The ultimate ski trip packing list contains everything you need to be warm, dry, and comfortable on the slopes—whether you’re hitting the bunny slope or the black diamond. Below are the essentials you need to pack before your next ski trip.
Ski Trip Packing List: Clothes
- Ski jacket: Patagonia’s 3-in-1 Snowbelle Jacket is my go-to. It’s cut for women can be worn in three different ways, so you’ll be prepared for any kind of weather conditions on the mountain. Helly Hansen’s Alpha 3.0 Jacket is a great option for men, as it’s lightweight and breathable but still warm enough for below-freezing days.
- Base layers: Tani Thermals provide a warm base made with super-soft fabrics. Their moisture-wicking design means that if you work up a sweat, you won’t freeze in wet layers when you cool off.
- Ski socks: The Falke SK2 Thermal Ski Socks feature thin cushioning on the shin, heel, toes, and ankles to save you from ski boot agony.
- Apres-ski outfits: After a long day on the slopes, you’ll want comfort more than style. Pack cozy things like leggings or sweatpants if you’re just lounging around your vacation rental, or jeans and a fleece if you’re checking out the local nightlife.
- Mid-layer: A mid-layer, like a thin jacket or fleece that fits under your ski jacket, is essential for unpredictable weather. Patagonia’s Nano Puff is thin enough to fit under most jackets without restricting your movement.
- Shells: If you’re skiing on a warm day or doing trekking or touring, waterproof shells that can be custom-layered are a better bet than a full jacket or insulated pants. Fjallraven’s Bergtagen Eco-Shell Jacket and Bergtagen Eco-Shell Trousers are made from a lightweight, recycled material that blocks out all moisture without overheating you or making annoying “swishing” sounds like most rain layers. Both have the important RECCO reflector built-in, which could save your life in an avalanche.
- Glove liners: Wear glove liners under mittens to give your hands extra warmth. If you get touch-screen compatible ones like these from Columbia, you can use your smartphone without exposing your skin to the elements.
- Ski pants: Obermeyer’s Bond Pant are my favorite women’s ski pants, as they are super stretchy and easy to move in. The Process Pant is a solid choice for men, with a built-in insulating layer.
- Slippers: After a day spent in ski boots, you’ll be glad to slip into some warm slippers at your hotel or rental.
- Swimsuits and flip-flops: You’ll want these if your lodging has a hot tub or heated pool. Click here for our round-up of active swimsuits.
- Helmet liner: Make your helmet even warmer by wearing a liner underneath. This one by Turtle Fur is thin enough that it won’t interfere with your helmet’s fit, and can be worn alone as a hat once you take off your helmet.
- Mittens: Tired of cold hands on the slopes? Invest in Backcountry’s Gore-Tex Snow Mittens, which deliver waterproof, breathable performance that are sure to keep your hands dry in the worst conditions.
- Neck gaiter: A neck warmer is a must for skiing, keeping that gap between your jacket and face from freezing—plus it can be pulled over the lower half of your face for those cold lift rides. I love the MERIWOOL neck gaiter, which is made out of 100% Merino Wool.
- Casual boots: Don’t clomp around the lodge in your ski boots. Pack a change of footwear in your bag for after last chair and you’ll be grateful. The Shellista IV tall boots from The North Face are my favorite as they reach the knee (for extra warmth).
Ski Trip Packing List: Toiletries
Of course, you’ll want to pack the essential toiletries that you always bring when traveling (toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.)
For a ski-specific trip, you’ll definitely want to add:
- Leave-in serum for hair: If you have long hair, you know that no matter how you wear it during skiing, it becomes a giant tangle during the day. Working in a leave-in serum like this one from It’s a 10 can help prevent that.
- Hair dryer: Odds are, wherever you’re staying will have one. But if not, a travel hair dryer is worth bringing, as going out to dinner with wet hair in the cold is pretty miserable. T3’s Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer is as lightweight as the name implies, plus it folds up for easy packing.
- Hair elastics: So you don’t have to deal with your hair flying in your face as you speed downhill.
- Pain relievers: Aspirin and ibuprofen are both recommended to help with sore muscles.
- Lotion: Cold air dries out your skin faster, so make sure to pack an ultra-moisturizing lotion.
Toiletry Packing Options
Ski Trip Packing List: Gear
- Boot bag: I’ve had High Sierra’s Deluxe Trapezoid Boot Bag for years, and it’s held up perfectly. It can hold enough for a weekend trip, plus has two zippered side compartments with drainage that keep your snowy boots separate from the rest of your gear.
- Ski bag: A ski bag makes it so much easier to carry your poles and skis (especially if you’re flying). This one from Athletico is a stellar option that won’t break the bank.
- Skis: Dynastar’s Legend X 96 skis were named by Back Country Magazine as one of their Editor’s Picks for Best All-Mountain Skis.
- Ski poles: Leki’s Artena S have grips that are sized down for a woman’s hands (which makes a big difference) and have a carbide tip that gives great grip even on icy surfaces.
- Ski boots: Take this Ski Boot Finder quiz from Skis.com to find your perfect fit.
- Helmet: For the safest option, look for a helmet with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), which will better protect your brain if you fall at an angle. Giro’s Nine MIPS Snow Helmet is one of the most affordable versions with this technology.
- Goggles: Zeal Optics’ Fargo goggles are sized for smaller faces. I like these because they have Optimum Lenses that help with visibility by cutting down on snow glare. They also offer 100 percent UV protection and are virtually fog-proof.
Ski Trip Packing List: For Your Jacket Pocket
- Tissues: When your nose is running on the lift, you’ll be glad to have a pack in your pocket, and these ones are much softer than ski lodge napkins.
- Ski Balm: Skiing means subjecting the sensitive skin on your face to windburn and sunburn. Avoid both with this perfectly-sized tin of Ski Balm, which offers SPF 40 protection and prevents irritation from wind. It also works as a lip balm!
- Snacks: Granola bars or anything else pocket-sized can save you from both an energy crash and from spending all your money at the waffle cabin.
- Credit card: In case you need to buy anything.
- Cash: Some spots on the mountain might be cash only.
- ID: No matter how old you look, you might get carded at the bar—or need it in case of an emergency.
- Extra hair elastic: In case you lose the one in your hair.
- Hand sanitizer: You don’t want a winter cold or flu to slow down your ski season, so use this before eating those aforementioned snacks (or a meal).
Ski Trip Packing List: Miscellaneous
- Cell phone with shatterproof/waterproof case: If you yard-sale, your pride might be damaged, but at least your phone won’t be.
- Backup portable charger: Phones die quicker in the cold weather, so a backup portable charger is a must.
- Insulated bottle for hot drinks/food: If you don’t want to pay resort prices for a hot coffee or meal, pack an insulated bottle or thermos and stash your own in your ski bag. The Hydro Flask keeps food hot for up to three hours, while this bottle keeps drinks hot for up to six or cold for 24 if you’re bringing water.
- Hand and foot warmers: HotHands have kept me out on the mountain longer on those ultra-cold days. (The toe warmers are the best.)
- GoPro and harness or helmet clip: In case you want to film your adventures.
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More from SmarterTravel:
- How to Book a Ski Vacation: A Definitive Guide to Ski Packages
- 9 Winter Travel Essentials for Your Next Trip
- 10 Winter Outfit Necessities for Travel
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018.
It has been updated to reflect the most current information.Caroline Morse Teel can be found on the ski slopes of New England for most of the winter. Follow Caroline on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline to see pictures from the mountains.
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