Layer & Go

Pack your wool for winter Adventures

The saying goes, “You snooze, you lose,” and when it comes to winter fun in northwest Montana, that’s definitely true. While summer is the peak tourism season, there’s no hibernating around here — in fact, many Kalispell locals are more active than ever once those first flurries fly.

Whether you’re planning to spend your days on the slopes, exploring vast national forests via snowmobile, or in the solitude of Glacier National Park, a trip to Kalispell delivers it all. Just make sure you have your bag packed right to get the most out of your vacation.

First things first: pack layers. Like most mountain climes, Kalispell’s temperatures fluctuate depending on elevation and sun exposure. Average winter daytime highs are in the 30s and 40s but can feel much warmer when you’re cross-country skiing or making fresh snowshoe tracks along McDonald Creek. With lows in the teens and 20s, nights are the time for flannels by the fireside, or grab your hat and gloves for unforgettable stargazing on the crisp, clear nights.

The list below covers a number of other essentials to make planning for your trip easier, but keep in mind your particular activity plans and check the weather forecast before your flight.

For in-town:

Casual warm pants and shirts (Montana is still cowboy country — you can get away with jeans at most of Kalispell’s establishments)
Comfortable waterproof, insulated boots appropriate for around town as well as snowshoeing, dog sledding, etc.
Warm socks, such as SmartWool
Winter hat
Gloves (non-ski)
Insulated winter jacket (synthetic / down)
Swimsuit for your hotel’s pool
Light daypack suitable for all outdoor activities
Water bottle
Camera — and its memory card, extra batteries and/or charger
Cellphone charger (only if you don’t want to get completely off the grid*)

For winter adventures:

Waterproof insulated gloves / mittens
Waterproof / windproof ski jacket (hard and/or soft shell suitable for layering)
Snow pants / bibs
Base-layer pants and shirts (no cotton)
Midlayer fleece or sweater
Ski socks (2-3 pair recommended; no cotton)
Neck gaiter or buff
Ski goggles (ski gear can be rented as well)
Hand and toe warmers
Lip balm with sunscreen
Snacks and water

* When visiting Glacier National Park, please be aware that it is a remote place with limited cellphone and internet connectivity. This lack of on-the-go communication makes planning ahead imperative.

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