10 Minimalist Packing Tips For Cold Weather Travel | How To Pack Light & Keep Warm (Fall & Winter)

69 thoughts on “10 Minimalist Packing Tips For Cold Weather Travel | How To Pack Light & Keep Warm (Fall & Winter)”

  • We partnered with the folks over at Backcountry where you can find all of the gear mentioned in this video. Use code PACKHACKER15 to get 15% off your first order (exclusions apply): http://bit.ly/2lMGZGj

  • Good tips as usual. Dry bags are winners – I use them all the time. As a mountain biker, my bags are usually lined with a large one in the winter, and definitely pack dry socks, gloves and a T on big rides..

    I've done that to a toothbrush to fit in a small wash bag too.

    A packable day pack is something I should get

  • Solid tips. For accessories I’m a big fan of shemaghs. Good for all seasons, many different ways to wear it, and can be used as a towel or a blanket.

  • Question for the community:
    What sizes do you suggest layering pieces be as compared to each other?

    (For example: small t-shirt + medium sweater + large jacket.)

  • Good tips but…. you're really talking too fast. I dod not get the brand of most of the back packs. There was one Osprey, one Thule… and ??? What was the last one with tarpaulin fabric ?

  • Love your videos guys, the advice has been invaluable. I wish I had seen this one before going down to Cape Town this past weekend, sudden cold, very wet and windy weather and I was soaked through the whole of Saturday being a a rugby tournament, no rain jacket or pants, just glad I wore my hiking boots because I was expecting rain, just not that intense. I’ll be adding these layer items to my one bag travel kit including rain pants. Thank you again for an epic channel it is awesome to watch you guys grow.

  • mindpilot thepilot says:

    I always like your videos. However it would be nice if your guys could work more budget friendly options into lists like this. The micro puff jacket alone is 240-300 bucks on their site. I’m well aware that backpack travel is kind of a luxury itself, but there should be options for half that price that do the same job surely.

  • Thibaud Pellerin says:

    Getting ready for 2 years backpacking in Canada with just the Aer Travel Pack 2. I used a lot of your advices, and I m glad to see with this video I didnt do anything stupid !

  • I'm anit-layering. When you walk from the cold into a heated shop/bar etc, it's nice to just take off a single coat/jacket. Wearing an undershirt and you're too hot? Thermal leggings? Forget about it.

    I don't know many people who would pack their wallet in their bags, and if concerned about weight (let alone space), most would wear their boots on a flight, but it's always nice to know of light-weight alternatives out there.

  • Thank you first off for doing this video. I live in Australia (Hot) and I'm going to Canada in winter. I do regular backpacking here so I get to experience cool weather up in our mountains. But I'm scratching my brain on what I'm going to pack. I would like to have seen what "YOU" would have packed if you were encountering -10C weather. Perhaps this is a topic for another video? I own Arcteryx items and the Osprey Farpoint 40 and I think they are awesome travel/adventure brands to have you covered.

  • Great video!!!!
    I was thinking of getting a Peak Deisgn 45L, but after seeing this video Id like to ask you if is there any reason why I should go for one of these ones your recommend over the PD.

  • I tried the layering before and it was fine but the moment it got warm (while standing in the line before boarding – 35 minutes, dang you Ryanair!!!) I got lightheaded and almost fainted haha! So what I learned and tried is that I put some of my clothes inside my winter jacket and carried it to the plane on my arm. Airlines like Ryanair don't count your jacket as extra so it worked. Only that I have to endure the cold a bit while going up to the plane 🙂

  • One of the Cotopaxi Allpa's in the video was grey and teal. Was that a special colorway? I can't find it on their website and that's the one I'd want.

  • Great post for the newly initiated cold weather nomads!

    From my experience, I love my Columbia Glacial 1/2 zip fleece pullover. I wear it to hike, snowshoe, and travel. It is thinner and lighter than a Northface 1/4 zip fleece pullover. I also prefer thin quilted puffers using poly fill, not down, because down doesn’t dry well when wet. Absolutely no cotton pants or jeans. I wear synthetic water resistant travel pants and pack an Icebreaker 3/4 merino wool leggings if snow or wind is in the forecast.

    Other accessories I keep in my daypack when hiking, snowshoeing, or winter travel are neck gaiter (Buff is terrific for neck and lower face), liner gloves+fingerless gloves, beanie, and spare pair of thin wool socks.

    If the destination would snow or rain, I recommend bringing one combustible hiking pole. I bought a pair for $30 from Amazon that collapses to be about 18” long. They are not robust enough for winter backpacking in back country but for stability walking on snow or slick surface with any degree of incline or down grade, one pole is a life saver. If snow and ice happens daily, I bring my MicroSpikes to wear over my boots. A pole alone won’t help. Having good traction is safer.

    Anyone who regularly hike into altitude in all kinds of weather master real soon the art of layering. So are people who do winter sports regularly. The balance between warmth, windchill, and heat output from exertion is constantly monitored biochemically without conscious thinking.

  • Brilliant video as always. Curious about the Lems boulder boots. Would they work well in wet winter/snow conditions? Or would you need to apply DWR? Boots are often the bulkiest and heaviest, so if the Lems work in these conditions, it definitely solves a lot of problems. Also, Allbirds announced their weather resistant wool runners in both high tops and low tops. Secretly hoping you review those soon 😀

  • Another reason why a backpack is better than the rolling suitcase, the backpack allows you to put your hands on your pockets rather than freeze your hand in the cold 🤓

  • I was spending the 4th of July in the Cascade mountains, when a freak, 3 day snowstorm hit. I only had hot weather clothes so I froze. After that awful experience, I never traveled without an emergency cold weather kit again. My kit is a small packing cube with a pair of base layers, 1 pair merino wool socks, 1 pair merino wool undies & cami, a pashmina, beanie, light wool gloves, and my packable, weatherproof jacket.
    All these items are light & pack small. It even fits in my daily crossbody purse without a problem. This worked out perfectly yesterday when we were an hour from home, volunteering. A storm of freezing rain blew in, & the temp dropped from 60° F to 38° within a few minutes. All I had to do was run into the restroom, get out my kit, and put everything on. Everyone else was soaked and freezing.

  • For those who have sensitive skin and find wool prickly, Icebreaker has a merino version base layer that is blended with Tencel that feels more comfortable.

  • Heather Frampton says:

    I am a brand new subscriber. I have found that packing for Winter weather is more challenging than for warmer seasons, due to heavier clothes and footwear. Thank you for these helpful tips. It's unseasonably humid and warm in the high 80's for October in NE Ohio. We'll need these tips sooner than later, though. 😊

  • Coming from a Siberian: warm leg underwear, even some ski stuff will do. I don't get out of them from november to april 🙂

  • Question: are any of the travel backpacks (not daypacks) you recommend “personal item” compliant? I will be flying Delta to see the German Christmas markets and I need some extra space— I want to take a clamshell backpack and a hard case rolling carry on but I don’t know if it’s possible. The 40L backpacks look too big to fit under the seat in front of you….

  • Some great tips – thanks! A key principle to keeping warm is 'Dry' – dry skin and breathable layers – the outer shell is often the problem – even expensive Gortex jackets don't breathe well – if you're below zero C – think instead a classic Pertex Wind Shirt – mine's from Buffalo – as a pull over anorak style with large front pocket – it's super light, wind not waterproof – snow just brushes off and super breathable. Above zero C – think of an umbrella to pair with your Windshirt – fibreglass light wt hiking umbrellas from Euroschirm – the Silver finish also makes a great Parasol for hot country travel. So when do you need a 'mountain jacket'? Answer – when you're up a mountain – especially in strong wind and rain – when an umbrella won't cut it – for less extreme conditions – umbrellas work great! Happy travels!

  • Best travel hack I've ever discovered was that as a slim woman (34"chest) I can use my old merino wool buff as a vest (if you put it under your bra you get added security against it falling down). Cheaper and more versatile than vests, I even take one into work with me incase the aircon is too high. Wash on cold afterwards and it shrinks back down if it's streached at all.
    Also high denier tights, I.e. 60+. High denier polyester tights: trap air, fold up smaller than their wooly counterparts (though not quite as warm), impossible to notice when layered under pants, can come with extremely high waistbands, and are surprisingly snag resistant.

  • I noticed that you haven't address bottom layering, I'm assuming that you apply the same principle as your top layering system. Last year, I went to Iceland for 10 days and only wore a thin merino wool bottom layer under my prana Zion pants; I stayed perfectly warm on an average day temperature in the high 20s to mid 30s with wind about 20 to 25 mile an hour but I always carried my rain pants as backup. This trip was the end of March and I used a similar layering top system as described in your video. Most of my experience came as backpacker carrying only minimal gear. Side note, I also carried a pair of waterproof socks but hadn't had a chance to use them; I always wear merino wool socks with my trail runners my feet stayed fairly warm; my daypack always contained an extra pair of socks for change if needed. Great video, I'm still working on minimal packing skills.

  • But you can´t use the same shoes in snow like by warme weather… whats about trousers? long underwear from skisport maybe for the legs?

  • Great content overall guys, but I personally don't believe in the "buy it when you arrive" philosophy.

    Firstly, you'll still have to carry it (whatever "it" is) around in your pack once you've bought it, unless you plan on buying single-use items and just throwing them away (bad for the environment).

    And secondly, on that same point it seems wasteful to me to buy something that you already have at home – either you'll have to chuck it at the end of your trip, or bring it back with you and have duplicates.

    Also, while I do believe in having a minimalist wallet I don't think buying a new product specifically for travel is going to help. It felt a bit too much like a plug, and it's not going to reduce your pack weight anyway if your wallet lives in your pocket.

    Thanks for the good video though, keep up the good work!

  • Travel tips I use are;
    – to pack a backpack about 50-80% full for the reason simply to packing any other souvenirs.
    – Keep a travel size vapo rub and it can be purchases in News stand, Deli, and Pharmacy if lucky.
    – For my sanitation kit I keep my toiletries simple of having tissues, microfiber cloth, dawn original dish soap, tin of vaseline, and a travel size tooth brush with a hotel tooth paste inside it.
    – It will be recommended to have a e reader or high performance tablet for saving functionality.
    – Plus I use a sniper veil or scrim net (for those of you in UK) as a utility cloth. (using it as a beach towel, scarf, and a source to blend in)
    – I pack a pillow case for a reason being it can be improvised into anything; one of which I cut a slit to make a day bag, making a travel pillow, using it as a flotation device (for enjoying swimming w/ friends), making a diy heavy bag for workouts, laundry, and a insulator for a quilt/sleeping bag
    – I must pack a blank paper spiral notebook at all times to get my ideas free and traditional like values
    – Its important to stay hydrated, investing a (2) 32oz water bottles to stay hydrated or investing in a hydration bladder and a 32oz bottle.
    – I do keep two bandannas because you have two of everything; one for utility and the other as accessories. How about improvising socks if you don't have one.
    – packing a plastic cloth or cheap walmart backpacking tarp is great when you need to cover your stuffs from rain storm and protecting from an element
    – have a long sleeve shirt/t-shirt, swimming trunks, and socks pack is very convenient for when you need a back up clothes otg (on the go).

  • I would think more than just black. If you go to hot countries you’re going to get hot and the flies are going to love you

  • Could you go in depth with more items for winter for pack hacker.com and here on YouTube? Meaning, more items geared towards the winter season than what is already offered?

  • Hello. I love your videos. Is there a reason why Heimplanet's 40L Monolith Weekender bag isn't in your recommended backpacks section even though you scored it higher than the Osprey, Topo, Thule, and the Cotopaxi backpacks? Cheers.

  • All the coats and down on the list are great, but I’ve found that they’re not great for cities like Amsterdam where you’re likely to be cycling. A longer/knee length shell will definitely keep you drier in that sort of situation, as well as in any windy rainstorm. I’ve also found that the baffle effect created by a longer wind proof shell that extents at least lower than the hips definitely improves your overall insulation. The manufacturer of my raincoat is sadly out of business now, but something like the Patagonia tres in one parka would keep you very warm and give you lots of options in how to wear the layers.

  • Andrew Hutchinson says:

    Hey – love the channel. Just for some transparency are you sponsered by Patagonia, Arc’teryx or Backcountry.com?

  • Friendly advice. Your intro/advertisement took 2:42 seconds. That's a bit excessive to get to the point. Might want to shorten it up in the future.

  • xingmen neigong says:

    my kit includes full camping/survival kit, kitchen, gym training gear/weapons, laptop/electronics, toiletries bag & 4 season weather clothing. Total weight 25kg (field kit 10kg in a 55L pack + 15kg in a 110L hard suitcase) I eat extremely healthy and cook all my own food which means I carry cacao, nuts, maca, reishi etc with me when I travel. I also train most days and carry mygym/weapons with me. I also DO NOT wear plastic clothes as they destroy your aura and energy field.

  • The money one would need to spend to buy all this gear would let you fly around the world at least once. Some cheaper midrange would have been nice.

  • Mark-Leon Thorne says:

    The Black Wolf Royale is a backpack as well as a wheeled suitcase that doesn't comply with unnecessary squared corners. It is the most versatile for every situation. Straps are hidden until you need them.

  • A lot of great info, but I have to tell you that for me, the space that toothbrush and razor handles take is space I'm willing to sacrifice. I prefer the handles!

  • I suggest dry fit material underwear and hiking pants for the list. If the weather becomes warm then then you can unzip your legs and the pants become shorts. If you need to go swimming then your can wear your shorts and your dry fit boxer briefs to swim. The hiking pants belt is plastic so no need to take off your belt going through airport security. If you plan to walk into a church, temple, or shrine you can zip on your pant legs. Dry fit boxer briefs and T-shirts can easily be washed in sink with soap if you are on the go.

  • Why not use the METRIC (better SI) system? Outside of the US most people are not familiar with ounzes, inches and stuff. Even if you prefer to stay with IMPERIAL, why not just add the (kilo)grams? It is a video so whatever information you get in there it won't add additional costs!

    Be sure to check out SI-System:

  • There are some good advices here, although I have to say that it should be kept in mind that most people don't want to spend extra money on buying new stuff, but rather use something they already own. Also, why would anyone waste money on buying something they couls bring with themselves? Just a suggestion to keep in mind that. Cheers! 🙂


    Merino wool baselayer for under pants a must. In subzero temps in Canada/Arctic/Northern Europe a parka with furry hood for snow with driving wind a must. Don't skimp on this unless you want to stay indoors all the time. Can't pack the thing, have to wear it but WORTH it. Wear boots as only outdoor footwear but look for ones that are breathable, I find shearling boots work best with merino socks keep feet from overheating.

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