Cold weather clothing can be difficult enough to get right but when going on a holiday, it can lead to overpacking and the largest suitcase you can find. Whether you’re going away for one night, a week or longer, the art of packing is something you can always fine-tune. Whilst it’s always better to overpack than underpack, you can always rewear items or wash them in a sink if needs be. Most items can be bought elsewhere too if you forget something! It’s all about taking what you actually need, rather than what you think you need.
In this packing list guide, we’re going to focus on the winter holiday essentials that everyone needs for a cold weather trip. Obviously, it will vary from person to person but this generic guide should help build the foundations of your packing list. You’ll notice that cold weather clothing tends to be bulkier than warm weather clothing, which is why you have to take items that are versatile as well as mix and match!
The first thing you should always pack is footwear. Of course, you may want to take a pair of shoes for any dressy or evening events you have planned but your daytime footwear is key here. Choose comfortable footwear that you have worn in and that goes with everything you will be wearing. Padded soles, neutral colours and extra support will be needed, especially if you’re planning on exploring the outdoors or doing any sort of walking or hiking.
You should also never take brand new shoes on holiday (they’ll inevitably give you blisters) nor should you pack shoes you don’t wear at home (you won’t wear them away either). Stick with your favourite, most reliable pairs and build your outfits from there.
You can’t start a winter packing list without base layers. Not only will they keep you warm but you will get more wear out of the layer directly on top of them. Any shirts, jumpers or sweatshirts worn with a base layer underneath can then be worn multiple times, due to the base layer wicking any sweat.
Whether you prefer thermals or basic cotton T-shirts is entirely up to you but the colder it is, the more you should gear towards wearing thermals. Once you’ve gathered your outer clothing, you’ll be able to pick the colours required from there. We usually recommend neutral colours for base layers in white, black and grey. However, you could choose the same colour as the layer on top or contrast a colour against it. The choice is entirely up to you but always pair them together before you start packing.
This is the main area where most of us overpack. Taking items to wear ‘just in case’ very rarely gets worn and again, other items can be washed and worn again if need be. Of course, a couple of extra tops or shirts is fine so you have some choice.
Versatile items are definitely the way to go as you will be able to dress them up and down and taking items that don’t crease is a great idea. Thick country checked shirts not only go with lots of other items, they can be rolled up to avoid creasing. For both ladies and men, layering a vest or thin T-shirt underneath adds warmth but means you can wear your shirt more than once. Keep it buttoned up if it’s particularly cold or leave it open like a jacket for casual nights out.
If you prefer a more casual look, a long sleeved rugby shirt for both men and women definitely works for winter fashion. Pair with jeans and boots for an everyday look or switch to leather brogues for a smarter evening look.
Your middle layer can often be the most crucial. If you’re someone who gets warm easily, you might be able to skip this layer but for most of us, a fleece is the best way to keep the heat in! To make things easier, wearing a full-zip style, rather than a half-zip, means you can take off and put on layers quicker. We always recommend our Huggate fleece jacket, available for both ladies and gentlemen, because it’s so practical. The leather trim also gives it a classy feel, meaning you can wear it as an outer layer during warmer months.
For a thinner version that will still keep you warm, our new Polar fleeces for men and Agnes fleeces for women will do just the trick. Available in multiple colours, packing even one of these will see you through an entire trip. You‘ll probably find that you wear it so much, you want to buy it in another colour too!
It wouldn’t be a winter holiday without some rain protection and what better way to do that than with a waterproof coat? Depending on your trip, you might need anything from a hiking jacket to an everyday coat for exploring towns and cities.
For the ladies, a fleece lined jacket is a great all-round jacket for rainy weather. With vibrant colours, a contrasting zip and plenty of pockets, it will see you from long walks in the countryside to a day out in a local town. If your trip is more of a city break, a hooded puffer jacket or a longer padded parka will keep you dry and still looking stylish.
For the men, a hiking jacket is the perfect coat for all outdoor activities. It’s one of our most practical jackets so you know it’s made for the great outdoors! If you prefer a style with a concealed hood, our Bainton waterproof jacket is another great option. For drier days, a quilted jacket or a bomber jacket are both lightweight styles that are still showerproof. They will still keep you warm and cosy though!
Accessories: hat, scarf, gloves
Another essential during winter are the accessories. We rarely leave the house without a hat, scarf or gloves, and often all three together! Choose styles that go with everything else you’re taking and choose your colours carefully. If you’re taking mostly neutral coloured clothing, a pop of colour on your accessories will brighten any outfit. Taking lots of colourful clothing? Take neutral accessories so you know they’ll go with everything. A knitted beanie (men’s and women’s) and a pair of fleece gloves for the men/knitted gloves for the ladies is a great starting point!
Whilst regular socks are perfectly fine for every day, a winter walking holiday will require something a bit thicker. Hiking socks (ladies’ and men’s) as well as boot socks (men’s and ladies’) are practical at doing their job: keeping your feet warm! Cold feet when out and about is not the most ideal situation so sticking on a pair of our socks will avoid that feeling!
A versatile bag is an essential for a winter holiday, whether you’re doing day trips to various towns or planning long walks and hikes, especially so if you have children. A rucksack is just the easiest type of bag to take whenever you’re out and about. If you have a day’s worth of stuff to carry, a 20l rucksack is just the right size to fit everything in. With padded, adjustable straps, plenty of pockets and an array of designs to choose from, you’ll forget it’s even on your back because it feels so comfortable. If you don’t have as much to carry but still prefer a backpack, our pack and go styles are a lightweight version.
Reusable water bottle and travel mug
With a rise in sustainability and climate change, it’s important to do our bit to help save the planet. Carrying around a reusable water bottle and travel mug in your rucksack is a simple but effective task to do. Many eateries will refill your bottle for free and your hot drink of choice will stay even hotter in a stainless steel travel mug! Both are essentials to us in everyday life so we wouldn’t be without them on a holiday either!
Winter packing: top tips
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a trip like most of us, you might have forgotten how to pack altogether! Follow our top tips below to become a packing pro once again.
- Travel in your bulkiest items. The items that would take up the most space in your suitcase are the ones you should travel in. Any boots or heavy-duty trainers and your waterproof coat are two you should definitely wear to travel in.
- Invest in packing cubes. If you travel frequently, packing cubes are the ultimate space-saver. They might not seem it to begin with but you will be able to fit so much more into your suitcase with a set of them!
- Roll, don’t fold. This tip is especially important for packing cubes too. Roll your clothing instead of folding them. It should stop them from creasing too much.
- Plan your outfits in advance. Whilst it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, knowing which items you’ll wear together makes packing even easier. You’ll know which items can mix and match with just changing your top or accessories and spend more time enjoying the trip!
- Unpack when you arrive. Whilst some people like to keep everything in their suitcase, we would always recommend unpacking your clothing at least. Hang up your clothes or fold into a drawer so they have room to air. We like to pack a few spare coat hangers as you never get enough supplies wherever you’re staying!
- Pack from heaviest to lightest. By packing your heaviest items at the bottom (footwear and jeans), you can spread the weight and not squish anything more delicate. Any items that crease easily should be placed right at the top and as late as possible. That’s why it’s important to unpack as soon as you get to your destination!
- Use up those minis. You know those Christmas gift sets full of travel-sized toiletries? Now is the perfect time to use them! Store them in clear bags if you’re worried about them leaking or unscrew the lids, lay on some cling film and screw the lid back on. Simple but effective!
- Be realistic. If you’re away for 7 days, do you need 20 pairs of socks or underwear? Probably not. Whilst items as such are small and can be tucked inside other items, you don’t need an excess amount of them. Taking a couple of spares is 100% okay but too many and you’ll run out of space for everything else.
Packing for winter travel always feels harder than a summer holiday, purely because the clothing items are a lot bulkier. However, once you know everything you need to pack, the process becomes seamless. It’s all about planning ahead, being critical of what you will need and use and choosing items that will mix and match with each other. Then you can sit back, relax and enjoy your winter holiday because you’ve remembered how to be a packing pro!