Wunder Under Leggings
Winter boots make your life in the snow easy and fun. You need a nice pair of boots with a warm insulation lining, a good length, and a stellar outsole.
I wear both tall and ankle-length boots, just depend on the trip. Tall boots are great, as you can pair them with a thermal bottom, and warm socks – and this is enough to stay warm.
Be mindful of the outsole when you purchase a new pair of snow boots. It should have enough threads to give you traction or grip on slippery, and icy sidewalks.
Add a pair of comfortable shoes or sneakers (avoid loafers. You can wear warm socks with shoes). Shoes are handy indoors, or inflight, and on road trips.
In our previous trips, I have worn my boots and also packed them, just depends on what I have inside my and my husbands’ backpack. Packing your boots will take more room inside the carry-on, and it will be heavy as well, as compared to sneakers. So something to consider.
- Packing Tip: Consider the weight of the boots as you will be carrying them on your flight, and not wearing it.
- Photo Tip: Brown color boots look better in photos than black (or with back leggings) to show the contrasts. I personally prefer brown or taupe color too.
- Buy Here: SOREL Joan of Arctic Boots | UGG Boots | North Face Shellista Boots
It goes without saying that warm socks are essential for winter. They help prevent cold feet, and frostbite while keeping you protected. Socks also provide cushioning inside the boots and help absorb moisture.
When choosing winter socks, you can go crazy with the prints, but opt for ones made of wool, or fleece. They are great for warmth, and in the event they get wet (or due to perspiration), you won’t lose their warming/insulating properties.
- Packing Tip: Wear one. Carry a few. Wool socks are thick, so normally roll them and put them inside the side pockets.
- Photo Tip: If you want to show off your socks against the snowy backdrop, or at a cabin, opt for pretty Nordic-inspired design socks – they look great!
- Buy Here: Merino Wool Socks | Wool Socks – Nordic inspired
Finally, the coolest part in the COLD weather packing list is – cutesy and bright-colored accessories.
For the longest time, I avoided wearing gloves and beanies (I just didn’t like what it did to my hair lol). But after living in Canada, and traveling to the US, and Europe in colder months I released that these cutesy items are so handy, and they give you a lot of protection against the cold winds and temperatures!
So, let’s go through these accessories list from head to toe,
Beanies, warm caps, toques whatever you call it! Carry a few of them in bright colors, preferably with pom-poms – as they are super cute. I bought around 4-5 of these in different colors, and they cover my ears and look great.
Play around with the colors for this accessory! Click to buy the ones I am wearing
Earmuffs are very handy when there is wind blowing. You can use plain black muffs, or go wild with fancy leopard prints, or cute cotton candy fluffy ones. They will look great in photos too!
Scarves are next. I personally use a ton of scarves (at all times of the year) – fancy ones, affordable infinity wraps, and more. For severe winters, opt for wool knitted scarfs, or merino wool-based ones.
Both infinity and rectangular scarves work with parkas, just ensure you wear it like a ‘triangle’ so that it doesn’t get caught in between as you are having fun in the snow!
For lighter winters, you can get by with a casual scarf (silk-wool blend, cashmere) as long as it covers the neck and keeps you protected against the elements.
Gloves are a must in the winter. Get tech gloves so that you can use them to take pictures or your smartphone (screens). Wear fitted gloves to keep warm.
Fitted ones will provide you a good grip in opening doors, holding the guard rails or handrails, in public transportation.
Well, they are also great to hold your shopping bags lol!
No loose- no finger gloves!
Socks as discussed above.
And of course, sunglasses – they are a must for winters (and to look great in photos). Here is my favorite one from Rayban!
Documents, cosmetics, and electronics to add to your winter packing list
Along with your snow gear, add these essential documents to your packing list,
- Passport and visa: Ensure you carry your valid passport. If you require any type of tourist visa, do apply for it prior to your trip or any additional documents that go with the visa application
- Currency and Credit Cards: Don’t forget your credit cards and currency
- Passes: Keep any hotel, or tour reservations vouchers or ski passes in your document list
- Travel Insurance: Super important to insure your trip. Add medical and trip cancellation to your policy!
- Moisturizers: I love my Vitamin E cream from Body Shop for winters
- Lip balm: Carry chapstick, and your favorite lipsticks, lip color
- Light make-up
- Travel size shampoo and conditioner
- Toothpaste, toothbrush
- Hand sanitizer
- Don’t forget your prescriptions, and Advil, etc.
Electronics are just as important as clothing, especially a universal adaptor, and a charging cable. Here is the entire list,
- Phone: Your cellphone
- Charger: Get multi-charging cables to power up devices with different points
- Universal Adaptor: A universal adaptor is a must if traveling overseas
- Camera: Don’t forget your camera. We carry our Sony Mirrorless Camera and Sony A7iii. The mirrorless is super lightweight, and it can be stored inside a small crossbody bag. The A7iii is super powerful (for gloomy, low lighting photos).
Winter Packing and Travel Tips
When traveling with a carry-on, it is important to pack light, and yet bring all the winter travel essentials.
So here is what I do,
I wear my jeans or leggings (my jeans are lightweight), and style with a nice top and cardigan. Outerwear comes with me, sometimes I wear it, or hold it. I also wear my scarf. My personal bag is a crossbody purse and 45 L backpack is my carry-on.
Most of the time I wear my boots to the airport to save space inside the bag. Keep in mind you might need extra time when at the security gate to take them off (vs sneakers).
Inside my backpack, I use a large packing cube to lay tops (2), thermal wear (2×2), leggings, fleece jacket or cardigan (1), dress (1), and loungewear (1).
A 45 litre backpack will have room at the top where I store my innerwear and beanies. If there is room, I store socks by rolling them. In the exterior pocket, I keep my cosmetic pouch.
Inside my crossbody bag, I have my cash, passport, cellphone, and small mirrorless camera.
Pro tip: If you have to carry more items than the ones listed above, then try compression packing cubes to carry your winter outfits.
Access all of our packing lists here
Ski Trip Packing List – Ski essentials quick tips
The above packing list is great for snow getaways in cities and national parks. If you are planning a ski holiday or snowboard activities, then you will need additional gear.
We highly recommend renting ski clothing, especially for trips abroad. If you are new to skiing and ski resorts, it is a great opportunity to take a class and learn how to ski! Gear and guide are provided with lessons!
Typically these are the items you will need for a ski holiday.
Ski trip checklist
- Ski pants: Ski pants are used at the slopes. They are made of synthetic material, and are form fitting. These are waterproof, and pricing depends of the level of waterproofing available. There are unlined (no insulation) pants that are lightweight to carry in a backpack.
- Ski jacket: You can swap a parka with a ski jacket to avoid carrying 2-3 different kinds. Ski jackets are slightly different from regular down parkas. Some have reflective strips, and they are more breathable and lighter. You still have to wear base layers underneath.
- Ski boots
- Ski socks: We recommend buying socks (vs renting).
- Ski goggles: For protection.
Any gear (sticks, blades, helmet) can be rented on your trip, so skip it from your ski packing list.
Layering Basics: What to wear in the snow
To stay warm and comfortable in the snow you need to layer on. There are three layers, essentially
- Mid layer
- Outer layer
Base layers form the innermost lining of your winter wear. This piece of garment is the most essential, especially if you are traveling through different zones, or aiming for cuteness on camera.
No one will actually see your long johns, but you got to wear them. Choose thermals or long johns made of merino wool. Merino wool baselayers are warm without being bulky or itchy. They are also super soft to touch.
Merino wool’s lightweight properties make it very packable. Some of the higher-end brands also include temperature regulating elements, which assist in keeping you warm with changes in body temperature.
At a minimum, carry one pair of merino wool base layers (top and bottom in dark colors). You can choose one, based on the warmth level as seen on the packaging (like up to – 20 degrees C or 68 F), for your trip.
For a mid-layer, a cardigan, pullover/jumper, fleece jacket, etc are good options. Like the base layer, a mid layer should be breathable and able to retain heat.
When you get a cardigan, try for one with a cotton blend. Fleece material is great for skiing and other snow-related winter activities. Fleece comes in a variety of options, you can choose from – thickness, and temperature levels.
For me, I can get by with a light fleece jacket or a cute cardigan as a mid-layer. I take off the outer jacket, and just wear the cardigan/insulated jacket for photos or indoor events.
Now outerwear is the main jacket or parka that you would be wearing for most of the time on your snowy trip. The base and the outerwear are most important.
Based on the purpose of your winter trip, you can choose the most suitable material. Outerwear includes garments like winter jackets, parkas, wool coats, etc.
Winter jackets are perfect for outdoor events, activities, sightseeing, and this is what we recommend when it actually snows. The same goes for parkas. Puffer jackets and parkas will have insulation (with down – choose certified down), and will also have a fleece lining.
On the outside, it should have a waterproof or water repellent coating.
Winter coats are mostly wool-based, and some will have a waterproof layer. They are great when temperatures are not freezing cold! They are great for city winter trips when it is not super cold even in the snow.
Opt for jackets and parkas though for extreme cold, and in the outdoors. Jackets/parkas will have ribbed cuffs, deep pockets, and a (removable) hood with faux fur trim – you won’t believe but these hoods are super handy when there is wind chill in the air.
Finally, it’s the accessories for styling and warmth. Items are warm gloves, beanies/toques, scarves, earmuffs, etc are important.
Accessories can be made of fleece, merino wool, cashmere, or wool and silk mix. High utility items like gloves, can be wool and synthetic fiber mix (like nylon).
Checklist to look cute in the Winter: Packing List
We hope you found this guide on snow trip packing list useful in planning your next getaway in the winter!
Winters are an amazing time of the year – the festive cheer, peppermint mocha’s, gingerbread cookies, and snowy landscapes – all you need to do is – pack right, layer on, sprinkle some cute beanies and scarves, and look dazzling in the outdoors!