Packing for Banff in January ❥ How to Stay Stylishly Warm for the Cold Winter Months

What to pack for Banff in January.

So you’re planning for your ultimate winter vacation, but your trip is fast-approaching and you still don’t know what to pack for Banff in January. With the first month of the year being the coldest at an average of -15°C (sometimes colder), it can definitely be a little intimidating not knowing what to expect. And I know, I know… By the time I publish this post, it is no longer January. HOWEVER, I did just come back from my January trip there. Rest assured I have all the secret weapons and complete Banff packing list to help you stay warm whether you are visiting in January or during the other winter months. 

What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January.

1. Invest in a heavy duty wool coat.

What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January.

Just because you’re up in the mountains and deep within the woods don’t mean you can’t stay cute and chic in a winter wool coat!

What to pack for Banff in January.What to pack for Banff in January.

I personally love Aritzia a little too much although can still never commit to purchasing a $300+ single piece of garment. This winter, I finally treated myself to a gorgeous brown one by Babaton. While it is unfortunately sold out, below is a similar alternative:

2. Get your hands on a classic green parka.

What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January.

Parkas are no doubt on majority of people’s winter clothing list. As someone from Canada, I am well familiar with brands like Canada Goose or Mackage. Even though I don’t condemn those who purchase their products, I personally try to refrain from buying fox fur, rabbit fur, or real fur of any kind that typically result in animal cruelty. That being said, I got mine from the men’s clearance section at Bluenotes several years back for around $15. It’s obviously not available anymore. Regardless, there’s no need to drop a grand on a jacket because brands like The North Face have some fantastic options between $100-$300.

3. Unleash your inner Elsa and slay as Snow Queen in a (faux) fur coat.

Or well, in my case, slay as Blue Bigfoot? XDD

I’ve never been one to rock faux fur coats so boy was I surprised at how great they work in the cold. When wearing mine, it felt as warm as wearing my Aritzia brown coat + a cardigan underneath. Now that’s warm!

What to pack for Banff in January.What to pack for Banff in January. Blue fur coat from Forever 21.

Other alternatives if blue or fur’s not yo thang:

4. Hit the slopes in style with Lulus.

The above 3 suggestions are more or less for every day walking around/chill Banff activities. If you’re looking to be a little more active and go skiing or snowboarding, be sure to prepare a waterproof jacket in your suitcase.

What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January.

Now Lulus is hands down one of my favorite places to shop at. Despite the fact that I live in Canada and always have to pay a hefty charge on customs, I’ve been a returning customer since 2013 way before they even started trending on Instagram.

What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January.Alpine Romance White Faux Fur Trim Coat from Lulus.

Gosh this jacket is seriously so soft and warm! The inside is lined with faux fur and it hugs you in all the right places. Definitely a super flattering fit and will get you noticed on the slopes!

5. Stay Warm in Uniqlo’s HEATTECH Innerwear.

Enough talk about outerwear, here’s your real secret weapon for what to pack for Banff: Uniqlo HEATTECH Innerwear.

What to pack for Banff in January.

HEATTECH is Uniqlo’s special trademark technology that uses hollow fibre threads to trap pockets of warm air, which in turn insulates your body like wool does. Except of course these innerwear clothing pieces are much thinner and basically like any other ordinary long johns if you will.

Their original HEATTECH long-sleeves t-shirt and the extra warm long-sleeves t-shirt are both staples in my wardrobe for winter travel. They are my number one holy grail items and I honestly don’t know how I got through winters before having discovered Uniqlo.

What to pack for Banff in January.

Apart from crew necks, they also have turtleneck options in addition to a range of other HEATTECH items such as leggings and socks. Browse their full list of winter wear for ladies here.

6. Accessorize with beanies, ear muffs, scarves, and mittens.

What to pack for Banff in January.Toque from Forever21 and mittens from Aritzia.

I love my scarves. Anyone who knows me knows that I never leave home without one during fall/winter. Funny enough, I decided not to bring any this trip because I packed turtlenecks with me and just didn’t see a need for it.

What to pack for Banff in January.

While scarves are optional, I would highly recommend bringing a beanie/toque or hat of some sort to keep your head and ears warm. Ear muffs are even better if you have them. (I forgot mine and at times found that a beanie alone wan’t quite enough.) Mittens/gloves are a must as well. For my photographers out there, I suggest buying a pair of touchscreen gloves. There were so many times I thought my fingers were gonna freeze and fall off. Not to mention they got hella dry and started cracking and yuckkk! Just invest in some touchscreen gloves okay? Okay.

7. Pack merino wool socks.

Another thing you can’t forget for your Banff outfits is merino wool socks.

What to pack for Banff in January.Women’s Popcorn Cable Knee High Socks from Smartwool. (Link below.)

For my trip, I’d only brought cotton socks and one pair of knee-length wool socks. While you normally don’t think much of socks or even pay attention to what kind you buy, they make a huge difference in keeping you warm especially during winter. Cotton socks and regular wool socks can get wet quite easily whether it is from your shoes not being waterproof or your feet sweating from walking. They’re also harder to dry. When socks become wet, your feet turn cold and of course, your body then starts losing heat.

Merino wool socks are awesome because even if they do get wet, they still keep your feet warm. A lot of hikers prefer merino wool socks to regular socks and they’re really just a great staple regardless of the weather. Oh and did I mention they keep your feet from smelling!? Its wool fibers absorb odor-causing bacteria meaning you can literally wear the same pair for days without needing to wash it. I mean, I’m not recommending you to wear the same socks for dayz but heck I ain’t judging!

Smartwool has some cute designs below:

Shout out to Martina Gebarovska from Dreaming and Wandering for sharing this hack with me!

8. Keep dry in Sorel winter boots.

While we’re on the topic of feet (not that I have foot fetish or anything lol), let’s talk shoes!

What to pack for Banff in January.

Those who have read my Iceland guide know that I was in Iceland for a week last September. I must confess, I have a problem with shoes. Buying shoes specifically. For my Iceland trip, I thought you know, I have so many boots. One of them ought to work because I need to work on my self-control and not buy any more shoes. Long and behold, those boots were absolutely uncomfortable for hiking. Not to mention they weren’t even waterproof! Moral of the story? Keep buying shoes to your heart’s content! LOL! Jay kayyyyy, but seriously, you need winter-appropriate shoes for Banff.

What to pack for Banff in January.What to pack for Banff in January.Women’s Tivoli™ III Boot from Sorel available here.

I bought mine from Sorel on sale at Sport Check and am super happy with them. I opted for black instead of the popular tan color to better match my Banff winter outfits. (Ahem, more like to better match the color of my soul.) They have plenty of other styles too and if I would change anything, I would maybe choose a long boot instead. That way it’s easier to stay dry if you’re walking in deep snow.

9. Make hand warmers your best friend.

Bought these while I was in Japan. Similar ones can be found on Amazon here.

In my “Best Time to See Northern Lights in Iceland” post, I mentioned these bad boys. When packing for winter, you 100% need to get yourself some of these iron powder hand warmers.

These come in small portable sizes and you can keep them underneath your clothes or just rub one in between your hands to keep warm. The only downside is they don’t last too long and are not reusable. I’m not entirely sure how environmentally friendly they are, but I guess desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures? (I’ll be on the lookout for eco-friendly alternatives and let you guys know!)

10. Layer, layer, layer, layer, layer!

What to pack for Banff in January.What to pack for Banff in January.Cream cardigan from Forever 21.

My last tip for packing for Banff in January is to simply layer. I typically love layering with plaid shirts and a basic white hoodie, but they just don’t cut it for winter. This is why cardigans are perfect. For the most part of my trip, I wore Uniqlo Heattech inside, a turtleneck outside and layered my cardigan on top paired with a coat of some sort.

What to pack for Banff in January.A little unclear, but you can see a brown cardigan peeping through. The design is the same as my Aritzia brown mittens. Shop here.

Ready for your Banff trip? Book a hotel today!

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And there you have it! A stylish guide to packing for Banff in January.

What to pack for Banff in January. What to pack for Banff in January.

My top 10 secret tips to stay stylishly warm when packing for Banff during winter. Complete Banff packing list coming soon. Sign up for newsletter subscriptions and stay tuned!

Don’t forget to check out my Banff vlog and I’ll see you guys in my next post~


  1. Marvi
    February 8, 2019 / 9:11 pm

    What cute outfits you have Jas! I love the coats and the boot. I haven’t been to Banff but I’ll be sure to share this to my sister as she’s currently in Canada and would love the waterproof jacket from Lulus 🙂 Too bad about your experience when you bought it though. Good to know their customer service is great with their fair compensation 🙂

      March 5, 2019 / 1:26 am

      Aww thanks Marvi! I did read the other reviews for the same coat and no one else seemed to have any troubles with it so perhaps your sister can try her luck! 😀

  2. February 9, 2019 / 6:15 pm

    Great selections of jackets but I think you hit the nail on the head with layering. I love your choice of base layer. The base layer makes such a difference in staying warm and, if it’s too thick, it’s hard to look cute with you’re all padded up.

      March 5, 2019 / 1:27 am

      Hahahaa so true!!!!! Usually in the winter, I’m looking like a snowman so the Uniqlo Heattech shirts are definitely great for that slim look!

  3. Ketki
    February 12, 2019 / 3:46 am

    You hardly seemed to have layered and yet managed to slay the winter look. Were your hands not freezing in the photos? A cold shiver just ran down my spine thinking about the cold. You look beautiful and the tips sound incredible.

      March 5, 2019 / 1:28 am

      It’s all about that Uniqlo Heattech! And yes, my hands were freezing!!!!! Hence why I highly recommend getting some (touchscreen) gloves XDD

  4. February 12, 2019 / 3:58 am

    These are all great suggestions for staying warm in Banff. Layering has been my best friend for backpacking Europe in the winter. I wish I could have taken a wool coat or parka but they’re a bit too bulky for my needs right now. I really love that you don’t wear fur!

      March 5, 2019 / 1:29 am

      Thanks Darah! I am guilty of using leather products, but fur I defs try to avoid especially when the process is a lot more cruel and unethical (not to mention unnecessary) :/

  5. February 12, 2019 / 8:53 am

    Being Canadian, I’d say you have it right! Merino wool socks, Sorel boots and layering are a MUST! Your coats are very fashionable! And of course, the scenery is to die for.

      March 5, 2019 / 1:31 am

      Which part of Canada are you from, Alison!? I’m based in Vancouver so I must say we’re super lucky we don’t get crazy snow blizzards or extreme negative weathers hahaa.

  6. February 12, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    Just LOVE your outfits. Those coats are fantastic. I have to say, living in a different part of Canada, I pretty much throw fashion out the window once winter arrives. That said, like you, I love my Sorel boots!!

      March 5, 2019 / 1:32 am

      Aww thanks Joanne! I was just saying to Alison above that I’m from Vancouver so we definitely lucked out with not having to deal with extreme winters. I had a great time in Banff, but I can’t imagine having to dress in a billion layers for months each winter XDD

  7. February 12, 2019 / 7:54 pm

    You are certainly looking very stylish. Not sure I could pull that off. Layering is the key. And frankly, from someone who used to test and evaluate gear (including clothing) as part of my job, nothing beats merino wool underwear, period!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:27 am

      Didn’t know there was merino wool underwear too! Will defs have to look into that now!!

  8. Heather
    February 14, 2019 / 5:07 pm

    I want that faux fur coat! It’s gorgeous and clearly warm! Also I love the Sorel boots!! And is that an ice castle in Banff? I didn’t know they had those there! I absolutely love Banff, it’s one of my favorite places! I’ve been in April when the lakes were still frozen over but I haven’t been in true winter. I would love to go in January!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:28 am

      Yah! That ice castle is part of the ice sculpture competition in front of Chateau Lake Louise. One of the earlier times I visited Banff (that I remember as an adult) was around April/May. Even though the lakes are still frozen, it really is quite a different experience visiting in January!

  9. Jenn
    February 14, 2019 / 8:13 pm

    You look so stylish! I would be with 20 layers looking like the michelin cartoon lol.
    Love the boots and the fur coat. You make it seem like its summer, girl!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:29 am

      Hahahaa thanks Jenn! Gotta invest in that Uniqlo Heattech undershirt! Makes layering so much easier and makes you look less bulky 😉

  10. February 27, 2019 / 10:50 am

    These are such adorable outfit ideas, I alwaysss struggle with getting dressed when the weather is just deathly cold. I love your tips on layering and especially where to buy everything. Planning on going to Banff next winter – pray for me!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:30 am

      Omg girl you’d loveeeeeeee Banff during winter! Let me know if you ever have any other questions or need recommendations at all!

  11. February 27, 2019 / 12:53 pm

    I live in a country where it never gets too cold so I never know what to wear when I travel to cold towns! This post will come handy as I wouldn’t know where to begin! Beautiful outfits!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:30 am

      Aww well I’m happy to be of help! 😀

  12. February 27, 2019 / 12:54 pm

    Yas! Uniqlo and Hokkairo (hand warmers) are my best friends for cold weather. They are also both Japanese brands and being from Japan I 100% support your suggestions 🙂 I went to Banff in September and it was pretty chilly, so I can only imagine how cold it must be in January!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:31 am

      If you think September is chilly then you defs need to stock up on Uniqlo’s Heattech shirts and those hokkairos if you ever visit Banff during the winter XDD

  13. February 27, 2019 / 2:21 pm

    What gorgeous jackets/coats. I can’t imagine packing all of those jackets for a trip to Banff, but you look fantastic. It looks like you know very well how to stay warm during a cold winter.

      March 5, 2019 / 3:32 am

      Thanks Nicole! And ughh, packing light for winter is such a struggle!!! I’ve been travelling carry-on only for the past few years, but this time, I for sure had to check-in a bag to fit all of these hahaa.

  14. February 27, 2019 / 4:52 pm

    I love all these outfits!! Argg I try to only travel with a carry-on though so I would not be able to fit all those cute jackets into one trip. That just call for multiple trips haha I visited Banff last spring and could not stop saying “omg this is amazing!” I want to go back one winter and see it covered in snow.

      March 5, 2019 / 3:35 am

      I was literally just saying to Nicole above that I only travel carry-on and had to check-in a luggage this time to bring all my jackets with me. I was in Iceland in September though and was severely under-packed for the colder weather so it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

  15. February 27, 2019 / 7:17 pm

    Some great tips which can be used by men too. I have been wanting to visit Banff for a long time and one of my worries is the weather. Since I come from warmer climates, heavy duty winter clothes are usually not a part of my wardrobe. This gives me an idea of what all is required. Thanks

      March 5, 2019 / 3:36 am

      Oh you bet! I hope this gives you a better idea on how to prepare for winter and let me know if you ever need any other recommendations for Banff if at all!

  16. Jane
    February 27, 2019 / 10:05 pm

    Great choice of outfits. I love them all. Great tips as well. I really enjoyed your photos – Banff looks amazing.

      March 5, 2019 / 3:37 am

      Thanks Jane! It was basically mission impossible to take bad photos in Banff hahaa.

  17. February 28, 2019 / 12:33 pm

    Love your outfits Jas! 😀 Love the photos they look really amazing and I hope that you had a great time 😀

      March 5, 2019 / 3:33 am

      Thank you! I had such a blast and I hope my photos inspire you to pay Banff a visit if you haven’t been yet 🙂

  18. February 28, 2019 / 6:18 pm

    This is a great article on how to explore wintry landscapes with style. I mostly end up looking same all days when exploring a winter destination as I keep on putting many layers and then a warm jacket on everything. I need to work on the tips you shared – I should accessorize myself with more scarves, mittens, and beanies. I loved the cream cardigan from Forever 21 that you wore. I have an eye on that when it comes back to stock.

      March 5, 2019 / 3:37 am

      So glad you enjoyed my packing guide, Shreya! It’s certainly not easy looking chic bundled up in a billion layers, but it’s doable! Hope that cream cardigan comes back in stock for ya 😉

  19. Daniel
    February 28, 2019 / 11:43 pm

    Banff sure looks amazing in January judging by your pictures! After this post, I would definitely want to visit in January even though I didn’t even think about it before 🙂 Thank you for sharing all these useful packing tips and keep up the great work!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:39 am

      And thank you, Daniel! Banff obviously gets more visitors in the summer months, but during winter, it really is a totally different vibe and a complete magical wonderland. Highly recommended!

  20. March 1, 2019 / 4:56 am

    Your coat is very stylish! I would like to have one too. I like the color and cut. It looks very fashionable and elegant.

      March 5, 2019 / 3:39 am

      Not sure which one you’re referring to, but thank ya! 😀

  21. Kristy Bullard
    March 1, 2019 / 6:46 am

    I would love, love, LOVE to see Banff one day. I’d love to see it in the winter and then come back and see it in the summer. I’ve been to Toronto in the winter and almost froze my fingers off ( I’m a big sissy from Alabama), so I really needed this info. Thanks so much!

      March 5, 2019 / 3:40 am

      You’re most welcome, Kristy! And I totally approve of your plans hahaa. Both seasons are beautiful and if you have time, they’re both musts!

  22. March 1, 2019 / 12:14 pm

    These are all great tips! I love that you focused on stylish winter items that are still actually. It’s winter after all! The faux fur coat for photos is a great idea! I may have to do that. 🙂

      March 5, 2019 / 3:41 am

      Thanks Hailey! I was shocked actually with how well the fur coat turned out in my photos!! XDD

  23. yukti
    March 3, 2019 / 9:06 pm

    I love snow but winter packing is always a big thing to do. Lots of planning is needed as weather can be unpredictable. I too love to cover myself with layers and layers and layers. I prefer inner thermal wear, with one more layer and then a heavy wool coat and I love your white jacket/coat too. Thanks for sharing all about winter clothing.

      March 5, 2019 / 3:42 am

      And thank you, Yukti! Hope you feel more comfortable packing for the cold having read this guide. Let me know if you ever have any other questions or need recommendations 🙂

  24. March 4, 2019 / 8:21 am

    Wow you are so stylish! Each and every pick here looks great while also being warm. The blue fur looks stunning. I like the heattech innerwear. I always wear those thermals when i travel to cold places.

      March 5, 2019 / 3:42 am

      You’ll definitely have to invest in Uniqlo’s Heattech shirts then! I only bought one and am regretting not having purchased more!!

  25. Parnashree Devi
    March 4, 2019 / 12:52 pm

    I love your entire outfit. Its very important to invest in right clothing when one is heading to extreme winter vacation. I had invested in similar stuff when I was traveling to Finland in winter. You have given some practical tips. Its very handy. The photos also are absolutely eye-arresting

      March 5, 2019 / 3:43 am

      Aww thank you, Parnashree! It was so easy to take good photos in Banff given that the scenery was always so picture-perfect. Hope this will inspire you to pay a visit 😀

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