Ski Trip Packing List
Ski and snowboard vacations are difficult to pack for. Whether it’s a long weekend or a nine-day trip, you need a lot of gear. What will you wear if it snows? What will you wear if it’s sunny? What will you wear to the after ski? Dinner in town? Relaxing at the cabin? With all these activities and the countless weather variables involved, how do you keep your luggage under the allowed weight limit?
Pack smart. If you bring the right gear, you’ll be comfortable and prepared for anything. We’re here to help. For an abbreviated, printable version of our list, click here.
Here’s our list of must-brings for a great ski trip. If you booked a cabin with a washer and dryer, feel free to pare down the list.
- Base layers: Your base layer lays the foundation for a warm and comfortable day on and off the mountain. In most cases, you should be able to wear one set of base layers for 2 to 3 days (depending on how sweaty you tend to get). So, if it’s a long weekend, bring 2 sets. For a week, bring about 3. Note: base layer tops usually get fewer wears than bottoms, so if you’re running low on space, bring more
- Underwear: Most likely, you want a pair of underwear for each day. Bring one extra for good measure.
- Socks: One pair of ski socks for every 2-3 days. Important note: we highly recommend getting ski socks with some percentage of wool. NEVER COTTON. If you dry out our ski boots every night, your socks are less likely to get very stinky. Plus, you don’t’ want to put your feet into wet, cold boots at the beginning of the day.
- Ski Goggles: If you purchase one pair of ski goggles, you can also buy a few replacement lenses. That way, if you have a big fall and scratch the lens, you won’t have to invest in a whole new pair.
- Helmet*: Available for rent, or you can also purchase used. But, a must have!
- Sweat pants and sweatshirt or sweater: It’s nice to have something cozy and comfortable to throw on when you get back to the hotel or cabin.
- A pair of jeans/non-sport pants: Depending on your destination, there may be a lot of nice restaurants to enjoy. Even still, most mountain towns have a more casual dress code than big cities. If you plan on eating out, bring a reasonable outfit or two.
- One or two nice/casual tops
- Sports bra for every 2-3 days
- Ski Jacket*: Of course, this is our area of expertise. If you are warm-blooded, consider buying a shell so that you don’t overheat. If you run cold, an insulated jacket may be a better fit. Keep in mind, a versatile ski jacket can also work as an overall winter jacket. Finally, don’t forget to think about the layers you’ll wear underneath when you consider the fit and construction. Shop Men, Shop Women
- Ski Pants*: You may prefer a relaxed fit or a slim cut, depending on your style and layering preferences, but some things are universal. Make sure your ski pants are durable and reinforced at the hem to prevent fraying from ski boots. Shell pants work well in warmer weather, but most insulated pants also have vents. Shop Men, Shop Women
- Skis, Boots, Poles: The primary equipment package. These items can be rented at the ski resort. Check out the pros and cons of rental vs. purchase in the rental section.
- Ski gloves or mittens. Even if the weather fluctuates, it’s usually OK to bring one pair. Just be sure to dry them out overnight.
- One midlayer: A midlayer will bring added warmth on the ski hill, but it’s also a great stand-alone for wearing inside and on travel days. Our personal favorite is LIFALOFT , because it’s warm and lightweight, so it’s great for travel. But some people prefer a classic wool sweater. Either way, the midlayer is another versatile piece of clothing for every traveler.
- Ski gaiter/balaclava/scarf: This can be a matter of taste, but we personally recommend it. Without a gaiter, your face is the only skin that’s completely exposed to the elements. So, it’s especially vulnerable. Plus, it’s not ideal to share a gaiter because it gets covered in
- Sun glasses
- Sun screen and cold cream if you have it.
- Toiletries: Depending on your accommodations, you may not need to bring shampoo, conditioner, or lotion.
What Should You Rent or Pick up at Your Destination?
If you don’t own this equipment, or if you’re really limited on luggage space, rent this at your ski destination. Nearly every ski resort will have a rental shop in the base area or in the nearby town. Experienced staff can help you choose the right ski equipment for your specific skill level.
- Skis/snowboard (and bindings) Ski Boots* – If you’re a beginner, rent ski boots. If you’re a mid-level skier or above, your ski boots can be the most important equipment to invest in. Once you have them fitted and customized, nothing feels better. If you love your ski boots, pack them in your carryon. You can always rent skis and poles, but nothing compares to your own customized boots. And if your bags get lost, you won’t have to miss your first powder day or suffer through uncomfortable feet.
- Skis: If you’re happy with your skis, bring them along! But a ski vacation is also a great time to try new equipment. Most rental shops have a wide variety of rental skis, for every level of skiers. Plus, many offer overnight tuning, so you can start each day with a fresh tune. You could also consider demoing/testing a new pair before purchasing them. But then be sure to pack a ski bag for the way back.
- Poles: If you packed your skis, pack your poles. If not, rent alongside your skis. Key note: it’s only worth packing the long ski bag if there are skis, too.
- Helmet: easy to rent, but heads up, they can get a little sweaty, so you may feel more comfortable having your own.
Optional/less recommended for rental at the resort
Most of these items are available for rental at major resorts. But, we recommend researching in advance to ensure availability. Also, some of these items may feel a little more intimate for rental, so if you’re averse to sharing clothes, bring your own.
- Helmet – Usually available as part of a ski rental package, a ski helmet is simple to rent at most rental shops. Still, be sure to check in advance for prices and availability.
Other Important Items
Don’t forget the items that you don’t wear! A lot of things will go into your bag at the last minute, so be sure to check them off your list.
- PHONE CHARGER: lots of people forget this one!
Luxury Items to Pack – little extras?
The little extras can mean a lot for a nice ski trip. You can fit a lot in your ski jacket pockets, but if you really love snacks and drinks, consider a small skiing backpack.
- A few granola bar/snacks for your pockets on travel day or on the slopes.
- A 6 pack of beer and a flask.
- Hand/foot warmers
It’s in the Bag
Pack a bag with wheels. At a minimum, make sure your bag can be worn as a backpack (not just over one shoulder). Unless you’re super strong, carrying a big duffel bag through airports, trains, and walkways is really tiring. This packing list can get heavy, so put your gear in a quality bag. Shop Bags