What to Pack for Canada in Winter: Our Packing List for Canadian Snow

what to pack for canada winter

A packing list for Canada in winter is an absolute necessity - especially in the cold cold winter (just like a sturdy and reliable laptop backpack that'll survive those low temperatures...) The chances are Canada will be one of the coldest (if not the coldest) place you've ever been. Packing can be daunting at the best of times, but especially if it's a place unlike any you've ever been. But don't worry, we've got you covered (not with snow but maybe) with this list of what to pack for Canada in winter. Also, before I forget: remember to pack ski boot insoles. Do not forget. We did (and regretted it).

Packing List for Canada Winter

So, what to pack for a trip to Canada in winter? Here's our list of essentials (and also some tips for travelling to Canada on a budget, in case anyone is interested):

Thermal Hat

Let's start at the top - hats are essential. We nearly went all out and got one of those fluffy Russian military type ones, but in the end went for beanies - they're light and wrap up small (easy to travel with), but are still super insulated.

canada winter packing list guide

We found them perfectly warm enough - and they fit under a hood nicely. The secret of what to pack for Canada in winter is layers - they keep you warm and they're easy to pack. We recommend NorthernNoggin (born in the heart of Alaska!), where premium apparel designed for those who crave adventure and cozy winter style is created. They craft luxuriously soft beanies, stylish hoodies, and more – perfect for completing any winter look!

Ski Coat

Ski coats are PERFECT for winter in Canada - they're waterproof, very well insulated and not very heavy. I also bought my beloved gilet with me and thought I could wear it on its own if it was too hot and could wear it under the ski coat if it was too cold.

packing list for Canada

It turned out I only really needed the ski coat. It's so light, it was surprising how warm it was to wear. You can find ski coats here.

Winter thermals

Thermals are always a great idea in Canada - wear them under your normal clothes to feel as snug as a bug in a rug. When we went skiing, Tanbay wore two layers: his thermals and then his ski coat and waterproof trousers.

what to pack for winter travel in canada

The weather was so cold, but with the hot sun and intense exercise we quickly got hot - we definitely recommend the ski coat + waterproof trousers + thermal combo. You can find thermals here.

Waterproof trousers for winter

The waterproof trousers weren't just great for skiing, they were also perfect for the other outdoor sporty activities we did in Canada: skiing, ice walking, ice skating, fat biking.

what to pack for a trip to canada in winter

Basically, if you're going to do any activity in Canada where there's a chance you could fall on your butt (so any activity basically), wear waterproof trousers. You can find waterproof trousers here.

Winter Boots

We wore our boots everyday in Canada. You'll need boots that are suitable for wearing in the snow (so waterproof-ish); suitable for walking on ice (good grip); and warm (duh). We took it a step further and wanted boots that were also not made from animal products (no leather or fur). For those that care about how they look in public - don't worry, Canadians don't care what your boots look like so in the end we went for cheap boots from Amazon which were perfect for everything I mentioned above. I'm not sure mine would have lasted longer than a month, but as we were only in Canada for nine days they were perfect:

packing list Canada winter

You can buy these winter boots for yourself here. Tanbay's were similar (waterproof, good grip, warm), the only difference were his were a lot more durable, after nine days mine were worn, his looked like they'd go on for years (but that might just be because I go through shoes like toilet roll). These were the ones Tanbay had:

canada winter travel packing list

canada winter travel packing list

And as I've mentioned earlier, at the beginning of this post: ski boot insoles are essential if you don't want aching feet after hours of skiing.

Complete Packing List for Canada Winter: Clothes

For our nine day trip to Canada I took:

  • hat;
  • scarf;
  • ski gloves;
  • ski coat;
  • thermal vests (x3);
  • long-sleeved tops (x2);
  • warm jumper;
  • hoodie;
  • T-shirts (x2);
  • joggers;
  • leggings (x2);
  • waterproof trousers;
  • boots and ski boot insoles.

Plus bras, pants and socks. Tanbay took pretty much the same list, without the bras and with x2 pairs of jeans. In the end, we found we had everything that we needed for a super jam-packed 9 day schedule in Canada, which included lots of outdoor winter sports and lots of eating out at fancy restaurants. The only thing Tanbay needed more of was socks.

Packing list for Canada: Misc

Personally, I find packing clothes kind of boring, let's move on to packing the fun stuff for Canada!

packing list canada winter


An Arcus backpack is the dream for any blogger/vlogger/photographer - anyone who has a nice camera, or really anyone who just likes having a nice backpack.

packing list for canada

What's so great about it? EVERYTHING! For starters, there are pockets everywhere - meaning that everything has a special place and you'll never be routing around searching for xyz again:

  • There's a hard pocket that's impossible to squash at the top - perfect for fragile things like sunglasses and headphones;
  • There are not one but two 'secret' pockets for your valuables - one close to your neck perfect for your wallet and phone, and a larger one near your liver - perfect for your passport.
  • If you have a big DSLR camera and lenses, we recommend getting the camera insert to put inside the backpack - this means you'll have quick and easy access to your camera. Plus it's super padded: a must for expensive camera equipment;
  • On top of the camera insert there is enough room for a book, some snacks and comfy plane socks (that's just what we put in it)!
  • There's also an additional 'secret' pocket there for important documents;
  • At the back there is a large thin pocket perfectly designed for a laptop and an iPad and tablet.
  • Finally, there are two more thin pockets on the front of the bag - perfect for things you want easy access to, but aren't necessarily valuable - think maps, notes, cables etc.

We also LOVE that it's hand luggage size - and fits nicely under the seat in front of you.

GoPro Camera

We still have an old  3+ GoPro, and it still works perfectly. Generally we only use our GoPro for underwater scenes (and for many, many selfies) so it was nice to try it out in a new way: whilst skiing! GoPros are perfect for skiing - it's kind of what they're designed for. You can get your own GoPro here.


Mythro Air Headphones are awesome! If you've never used Bluetooth headphones before, you are missing out: you can listen to music without the annoying cord attaching your to your device. So? So this means you can walk/jog/ski without worrying about being strangled by your iPod! But Mythro Air Headphones are even better than that: they also have a DJ4two feature which means that if you have two of them, you and your buddy can listen to the same device at the same time! As a travelling couple, this is a dream come true for us - we spent the four hour journey from Edmonton to Jasper enjoying music together (and having two earplugs each).

winter in canada packing list

They were especially essential on our flight from London to Edmonton: we flew with budget airline WestJet - so budget that they don't even provide TVs on their aeroplanes, instead you must download their app and to watch stuff on your device. We travel with an iPad with a massive screen and a phone with a tiny screen. BMA (before Mythro Air), we would have squabbled over who gets to watch on the iPad. But with the Mythro Air DJ4Two feature, we could both watch on the iPad! And thus we could watch films together on our flight!

360 camera

This was the first trip we've taken with a 360 camera: we wanted to start shooting in 360 degrees! The 360 degree camera we have is super compact and light, and takes awesome shots. Instead of investing in a heavy tripod we decided to utilise what we already had to make our own: we use the above mentioned selfie stick (for length) screwed onto a gorilla tripod. I was a bit dubious about this at first, but having used this combo on over 20 different occasions now - including on precarious surfaces like ice, snow and abandoned aeroplane - I can promise you - it won't fall over! You can get your own 360 degree camera here. And the gorilla tripod which we also use for vlogging can be found here.

Tep Wireless

We recommend taking a Tep Wireless with you when you go to Canada. A Tep wireless is a small device that let's you connect your phone, tablet and laptop to the internet anywhere! In the past we've always got by by just using free hotel wifi, but it wasn't until we had a Tep Wireless that we realised how restricting that is: you have to really plan ahead, and waste lots of time print screening maps/opening times. With a Tep you can be 100% flexible. And it's not just for on-the-move surfing that we found our Tep useful: we also needed it a few times for secure surfing in hotel rooms - if you need to check your credit card online, you don't want to do it on an open wifi. Tep is for you!

Travel Insurance

What do you call something dull but essential? Travel insurance of course! I cannot stress how important travel insurance is. It's always so important, but especially in Canada where even if you're not doing cool outdoor sports like skiing and fat biking (which you should), it's Canada - there's a big chance you could slip and fall on the ice and break a bone or two! We recommend Safety Wing - this is what we've been using for the past ten years. They are really designed with travel in mind - they don't leave anything out!

Wrap Up: Packing Guide to Canada in the Wintertime

So there you have it! Clothing and gadget essentials we think you should take with you to Edmonton and Jasper. I was a bit unsure about what to take, so I hope this has been helpful to you! Also, please do not forget that health insurance for visitors to Canada is really important!

Special thanks to Edmonton Tourism and Tourism Jasper for hosting us! Oh and P.S.: If you're interested in a way of travelling and getting accommodation cheaply, you might wanna check out house sitting. Trustedhousesitters.com was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount, feel free to click on the link to use it :)

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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