What to Pack for a Cold Weather Trip
Heading somewhere cold and worried about bringing the wrong things or forgetting something? Here’s a list of everything you need to pack for your cold weather holiday! Don’t miss the free printable checklist at the end.
If you are traveling somewhere filled with snow, head over to How to Pack for a Snowy Winter Getaway instead.
The most important thing when packing for cold weather is including a lot of layers. Clothing layers, accessory layers, layers on layers on layers.
While freezing to death in Paris last November because I packed incorrectly, my friend Diana told me about HEATTECH from Uniqlo, a place I had never shopped at prior. HEATTECH is clothing that captures your body heat and uses it to generate warmth. There are three levels: regular, extra warm (1.5X warmer), and ultra warm (2.25X warmer). She promised it would solve all of my problems so I headed to the Marais store to check it out and guess what? It works. As a result a lot of the items I recommend below are from this collection.
Here is what I recommend packing, which you can modify based on the activities and duration of your trip:
TANK TOPS — as mentioned, layering is key! Pick up a few HEATTECH ones specifically. Click here to see the latest prices.
LONG SLEEVE INNERWEAR — depending on the temp and the activity, I almost always would put a long sleeve shirt over a tank and underneath my coat. Grab a few HEATTECH long sleeve shirts in regular, extra warm, or ultra warm. The warmer you go, the thicker the material becomes.
TOPS — if you aren’t going somewhere so cold that you need HEATTECH innerwear, bring other tops instead! Everlane has many of my favorite options especially because of their affordability and transparent pricing. Click here for my favorite long sleeve tee, here for a relaxed poplin, and here for my favorite relaxed silk shirt.
SWEATERS — depending on how cold it is where you are going, you should make a decision as to whether you want to bring more sweaters and less coats (for not-so-freezing-places) or less sweaters and more coats (for places you’ll likely be wearing your coats most of the time). Two sweaters that I very highly recommend; one from Canada Goose and one from Everlane. Click here for the Canada Goose sweater and click here for the Everlane sweater. The Canada Goose is a bit pricey but I swear it is SO amazing.
SWEATSHIRTS — I bring a crewneck sweatshirt or two if I am going to be hiking or doing other outdoor activities. If not, I generally stick to just sweaters since they look nicer.
FLANNELS/BUTTON DOWNS — I am ride or die for Rails button downs, buying new ones each year. They are very warm and an easy way to look a little more presentable than a plain old tee. I resort to these a lot on less adventurous days (strolling around town, shopping, etc.) as well as for dinners. I love this one, this one, and this one.
MAXI DRESS OR SKIRT — not 100% necessary depending on your style but I usually like to pack a dress/skirt or two, regardless of weather! Maxi length is perfect for the cold and you’d be surprised how warm you can be in them with the right shoes (more on that below). Click here for my favorite maxi skirt. I own it in yellow!
LEGGINGS — my absolute favorite are Alo’s high waisted ones. I own at least five pairs. Click here to see the latest prices. If you are going somewhere super cold and need leggings to wear under other pants, get these in extra warm or ultra warm.
JEANS — whichever you normally wear. Bring two to three pairs depending on trip duration. My favorite are AG Legging Ankle Jeans (sooo comfy!).
CASHMERE WRAP — I always bring a cashmere scarf or wrap on all trips because I consider it an absolute essential. I actually carry one in my purse at all times. It is especially important during winter because, well, winter is cold! You never know when you’ll need an extra layer on a cold plane, train, or something else. Click here for a great option!
CARDIGAN — Barefoot Dreams’ circle cardigan is honestly one of the best travel purchases I have ever made. So warm and absolutely necessary. Also great for transit days and hotel lounging! Click here to shop it.
WARM FUZZY JACKET — if you follow me on Instagram you know that these are my #1 weakness. Thankfully these are much in style right now so you can roam the world freely looking like a bear, being insanely comfortable and also warm. I have oh-so-many different ones, here are some of my current favs (including this one that’s only $33, has great reviews, and is almost exactly the same as the blogger fav I.AM.GIA. version!):
OTHER JACKET (leather, suede, puffy, fleece, etc.)— I have a thing with jackets, can you tell? Puffy jackets are fashionable and incredibly warm and comfortable so I often reach for them when packing for cold weather. If the weather is cold but not too cold, I bring my suede and/or leather moto jackets. Click here for my favorite blush-colored and very reasonably priced puffy jacket!
PARKAS — if you are going somewhere very cold, this is EXTREMELY important! I have worked with Canada Goose over the past two years and have been lucky enough to be gifted a handful of coats, but in all honesty they are 100% worth it. The attention to detail is remarkable (even random things like the sleeves are SO warm and soft), they have a lifetime guarantee, and they are remarkably warm. If you can splurge on one, I am confident you will not regret it. Some of my favorites:
PAJAMAS — everything from PJ Salvage is so warm and lovely, I really cannot recommend them enough! Click here to shop their current designs.
SOCKS — the warmer, the better! And bring a lot. I’ll never forget standing outside the Louvre at opening in early January and how truly freezing my feet felt. Click below to shop some warm sock options:
SNEAKERS — not the warmest option so possibly skip these depending on how cold it will be where you are going! But I do find sneakers to be the most comfortable option especially when walking around all day so bring them if you can. My very favorite are M. Gemi’s white leather sneakers. I literally never travel anywhere without them. Click here to see latest prices!
ANKLE BOOTS — boots of course keep you more covered than sneakers and are also very fashionable, making them a great option for cold weather destinations! After countless years testing all over the world, my two recommendations are these (I own 5 pairs and could run a marathon in them) and these which I’m hoping to buy a second pair of! Click here to see a full list of my travel shoe recommendations.
KNEE HIGH OR THIGH HIGH BOOTS — even warmer than ankle boots, knee high or thigh high boots are great. When I visited London and Paris in abnormally cold temps a few years back I bought a pair of Tory Burch knee highs (similar here) and would’ve basically died without them.
SCARVES — an absolute necessity! My favorite is & Other Stories’ oversized wool scarf, available each year in a handful of the most beautiful colors. Click here to see all of the different color options.
HATS — if your head is warm, the rest of you is warm! They also happen to spice up an otherwise boring outfit and make for a good photo prop, so the more the merrier.
GLOVES — bring at least two pairs and always double check that you have one of them before heading out.
NECK WARMER — good for adventure activities instead of a scarf which can unravel and need adjusting. This one is inexpensive.
SUNGLASSES — for obvious reasons.
HAND WARMERS — for your hands, your feet, and your phone in case it gets too cold! Grab this value pack
CAMERA BAG — this item actually has nothing to do with cold weather specifically, but since every bag I am wearing in the above photos is a camera bag from GATTA and I know I’ll get questions, I am including it! Very highly recommend. Click here for the most stylish camera bag for women.