What to Pack for Cold Weather Travel

With record crowds swarming popular tourist destinations, traveling off-season can be a brilliant idea that saves money and lets you avoid crowds. But what to pack for cold weather travel?

Today I’m sharing a few favorite packing items for cold-weather travel that keep my suitcase light but keep me warm!

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Packing light helps me stay mobile on the road, particularly when using trains or small, regional foreign airlines that often have restricted luggage capacities. This isn’t too tough in warmer months but what do you do when the weather turns colder? My #1 tip is to pack multiple thin layers!

Lightweight Merino Wool or Cashmere

In the cooler months, I always pack a few lightweight merino wool or cashmere layers to mix with my standard array of tees and blouses. Uniqlo has a good variety of merino wool pieces that are well-priced and of decent quality.

I also recently purchased this merino wool turtleneck from BR Factory. It has a longer length and slightly flared fit that pairs well with both leggings and denim. NOTE: Runs slightly large, if you’re between sizes, size down.

The companies WoolX and Wool& both offer a wide array of 100% merino wool clothing (tops/sweaters, dresses, bottoms, etc.) and have a very dedicated cult following.

For cashmere, Quince is my go-to brand for an unbeatable quality/price ratio! While the cashmere fisherman crewneck shown below is one of their thicker/weightier options, it is a near-dupe for the Jenni Kayne version but costs a whopping $325 LESS!!!

Shop Lightweight Merino Wool & Cashmere

Cozy, Compact Outerwear

To keep cozy in even the coldest of conditions, I always pack my Uniqlo Pufftech, quilted jacket. I love how you can wear this as a crew neck or v-neck and it compresses into nothing for easy stowage in a backpack. I’ve even used it as pillow, in a pinch!

For a water and wind-resistant layer, I’m a huge fan of the Eddie Bauer Girl on the Go Trench. It has several features that I love:

  • 2-way front zip for easy walkability/venting,
  • water-PROOF not just water-resistant,
  • detachable hood, great for a drizzle but love that you can remove it for a dressier look in the evening,
  • multiple deep pockets,
  • slimming fit but with enough room underneath to layer my Uniqlo puffer (above) for extra warmth!

Again, this jacket is quite lightweight and folds compactly.

Shop Cozy, Compact Outerwear

Boots that Bend!

Cooler temps mean boots, right? But who wants to sacrifice packing space for bulky leather options? Enter Vivaia. They have a wide array of boots for every taste – Chelsea, OTK, wedges, etc.

They are made of a stretch-knit, recycled plastic upper (water-resistant versions available) that fold and pack compactly. They’re also lightweight. The stretch fabric also makes them incredibly comfortable to wear with no break-in period.

A cushioned insole with double arch support and anti-slip rubber outsole add to their appeal. No sliding on cobblestones in these babies! I own the square-toed heeled boots and they fit true to size.

Shop Travel Boots

NOTE: While the boots below are all black, Vivaia offers a huge assortment of colors and patterns!

Snug Stems

My go-to travel pants are typically made of AirStretch fabrics that are very thin, lightweight, and quick-drying. While any brand will work, I’m somewhat partial to the BR Factory taper pants. They are so comfy, easy to dress up or down, and take very little suitcase room but can be a bit chilly in the coldest climates. To remedy that, I layer long underwear underneath. Cuddlduds and Uniqlo Heattech are two brands I’ve used.

While I typically advise against packing jeans when traveling light, I do tend to pack a pair or two in the colder months. Gravitate to thinner, stretchier options as opposed to bulky, wide-leg cuts that take up a lot of suitcase space.

BONUS ITEM: The Best Ever Backpack

I just purchased this backpack and am so excited to use it for the first time! I think it will become my go-to carry-on/day pack for both cold and warm-weather travel. What makes this bag so amazing is the jaw-style, wireframe top for easy access. You can see EVERYTHING!

Portland Gear Cascade Backpack

Other great features include:

  • the light grey interior – it’s so simple, but again, makes things much easier to see/find,
  • it’s waterproof – important for protecting electronic gear,
  • luggage sleeve for sliding onto your suitcase handle,
  • no topple design,
  • and the PRICE…I’ve looked at backpacks that cost 3 times this much without these features!

Do you have a trick for packing light in cold weather? If so, let me know in the comments below!


Thanks so much for your likes, shares, and follows! Until next time,

With record crowds swarming popular tourist destinations, traveling off-season can be a brilliant idea that saves money and lets you avoid crowds. But what to pack for cold weather travel? 

Today I'm sharing a few favorite packing items for cold-weather travel that keep my suitcase light but keep me warm!

#packinglist #coldweathertravel #offseasontravel #packingessentials #packlight

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