A warm fire roaring, hot toddies in hand, snow gently falling outside — feels pretty magical, eh? I ADORE winter travel. I grew up in Wisconsin but now live in San Francisco, so I have to hunt out snow each season in order to feel the seasons.
I love running away to the mountains and booking a cozy cabin either with my husband or my friends. As the resident cold weather expert amongst my California crew, I’m always helping them craft their perfect winter cabin outfits and packing list. And I’m finally sharing that with you! Keep reading for exactly what to pack for a winter cabin trip + checklist and tons of REAL outfit ideas so you can stay stylish AND warm on your winter vacation.
Winter wear goes beyond clothing like a cozy sweater and a beanie hat. The biggest mistake I see people make is not packing enough base layers, and totally forgetting some articles of clothing you actually really need for a winter cabin trip (like gloves and a swimsuit for the hot tub.)
If you are new to winter street style don’t worry, I got your back here.
I usually always do a road trip up to Lake Tahoe in the winter, and sometimes even more snowy places, like Leavenworth or one of the cute Big Bear cabins. Most recently, the girls and I booked out this cute Aframe Christmas cabin near Yosemite to soak up all the holiday vibes together. Here’s what I packed along with me plus tons of cute winter cabin outfit ideas!
What To Pack For Winter Cabin Trip: My Real Cabin Outfit Ideas & Essentials Checklist
1. Thick Winter Coat Or Puffer Jacket
Recently I wore this blue puffer jacket around Yosemite and can’t wait to wear it on my Christmas trip to Idaho soon. A solid puffer needs to be on every winter cabin packing list. They’re warm, comfy, easy to throw on and can be worn on winter hikes, out to dinner or lounging around the cabin. I love puffers compared to North Face jackets.
Or, you can opt for a thicker style winter coat with a hood and faux fur lining, like this coat. These are what I grab when I want to dress up a little since they look more polished compared to puffers. If it’s extra cold outside, I’ll layer with a scarf but honestly, where in California I don’t find myself really needing that extra layer too often.
2. Cupshe Swimsuits
Swimsuits are always the most overlooked things to pack for a winter vacation. All the best winter cabins have hot tubs in the back so you can soak under a view of the stars after a long day snowshoeing or skiing the slopes. Sometimes, they don’t have a hot tub and you need to hunt out a local natural hot spring instead (these are my favorite Northern California hot springs, btw!)
Regardless, you need at least 1 swimsuit for your winter cabin trip, but I usually pack a few because I’m not a fan of wiggling into a damp swimsuit in the wintertime. I love Cupshe swimsuits, they have some of the best swimsuits for women that you can shop online. I probably own about 20 swimsuits from them at this point (consider me a fan girl)! Always priced well and cute AF.
My go-to winter cabin swimsuits are either red or blue, since they pop out again the snow around hot tubs so dang well and make really cute photos. But I always toss in green and/or black one well for options.
3. Fitted Snow Pants
I held out on practical yet cute snow pants for quite some time. Growing up in Wisconsin, we always had snowpants overalls that were super practical and warm, but just not cute. Finally, after a winter trip to Sequoia National Park this year, I bought this pair of fitted snow pants that are actually cute. They were such a gamechanger for all my future cold weather trips!
They look almost like real pants and are easy to layer with boots and sweaters, or under coats without being too bulky. Highly recommend you invest in a pair of these if you plan on sledding or winter hiking!
4. Cute Loungewear For The Cabin
Cute loungewear is always one of the first things to pack for cabin trips. I don’t ski or snowboard, so if I’m not winter hiking you can find me reading by the fire, sipping hot cocoa, or cooking up a tasty meal at the cabin. I love to pack festive loungewear to wear, it makes the cabin experience so much more special.
This year, I’m swooning over this glitter two-piece loungewear set from Cupshe. It’s the perfect balance of festive without being Christmasy, so I can wear this on NYE and beyond to all my other winter cabin trips to Lake Tahoe in the coming months. Treat yourself this set, or gift to a friend, they’ll love it!
5. Colorful Beanies
My cabin essentials always include at least 2 puff beanies! I have these beanies from Amazon in almost every color so I can match them to my outfits. I’m a person who always gets cold, so I love to have these to wear around the cabin since sometimes those old buildings don’t heat evenly.
6. Street Style Winter Boots
Boots are essentials for cold weather, but if you don’t plan on doing snow hiking, you don’t always need heavy duty 20 pound snow boots with fur linings. They can be pricey and if you don’t live in a snowy city, it’s not worth the closet space. Instead, opt for a solid pair of leather hiking boots that are waterproof.
You can either get a pair that is lined or a leather pair and wear thick wool socks with them. Just make sure they are waterproof (or you can spray them with waterproof sealant) so the snow doesn’t melt and soak into your socks. If they are leather boots, you can also bring these along for all your cute fall cabin outfits, too!
7. Fair Isle & Printed Sweaters
Nothing screams “Winter cabin trip” like a Fair Isle Sweater, or a festive printed one. Or both! I’m always such a sucker for cute sweaters. I have a few red Fair Isle Sweaters that are pair so well with jeans, boots and a beanie. I also own a few printed sweaters, ones with snowflakes or pine trees on them. These can be worn anytime in the winter, not just in December. If you get really cold, add thermal layers underneath your sweater.
My biggest pet peeve when watching Christmas movies is when characters start having snowball fits with their bare hands. Because of Hollywood, SO MANY people forget to pack gloves on their winter cabin trip. I can’t tell you the number of times my Bay Area Native friends had to do a mad dash to Walgreens once they arrived to Lake Tahoe and realized their hands are freezing.
I bring two pairs of gloves. One is a thin pair, usually, a couple of bucks, that are thin enough I can usually still use my phone with them on. The other pair will be a thick mitten that keeps my hands toasty while it’s snowing, or when I’m sledding.
9. Tall Wool Socks
Thin ankle socks aren’t gonna cut it at the winter cabin. Take it from me – your toes will be one of the firs things that go numb if it’s really cold outside. Thick socks will be your saving grace. I also opt for tall socks, too. Ones that go a few inches above my boots so they keep my legs warmer and help keep out snow or cold air.
Pro tip: buy a few different colors of socks (white, black, red, etc) so you can make them with your cabin outfits!
10. Flannel Pajamas
Flannel pajamas are a true winter classic. I wear mine at home all the time between November and March, but I also always pack them along to wear at night after sporting all my cute cabin in the woods outfits. They are so dang timeless and genre neutral, so they make great gifts for your whole cabin crew, too. Need more pajama ideas? These are my favorite Christmas pajamas!
11. Fuzzy Slippers
I love packing a pair of fuzzy slippers to wear at the cabin. It’s not uncommon for little puddles of melted snow to be left around the cabin from people’s boots, so slippers with a rubber or solid bottom are a much smarter choice than woll socks. I love to match my slippers with my loungewear. On my most recent cabin trip, I picked fuzzy slippers that matched my glitter loungewear set!
Everyone forgets about sunglasses for their winter mountain vacation outfits, but the snow and elevation means it’s very bright. If you snowboard or ski, I’m sure you’ve gotten sunburnt on the slopes before. Just pack along your favorite pair of sunglasses to wear while outside on a sunny day, you’ll thank me later!
13. Fleece Leggings
You ALWAYS need a good pair of leggings at the cabin. If you are prone to being cold, I recommend fleece leggings to wear under your jeans or dresses. But a normal standard pair of leggings work as well. Growing up in Wisconsin, I would sometimes layer standard legging under my jeans for an extra bit of warmth when my fleece leggings were in the wash.
Cabin Rental Packing List: What To Pack For A Winter Cabin Trip
Beyond my go-to winter cabin outfits, these are the other things to consider packing along for your trip to make sure you are comfortable and have the best trip possible! These are all things I personally bring, some are things I learned the hard way on needing and ended up doing mad-dashes to the store after arriving at the cabin.
Best Beauty Products To Bring To The Cabin
- Heavy-duty moisturizer: Winter air is dry! You’ll need a heavy daily facial moisturizer to use each night and morning.
- Hand and Body Lotion: I’m constantly reapplying lotion in the winter and bring a big bottle in my suitcase.
- Sunscreen: Just like with sunglasses, you will get sunburnt in the winter if you don’t wear SPF!
- Chapstick: Bring at least 2, one to keep in your day bag and one to keep at the cabin.
- Vasaline: Trust me, the inside of your nose will get dry. This helps.
- Leave-in-Conditioner Spray: Dry air impacts your hair, too! Keep your locks hydrated.
- Red lipstick: This is just for fun. I love a red lippie. in the winter.
Other Important Things To Bring To A Winter Cabin Trip
Beyond beauty essentials, these are other things you may forget to bring to your winter cabin! Most rentals have the basics (pots, pans, shampoo, etc) but they don’t always supply these things below:
- Long Lighter: So you can safely light a fire in the cabin fireplace!
- Firestarters: Dureflame makes the best fire starters, we use them at every cabin rental.
- First aid kit: Many Airbnbs don’t supply these, stay safe!
- Deck of cards: One of my favorite fun things to bring to a cabin is a deck of cards! Cabin rentals don’t always stock these for guests.
- Bottle openers: I actually keep one in my suitcase so I can always open a bottle of wine next to the fire.
- Books: Cozy up and read!
- Christmas Decor: Many cabin rentals don’t provide decor, so if you are booking a winter cabin for the holidays, bring your own tree to make it extra magical inside! I recommend a pre-lit one so it’s super easy to pack, set up and takedown.
What To Pack For Winter Hiking & Outdoor Adventures
Don’t forget your outdoor adventures gear list! If you plan on going winter hiking or hitting the slopes, you’ll need some extra gear for the trails.
- Winter Hiking boots: these have to be the heavy-duty ones to withstand snow and cold.
- Water bottles: Stay hydrated! I prefer non-metal water bottles so they are easier to drink.
- Cross country skiing gear: Some parks have rentals for skis, but some don’t. Pack yours along.
- Snowboard or Skis: Renting from local shops is a super pain. If you own your gear, bring it.
- Sleeping Bag: This is only if you plan on glamping or booking rustic cold weather cabins. I always bring extra blankets and/or a sleeping bag when heading to a glampsite in the winter. I love to stay warm!
- Hiking Poles: Super handy on slippery slopes.
- Snow Chains: Not to wear, but you’ll need these on your car tires if you’re heading into the mountains.
- Boot Grips: These are basically snow shoes for your boots. They grip wrap around your shoe and help you get better grip!
My winter trip essentials vacation packing list is pretty much this! It does varies a bit based on where I am traveling to and the weather that year but you can always find me running around in puff beanie and cozy sweater come wintertime.
I hope this helps you find cute cabin outfits for your winter vacation! The key is merging comfort with style. Lots of layers, textures and patterns help. Don’t forget your swimsuit for those hot tubs or hot springs, and a few extra bottles of wine for good measure.
Got things to all to my winter travel packing list for your cabin trip? Drop a comment below so everyone can see. And don’t forget to find me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul for more travel and style inspiration!
Stay adventurous, and stylish.