What Do You Pack For Six Months In Canada?

If only I was Mary Poppins and could fit a flat full of stuff in a tiny bag. I have a 55litre rucksack which is currently empty. The question is: what on earth should I put in it?

With just over a week until I fly to Vancouver, my “leavin’ it a bit late ain’t ya love” alarm clock has kicked in and I have got into gear – well, sort of.

I went shopping and made a few purchases…

Waterproof trousers

After what felt like hours traipsing from shop to shop in torrential rain, the word waterproof sounded good to me. What I did not expect was that waterproof trousers could actually look quite trendy. I was on the look out for a decent pair of combats and I was happy to find them in an outdoor shop. They are a lovely light brown colour and can zip off into shorts. I love them. They will be perfect for hiking in the Canadian Rockies and also to throw on generally as well.

Quick dry t-shirt

The hostel room I once stayed in during the winter months in Australia had wet clothes hanging up all over the place.  The tumble dryers would often be permanently in use and it would take days for anything to dry. My face lit up when I spotted a quick-drying t-shirt, which fitted me really well and had a nice design. I was tempted to buy a few of them.

Travel padlock

Not all hostels have lockers and some have drawers, which can be secured with a travel padlock. So it is always handy having one available. They can also be used to secure your backpack. There were two choices: a padlock with a key or one secured with a code. I decided to go for the latter as, knowing me, I would easily lose the key. But at least with the code I can log it somewhere to check in the event that I forget it.

Soap and toothbrush holders

This is a great way to keep toiletries seperate yet in the same bag – therefore minimising space.

Keyring torch – not wanting to wind up my hostel mates

I was hovering in a section where there were a number of different torches. My main reason for wanting a torch was to use in the hostels if I needed to get up in the middle of the night, or really early in the morning, and did not want to wake up my room mates. A wind up torch was out of the question then! I decided to go for the smallest one available.

Dry shampoo

This stuff is brilliant for soaking up grease on those days in between hair washes.

Moisurising soap bar

Wanting to keep it simple, a moisurising soap is a convenient item to have.  It can be used for face and body, is cheap and lasts a long time.

Some other items I need to get…

  • Ear plugs – just in case there are heavy snorers.
  • Travel alarm clock – I do not want to miss the free breakfast at the hostel, which is served at around 8am, or any early travel journeys.
  • Lightweight walking shoes/trainers that are perfect for city walking as well as hiking in the Rockies.
  • A piece of hand luggage that can double-up as a day backpack/laptop holder

I also have a weatherproof jacket at the ready…

Have you ever backpacked around Canada? Is there anything you wish you had packed, or left behind?


  1. April 30, 2012 / 20:23

    The key to dressing in Canada is layers as the temperature can chage drastically within an hour. Your purchases sound perfect. You will get a lot of wear out of the trendy rain pants on the west coast. (nick named the wet coast) Although it is spring it can get cool, especailly at night so bring a sweater (jumper). The flashlight (torch) is a great idea. It will always be cool in the mountains. (There is still snow in the mountains right now) Canada awaits your arrival!!

    • May 3, 2012 / 14:02

      Hi Darlene, layers is great advice then I guess you never get caught out if weather changes suddenly. There’s still snow in the mountains?! Yikes, glad I’m not heading into the mountains until high summer. I have a couple of snuggy jumpers at the ready and I may take a couple of pairs of thermal socks :-) Thanks for advice.

  2. May 1, 2012 / 07:33

    I can definitely recommend Merrells, I got some pretty sturdy ones that are also breatheable and don’t look too hideous! Good luck on your travels :-) We’re heading to Canada in 5 weeks and can’t wait!

    • May 3, 2012 / 13:57

      Hi Maddie, thanks for the tip. I’ve decided to wait until I get over there to get some decent trekking shoes and am just taking my converse and trainers to begin with, as will be around Vancouver city for first month and apparently you can get good deals over there. Good luck on your trip, might cross paths at some point in which case it would be great to meet up :-)

  3. May 3, 2012 / 16:44

    Packing for 6 months, try packing for 2 years. My advice, don’t pack for ‘just in case’. If you think you MIGHT need it, you probably wont. Don’t worry about packing soap, it’s too bulky. Take extra shampoo and use that as body wash, and it works as laundry detergent when you need to handwash your pants in the sink.
    Michelle Blake recently posted..CurrentlyMy Profile

    • May 5, 2012 / 19:42

      Hey Michelle, the soap is tiny and multi-functional so definitely keeping this. I like your tip about using shampoo for hand washing – this is a great idea! I wouldn’t used shampoo as body wash, only because I have sensitive skin and think this would irritate me.

  4. May 3, 2012 / 17:05

    Layers, definitely layers (Darlene is right). Otherwise as long as you have the basics you’ll be fine and anything you forget or want you can always get over here. You must be getting very excited!
    Claire recently posted..Sea Lion – Ballestas Islands PeruMy Profile

    • May 5, 2012 / 19:39

      Hi Claire, I’ve decided to go shopping when I get over there if need more stuff and see how I feel on arrival. I’m really excited now, also quite anxious and lots of last minute nerves. But sure I’ll be okay once I get there :-)

      • May 7, 2012 / 21:35

        You’ll be fine once you’re here, Canadians are very friendly!
        Claire recently posted..Plan BMy Profile

        • May 10, 2012 / 01:55

          Thanks Claire, I know everyone says Canadians are friendly – not passport control though, ha ha. If looks could kill. But guess they’re trained to be mean :-)