With so much to do and such variation in weather and climate due to the country’s vast size, it can be hard to know what to pack for Canada. Whether you’re planning a visit to the vibrant streets of Toronto, the towering Rocky Mountains or the charming coastal towns of the Maritimes, packing right is crucial for a comfortable trip. In this guide we cover everything you need to know about what to pack for Canada, no matter when or where you’re travelling. Whatever the region or the season, there are certain items you’ll want to pop in your suitcase before any trip to Canada, so grab a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee and dive in.

Travel Documents and Cash

You’ll need to carry your passport, visa (if required) and any other necessary documents and ID. Just be sure to keep digital or physical copies as back-ups in case you lose anything or something gets stolen. It’s also a good idea to bring a mix of credit cards, debit cards and some cash - the local currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD).

Electronics and Gadgets

Be sure to pack a universal power adapter; Canada uses Type A and Type B electrical outlets. A portable charger, especially if you’re planning long hikes or road trips, is another essential for powering up your key devices… one of which should be a decent camera to capture the stunning scenery and memorable moments on your Canadian adventure. Keen readers may want to pop an e-reader or tablet in their case to enjoy their favourite books during downtime or on long journeys.

Medications and Toiletries

Pack any necessary prescription medications and a small first aid kit with essentials like plasters, pain relief and wound spray. Be sure to include a bottle or two of reliable insect repellent as depending on the season and location, mosquitoes and other insects can be bothersome - repellent will help prevent nasty bites from ruining your trip. Finally, don’t forget to decant your favourite toiletries into travel sized containers big enough to see you through your trip.

Sun Protection

OK, so the sun may not beat down relentlessly in Canada, but that doesn’t mean sunscreen isn’t a suitcase essential. A minimum of SPF50 is recommended, no matter the season or the region.

Reusable Water Bottle

The tap water is drinkable in Canada, so why waste money on bottles of water (which only harm the environment) when you can refill your own for free? There are so many reusable water bottles on the market, which are perfect to carry with you all day. Some even come with a built-in water filter for an added layer of protection.


Clothes and Footwear

Let’s talk about the most important aspect of your travel preparations: what clothes and footwear to pack. Our top tip is to tailor your packing list to the specific season (and region) you’re visiting in Canada. It’s a country of diverse climates and landscapes, so you’ll want to be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way.  

  • Tops: Whether you’re visiting during the sunny summer or in the depths of winter, layering is your best friend. Pack clothes that can easily be mixed and matched. Start with a few basic t-shirts and long-sleeved tops that can be worn alone or layered under jumpers and coats, and don’t forget a cosy hoodie for travelling in and keeping warm during chilly evenings by the campfire.
  • Bottoms: Jeans are a staple in Canada, so be sure to pack a couple of pairs. They’re versatile, durable and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. If you’re visiting during the summer, throw in a few pairs or shorts or skirts for hot days spent exploring cities or hiking in the mountains. If you’re planning on hitting the ski slopes, don’t forget to pack some waterproof and insulated trousers to keep you warm and dry.
  • Socks and Thermals: Wool socks are another one of the secrets to staying warm in Canada; when your feet are toasty, so is the rest of your body. Wool socks are breathable and compact; wear them inside boots or trainers for extra warmth on chilly days and stay cosy all day long. Long underwear is another way to stay warm during the colder seasons in Canada. If you’re planning to do any skiing, camping or hiking, it will be especially helpful.
  • Swimwear: When thinking about what to pack for Canada, swimwear might not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, Canada boasts the longest coastline in the world, not to mention thousands of islands and endless lakes, so don’t forget your favourite swimsuit.
  • Footwear: When it comes to footwear, comfort and functionality are key. Canada is a country made for adventure, so be sure to pack a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Whether you’re exploring national parks, hiking trails or simply strolling through the charming streets of Montreal or Vancouver, you’ll want footwear that can handle any terrain. Trainers are a great option for urban exploration, and don’t forget a pair of flip flops for those sunny days spent by the beach or the lake.
  • Outerwear: Now, let’s tackle the most important item of your Canadian wardrobe: outerwear. If you’re visiting during the winter months, a warm and waterproof coat is a must. Look for one with insulation and a hood to protect you from the (potentially) biting cold and snowstorms. If you’re visiting during the summer, a lightweight rain jacket is essential - Canada is known for its sudden showers.
  • Accessories: Don’t forget to pack some accessories to complete your Canadian look. A hat, gloves and scarf are ideal winter warmers. If you’re visiting during the summer, you’ll want to pack sunglasses and a lightweight hat to protect you from the rays. Finally, a good quality daypack will be your best friend for carrying all your essentials while exploring Canada’s truly great outdoors.
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