Are you traveling to Canada in winter and not sure what to pack and wear? Well, you are in the right place. If you have been following my 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 10 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 – Winter Clothes Canada list – to get the packing list, easy peasy)
So in the past 10 years, we have lived in 3 provinces, fortunate yes and also well experienced with battling up to -45 degrees Celsius on a winter work day. 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 what not. And we survived. And we think you can do with this awesome guide that we have prepared.
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
Here is a quick overview of average winter temperatures (with windchill) in Canada
|Alberta||-5 to - 40 C ||Jan-Feb|
|British Columbia||0 to 5 C||Mild Winter Temperature|
|Manitoba||-18 to - 40 C||January|
|New Brunswick||15 to - 25 C||mid Dec - mid Mar|
|Nova Scotia||0 to -10 C||mid Dec - mid Mar|
|Ontario||0 to - 30 C||Dec- Jan|
|Quebec||-5 to -20 C||Dec - Mar|
|Saskatchewan||0 to - 30 C||Dec - Feb|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||10 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 come as two-piece underwear with long legs and long sleeves. It is worn under the main clothes in winters.
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 outer wear jacket.
For bottoms, wear your thermal bottom, followed up by your jeans or any other pants. (Some people also wear thermal leggings by itself, with AWESOME tall boots)
INVEST in a good outerwear jacket (or a wool 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 feather, has 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).
- For him – Check reviews and prices for winter jackets here
- For her – Check jacket reviews and prices here
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 everyday commute, especially if you are will be spending a lot of time outdoors, in transit or if a 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.
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 fell on ice, I walk very slllloowww on ice. Too afraid to be embarrassed).
But shoes are important. Don’t purchase anything that are 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.
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.
Winter Accessories (use them with Winter Clothes Canada)
Mittens or Gloves
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!
- For him – Get winter/ski gloves for men
- For her – Get winter/ski gloves for women
- Unisex Gloves – Check these unisex gloves
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 warm cap in Canada.
- For him – Check reviews and prices – beanie for him
- For her – Check reviews and prices – beanie for her
Ear muffs are cute and functional. And they are unisex! Ear muffs help protect your ears and eardrums from winter elements and keeps them warm. These ones below are unisex.
Ear muffs 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.
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.
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 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
- Face oil is also handy
- Carry hand lotion in your purse
- Lip stick or lip balm is SUPER essential.
- Sunglasses – Winter sun is more harsh on your skin than the summers. An eye wear is essential.
- Take the sunshine whenever possible and use sunscreen
Read our Winter Guides to
Last Update: April 1 2019
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