I used to be an over packer. But not even when I tried to pack for a ski vacation, I would take a full size suitcase just for a weekend trip to the beach. As I got older though, I realized how much easier it was to pack light. Much less to lug around on the trip plus packing and unpacking are simpler. Less to deal with.
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Finally when I went on my five week trip across Europe, I decided I was going to pack in only a carry-on. I did and I was absolutely hooked on carry-on only travel. Then about a year ago I took my first winter vacation. The carry-on idea went out the window when I looked at how much space my ski bibs took up.
I still haven’t gotten it down to just a carry-on, but I can pack using one checked bag and that includes my snowboard, boots, and helmet. A board bag together with a boot bag counts as one checked item.
It’s tough to put together a packing list for a ski vacation or any winter vacation really. Especially your first few times. So I’ve put together a complete list of what I pack for a ski vacation and I adjust the numbers depending on how long the trip is. If the trip is longer than three days I usually do laundry one day which is why these numbers may seem low.
Ski Clothes & Equipment
- 1-2 pair of thermals or anything to use as a base layer – merino wool, Underarmour. I have these Hot Chilly’s that I love.
- 1-2 middle layers depending how cold it is. I don’t wear this unless it’s below 30 degrees, but a pullover that isn’t cotton is perfect for this.
- 2 pair of snow pants or bibs. Columbia is a great brand.
- 1 warm, waterproof coat – My personal favorite is this one by Columbia. I’ve had it for years (since high school) and it’s still going strong.
- 3-4 warm socks – SmartWool is great for ski socks
- 1 pair of waterproof gloves or mittens – I just changed from using gloves to mittens with glove liners inside and am obsessed.
- 3 neck gators
- Snowboard/ski boots – You can rent these if you don’t own any.
- Helmet – You can rent this too, though this is the first ski-related item I purchased.
- 1 pair of goggles
- Snowboard or skis – You can rent these also.
- Ski poles
- 1 pair of leggings or jeans depending on preference – If we come back and change at the end of the day to go out, I usually just wear my base layer out that night. My thermals look like leggings and if it’s warmer I use regular leggings as my base layer.
- 2-3 pair of cute socks
- 1 pair of snow boots – I love my Bean Boots from LL Bean.
- 2-3 long sleeve shirts or sweaters
- 1 scarf – You can pack more if you like to accessorize. I just find that they take up a lot of space and I don’t mind wearing the same one the whole time.
- 1 pair of gloves – If you want different ones from your ski gloves.
- 2 toboggans
- 5-6 pair of underwear – Even if nothing else is clean I want fresh underwear and socks. So I am sure to pack enough that if something happens and we can’t do laundry I have plenty of those.
- 2 bras
- 4-5 sports bras
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 pair of sweatpants
- 1 pair of slippers – We stay at Bed & Breakfasts and Inns where my feet always get cold.
- 2-3 pair of pajamas
- Shower needs – shampoo, conditioner, soap, razor
- Glasses and contacts
- Prescribed medication
- Ibuprofen and cold medicine – Always good to have on hand.
- Period supplies
- Nail clippers
- Makeup – I almost forgot this one because I never wear makeup when traveling especially when active. At the most I usually take eyeliner.
- iPad or computer
- Pocket book
- Money/credit cards – Always a good idea to have a bit of cash on you.
- Lift tickets – Purchase ahead of time for better deals.