Oh, Canada. It is big, beautiful, and home to many different people, ecosystems, and landscapes. It is one of the most remote countries in the world, but it is easy to get around and see the sights.
Spring, summer, fall, and winter are each beautiful and very different from the other three. It is one of the few places on Earth where the temperature goes from 40 degrees Celsius in the summer to -40 degrees Celsius in the winter.
The winters in Canada are some of the worst in the world, but it is also one of the most beautiful places to visit. It looks like a winter wonderland, with snow covering some of the most beautiful views you can imagine.
For example, my husband’s mother-in-law from Mexico came to visit for the first time in the winter. Before, she had only seen a snowy winter on the big screen. One day, it started to snow. Big snowflakes started falling gently from the sky.
She grabbed a snowflake with her hand. She looked at the beautiful details and immediately started crying.
She had seen snowflakes on movies, but she didn’t know that their real shapes were so complicated. Each snowflake is unique and beautiful in its own way. Even though it was cold, she started to like coming during the winter more.
Being so close to the Rocky Mountains makes winter a great time to do things like skiing, winter hiking, snowshoeing, or even just walking around in a mountain town like Banff, which feels like a fairy tale.
But if you are going to Canada from a warmer place or even if you plan to live there permanently, you might not know what to bring. It looks like you’re in luck. This piece is mostly about that.
TIPS FOR WINTER HOLIDAYS IN CANADA
But before we talk about the clothes themselves, we’d like to give you a few tips to get ready.
WHERE ARE YOU VISITING IN CANADA?
Most of Canada has harsh winters. Temperatures, on the other hand, can vary a lot. If you go somewhere like Vancouver or Vancouver Island, you shouldn’t expect it to be below zero. You can expect heavy rain, cloudy skies, and temperatures between +10 and -10 degrees Celsius.
In Northern Canada, it can get very cold, with temperatures sometimes going as low as -40 degrees Celsius or lower. Cities like Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal are not immune to this kind of cold weather.
It’s hard to guess without seeing what the weather will be like in a week or two. In any case, it’s a good idea to have a general plan for your trip.
WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU PLAN TO DO?
Keeping your body warm is important, but the clothes you need for different activities can vary a lot. If you’re just going to walk around town, you won’t need the same level of warmth as someone going skiing.
If it starts to rain while you’re out, you might have to wait a while to find shelter in a city, where you can duck into a store or restaurant.
Most places inside in Canada are heated. Everything has a working heating system, from homes to shopping malls to restaurants to taxis and buses. So, you’ll only have to deal with the cold when you go outside.
WEATHER FORECAST IN CANADA
You should look at the Canadian weather forecast as often as you can. Even though winter storms can come out of nowhere, they are usually predicted to happen in a week or two. Chinooks are something that happens naturally in places like Calgary.
Wind comes from the Rocky Mountains and covers this city like a warm blanket. It could cause temperatures to rise to very high levels. One day it might be sunny and ten degrees warmer than usual, and the next it might be minus twenty degrees.
Spring is coming when the snow starts to melt. In the next week, it’s likely to start snowing heavily again and get quite cold. There’s no way to know. But if you want the most up-to-date weather forecasts, you should go to The Weather Channel.
Go to the website or download the app to find out more. Just type in the names of the cities you’re interested in and keep an eye on them. This guide will be very helpful before and during your trip to Canada in the winter.
DRESS IN LAYERS
Putting on layers is an important way to dress. It’s important to have many layers of clothing. This is especially important when you’re skiing or snowshoeing in the winter. If you dress in layers, you can stay warm and then take off a few things if you get too warm.
As a base layer, we always wear thermal underwear. As a second layer, we wear regular clothes like jeans and a warm fleece sweater. As a third layer, we always wear a winter jacket and sometimes snow pants. And we haven’t even talked about accessories like hats, mufflers, gloves, socks, and boots yet!
WINTER CLOTHING FOR CANADA TRAVEL
Canada has a lot of different kinds of winter clothes. In Canada, you can buy a wide range of winter clothes, from thermal underwear to hats and ear muffs. We’ll talk about them below.
Most trendy fall and summer coats aren’t as warm or waterproof as trendy winter coats. It’s likely that you’ll need a warm coat for the whole time you’re in Canada. When deciding which winter coat to buy, you should think about what you want to do.
As was already said, if all you’re doing on your trip is walking around cities, you might be able to pack less. Skiing in the Rocky Mountains or spending a lot of time in the great outdoors require a more rugged setup.
Before you decide to brave the cold in Canada without a coat, you might want to learn more about the weather there. In the cold, you shouldn’t be careless. It puts you at a high risk of getting hurt, getting frostbite, or even dying.
We’ll talk more about clothing materials later in this guide, but for now, know that you’ll need a waterproof mix of polyester, fleece, wool, and down.
But when you’re trying to save money, don’t buy anything that won’t last. Even though down is pretty, it often comes from horrible Chinese factories that make the geese who supply the feathers go through a lot of pain and suffering.
Canadians would die if they didn’t have their sweaters. Justin Bieber often wears hoodies (a sweater with a hood). We do them all the time. They look great under a coat and are comfortable enough to wear all day inside. On warmer days, you could even wear them outside.
There are many different kinds of sweaters to choose from. Some are as thin as paper, while others can be used as outerwear. If you can only buy one, make it thick and out of fleece or wool if you can’t buy more. This material is much warmer than cotton by a long shot.
PANTS (JEANS, TROUSERS, ETC)
Pants, such as jeans, are a common choice. On chillier days, you may need to wear something under or over them, like thermal underwear (such as snow pants). Pants-wise, we tend to stick to the same few styles.
A set of thermal underwear, often known as Long Johns, is perhaps the finest piece of advice we can provide you. These are specialist garments that are worn over undergarments and under outer garments. If you want to cover your legs and your upper body, you may get the bottoms and the tops separately.
You’ll be able to retain your body heat in because of how near to your skin they are. If the chilly discomfort of jeans on your legs is keeping you from living your best life, they are for you. We never go skiing in jeans; instead, we wear warm underwear and a decent pair of snow pants.
You may find them for as little as $10 or as much as $100 (or more), but the price reflects the quality. A low-priced pair should suffice for casual city strolling. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside adventuring, it makes sense to invest in high-quality gear.
While snow pants aren’t necessary for sightseeing in cities, they’re worth the money if you plan on engaging in snow-related activities like skiing or snowboarding. In essence, they serve as a waterproof outer layer that may be worn over jeans and/or thermals.
They range in price but usually keep you dry and toasty in inclement weather. They range in price from $40 to $1,000. We spend our winters in Canada on the slopes.
The price tag on our snow pants is $150. You can obtain a high-quality brand like Helly Hansen, Columbia, or North Face for that price. It would be a Wal-Mart brand we’ve never heard of before, and it would cost $40.
The feeling of freezing feet is one that no human being enjoys. Your feet, hands, and head/face are typically the first parts of your body to feel the chill of the air. For the sake of your toes, invest in at least two pairs of warm winter socks.
Wearing two pairs of regular socks is another option to consider. Warmer socks aren’t cheap, but for $10–$20, you can acquire a great pair.
These often have a mix that includes wool. Socks made from Merina Wool are a wonderful option if you want to make a long-term investment in your feet’s comfort.
This wool is superior to others in that it is odorless, lightweight, and provides ample warmth. This means you may wear them more than once before washing them, and they won’t stick as rapidly.
Your winter boots are an additional asset. My wife says I’ve always been a bit of an oddball. I spent my whole life in arctic Canada without ever owning a decent pair of snow boots.
It’s only on adventurous outings that I’d ever consider wearing some (usually borrowed) (usually borrowed). But I merely had on a great pair of boots for stomping about the city.
The difference between a pleasant winter outing and one marred by cold, wet feet is often as simple as putting on a good pair of socks or, in this case, a good pair of winter boots. Insulated and watertight, winter boots are a must-have.
Your feet will be the first to become soaked if you venture outside when there is still a lot of snow on the ground. The combination of wet and chilly is not a good one.
If you plan to venture out into the snow, you need equip yourself with a sturdy pair of winter boots. You should also seek for insulation to remain warm and traction to prevent falls on ice and snow.
TOQUE AND EARMUFFS
In Canada, we refer to a beanie or a wool hat as a “toque.” A heated “hat” that covers your ears and head. Ear muffs and hats are available in a wide range of designs, hues, and materials, and serve the essential function of keeping your head and ears toasty.
And they may be inexpensive, costing only $10 to $20 at most. Earmuffs are an alternative to toques, which can make your hair seem flat and unattractive.
These cover your ears just and sneak up from behind your head, so your hair and scalp remain unharmed. The only drawback is that you risk getting a chilly head.
The purchase of a balaclava is another viable alternative. They resemble the masks commonly used by bank robbers. However, they are crucial items of winter apparel, particularly for winter activities or really cold days.
They resemble a toque and cover the wearer’s whole head and face, save from the eyes. I never go skiing without these since my face is so chilly sliding downhill at 60 kilometers per hour.
GLOVES AND MITTENS
Gloves are a crucial part of every Canadian’s winter wardrobe. The first thing to get chilly is your hands. Your hands are the most used part of your body, and with good reason:
they’re made largely of bone and flesh, and you use them for everything from holding onto your phone and camera to grabbing onto a guard rail.
A pair of gloves, even if they cost only $10 at Wal-Mart, may make a huge difference. However, like many other pieces of winter apparel, gloves and mittens can vary greatly in cost. It’s best to base your purchases on the type of fun you’ll be having.
A waterproof glove is ideal if you anticipate getting wet (say, while skiing) (say, while skiing). If not, any form of insulating substance will do the trick.
My wife adores them, but I seldom ever wear them. They’re useful for preventing warm air from your body from escaping through the top of your jacket, and they may be stylish to boot. You should probably go with wool or fleece, but whatever you can wrap around your neck will do.
EXTRA WINTER CLOTHING ITEMS
You may have seen these tiny packets labeled “Little Hotties” or “Hot Hands” in winter apparel retailers. Iron powder, water, salt, activated charcoal, and vermiculite are the main components of these.
Once you tear open the packet and give them a good shake, they will keep you toasty warm for several hours.
You may use them to keep your feet and hands toasty by placing them inside your boots and gloves. We don’t use them much, but in extreme cold they come in handy, especially if your gloves and boots aren’t top-notch.
You’ll need warm clothing, but there are a few additional items to consider purchasing as well. For instance, winters might be quite dry depending on your location. This might cause your skin to become dry.
You should probably go out and get some nice lotion for your hands and body. Personally, I think Aveeno is the best. Chapstick can help keep your lips soft and supple.
A sturdy pair of shades is another essential item to remember to pack. The days can be bright and warm, much as in the summer. In the winter, though, the sun’s reflection off the snow may make things much more dazzling.
WINTER CLOTHING MATERIALS
Considering the fabric of potential winter garments is a further step. A cotton garment may keep you warm, but a wool one may leave you shivering. So that you know what to look for, we’ll briefly discuss some of the most typical materials.
Cotton is a common household staple. It’s pervasive. Cotton is used to make a wide variety of garments, from underwear to outerwear and everything in between. On the other hand, it ranks towards the bottom when it comes to resistance to moisture.
Cotton is good for t-shirts and sweaters, but not for thermal underwear. Cotton doesn’t dry after being wet, whether from perspiration or snow. Because of the moisture it traps, you’ll end up feeling chilly.
You need something that will keep you warm and dry, such as polyester or wool (merino wool is excellent for this) (merino wool is excellent for this). If you’re in the market for thermal underwear, you should know that the less expensive options often include a high cotton content.
If you plan to go skiing or participate in other winter sports, you might want to spend a little extra money on something more suited to the outdoors.
While natural and synthetic Polyester both exist, synthetic Polyester is far more common. Blends of natural compounds or fibers with synthetics like polybutyrate are common.
They are used to make several types of winterwear, from thermal underwear to snow pants and coats, because of their durability and warmth.
Wool is another well-liked and toasty fabric. Sheepskin and other textiles made from animal fibers are known for providing exceptional thermal insulation.
As much as 30% of its weight in water may be absorbed by it without becoming soggy or sticky. Not only is it breathable, but it also acts as a natural insulator. But many individuals avoid wearing wool next to their skin because of its irritating reputation.
Similarly, this is another kind of Merina wool. It’s commonly worn next to the skin because it’s more lighter and softer than traditional wool. Since Merino wool is slightly odorless, it is commonly used to create high-quality socks and thermals that may be worn more often between washes.
Fleece is a synthetic alternative to wool that mimics the feel of the natural fiber. The warmth and coziness it provides make it a popular choice.
WHERE TO BUY WINTER CLOTHING IN CANADA
Winter apparel may be pricey, which is a bummer. If you’re just there for a short time, it might be annoying to have to shell out cash on things you might only wear once. However, as we’ll discuss below, there are a variety of places to shop for winter wear.
Going to a thrift shop is the most cost-effective way to stock up on winter wear. Donated items of previously-worn apparel. There’s a chance you may get a coat for under twenty dollars. There is, however, no assurance.
The experience of browsing a secondhand store is similar to going on a quest. It’s possible that you’ll come upon the ideal solution, but you might also come across nothing at all.
There are times when the prices seem like a steal, and other times when it seems like you’re paying too much. Even so, it might be a nice choice if you can make the trip.
It’s possible to get affordable winter wear at Wal-Mart, sometimes at prices that are comparable to thrift stores. Recently, we’ve seen winter coats for $50 and snow trousers for $40. Warm underwear was also available for an only ten dollars.
Keep in mind, though, that this is “cheap winter apparel,” which means it won’t keep you as toasty as more costly options. The $10 thermals, for instance, are constructed primarily from cotton. Doing a lot of strenuous winter activities while perspiring is not a good idea.
However, it could be useful for getting to know a new city. However, if your stay is just going to be a week and you’re trying to cut costs, this may be the way to go.
WINNERS AND MARSHALS
You may often save as much as 50 percent on brand-name merchandise at these shops. Everything here is very fresh and brand new, but the bigger retailers just couldn’t move it. That said, it’s also a bit of a gamble.
You could discover something, or you might not. You never know what kind of brand or style of apparel you could find there.
In popular Canadian destinations like Banff, visitors may choose from a wide variety of sports shops. Good quality winter wear may be found at any of these retailers. However, SportChek is a chain that can be found in virtually every city in Canada.
Their sales are consistently excellent, and they can be found practically anywhere. We went to a SportChek not too long ago and got a good Columbia winter coat for under a hundred dollars. In addition, we were able to get Columbia winter pants for $120.
Premium thermal underwear cost between $50 and $70. For under $120, we were able to get our hands on some quality North Face footwear. It’s not as inexpensive as Walmart, but neither is it as upscale as certain seasonal boutiques.
MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP (MEC)
The Mountain Equipment Co-op is a membership-only retailer in Canada that specializes in outdoor goods and apparel. Don’t fret, though; the $5 one-time cost covers membership for life.
All around Canada, people who love the outdoors know MEC for its excellent products and dedicated clientele.
Operating in 20 locations, MEC has expanded its product line from its initial focus on mountaineers and climbers to include apparel, ski equipment, mountain bikes, and more.
WHERE TO RENT WINTER CLOTHES IN CANADA
Truth be told, it’s not easy to hire equipment. We’re expanding our search to include other large cities, but haven’t had much luck thus far. It may also be rather pricey, costing $10 to $20 daily.
UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY OUTDOOR CENTRE
The University of Calgary has an Outdoor Centre where visitors to the city may borrow snow gear and apparel.
Insulated gloves cost $6 per day to rent while coats start at $10 per day. It may be worth it if you spend a week or two there, but it could also be not.
Multi-day rentals are discounted, so it’s worthwhile to inquire about the total cost. It’s probably better quality equipment than what you’d find at Wal-Mart. Skis, snowshoes, climbing equipment, and more are available for hire, in addition to clothes.
There isn’t really any other option to get winter gear but to go shopping or find a rental business. There are limited places to rent necessary equipment.
But if you’re going on a guided tour, you should check with the organizers first. Clothing and other equipment for the cold season are sometimes made available.
THINGS TO DO IN CANADA
After you’ve taken the necessary precautions for a Canadian winter, you’ll have a fantastic time. It’s a gorgeous and exciting time to visit, despite the cold.
We adore the Canadian winter for its abundance of spectacular outdoor activities and world-famous winter festivities.