Postcards & Passports

How to Pack Clothing for Cold Weather

This post was most recently updated on January 29th, 2021

You are so ready for your vacation. This year, you’re going to a cold-weather place like Chicago, Russia or Antarctica. You need to dress warmly. However, there’s a problem. How are you supposed to pack light and dress warm during your vacation? Don’t worry. Here are some tips on how to pack clothing for your cold weather vacation. The key is dressing in layers.

When you dress in layers, it’s easier to pack. In fact, you can pack more outfits. When packing, think pieces that can be mixed and matched. For example, a t-shirt with a thick button-up sweater. Take one heavy coat that you’ll only wear on really cold days. Remember, you can wear a lot of shirts you have for fall or spring during your vacation. Just pair them with a sweater or sweatshirt. Here’s more information on dressing in layers for your winter vacation.


1. Start with the Basics

Tank tops and camisoles are always our friend. They can be worn under anything, and they add an extra layer of warmth. Most importantly, when you pack clothing, these take up very little space in your luggage. If you’re a guy, choose thin, long, or short-sleeve shirts. In both cases, pick solid colors. They work well with plaids, stripes and other designs.

2. Present Your Best Look

Remember, you’re showing off your layered look indoors. So you’ll want to add tunics, thin sweaters and cardigans as you pack clothing. On the warmer days, a sweater and long-sleeve t-shirt will look great while resting indoors.

3. Use a Jacket

To make your layered look exceptional, choose a jacket. This should be different from your heavy coat. Choose a denim jacket or zip-up fleece. Even an insulated jacket will create a great layered effect. Also, the jacket can double as a pillow when traveling!

4. Protect Yourself From the Extra Cold Weather

Make sure you carry on a light jacket or coat when you’re traveling by train, plane, or bus. This will add a little extra warmth just in case it gets cooler while traveling or it’s really cold when you reach your destination. Remember, this jacket doesn’t go in your luggage.


This might be the hardest part of packing. Here are some ways to make it easier:

5. Choose the Right Pants

Jeans are best in cold weather because they aren’t as bulky. Corduroy pants are a good option, too. Remember to save room in your luggage for tights, leggings, and a thermos.

6. Pick the Right Footwear

Tennis shoes are not a good fit for cold weather. Besides, you don’t know if it will rain or snow while you’re there. Wear boots while you’re traveling. This will keep your feet warm. If you need to pack more shoes, find durable shoes that are fashionable, but easy to pack. Of course, pack heels if you plan to go to a party indoors. And add plenty of wool socks to add warmth.

7. Accessorize

Remember, you must still look fashionable. So, make sure you pack clothing with solid and neutral colors. It is easier to mix and match with your other clothing. You can also wear different scarves, hats, and gloves to change your look. It’s a lot easier to change accessories than to pack more clothing than you need.


You may be able to pack clothing in a family member’s luggage, but don’t count on it. You need to pack everything in your own luggage. Use compression bags to help minimize space in your luggage. Pick things you know you want to wear so you don’t have any duds taking up needed space. If you want to pack clothing that doesn’t fit in your luggage, wear it while traveling. Of course, don’t wear a thousand clothes! Just layer one or two items that you want to bring on your cold weather vacation. Wearing your heaviest clothing and shoes also frees up space in your luggage. Don’t forget how useful pockets can be for packing those little things you don’t want to be without, like chapstick and earmuffs.

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One thought on “How to Pack Clothing for Cold Weather

  1. Heather

    I remember the first time I went to New York City for New Year’s Eve–I sure wish I had invested in a warm winter coat, rather than just bringing my Californian coat. I had no idea it would be as cold as it was–but maybe if I’d tried layering more, that would have helped.

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