Winter Wonderland Packing Tips

How To Pack For Your Winter Jasper Vacation With Kids

Almost everyone I talk to will say one of the toughest things about travel is knowing how to pack. Whenever we go on a trip, even if its just a weekend away I tend to over-pack. Our last trip away was two weeks in Mexico. I packed for myself and both kids, ages 5 and 1. Clothes for a tropical holiday take up a small fraction of the suitcase space required of winter clothing.

baby wearing sun suit sitting on sand at a tropical beach - man watching her - kids building sandcastles - sailboats in the distance
Quinn & Peter on our Mexico Vacation

Make a List & Start Packing Early

I’m not sure if it was just excitement or maybe a little anxiety but was completely finished packing more than 4 weeks before our holiday! I found this helped me a lot. I was able to lay out our suitcases in the spare room and could keep adding to the piles when I thought of something that was missed.

Or Use a Packing App

woman sitting with child on seat in via rail train cabin - backpack at her feet
VIA Rail

If packing weeks in advance isn’t your thing, you could keep a list going to use as a checklist when it came to “packing day”. There are apps that can help with list-making. One really helpful packing app is Packing Pro. It’s not a free app but I’ve used the generic lists that come with the app & found it helpful. It also allows you to customize & save your own lists.

But How Do You Pack For The Mountains?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to pack for a mountain getaway. Lot’s of people aren’t sure what to pack especially for kids. It’s pretty much the same as I’d pack for myself: Layers!

Basic Packing List

Outerwear Clothing

Toiletries & Accessories

Other Must-Haves

Don’t forget your bathing suits! Swimming at the outdoor heated salt water pool at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is an incredible experience in the winter! Make sure you bring your toque & sunglasses for swimming outdoors at the lodge's pool!

boy at an outdoor pool in winter throwing snowball - woman sitting in hot tub holding baby
Snowballs & Swimming at the Jasper Park Lodge Outdoor Pool

Sunscreen, Merino & Layers

Layers are definitely your friend especially if you’re travelling to Jasper where the weather is unpredictable to the max. We can be hit with snow in July and, in the same week, sweltering, sunny beach weather. You don’t have to pack more … just pack smarter.

In Jasper, we love Merino Wool for all seasons, but especially in the winter! You will need quality foot wear if you plan to do any hiking. And if you forget anything there are several stores in Jasper to rent or shop for forgotten items!

We're a Ski Family

Magic Carpet Ride

We love love love to ski and snowboard, so naturally we want our children to share our passion. Our first experience was great. We stayed on the Magic Carpet at Marmot Basin. This is the best area for little ones and beginners. We stayed just long enough and everyone left happy!

The following trip to the magic carpet Elijah kept pointing at the chair. Yay! He was hooked already. From here we took him to the school house chair. This area is wide open and the chair isn’t too high up or very far up the mountain. So the run down is just long enough for little legs.

The rest of the season was great. My only complaint is that we didn’t make it up to the ski hill as much as we had initially planned.

Don't Skip the Lessons

man crouched next to child learning to ski - mountains and skiers in background

The following year Elijah is now 3 and we are ready to explore more of the mountain with him. I highly recommend purchasing an Edgie Wedgie for your child’s first time on skis. We also used a harness for a few days, but didn’t find it to be very helpful and some ski instructors will advise you not too as your child depends on you to stop. We were having fun until we were not having fun anymore.

This is when we needed to hire an instructor. We found that Elijah would lay in the snow crying for us, but somehow for her he would listen to his coach's instructions. He had a great time skiing with her and learned a lot. After a few lessons we were enjoying ski together again. We continued with the private lessons for the rest of the season and by the end he was really flying!

Mini Mountain Ski Program

young child with ski instructor and mascot jasper the bear at a ski hill
Getting Ski Tips From Jasper The Bear

The last two years Elijah has enjoyed the Mini Mountains Ski Program offered at Marmot Basin. He is now skiing everywhere and fast! (almost too fast for his mom).

We are already looking forward to next season already as Quinn will be old enough to attend their daycare program and Elijah will have the stamina to ski the whole day! He has already been asking when he can join the Jasper Freeride Ski Team.

Elijah talks about his Olympic dreams but the best part of watching him ski is his pure joy when he challenges himself.

EC – Also known as the diaper free baby!

While I was pregnant with our first baby Elijah. I pick up a copy of the Diaper Free Baby.This book and methods really intrigued me. Your baby is trying to tell you that it’s time to go. Elimination Communication is not as time-consuming as full-time diapering and later potty training. It can, at times, feel inconvenient but the benefits sure pay off.

Why EC?

Mammals Don’t Poop Where They Live

Large black older dog and small white dog in a grassy park
Diego & Leon ready to go for a walk.

I’d never thought about the fact that no other mammal in the world wants to eliminate in their living space. This made me think about our dogs, Diego & Leon. Even they prefer to leave the yard to void their bowels. Diego, our bigger dog, will hang onto “it” 💩 until we walk him. He won’t poop in the yard unless we’ve neglected to get him out for his morning walk.

1st Baby & Sleepless Nights

With our first baby, we began elimination communication soon after he was born. Remember those sleepless nights? It took quite a bit of faith that EC made sense as we stood half-asleep holding our son on the potty. Well, it did work out & we used EC with our 2nd baby too. By about 5 months, both babies were able to wait to have their diaper removed to use the potty. But the process wasn’t exactly the same with our second baby.

What Am I Doing Wrong?

Short answer: Nothing at all! But we sure do feel that way often enough don’t we? We felt like graduates of EC university after our 1st so, when baby #2 didn’t follow the same pattern, I wondered what I was doing wrong.

Babies Do What Comes Naturally

Diaper Free Baby also discussed that babies show the same desire to keep their living area clean as they will often go once the diaper is removed. It’s not natural to go in a diaper. We experienced this with both babies. Therefore, both Elijah and Quinn starting using a potty at 3 weeks old.

I have to admit with our first baby we were very motivated and had more time in general. At just 11 months, he'd tell us when he had to go and, by 18 months, our son was wearing proper underwear!

Our daughter, Quinn, took a little longer, I think because she went to daycare were they weren’t able to watch for Quinn's cues that she needed to go to the potty. Even with those sorts of challenges, by the time Quinn was 1-year-old, she never pooped in her diaper and, by 22-months, she wore regular underwear.

So Where Do You Start?

Like all things parenting, there isn’t an exact blueprint. I know. Big surprise! There are actually many ways to follow EC.


You want to realize your baby has a wet or stinky diaper after you've got them bundled up & your dogs are excited to get going.

EC is just as much, or even more, about training the grownups in the room. We always put both babies on the potty first thing when they woke up. On those mornings when I would have liked a few more moments of sleep, it took serious commitment but the endgame was worth it.

There were never any tears involved and would have to say it was an enjoyable experience for everyone. Some people may think this is more work than diapers but I can assure you that’s not so. Remembering to put your baby on the potty before putting on winter gear just makes sense even if you aren’t doing EC.

No Un-Training

EC is actually less work in the long run because you won’t have to potty train a 2 or 3-year-old who has already been taught to go in a diaper. Once a child has gotten used to eliminating in a diaper, it is tougher to potty train. Toddlers also don’t like to have to take a break from playing to go to the bathroom so they’ll tend to prefer an accident to the boredom of sitting on a potty.


There are a few things that will help make EC a lot easier especially as you're establishing your routine.

Potties for Infants

We recommend this little Baby Bjorn potty with the backrest. The backrest was helpful when they were really little. Just to make it a little easier, I also loved putting babies in cloth diapers with the baby legs – rather than dressing completely while at home. What I noticed to rare time I used disposables was that the wet sensation isn’t there to signal to your baby it’s potty time.

Diapers vs Cloth Pull Ups

We invested very little in cloth diapers because I was able to find used, near-new condition cloth diapers online. The price of brand-new diapers can be hard to handle but even if you buy new, the cost will still be lower than if you use disposables. Besides being a huge problem for the environment, disposable diapers will cost you $2500-$3000 whereas cloth diapers (purchasing & washing) are well under $700.

Homemade Lavender & Tea Tree Wipes

We made wipes from small squares of soft flannel with finished edges & a homemade baby wipe solution from this recipe:

Ready To Get Started?

The earlier you start, the easier it will be. But even if your baby has been in diapers for a little while, you’ll enjoy the benefits of watching for signs that your baby needs to go on the potty. The easiest one is when they first wake up in the morning or after a nap. At other times, you’ll get to know their shifts in energy or other signs like getting deep in thought.

It might seem like a lot of effort to run to the bathroom but it’s a lot less work than washing diapers. What really sells me on Elimination Communication is how early my kids were completely done with diapers and how few really stinky diapers I had to change & wash.

Everybody’s situation is different so EC might not be an option. There is no right or wrong way when your heart is in the right place. There’s what works for your family.

I’d love to hear your stories. Have you tried EC?