You’ve booked your tickets, found a hotel, and now you’re wondering what to pack for Manitoba.
Canada’s centermost province, packing for Manitoba can be a little different than in other provinces, especially when you consider the seasons. Summer in Manitoba can get up to 40 degrees Celsius, while Winter in Manitoba can plunge to -40 degrees celsius. Not to mention, visiting the polar bears up in Churchill is going to call for a wildly different packing list than summer in Winnipeg.
Table of Contents
- Manitoba Packing List
- Manitoba Packing List for Winter
- Manitoba Packing List for Summer
- Clothes to Pack for Manitoba (1-Week)
- Manitoba Packing Tips
Manitoba Packing List
Reusable Water Bottle
The Grayl Geopress is the perfect water filtration system for summer in Manitoba.
If you plan to do a lot of hiking or outdoor activities in Manitoba, then I recommend the Grayl Geopress. I’ve had this bad boy for about two years now, and though it’s certainly an investment, I take it with me on literally all of my Manitoba hiking trips (and everywhere else).
Not only does it filter out bacteria and pathogens as you go, but it does so in just seconds. I’ve used water purification tablets on my travels before, and they just don’t compare to the Geopress for speed.
Carry On Suitcase
The Nomatic Navigator is the perfect luxury carry-on bag that will last you for decades to come.
If you’re looking for a high-end suitcase that will fit into the overhead bin on a plane, then I have to recommend the Nomatic Navigator Carry On 37L.
I’ve been using this carry-on for about a year now, and I love the expertly-designed compartments, the laptop pouch, and the 8L expansion feature. Plus, it looks super sleek.
The Osprey Daylite is the perfect daytripper bag for Manitoba hikes and outdoorsy adventures.
If you’re looking for an awesome day pack for hikes in Manitoba, then I recommend the Osprey Daylite 20L. There’s a reason this bag is just so dang popular with travelers everywhere, and that’s because of the superior compartment layout, durability, and front-loading capability.
Manitoba is a pretty safe place (for the most part) but it still pays to carry a great anti-theft purse.
For roaming around Winnipeg and Manitoba’s other cities and towns, I don’t recommend carrying a big backpack. You will stand out and look like a weirdo tourist. For any city-related happenings, I much prefer carrying a purse.
And, as a local Winnipegger, I can assure travelers that it’s a pretty safe and fun place to visit. However, there are some areas of the city that are no-go zones, and while I’ve never heard of a mugging happening, I do recommend bringing a small day bag that will keep all your stuff safe and secure.
The Travelon Mini Shoulder bag is RFID-blocking, has zippered closures, and is slash-proof, meaning that when your travels take you to Manitoba and beyond, your things and your information will be kept safe and secure.
Carrying a microfiber towel is a must-have for Manitoba’s outdoor water adventures.
Though your Manitoba hotel is sure to have plush towels on hand, if you plan to swim in Manitoba’s lakes or go river tubing in Pinawa, then you’re going to want something to dry off with.
I recommend the Rainleaf Microfiber Towel because of its packability. It’s ultra-compact, meaning it won’t take up much room in your carry-on.
These packing cubes are the perfect travel accessory for making sure all your clothes compress into your carry-on.
Ah, the packing cube – the accessory that either travelers love, or love to hate. Personally, I love a good packing cube. As I get older, I want all my clothes to fit into a carry-on bag so I don’t have to check luggage, and having compression capabilities is the ticket to ride.
But not all packing cubes are created equal. The Tripped Compression Packing Cubes are of great quality and are perfect for organizing and compressing. I’ve had so many packing cubes tear apart on me, and this set has yet to do that.
Hanging Toiletry Bag
For when you just don’t have a place to hang your toiletry bag, opt for a hanging one.
Whether you’re in your Winnipeg hotel room or in a public bathroom at one of Manitoba’s many campgrounds, having a toiletry bag that you can hang is a game changer. Seriously. There’s nothing worse than having to put your toiletry bag on a rank shower floor or public bathroom shelf.
Enter the Gonex Hanging Toiletry Bag. With a brand name that has transcended decades as a staple, this gizmo is sure to last you for years.
Winter or summer, having quality sunscreen should be on your Manitoba packing list.
We all know that we should wear SPF in summer, and Manitoba is no exception. But don’t underestimate the power of the Manitoba winter sun either. Though the sun is only out for a few hours every day, it does tend to reflect off of snow and can still cause sunburns.
Especially if you plan on doing any outdoorsy winter activities, carry some Sun Bum SPF lotion with you. Your skin will thank me later.
Whether you’re on a Manitoba road trip or hiking, keeping your phone charged is a must.
There are plenty of places to get “lost” in Manitoba, but as any good adventurer knows, it’s good to have a way back to civilization.
Keeping your phone charged whether you’re on the road or the trails will be your ticket around the province. I’ve used the Anker PowerCore for years, and find it to be super trustworthy. Some external power banks just pseudo-charge your phone (if you know, you know), but this one does the job right.
Camera & Spare Batteries
The GoPro Hero 10 will take you from high-octane activities to the lake and back again.
If you want a level up from your phone camera but want to invest in a DSLR and lenses, then I recommend getting an action camera. The GoPro Hero 10 is a great option as it has underwater capabilities, and you can attach it to almost anything.
If you are in the market for something a little more robust, then I personally use the Canon Rebel.
The Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella is the perfect “just in case it rains” item to stow in your day bag.
I feel like so many places say this, but the weather in Manitoba can truly be fickle. If you plan on visiting pretty much anytime between May and September, then I do recommend you bring the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella.
Though it was dry as a tack in the summer of 2021, we had rainfalls well above the average amount in 2022. You just never know.
Insulated Cooler Backpack
The Ausqui Backpack Cooler is a great item for those long summer days spent in Manitoba’s parks, lakes, and campgrounds.
If there’s one Manitoba item that you probably won’t think about until you get here, it’s the need for a cooler. While I don’t think you need an entire cooler for a short trip (unless you’re legitimately going camping that is), I do think you should bring along a small cooler backpack.
The AUSQI Backpack Cooler fits the bill perfectly. With it, you can tube down the Pinawa River or hang out at your friend’s cabin and never have a warm drink.
Manitoba Packing List for Winter
Having a winter parka isn’t just a luxury for surviving a Manitoba winter, it’s a necessity.
As someone who grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in the neighboring Canadian province of Manitoba, I can tell you that winters here are no joke. A parka isn’t just for the polar bear season in Churchill either. In fact, if you’re visiting anytime between November and March, I recommend you bring a heavy-duty coat.
Columbia is a tried and true brand that will get you through Canada’s winter weather. In particular, this Puffer hooded insulated jacket should do the trick!
Active winter activities in Manitoba require outer layers that will keep you extra warm, such as a trusty pair of snow pants.
Skiing, snowboarding, skating, tobogganing, and snowshoeing. These are a few of the things you can expect on a trip to the great white north in the winter. And with temperatures diving well below freezing, having a thermal layer on your bottom will be a must.
The Columbia Women’s Bugaboo Omni-Heat snow pants are the perfect piece of warm gear. Their button closure is stylish, the interior lining holds in heat, and they’re totally waterproof.
Having a pair of mittens that keep your fingers toasty warm all day long is a must in Manitoba. Don’t skimp out on this essential item.
I’m gonna level with you, getting frostbite during Canada’s frigid winters can be a real concern, and you don’t want to harm one of your digits by not having proper gloves.
The Carhartt W.P. Waterproof Mittens have a fleece cuff and adjustable closure, a waterproof insert, and are moisture-wicking. They’ll keep your fingers toasty warm no matter how cold it gets.
Whether you’re galavanting in Winnipeg or the great outdoors, you’ll need a pair of warm winter boots while visiting Manitoba.
I get it. A pair of heavy-duty winter boots might seem “uncool” to walk around in all day. But when the snow hits or it becomes -30 outside, you’re going to need a serious pair of boots.
The Dream Pairs Winter Boots are super cute, have a warm lining, include adjustable laces, and have an anti-slip sole. Your tootsies will thank you!
Protect your head and ears from cold and frostbite by packing one of the most important Manitoba clothing items – a toque.
As someone born and raised in Canada, it almost pains me to write the word “beanie” on my website. Like… it’s a toque. Come on. Anywho, it’s a supremely good idea to pack a toque on your trip to Manitoba, anytime from October through April.
This Columbia Whirlibird Cuffed Beanie both looks good and will keep your noggin toasty warm even on the coldest of weather days.
👉 Sidenote: Last winter in Winnipeg I walked 10 minutes to the grocery store, forgot my toque, and promptly got frostbite on my ears. I almost screamed my ears hurt so bad after. Don’t let this be you!
Scarf or Gaiter
There’s no norm or custom as to whether you should choose a scarf or gaiter on your winter trip to the prairies. But this one will do the trick to keeping your face and neck out of the elements.
To be honest, if you plan on just visiting Winnipeg in the winter, then I recommend bringing a normal chunky scarf. I find them way more fashionable than a gaiter, and you’ll get by just fine hopping between restaurants, museums, and breweries.
However, if you plan on doing any real winter sports in Manitoba, then absolutely pack a gaiter. This nifty little piece of cloth will keep your face and neck warm in even the coldest of temperatures and is perfect if you’re out in the wilderness.
Don’t go for the thin socks on cold days in Canada, opt for thermal wool socks that will keep your toes happy.
Sure, you’ll have your winter boots at the ready, but if you don’t have a good pair of wool socks to go inside them, then you run the risk of cold feet on your adventure. And I don’t mean the emotional kind.
The Alvada Merino Wool Thermal Socks are the perfect antidote to frozen toes. They have cushioning in the footbed, are moisture-wicking, and have the coziest fuzzy liner.
If you want to stay warmer for longer in the great white north, then opt for thermal base layers.
My mom called them long johns, but I hear the hipsters today refer to them as “base layers”, so take from that what you will. But a solid pair of thermal undergarments will help to keep you insulated and happy. You’re not a polar bear, after all.
The Carhartt Force Heavyweight base layer is the perfect thing to pack to ensure you can still feel your legs and torso at the end of a long day outside.
When braving polar weather, make sure you bring along air-activated heat strips for an extra boost of warmth.
In my humble opinion, air-activated body warming strips are just *chef’s kiss*. The perfect accessory to winter in Canada, you simply take the wrapping off the strips, put the activated part in your boots, gloves, or under your shirt, and laugh at your friends for being colder than you are.
These Sport Temp Hand & Body Warmers are happy to take on the job. Not only do they provide 18 hours of heat (!!), but they are also odorless and TSA-approved.
Planning to go for an icy hike? Then you’ll need a pair of crampons to not be slipping and sliding all over the place.
I’m going to level with you, it took me until I was 30 years old and hiking in Banff before I realized that crampons were a gift from the beyond. Seriously, if you’ve ever gone hiking on ice in the winter or felt like you could slip at the drop of a hat, then wearing a pair of crampons is a good idea.
In particular, these Outdoor 360 crampons are highly rated. They’re highly rated, have 19 microspikes on each crampon, and have a secure fit.
Manitoba Packing List for Summer
For tackling Manitoba’s many trails, a pair of packable hiking shoes is the perfect option.
Contrary to popular culture, Canada does not exist in a frozen polar tundra every day of the year. In fact, it can get sweltering hot in the Manitoba summer, during which time you’ll find most locals heading out to one of the many lakes or water parks.
This pair of Luna Cork Footbed Sandals are super comfortable and stylish to boot.
For tackling Manitoba’s many trails, a pair of packable hiking shoes is the perfect option.
Hiking in Manitoba is a great time. Seriously, between the Whiteshell, Riding Mountain National Park, Spirit Sands, Hecla Island, and so much more, some trails here are worth drooling over. However, big bulky hiking boots may be too bulky, and they’re not necessary for Manitoba’s relatively-flat trails. This is why I recommend you bring a pair of hiking shoes.
These Bearpaw Hiking Shoes are comfortable, have a cushioned footbed, and have great traction.
Tackle Manitoba’s lakes, waterparks, and thermal spas in style in one of these super cute bathing suits.
Did you know that Manitoba has over 100,000 lakes? True story bro. And unless you plan on taking them on in the nude you’re going to need a trusty swimsuit.
I think that this Cupshe Women’s One Piece is just so darn cute. I have a few bathing suits from Cupshe, and I’ve never been disappointed.
Don’t let the spring and summer rains in Manitoba soak you down, and bring along a light jacket.
For visiting any of Canada’s prairie provinces in the spring, summer, or fall, you’re going to need at least a light jacket. Even in July and August, the air can sometimes get chilly at night, and having an extra layer will go a long way.
Though I’m always impartial to my denim jacket or fleece, this OTU Women’s Waterproof jacket will double as a raincoat – which will be soooo handy if you get caught in one of the local notorious thunderstorms.
Bringing bug spray is essential in Manitoba from May through September.
If there’s one thing Manitoba is known for, it’s mosquitoes. Er, farming? No, no, polar bears? I’m going to go with all three. But though I really don’t have a quick fix for you if you encounter a polar bear, I can help you with the mosquitos. So when I say bring bug spray, trust me.
Sure, you can pick bug spray up at any convenience store, but for when you arrive, I recommend packing this travel friendly insect repellent by Off.
Clothes to Pack for Manitoba (1-Week)
- 7 Pairs Underwear
- 2 Sets of Thermal Underwear (Winter)
- 2 Swimsuits
- 2-4 Pairs of Long Pants or Jeans
- 4 Pairs of Shorts (Summer)
- 3-4 Long Sleeved Shirts
- 3-4 Short Sleeved Shirts or Tank Tops
- 7 Pairs of Warm Socks (Winter), 2 Pairs of Light Socks (Summer)
- 2 Warm Sweaters
- 1 Pair of Waterproof Boots (Winter)
- 1 pair of Runners
- 1 Pyjama Set
- 1 Dress Shirt
- 1 Rain Jacket
- 1 Toque (Beanie)
- 1 Scarf (Winter)
- 1 Pair of Gloves (Winter)
- 1 Set of Hiking Clothes
- 1 Pair of Hiking Shoes
Manitoba Packing Tips
Pack For the Season
Manitoba is a destination with extreme weather in both directions, and when you visit Manitoba will dictate what you pack.
If you’re visiting in the summer, then pack swimsuits, shorts, tank tops, and sandals. And don’t forget the sunscreen. If you’re visiting in winter, then bring the thermal layers, heavy-duty outdoor adventure gear, and other cold weather items. If you’re visiting in the shoulder seasons, then heavy sweaters, light jackets, and an umbrella should do the trick.
Don’t Underestimate Frostbite
I said it above, but frostbite is a real concern if you visit the Canadian prairies in winter. Temperatures can get to around -40 sometimes, and walking around can pose a real threat to even the most robust of winter lovers.
For this reason, pack insulated garments that can withstand cold temperatures. Think fleece, toques, gloves, scarves, heavy parkas, and thermal underwear.
Dress How You Would at Home
But you’ll often find people in jeans and leggings or t-shirts. Manitoba really isn’t anywhere on the conservative or liberal scale when it comes to clothing, and you’ll see all types wearing all sorts. Really, unless you’re exposing yourself or are obviously indecent, then just do you!
Though the small towns can be more casual, you’ll find Winnipeggers to be all over the spectrum of fancy. Personally, I like dressing up on a daily basis and often opt for skirts and dresses.
Consider Your Exact Destination
If you look at a map, then you’ll see that Manitoba is a big province and that it’s way taller than it is wide. For this reason, visiting Northern Manitoba is going to be different than visiting Southern Manitoba, regardless of the season.
If you plan on having out with the polar bears in Churchill, then you’re going to pack differently than you would for southern Manitoba. Additionally, traveling through Nopiming provincial park will require certain outdoor gear.
Always consider the weather, and pack your clothing appropriately.
Thanks for reading my Manitoba packing list! Up next, check out my picks for the best things to do in Gimli, Manitoba.