Backpack: As you’ll see in all my check lists, the backpack is the piéce de rèsistance, and rightly so. For Canada, you’ll need a large pack for sure (55-70L), as the clothing you’ll be taking will most likely be suited for colder weather, and subsequently larger in size due to insulation etc. If you are planning on going somewhere remote on your trip, I’d advise getting a brightly coloured backpack, so that you stand out in case of emergency (it’s also easier to spot on the conveyor belt when you claim your baggage).
Coat: Another key part of your Canadian adventure kit, is the coat. Whether it’s a Parka or a Puffer, you need to make sure you’re ready for how cold Canadian winters can get. The Parka is typically more stylish, with a fur lined hood and a larger overall size. I used to wear Parkas growing up in England, but only inexpensive brands. Top brands like Canada Goose will set you back up to $1000. Or you have the more affordable option of brands like the North Face and Eddie Bauer, which provide the same quality, but won’t break the bank. The other option is the Puffer, which fits tighter to your body, and is made from quilted sections insulated by synthetic materials or down (duck/goose under feathers). I took my Eddie Bauer Microtherm Stormdown Jacket ($180) from last season which is good down to -20c, and my new Eddie Bauer Evertherm Down hooded jacket ($370) which is good down to -28c.
Toque (Hat), Scarf and Gloves: Essential for when the weather drops to the minus degrees. Try to get windproof material, as the wind chill is what really makes you feel cold.
Boots: If you are planning on doing some big hikes, or trekking through rough terrain in the mountains, you’re going to need durable footwear. Hiking shoes will do a basic job, especially if you can get ones that are waterproof/snowproof. I invested in some RedHead hunting boots from Bass Pro. They are incredibly sturdy, 100% waterproof and really comfy. They aren’t insulated, but with a thick pair of socks on, my feet were never cold. I had no issue covering the rough terrain in those bad boys. You can buy these sort of boots when you arrive in Canada, which will save space in your luggage (as they weigh quite a bit). Mine cost $200, you can find similar ones here.
Passport: As always, a no brainer. Make sure you check it’s in date – and remember UK/Canadian passports become invalid if they have less than 6 months before expiration. Toronto Pearson Airport has self scanners upon arrival, so you no longer get a stamp if you’re coming from the UK, which sucks for us stamp collectors!
Visa: Before entering Canada you’ll need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) which allows non-Canadians to visit Canada for up to 6 months. It’ll cost you $7, and you can start the form on the official government website here. Be careful applying on other websites, as they often charge you an admin fee to check over your application for you.
Plug adaptor: Canada, and the rest of North America, use the two or three pin outlets. I think the two pin ones work on the three, but not vice versa. The look like this:
If you are doing a lot of international travelling, you may wish to invest in a universal travel adaptor. I have this one and it’s great.
Optional extra: Learn to speak French book, for when you are in Quebec. The locals don’t tend to speak in English primarily, and can get quite antsy about having to speak English to tourists. Maybe be worth learning some basic French if you don’t already know any, or use apps like Google Translate, to keep the locals happy.