California Winter Packing List | Alyssa J Freitas: California Winter Packing List

January 19, 2017

California Winter Packing List

Winter break in California sounds like it would be a warm, sunny paradise, right? Well, I suppose that depends on where exactly you're going to be in the large state of so much weather variety! This packing list is what I included in my recent trip to San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Big Sur (check out the first post in my California series about how to travel with friends without going crazy).
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Heading to California in the winter? Find out exactly what should be on your packing list and in your suitcase
When packing there are two major considerations: weather and activities. I am not the type of person to pack for a trip too far in advance (probably because I don't want things packed away that I may decide to wear before the trip), but this also has the added benefit of allowing me to get the most recent weather information before heading out. When it comes to activities, that is mapped out way in advance so I already have an idea on that front.

For this particular trip during the second week of January the forecast called for highs in the mid-50s and our activities were a mix of exploring towns and cities, hiking, and horseback riding. We were gone for 5 nights and the goal was to travel with just a carry-on bag so we didn't have to deal with checking luggage.

In my suitcase for clothing I included:
  • A pair of jeans
  • Leggings
  • A black skirt
  • A rain coat
  • A sweatshirt
  • PJs
  • A lightweight scarf
  • Three teeshirts: white, gray, and white with navy striped sleeves
  • A blue button down
  • A white three-quarter length shirt
  • 1 bikini 
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • An extra bra
  • 8 pairs of socks, 1 pair of tights
  • 1 pair of sneakers
For personal items I brought:
  • Everyday makeup
  • Facewash
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair brush, comb, and a few extra bobby pins and elastics  
On the plane I brought a book and journal, headphones, my phone charger, and some snacks. I carried a small leather backpack for all of the trip and traveled in jeans, leather boots, a striped navy blue and white boat shirt, a black jacket, and an orange heavier coat.

This packing list allowed me to have an outfit for each day with some room to mix and match with bottoms. I only ended up wearing one pair of jeans (although I was happy to have another pair in case I got them dirty because jeans were my go to this trip), I did not wear the skirt and tights, and I sadly did not get to use my bikini (I was holding out hope for a hot tub situation to arise haha). Looking back it would have been good to have a pair of rain boots because our hikes included a lot of muddy conditions. Ally (my lovely travel companion and best friend) said that she would have liked to have had a pair of gloves for when we were horseback riding because the air was a bit nippy that morning.

All in all, when going to this area of California in the winter it is very mild and your best bet is to dress in layers. Remember that less is more and don't underestimate the benefit of packing light with just a carry-on.

Do you have any tried and true methods for packing? Have you visited California in the winter?

-AJF
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