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Banff Packing List

Banff Packing List

Looking for the best Banff Packing List? Want to know what to wear in Banff National Park? This guide tells you EXACTLY what to pack for Banff in Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall from hiking clothes, best shoes to wear and all the other national park essentials.

Note: this packing list is not intended as a camping packing list, but instead for those in lodges and hotels who spend their days in the park. If you plan to camp in the national park check out this post.

Weather in Banff

But before we get into what to wear and travel essentials for Banff in summer, spring, winter or Fall it is important to know what the weather is going to be like.

July and August are the hottest months to visit Banff with temperatures averaging around 22°C or 71°F. Therefore it is important to pack lots of natural fabrics such as cottons on your packing list.

While in Spring and Fall the temperatures fluctuate greatly depending on the month you travel while in Winter the temperatures are known to fall below freezing especially in December and January. For this reason you are definitely going to need lots of layers, thermals and hat, scarf and gloves.

However it is also worth noting that even in Summer you can get snow in the Canadian Rockies so we always recommend that you have lot of layers with you.

What to wear in Banff in Summer

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Couple sat on rock overlooking lake and mountains
What to wear to Banff Packing List

So now you know about the weather, we will tell you what to wear in Banff in Summer. Traditionally when we create packing lists we normally separate them our by gender to allow for dress codes.

However, for Banff our packing list is universal. That is because practicality is key to any national park packing list. Therefore we recommend all visitors to Banff in the Summer pack:


Although the temperatures in Banff in Summer can be high, we still recommend adding some layers onto your packing list as the weather is very changeable in the Candian Rockies.

Also we always recommend getting early starts in national parks in summer. It is much cooler in the morning so you will need lots of layers with you to make the most of your day.

We think the best top layer for Banff in summer is a microfiber lightweight fleece. It is warm and insulating but will also pack away easily into your day pack when you aren’t using it.

T Shirts

T shirts are my favorite base layer for Banff no matter whether you are visiting in June, July, August or September. Short sleeves are helpful for keeping you cool however long sleeve tees made of natural fabrics such as cotton and bamboo are a great cool pick that can also help protect your skin from the sun and from mosquitos.

Convertible Walking Trousers

Any trip to Banff involves walking, hiking and outdoor time so we recommend packing convertible walking trousers.

This way you can wear them as trousers in the mornings and change them into shorts for layer in the day.


The sun can be strong in Banff so we recommend having a hat with a wide brim or a baseball cap to protect your eyes.

A net can also be useful when mosquitos are at their worst in summer.

Rain Jacket

The weather is very changeable in Banff so we recommend having a packaway rain jacket with you at all times.

If is also worth packing a lightweight puffer jacket for cooler days and mornings in the park. I personally like to have a down jacket with me as they pack down easily.

Hiking Socks

If you plan on wearing hiking boots in the park then you will also need hiking socks. If you just plan on wearking sneakers then sneaker socks may be more appropriate.


Although the temperatures fluctuate a lot in Banff it is still worth packing swimwear.

Johnson Lake and Quarry Lake are popular swimming spots in the park so if you fancy going for a swim be sure to pack your swimwear. But if you don’t fancy the cooler temperatures in the lakes you could also head to the hot springs near Banff or just take a dip in your hotel accomodation.

What to wear in Banff in Fall and Spring 

Couple in Banff village in Fall
What to wear to Banff in Fall

All of the above work as great key pieces for your national park outfit in the shoulder season. If you are traveling in Spring and Fall you will find the temperatures cooler and for this reason I recommend just adding more layers to your packing list. 

My favorite type of top layers for hiking has to be a fleece and your down puffer jacket is defintiely an essential for your packing list.

Also I for March and November in particular I would switch out the short sleeve tees for longer length ones. 

What to wear in Banff in Winter

Couple sat on bench surrounded by snow
What to wear to Banff in Winter

My what to wear in Banff in Winter actually has a lot of overlaps with the items we put on our packing list for any other time of year. 

The main difference is in the thickness and amount of items you need. For instance, packing a thicker jacket that also has some waterproofing for Winter is better than a puffer jacket.

I also recommend buying fleece lined pants instead of convertible walking trousers for extra protection against the cold. And if you don’t have these or don’t want to buy new ones, I recommend wearing leggings under your walking trousers. 

And if there is a particular cold snap you may want to throw some thermals onto your list too!

On top of these layers we also recommend having a hat, scarf and gloves with you for cold days in the park.

Note: this is not intended as a Banff skiing packing list. If you want a skiing packing list be sure to check out this post.

Best Shoes to wear to Banff

So now you know what to wear, we turn our attention to footwear.

Hiking Shoes

No matter the national park I am traveling to I always take hiking boots with me. Now if you plan on doing only a little hiking and sticking to more maintained walkways n summer ithese might not be necessary. However I like to have them with me whenever I visit a national park so I can do whatever trails I like.


Sneakers are the best comfortable walking shoes for any vacation. Sneakers are great for maintained boardwalks and walkways and for in the towns in Banff.

Hiking Sandals

In hotter weather hiking sandals are a good pick for Banff National Park.

What to pack for Banff – travel essentials

Couple stook overlooking lake in banff national park
Banff Packing List

Day pack with rain cover

Any day we spend in a national park we take and pack a day pack. My favorite backpack brand is Columbia but this is a purely personal choice.

Power Bank

Days are long in Banff and reception is sporadic at best. For this reason we recommend having a fully charged power bank with you to recharge your phone during the day.

Sun protection

The sun can be strong in Banff so be sure to have lots of sun protection with a high SPF with you.

Bug Spray / Insect Repellant

The mosquitos are pretty fierce in Banff in summer and the shoulder seasons so be sure to pack plenty of bug spray and insect repellant.


Again the sun is strong so sunglasses are an essential.


The wildlife in Banff is impressive from elk to bighorn sheep, bear to wolves, moose and more. If you want to see the wildlife that the park has on offer we recommend travelling with a pair of binoculars.

Reusable Water Bottle and Extra Water

We recommend always having a reuable water bottle and extra water with you for any national park visit especially in Summer.

Coffee Thermos and Mug

Your days start early in Banff and for me therefore a coffee thermos and mug is absolutely a must pack so I can be caffeinated at the start of the day.


Although there are food vendors in Banff, the places to stop and grab snacks are few and far between so be sure to pack ample snacks, food and drinks.

Cooler and food containers

As the temperatures are hot and you will be taking food into the park so you will want a cooler and food containers with you.

First Aid Kit

Although no one wants to use a first aid kit on vacation, it is a good idea to pack a first aid kit with you on any national park vacation just in case especially if you plan on going on more remote hikes..


Whether this is a downloaded map on your phone or a physical one it is worth having a map with you that shows the trailheads you plan on taking.


A camera is a necessity for any visitor to Banff.

Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer and a She wee

The toilets in Banff outside of the main visitor centre and towns are pretty primitive. For this reason, we recommend packing toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a she wee with you.

FAQs about our Banff Packing List

What is the dress code at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise?

Perhaps the most famous hotel in the Banff area is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. You may think that there are strict dress codes at Fairmont Chateau but it is a surprisingly casual place.

However I personally always like to travel with at least one smart casual outfit.

Complete Banff Packing Checklist

  • Layers
  • T Shirts
  • Walking Trousers
  • Rain Jacket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking Boots
  • Shoes – either sneakers or hiking sandals
  • Backpack and rain cover
  • camera
  • binoculars
  • map
  • sun protection
  • insect repellant
  • quick dry towel
  • coffee thermos and mug
  • resuable water bottle
  • food
  • first aid kit

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