There are so many benefits to traveling in the off season. Januardy and February in Europe and North America are often much less expensive than other months. Outside the traffic-heavy holidays, you’ll also enjoy fewer crowds and shorter lines. But every perk has its drawback and for winter travelers, that’s the temperature. Stay warm on your off-season holiday in these perfectly packable duds.
Light layers is the name of the game for almost any packing conundrum, but sometimes you need a properly warm jacket. So how do you bring along a heavy-duty piece of outerwear without eating up half your suitcase? Enter the packable down. Down is so good at keeping heat in, you don’t need as much material to stay warm, and it’s also extremely easy to compress. Montbell and Patagonia have loads of quality options on the market, while the North Face Thermoball is a good synthetic alternative that literally fits inside its own pocket when packed.
Good quality thermal wear or long johns from companies like Duofold, Polarmax, and ColdPruf are sure to be on any winter traveler’s wish list. But if you’d like another layer over that moisture wicking base, go the extra mile with a pair of fleece lined leggings or tights. That little bit of lining keeps things thin and easy to fold, but can be even warmer than a pair of jeans on a brisk day. Steve Madden and Sejora are just two brands available.
Winter footwear isn’t just about warmth. You also need strong traction to keep from slipping on icy sidewalks. Hikers probably know Vibram for its sturdy and durable soles, but the company’s gone above and beyond for suitcase-ready winter wear. The Furoshiki Shearling Boot slips on with Velcro straps, so when they’re not in use, they fold down flat. They’re a space saver in the bag, and a life saver should you run into inclement weather on the road.
Keep your fingers feeling toasty even when you’re updating your Instagram with your latest sweet vacation shot. A good pair of gloves with touchscreen pads on the fingertips make it easy to handle your smartphone without exposing your hands to the cold. Halogen makes a stylish pair, while Gordini doesn’t mess around with warmth. In addition to the digital grip, Gordini’s gloves have three layers of thermal, waterproof fabric without getting too bulky. The brand’s Stomp III mittens even have a special pocket for a hand warmer for those days you need a little extra boost of heat.
There is no joy like a really good pair of socks in winter. Every packing list should have at least three or four pairs of warm, but lightweight socks. Go too bulky and you risk entering blister territory. Smartwool is the reigning brand, but if you’d like another option Heat Holders’ Thermal Socks have a cushy lining to keep in maximum warmth without getting too thick or stiff.