Thicker clothing isn’t always better and layering is the key to staying warm in cold weather. Keep reading for our top five winter packing tips!


Winter Packing Tips

Written By: Nina Thomas


Which takes up more room: a down coat or a bikini? Packing for winter weather can sometimes be a drag, because it means you can’t fit as many items as you would if you were going to a beach destination.

You have to be more selective of items, and try to figure out which items will keep you warm without weighing down and bulking out your suitcase.

Lightweight options are key, as well as thinking outside the box and getting creative with your travel wardrobe.

It’s important to note that bulky fabrics won’t necessarily make you feel warmer! You have to choose the right cold weather fabrics and layer your items strategically as explained below (and also check out the preparation video below too!).


Watch this video to learn what to pack and prepare for winter travel!


There are many strategies to traveling carryon only in winter. Read this post on how to pack for cold weather!



Here’s our top five winter packing tips to save space in your suitcase:




Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket


Winter coats


Purchasing a lightweight winter coat is a challenge. Many of the down coats are puffy, bulky and include heavy zippers, linings and buttons.

Many outdoor stores sell coats that are lightweight and easy to move around in, because they’re made for skiers and outdoor hikers. Some can be quite boring and unfashionable, but there are some that look great, feel great and take up little space.

Patagonia makes a sweater jacket that can fold up and fit inside a small zipped bag. Investing in a jacket like this is a great idea for packing light.


Find out why the Patagonia Sweater Jacket is the recommended choice for extreme cold weather travel!




UGG Wilde Fashion Boots




Boots are the biggest space hog. They’re bulky and take up about as much room as two hairdryers. The rule of thumb is to wear your bulky pair on the plane and back the smaller pair.

Our suggested alternative is to bring short ankle boots like these, instead of tall ones that take up space. If you’re worried about warmth, bring tall merino wool socks that go under your pants to keep your calves warm.

For tall boots, try to find a pair that fold down easy like the above pair of soft leather boots. If it’s rainy, opt for womens leather boots or invest in wearable waterproof boots like these.


We’re absolutely loving these short and cute rain boots!




Merino Wool Bottom


Base layers


This is how you avoid bringing giant bulky wool sweaters! Merino wool base layers weigh next to nothing and are form fitting enough to easily wear under all your regular clothing.

Choose both bottoms and a long sleeve top to keep you warm, and make sure to choose a color that goes with the rest of your items. (ie: if you’re bringing light-colored sweaters, you probably won’t want black as your base.)

Another base layer that takes up little space are wool tights. You can bring these in case you’re wearing a dress or skirt, and you can also wear them under jeans.


Here’s our round up of the best thermals for women!




Halogen Lightweight Cashmere Scarf




I’m a huge fan of the blanket scarf, because it obviously doubles as a blanket or shawl. Plus, it’s amazingly cozy for those crisp mornings when you’re getting out of bed.

While oversized scarves are wonderfully warm and also on trend for the season, you may prefer a more compact option especially if your entire trip isn’t based in a cold weather destination. Other lightweight options to keep your neck warm are infinity cowls, such as the one above.


Take a look at the most stylish winter scarves of the season!




Toad&Co Cambria Sweater Dress




If you’ve ever tried packing one of those super cute sweater dresses, you probably witnessed your entire packing cube fill up quickly. Sweater dresses are a bulky item, but there are other options that can be warm and take up less space.

A dress like the one above is a good option, it’s light, made of Merino wool and you could wear your top base layer underneath if needed. (Love this merino wool winter dress!)

Thick wool tights underneath will ensure warmth, and a short pair of ankle booties will make you a real Travel Fashion Girl!


Here are a few more ways to wear ankle boots!




Compass Rose Packing Cubes


How to Pack for Cold Weather


You can still pack in a small suitcase even when you travel in cold weather by using packing cubes to compress your clothing as shown in the video below.


Watch the packing tutorial on Youtube!


I also put together a five-part YouTube series showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use this specific packing strategy, they can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carryon only!


Buy Compass Rose Packing Cubes here!



Do you have any winter packing tips to add? Please share in the comment below!


For more packing tips for winter travel, please read:






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Author Bio: A travel lover and freelance writer from the United States Midwest. Traveling mostly as a couple with her husband, she is constantly looking for a beautiful view and a good adventure. For more practical travel tips and ideas from a Central Ohio Girl, check out her website: or follow her on Twitter.