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The Ultimate Winter Packing List: How Much Will It Cost You?

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 11 January, 2024

All you need to know about preparing for your winter trip, especially for first-timers.

Gearing up for a winter vacation to ski on snow capped mountains and build snowmen with your loved ones? But if it’s your first time packing for a sub zero vacation, it can prove to be a bit of a challenge, especially if you're used to Singapore's year-round tropical vibes.

Beyond just throwing in the thickest jacket you can find in your home, preparing for your winter holiday also means investing in quality winter wear and making smart choices.

If you have no idea where to get started, fret not. Here’s the ultimate guide to preparing for the cold season, including best places to buy quality pieces and what to watch out when travelling to cold countries. We’ve also included a packing list for you at the end of the article for easy reference!

Table of contents:

Winter packing list essentials: what to wear in low-degree weather


Thermal wear

When it comes to dressing comfortable for winter, one of the most important things to get is thermal wear, also commonly known as long johns. They are typically made of two-ply fabric, usually from the combination of cotton and polyester, to help your body trap heat.

Thermal wears differ for different temperature range — other are those lightweight ones that are made for just comfortable aircon temperature, while others that are made specially for temperatures in the negatives which are usually lined with inner fleece to keep you ultra warm.

Layering is key when you’re in sub zero degrees, so getting one that is tight and retains heat can make a huge difference in keeping you warm.


Coats and jackets

A winter coat is an absolute must-have for your winter vacation, but the type of jacket or coat you purchase greatly depends on the weather you’ll experience at your travel destination.

Puffer coats (0°C - 10°C) — These are great to keep you staying toasty while being lightweight at the same time. They are usually insulated with down or synthetic features to help trap heat, and are perfect for both indoor and outdoor activities, because of their waterproof and lightweight materials.

Down jackets (0°C - 5°C) Down jackets made of wool usually do their job at keeping you warm, and are more suitable for cooler, single-digit temperatures. They are usually more heavy duty than puffer coats, and may take up more weight in your luggage. Not only are they water-resistant and keeps you warm, but they are also stylish. Pockets are also a must to hide your hands when they get chilly!

Fleece, double-layered jackets (-20°C - 0°C) — If you’re travelling to places like Korea or Harbin that are known for tier ridiculously low temperatures during winter, then you won’t want to miss out on investing in a good heavy duty fleece winter jacket. Fleece has excellent insulating properties that is able to trap air in its fibers to create a layer of warmth around your body, especially in extremely cold climate. This will be your best friend fighting the cold!


Long sleeves and pants

Sweaters — You can rarely enjoy sweater weather in Singapore, so this is the best chance for you to pack all your favourite sweaters for your trip! There are tons of styles available, from crew necks, to v-necks and even sweater vests. Turtlenecks are also great at keeping your neck warm, so you won’t have to layer any scarfs. Look out for those made of cashmere or wool to keep you ultra warm!

Hoodies — Hoodies are great for that slouchy kind of look, but it may not be enough to keep you warm enough during winter as the neck opening can be quite large for wind to enter and the silhouette is not that tight fitting, so be sure to layer if needed! 

Jeans — Jeans will be your best friend during the winter season because everyone has it, it’s thick enough to keep you toasty, and it’s also extremely versatile where you can match with almost everything. We suggest avoiding ripped jeans as the wind can get to your legs pretty easily. If you’re thinking of buying new pairs, get wider silhouettes like mum jeans so you can layer your thermal wear underneath.

Sweatpants — On days you want to look like you’re trying but not really, throw on your sweatpants for the cosy winter look. They come in a bunch of different materials, so choose one that’s suitable for the temperature. You can even buy an extra pair as PJs!



Beanies — When the weather become biting cold, you’ll realise how much a beanie can make a difference. Make sure to wear it over your ears to keep your ears warm. Not only are they comfy, they are also incredibly stylish to elevate your fit.

Scarves — Scarves are handy at keeping your neck, ears and even face warm. It takes up very little space and it’s extremely convenient to throw it on if you need a little extra warmth.

Socks — Socks can make all the difference in regulating your body temperature. Choose thicker wool socks for maximum comfort and warmth in subzero temperatures. Consider buying those that are odour-resistant to prevent foul smells.

Gloves — Don’t forget to pack in gloves when you’re preparing for your winter trip. You’ll be surprised at how fast your fingers can freeze up and go numb if they’re not sufficiently warm. If you’re the kind that is constantly snapping pics on trips, get touchscreen gloves so you can still continue to be on your device even with the gloves on. 

Ear muffs — If you’re not planning on wearing any head gear, get a trusty pair of ear muffs to prevent your ears from turning red from the cold. They come in a bunch of different colours and designs, so you can choose one that complements your winter fit!

Heat packs — When the cold gets too much to bear, heat packs work wonders in generating some heat for your hands, body and even feet! Chemical heat packs are readily available at most convenience stores and supermarkets especially during the winter, so you can consider stocking up on them. Alternatively, there are also rechargeable heat warmers that you can buy from places like Shopee or Lazada if you forsee yourself using it more than once.

Thermal bottle — Bring along some hot water in your travel bag for access to heat if you get too cold. Drinking hot water can quickly heat up your body and also keep you hydrated!


Sports accessories

Depending on what kind of winter sport you’re participating in overseas, you can decide if you want to bring along your own equipment. While sporting accessories like snowboards and ski poles are available for rent at your ski lodge, you can also consider bringing your own if you own them.

Other more miscellaneous items that you can bring along including goggles, helmets and socks that are suitable for your snow sport can help you save on rental fees.


Moisturisers and lip balms

During winter, the air around you can get extremely dry, resulting in cracked lips and flakey skin, which may sometimes end up in pain or itch. This is when your moisturisers and lip balms can save the day in helping to hydrate your skin and lips.

Best places to buy winter wear


Known for their functional and affordable clothes, Uniqlo is many Singaporeans’ go-to to buy winter wear. They offer a diverse range of winter basics, from winter jackets, jeans, sweaters and even thermal wear that keep you warm in very cold countries.

Focusing on combining style with practicality, pieces from Uniqlo are sure to do its job by keeping you warm in all weather conditions.


Fashionistas may find that Zara is more up their alley as they offer an array of winter clothing that is not only very stylish but also effective. Known for their durable and high-quality fabrics, Zara is the place to go to if you want timeless and trendy clothing that is sure to last you for years to come.

Though they may be slightly more expensive than Uniqlo, what you’re paying for is its good quality materials and chic silhouettes. Who says you can’t keep warm yet not look put together?

The North Face

As a global brand known for its outdoor gears, North Face is sure to guarantee quality and is more suitable for travellers who are going abroad for adventurous sports like trekking, skiing and more.

They provide a wide range of jackets, thermal wear and accessories that are specially made to withstand harsh winter conditions, and are known for its durable and performance-oriented pieces.


Winter Time specialises in offering all kinds of winter essentials for your travels, from thick winter jackets all the way to high-quality luggages. If you need a one-stop-shop for all your travel items, Wintertime is the place for you.

From sweater and parkas to hats and gloves, you can find anything you need regardless of the kind of winter you’ll be experiencing. The store carries a variety of brands and styles, which can accommodate to different tastes and preferences.

Tips to save money on winter wear

Shop during promos — This goes without saying, but if you have ample time before your next trip, time you purchases to coincide with with the sales periods like 11.11, 12.12, and Black Friday. Many shops usually offer irresistible deals during this time, allowing you to maximise your savings

Thift your winter wear — If you’re going to a cold country that won’t experience extremely low temperatures, you might be able to get away with just a normal puffer or thick jacket to keep warm. This is when thrifting comes in handy. You’ll be able to get your hands on a decent jacket at just a small fraction of the price! However, we don’t recommend thrifting if you’re easily scared of the cold or heading to somewhere with subzero temperatures as you won’t know if the jacket you thrifted can keep you warm enough.

Buy neutral colours — Instead of buying statement pieces with bright colours, you can consider purchasing pieces that are of neutral colours like white, black, cream and grey. This way, your clothes are more versatile which means you can wear it more often and style it accordingly.

Invest in good quality wear — Sometimes, saving money on your clothes doesn't mean choosing the cheapest one. Invest in good quality pieces that are durable, long-lasting and does its job well so you won’t have to keep purchasing new sets of winter wear for your next trip due to wear or tear, or when you realise it doesn’t keep you warm enough.

Use the right credit card — Make your purchases on the credit card that gives you the most rewards. Whether you’re Team miles or cashback, picking the right credit card to make your purchase on can stretch your dollar and give you rewards on your spending. If you’re going to have to spend anyway, why not sign up for a new credit card to take advantage of the sign-up rewards on top of the extra miles or cashback?

Common ailments when travelling to cold countries

Common cold and flu — Being exposed to cold especially when there is a sudden change in temperature may make you fall sick and catch a flu. Bring along some medication just in case this happens!

Hypothermia — If you have long exposure to cold weather without adequate protection, you may get hypothermia, which is when your body loses heat faster than it can produce. This may become very dangerous if your body reaches a very low temperature and is unable to regain the heat. Some early signs of hypothermia include shivering, feeling tired, clumsiness and confusion.

If you or your travel buddy experiences symptoms like a sudden stop in shivering, skin turning blue pupils of eyes dilating, slowing down of pulse and breathing or losing consciousness, seek medical help immediately, and try to warm the person up as much as possible by going indoors, letting them drink a warm beverage or using heat packs.

Frostbite — Frostbites happen in extreme cold weather when your extremities like your fingers, toes and ears are not protected against the cold and causes your underlying tissues to freeze. This will result in your skin losing its colour and going numb. In worst case scenarios, you have to undergo surgery to remove the dead skin and tissue.

Dehydration — It’s normal to drink less water in cold weather as you don’t feel thirsty as much, but you should still continue to drink water to avoid dehydration.

Dry and cracked skin — Because the air is drier in cool temperatures, it may make your skin become dry and flakey, and cause chapped lips. Drink more water and apply any moisturiser and moisturising balm on these dry areas.

What to watch out for when travelling to cold countries

Be prepared for the cold — You may think the lowest temperature it can reach is 0°C for example, but always remember to account for the unexpected wind. It ma be 0°C, but it may feel like -5°C during more windy periods of the day. Always be prepared and bring long a scarf, gloves and tons of heat packs if it gets exceptionally chilly. At worst, you can always choose to purchase more warm clothes there is the cold gets too unbearable.

Avoid exceeding your luggage limit — Packing for winter means that the heavy jackets and boots will take up space and weight in your luggage, so either purchase a higher luggage allowance or try to pack light. A rule of thumb is to always wear the bulkier and heavier clothing on you so it doesn't have to be accounted for in your luggage. Remember to also spill over some of the load to your carry-on. It’s always good to leave some space in your luggages for souvenirs and snacks you might wanna buy abroad.

Don’t ignore your bodily symptoms — The first sign to being too cold would be shivering. Once that happens, try to layer on more clothing, get your heat packs out and proceed indoors to escape the cold. It’s also a good idea to drink a warm beverage to get your body heat up, and warm the chest, neck, head and groin area.

Packing list for a 10-day trip to Switzerland

Assuming you’re travelling to Switzerland for a 10-day trip, here is a list of things you’ll need to bring, with the costs.

Packing list
Winter coat/jackets (1-2 pieces)
2x (S$50 - S$200 )
Sweaters/hoodies (5-6 pieces)
6x (S$30 - S$100)
Jeans/sweatpants (4-5 pairs)
5x (S$40 - S$150)
Thermal wear (2-3 sets)
3x (S$20 - S$40)
Winter boots/shoes (1-2 pairs)
2x (S$60 - S$200)
Thick socks (5-8 pairs)
8x (S$10 - S$20)
Beanies and ear muffs (1 set each)
2x (~S$20)
Scarves and gloves (1 set each)
2x (~S$20)
Undergarments (6-12 sets)
12x (S$5- S$20)
Heat packs
Moisturisers and skin products
Lip balms
Sporting equipment
~$1,015 - S$2,890

Tags Travel winter

A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke


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