Grumpy Camel


What to Pack for Scotland in Winter

Scottish winters can be harsh. When the sun’s out, the air is biting cold, while on some days, it tends to rain non-stop.

However, don’t let the Scottish weather intimidate you – you can still enjoy being outdoors if you wear the right clothes.  

Here’s what to pack for Scotland in winter.

Scotland in winter: what to expect

When visiting Scotland in winter, it’s important to be prepared for the unpredictable weather.

The combination of cold temperatures, rain, and potentially icy conditions can make outdoor activities more challenging.

You might even get some snow, especially if you’re visiting in January and February.

Edinburgh in winter
Snow in Edinburgh. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Additionally, the days are very short. In some places, it starts getting dark as early as 3pm. Therefore, you’ll want to get up early so you can get most of your sightseeing done in daylight.

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip, make sure to pack warm and waterproof clothing. Layering is key, so pack thermals, sweaters, and a good quality coat.

In this packing list for Scotland, we’ll take a closer look at what to pack to help you stay warm and dry throughout your trip.

Winter Packing List for Scotland

Whether you’re visiting Edinburgh in winter or planning to explore the Highlands, you’ll need to make sure you have enough clothes to keep your body warm and dry.

So, here’s what to pack for Scotland in winter. The items on this list are all personally recommended by yours truly, who survived many cold winters in Edinburgh.

1. A pair of comfy (and waterproof) boots

Whether you’re planning to explore the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow, or wander through Highland villages, make sure you keep your feet dry and warm with a pair of waterproof boots.

Hiking boots for visiting Scotland in winter

I love these boots from Mountain Warehouse. They’re comfy, waterpoof, and versatile – I’ve worn them for hiking trips as well as city walks.   

2. A cosy scarf or shawl

When I lived in Scotland, my collection of scarves grew considerably. Wearing a stylish scarf is the quickest way to add some colour to a dull winter outfit.


warm shawl to pack for winter in Scotland

This beautiful tartan scarf is soft and warm, and it comes in different colours. You can also use it as a shawl or blanket.

3. A waterpoof rain coat

If you’re visiting Scotland in winter, pack a waterproof jacket – preferably one that’s also lightweight and quick drying.

Warm rain coat for Scotland in winter

This waterproof and lightweight rain coat is suitable for many winter activities, including hiking. It comes in a variety beautiful colours, including red and blue.

4. A fleece top

Wearing a comfy fleece top or sweater under a jacket is a great way to keep warm, especially if you’re planning to go hiking in Scotland.


If you're wondering what to pack for Scotland in winter, you'll definitely need a fleece sweater.

This lightweight fleece sweater is perfect for hiking in cold and wet weather. There are many nice colours to choose from!        

5. A warm beanie

Some might find beanies uncomfortable, but you should still pack one just in case it gets too cold.

A warm beanie for your winter packing list for Scotland

Keep your head warm with this colourful knitted beanie – you can get it in different colours so just grab one that goes with your outfit.        

6. Thermal tights or leggings

I wear thermal tights or leggings almost every day in winter (I even wear them in the house!). Just pack 2-3 pairs and a couple of cosy woollen dresses or sweaters to wear with.

thermal tights or leggings for winter in Scotland

These cosy fleece tights are perfect for a winter trip to Scotland. You can wear them during the day as part of a casual outfit, or just pair them with a nice dress for a night out.

7. Thick gloves

Another useful things to pack for a winter trip to Scotland is a pair of warm gloves (or two, since most of us tend to misplace them).


Thick gloves for winter in Scotland

These thick gloves provide great insulation against Scotland’s cold weather and they are also moisture-wicking.

8. Waterproof and anti-theft travel bag

If you’re planning to do a lot of walking, choose a bag that’s waterproof and sturdy.

I also recommend carrying an anti-theft bag if you’re planning to attend crowded places or events, like the Edinburgh Christmas Market and the Hogmanay party.

Waterproof and anti-theft travel blog

This elegant waterproof and anti-theft backpack has many useful compartments and can also be worn as a shoulder bag.

9. A thermal travel flask

Tap water in Scotland is drinkable (and actually quite good), so pack a water bottle and fill it up with water (or make a hot drink) before you head out. It is also a great way to keep yourself hydrated on the road.

Thermal travel flask for Scotland

This stainless steel water bottle can keep drinks hot for 12 hours. It is also 100% BPA free.

10. Warm, breathable socks

Keep your feet warm during the Scottish winter can be a bit of a challenge, which is why you need to make sure to pack several pairs of warm and comfy socks.


Warm breathable socks for Scotland

If you’re planning to do a lot of walking, get some of these winter walking socks which are breathable and antibacterial.

Frequently asked questions

Still not sure what to pack for Scotland in winter? Let’s look at some common questions.

What do people in Scotland wear in winter?

In winter, people in Scotland typically wear warm clothing such as coats, scarves, hats, gloves, and boots to protect themselves from the cold weather.

What shoes to wear in Scotland in winter?

Waterproof hiking boots – even if you’re not planning any hiking! The ground can be super slippery in icy conditions, so you’ll need something with a good grip.

Do I need thermals in Scotland?

If you’re travelling to Scotland in winter, you’ll definitely need thermals. You can pack a vest to wear under sweaters, and warm leggings to wear under jeans and trousers.

What should I pack for a winter trip to Scotland?

When packing for a winter trip to Scotland, consider including the following items:

Warm clothing: Pack thermal layers, sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and trousers to keep yourself warm in the cold weather.

Waterproof outerwear: Scotland is known for its unpredictable weather, so pack a waterproof jacket or coat to stay dry during rain or snow.

Winter accessories: Don’t forget to bring a hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect yourself from the cold.

Sturdy footwear: Choose waterproof and insulated boots to navigate the potentially wet and icy terrain.

Umbrella: Carry a compact, wind-resistant umbrella to shield yourself from rain showers.

Extra socks: Pack enough pairs of warm socks to keep your feet cozy throughout your trip.

Remember to check the weather forecast for your travel dates to ensure you pack appropriately.

Need travel insurance?

SafetyWing provides global travel medical insurance that covers people from all over the world. You can purchase the insurance even if you’re already abroad!

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