Wondering what to pack for Quebec in winter? I've got you! I spent a lot of time putting together my packing list for Quebec City and the wider Quebec region in Canada as I was pretty worried about the cold there. In the city, we'd be able to warm up in cafes and shops but when we'd go to the ski resorts of Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham, we'd be outside and exposed to the elements pretty much all day.
Plus, we'd be visiting the Ice Hotel!
Temperatures in Quebec easily drop to -30°C in winter and so I had to be prepared.
What to pack for Quebec City and the wider Quebec region in winter
I could have spent a lot of money buying special outdoor clothes, skiing gear, and thermal underwear, but I didn't. The reason for that was that I had never gone on a real snow trip and had no idea if I would ever want to repeat it. Spending all of that money didn't seem smart at the time and I'm still glad about the decision I made.
The best things I took on this trip
That being said, I did take special clothes with me. I just borrowed most of them. Ski pants from my neighbor, fleece long sleeves from a friend and a whole bunch of clothes from Siemen's mom. I didn't want to buy a heap of things I might never use again, but I didn't want to freeze my buttocks off either.
Flash forward to 2018, when I'm updating this article. I have been of plenty of winter trips since this trip to Quebec and now own proper ski pants, and some other special winter things. I use them every time I go to a cold destination and will link to the items I have or similar ones in the packing list below.
The only things I got specifically for this trip were Icebreaker ski socks, an Icebreaker long-sleeve base layer, an Icebreaker legging and Icebreaker glove liners. Part of those items I bought myself and part of them was a birthday gift from Siemen. My birthday was a month before our trip, so that worked out well!
I didn't use the glove liners a lot as I felt my hands were warmer wearing only the normal gloves I'd taken with me, but I barely took off the legging and the base layer. They were heaven. They kept me super warm and they really do take the sweat off of your skin when you're being active so that you won't cool down because of it afterward.
I remember sweating SO hard during my snowboarding lesson at Stoneham (I was wearing way too many clothes), but when I got to our apartment to take a shower afterward, I noticed how the Icebreaker base layer still smelled fresh while the fleece I was wearing over it, well, didn't. Super cool technology.
The ski socks were great as well. I washed those out during the trip so I could wear them several times.
Flash forward to 2018: my Icebreaker gear is some of the best gear I have. I've taken it on all kinds of trips, have washed it by hand and in the machine so many times and it still looks and feels great. I highly recommend it!
So, what did end I end up taking on our 10-day trip? Here's an as-good-as complete packing list for Quebec in winter.
What to bring to Quebec in winter
Clothes and accessories
- 4 light fleece sweaters – I wore these as top layers both to explore Quebec City and while doing winter sports at the ski resorts we visited later on our trip
- 3 turleneck long sleeves
- 1 regular legging (that I didn't wear until the flight back home)
- Icebreaker leggings (that I wore almost every day)
- 1 Icebreaker long sleeve base layer + 4 other base layers I borrowed. I ended up wearing two above each other
- ski gloves
- regular gloves (these came in handy when we went cross-country skiing as the ski gloves were too warm for that)
- Icebreaker glove liners (that I didn't wear)
- 3 pairs of ski socks – two pairs borrowed and one pair of Icebreaker ski socks which I wore the most
- 5 pairs of hiking socks
- 2 pairs of regular thick socks (that I didn't wear)
- 5 pairs of regular socks (that I didn't wear until the flight back home)
- 2 pyjamas
- basic underwear and bras
- 1 bikini (to use in the hot tubs at one of our hotels)
- ski goggles (to hide my face when skiing for the first time)
- ski pants
- 1 jeans (that I wore over my Icebreaker leggings each day in Quebec City)
- 1 ski jacket – but I'd now pack my Arc'teryx parka
- 1 regular winter hat
- 1 super thick winter hat
- 2 hats you'd think robbers wear (didn't use those)
- 1 fleece buff
- 3 regular long tops (only wore one of those on our flight days)
I brought one pair of snow boots and one pair of hiking boots but I always wore the snow boots. I borrowed them from Boyfriend's mom and they seem indestructible. She's been taking them on ski trips for years and at the time of updating this post, I've also taken them on winter trips multiple times and they're still super warm and waterproof.
They're by Salomon and this is the exact same model I take with me. I highly recommend it.
Luggage and backpacks
We both took an Eastpack backpack with us as carry-on. I took my Eastpak Egghead as it has a padded laptop compartment. They don't sell the model I have anymore, but this one is similar. Boyfriend took the PackR model.
For luggage, we each took a big suitcase. At the time, we borrowed our suitcases from my parents but we now have these Subterra's from Thule, which are great.
- zomig (for migraine attacks)
- immodium (against diarrhea)
- montelukast (against allergies)
- cetirizine (against allergies)
- motilium (against nausea)
- aleve (painkiller)
- symbicort (inhaler)
- birth control pil
- special bandages against blisters
- 3 packs of paper tissues
- my Pacsafe Citysafe travel handbag
- a notebook, two pens and a pencil
- my amazing flight pillow
- laptop + charger
- camera + charger
- smartphone + charger
- USB-cables to connect all the electronics to each other
- 2 universal chargers
- small shower gels and small shampoos that I took with me from a hotel on another trip (yes, I'm that kind of person)
- facial creme
- after sun
- sun screen
- lip balm
- hair brush
- basic make-up and make-up remover
- toothpaste + tooth brush
- and probably some other basic bathroom items
That's about it! Nothing spectacular on here, but now you have an idea of how I survived 10 very cold days in Quebec in winter.
Don't forget travel insurance
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has you covered in case (part of) your trip gets cancelled, you get sick or hurt abroad and even when your electronics break or get stolen. I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great and I can personally recommend them.
Where to stay in Quebec, Canada
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