Vancouver Packing List: What To Pack For Vancouver, Canada
If you are wondering what to pack for your Vancouver trip, you’re in luck! Not only am I originally from there, I actually pack for Vancouver when I travel to go home and see my family and friends. I am not just a blogger writing about popular topics. It was about time I share a Vancouver packing list with recommendations of what to bring and wear for your trip to my hometown.
One bit of advice I would give you is to look at the weather forecast. If it doesn’t say rain, expect some unless it’s August or September. And sometimes it still rains during those months! Vancouver is lush and green for a reason and that is because it rains a lot.
*Please note this is a women’s Vancouver packing list but of course, men can get ideas minus the dresses, skirts, and purses :p*
Helpful Year-Round Vancouver Packing Tip
Layers!!! I always recommend packing clothing that you can layer. Regardless of the destination, I always think wearing layers is a good idea. If it gets cold, put on a sweater or scarf. If it’s hot, peel off a layer. It’s always easier to add and remove a layer of clothing than to wear something too hot and heavy or something that doesn’t keep you warm when it’s cold.
Another helpful Vancouver packing tip is to choose a colour palette so things mix and match easily and you don’t have to bring your whole closet.
*For winter Vancouver packing suggestions, scroll to bottom*
Vancouver Packing Tips – Year Round
Pack something that will protect you in the rain. Sometimes I pack my Burton Goretex snowboard jacket because it’s light but waterproof and works for fall, winter, and spring. In the fall and spring, I like to wear something like a trench coat. It’s a perfect weight that can be worn with a sweater underneath to keep you warm if it gets chilly.
Depending on the season I will often pack boots. If it’s the fall or spring, I will bring my Hunter rain boots. Yes, they weigh a lot in my suitcase but sometimes I will wear it on the flight since it’s quite easy to take on and off during security. Tip: if you have small feet like I do, buy kids size. They fit better and are a little cheaper!
Leather boots get packed when it’s fall or winter to keep my feet and legs warm but also stay stylish. Ankle boots are also a current favourite. I have a pair of leather Zara ankle boots that are actually great in the rain. My feet never get wet in them.
I am not much of a high heels kind of girl these days and always wear flats. My favourite flats to pack on trips are ballet flats. I have some Miu Miu ballet flats that I have had for over a decade. So my shoes last, I will re-sole them with something like a Vibram sole at the cobbler.
I also love Repetto ballet flats. They are a well-known French brand of ballet shoes who outfit many French ballet companies.
Sneakers are my life. I will always wear and pack some. They are perfect to walk in when you are exploring. If you plan on doing some hiking in Vancouver, definitely pack a sneaker that can give your feet the proper support. Adidas makes great trail shoes or Nike Free Flyknits are great if you plan on working out in your hotel or accommodations as well as doing some outdoor activities in Vancouver.
Vancouver Summer – wearing a denim button up, shorts, and Vans sneakers
I have been a fan of cardigans since my twenties. They are an easy layer that works with a lot of outfits. I have them in all the basic colours. I almost prefer them over pullovers because you can unbutton them to let out heat if you get too warm. J.Crew or Uniqlo make my favourite classic cardigans.
In the summer – wearing a J Crew cardigan, basic t-shirt, Levi’s jeans, Celine Trio purse
If I am heading to the mountains, I pack my Arc’teryx fleece zip up. Arc’teryx is actually a Vancouver based outdoor apparel company. I scored one of their amazing fleece coat at their once yearly sample sales. It’s usually in the fall.
I wear a lot of button-up shirts. I am not very tall and small in size but I love the cut of men’s button-up shirts. My favourites are by Steven Alan or Uniqlo. I always have my staple denim button up usually by Levi’s. And nothing is more classic to me than a men’s white crisp button-up shirt. Perfect look with leggings and ballet flats.
Plain t-shirts are always in my luggage for any trip. My staple look is jeans and a t-shirt. I always have a simple black and white tee in my suitcase as well as a striped tee and usually a long sleeve striped tee. Some of my favourite brands are by Everlane, James Perse (yes they are expensive but they last forever). The cuts at Uniqlo change all the time so it’s not always consistent. Sometimes I will pick up some Hanes at Target.
Get $25 off your first purchase at Everlane by using this link.
I don’t wear leggings in my daily life that much but when I travel I will pack them because they are easy to wear and lightweight piece. I will wear them under a crisp button-up, a long sweater, or sometimes a short dress. Forever 21 stocks leggings in many colours and they are a very budget-friendly option or Target.
Jeans are always tough to pack because they are heavy. Skinny jeans sometimes take the place of my leggings because I wear a lot of blacks. They are easy to dress up and down and can be worn in all the seasons. Recently I bought a pair of mom jeans. I like Madewell jeans. I also bought a pair in Europe by Pull and Bear which is a sister store to Zara.
Hats are not really my thing but in the winter I do protect my head from the cold. I wear beanies or as Canadians call them, toques. I used to work for a headwear company called Brixton, so I wear those or ones by Carhartt or Supreme.
I never use to think much of socks until I lived in really cold places like Montreal and New York. My feet would get really cold in my boots. I eventually bought a pair of $20 socks which made me scoff at the time but were so worth it. They lasted me for years. Brands like Smartwool or Wigwam which you can buy in places like REI make amazing socks for really cold weather. These are no socks that I wear all the time, but in winter or when I’m snowboarding. So they last for years and the price is not so bad.
This one is tough. Growing up in Vancouver, I didn’t really use an umbrella. I just dealt with my hair getting wet or I had a hood on my jacket. I find umbrellas to take a lot of space up on the street and end up being more of a nuisance to carry when they are wet you walk into businesses or stores. Sometimes I will pack a compact one and of course, if you don’t, you will find tons of stores in Vancouver that sell them. Here’s a link for some travel umbrellas.
Dresses or Skirts
Vancouver is pretty casual. Even when you are going somewhere upscale, I dress pretty casually. Pulled together and a little elegant but nothing formal. I usually pack a simple dress like my favourite shift dress made by Acne. Another more stylish packing option is long skirts. Both are lightweight enough for the summer but can be worn with tights and layers in the winter. I have a few accordion pleat skirts I picked up in Europe.
Scarves are my favourite accessory. I wear scarves year round as an accessory. In the winter they keep me warm and in the summer they protect me from strong air conditioning. If it’s really hot, I can wear a headscarf to keep my head cool because I have black hair. For winter, I have a Burberry scarf that I have had for over 10 years. In the summer, a Missoni scarf would be a great lightweight option for a pop of colour.
Purses and bags are other accessories that I love. I always try to pack one purse that is in a neutral tone or bright colour that will be an accent. Usually, in the day I use something casual like a tote bag which can be used for other activities (like market shopping).
I have a Celine Trio Zip which is a great option for going out at night since it’s small and compact. A friend gifted me a Herschel bag which is actually based out of Vancouver. Their totes are a great day time option especially if you go to Granville Island and pick up some food or shopping.
Reusable Shopping Tote
If you are like me, I buy things in a grocery store or market no matter where I am in the world. Even if I am staying in a hotel, I go to grocery stores and buy snacks and drinks. I always bring one of my Baggu re-usable totes that pack up nice and small. It helps me with my goal of saying no to single-use plastic.
Vancouver Packing – Cold Weather Suggestions
My hands are abnormally small so I often wear mitts because the fingers are too long on adult gloves. I like everything fleece lined because my extremities get really cold. I also like the new tech gloves and mitts which you can use on your smartphone in the winter.
Uniqlo Heat Tech is one of the best clothing discoveries I have found for dressing warmly in the cold weather. I bought some ages ago on a trip to New York in the winter. They saved my life then and I can’t live without them in the winter. I wear them under my clothes or alone as well as when I am snowboarding. They have simple tops but I love their fleece-lined turtlenecks. I also wear my Burton base layers for snowboarding if I’m really cold. While Vancouver is not a very cold destination like the East Coast or Northern Canada, I find that sometimes it feels very cold due to it’s proximity to the water and rainy weather.
Whoever invented fleece lined tights is brilliant. I discovered this one year I was in Europe and did not have enough warm clothes. You can still wear your dresses and skirts but get a nice layer of warmth for the cold.
If it’s winter time, my long puffy coat is definitely on my Vancouver packing list. I love the look of long wool coats but it doesn’t protect me from the elements so I don’t bother.
I have a Uniqlo puffy jacket that I have had for years. It has kept me warm all over the world and when I eventually have to get a new one, I will buy another. I love them that much.
If it’s winter and I will be trekking around in the snow, I pack my Native boots. Native is a shoe brand from Vancouver and their shoes are lightweight but can protect you from the elements. I usually wear them with heavy wool socks like WigWam that are meant for very low temperatures.
Winter Trip To Vancouver – wearing my Burton Goretex jacket, sweat pants, and Sorel boots
Any questions for your Vancouver packing list? Message me in the comments!
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