Packing List for Canada (Expert Guide) – Softback Travel

Welcome to the ultimate packing list for Canada.

Canada has a vast and varied landscape, with forested valleys, majestic mountains and beautiful blue rivers and lakes. It’s a country that experiences many climatic extremes due to its sheer size, from scorching summers to freezing winters.

This can make packing clothes and essentials for Canada a little tricky. In our packing list we will outline and guide you on exactly what to pack and what not to pack for Canada.

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Packing List for Canada – Travel Essentials

packing list for Canada

These are some of the essential items I think you’d be silly to not add to your packing list for Canada. I myself often overlook the importance of certain travel items when on the road. Sometimes I’m just lazy… But, let’s face it, the extra effort/attention to detail can make your trip so much more enjoyable. Here are some essential travel items I recommend you bring along to Canada.


G4Free Hiking Backpack

If you plan on hiking in Canada (who isn’t?) you will need a trusty daypack. This 40L backpack is roomy enough to fit a hammock, some clothes, a towel, food and a couple beers.


Travel Towel

I’m sure you have already realised how much packing space conventional towels take up? You can completely avoid this with these light quick drying travel towels. Plus, these towels are made from recycled plastic bottles!


Packing Cubes

If you travel with large suitcases (I personally prefer 70L backpacks) then these eco-friendly packing cubes are a game changer. They save so much luggage space and help you to organize your clothing at the same time.


Money Belt

Although Canada is ranked as one of the ten safest countries in the world, I still recommend a money belt. Wallets are so easily lost, especially when you are on the move everyday.


Travel Insurance for Canada

Again, even a country as safe as Canada requires travel insurance, it’s just too critical to overlook. You never know if your flight will be cancelled, if you’ll slip on some black ice, or just fall ill. Be safe and get yourself travel insurance.


Eco Cotton Socks

Absolutely essential to add on your packing list for Canada if you plan on visiting the country in winter. These socks are made from recycled cotton.


Reusable Face Mask

Of course during the Covid-19 pandemic all travelers and locals alike are expected to wear a face mask. If you would like to learn more about the regulations surrounding the virus in Canada please click here.


Canadian Travel guide

A beautiful paperback travel guide for Canada. If you don’t mind carrying the extra weight, then this is the travel guide for you. Another option would be the kindle which we will go into detail by the “electronics” sections of this post.


Packing List for Canada – Hiking

Packing list for Canada

Canada probably has some of the world’s most breathtaking hiking trails. You simply cannot avoid hiking while you’re in this country, trust me if you do, you WILL regret it. If I could take one thing from this hiking list, it would totally be the hammock. I don’t care if I’m barefoot, without a chair or without water, give me a hammock and I’m in heaven (ok, maybe I’ll need some water).


Hammock

Definitely include this item on your packing list for Canada! I take mine with me all over the world and they make traveling so much more chillaxed. Find two trees by a pristine Canadian mountain lake, set up your hammock and kick back.


Trekking Poles

I personally prefer to pick up old broken branches I find along the trail, but if you want something a tad more robust then these trekking poles will see you through many winters.


Klean Kanteen

The perfect hiking companion, the Klean Kanteen will keep any of your drinks either icy cold or steaming hot. Plus, what better thermo flask to replace all those single use plastic options out there!


Life Straw

The tap water in Canada is perfectly safe for drinking so there’s absolutely no need to purchase bottled water. However, if you are out hiking and you find a river somewhat sketchy, simply put one of these Sawyer straws into the flow and enjoy some purified water (Removes 99.99999% of all bacteria).


Foldable Camping Chair

If you decide to leave the hammock at your hotel (don’t) why not bring along a foldable camping chair. Once you’ve found that perfect spot next to some Canadian waterfall, whip out and unfold this bad boy. Also, they only weigh 2.1 lbs!


Hiking Boots

If you don’t already own good waterproof hiking boots, I’d really recommend you consider getting a pair. A large part of your time is bound to be spent outdoors in the wilderness when traveling through Canada.


Packing List for Canada – Electronics

Packing list for Canada

A lot of the electronics we mention below go hand in hand with the hiking theme for Canada. There’s nothing like reading your kindle while sitting next to one of the most pristine mountain rivers in the Banff National Park.


Solar Power Bank

This is a super powered waterproof solar power bank (say that again even faster), it can charge an Iphone 7 up to 13 times! If left fully exposed to the sun, expect the power bank to be fully charged within 6 hours. Can I get a loud “EFFICIENT” from you?


Kindle

There’s nothing worse than traveling with heavy books in your backpack. The Kindle immediately solves that problem, as you can essentially store over 1000 books on a device that weighs 6.7 ounces, convenient.

P.S: Dear paperback books, I will never abandon you entirely, only on my travels, I promise!


Universal Travel Adapter

If you are traveling from the US to Canada, you can ignore this item. However, if you are traveling from anywhere else in the world, then it’s super important you add this adapter to your Canada packing list. This particular one is epic as it even has USB ports so you can charge multiple items all at once.


Portable WIFI

With the Skyroam Solis you don’t have to worry about roaming costs or foreign SIM cards when traveling around Canada, or the world! This glorious gadget offers unlimited 4G LTE service in over 130 countries around the globe.


Smartphone Gimbal

Designed to reduce shaking when shooting movies. If you are a travel vlogger or just a traveler who loves documenting their trip with video, this 3-Axis gimbal is a game changer.


Smartphone Breathalyzer

Canada is known for having somewhat complicated liquor laws, a cool fun way of measuring your own liquor level is with this affordable smartphone breathalyzer. Be aware though, it doesn’t have a professional-grade sensor integrated, for that you will have to check this one out.


Overrated Travel Items

Again as always we like to include what not to bring with you on travels, and this packing list for Canada is no different. These are some of those items that won’t benefit all that much. It’s of my opinion that you should rather leave them in their deep dark spaces back at home.

Cannabis

Yes, Canada is fairly strict when it comes to cannabis, even if you have a medical prescription for the herb you may not bring it through the borders. And in case you were wondering, CBD oil among any other cannabis infused products are also not allowed in the country. Unfortunate I know, but nothing like fresh open alpine air to get you on the same level, right?


More than one rain jacket

Unless you plan on traveling to Canada in winter, one rain jacket should suffice. Rain jackets notoriously take up lots of luggage space. What I recommend is investing in a thick warm waterproof jacket. This will serve as rain jacket and a stylish jacket for warmth. Here check this one out.


Passport Wallet

These things are usually given to us by members of the family, #goodwillgift. Thanks guys, we really do appreciate the gesture, but think about it. What use do they really serve? 1. They likely skin some poor animal for it, and 2. pretty much all customs officers ask you to remove your passport from the bloody thing upon inspection.


Rain Poncho

Yes these pieces of plastic are easy to compress somewhere into your backpack, but let’s face it folks, how ridiculous do you look wearing it? Plus, it doesn’t even work properly, rain gets through the sleeve holes and it doesn’t keep you warm. Rather invest in a warm, waterproof jacket!


Torch

I love using these bad boys when at home or on a van camping trip. But when traveling overseas, when will you ever be able to justify the extra weight/space take up? Never, that’s the answer. Unless of course you plan on spending the majority of your time in Canada underground on a tunnel tour? Alternatively, get a head torch, now that’s a worthy investment!


Travel Clock

To be quite frank, I never knew people actually took this with them on their travels. Well, if you do, I envy your nostalgic ways. Just keep in mind though, your mobile phone serves you in more ways than one.


Packing Checklist (TO PRINT)


Average Temperature in Canada

Canada is a massive country, you’ll find the average temperature varies greatly depending on where in Canada you visit. Below, I’ve created an info graphic that you can use as a guide if you plan on traveling to Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. If your location is not listed on our info graphic, check out this website.

Average Temperature in Canada - Infographic

Book Accommodation in Canada

Booking.com

FAQ For Traveling in Canada

Is it always ice cold in Canada?

This depends on when you travel to the country. Winters are typically quite cold, so make sure to add warm clothes to your packing list for Canada. Summer months, however, can actually be quite pleasant, if not really hot!

What’s the best way to travel around Canada?

Canada is huge, really, it’s a massive country. If you’d like to see much of the countryside, I’d recommend traveling around with a rental car. Within bigger cities, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, you can expect reliable public transportation systems. There are intercity/provincial buses and trains, but surprisingly these modes of transport can become quite costly. If I were you, I’d rent an epic van and travel across this vast country at my own leisure!

Am I going to see wildlife in Canada?

If you are in the Canadian outback you can definitely expect to see wildlife. However, most cities are devoid of wildlife (just like most cities around the world). Canada is known for bears, wolves, mountain lions, deer, beavers, moose, caribou, and more.

Is French spoken in Canada?

French is Canada’s second official language. However, it is not spoken by all Canadians. The majority of French is spoken in the east of the country, near Quebec. You may encounter some people in other areas of Canada who speak French, but it is not too common.

Is tipping expected in Canada?

Tipping is expected in Canada, most restaurants would find it reasonable if you tipped between 15 – 20% on meals. You may be expected to tip in other scenarios as well, for example by taxis, coffee shops, tour operators, hair salons etc. In these examples the amount of the tip is completely up to you.

What is the national Canadian dish?

Canada’s national dish is known as poutine. It is a French-Canadian meal including three ingredients: fries, cheese curds and gravy, mmm healthy! Check out this website if you are interested in the vegan version of Canada’s national dish.

What is the best time of year to visit Canada?

The best time to visit Canada is spring or early fall (after Labor Day). If you visit during this time you are sure to get the best prices and avoid the crowds. In summer, Canadian schools are let out, so popular destinations become flooded with both local and international tourists. Just make sure you double check that the attraction you plan to visit in fall is open, as some places are closed in off-season.


Please note that I will update this post regularly. If you have any items you absolutely must see on this packing list for Canada, feel free to comment your ideas at the bottom of this post. The best ideas stand a chance to be featured on this list.

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