Packing List for a Winter Weekend in Europe (M)

A snowy view in the Bavarian Alps

Packing for Europe in the summer is easy. Hand luggage only is no problem when you’re packing smaller items like shorts and flip-flops.

But with a one-bag restriction, a cold weather packing list can be a bit more complicated.

With friends out in Munich, we’ve been lucky enough to head out on a couple of winter weekends in Bavaria and, after a couple of false starts, this time I got the right balance between space and warmth.

Here is the list of what I took, and a few suggestions of specific bits of kit that are perfect for a winter weekend.

Full Packing List

Frosty hike near Schliersee

Just a quick note, we were away for four days, flying out on a Friday afternoon and leaving on a Monday evening. The weather hovered between -3 degrees and +5 degrees whilst we were there, and we even got some snow! We did a mix of things, which included hiking in Schliersee and sightseeing in Munich centre, but also heading out for evenings at the fantastic restaurants and bars.

The aim was to have a list that would function in all environments.

I make my packing lists easy by making them repeatable, and constantly update them. Read more in my post ‘A Simple Way to Reduce Your Travel Packing Time‘.


Here I’ve gone for clothes that are easily layered, and can be worn for both hiking and in relatively formal situations..

  • 1 x pair of black trainers (these can be used for both hiking and look smart enough for clubs etc)
  • 1 x pair of smart walking trousers, one pair of jeans
  • 2 x jumpers, one thinner than the other so they can be layered if needed
  • 4 x t shirts, again not necessarily because you need one for each day, but so they can be layered. Technical, t shirts which are long enough to be tucked in are good, but also a polo shirt that’s smart enough for the evenings.
  • 6 x pairs of socks, a mix of thinner and thicker for layering.
  • Enough underwear to survive
  • 1 x down jacket. Love these types of jacket as really warm, and also pack down to a small size. 
  • 1 x Buff. More flexible than a scarf
  • 1 x pair of gloves
  • 1 x hat
  • 1 x rucksack
  • 1 x pair of sunglasses


I take a laptop for work and blogging, but this is something easy to leave out if not needed without. We decided not to take a camera for this trip, as we were limited for space, and most photos were going to be in the daytime, which the iPhone is more than capable of handling (see the photo from my Instagram feed below).

View this post on Instagram

Dusky Bavarian walks

A post shared by Ben | Making Stories Since ’85 (@thesabbaticalguide) on


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hair gel
  • Brush
  • Inhaler
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Shaving gel
  • Clear bag for customs


Example Kit

Nike Free Runs

These trainers are both comfortable for hiking in the mountains, and fairly smart when heading out for dinner. Getting them in all black means they are easy to mistake for shoes from a distance. I wore these right the way round Southeast Asia, and didn’t get pain or blisters once.

Kathmandu Federate Walking Trousers

I spent a long time looking for walking trousers which were fairly stylish, but with all the practical features you’d expect such as zipped pockets and flexible fabric. These ones by Kathmandu are brilliant, with a skinny leg that makes them look like a standard pair of chinos. Again they can be used both for hiking or smart evenings out.

Under Armour T-Shirts

I’ve been buying these t-shirts for a while now. They are really comfortable, and come in lots of colours, but make sure you buy a size smaller than normal.

Ayacucho Down Jacket

I’d been trying to find a down jacket for a while, but found most of the big brands such as North Face and Fab looked really odd on me. Ayacucho is an in-house brand from Cotswold outdoors. I was really impressed with the fit, and these jackets are also cheaper than their branded equivalent. National Trust members also get 15% off!


I discovered buffs when I was doing long distance cycling. I find them much more practical than scarves, and they can be worn in a number of ways.

North Face Borealis Rucksack

I use this for my daily commute, but it is also just big enough for a weekend away. Solid and well made (as you’d expect from North Face), and with another pockets to keep everything safe.

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1 year ago

I like how you’ve covered so many potential activities in just a few simple items! Also, today thanks to your blog I learned what a “buff” is 😂

Useful Tools for Booking Your Sabbatical


I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets. 

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Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance. I’ve used  World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.


Using local guides is one of my favourite travel tips. The easiest way to find a local guide is to use Get Your Guide who offer tours with local guides all over the world.


Check out my gear page for my favourite travel gear, here for a detailed 3-month packing list for men and women and here to find 38 great travel gifts.


Getting from the airport to your destinations is an added stress after a tiring flight, so take the guesswork out and pre-book with Their prices often beat the local taxis and I've found them to be reliable and easy to use.

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