Packing Light for a Cold-Weather Getaway

With boots, bulky jeans, sweaters and coats taking up so much room in your bag, it can be tough to pack light for a cold-weather vacation. Find out how to fit everything in without racking up the excess baggage fees in the process. 


Packing light—or more accurately, packing right—can be one of the most challenging parts of travel preparation. Take more than you need and you’ll be dragging unwanted weight and bulk through airports, hotels and across new cities. Underpack and you’ll be forced to hunt down the items you need to stay warm in an unfamiliar destination (and probably spend more than you need to in order to get them).

Finding the perfect middle ground, especially when you’re jetting off to a cold-weather destination, is practically an art form. We’ve compiled a list of expert tips to help you pack the perfect bag for your wintery holiday. Follow our advice, and you’ll have no trouble zipping up your luggage or duffel without sitting on it first!

Use compression bags  to organize items of clothing before packing. Use one bag for sweaters and tops, another for pants and bottoms, and a third for miscellaneous items. When you have all the items you want to pack, compress the bags, which will then shrink to half of their original volume. You can repeat this process throughout your journey.

Buy convertible clothing and remember to layer. Most travel clothing companies now make jackets for men and women that have multiple layers. A typical style involves an inner layer and outer layer, which can be used together for extra warmth or taken apart for differing weather conditions. Choosing such a jacket will lessen the bulk you will need to pack and the overall number of items you will need to carry with you.


Reuse and recycle. Remember the simple fact that in cold weather, clothes can be worn more times than in a hot climate. Therefore, less clothes are needed to begin with and items do not have to be washed as often as when traveling in the summer or in high temperature locales. 

Carry on your bulkiest items. Planes, particularly in winter, can be very cold places to spend a prolonged period of time. Wear your boots, main jacket and the heaviest sweater onto the airplane. Even if you find it’s more than you need, you can always store it in the overhead bin. At least you’ve saved yourself the added cost and bulk of trying to fit it in your luggage. 

Invest in cashmere, which is lighter than other fabrics yet enables you to be warmer than when wearing sweaters made of cotton or synthetics. Also buy silk thermal underwear, which also packs very light and keeps you far warmer than other fabrics.

Choose a color scheme and stick to it. Packing tops and bottoms which all go together will enable you to pack less but get more miles out of the items you do have at your disposal. Usually, while traveling, you won’t see the same people day after day anyway so it’s more than acceptable to wear clothes more than once.


This article is adapted from Eagle Creek’s Travel Blog. 

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