How to Pack for a Cold Weather Trip

The biggest problem I had when planning my trip to Yellowknife, Canada, was trying to figure out how to pack for extremely cold temperatures. I grew up in Buffalo, so I was familiar with spending time outdoors in the winter, but I don’t own my snowboarding gear anymore so I was at a loss. One thing that was extremely helpful was that I was able to rent clothing, not only did that save precious suitcase space, but it also saved me from having to buy winter clothes.

If you’re traveling somewhere that does not offer those conveniences, I hate to break it to you, but you will have to buy supplies. At least a coat, we used Canada Goose, and boots, I brought my Sperry’s, but actual winter boots would be a much better option.

As for things to bring with you, I followed this formula for each day: one pair of short socks, one pair of warm long socks, leggings or long underwear, with sweatpants over. For my trip, the rental included snow pants, and I highly recommend them, especially if you plan on being in the snow at all. Just walking around on a snowy path will make your pants wet for hours if they’re not covered by either boots or waterproof pants. For shirts I wore either my Nike long sleeves, or my Patagonia thermals, with my Lulumon jacket being the warmest option I had. I forgot to bring any scarves, which was a big mistake on my part, but thankfully Aurora Village provided us with hood scarves. Keeping your neck warm is an easy way to regulate temperature, but the best use I found for it was keeping my cheeks and nose warm. We brought our own hats, you’re going to want to make sure you choose one that will keep your ears and your head warm. The best thing I brought though has to be these Urban Outfitters  gloves. (Warning, foul laungage ahead, and also gloves that are no longer for sale. So sad!) I’ve had them for years, but they’re easily the warmest gloves I’ve ever had, and they still allow you to use your hands normally.

It is best to pack a coat, gloves, hat, and pants that you can pull on over whatever you’re wearing in a carry on bag. One of our layovers had us going outside in 17 degree weather, and also waiting in a hallway exposed to the weather for almost an hour. You never know what could happen when traveling, and since we came from Florida, we did not have appropriate clothes on. If we kept all our warm things in our checked bag it would have been an awful experience for us at the Calgary airport.

Overall the biggest keys are to plan for layers, and to protect all exposed skin carefully. I hope you have fun in the snow!

Have any questions, or have you had a similar experience? Let me know!

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