What to Pack: Saguenay in Spring & Summer

It can be hard to know what to pack when you’ve never been to your destination before! That’s why I am here to give you some insight on what to bring (and what you should just leave at home) when you visit the rugged bohemian wilderness that is Saguenay, Québec!

Saguenay is a wonderful slice of nature at its best: high mountains, lush forests, towering fjords, a bursting ecosystem – a few days there and you feel like you are refreshed, renewed and ready for anything! So let’s make sure that you are dressed for anything that might come your way, whether you decide to get lost in the whispering forests or practice your French with that cute guy you met at port.

1) Select cozy fabrics

Saguenay has a habit of getting you active and involved in nature. With so many opportunities in front of you such as hiking, rafting, kayaking and ziplining, how do you turn away an awesome chance to stay happy and healthy?

Anyone who has hiked in skinny jeans or walked just one too many blocks in a pair of heels will know that an uncomfortable outfit can make you miserable. Stick to softer styles in cozy blends like cotton jersey to keep you more comfortable while in action.


2) Pack some warmer styles too

Saguenay is far north in latitude. It therefore stays colder, longer. There was still some snow on the ground when I first arrived on Mother’s Day – that’s right, in MAY! Although the region does get the occasional heat wave come summer, spring tends to be wet (raining 3-4 days of the week) and cool (only 15*C most days), which may be drastically different to weather back home.

Bring items you can layer while the weather is still warming up, like light jackets, cardigans and long sleeved tops. You will find that it is easier to take an extra layer off than it is to shiver all day while out and about.


3) Go for a boho look to blend in with the locals

Saguenay is loaded with so many free music festivals, hipster pubs and off-beat cafés that it’s no wonder the local fashion has a more laid back vibe to it. Leave the pencil skirts and heels at home in favour for some maxi skirts and flowing tops.


4) When it comes to “country”, don’t confuse “lumberjack” with “western”

Yes, you will see a lot more “country” in Saguenay than you are used to if you hail from a large metropolis, but do take notice of the differences between a lumberjack Canadian and a Texan rancher. I don’t think I saw a single set of Daisy Dukes or cowboy boots while I was there all summer. You want more along the lines of “I’m going camping” rather than “Howdy y’all!”.

5) Leave the swim suit at home

It is COLD in the Saguenay River. I don’t think people realize how cold it really is. I do. I worked at a science museum in La Baie, Saguenay and often gave tours of the aquariums, passing little kids various starfish and hermit crabs to hold. I had my hands in that water for up to 3 or 4 hours at a time, so I knew EXACTLY what temperature the water was! Scientifically speaking, it was between 0-4*C. Do you think that even though it was 42*C for a week in August and my apartment didn’t have A/C that I was going to go get hypothermia swimming in the Saguenay River? NO WAY! I tried it once and it was once too many. So unless you know you will be staying somewhere with a swimming pool, leave the swim suit at home. You won’t end up using it during your trip.

6) You can leave the heels at home, too

Rocky ground and unstable footwear are hardly a happy marriage. Not every road in Saguenay is paved either. So unless you feel like aerating the grass and gravel around you, get some steady-footed sandals and flat shoes to keep you “well grounded’.

7) Consider a military jacket and a puffer vest

A military jacket is great for being lightweight, easy to wear and laidback casual. A puffer vest is fabulous for those shoulder seasons where it’s easy to be too cold and too hot in the same day.

8) Love what you bring

No matter what you ultimately choose to bring with you to Saguenay, make sure that you love it. It doesn’t matter how stylish your wardrobe may be, if you don’t love it, you won’t be happy in it.

Hopefully these tips will give you some good ideas and insight into what you might bring with you on your trip. If you see something in my examples above that you just have too have, check them out below!


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