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What to Wear in Tofino Packing List for All Seasons

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Are you wondering what to wear in Tofino? If so, you are in the right place! Whatever month you plan to visit, whether spring, fall, summer or winter, this Tofino packing list and guide to what to wear has women, men and children taken into account! You might even be pleasantly surprised at what you did not think to pack for your trip!

Your Tofino packing list for winter and summer is not actually going to be very different. With this guide to what to wear in Tofino, you will not have to worry about packing the wrong types of clothes and you will make sure all of the little things to make your vacation the best trip it can be!

If you are just planning now, you can pin this for later!

What to wear in tofino packing list for women men and kids.

Essential Tofino Travel Tips

Here are a few things you might or might not need for your trip. If any of these apply to you, check them out!

How to get here: Start with how to get from Vancouver to Tofino. 

Rental Cars: Click Here to compare suppliers that offer Vancouver Airport pickup (or other locations as well).

Travel Insurance: If you are coming to British Columbia from abroad, you are going to what to make sure you have travel Insurance. While unlikely, just to see a doctor in the ER costs $850 and that does not involve ordering any tests. Canada is a very expensive country for medical care. You can check policy prices from World Nomads Insurance. 

Want to Take a Tour or Book an Activity: Check out Get Your Guide to book activities. They are well known for their excellent customer service if you ever need it! That goes a long way these days!

Where to Stay in Tofino

MIDRANGE: Duffin Cove Resort Duffin Cove is newly renovated and is right in Tofino. They have a few A frame cabins right on the water that you can book as well. The nice thing about staying here is that you can leave your car and walk into town. Parking can be busy in town in high season. 

MIDRANGE: Hotel Zed Tofino Hotel Zed is right off the highway and less than 500m from Chesterman Beach. It is 1.1 km from Mackenzie Beach. Your stay includes free parking and there is a restaurant on site. Hotel Zed is known for its eclectic styled accommodations. You cannot miss it! Pets are welcome at Hotel Zed.

MIDRANGE: Shoreline Tofino Shoreline Tofino offers a rustic feel with A Frame loft style cabins. it is close to the downtown core of Tofino and on the harbour side.

LUXURY: Pacific Sands Beach Resort Pacific Sands is the epitome of luxury. Featuring townhouse style accommodations and jetted tubs with a view, few other properties can walk right out to Cox Bay beach! Depending on your accommodation type, you can have a full kitchen and multiple bedrooms. If storm watching or walking the sandy beaches are your thing, choose Pacific Sands! It is perfect for families and getaways with friends!

LUXURY: Long Beach Lodge Resort Long Beach lodge features oceanfront rooms as well as cabins with hot tubs. There are surfing rentals and lessons right on site. It is situated on Cox Bay beach

AIRBNB: I have a post on the best Tofino AirBNB locations.

Tofino at Sunset - Winter wear.
TOFINO SUNSETS ARE MAGICAL, ALL YEAR ROUND! MAKE SURE YOU DRESS WARMLY TO ENJOY THE BEACH.

Tofino Packing List

Packing your Bags for Tofino

I personally do not like backpacks, and use rolling suitcases almost whereever I go. I also do not pack light and do not like to stuff everything into a small bag. If you are like me, you are going to want a full size suitcase when you are packing for Tofino. If it is just a local weekend getaway for you, a smaller rolling suitcase or weekend bag will also work. It is going to depend on the season. Winter packing usually takes up more space than summer packing!

If you hate having to deal with wheels and prefer to have your hands free, then traveling with a travel backpack might be better for you.

Keeping it all Organized

While ziplock bags have been my go-to in the past, once I discovered packing cubes I have not traveled without them. I can get an entire kid’s wardrobe into one packing cube and it makes organizing my suitcase a breeze! I have different colored cubes for each person and then another cube for accessories. I do not do much with the small ones, and stick to the larger sized ones.

I pack my toiletries are in a handy toiletries bag and then the shoes/sandals and other miscellaneous items are packed around the cubes.

Daypacks for Summer or Winter in Tofino

If you are the kind of person that wants to hike with a backpack, then you are going to want a good daypack. And it likely needs to be a backpack. You will want it to fit snug and be comfortable at the same time. I would suggest something like this that is 16 to 24 litres.

Electronics to Pack

You can go overboard here, so pack what suits your needs and depending how much space you have. Bring your phone and camera for some stunning photo ops along the beaches! If you are planning on surfing, a go-pro is handy capture your day and share it online with friends and family!

Visiting from Abroad – Pack your Passport

If you are arriving from outside of Canada, you will need to have your passport with you. But you do not need to carry it on you at all times in Canada. Leave it in your hotel room. But I would not suggest taking it hiking or to the beach. Getting your passport wet could invalidate it.

Toiletries Packing List for Tofino

While you can get pretty much what you might have forgotten, if you are on a quick trip, the last thing you want to do is find toothpaste on your vacation. This list of toiletries to pack for Tofino will make sure you do not forget the essentials or the comforts!

Toiletries Bag – Whether you prefer one toiletry bag or a few small ones the choice is up to you. Try and stay away from bulky ones and get one like this that is only a few inches tall. This is the one that I use and it holds just about everything I need! Since toiletry bags usually go in last, if you have a bulky one, you are going to have a hard time fitting it into your suitcase. If you like the one I linked above, you can also find it on amazon here.

Toiletries

Chap Stick  – Bring a good lip balm (I always travel with this one and you can get it on amazon here too) and your lips will thank you!

Shampoo and Conditioner – If you are not picky, feel free to stick with the hotel options, but I have stayed in too many hotels that offer those lovely “conditioning shampoos.” If you are picky on your products, best to bring them along. Also if you want to contribute to using less plastic on vacation, avoid those toiletries in the hotel altogether. I have recently bought a shampoo bar (but still stick with my regular conditioner.) If you want to reduce your plastic consumption, you can check out a cute trial size here.

If you need small containers for your shampoo and conditioner, try these ones. They also work for sunscreen and hand sanitizer! If you are flying into Canada on your trip to Tofino you are going to need travel sizes for your carry on! If you are a local who is driving up for a holiday, if you have the space, just bring the whole bottle from home!

Dry Shampoo – I do not go anywhere without dry shampoo as I have oily hair. If you are spending some time hiking in Tofinoor plan to spend the day at the beach, you might want to add dry shampoo to your packing list

Toothbrush and Toothpaste – don’t forget the simple things.

Hairbrush / Comb and Hair Elastics – Make sure your toiletries bag has everything you need for your hair. If you like to use heat protectants or other products at home, make sure you pack those too (ideally in a travel size).

Hair Straightener / Curling Wand / Hair Dryer – While I rarely pack a hairdryer, if you are picky about it, you might want to bring your own as you may run into a situation where you do not have one (think about who you are traveling with. If its a girls trip, you might want your own products so you are not fighting over the hotel hair dryer). You can even get travel-sized hairdryers and straighteners. Double-check that you get one for North America if you are coming from overseas!

Menstrual Cup / Tampons / Pads – Whatever your preference (I use this one and seriously love it). This is definitely something you can get in Tofino, there is a pharmacy and grocery store in town, but sometimes on vacation, you do not want to waste time looking for the drug store. That is why I am giving you everything you need and you get to decide what you bring and what you buy when you get there!

Razors – because it is always hot tub season!

Makeup – Pack your favorites, ensure you have a foundation with sunscreen even in the winter. The snow reflection can cause horrible sunburns!

Sunscreen – As important in the summer as in the winter (whose burns from the reflection on the snow are no joke). Makre sure you pack sunscreen.

Bug Spray – the mosquitos can be bad, especially in the alpine by the water, or at places like the bike park at dusk! Ensure you have good bug spray (not the crappy kids kind.) Get yourself some with deet.

Contact Lens Solution and Case – If you can swing it, bring extra contacts just in case!

Glasses and Case – pack as needed.

Laundry Bag – These are super handy, especially if you do not have in-room laundry. They take up almost no space in your luggage and are waterproof, which is good if you have to bring a wet bathing suit home after your vacation. The one I use is a lot like this. I have actually had it for 10 years and used it when I used to cloth diaper my boys! Now it is the perfect laundry bag for our travels!

Tofino - Sunset at the beach.
Tofino - Sunset beachwear.
IN TOFINO, CASUAL IS BEST. PEOPLE DRESS FOR THE WEATHER AND FOR COMFORT.

Women’s Clothing Packing List for What to Wear in Tofino

Base Layers (winter, spring and fall) – If you are planning on visiting Tofino and it is not the height of summer, get yourself some base layers. It is always quite wet, it is in a rainforest! I like Smartwool merino base layers. The merino wool means they do not smell. Their winter warmth is great for those who get cold easily (the 250 weight is their winter weight). Their everyday weight clothing is perfect for hiking and everyday wear!

Rainjacket  – Even in the summer months, it can be rainy in Tofino. The fog bank can roll on shore at any time of year, meaning you will be feeling wet if you are not in waterproof gear! A rain jacket takes up very little room and can come in handy. Gortex is the best when it comes to rain gear but anything made of Gortex is more expensive (but worth it!)

Bras and Underwear – I pack for 2-3 days and do laundry as needed. But you do you and pack what you are comfortable with! Plan your outfits and bring the right bras, that’s my best advice.

Hiking socks (summer) – if you have the hiking boots packed, make sure you wear some merino socks (as mentioned above, I wear Smartwool!). I wear the same socks all year round, so don’t forget them in your winter bag too!

Button up Shirt – no, not the dressy kind, but the shacket kind. Whether typical Canadian plaid or the more recent shacket trending styles, there are plenty of styles to choose from. These are great for layering all year round!

T shirts / Tanks – While I mentioned base layers above, you are going to need something else to wear. I only pack for a 2 day trip regardless of how long I am going since laundry is really easy to come by. So pack your favorites and you will be good

Shorts (summer only) – July and August boast beautiful weather in Tofino. Bring a pair or two for the beach and hiking.

Leggings / Hiking Tights – Leggings are very popular in Canada. Whether hiking, as a base layer or for cooler summer evenings, I suggest at least one pair for your trip.

Summer dress (summer only) – It could be for sunny beach days or for a dinner out. If you like to be a little dressy, you will want a summer dress in your suitcase in July and August. The shaket I mentioned above is going to be perfect to wear over for after dinner when it cools down!

Jeans – I wear jeans all year round. Tofino is very casual.

Bathing Suit – For a hot tub or surfing lessons, throw in a suit!

Sleepwear and Comfy Hotel Clothing – I never travel without a pair of comfy hotel sweatpants. They double as sleepwear with a t-shirt. Pack a pair of PJs and comfy clothes for your hotel.

Shoes and Footwear

Hiking Boots – If you are planning on a lot of nearby hiking, you will be thankful for your hiking boots. If you are just planning on wandering around the beaches, runners are fine!

Comfortable Shoes – Make sure you have comfortable shoes for dry days.

Flip Flops / Sandals – something to slip on to go to the beach in the summer.

Gum Boots – The official footwear of Tofino, you will fit right in with a pair of waterproof gumboots anywhere!

Accessories

Hat – you are going to want a hat in the summer months to keep the sun off your face

Toque (winter, spring and fall) – In the winter, you will want a toque! It covers the ski helmet hair too!

Scarf – Whether for winter warmth or a light scarf for a summer accessory, you cannot go wrong with putting one in your luggage.

Warm Gloves (winter, spring and fall) – For walking outdoors, if you get cold easily you will want something like this

Reusable Water Bottle – Canada has some of the cleanest water in the world. Fill your bottles with tap water!

Trekking Poles – If you like to hike with trekking poles, by all means, make sure you pack them!

Tofino - Cox Bay Beach with kids in boots.

What to wear in Tofino for Men – Your Tofino Packing List

Base Layers (winter, spring and fall) – If you are planning on visiting Tofino and it is not the height of summer, get yourself some base layers. It is always quite wet, it is in a rainforest! I like Smartwool merino base layers. The merino wool means they do not smell. Their winter warmth is great for those who get cold easily (the 250 weight is their winter weight). Their everyday weight clothing is perfect for hiking and everyday wear!

Rainjacket  – Even in the summer months, it can be rainy in Tofino. The fog bank can roll on shore at any time of year, meaning you will be feeling wet if you are not in waterproof gear! A rain jacket takes up very little room and can come in handy. Gortex is the best when it comes to rain gear but anything made of Gortex is more expensive (but worth it!

Hiking socks – if you have the hiking boots packed, make sure you wear some merino socks (as mentioned above, I wear Smartwool!). I wear the same socks all year round, so don’t forget them in your winter bag too!

Hoodies / Sweater – for cool summer evenings you are going to want layers. Pack a comfortable sweater for in the evening any time of the year. These can double as layers for hiking.

T shirts – While I mentioned base layers above, you are going to need something else to wear. I only pack for a 2 day trip regardless of how long I am going since laundry is really easy to come by. So pack your favorites and you will be good.

Shorts (summer only) – July and August boast beautiful weather in Tofino, pack a pair to two.

Jeans – Casualwear is in style all year round.

Bathing Suit – Whether for surfing or the hot tub, pack a bathing suit.

Sleepwear and Comfy Hotel Clothing – I never travel without a pair of comfy hotel sweatpants. They double as sleepwear with a t-shirt. Pack a pair of PJs and comfy clothes for your hotel.

Shoes and Footwear

Hiking Boots – If you are planning on a lot of nearby hiking, you will be thankful for your hiking boots. If you are just planning on wandering around the beaches, runners are fine!

Comfortable Shoes – Make sure you have comfortable shoes for dry days.

Flip Flops / Sandals – something to slip on to go to the beach in the summer.

Gum Boots – The official footwear of Tofino, you will fit right in with a pair of waterproof gumboots anywhere!

Accessories

Hat – you are going to want a hat in the summer months to keep the sun off your face

Toque (winter, spring and fall) – In the winter, you will want a toque! It covers the ski helmet hair too!

Scarf – Whether for winter warmth or a light scarf for a summer accessory, you cannot go wrong with putting one in your luggage.

Warm Gloves (winter, spring and fall) – For walking outdoors, if you get cold easily you will want something like this

Reusable Water Bottle – Canada has some of the cleanest water in the world. Fill your bottles with tap water!

Trekking Poles – If you like to hike with trekking poles, by all means, make sure you pack them!

Surfing Gear

If you are renting a surfboard in Tofino, it almost always comes with a wetsuit. Whether winter or summer, the temperature does not really vary much in the water. In the winter you will want to wear a hood, gloves and booties when you surf.

In the summer you can forgo the hood, gloves and booties but you should still wear a wetsuit.

Tofino - Surfing gear requires a wetsuit.
How to get from Vancouver to Tofino
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