What to Pack for a Trip to Minnesota by Season

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Minnesota is a state known for its cold winters and warm summers. It can be tough to pack for such a diverse climate.

I’ve created a list of everything that you’ll need, so you don’t have to wonder what to pack for Minnesota on your next visit.

Below you’ll find a Minnesota packing guide of things to pack in every season, as well as items to bring that are specific to seasons in Minnesota.

What to Pack for Minnesota

When deciding what to pack for Minnesota, a lot may cross your mind.

Minnesota experiences all four seasons, so with every new month, the temperatures and weather are completely different from the last.

This list will give you a baseline for things to pack, no matter what season you visit Minnesota. Next, I’ll give you specifics for each season.

Minnesota is lucky enough to experience all four beautiful seasons.

You May Also Like: When is the Best Time to Visit Minnesota?

🡆 Clothing Fit for the Weather

For your visit to Minnesota, you’ll need to pack clothing that is going to keep you comfortable based on the weather.

Each season has a different temperature range, which you can read more about in the next few sections.

Basic items to pack for every season include t-shirts, pants, sweatshirts, pajamas, undergarments, and comfortable shoes.

Here’s a quick list of my top recommendations for what to bring:

  • Pants for all seasons: Pants are a must for all seasons. My personal favorites are my KUHL Haven Joggers, which are comfortable for all seasons!
  • T-Shirts and Sweatshirts: These can be worn in any season and are good to layer during cold months.
  • Light/Heavy Jacket: Depending on the season, a light or heavy jacket is a must.
  • Socks: Of course, you’ll need socks, from basic ones for tennis shoes or thick ones for boots.
  • Comfortable Shoes: Bring shoes that are good for walking around, hiking, etc.

🡆 Comfortable Shoes

For any walking around town, exploring state parks, or just walking through the shops, you’ll want a good, comfortable pair of shoes with you during every season.

These could be your everyday tennis shoes, or if you’re going to be doing some hiking, consider grabbing a pair of sturdy shoes.

My favorite hiking shoes are my Oboz Sawtooths because they’re super comfortable and sturdy.

🡆 Bathroom Items

Any specific bathroom items that you may need on your trip are musts. This includes shower essentials, medications, lotions, etc.

In Minnesota winters, the air tends to get dry, so always have lotion and lip balm.

Aside from the basics, you’re going to also need specifics for each season such as lotion and lip balm (this one is the best!) in the winter and bug spray (here’s my favorite!) in the summer.

🡆 Outdoor Activity Gear

If you have any outdoor activities planned for your trip to Minnesota, be sure to add them to your Minnesota packing checklist.

This could include specific things such as skis, hiking shoes, camping gear, or snowshoes.

Outdoor activities are some of the best things to do, so be sure to remember them when thinking of what to pack for a trip to Minnesota.

Some hotels that you may be staying at also may rent these out to you! Call ahead and inquire about this!

What to Pack for Minnesota in the Spring

The spring season in Minnesota is fairly short. Winters are long and summer comes fast after the snow has melted!

The first official signs of spring are when the snow starts to melt and the flowering trees start to bloom. This is usually in April and May.

Spring in Minnesota is defined by melting snow and blooming flowers.

The temperatures are usually between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring. Rain happens every once in a while but isn’t super common.

🡆 Pants & Shorts

Because the weather can change rapidly during the spring months, I would pack both some pants and shorts!

I personally love my KÜHL Haven Joggers because they’re lightweight, stretchy, and comfortable for all weather that you might experience during the spring.

Tyler wearing KUHL pants during spring in Minnesota.
KUHL pants that I am wearing while out for a walk.

Tyler also wears his KÜHL Renegade Rock pants that are also lightweight and comfortable, making them perfect for spring.

If you’re looking for a pair of great quality pants that will last for years, are comfortable, and are perfect to wear in Minnesota, then check out KÜHL pants.

My Recommendations:

  • I love my KÜHL Haven Joggers because they are perfect for hiking, biking, walking around town, or doing anything else in spring.
  • For men, check out the KÜHL Renegade Rock pants, which feature plenty of pockets, cinch bottoms, and stretchy material.

** Tyler and I are happy to partner with KÜHL to test their Travel Pants.

🡆 Shorts, T-Shirts, and Sweatshirts

Since spring weather is starting to get warmer, you won’t need as many layers as in the winter.

Choose clothes that will still keep you warm, but they can be lighter, such as capris, t-shirts, and sweatshirts.

These can just be clothes that you already own!

🡆 Light Jacket

A lighter jacket should do the trick for most spring days in Minnesota.

Although the weather is starting to warm up, you’ll definitely want just an extra layer for those chillier days.

You don’t want something too thick, because you’ll regret it when the temperatures are at that awkward temperature where it’s just too cold for a t-shirt.

I love fleece jackets for this, and you can see my recommendations below.

My Recommendations:

🡆 Rain Gear

As I mentioned above, rain is most common in Minnesota during the spring months. So it’s a good idea to add rain gear to your Minnesota packing list.

A rainjacket helps you to stay warm and repel the rain while you’re out exploring Minnesota.

You should also have an umbrella that is small and packable to carry around with you just in case it does rain.

My Recommendations:

What to Pack for Minnesota in the Summer

Summers in Minnesota are beautiful with warm temperatures, plenty of lakes to take a dip in, and the sun beaming down on your skin.

June, July, and August are typical summer months in Minnesota. August is the warmest of the three.

The temperature usually falls between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. There are only a few days when it reaches higher.

Packing for Minnesota in the summertime is fairly easy due to the warm weather.

Humidity can be high in the summer, especially in July. It rains just a few days throughout the summer, in a typical year.

This season is the easiest to pack for Minnesota because the weather is so beautiful!

🡆 Shorts and T-Shirts

With temperatures being warm and minimal rain, shorts and t-shirts are usually the best types of clothing to pack for Minnesota in the summer.

Because the humidity can be high, it’s usually best to wear lightweight clothes that have airflow and dry quickly.

🡆 Light Sweatshirt

Though you usually won’t need a sweatshirt during the day, the nights can get chilly, and you’ll wish you had a sweatshirt.

Pack a thin sweatshirt to throw on for those nights spent outside.

It’ll also help keep the mosquitoes off of you!

🡆 Sandals or Flip Flops

The best shoes to wear for visiting Minnesota in the summer are flip-flops and sandals.

They’re just the easiest shoes to take on and off quickly while you’re spending time outside.

If you’re planning to do any adventuring on your trip, bring a pair of sandals that strap on, to make sure they stay on your feet.

My Recommendations:

  • I love my Chacos because they’re cute, comfortable, and even good for short hikes.
  • These Chaco’s flip flops are a great men’s version of my sandals!

🡆 Swimwear

You couldn’t possibly visit the Land of 10,000 Lakes in the summertime if you don’t add a swimsuit to your Minnesota packing list.

You should also be sure to pack a lightweight, fast-drying towel.

This soft, microfiber towel is available in a variety of colors and rolls up into a small bag. It dries quickly and is perfect for travel. I use it for hiking and it’s great!

Sunflowers bloom in August in Minnesota.

🡆 Sun Protection

With how cold Minnesota’s winters are, sun protection can be overlooked. But it’s very important to protect your skin in the summer!

The sun is out most days during the summer, and those rays get hot! Pack sunscreen, a sunhat, and sunglasses to ensure you’re protected from the sun.

My Recommendation:

  • This sunscreen is reef safe, waterproof, biodegradable, and good for sensitive skin.

🡆 Bug Spray

Another item that is often overlooked and forgotten about when visitors are deciding what to pack for Minnesota is bug spray.

The mosquitos will absolutely swarm you if you’re outside pretty much any time of day in Minnesota.

Especially if you plan to be outside after the sun goes down, you will definitely want to add bug spray to your Minnesota travel checklist!

My Recommendation:

  • The Sky Organics Bug Spray is my favorite because it actually works! Plus it doesn’t smell like others do.

What to Pack for Minnesota in the Winter

Easily the toughest time of year to decide what to pack for Minnesota is the winter months.

Winter usually falls between late November and early April.

You’ll start seeing snow fly around the first couple of weeks in November, though it may not stick right away. Minnesota averages 40 inches of snowfall per year!

Temperatures drop below zero degrees often and rarely get above 35 degrees. The coldest month of winter is January, where the average is 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

When packing for winter in Minnesota, it’s important to remember the potential for extreme cold. Always pack more than you think you’ll need.

🡆 Layers, Layers, Layers!

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “you can always take a layer off, but you can’t put another on if you don’t have it!”

Start with a set of moisture-wicking base layers, and then add thicker layers on top. Sweatshirts and sweatpants are great for keeping warm.

Winters are very cold and it can be hard to know what to pack for Minnesota.

And as I mentioned above, pack more layers than you think you’ll need!

My Recommendations:

🡆 Waterproof, Warm Boots

Warm, waterproof boots may be your most important item to properly dress for a Minnesota winter.

I recommend choosing a pair that are waterproof and are rated for cold temperatures. This way, you’re covered for extreme cold and snow.

Both of the products below are highly rated, waterproof, rated for very cold temperatures, and are great, high-quality winter boots.

My Recommendations:

🡆 Warm Jacket

The next thing to pack for winters in Minnesota is a warm jacket. Remember those statistics I gave you earlier about negative temperatures?

You’re going to want to plan for those temperatures, and colder when choosing a jacket.

A warm winter jacket is a must have to add to your list of what to pack for Minnesota.

It’s best to look for one that is waterproof and windproof.

I love a jacket that comes to mid-thigh to keep extra warm, but that’s not entirely necessary.

🡆 Snowpants

Snowpants are typically only needed if you’ll be doing any sort of outdoor activity or are outside for more than an hour.

But, they may even be helpful for walking around, especially in areas where it’s very windy or snowy.

It is so important to find snow pants that are waterproof to keep your pants dry.

My Recommendations:

In the winter, it's important to pack warm clothes for Minnesota trips.

🡆 Hat and Mittens

Your fingers and toes are the body parts that will get cold the fastest. It’s up to you whether you prefer gloves or mittens better.

Choosing a waterproof pair will ensure that your hands stay dry throughout the day.

Hats are great for keeping your ears warm in the winter. Or, if you prefer not to have “hat hair” all day, a lined headband will do the trick.

Choose one that comes all the way over your ears, so that it does what it’s supposed to do.

My Recommendations:

  • These ski mittens are really warm and touchscreen compatible and are especially perfect for outdoor exploring.
  • If you prefer gloves, these ones are great for keeping you warm without having to wear mittens.
  • These are very basic winter hats that work for being out and about.
  • For those who don’t want hat hair, check out this headband for keeping your ears warm.

🡆 Hand Warmers

Hand warmers are an absolute must when doing anything outdoors in Minnesota.

They help keep your fingers extra warm on top of the gloves or mittens that you’re already wearing.

Because I don’t know about you, but even with mittens my fingers still get cold!

My Recommendations:

What to Pack for Minnesota in the Fall

Just like spring, fall in Minnesota is usually pretty short. September and October are typical fall months.

Fall may be one of the best times to visit Minnesota. Temperatures fall between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Plus, you’ll get to see the beautiful changing leaves. Just a short drive will give you fantastic views of the fall foliage.

Fall is one of the best times to visit and is an easy season to determine what to pack for Minnesota.

🡆 Pants, T-Shirts, and Sweatshirts

The weather during fall in Minnesota can be quite difficult to dress for. In the morning, the temperatures may be close to 50 degrees and by mid-day, they’re over 70 degrees.

When making your list of what to pack for Minnesota in the fall, it’s best to bring a variety of clothes.

Pack pants, shorts, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. This will give you many options for the changing weather.

🡆 Light Jacket

Also, pack a light jacket. One that is waterproof and windproof will be the best.

This will help keep you warm in the chilly mornings, but you can shed it later in the day when the temperatures rise.

I’m going to recommend the same type of jackets that I use in the springtime because the weather is pretty similar during these two seasons.

🡆 Bug Spray

Bugs don’t leave Minnesota until the first few freezes, so still, be sure to add it to your Minnesota packing list if you’re visiting in the fall!

Check out my recommendation above for the best bug spray!

Tips for Staying Warm While Visiting Minnesota

Minnesota experiences extreme cold during its winters and tends to see a lot of snowfall. It can be tough to stay warm during these times.

Use these tips to help you stay warm while visiting Minnesota.

Winters in Minnesota are very snowy and cold, so be sure to pack warm clothes when visiting.
  • Layers, layers, LAYERS! Use layers to your advantage. They’re really the best way to keep yourself warm on those frigid cold days.
  • Use moisture-wicking base layers to keep any sweat off of your body.
  • Use hand and toe warmers to keep your extremities extra warm.
  • To avoid frostbite and the chills, cover all exposed skin when going outside.

Tips for Warding Off Mosquitoes While Visiting Minnesota

Minnesota summers are absolutely beautiful, except for one little, annoying thing… Mosquitoes.

When visiting Minnesota, use these tips to help keep them away from you while adventuring outside.

  • Avoid using scented lotions, sprays, sanitizers, etc. These all attract mosquitoes and will make you their target.
  • Instead, use lavender or lemon eucalyptus essential oils. Mosquitoes don’t like these smells.
  • When outside after the sun goes down, wear long sleeves and pants to limit the amount of exposed skin.
  • Mosquitoes don’t like smoke, so having a bonfire outdoors helps keep them away.
  • Use a bug repellent that actually works. This natural Sky Organics Bug Spray is a great option that smells good, is deet-free, and keeps bugs away.
Bonfires help ward off mosquitos when visiting Minnesota in the summer.

Conclusion: What to Pack for Minnesota

Minnesota can be a tricky state to pack for when planning a trip. With the unpredictability of the weather, it’s good to have a baseline for what to bring.

I hope that this list of what to pack for Minnesota by season was helpful and will make your packing a little bit easier.