For 10 days at the end of January, Park City, Utah is taken over by The Sundance Film Festival.
Some 40,000 people attend the annual celebration of independent film (that’s over four times the population of Park City), and inevitably, too big a percentage of first time festival goers arrive ill-equipped to take on Utah winters (and slippery, slushy sidewalks).
I spent three days at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (2017), a year with heavy snow, and saw some people struggling and others doing it right. For the first timers out there, know this: seeing movies at Sundance involves lots of criss-crossing town to get from theater to theater — the wrong gear will leave you cold, wet and miserable.
So allow me to tell you exactly what staple items you need to pack for a successful Sundance Film Festival. Below you’ll find a combination of items I either personally wore during the festival or that I approve of. Just throw in a pair of jeans, a few pairs of Saxx underwear, Smartwool socks and something to sleep in and you’ll be packed and ready to go.
Sundance Film Festival Packing List (The Essentials)
An Warm Parka
1. Fjallraven Polar Guide Parka – This is my go-to parka and the one I wore to the festival (see my review of Fjallraven’s Polar Guide Parka here). Aside from making you look like a cold-weather pro (you’re bound to get a few compliments), this Parka is incredibly comfortable, packed full of useful pockets and is super warm — so warm you won’t need too much on underneath it. At $600, however, it is an investment. (Buy It Here)
More Choices: Patagonia Thunder Cloud Down Parka (2) - Patagonia knows how to make outdoor gear that lasts — and this straightforward, warm, waterproof, down-insulated parka will do the job right. (Buy It Here) // Woolrich Arctic Parka (3) – Woolrich has been making coats like this one for decades, hence this parka’s classic vibe. Of course, it’s warm and waterproof too. (Buy It Here)
(Very) Waterproof Boots
Note: Quality, waterproof boots are without a doubt the most important investment you can make in your Sundance Film Festival experience. Sure you’ll want a jacket that’ll keep you warm, but the last thing you’ll want is wet feet. While conditions change from year to year, 2017′s festival was extremely snowy — and apparently no one was in charge of plowing the streets and shoveling the sidewalks on a regular basis (no joke, I stepped in slush puddles up to my shins).
1. Sorel Caribou Boot – Designed for wear in heavy snow, Sorel’s Caribou Boots are a wintertime staple. Their seam-sealed waterproof construction will keep your feet dry while their classic styling will earn you a few points in the style department. (Available in several colors) (Buy It Here)
More Choices: Eddie Bauer Snowfoil Boot (2) - These boots are an excellent choice, and thanks to their injection molded waterproof shell, extremely waterproof (I own a pair of this boot’s big brother, Eddie Bauer’s Snowqualmie Pass Boots, and can attest to their high quality). Wearing them, you’ll feel like you can take on anything. (Buy It Here) // Rockport Cold Springs Plus Mudguard Boot (3) - If your festival forecast calls for a little less snow, these boots offer excellent traction and waterproofing while remaining lightweight and comfortable. I own a pair. (Buy It Here)
Note: With a high quality parka, you shouldn’t need too much underneath it to stay warm. Under mine, I wore either a t-shirt under a sweater or a t-shirt under a flannel. Remember, you’ll want easy to shed layers as you’ll be going in and out of movie theaters all day.
1. Fjallraven Ovik Folk Knit Sweater – I’ve been wearing my Fjallraven Ovik Folk Knit Sweater everywhere this winter, including just around the house (that’s how comfortable it it). This practical yet stylish knitted wool sweater is the perfect mid-layer for Sundance. (Buy It Here)
More: J.Crew Broken In T-Shirt (2) – Any t-shirt will do. Personally, I like J.Crew’s cotton jersey Broken In T-shirt since it’s soft and comfortable (Buy It Here) // Woolrich Oxbow Blend Flannel Shirt (3) - Make sure to choose a flannel with a thickness that’ll keep you warm — like this one from Woolrich which is made with a chunky and soft heavyweight cotton. You won’t want to take it off. (Available in several colors) (Buy It Here)
Extras: Gloves, Hat & Sunglasses
1. Filson Bison Knit Gloves – It feels good to own a quality pair of winter gloves — like these from Filson. Made in the USA with American-sourced bison wool, these naturally water repellent gloves offer warmth without and bulk. Plus their soft and feel great on your hands (I’ve been wearing them every chance I get this winter). (Buy It Here)
More: Persol Cellor Series, PO3105S (2) – Any sunglasses will do, but I’ve been wearing these vintage-inspired frames from Persol recently (Buy It Here) // Filson Wool Cuff Cap (3) - Made of virgin wool sourced from the USA, this naturally water repellent hat is comfortable against the skin — and looks good too. (Buy It Here)
Enjoy The Sundance Film Festival
Photo Credit: Photos courtesy of their respective companies