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Crystal enjoys planning the itineraries for our trips and I enjoy planning the outfits. I also like the challenge of seeing how I can fit everything into my Bigger Carryon suitcase so I can avoid paying the checked bag fees. We visited Banff National Park during one of the transitional months in late August to early September (Labor Day Weekend), so it was a tricky time of year to pack for. Mountain weather is quite unpredictable and after reading several blog posts I pretty much figured that I had to pack for fluctuating temperatures.
I had to pack for 30 degree (fahrenheit) mornings, warm to chilly days, and cold evenings. Our itinerary consisted of minimal hiking, canoeing, gondola rides, night photography, and a ton of sunrise photography. I wanted to make sure I packed everything I needed to stay comfortable throughout the day. I was actually quite surprised at the varying temperatures throughout the day, but then again we are in a mountain region so this is supposedly very normal. Due to the mountainous region, we also ran into some light showers at night and even experienced some snow one morning at Lake Louise.
I put together a list of the clothes and accessories that I packed and I’m glad I brought every single one of these items. The main thing that was key to this trip was layering and, of course, staying comfortably in style.
I really wanted to bring my sneakers, but am so glad I left them at home. It was in the low thirties every morning when we were up for the sunrise. It actually snowed one morning when we arrived at Lake Louise. Luckily it stopped just in time for us to step out to take those gorgeous sunrise photos. Sneakers would have been doable during the day when it was warmer, but for the early mornings, evenings, and summit visits winter boots were a better option. We wore our Bearpaw boots and they kept our feet warm and comfy throughout the day. The boots we wore were treated with Neverwet technology, so even if we ended up in puddles or snow our feet would have been just fine. If you’re in the market for some new boots, you can get 20% any pair of Bearpaw footwear with code BPAMBCW.
2. Leg Warmers
Leg warmers always remind us of eighties workout videos or ballet dancers. We like to wear our leggings for a long day of sightseeing and sometimes in those wee hours having on a pair of leg warmers really adds a ton of extra warmth. If at any point during the day we wanted to take them off, they took up little room in our backpacks. We both bought the same pair of leg warmers on Amazon for only $8.
We highly recommend making smart fabric choices with sweaters. Cotton sweaters really don’t provide the warmth you are going to want. If you think wearing a bunch of extra layers will do the trick, it doesn’t really help especially when you’ve got so many layers on that you can’t move. Thermal insulation is key to conserving that body heat. We packed our warm and cozy sweaters from Margaret O’Leary and not only is the fabric super soft but it also kept us toasty. We also love that Margaret O’Leary’s designs are timeless and chic.
Uniqlo! We can’t stress enough how much we love Uniqlo’s heat-tech inner-wear. First, the price tag is very reasonable so you won’t have to break the bank to get these amazing products into your wardrobe. Second, they truly make a difference as the fabric is revolutionary and works with your body to generate and retain body heat. An added bonus is the fabric’s anti-odor properties.
We are so glad we paid close attention to the weather because those early mornings were sooooo cold. I don’t think we would have survived without a heavy coat. You definitely want to be prepared and wear a well insulated jacket. You’ll be especially grateful when you take those beautiful gondola rides up into the mountains for the amazing views of Banff.
You will not want to put your phone down with the gorgeous landscapes in Banff. With that being said, you will most likely be taking a million photos. You’ll find yourself never wearing your gloves and your hands will not be happy. Having fingerless gloves makes a world of difference and you’ll be grateful you had them.
We did a lot of walking so having a bag packed with our essentials was necessary. We needed a backpack big enough to carry our snacks, bottled water, cameras, and our extra layers of clothes. We both brought our anti-theft Pacsafe backpacks with us. Not only is it equipped with awesome anti-theft features, but it also has a feminine design. We love that our Pacsafe backpacks are designed for women which make it a lot easier to match our outfits.
You will never have to worry about dropping your phone with this must-have accessory. We can’t live without our Bandolier’s and are so grateful that they even exist. It has made our travels so much better and stress-free. We no longer worry about dropping or losing our phones and love that it also holds credit cards. We get asked ALL THE TIME where we got our nifty cross-body phone case and we are always happy to reply Bandolier! We also use this on a daily basis and not just on our travels.
Wearing a hat adds a ton of warmth, but we also liked having our hats for the misty mornings. Our hair gets pretty frizzy and having something to cover the frizzes is especially nice when taking photos. If you are looking to optimize your luggage space, the ear warmer headbands are a great option and inexpensive.
10. Oversized Tartan Wrap
This wrap was fantastic for Banff as a layering piece and also a great travel item in general. It comes in handy in so many ways like using it as a blanket on cold flights and using it as a scarf to add that extra stylish element. The fabric is also very soft and you feel very cozy with this oversized wrap. The best part is that it comes at a great price on Amazon at under $15.
One more thing, this isn’t necessarily a garment, but we recommend packing Adhesive Body Heat Patches. We used these warm patches when we were in higher elevation and they were awesome.