Packing for a Canadian Winter Trip

Canada is a huge country and even the winter months can be vastly different from one end of the country to the other. British Columbia is much milder than, say, Ontario. Southern Ontario typically doesn’t get as much snow as Northern Ontario, and the Maritimes often get dumps of snow. Banff National Park and Jasper National Park are awesome destinations for winter photography. Winnipeg, Manitoba has recorded some of the lowest temperatures in the country. In any case, bundling up for the winter is likely a preference if you plan to enjoy the beauty of the winter outdoors.

The activities you have planned may require a few more items that a regular weekend trip which is why I’ve split this post into two categories: Essentials for every Canadian Winters and Activity-dependent Items for Comfort. Continue reading for the perfect Canada Packing List for winter.

Essentials for Canadian Winters

The number 1 and number 2 things on your Canada winter packing list to stay warm in the cold weather may seem like no-brainers but it needs to be said:
1. Pack a warm, winter jacket and;
2. Snow boots (waterproof and warm).


Having these two things will make a world of difference! (TIP: if you can, purchase a new pair of boots of a new jacket at the end of the season for the following winter to get a great deal!) I also recommend you layer with a few winter clothing items:
– Layer with shirts and sweaters. If you can get a high merino wool content in even one piece as a base layer, even better! I purchased the warmest wool turtleneck sweater at a used clothing store a few years back and it’s definitely my best winter piece.
– Sheepwool insoles to put in your boots/shoes or wool socks. (I recently purchased the insoles as a way to extend the life of my current winter boots and they are wonderfully warm).
– Down-filled jacket. I have this one and have layered it for winter trips and it’s been a great additional piece to stay warm (and stands out in pictures – bonus!).


3. Something for your head. A hat, headband, earmuffs, etc. I personally LOVE my earmuffs (purchased in Quebec City on my last visit) and I get a ton of compliments on them.
4. Something for your hands. Mittens or gloves are both good and if you can get the texting gloves, even better! (I recently up-cycled an old wool sweater into a pair of mitts and I’m so excited to make use of them this winter).
5. A scarf. I’ve picked up a few scarves in the last 28 years but my favourite is a long wool scarf that I can wrap around my neck a few times to really bundle up (see below). Blanket scarves are also great because you can keep them on your shoulders if you head inside for a hot beverage somewhere. I love this big one from Aritzia.


Activity-dependent Items for Comfort

Depending on what you’ll be getting up to you may want to pick up:
– Snow pants or wind breakers. Long johns are great too but pants MADE for snowy cold are ideal.
– Hand or feet warmers. You can throw a few in your bag and use them when you need a little extra warmth. (I am all about reusable items – you can now purchase reusable hand warmers)

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