Siya and I have done a lot of winter over the past six or so years. Whether it's been ice swimming in Finland, iceberg viewing in Greenland, taking a sleigh ride in Mont Tremblant, snowboarding in Banff National Park or road tripping across Iceland, we've learned how to embrace the colder weather. With all of our winter travel experience, we've made quite a few mistakes when it comes to winter packing. On the plus side, we've learned from those mistakes so you don't have to make them as well. Now, I can proudly say we are experts when it comes to packing for colder destinations, and I'm excited to share these 18 winter packing hacks for your next trip:
Counting Down 18 Winter Packing Hacks...Let's Go!
18. Bring Waterproof Boots
This winter packing hack will keep your feet extra toasty. Don't just bring warm winter boots, bring warm winter boots that are also waterproof. These are gonna be your main shoes. They may not always look super stylish (althought I beg to differ about these Helly Hansen boots I ALWAYS wear), but they're gonna keep you dry and warm. I suggest making your boots even more waterproof using waterproof spray.
17. Bring Two Plastic Bags
In case your feet do get wet, you can place each foot in a plastic grocery bag, ideally over your socks. If your socks get wet, you can put your feet directly into the bags and socks overtop. Slip your feet back into your boot, and your toes will stay nice and dry for the rest of the day.
16. Bring a Small Umbrella
If you know ahead of time that there's gonna be heavy snowfall in your destination, it's important to protect your electronics. A small umbrella is a great tool for keeping your camera dry while still allowing you to get the perfect shot.
15. Waterproof Your Cloth Suitcase
If you're using a cloth suitcase, protect it using the same waterproof spray that you used for your boots. This winter packing hack will prevent any water from snow or slush soaking through your bag and onto your clothes during transit.
14. Yes to Wool Socks!
When my feet are wet or cold, my whole body gets the chills and it throws off my entire day outside. If you wear cotton socks, even if you're wearing warm waterproof boots, your feet will perspire, and you'll end up with cold, damp feet. This is because cotton socks have little insulation value and absorb and hold moisture. To avoid this from happening, always choose wool socks. Unlike cotton, wool is a great insulator. Wool even keeps its insulating properties while wet and can absorb a high amount of moisture, making wool socks perfect for winter travel.
13. Skip the Suitcase and Go for a Backpack
If you're going to be moving around a lot, I'd recommend skipping the roller suitcase and choosing a travel backpack for your belongings. That way you'll avoid rolling through puddles, slush or trails of dirt that may follow you into your hotel.
12. Thermals Are Your Best Friend
You definitely cannot skip this winter packing hack. I only started wearing these thermals a couple of years ago, and oh my lanta, are they life changing. Now, I'll never do winter travel without them. Thermals are base layer clothing made from specialty fabric to protect against the cold by trapping in body heat to provide warmth. They'll keep you dry as you sweat, help regulate your body temperature as you heat up during activities and then cool down during rest. They are super light, easy to pack, and don't take up a lot of space. If you're active in the outdoors during cold temperatures, a good set of base layers is even more crucial.
11. Pack a Thermos
This winter packing hack is an essential! Keep your coffee, tea or hot chocolate hot all day. How? With a thermos! This travel thermos is my favourite. It keeps beverages hot for up to 8-hours, allowing me to sip and stay warm during my outdoor festivities.
Bonus tip: You can also use a thermos as a heater by sticking it in your jacket pocket.
10. Don't Overpack
You're gonna be wearing your winter jacket over your clothes for the majority of your trip. So, to jazz thing up, I like to bring a few hats, scarves and pieces jewelry. With your staple winter clothes, switching up your accessories changes the entire look. Another plus is that accessories don’t really take up that much space.
9. Overdress for the Plane
Nobody likes paying for overweight bag fees at the airport. Which is why this winter packing hack is a great workaround for the times you may have overpacked. Layer it up and wear your bulkiest items! Put on as many layers as humanly possible using clothing from your suitcase. Make sure to wear your winter jacket, hat, gloves and boots which take up the most room in your suitcase. Once you're on the plane, you can take all the added layers off and put it in the overhead bin - problem solved!
8. Pack Black Clothing
Even though it's winter, and you’re dealing with cold weather, the sun might be around during the day. When you’re out while the sun is shining, wear black so you can absorb more heat to feel warmer.
7. Use Vacuum-Sealed Bags
These have really come in handy for us when we only want to bring a carry-on with us during our winter travels. We put all our clothing in a vacuum seal bag which helps compress bulky items to almost a tenth of the original thickness. By doing that, you can bring more items that you want for your trip without sacrificing space. You don't always need a vacuum for a vacuum-sealed bag. You can just sit on the bag to compress it, and it won't inflate. I don’t know the science behind but it’s awesome, and it works every single time!
6. Pack It, Pack It Real Good
In order to save space when you're packing for winter, pack items inside other items. For example, you can stuff your hats, glove, and scarves inside your socks. It’s going to make your suitcase look more organized plus it’s going to save space in your luggage.
5. Rent Winter Gear
Instead of bringing all the extra winter gear you might not use, check to see if there are any available winter gear rentals in the area. Keep in mind that your space is limited. You’d be doing yourself a favour by not bringing your snowboard or snowshoes with you.
4. Pack the Heat
This winter packing hack is coming in HOT! Hot Hands hand warmers are amazinggggg. They will come to the rescue when you need them most. Just shake them up and throw them in your gloves, or your boots. They heat up and keep you toasty for hours.
3. Pack Ziploc Bags
Ziploc bags come in handy for many things. They are great for keeping your items organizes and more importantly, to separate your wet and dry clothes.
Bonus tip: If your camera or cellphone got wet in the snow and won't turn on, place it in a zip lock bag with a silica gel packet. Make sure you keep the bag sealed and your device is turned off. In 24-hours or so, your electronics should be alive once again.
2. Use a Garbage Bag
Garbage bags are cheap and come in handy. You probably have one in your house right now. Just bring a couple of those with you to place over your luggage you're en route from one destination to another.
1. Bring a Pelican Case
If you're travelling with a camera or other electronics, it's important to keep your stuff safe and dry. A Pelican case will keep your gadgets dry and secure. If your electronics do get wet, don’t panic just yet. Just refer back to winter packing hack number 3, and you should be okay. With wet gadgets, it’s a must that you leave it overnight with the silica gels. Take out the batteries & leave it off for a few days. Hopefully, that will save your electronic device.