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Kelly McGrath

Packing for Banff In Shoulder Season

03/16/2017 0 Comments

I am so excited to be kicking off my first trip of 2017 in a place I have wanted to visit for nearly 6 years now, Banff National Park in beautiful Alberta, Canada! Some of the most jaw dropping images I have ever come across on Pinterest or Instagram capture the beautiful mountain ranges and picturesque lakes found within the park, with majority of tourism taking place in the summer time or the middle of winter. There is far less hype on the internet about traveling there during shoulder season, which take place between late March and mid May, and September to November when the weather is just starting to change. I looked all over and found few suggestions on what to pack for these in-between months, so I decided to make my own!

For my trip, the temperature in Calgary is supposed to be in the mid to upper 40’s, dropping off a bit in Banff itself and cooling significantly at night. This isn’t exactly warm, but it isn’t too cold either considering it’s only March (and in Canada none the less)! With that in mind, here is what I packed for this amazing trip to the Canadian Rockies.

Toiletries & Makeup

Cosmetic Case – Vera Bradley makes the BEST makeup bags. I have had mine for years and use it every single day, but it is also great for travel. It has plenty of room for anything and everything on your list.

Olay Moisturizer + SPF – Important to not only keep my skin moisturized and fresh after a long flight but also to protect it from the sun while hiking outside!

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream – An added layer of protection from the sun, this light tinted moisturizer serves as my foundation of sorts, as it helps to even my skin tone.

Waterproof Mascara – My eyes are constantly watering so waterproof is a must.

Chapstick – I carry this with me everywhere anyways, but flights always dry out my skin and lips. My favorite is Burts Bees.

Extra Hair Elastics – As someone who constantly breaks hair elastics I always make sure I have plenty of extras when I am traveling!

Noteworthy: Medications, Toothbrush + Toothpaste, Feminine Products, Makeup Remover, Hand Sanitizer, Shampoo, Conditioner.


Lo & Sons Catalina Bag – My Catalina bag is perfect for this trip. Storage for shoes on the bottom and plenty of room for all my clothes, it saves me time otherwise spent on checking a bag and makes packing so much easier.

Leggings – Of course I packed my Lulu leggings (when in Canada), as well as some of my GTS leggings. They are much thicker than Lulu in my opinion and should be good in the cold. Another great option would be wool lined leggings.

Sweaters – I packed a few wool JCrew sweaters for layering and walking around downtown Calgary.

Long Sleeve T-Shirts – Again for layering; I packed a few waffle tees from Old Navy that I love and a long sleeve Lululemon shirt.

Workout Clothes – I always like to workout on vacation but will be attending a yoga class this trip in Calgary  so I packed my new GTS leggings and a crop to wear for that.

Sweatshirt – I’ll wear this in the airport and probably at night when I’m lounging around to keep nice and cozy.

Wool Socks – A given for any cold weather trip to keep your feel warm and dry.

Bras & Underwear – Enough for my whole trip, including a few sports bras for our hikes!

Scarfs – My favorite are the blanket scarfs from Old Navy because they double as a blanket on the plane and keep your so warm.

Jeans – Because who goes anywhere without a pair of Jeans? I got these new “Girlfriend” ones from Gap and love the fun paint splatter detail.

Jacket(s) – I packed my black JCrew Downtown Field Jacket, my long Michael Kors peacoat, and a cozy Patagonia to wear out on the trails.

Sneakers – I packed a few pairs of Vans and my Adidas sneakers for the airport and walking around Calgary/Downtown Banff.

Hiking Boots – I got these comfortable, light weight and waterproof Ahnu Hiking Boots for this trip, and future trips!

Hats & Beanies – I packed my black Love Your Melon beanie for the trials and a baseball cap for the airport.


Bag – Sol & Selene “Trendstter” Bag. This thing is my every day go to; big enough to fit everything I need for this flight and comes with an additional shoulder strap, making it easy and comfortable to carry around.

Sunglasses – I made sure to pack my polarized Ray Bans for when I am out on the trails to help with the glare.

Moisturizer – Travel sized, this stuff is my life saver on longer flights when my skin starts to dry out from the recycled air.

Headphones – These wireless noise cancelling ones from Sudio Sweden are amazing at blocking out sound and come with an attachable aux chord to use on the in flight TV’s. (You can get 15% off with the code: kelly17!).

Wallet – I always try to carry some local currency with me when traveling for emergencies, and love my Venture card (no foreign transaction fees + 2 points per every dollar spent!).

Laptop – I have a few movies and TV shows saved on there in case I don’t like to in flight entertainment!

Camera & Lenses – I am bringing my Nikon Camera for this trip with two lenses for shooting; my standard 50mm lens and a larger 18-55mm lens to capture some of those wider angle shots of the mountains.

GoPro Hero5 – Very excited to use this on this trip! I also packed a head mount and my 3-way mount.

Memory Cards – Extra just in case I run out of room I have back ups for both my camera and GoPro.

Chargers – For phone, laptop, camera, and batteries.

*Tip! To help keep chords untangled, fold and store them in an old glasses case.

Planner – I love my Kate Spade planner, and I like to keep hard copies of all my flight information and itinerary in there when traveling. I have had some mishaps with scanning bar codes and boarding passes off of my phone in the past so I like to be safe!

Water Bottle – I try and stay really hydrated on the plane, so I pack an empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain once inside the airport.

Snacks – The airport is so expensive, so I always pack a sandwich, trail mix, some fruit and other small snacks to carry on with me and help save me some money.

*Tip! I always pack a small jewelry bag in my carry on. When I have to take things on and off to go through customs, it helps ensures nothing gets lost!

xx Kelly

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