Packing for a Canadian Winter Trip

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Okay, Canada is a huge country so this may not apply to ALL of Canada (such as a more moderate place like British Columbia), but I think it’s safe to say that most of Canada is covered in a blanket of snow during the winter so you’ll definitely want to bundle up! As a Canadian, I like to think I’m always prepared for the cold but it never gets easier to brave the colder temperatures.

I’m heading to Quebec City in February (which prompted the idea for this post) and the last time I visited a Quebec city in the winter it was freezing! Of course, 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.

Essentials for Canadian Winters

The number 1 and number 2 things may seem like no-brainers but it needs to be said:

1. Pack a warm, winter jacket and;

2. Winter 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!) If you have neither, you can layer with a few things:

  • Layer with shirts and sweaters. If you can get a high wool content in even one piece, 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.
  • These insoles 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 like this one 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:

  • Snowpants or wind breakers. Long johns are great too but pants MADE for snowy cold are ideal. (We’ll be going to Carnival and the outdoor toboggan in Quebec City and snowpants will be perfect).
  • Hand or feet warmers. Easy to pick up from Amazon or a similar store. You can throw a few in your bag and use them when you need a little extra warmth. (I am all about reusable items – check out this rechargeable hand warmer)

2 thoughts on “Packing for a Canadian Winter Trip

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