What to Pack for Canadian Winter

One of the most frequently asked questions by international students before coming to Canada is: what should I pack for Canadian winter? When searching online, a lot of different opinions and perspectives of the Canadian winter can be found, creating confusion and uncertainty.  After reading this guide, you will know what you definitely need, where to find it, and some extra items that are good to have.


Coat: coats, jackets, parkas, you name it, are essential for cold weather. While layering up(1) might keep you warm on some occasions, when the temperature hits below 0 °C, it is necessary to have a winter coat. These are specially made to provide long lasting warmth, protect the skin from frostbite (2), repel snow and act as windbreakers.

WinnersThe North Face
Marshall’sEddie Bauer
Thrift Stores (3)   Columbia
Hudson’s BayAritzia




Boots: protecting your feet during the winter is very important in order to stay warm and avoid sickness and injuries. With the constant variations of weather, you might experience both snow and rain. It is very common for people to slip and fall during the winter because the ground can get very slippery after a night of freezing rain (4).  A good pair of waterproof and no-slip winter boots will keep you dry, warm and safe!

SoftMocHunter Boots
Hudson’s BayUGG Australia




Gloves: Hands get cold very easily and they might become painful. If your hands are cold, your whole body will feel cold too! Mittens (5) are great for keeping your hands warm, and there are also touch-screen gloves you can wear so you can still use your phone will being outside!


  1. Scarves: Not only are scarves fashionable, but also they work as extra layers of clothes to keep your neck and chest warm.
  2. Hats: Whether you wear them on a bad hair day or on a cold morning, they are a great alternative to jacket hoods and will fight the cold winds. You can also call them toques if you want to use your Canadian slang! On top of everything, they are adorable souvenirs!
  3. Ear Warmers: Ears are very sensitive to the cold. Plain or fashionable, earmuffs will keep your ears out of risk.
  4. Fuzzy Socks: Winter can be the perfect excuse to stay “comfy” and cozy at all times. Fuzzy socks will keep your feet warm, and they are so comfortable you’ll never want to take them off!
  5. Lip Balm and Lotion: last but not least, it’s always good to keep lip balm and lotion with you during the winter. Keep your face and hands moisturized to avoid chapped lips and dry skin.


(1) Layering Up: putting on several layers of clothes
(2) Frostbite: injury to skin caused by freezing, which can result in permanent damage
(3) Thrift Store: a store where used items are sold for a cheaper price
(4) Freezing Rain: occurs when rains falls between the temperatures of -1 °C and 1 °C, and the raindrops quickly become layers of ice.
(5) Mittens: gloves with two parts, one for four fingers together and another one for thumb

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