The Essential Winter Travel Packing List

The Essential Winter Travel Packing List

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When it comes to travel in the winter, our packing list gets a bit more complicated. If you’re traveling somewhere cold or you’re heading to the mountains to ski, knowing what to take for all eventualities can mean overpacking, or worse still, taking things you don’t need.

If you’re heading off to a really cold country such as Iceland, or you just aren’t sure what the weather will be like, this packing list should help you.

Thermal Base Layer

For somewhere really cold ( meaning consistently subzero) the foundation of your outfit should rely on a good base layer. This is especially important if you’re expecting to be outside for a lot of the time. For example when skiing or snowboarding or hiking in extremely cold climates.

You can buy base layers in a variety of styles and materials, each have their own benefits but natural materials such as cotton or wool are better.

Because base layers are close to the skin they will get sweaty. Depending on how long you’re away for you’ll need to bring multiple base layers unless you’re expecting to do regular laundry.


The best way to be prepared for all eventualities in the cold is with layers of clothes. This means you add or remove layers as necessary, and you can also use thinner items of clothing.

Long sleeved shirts and t-shirts, light pullovers and sweaters can all be paired together to trap the warmth close to your skin.

If you have a good base layer then you’ll soon warm up and need to remove a layer or two, especially if you’re being active. But better to be too warm than freezing cold.

The other benefit of using layers is that your outer layer will still be fine to wear after several days.

Wooly or Furry Hat

If you’re heading somewhere cold make sure you get a hat that will keep your ears warm. A snapback/baseball cap might look cool, but you’ll want maximum coverage from the icy wind.

A wool beanie or fur hat will do the best job in the cold.

Winter Footwear

An essential for winter is good footwear, wherever you’re going. You’ll want footwear that is waterproof and stands up to the job of keeping your feet warm.

Depending on what you’re planning on doing, a good pair of stylish hiking shoes can be a versatile solution. Although they do tend to be on the heavier side. Companies such as Timberland or Doc Martens are a reliable fashion focused option.

If you’re looking to keep it winter-proof with style, companies like Baabuk offer a great solution. Their wool boots and shoes feature the natural moisture-wicking and insulating properties of wool in street friendly fashion. Their wool boots are based on Russian style valenkis, or if you’re looking to keep it casual take a peek at their range of wool sneakers.

Leather boots are also a reliable option in the snow and rain, although don’t forget to give them a bit of waxing or polishing before you go.

Waterproof Jacket

If you’re off on vacation to somewhere like Iceland or Finland, or you’re skiing in the Alps or the Rockies then you’ll need a jacket to keep up. Skiers and snowboarders will default to big coats from North Face, Patagonia, Burton or Columbia – which will all do the job perfectly.

The benefits of ski jackets are that they tend to be waterproof, windproof and have lots of pockets. So they’re ideal for any winter packing list, even if you’re not hitting the slopes.

A good parka is also a wise choice if you’re heading somewhere really cold. Down is, of course, a great insulator and will keep you feeling cozy when the icy wind blows.


When the temperature really drops you’ll be glad of a good pair of gloves. Leather or fleece are the best options as they are insulating and versatile. Leather gloves with cashmere or merino lining add an extra luxurious element, but they’re not essential.

Make sure you’ve got the touch-sensitive fingers on your gloves so you can still access your phone without taking them off.


It can be hard to know what to wear on your legs, but a good pair of jeans is still essential even when it gets to freezing. They do of course absorb the water, so if you’re expecting to get wet then a pair of waterproofs to wear over them will help.

Using base layer leggings will also make sure you don’t feel that aching cold in your knees, especially if you’re going to be sat down in the cold. Sled rides, ski gondolas and outdoor bars are all fabulous but you’ll feel that cold – so layer up!


The sun still shines in the winter! Get a good pair of polarized sunglasses to protect you from snow glare and the low winter sun.

Hopefully, this winter packing list has given you a good idea of what to take on your travels. So, wherever you’re heading this winter, wrap up warm and have a great time!

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