What to pack for Whistler in the summer?
Toiletries to pack for Whistler
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Sunscreen: If my math is right, Whistler Village sits at about 7% of Mount Everest’s height. Meaning? If you’re used to sissy life down at sea level … you will burn like a beast. Whistler shops stock Sun Bum sunscreen in crazy quantities – at insane prices. (Last I checked, the tiniest travel tube was CAD$18). Bring your own sunscreen – for your bod, face, lips – the whole kit.
Moisturiser: Lots of it. Face, hands, lips. It’s really dry (and quiet static-y) in these here mountains.
Hat & sunglasses: To deal with aforementioned sunshine, also useful for hangovers and “you can’t tell whether I showered today” hair. To that end, dry shampoo was made for Whistler weekends.
Bug spray: I’ve never found mosquitoes to be a problem in the Village, but they’re definitely waiting for you out there in nature.
- Natrapel Mosquito, Tick and Insect Repellent Wipes
- Burt’s Bees All-Natural Insect Repellent
- Natural Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
Blister block / Band-Aids: If you do your Whistler weekend right, you’ll walk a lot. After pretty much bankrupting myself buying moleskin in the Whistler Rexall (drugstore) last summer … I hereby recommend you bring a solid supply of Band-Aids/blister block/moleskin.
Just in case: All that stuff you hope you don’t need – Tums, Tylenol, tampons?
Clothes to pack for Whistler
Casual everything: With very few exceptions, Whistler is as casual as can be. Jeans, T-shirts, shorts, outdoor gear, flip-flops, running shoes – wear this stuff everywhere. Bachelorette parties and bar-stars might break out the cocktail dresses/club stuff at night (and stick out), but you can absolutely do Whistler nightlife in jeans and a T-shirt. 99% of Whistler is Australians named Dylan/Lachlan/Luke … and they’re not dressing up.
Add/subtract ten degrees: Whistler’s usually pretty hot in the summer – but the temperature can drop at night. Also, mountains = weird weather. It can get cold as soon as the sun disappears – whether behind clouds or when you head into forest. It took me years to figure this out, but genius Whistler packing =
- Check the weather forecast – pack 80% for that temperature
- Pack 10% for ten degrees hotter
- Pack 10% for ten degrees colder
Jeans + hoodie: Even in the peak of summer, always bring at least one pair of jeans and one warm hoodie. A rain jacket or shell is good to have, too.
Outdoor gear: Some of Whistler’s summer activities require more specific clothes/gear (like alpine hiking) – tour companies’s respective websites make suggestions in more detail (check their FAQ page if you can’t find it). As an example:
- Rock climbing: comfortable, loose clothing
- Canoeing: wind shell + shell pants
- Zip-lining: no open-toed shoes, no mosquito repellent with DEET
- Spa: bathing suit + sandals
- Hiking: layers + extra clothing for warmth, no perfume
Swimsuit: A crucial piece of kit whether for swimming the lakes, chilling out in your pool’s hot tub or visiting Scandinave Spa!
Dressy clothes? If you’re celebrating a special occasion, plan to have dinner somewhere nice like Araxi – or just can’t stomach the thought of jeans on a Friday night – don’t hold yourself back. Just so we’re clear that it’s not necessary. Jeans and a nice top are more than enough. (Or not – Smokey the Bear always qualifies).
Packed the wrong stuff? If you forget something or find that you’re too hot/cold – you can find every kind of clothing for sale in Whistler Village.
Shoes to pack for Whistler
Flip-flops/sandals: Perfect for the beach, your hotel’s pool and strolling around the village. Do Birkenstocks have a special place in your heart? Or were Tevas your first love? Both are suitable for nearly every square inch of Whistler Village.
Shoes you can walk in: This will depend what you have planned – for gentle walks/bike rides, you’ll be fine with sneakers or running shoes. If you plan to go and get adventure-y … then probably pack some more serious outdoor footwear.
Extremely optional: Dressy shoes (and I’d very much count sandals that aren’t rubber flip-flops as “dressy”).
Stuff-stuff to pack for Whistler
Electrolytes: I guess noble people would use these for rehydrating after strenuous mountain exercise. Fair enough – but they have a much more medical application in my life: “#$@& I’M OLD” recovery. Gatorade is never there for you when you need it. Make your Saturday and Sunday mornings a lot easier … BYO.
Granola bars / packets of instant oatmeal: It’s $13 for room-service oatmeal at The Westin. Probably very delicious, but when you just want to fill up quickly and get going… instant will do. Most Whistler hotel rooms have some kind of kitchen/kitchenette so if you’d rather bring your food – do!
Day-pack stuff: Whether that’s a light-weight First Aid kit or a pocket beach blanket – a small backpack is really useful for adding/discarding layers as necessary.
Toys: An Aerobie, a badminton set, toys to play with your dog, Bocce… a bluetooth speaker for the park/beach (if you promise not to be obnoxious and play new Britney at top volume. Old Britney – no problem. New Britney … turn it down).
Binoculars: Whistler has about sixty bears – fall in love from a safe distance.
Dog stuff to pack for Whistler
Bear bell: Great if you’ll be hiking or doing any nature. Just attach it to your dog’s collar and jingle all the way. On a summer hike that featured our closest-ever bear encounter (wayyyy too close for my comfort), our dog had his bear bell on – which meant the bear totally knew we were there long before we knew that he was. He didn’t care: just wanted to keep eating his tasty foods – but the bear bell gave him tons of warning and zero surprise. (Lord Snuzzington had tried to tell us about the bear’s proximity by whining like crazy – we just thought he was being lazy. Yea, so that day … furry mammals 2 : clueless humans 0).
Harness: If your dog is a puller – expect him to be very eager to explore Whistler. With all kinds of nature smells from bears, beavers, deer, coyotes, raccoons, mink, chipmunks and who-knows-what … my dog puts each of his 70+ pounds into pulling when we walk or hike in Whistler. With few exceptions, Whistler trails require dogs to be leashed – so do yourself a massive favour and bring a harness where he can pull without hurting either of you. We also have a soft/stretchy leash with some kind of bungee cord action and it’s fantastic in this situation.
Water bottle: Super, super useful.
Paw protecting wax: I think this is a good idea, but I haven’t actually tried it yet. Musher’s Secret is a totally natural, waxy substance you put on your dog’s paws to protect them from hot pavement (or very cold surfaces). As soon as the summer heat cranks up, I’ll make a more dedicated study.
Tick protection: No huge surprise – as an outdoor paradise with lots of nature, ticks are very common in Whistler and the region. Plan to pack some form of tick prevention for your dog – both chemical and natural options have high reviews.
Bed/bowl: We don’t bring bowls or a dog bed if the hotel is able to provide one (and many do). It means that – on arrival – we just have one small weekend bag apiece and three out of four hands free (one on the dog leash). Sooo much easier to get from car to elevator to hotel room in one trip. Instead of bringing a dog bed, we pack a $1 fleece blanket that’s generally shoved somewhere in my dog’s bed at home. (Ours is from Ikea – the one below is also $1). As such, I presume it smells nice to him. We just throw that in a bag (it weighs nothing) and then put it on top of any hotel-provided dog bed. When we get home – hot wash! And, if it’s forgotten or disintegrates, it’s easily replaced for next-to-no dollars.
Astronaut dog food: If your dog eats food that’s annoying to travel with (whether raw, cooked or whatever), you might consider something like Sojos or Rawbble – astronaut food for dogs. It’s expensive but convenience
trumps outweighs all else in a hotel room. It weighs nothing. It’s easy to dispense: scoop food, add water, throw in bowl, feed the happy dog, no clean-up, seal the bag and see you tomorrow.
Now let’s plan your trip!
You’re perfectly packed, what to do next?
- See 27 things to do in Whistler this summer
- Plan your perfect Whistler summer weekend. OR –
- Grab your puppy and head straight for the alcohol