What to Pack for Winter in Morocco? (+ Hiking in the Atlas Mountains)

Osprey backpack in the snow

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Do you need help to know what to pack for a winter trip to Morocco? Packing for any trip is always tough. Will you remember everything you need and will it all fit?

But how about packing for a winter hiking holiday.

At Christmas, I travelled somewhere different, instead of a traditional Christmas dinner, I went hiking in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Previously I went hiking in Morocco to climb Mt Toubkal, in the summer, so my packing list is very different for this trip. The plan was to hike Mt M’Goun, the third highest mountain in Morocco which would have been cold at the top!

Here I will include what packed for my Morocco trip, including what I took on my 6-day winter hike in the Atlas Mountains.

Also includes is what I wore in Morocco both for my time in Marrakech and what I wore on the hike.

Are you planning a winter holiday in Morocco? Ask me any more questions in the comments below.

*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you. Read more here.

What to pack for a Morocco winter trip?

Moroccan gite and Eagle creek duffel bag
One of the bedrooms in the Moroccan Gite

I will start with what I packed for my hiking kit list for the trip since that took up most of the space in my bag!

If you’ve read my post about hiking in winter in the Atlas Mountains then you’ll know that our trip itinerary changed and we didn’t end up summitting Mt M’Goun.

Read the full Atlas Mountains hiking guide here.

If you are planning a low-level hike to the Atlas Mountains you’ll still need to be prepared for much colder conditions than in Marrakech.

Since the original plan was to hike all the way to the summit of Mt M’Goun where the temperatures get very cold. Here is a brief summary of the winter weather in Morocco, including the weather in the Atlas Mountains.

The challenge for packing for a winter hiking trip is fitting everything in the baggage allowance. I flew with Ryanair, annoyingly I had to pay £25 each way for a check-in bag, up to 20 kg.

But that wasn’t enough so I took a cabin bag with me too!

What is the weather like in Morocco in winter?

In order to prepare for what to wear in Morocco on a winter trip, the obvious thing is to check out the weather! Since I based myself in Marrakech before and after my hike, I researched winter weather in Marrakech!

In the winter months, the sun rises at about 8.30 am and sets about 6.30 pm (based on December). And once the sun goes down it gets colder!

Literally, as soon as the sunsets you need to have a warm jumper to hand because the winter temperature is very noticeable!

Morocco in November

  • The month before winter has highs up to 30 degrees, a perfect destination for some warmth!

Morocco in December

  • In December, the weather temperature drops considerably, to highs of around 15-20 degrees Celcius. But the temperature to look for is what it drops to in the evenings in Marrakech. It can do down to 5/6 degrees, that’s pretty chilly for a night time walk around the city.

Morocco in January

  • This is one of the coldest months, along with December, highs of around 15-18 degrees but lows of around 6/7 degrees

Morocco in February

  • Although the weather temperature starts creeping up, it’s still around 18-20 degree highs and 7/8 degrees lowest temperature.

What is the weather like in the Atlas Mountains?

Hiking in summer in Atlas Mountains Morocco
At the top of Mt Toubkal in the summer in Morocco

The plan to hike Mt M’Goun, at 4,071 metres where it’s certainly cold at the top! Another popular mountain to climb in Morocco is Mt Toubkal, the highest mountain in Morocco (and North Africa). I did this in the summer a few years ago, you can read about my trip here.

As with any mountain, the higher you climb the colder it gets, even Ben Nevis the highest mountain in the UK has a difference of about 9 degrees from base to the summit! And it’s no different with hiking in Morocco’s mountains!

At the summit of Mt M’Goun and Mt Toubkal, the weather can vary between 0 to minus 10/12 degrees. BUT, with the wind chill that temperature can feel more like minus 5 to even minus 20 degrees Celcius.

Fortunately, for my winter trip, the temperatures were considerably warmer than usual and there was not much wind about.

And although you’re not going to be hanging out on the summit for ages, that’s ultimately your goal to reach the top!

Read later? Save to Pinterest

 hiking in atlas Mountain in winter  

Winter Hiking Kit List for Morocco

Here’s my kit list for Morocco, which includes everything I took for my winter break for both hiking in the Atlas Mountains and also my time in Marrakech.

Eagle Creek duffel bag for my kit

Eagle Creek duffel bag
Duffel bag test pack for Morocco on a trip to the Lake District

To begin with, I needed a duffel bag for the trip. Previously, I’ve made do with a backpack but since this is a winter trip, there’s no way all my winter gear will fit in my backpack.

After researching different duffel bags, I found one that I absolutely loved from Eagle Creek. They do a range of different sizes from 40-litres, right up to a 130-litre wheeled version. 

Mule with my Eagle Creek Duffel Bag
One of the mules who carried my Eagle Creek duffel bag

After hiking across the UK for 2 months with a 65-litre backpack, I opted for the 90-litre Eagle Creek cargo hauler. The reason I selected this over the traditional duffel bag was that it has backpack straps. 

And it also was robust enough to handle being carried by the mules on our trip.

You can read my review of my Eagle Creek duffel bag here.

If you have any questions or things you’d like to know then feel free to ask me in the comments below.

Day hiking backpack

Hiking in Lake District with Osprey backpack
Testing my Osprey backpack and ice axe on a hike (Photo credit to Mark @TheYorkshireWander)

Each day all my gear was carried in my duffel bag by mules as part of my organised trip. However, for my warm clothes and personal belongings, I needed during my hike each day I carried myself.

Since it was a winter hiking trip and the weather could be pretty cold I wanted a decent-size backpack for all my gear, plus something robust enough to carry my ice-axe, more on that later!

Osprey backpack in the snow
My Osprey backpack I used on the hike

For my winter trip, I used an Osprey Mutant 38-litre backpack*, designed with a specific holder for your ice axe. 

After trialling the ice axe strap on a recent Lake District trip (and lost it) I’ve since learned the correct way to attach it to the backpack. There are in fact, 3 attachment points to keep it secure whilst hiking, (shows my lack of winter hiking knowledge!)

Click here to check out reviews and the latest prices from Amazon.

Want to read later? Save to Pinterest 

hiking boots in Atlas Mountains winter

Winter Hiking Kit List – Clothes + Footwear

What clothes and footwear will I be taking for my winter hike?

Here are the clothes I took on my winter hike in the Atlas Mountains. My plan was to take a range of different clothes to add extra layers as I hiked higher up the mountain.

The initial winter itinerary had two nights camping on the trip, at high altitude so I needed to make sure I was warm at night and not just whilst hiking.

Find out more information and read reviews by clicking the links next to each item, these will take you to direct to the website, Cotswolds store or Amazon (where I regularly shop for items).

Hiking Footwear

New hiking boots, crampons + ice axe
New hiking boots, crampons + ice axe ready for Morocco’s mountains
Scarpa hiking boots in Atlas Mountains
Resting my feet after wearing my winter hiking boots

Footwear information + thoughts

For a winter hiking trip, you need proper winter boots, firstly, to keep your feet warm and secondly to be able to fit crampons securely to your boots too. 

I took my hiking insoles, I’ve bought the hiking boots in a size 8, slightly larger but fine with double socks on. I took an insole to have a more secure fit when I was walking at the beginning of the hike with thinner socks.

I also packed my trail shoes for any earlier parts of the trail that I didn’t need to wear my winter boots. In fact, I ended up wearing them for two full days of hiking due to a change of plan with our itinerary.

Plus my Teva hiking sandals for wearing around camp and also during my time in Marrakech, Morocco before the hike.

I used a lightweight Eagle Creek Shoe Bag which is handy to stop dirt getting from my shoes onto my clean clothes, as well as lightweight packing cubes for my underwear and clothes to help keep everything organised!

Hiking Clothes

Hiking clothes information + thoughts

My plan was to add layers each day, depending on how cold I was whilst hiking. For day one, we started at low altitude, I’d originally planned to wear my shorts, however, swapped to my hiking trousers instead.

To be honest, I thought I would be coldest at camp (we had two nights planned camping on the trip – but this changed due to the weather).

You’ll notice I have doubled up on items like hats, gloves and buffs. The reason for this is as I get higher up the mountain I wanted to swap for warmer gear to keep me happy whilst I’m hiking!

I also wanted a comfy hat for sleeping in too, a big bobble hat isn’t a great thing to sleep in! 

To help organise my clothes in my duffel bag I used the Pack-It Cubes for my clothes and underwear, it’s like mini drawers in your bag! You can check out the full range in Rohan stores or online.

Winter Hiking Kit List – Camping + hiking gear

What items am I packing for camping?

Thermarest sleeping bag
My winter Thermarest sleeping bag kept me warm in the mountains

Camping gear information + thoughts

On the hiking trip, we had two nights camping planned so needed to ensure I had a few essential camping things. As part of the package I booked for the hike, tents were included, as well as sleeping mats.  

However, you’ll notice on my list I took my own winter Thermarest mat.

There are two reasons, firstly, I’m a side sleeper and struggle to sleep on other sleeping mats and secondly, my Thermarest X-Therm is designed for winter and therefore will keep me warmer, as most of the heat is lost through the ground.

I also have a 4-season sleeping bag that goes down to minus 18 comfort rating. I get incredibly cold at night and I wanted something to keep me cosy and warm.

What other items of hiking gear am I packing for Morocco?

Ice Axe fitted on my Osprey backpack
New ice axe fitted on my Osprey backpack

Hiking gear information + thoughts

An ice axe is an essential item on the hiking list, I have a brand new one so I was looking forward to learning how to use one!

I also decided to take gaiters, they aren’t too bulky but if there’s deep snow it will stop snow going over the tops of my boots and melting in my socks!

As well as needing a torch for camping, I will also need one for hiking on the summit night as we will be hiking in the dark. If you don’t have a rechargeable torch then you’ll need to also pack spare batteries for your torch.

Winter Packing List for Morocco – Other items

Winter hiking packing list Morocco
Summer hiking in Morocco… winter is going to look very different

What other items will I be packing?

Essentials

  • Passport + paper copy 
  • Bank cards – credit and debit cards
  • Additional ID – Driving licence
  • Cash – to exchange if necessary

Thoughts on essentials

When travelling abroad I like to take a paper copy of my passport, I also make sure I have an electronic copy saved somewhere that can be accessible.

Morocco also has a closed currency, I normally take out money from a cash machine on arrival but I also like to take some English currency to exchange in case I have any problems with my bank card.

Personal items

Thoughts on personal items

Hankies are a great alternative to taking lots of tissues on a hiking trip and much better for the environment reducing the amount of waste you carry in and out of the mountains.

I’ve recently started using a menstrual cup and although most of the time it’s been easy to use and clean, I took some back-up sanitary items in case I wasn’t able to wash my menstrual cup whilst camping.

Personal first aid kit

  • Pain killers
  • Paracetamol
  • Cold and flu tablets
  • Plasters + blister plasters
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Bandage + gauze
  • Micro-tape

What food and drink am I taking on the hike?

During the trip, the majority of the food will be provided, and cooked for us, bonus! However, we needed to take our own snacks for the hike.

I will take a few items from the UK, but will also stock up in Marrakech before the trip and see what nice snacks I can get for the hike. 

From my last visit to Marrakech, I remember there were plenty of options in the souks so I can go haggle!

  • Peppermint tea bags 
  • ORS Hydration tablets
  • Snack/breakfast bars
  • Chocolate

Technology + Other Equipment

  • Camera, charger, memory cards
  • Phone, USB plug + charger cable
  • Small tripod + phone bracket
  • Watch – Suunto 9 + charger cable
  • Power bank – (Anker 10,000 mAh)
  • Small notebook + pen
  • International plug 

If you’re taking lots of things to charge then maybe consider a multi USB plug so you can charge everything from one plug point.

What I’m not packing for my Morocco winter trip

  • Camping pillow
  • Ski goggles
  • Umbrella

What else am I packing for Morocco?

Marrakech main square in Morocco
Marrakech main square in Morocco

If you book an organised hiking trip in Morocco, the chances are you can leave a few things behind at the hotel so you don’t have to carry everything up the mountain!

To be honest there aren’t many more things I’m planning on packing for my trip and for day’s exploring Marrakech I will probably wear some of my hiking clothes and footwear, not my big winter hiking boots!

Here’s what else I’m packing for my trip:

  • Jeans
  • Warm jumper (for evenings in Marrakech)
  • Tops x 2 (Including smart top for New Year’s eve!)
  • Bikini

I will be taking a bikini for visiting a Moroccan Hamman after my hike! I experienced one on my last trip to Morocco, in a place called Essaouria on the west coast.

The Hamman was a traditional one and a unique experience (you can read about it here if you’re wondering what happens in a Hamman) and I might try a more touristy one this time!

 

Have you visited Morocco in winter? Or what about a hiking trip to Morocco?

Do you have any more questions about what to pack for winter in Morocco? Ask me in the comments below.

Read more things to do in Morocco here

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Atlas Mountains Morocco

*For my Morocco trip I was gifted items from Eagle Creek, Osprey and Thermarest. However, all thoughts and opinions on these items are my own. Feel free to ask any questions.

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