A Canadian Winter Packing Guide

Hey guys! I’m back home in Yorkshire after an incredible trip to Alberta and I’m proud to have survived my first Canadian Winter. With temperatures ranging between -30 and -6, it was without a doubt the coldest temperatures I have ever experienced. I avidly checked my weather app the week before we travelled, and I got nervous as I watched the temperatures get lower by the day. I couldn’t even imagine how cold it was going to feel, so packing proved to be a serious conundrum. Looking back, some things in my case ended up being a total godsend, whilst others didn’t even make it out of the hotel room. I’ve teamed up with Blazewear Clothing to write the blog post I wish existed when I was doing my own packing. Here’s my Canadian Winter Survival Guide, a must-read for anyone getting ready to brave below-freezing temperatures.

1) An Insulated Coat with Heat Technology

My Blazewear Explorer Jacket was the ultimate showstopper in my suitcase. I ended up earing it every single day of our trip. This clever coat combines advanced insulation with tri-zone heat technology, meaning you can add heat inside your coat at the touch of a button. The invisible heat elements are positioned in zones across the chest and back, and have 3 heat settings (ranging from 38-55 degrees). A dedicated pouch within the coat holds a rechargeable battery, which doubles up as a handy USB phone charger! The best thing is that despite all this technology inside the coat, you’d never know it was there. Because of the insulation, the Blazewear Explorer Jacket kept me incredibly warm, even without the heat technology. I only ‘turned the coat on’ during less physical outdoor activities such as star-gazing.

2) Thermal Gloves and Handwarmers

If you’re planning on doing a lot of outdoor activities, you’re going to need some thermal, waterproof gloves (ski gloves would be perfect). Many Canadians choose to wear the mitten-style glove as they keep fingers together, which helps to maintain heat. I wore my ski gloves for most of the trip, but my fingers went numb as soon as I took them off to take pictures or videos on my iPhone. Handwarmers are a popular addition, which are cheap and effective. The ones in Canada activate as soon as you take them out of the packet, look like a bit like a tea bag and can last up to 8 hours. Slip them in your glove or socks to stay extra toasty. For maximum impact, invest in a pair of heated traveller gloves which feature the same heat technology as the Explorer Jacket.

3) Waterproof Trousers

To survive a wild Canadian winter, you’re going to need a pair of trousers that are waterproof and wind-proof. Sadly, they’re not the most stylish of garments but they couldn’t be more essential. Think about ordering 1 size above your usual so that you have the option to layer up thermal leggings or jeans underneath.

4) A Fleece Lined Hat

Sure, your bobble hat looks cute but it might not cut the mustard when you’re battling icy winds. I took a knitted hat to Canada and felt the cold coming through the knit on to my head. I ended up wearing a beanie hat underneath the bobble hat to stay warm, so I’d definitely recommend buying a fleece-lined hat. Scott bought this Canada hat during our trip and the fleece lining was amazing.

Top Tip: If you’re planning on doing any activities that may require a helmet (skiing, snowboarding, canyoning), be sure to pack a beanie so you can wear it underneath your helmet.

5) Thermal Base Layers

Another trick to surviving a Canadian winter is thermal base layers. Thin thermals are ideal because even If you layer them up, they won’t end up feeling bulky and uncomfortable. Every day I wore 2 thin, long sleeve, roll-neck thermal tops, a thicker jumper and a coat. On the bottom half I wore a par of thermal leggings, loose fitting jeans and a pair of thin sallopettes (trousers I wear for skiing). I’m not saying this is the magic formula because I know everyone has a slightly different body temperature. But for me, I really needed this many layers to stay warm outside.

6) Lip Balm and Moisturiser

The harsh temperatures and cold winds can be incredibly harsh on your skin. The extreme contrasts between indoor and outdoor temperatures can also contribute to your skin becoming dry and tight. My lips got incredibly chapped in Canada and I used double the amount of facial moisturiser I usually would every morning and night. Keep the lip balm with you throughout the day to keep your lips protected.

7) A Neck Tube

Instead of filling your case with a chunky scarf, get yourself a neck tube. These tubes come in a fleece or synthetic material but are lightweight and will take up next-to-no room in your case. When the winds blow you can pull it up over almost all of your face, which makes a huge difference in the cold. I have always used a neck tube for skiing but it proved to be the perfect addition for our outdoor activities in Canada too.

What did you think of my Canadian Winter Survival Guide? Are you planning a Winter trip to Canada or somewhere else equally as cold? Do you have any additional tips for staying warm? If you enjoyed this post, please leave me a comment in the box below. Jess x

This blog post has been created in collaboration with Blazewear Clothing. All images and words are my own.

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.


  • Karen Hutzcal

    Your post with all the cold weather wear is excellent! That jacket is something I’ve not heard of before. We recently had 25 cm of snow but temps were -5 C. My fingers didn’t freeze for once shoveling it. Spring is on the way!

    • Thank you Karen! It’s been so lovely to see you follow our entire trip. I have loved all your comments! Glad to hear the temperatures are easing off a bit now and that Spring is coming, although I am sure you’re totally used to the cold by now 🙂

      • The forecast is now for only abit of snow on March 22. Other than that we’re going to be above freezing! But we’ve had snow in May! I can handle this! At 8 am… now, it’s -9 C but sunny.

        • Thanks for your comment Karen! We’ve also had a very snowy winter in the UK and we’re still getting snow in March which is almost unheard of! Must be a cold winter all round. Hoping you get some warmer days soon. At least you always have beautiful blue skies in Alberta 🙂

  • That is such a great guide! Must have been so important to take the right gear in those conditions! I love your blazewear coat, so clever!

    • Thanks Laura! Oh totally, it was so important to have the right gear. Without the layers and thermals I think you’d be totally miserable! But with the right stuff you can spend all day outside and make the most of it. xx

  • Babes I LOVED that coat on you (super impressed with the heat technology too – sounds like the perfect coat for your trip!). I absolutely cannot wait to catch up on all of your Canada posts lovely, your trip looked insane!!

    Hayley xo

    • Thanks for your comment lovely! I was seriously impressed by the coat too. I’ve got so much more Canada content to get through! It’s coming slowly but surely 🙂 xx

  • Honestly so helpful Jess! I’ve always thought how on earth do people dress in these temperatures and with us thinking of moving to canada this couldn’t be more useful! Xx

    • Hey Eppie! Thanks for your comment, I am so glad this post has come in handy. That is so amazing you are thinking of moving to Canada. I can totally see why! The quality of life is amazing over there, not to mention the friendly people and beautiful scenery. The locals are fully kitted up to survive the winter and once you’ve got all the essentials I think you’d be fine 😀

  • Wow! I can’t wait to see the next canada posts – yes you definitely did need to wrap up warm, it looks bliddy freezing. Hope you had fun,


    • Thanks Jet! It was so so cold, like nothing I have ever felt before! But with the right kit you definitely can spend the majority of your time outdoors. I did! X

  • Great tips Jess! I’ll definitely return to this post the next time I’m off to subzero temperatures!

    Sarah xo

    • Thank you Sarah! Hope the post comes in handy. It would definitely apply to anywhere in the world with freezing temperatures. I’m glad I’ve got all the kit now.x

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