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Winter Essentials - Canada

Updated: Jan 26

A snowy railway

Now that we've had our first officially snow fall of the year, I think it's a great time to talk about some winter essentials you'll need for surviving the Canadian winter!


Dress Warm

We all know that winter is a very chilly time of year, but how chilly it is, depends on where you are in the world. Winters can be quite brutal in Canada, so you need make sure you're prepared for the worst of it. Trust me, being over prepared during the Canadian winter is much better than being under prepared.

When it comes to clothing, you definitely need the following:

  • A Hat

    • ...or as we Canadians call them, toques! It is the French word used to refer to the kind of beanie that has a pom-pom on the top.

  • Ear Muffs

    • Sometimes hats aren't enough to keep your ears warm, especially if you wear dangling earrings.

  • Scarf

    • For those of us who don't like wearing scarves, in Canada, we also have this neck covering called, bare with me now, a dickey (I'm serious). It's essentially a turtle neck if you only had the turtle neck part.

  • Mittens

    • Without mittens, it is very easy for your fingers to go numb and stiff from the frigid temperatures. You can also get wind burn from the hard wind chills, and/or end up with dry, cracked hands, especially on the knuckles, that can bleed. On really chilly days, it a good idea to double layer your mittens.

  • Hand Warmers

    • These a great for putting in mittens, hats, boots, pockets, etc. You simply shake them before going out, they take 10-15 minutes to warm up, then stay warm for 8+ hours.

  • Sweaters

    • I prefer sweaters with zippers than the pull over kind, as they are easier to take off once you're inside, but any kind of thick, warm sweater underneath your jacket will do.

  • Boots

    • If you're unsure your boots are going to be warm enough, I recommend buying a pair of boots in Canada. We are more likely to have boots meant for our winter.

  • Jacket

    • A jacket is a given right? But same as the boots, not all jackets are made for Canadian winters. It might be better to buy a winter jacket in Canada.

  • Warm Socks

    • Those thin, ankle length socks we wear during the summer, won't keep you feet warm in knee high snow. One of the worst feelings during winter is getting snow in your boots or on you bare ankles. When sock shopping, you want long and thick socks that create a tight barrier, keeping all the heat in.

  • Leggings

    • Just like with mittens, sometimes it a good idea to double layer your pants. I often wear legging or thermal long Johns underneath my jeans on really cold winter days.

  • Snow pants

    • If you plan on enjoying some of the amazing winter activities Canada has to offer, you will need snow pants. Snow pants are similar to rain jackets in that they keep the wearer dry, but they are also insulated, keeping you warm as well. A good pair of snow pants will keep you from freezing in soaking wet jeans after falling into a mountain of snow while skiing.

  • Sunglasses

    • You wouldn't think you'd need sunglasses during the winter time, but you'd be surprised how blinding the sun can be when it reflects off the bright white snow.


It's not just clothing that you'll need to survive the Canadian winter. The air is incredibly dry during the winter, which can be quite brutal on your skin and airways.

If you have dry skin, like I do, it's time to change to a heavy-duty moisturizer. If you have oily skin, you should still moisturizer, but you may experience less breakouts during the chilly winter months.

  • Moisturizer

    • Like I said, I have really dry skin and it only get worse come winter time. Lately, on top of my serum and moisturizer, I apply an overnight moisturizing mask. If you wear makeup, I would recommend wearing a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation or mixing your foundation with moisturizer for that added layer of moisture.

  • Lip balm

    • The same goes for your lips. Dry, cracked lips that can also bleed are not fun!

  • Hand Cream

    • Hand cream is a must! It is very easy to get wind burn or dry, cracked hands, that can bleed, from the harsh, dry winter air. However, you want to apply any kind of moisturizer (face cream, hand cream, lip balm, etc.) a bit before going out. If you apply it right before going out, or while outside, it will only make you colder as the moisturizer freezes in the cold.

  • Tissues

    • The dry winter air will cause your nose to dry out, so your body will over compensate by creating more mucus. This will cause a runny nose. The same kind of thing happens with your eyes, so it good to have tissues to wipe away this excess moisture.

  • Face Coverings

    • I use a cloth face mask, but scarves can also act as great face coverings. These face coverings will, not only keep your nose warm, but moist. It's important to keep your airways moist as a dry nose can lead to more frequent nose bleeds. I tend to get them during the transition between the seasons, and less often as my body adjusts to the temperature and moisture changes.

    • If you don't get nose bleeds during the winter, you will likely still experience an odd nose sensation. Since you breath out hot, moist air, your nose hairs can actually freeze. To avoid becoming hyper aware of your nose hairs, I'd wear a face covering.

How many times can I say moisture huh?

Frau Hannah all bundled up
I was in Michigan in this photo

If you do end up applying all these tips, you will likely look like this.

Might look a bit silly, but I can definitely assure you, I am warm!


What was your first experience of snow like? What is your favourite part of winter?

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