Winter travelling is harder to pack for than summer and necessitates packing more items. Round-the-world travellers and digital nomads generally chase summer around the globe for this very reason. Nevertheless, by layering and opting for high-quality merino and technical clothing where possible, you can get away with packing a lot lighter than you would first imagine.
The Winter Packing List contains all the clothing items I would typically pack for winter trips to Europe, North America, New Zealand etc – areas with generally temperate climates. If you’re heading on a ski trip, or to places with more extreme conditions, then you may need to look at bringing snow gear or hiring some at your destination.
- 1 waterproof + windproof jacket
- 1 fleece
- 1 sweatshirt
- 3-4 tanks or short sleeve tops
- 2-3 long sleeve tops
- 1 dress
- 2 pairs of pants
- 1 pair of leggings
And the rest…
- Warm hat
- The jacket should be lightweight, with the intention of wearing the fleece underneath for warmth. The jacket can then be used during warm conditions as well.
- Pictured above is the REI La Selva Rain Jacket, which is what I currently use. It’s a great jacket, however it’s a bit bulky and heavy at 700g. Unless you intend to spend a lot of time in wet, windy conditions, you might want to look at a smaller, more packable rain jacket. The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket weighs a much more reasonable 340g and is more easily stuffed into a purse or day bag, ready to pull out during unexpected showers.
- Go for a warm, breathable dress (try merino wool) that can be worn on its own during sunny winter days, or layered over leggings in cooler temperatures.
- I personally live in tank tops, and use them for additional core warmth under long sleeves in winter, but you might not be so enamoured with them. If you’re heading into extremely cold weather, or you feel the cold easily, consider replacing one or two with long-sleeved thermals instead.
- Leggings and tights are lightweight, yet make a real difference in extreme cold. Take an extra pair if necessary to wear underneath the pants.
- If staying in dorm rooms, you might like to add a pair of pyjama bottoms or sleep in the leggings.
- Take a mixture of light and thick socks, depending on the climate of your destination. In extreme cold, you can wear a thick pair over a thinner pair.
- By opting for clothing made of merino wool or technical fabrics, you can get multiple wears out of an item before it needs washing. With the above list, you’ll only need to do laundry about once a week
This is part of a series of packing lists designed to give you an idea of what to take on your journey, so you eliminate unnecessary bulk and carry only what you need. Ultimately, the decision over what to take is very personal, but this list should serve as a basic guide that you can tweak to fit your own particular needs and circumstances. See also, the Summer Packing List.