You have booked your vacation to Tofino, and now you need to consider what to pack. Our Tofino packing list will help make your vacation go so much smoother! The number one thing to remember when packing for a family vacation in Tofino is to pack layers.
The mornings and evenings can get cool even in the middle of July so when you begin your packing, remember this one essential packing tip!
If you haven’t already, check out our post on the best things to do in Tofino to find inspiration for your next adventure.
Tofino Packing List – Top Ten Tips
- Extra swimsuits. While the weather can be beautiful in Tofino, it is still cool in the mornings and evenings so things don’t dry as quickly as you might be used to. Bring two swimsuits and alternate days so one has time to dry before being used again.
- Extra clothes for your kids. There is so much to do outdoors and your kids will likely be outside all day long. Clothes tend to get a bit muddy or covered in the sand throughout the day from playing on the beach, so it is nice to have an extra set to throw on before dinner.
- Layers. Pack long sleeves, short sleeves, hoodies, sweaters, shorts, pants, and socks. The weather changes throughout the day, and layers will help you be prepared to adapt to it.
- Hats, tuques, lightly lined jacket, and warm footwear. If you like to spend your evenings outside, these items will come in handy so you can enjoy the sunset or spend a few hours by the campfire.
- Good pair of hiking or walking shoes. The options for nice long walks or hikes are endless in Tofino. Pack a great pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
- Rain jacket or windbreaker and rubber boots. The weather is unpredictable in Tofino but you should always come prepared for a little bit of rain. Rubber boots are perfect for kids to slip on and off and, while some resorts will have rain jackets in your room, they don’t always have sizes for kids.
- Pack a wet bag. You will undoubtedly be spending time in the water so packing a wet bag will help keep your wet items separate on day trips and are so helpful for packing for your journey back home.
- Beach blanket. This will probably be the item you use every day in Tofino. If you have a beach blanket that is sand-free, bring it. Like other beaches in the world, the sand in Tofino gets everywhere!
- Sony RX100 pocket camera. The wild and rugged landscape in Tofino is breathtaking no matter how many times you visit. The Sony RX100 is the perfect travel camera and has 200mm of zoom which is perfect for capturing those surfing shots without getting wet.
- Workout/yoga gear. There are many opportunities to workout while you are on vacation and trust me, it doesn’t feel like work in Tofino. Yoga on the beach is very popular and morning runs on the beach are the best way to start the day.
What To Pack for Tofino – Other Essential Items
BEACH BAG – If you have space, bring a beach bag to fill with essentials for a day on the beach so you don’t have to keep going back to your car or hotel room.
SUNSCREEN – Even if it is foggy is Tofino, pack water-resistant sunscreen to prevent sunburns. We have been using this one from Green Beaver for many years and it is perfect for Tofino weather.
LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER – If your children’s hair tends to get knotty from a day at the beach or wind or salt water from the ocean, doing a nightly conditioning treatment will make it so much easier to combo out their hair at the end of the day.
FIRST AID KIT – It is always a good idea to pack a small first aid kit wherever you travel and it is recommended to bring it with you to Tofino as well. Tofino is an outdoor adventure destination and as such can bring with it some scrapes, cuts, and bruises.
GRAVOL – Getting to Tofino involves a drive with many twists and turns and if you plan to do any day trips to the hot springs or a whale watching tour that involves a boat ride, gravol may come in handy.
CHILD-SIZED METAL SHOVELS – The beaches in Tofino are the perfect place for kids to spend their days digging and playing in the sand. We have gone through dozens of shovels over the years and have had great success with child-sized metal shovels that won’t break as easily as plastic shovels.
AMAZON FIRE TABLETS – After a couple of broken iPad’s we bought two Amazon Fire Tablets for our boys and haven’t looked back. They are a great price, the battery lasts the entire trip to Tofino and they have all the apps and games we need to keep the kids occupied on the drive there and back home.
SCREEN PROTECTOR FILM – With kids, it is always a good idea to protect the screens on their electronic devices. These are awesome, of great quality, and relatively easy to apply.
What to Pacific for Storm Season in Tofino
The storm season in Tofino typically runs from November to March, so it isn’t something that can be taken advantage of year-round.
There have been waves as high as 30 feet during storms here, so it is not for the faint of heart. However, what makes Tofino so unique for storm watching is its location – it’s located right on the Pacific Ocean and offers some of the best views in all of Canada.
While you may get lucky and be blessed with that glorious Tofino sunshine during storm season, it is best to come prepared for cool, wet weather:
- rain jackets (if you stay at Pacific Sands Beach Resort, they provide these cool yellow rainjackets pictured above!)
- rain boots
- heavy sweaters
- merino wool socks
- comfy clothes for evenings in front of the fireplace
- toques, mittens and scarf
- fleece-lined pants
- laundry bag to keep dirty items separate
- bathing suit (if you plan to surf or have a hot tub)
Tofino Packing List – Kitchen Items
Many resorts and accommodations in Tofino will come equipped with kitchens so you can prepare your own meals and spend more time at the beach! We have compiled a list of helpful kitchen items to pack in our Tofino Packing List:
SHARP KNIVES – Bringing your own sharp knife along on your vacation will make preparing your meals SO much easier! The knives in your hotel room sometimes just don’t cut it!
OLIVE OIL/COOKING OIL – This one Tofino packing tip alone will be a lifesaver! Sometimes the pots and pans need oil or you have a recipe that calls for it (really, what recipe doesn’t!), so bring along your favorite oil or spray.
SPICES – Spend a little time before you leave deciding what you will cook on vacation, and bring along a few spices that the recipes call for.
CONDIMENTS – Buying condiments can be very expensive, and you will never use up the entire jar! Bring some basic condiments and save yourself the headache of buying new ones.
TUPPERWARE & ZIPLOC BAGS – There will inevitably be leftovers, so bring along a few different sizes of Tupperware and Ziploc bags.
TO-GO MUGS/YETI CUPS – We love our morning walks on the beach or just sitting outside on our patio watching the waves with a cup of coffee. Pack your Yeti cups and keep your coffee hot so you can wander or linger for however long you want to! We also bring our Yeti Wine Mugs so we don’t have to worry about breaking delicate wine glasses.
ALUMINUM FOIL/PLASTIC WRAP – these are a Tofino packing list staple!
SALT & PEPPER SHAKERS – I don’t know about you but I love cooking with freshly ground salt and pepper. I find the flavors are so much fresher so I always add them to my Tofino Packing list.
TRAVEL BLENDER – Pacific Sands Resort has blenders available for guest use, but if your accommodation does not have any, I suggest packing a smaller travel blender like a Nutri-Bullet or Ninja. They are perfect for smoothies and for blending things faster, so you can spend less time in the kitchen.
If you get tired of cooking yourself, there are some amazing restaurants in Tofino to indulge in.
We always end our days in Tofino at Pacific Sands Resort by roasting S’mores at the campfire after dinner with our kids.
I would encourage you to bring a pre-packaged pack of S’mores or purchase one from your resort or local grocery store. It is a fun way to relax and indulge in a sweet treat while talking about your day’s adventures.
It’s always a good idea to call your hotel or accommodation that you have booked before you leave home to find out what things they have stocked and available for kids. If you have booked a campground in Tofino, this packing list will really come in handy.
Tofino is a family-friendly location and often has many items available for you to use during your stay so that you do not have to pack them all. These Tofino packing list tips will help prepare you for a wonderful stay in Tofino on the rugged and beautiful west coast of British Columbia.
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, FOX, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more. When she’s not traveling, she can be found at hockey arenas all over BC cheering on her two young sons.