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Snow Packing List: What to Pack for the Snow or a Ski Trip

A question I'm asked a lot is what to pack for a snow trip, particularly with kids.

Whether you're planning just a snow play day or an overseas holiday to ski and snowboard, the key for a successful snow trip is to be prepared – especially for wet and cold conditions.

The amount of gear you have to organise may seem daunting at first. But with my tried-and-true packing list, your preparations for your snow trip or ski holiday will go smoothly.

I've successfully travelled solo with two children to the snow multiple times and here I share my expert tips on what to wear in the snow along with a snow packing list!

lake mountain

What to Wear in the Snow

  • Waterproof jacket x 1
  • Jumper/Sweater x 1 – If your waterproof jacket is not padded then you'll need a warm jumper, ideally made of lightweight material like merino wool or cashmere. If your waterproof jacket is padded eg a ski jacket then I find you can normally skip this layer, as you'll get too warm especially if you're skiing/snowboarding.
  • Thermal top and leggings/tights x 1 – I recommend Icebreaker merino wool base layers as they are lightweight, warm, wick sweat and don't smell. They are not cheap but I have been wearing mine for 15+ years.
  • Waterproof pants x 1 – This is particularly essential for snow play with kids, as you can't stop a child from sitting on their bum when playing with snow! Nothing will cut short your snow day like a child whining about being wet and uncomfortable.
  • Snow Boots x 1 – I cannot emphasise enough that gumboots will not cut it! Snow boots are made so that snow does not fall into your boot easily at the top, making your feet wet and cold. They are also insulated and have grip on the bottom for walking around in the snow. If you wear gumboots then I guarantee within the first 10 minutes your child will have ended up with snow in their boot.
  • Socks x 2/3 – If you're just doing snow play then thick, shin-length or knee-high socks are great. If you're skiing and snowboarding then, in fact, a thinner sock that won't cut off your circulation once your ski/snowboard boots are on is better. You can buy specialist ski/snowboard socks that have different thicknesses for different parts of the foot. Also, even if you're only going to the snow for a day, make sure you have dry spare socks to swap into if your feet do get wet.
  • Waterproof Gloves x 1/2 – Adults can generally get away with one pair of waterproof gloves. With children I find that having at least one spare pair helps because inevitably snow will get inside or a glove will be dropped. By the way, a good way to stop kids' gloves from dropping or disappearing is to tie a piece of string on one glove, thread the string through and across the two sleeves of the waterproof jacket, then tie the other end of the string to the second glove.
  • Scarf or Neck Warmer x 1 – I find that a neck warmer is better than a scarf because it can be easily pulled up across your nose if it's very cold plus it's less likely to get lost.
  • Beanie x 1
  • Goggles x 1 – If you're skiing or snowboarding. Not really required for snow play.

mt buller

What to Pack for a Snow Trip

  • Spare change of clothes. At the end of the day it's a great feeling to change into warm, dry clothes! Personally, I avoid denim/cotton as it if gets wet it takes ages to dry and is very cold on the skin.
  • Snacks that can be carried in the zip pockets of your jacket/pants: muesli bars, chocolate.
  • If you've got your own equipment: Skis and poles or snowboard, boots, helmet
  • A carrot for your snowman's nose!

What to Pack for an Overnight Snow Trip

  • Spare shoes x 1. If you don't fancy wearing your snow boots out and about then pack another pair of shoes for going out. Personally, I don't bother. As soon as I'm in on the mountain I'm either wearing snow boots or ski boots.
  • Pyjamas, toiletries, underwear.
  • If you're self-catering: more food than you think you'll need! When I stay in a hotel room I take a sandwich press and if there's no fridge in your accommodation take a cooler bag and stick it out in the snow as your ‘fridge'.
  • If your destination is a long car trip away then consider using a Plane Pal in the car/bus/train. Plane Pal is an inflatable travel pillow or cushion that can be inserted between your child's seat and the seat in front for added comfort. Read my Plane Pal review.

How to Pack for a Snow Trip

It's no easy task packing all those big, bulky items in your suitcase so here are my tips on how I pack for a snow trip.

  • Do not take the biggest bag you own! Hauling luggage across snow is the WORST so I recommend taking a medium-sized bag that you can easily carry. Don't necessarily assume you'll be able to drag it.
  • Wear as much of the clothing as you can. When we drive to the snow we wear our thermal tops, a jumper and tights/pants in the car. As soon as we get to the mountain we put on a waterproof jacket, snow boots, waterproof gloves, neck warmer and beanie. That means the only clothing in the suitcase are waterproof pants, thermal tights, spare socks and spare gloves.
  • Shove as much of the smaller items into bigger items as you can. Eg undies, socks, scarves, gloves can all be squished inside shoes.
  • Use packing cubes. I particularly recommend the Packing Pals by Plane Pal. They are different from other (cheap) packing cubes I've tried because each cube is fully meshed on both sides (and not just a small window of mesh) so you can see exactly what's inside at a glance. Using Packing Pals means that packing and unpacking is easier because clothes and items are grouped and separated and stuff is compressed.
  • Use vacuum seal compression bags. If you're carrying lots of bulky items you may want to try vacuum seal compression bags for extra room.

Click here for my tips for a family ski trip or snow holidays

Click here for my tips on visiting Mt Buller with kids, Lake Mountain with kids and Mt Baw Baw with kids

Click here for the best places to ski, skate and snow play in Melbourne & surrounds


What to pack for a snow trip

This post contains affiliate links. If you book using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks Joyce


cropped Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits x

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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