What to wear in the Canadian Rockies

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Written by Rick Wilson posted on Friday, December 4th, 2009

Banff National Park, Alberta

It is so tempting to make this the shortest blog of all time by saying just wear everything in the Rockies. Personally I grew a beard thinking this would keep me warmer but then on one early morning it started freezing and I looked like a 19th century explorer. It doesn’t make sense to just throw everything you own on. That is why I, your faithful Banff Insider, is here to help you choose the right things to wear around Banff and Jasper and to make sure you don’t spend your time in the Canadian Rockies sniffling under the covers.

The weather is ever changing in the Canadian Rockies.

The weather is ever changing in the Canadian Rockies.

Getting Off on the Right Foot.

I am not just talking about winter. The weather here is as fickle and bad tempered as your typical lady I am trying to flirt with. When you are hiking, boarding or skiing, the trick is all about the shoes. If you want to save on anything – don’t hold back on footwear. This is your centre of heat, grip and comfort and without good shoes you will struggle. Though high heels may look good (on women), they don’t count as spiked shoes. The same goes with your socks. Thick, warm socks preferably with pictures of golf balls on them will be perfect.

Top Half

The trick is to wear several thin layers that you can take off if you are doing a lot of exercise. Of course when you are leaving your hotel for a coffee and it is twenty under, then grab the biggest heaviest jacket that was ever made and make it your home. Something that keeps the wind out is essential. It may surprise you to know that snow is actually a form of frozen water so waterproof gear is essential too.

Shiver me Timbers

Other things to keep with you, especially when hiking, are bear spray, a compass and a map. At the peak of winter, it is definitely worth investing in hand warmers. They only cost a few dollars and keep the hands warm for hours at a time. There are so many great things to do in the Rockies that you don’t want to be shivering the days away. The towns of Banff and Jasper have tons of shopping to cater for all your needs. Just make sure not to let water spill on your beard, technically it can freeze and break off and then you just look silly. Trust me.

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