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Winter Clothes Canada – What to pack for Canada in Winter

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Are you traveling to Canada in winter and not sure what to pack and wear? Well, you are in the right place. This is the – Winter Clothes Canada – What to pack for Canada in winter listicle post. If you have been following our blog and/or Instagram you would know we live in Canada.

We are sort of new Canadians – only called this place our home for the past 12 years or so. But let us share some of our Canada winter stories, eh, before we start advising you with product recommendations. (if you are not interested in our stories, hit the table of contents below to get the packing list, easy peasy)

Winter Clothes Canada - What to pack for Canada in winter
Winter Clothes Canada – What to pack for Canada in winter

So in the past 12 years, we have lived in 3 provinces, fortunate yes and also well experienced with battling up to -45 degrees Celsius on a winter workday. I have also dragged and crawled myself out of knee-deep snow, as I am 5 foot something (crawling is too much, but you get the hint).

We braved wind-chill, waited for buses without sheds, forgot mittens, and drove in blowing snow and whatnot. And we survived. And we think you can do with this awesome guide that we have prepared.

Visiting Canada in winter and wondering what to wear? Read this Winter Clothes Canada buying and packing guide to enjoy a happy and safe winter wonderland!
Winter Clothes Canada Buying & Packing Guide

To be honest, winter is a beautiful time in Canada. Don’t let my stories discourage you. We have actually never tried to escape winters here (in spite of the struggles). I love wearing my boots and seeing the world filled with vanilla frosting (aka snow) melts my heart.

Winter Clothes Canada – What to pack for Canada in Winter

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Here is a quick overview of average Canadian winter temperatures (with windchill)

ProvinceAverage
Temperatures
Coldest Months
Alberta-5 to - 40 C
Jan-Feb
British Columbia0 to 5 CMild Winter Temperature
Manitoba-18 to - 40 CJanuary
New Brunswick15 to - 25 Cmid Dec - mid Mar
Nova Scotia0 to -10 Cmid Dec - mid Mar
Ontario0 to - 30 CDec- Jan
Quebec-5 to -20 CDec - Mar
Saskatchewan0 to - 30 CDec - Feb
Newfoundland & Labrador10 to - 20 C

Did you know that the coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was −63 °C in Snag, Yukon.

Thermal or Long Johns 

Thermals, also called long johns are two-piece underwear with long legs and long sleeves. It is worn under the main clothes in winter.

Thermal wear tops and bottoms are a MUST have when you are out and about exploring in Canada in winters. They will keep you warm and save you from layering on. (Trust me, if you are not used to TOO many layers, you will be annoyed with the bulkiness and your inability to wear your shoulder bag. During winters, try cross body bags – game-changer)

Wear a thermal top and then layer on with a regular top and then an outerwear jacket.

For bottoms, wear your thermal bottom as a base layer, follow up by your jeans or any other pants. (Some people also wear thermal leggings by itself, with AWESOME tall boots)

Check reviews and prices

Outerwear – Winter Jackets & Wool Coats 

INVEST in a good outerwear jacket (or a wool winter coat) for all winter travels. We do prefer winter jackets to coats, as you will be blessed with a hood to cover your head. And sometimes you NEED that in addition to your toque (beanie or a warm cap). Most hoodies are detachable and they come with fur lining to ward off blowing snow/winds.

Buy jackets that are filled with down feathers, have deep pockets (your hands need LOVE if you forgot your gloves), hood, and tight cuffs to cut the cold. We prefer jackets that cover the torso (up to your bum, as they need protection too).

 

 


Some of the well-known brands for insulated down jackets (winter jackets) include Columbia, Arc’teryx, The North Face, Mountain Ware House. These brands are available online and can be purchased on Amazon as well. Canada Goose is a premier brand and their jackets although pricey, are SUPER warm. They are usually true to size. So if you are wearing a medium in most outerwear, you can surely pick the TTS. 

Insulated warm jackets, quality, and good ones will be $200 CAD and above. Depending on the style you choose (and your cold threshold) you will have to rely on thermals for additional warmth. 

Wool Coats are also a great option to wear during winters. However, if you are venturing outside a winter jacket is handy and a better option. The hood and the elastic cuffs help seal the cold and most jacket materials will be waterproof, which is super useful when it is snowing.

What to pack for Canada in Winter
Banff Gondola – Canada Winters

I own a few wool coats and normally wear them when it is not snowing outside. So I pretty much use it for indoors, getting in and out the car or when the temperature is not – 15 Celsius or below. If you plan on wearing it outdoors (because I know those wool coats are pretty), then wear a thermal layer underneath and don’t forget the scarf and a warm cap.

Finest wool coats are expensive, as compared to winter jackets. Sure you can find a peacoat for $45 CAD, but they will not keep you warm. Good quality warm coats start at $300 CAD and above. They will also have a water repellent coating to ward off occasional snow or flurries. And you have to dry clean them to maintain their “glow”.

Merino Wool Sweaters & Cardigans (vs) light fleece jackets

Cardigans are my weakness! Eesh, but true. I wear cardigans even in the summertime, so it is definitely a MUST for winters in Canada. INVEST in a merino wool cardigan. Merino wool cardigans are super warm, without the bulkiness. They are perfect as a mid-layer (and you wear the outerwear on top). 

Cardigans will also keep you warm and toasty indoors. I switch my long johns/thermals for merino wool cardigans if I plan on spending most of the time indoors. 

You can purchase merino wool sweaters as well. (Its just me that LOVE wearing cardigans).

Here are some merino wool sweaters and cardigans to choose from 

Snow pants or winter pants

If you will be doing a lot of winter activities here, wear specific pants like ski pants for skiing and snowshoeing activities. You can also wear snow pants for the everyday commute, especially if you are will be spending a lot of time outdoors, in transit, or if heavy snowfall is being fore-casted.

Snow pants keep you warm and are water (also dirt) proof. Layering is still important, so don’t forget your long johns or thermal wear.

Check reviews and prices

Shoes – Winter boots 

Winter shoes are different, hope you agree with us here. Sports shoes or runners, flats, etc will not work. All winter shoes have a strong grip and an anti-slip base. Some winter days, you will experience icy- slippery roads and sidewalks, and on some days you will find TONS of snow. Just depends.

What leads to icy and slippery roads is when the temperature drops and the air circulates both above and below the surface of the elevated roadway. Also known as black ice. If you see this warning on side-walks you know what it is.

On a side note, walk slowly and watch your step while walking on icy sidewalks. Walking slowly and watching your step goes a long way, trust me. (I have never fallen on ice, I walk very slllloowww on ice. Too afraid to be embarrassed).

But the shoes are important. Don’t purchase anything that is fashion boots with no grip (flat surfaces), they don’t work. I own a few – no good. Buy sturdy winter boots, with a solid grip, they are waterproof and can withstand cold temperatures. Some recommended options are highlighted below.

Warm Socks

Wear warm (and thick) woolen socks. Some sock manufacturers will provide you the temperature estimates so you can choose wisely. We prefer wearing socks indoors – at home as well, to keep warm and toasty.

Mittens or Gloves – Winter Clothes Canada & Accessories 

Winter brings in dry hands, so keep them warm and toasty. Wear gloves. Affectionately we call them mitts or mittens, made of wool, you can purchase them with or without fingers.

Gloves also come with touch screen patches that work well on your smartphones and tablets on the go. (like the one below and it is unisex)

Without gloves, your hands will be bleeding (okay that’s TOO much, but due to the wind chill and cold/frost your hands will be super dry and could crack and bleed). Take care of your pretty hands!

Check reviews and prices

Warm cap (Canadian Toque)

Before moving to Canada, I seriously disliked warm caps (my hair is fine and it makes my hair look even flatter and no volume!). But now I LOVE colorful toques. Plus if you are having a bad hair day, it hides your hair. And most importantly, it PROTECTS you from the cold.

I have started experimenting with different colors and shapes (yes fashionable guys) and don’t fight the cold without wearing a warm cap in Canada.

Ear Muff

Earmuffs are cute and functional. And they are unisex! Earmuffs help protect your ears and eardrums from winter elements and keeps them warm. These ones below are unisex. Earmuffs come in different shapes and colors. You can wear them alone or match it up with your warm hat. I own one with fur, like this one below. 

Neckwarmer

Scarves are pretty and I adore them. But neck warmers are very functional and “hands-free” so that you can hold that bag (or wall or guard rail) while you walk. Neck warmers are unisex as well. Some are available as “one size” only. Wearing it can prevent cold and flu.

Hand Warmer

Yes, there are gloves and then there are hand warmers. They are like PERFECT Christmas presents too! So handy. The heat inside the pouch activates upon the touch of your hands and gives warmth, ain’t cool?

Use them if you are out and about hiking, waiting for Santa Parade (yes in the cold, usually in November) or waiting for a ride. It can easily slip in your purse or outerwear.

Other Canada Winter Packing Essentials

  • Moisturizer for the face and body – Love my Body Shop Vitamin E for face and body. Buy my favorite moisturizer here
  • Face oil is also handy 
  • Hand Lotion – Carry hand lotion in your purse
  • Lip Balm – Lipstick or lip balm is SUPER essential.
  • Sunglasses – Winter sun is harsher on your skin than the summers. Eyewear is essential. Buy my fav Rayban Sunglass here
  • Take the sunshine whenever possible and use sunscreen

Side note about winter driving in Canada – Use winter tire and follow local news and information alerts to stay safe on the road. 

Canada Winter Packing List 

Here is what a Canada Winter Clothing Packing list should look like

  • Winter Jacket (or Wool Coat) – 1
  • Long Johns or Thermal Tops and bottoms – 2
  • Sweater/Cardigan  – 2
  • Regular tops – 2-4
  • Winter Pants/Snow Pants – 2
  • Jeans or Trousers – 2
  • Snow Shoes or boots – 1
  • Warm socks – 2- 4
  • Warm gloves or mittens – 1
  • Warm hat or beanie – 1
  • Scarf – 1- 2
  • Ear Muff – 1
  • Neck Warmer
  • Hand Warmers
  • Lip balm – 1
  • Moisturizer – 1
  • Sunglass – 1 

Canadian winters are severe from December to February. In some provinces, snow can be seen on the ground until March or up-to late spring. You can expect cold weather during the early spring as well. From late spring onwards, a lightweight jacket is a must, along with a scarf, comfortable walking or hiking shoes. 

Read our Winter Guides to 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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2 Comments

  1. Nice post about the packing tips for winter clothes canda, I think your post useful for more people. Thanks for sharing the information.

  2. WOW! These are some awesome tips. Though I love winters a lot but only if I have a huge collections of long boots and trench coats. And for me having a winter collection is different and having a stylish winter collection is far away different.

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