How To Pack Lightly For Your Winter Adventure In Vermont

Every winter, Vermont becomes a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. But you should be prepared for cold weather. Especially if you want to ski the full length of the Catamount Trail.


You’ll need to wear layers to remain comfortable outdoor. However, you will usually find that items of equipment and specialist clothing for your adventure can be hired at your destination. Alternatively, if extra expense is not a problem, you can buy the clothes and equipment you need in Vermont.


The benefits of traveling light

If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ve probably learned the benefits of traveling light. Personally, I fly with hand luggage only. I use a compact bag that can fit under the seat and is easy to carry.


This means I can arrive later for flights because I check in online. I also get out of the airport quicker on arrival, since I don’t need to wait for a suitcase from the carrousel. And one of the greatest advantages is not having to struggle with multiple heavy bags during transfers.


Of course, if you charter a private helicopter flight, you will be able to carry extra luggage without the hassle of waiting around at your destination airport. However, you’ll still be encumbered with lots of bags between helicopter and hotel.


The necessity of practical bags

If you’re skiing along the Catamount Trail, or planning a long snowshoe adventure, you’ll need some convenient way of carrying your extra layers of clothing and emergency supplies. Unless you’re happy wearing damp clothes when temperatures dip below freezing, you’ll need a good quality waterproof backpack.


Ideally, you should use a backpack that’s comfortable to carry and doesn’t interfere with your progress on skis or snowshoes. It should be large enough to carry the essentials but not so large it’s cumbersome. And, of course, you should pack lightly. After all, you’ll be carrying that bag, and you want to enjoy the experience.


How to pack lightly

Whether you’re packing your hand luggage or preparing a backpack, the principles remain the same. Basically, you must include everything you need but nothing you don’t need. Here’s how to do that.


Make five lists

Before you push squeeze all your thermal leggings and heated vests into your bag, pause to think. It’s important you don’t leave anything essential behind, so make lists.


Another good reason for a list is so you don’t pack too many examples of each item. Putting your list down on paper so you can see it helps you better visualize what you’re doing and prevents simple mistakes of omission.


  • Clothes
  • Equipment
  • Toiletries
  • Essentials
  • Food & drinks


Obviously, you’ll need layers. However, be smart about what you take. For example, rather than taking two pairs of socks, pack electric heated socks. And rather than two vests, one electrically heated vest.


When packing your flight bag, an obvious trick is to wear as much as possible when you board your aircraft, so you don’t have to pack as many clothes. However, you must include the clothes you plan to wear while traveling in your list.



If you can hire or buy an item of equipment in Vermont, consider leaving it off your list. However, if it is something you can’t replace, like your favorite camera, then it should go on your list.


The equipment you need will depend upon the adventure you plan. If you’re headed out into the wilderness backcountry skiing, play safe. Take along a first aid kit, the means to create a fire, and perhaps some emergency rations.


If you’re going to be really remote, then you might like to consider attaching a small tent to your backpack. Although you probably aren’t planning to sleep outside, if the event of a twisted ankle, you may need to take shelter for some time before help arrives.



If you’re going to be out all day in the snow, winter sunscreen is a good idea. Sunlight reflected off snow can be harsh. If you’re snowshoeing with kids, you might need extra toiletries, like baby wipes.



Essential items depend upon your personal circumstances and what you’re planning to do in Vermont. If you or any member of your group suffers from a medical condition, you must ensure any essential medicine is included on your list. Anyone with allergies shouldn’t travel without an EpiPen.


You may need your id and driving license to hire equipment or a vehicle. Don’t forget any bank cards you require along with some cash and your travel documents.


Food & drinks

It’s a good idea to take along nutrition bars and even MRE packs if you’re planning to head somewhere remote. Although you might not plan to eat on the trail during your snowshoeing adventure, you’ll be grateful for emergency food if you’re unexpectedly delayed by harsh weather, a blocked trail, or an accident.


Also take bottled water to stay hydrated. If you’re traveling with kids, they’re sure to want snacks even if your journey is completely on schedule.


Organize your gear

Both for packing your hand luggage and preparing a backpack, collect all the items you’ve decided you must pack and lay them out across a flat surface. This will help you to visualize where you’re going to pack them within your bag. Also, clear out any items remaining in your bag from previous excursions before you begin.



During the actual packing process, cross the items off your list as you pack them. This will help prevent you missing anything or packing something twice. Also, pack in the following order…


Heavy items

Heavy items go first. These should be at the bottom of your hand luggage or backpack, both for better balance and so they don’t crush more delicate items. A well-balanced backpack is less likely to cause you back injuries.


Frequently used items

Anything you’ll need quickly, such as in an emergency, should be in a convenient side pocket or on top. If your child suffers an anaphylactic shock, you won’t want to be emptying out your whole bag before you find the EpiPen.


Snacks for your kids should be easily accessible. And anything you’ll need to use frequently, such as your camera or a map and compass, should be in a side pocket so you don’t have to open up the whole bag every five minutes.


Where possible, hang frequently used items around your neck on straps. For example, you often see adventurers carrying their map and compass in a clear folder hanging in front of their chest, and keen photographers should do the same with their camera.


Time to hit the snow!

By now, you should have crossed everything off your list and be ready for your exciting winter adventure in Vermont. However, one more word of caution. If you are planning on snowshoeing or backcountry skiing, please let someone outside of your group know your exact planned route and estimated time of arrival. In the unlikely event you’re caught under an avalanche, you’ll feel better knowing someone noticed you didn’t check in on time.


So…be safe, see amazing things, and enjoy yourself during your winter adventure in Vermont.