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Taking a train trip across Canada in the summer? Find out how to be prepared for the weather and the best items to pack for a comfortable journey!
Train Trip Across Canada: Summer Packing Tips
Written By: Kate Langille
With over 450 stops along a 12,500 kilometer rail network, Canada’s Via Rail can take you from the city I call home (Halifax) to ultra-modern Vancouver. There’s a relaxed atmosphere in Via Rail’s passenger compartments and the dining car, an attitude shared by most of Canada’s attractions and restaurants, too.
Our notorious winter weather luckily leads to an exceptionally beautiful summer. From the dry prairie heat, the surprise summer hailstorms in Calgary, to hot and humid coastal cities, I’ll give tips on how to be prepared for the whole country on Via Rail while staying super comfy, fashionable, and functional.
Don’t forget: always check the weather before heading to any Canadian destination. Here’s what to pack for a train trip across Canada:
Worry less about being cold and more about getting wet in most places in Canada during the summer months. You’ll never regret taking a waterproof jacket when visiting any of the coastal cities like Halifax, Montreal, and Vancouver. It rains more frequently there than the rest of the country.
If you prefer to be more put-together, choose a shrunken trench coat with a convertible hood tucked in the collar. The belt removes for a more relaxed look that will go with shorts, a dress, or pants.
My preferred option for those who are both outdoorsy and fashion-conscious is a cropped and lightweight coat like the Lululemon Effortless jacket shown above, which has a hideaway hood. If you’ll be hiking trails in the Rockies, wind and rain can sweep in within moments, yet you’ll still fit in wearing it on 17th Avenue in Calgary.
Take a look at these stylish and Insta-friendly water-resistant jackets!
Well-loved strappy sandals are essential for the beach and boardwalk, for tourist-ing at Niagara Falls in the day, and enjoying craft beers in Toronto by night. For the pavement pounders like myself, I like something that won’t look bulky or give me blisters. Birkenstock’s Yara is comfortable, classic, and versatile.
Take one closed-toe shoe for rainy days and light outdoor activities like a city bike ride. A low-profile sneaker such as the Converse Jack Purcell slip-on is a trendy option.
My travel staple to dress anything up has and always will be a wedge sandal.
These experts are giving you the inside scoop on their top picks of most comfortable shoes for travel. Take a look!
Throw on a pair of your favorite stretchy cropped jeans for a casual evening that will be comfortable on the train and lightweight compared to stiffer denim.
Shorts are okay practically everywhere. Destroyed and cropped styles are popular along with more sophisticated choices.
Planning to hit the great outdoors? These are the best travel pants to take you from mountains to the cities in comfort and style!
A breezy button-down can be worn with anything and is more comfortable than a knit cardigan. I also recommend bringing one long-sleeve top for chilly nights.
An essential in every Canadian’s wardrobe is a checked or plaid shirt. My personal favorite is a denim button down that can double as a light jacket in the evenings. Layer it open with tank tops and light t-shirts.
Find out why we love these lightweight jackets for summer travel!
Bring a relaxed tank or t-shirt dress that can be worn with sneakers or sandals when heading to and from your train. This piece can also easily be dressed up with a wedge or heel.
Take a look at the latest trends with these cute summer dresses for women!
Bags and accessories
A retro-style pair of sunglasses like the Ray-Ban Clubmasters are my favorite to wear during the warmer months. Pick a stylish and handy backpack purse to save your shoulders and go from casual to chic with any outfit. Finish the look with your favorite watch.
Check out these gorgeously-designed cute backpacks for travel – one of them may be your new favorite travel companion!
If you have any plans to do wilderness trekking or hiking, bring waterproof footwear like hiking sneakers or boots and travel pants or active shorts.
With so many things to do, it’s smart to bring a swimsuit and one outdoor trekking outfit that can double as leisure wear and sleepwear on the train. My staple lazy outfit is a pair of high-waisted leggings and a well-loved band tee.
These are the best leggings according to our readers!
Makeup, Beauty, and Personal Care
Adapting your beauty and style routine without compromising too much is the goal. My biggest tip is to bring tried-and-true skincare and beauty products that you know and love. That way you won’t waste any room on non-essential items you don’t really need. Of course, there’s always a chance to buy more products along the way!
Follow these train travel beauty tips to arrive at your destination ready and refreshed to start your day!
What are your packing tips for a train trip? Please share them below!
For more Canada packing tips, please read:
- What to Wear in Vancouver
- What to Pack for Ontario in Fall
- What to Wear to Niagara Falls
- What to Pack for Toronto in Fall
Suggested travel resources:
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Author Bio: Kate is a small-town girl looking to explore the world on a budget with a carryon bag in hand, all while looking smugly proud of her packing skills. Traveling internationally since 2008, Kate has stayed in dive hostels to high-end hotels with every mode of travel getting her there. Kate has a passion for makeup, skin care, hair care, and is obsessed with finding the best way to take her beauty routine on the road with her.