packing for vancouver in autumn

You know how I was almost boasting about the fact I’d had a pretty endless summer and couldn’t understand why people said it rained so much in Vancouver? Well I take it all back. ALL of it. I have never experienced so much rain in a week as I did last week. I guess autumn is well and truly here in Vancouver and whilst I’m missing walking dogs in shorts and a t-shirt, being outside in the rain is still better than being in a stuffy office in my view.

Since the temperatures in Vancouver are generally pretty mild (especially for Canada!), it’s not so much that you’ll get cold on a trip to Vancouver in autumn, it’s that you’ll get wet.

Let’s just put it this way; if you come to Vancouver and it doesn’t rain then you’re lucky. If you come in autumn and it doesn’t rain then please never leave as you’ve obviously bought the sun with you from somewhere.

Vancouver isn’t a cultural city in the same sense as London. If it’s raining there isn’t a huge amount to do. The best things about this city are outdoors and so this means that you need to put some thought into what to pack for a trip to Vancouver in autumn to enjoy the city whatever the weather!

I’ve put some packing suggestions below bearing in mind the rain you will almost definitely experience. You’ll notice Vancouver is a pretty casual city when it comes to dressing (something I love). Although if you do like dressing up you’ll find plenty of excuses to if you fancy grabbing dinner in Yaletown.

What to pack for a weekend in Vancouver in autumn

Clothes

Since Vancouver is pretty casual you needn’t worry about packing the trendiest clothes in your wardrobe (unless of course you want to).

For Vancouver in the autumn, I’d recommend sticking to jeans and trousers during the day and maybe a dress or jumpsuit for the evenings you feel like being a bit smarter. My current favourite jeans are these Villa slim-fit jeans and I like packing blue and black when I go away to (ever so slightly) mix things up! These easy pants are also great for the evening as they’re that bit smarter than denim.

Since Lululemon started in Vancouver you can expect to see plenty of people, men and women, sporting Lululemon leggings, tops, coats – everything! Unfortunately buying Lululemon over here really isn’t that much cheaper than back home once you’ve accounted for tax. But you will save a little bit. Thom treated me to a pair of  their ‘Align Pants’ (he bought me a give card & I chose these) and I basically never wanted to take them off. They’re super soft and super comfy I can (kind of) see what the fuss is about.

Then pack a few t-shirts (you can guarantee I’ll have packed several striped ones where ever I’m going!), and some nice warm jumpers to cosy up in.

Oh and don’t forget the essentials such as underwear, socks and pyjamas!

Shoes

It’ll be wet outside and you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking. Vancouver is a great city for walking and cycling as it’s often quicker to do one of those than get the bus (especially downtown) and it’s the only way to explore Stanley Park (which you have to do).

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That being said, make sure to include some good trainers when packing for a trip to Vancouver in autumn. My go-tos used to be these Nike trainers but they fell apart after I wore them practically everyday for a year and I’m now rocking these Adias shoes. The Nikes are more comfortable and probably more practical for autumn since I’m sure the Adidas won’t stay white for long. However, the Adidas shoes are slightly more waterproof that the mesh-type fabric of the Nikes.

When it’s really raining and not just drizzling you’ll be grateful you remembered to pack some waterproof shoes. I recently purchased these waterproof shoes by Columbia. The box stated they were “guaranteed waterproof” and whilst they don’t live up to this when it’s really, really raining they do stand up to walking into the sea/ponds/lakes. They’re super comfortable too and can replace either of the above as good walking shoes if you’re tight on suitcase space!

Another option would be wellies! They’re definitely going to be waterproof and you can splash through puddles along the seawall no problem.

For the evenings I’d suggest a good pair of black boots. Vancouver has a love affair with Blundstone boots. They’re said to last for years and look pretty nice too. However, most pairs of black boots will help keep your toes warm & dry while heading out to dinner in the rain.

Outerwear

If there’s one item of clothing Vancouverites splash out on it’s outerwear. They’ll have multiple coats for all types of rain and activities. I’d reckon most of them own waterproof trousers too. Although waterproof trousers are probably a bit much if you’re coming on holiday and aren’t planning any serious hikes. If you are planning some hikes then they’re definitely worthwhile packing!

You’ll definitely need at least one type of waterproof coat. Water resistant just won’t cut it out here when it starts raining I’m afraid! Your best best would be to pack something with Goretex technology. If your coat says ‘waterproof’ you’ll be okay if you don’t plan on spending hours and hours in the rain.

I recently bought this coat and am trying it out during rainy days. We’ll see how it holds up…

Other

  • Umbrella: I promise you won’t regret it!
  • Bobble hat: for when it’s not raining
  • Gloves: in case it gets a little chilly
  • A backpack for exploring during the day, and something smaller for the evenings

What other clothing would you pack for Vancouver in autumn?