The first step in figuring out what to pack for Scotland with kids is making a list of what you plan to see and do with kids in Scotland. Our 3 week Scotland itinerary with kids is packed full of ideas for the best things to do in Scotland with kids.
We knew that we’d be spending a large portion of our time hiking with kids in Scotland and even if we weren’t hiking, we’d likely be outside. We had to be ready for the elements!
Want a quick overview of the most fun things to do in Scotland with kids? Check our our top 10 favorite things to do in Scotland with kids.
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We do our best to pack as light as possible, meaning our outdoor gear is the most important. You won’t find anything to dress up for taking color coordinated Instagram pictures in our Scotland packing list. However, if you are looking for a Scotland summer packing list for active families, then this is all you’ll need!
Want to get shopping? Click here to find all the items we recommend below in a handy Amazon Shopping List.
For context while reading our Scotland packing list for July:
- Our 3 week Scotland Itinerary with kids included stops in Glasgow, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Fort William, the Isle of Skye and Edinburgh.
- We spent most of our time outside walking and hiking, with very little time spent in cities and going out for meals.
- Our kids are now capable of doing long hikes on their own, so we didn’t bring along a backpack carrier or a soft structured toddler carrier like we have on most of our other trips.
- We encountered a wide range of weather, but most days were cloudy with some rain. Most of the time the rain wasn’t too bad, but there were a few instances where it was so heavy we were only out for part of the day.
- We rented vacation home rentals (apartments or houses) with laundry facilities which enabled us to pack less clothing for everyone.
- We’re from Canada, so we’re used to somewhat colder weather; if you are from a warmer climate you may wish to bring warmer clothes.
- We were able to pack all this in two large backpacks. We each carried a smaller backpack for our electronics and the kids carried their books and toys in their own backpacks.
We’ve tried to display pictures which show the range of weather we encountered during our stay – hope you find this helpful!
Packing for Scotland with Kids
What to Wear in Scotland in July
The summer months are the warmest in Scotland, but you can still expect plenty of rain. The daytime highs will range from 15 deg C to 18 deg C (59 to 64 deg F). Unless you get a heat wave, which happened when we were in Edinburgh with kids. That had us pulling out the shorts and searching for ice cream.
On any given day, we went from being bundled in the morning to ditching our hoodies and rain jackets in the afternoon if the sun came out. For that reason, layers are the most important and be prepared with your rain gear at all times.
You’ll be happy with those layers when the wind picks up too! We don’t often wish for wind but when it keeps the midges at bay, it makes for a much better experience.
Packing for Scotland with kids in the Summer
To help you with your packing decisions, here is our family packing list for Scotland, along with some commentary on what worked for us and what didn’t.
Scotland Summer Packing List – Parents
2 Pairs of Convertible Pants
It’s been said a million times before, these hiking pants make you look like such a tourist. But for hiking, especially when you are dealing with rain and mud (or sunshine?) they really can’t be beat.
They are easy to clean and dry super fast. They are the perfect pants when hiking with kids. I got myself a black pair with minimal pockets to help minimize that tourist look.
This pair of convertible pants from Marmot and this pair made by Columbia are similar to what I have.
Here’s a variety of convertible pants for men.
Shorts and Cropped Leggings
Where Dan brought a couple of pairs of shorts, I opted for a pair of black skinny jeans and a pair of cropped leggings. I love my black skinny jeans. They are comfortable enough to wear on the plane and great for the short stops we make in cities.
On warmer days, a pair of cropped leggings are great for hiking. They were also perfect for biking in Ireland with kids.
We each brought a pair of wool thermal leggings that we knew we could throw under our hiking pants if it was extra cold. We didn’t end up needing them.
T-shirts and Long Sleeve Shirts
5-6 t-shirts – For most days a t-shirt and a hoodie were all we needed.
1 tank top – I also brought one tank top. I wore it only a couple of times. I probably could have left it behind.
2 long sleeve shirts – On the coldest days when it was windy and rainy, we wore a long sleeve tshirt under our hoodies plus a rain jacket.
This was the most valuable piece of clothing in our backpacks. We all wore our hoodies almost every single day during our family trip to Scotland and Ireland. I probably would have been better off leaving my tank top and a t-shirt behind and using that space for a second hoodie.
This is similar to the fleece that Dan wore.
Here is the exact Patagonia hoodie I wore, but this Columbia full zip hoodie is similar.
- 4-6 pairs of socks
Scotland Packing List for Kids
6 pairs of socks + 1 pair of merino wool socks
We packed pretty similar for the kids. We did bring them a pair of thick wool socks for inside their rain boots. We knew they’d be much more likely to be jumping in puddles and also to complain about cold feet, so the wool socks were a must. The Smartwool socks are expensive, but we think it’s worth it for each kid to have a pair.
T-Shirts & Long Sleeve Shirts
We packed 3-5 t-shirts plus 2 long sleeve shirts for each of the kids.
We didn’t bring proper thermal base layers, but having a warmer long sleeve shirt to wear under fleece hoodies was all they needed on the chillier days. Otherwise they wore t-shirts under their hoodies.
3 Pairs of Pants + 1 Pair of Convertible Pants
We got both kids a pair of the zip off convertible pants (which are available for both girls and boys) for the same reason that we pack them. They dry extremely fast and they give the option to start with pants on cooler mornings and switch to shorts later on.
2 Pairs of Shorts
This ended up being two too many. Our kids hardly wore shorts the entire time we were in Scotland. We could have managed with just the shorts from the zip off pants, however their shorts are pretty small and don’t take up too much space anyways.
These fleece hoodies are similar to the ones our kids wore in Scotland, although theirs had a hood which was useful on the really windy days. We’d recommend either packing a wool hat or finding one with a hood like this fleece jacket with a hood or this hoodie for boys.
- 5-6 pairs of underwear
- 1 pair of pajamas
Outdoor Gear for Families Traveling to Scotland
We recommend everyone have a rain jacket. Could you just bring an umbrella? You could… but we don’t recommend it. Often it will be windy as well and an umbrella isn’t going to do a very good job at keeping you dry. While an umbrella might be fine for a quick viewpoint stop, it’s not the best option for hiking.
What to look for in a good rain jacket?
You can find a decent rain jacket for under $100. Just make sure it has a hood (obvious, we know), is breathable and you might want to find one that also has some type of liner for some added warmth. Taped seams are also a good idea for staying dry.
I have the North Face Women’s Resolve Jacket and I like that it has a mesh liner. This helps with warmth and it also stops it from sticking to my skin if I’m sweating. The pockets are zipped and have a flap to help keep any water from getting in.
This Marmot Women’s rain jacket is also similar to the one I have.
If you want something with a little more warmth this Columbia Women’s Switchback Sherpa Lined Jacket looks like a great option!
Here’s the men’s version of the North Face Resolve or this Columbia rain jacket is another good option.
Rain Jackets for the Kids
The rain jackets our kids wear are from MEC (a Canadian retailer similar to REI) but another options is this Columbia rain jacket for boys and this Columbia rain jacket for girls.
We don’t get too cute with our rain pants. As long as they are waterproof, they’ll do. We didn’t wear them everyday. If it was just a light rain, we often didn’t bother. But we couldn’t have lived without them heavy rain days and we also brought them along in the car – just in case.
Check out these rain pants for kids.
We mentioned it above but it’s worth a second mention. A warm fleece hoodie will be invaluable for Scotland. They are perfect for chilly mornings, under rain jackets for extra warmth and good for when that wind is blowing.
You can find our all our recommendations are in our Scotland Packing Amazon List.
Waterproof Hiking Boots
We don’t often travel with our hiking boots because they take up so much space. We find a good pair of waterproof hiking shoes is usually sufficient. I had a pair of Columbia Women’s Conspiracy III Titanium OutDry which were fine for city walking too.
These Merrell Women’s Siren 3 Waterproof Hiking Shoe are similar to what I wore throughout Scotland.
Dan wears these KEEN – Men’s Targhee III Waterproof Leather Hiking Shoes.
Waterproof Hiking Shoes for Kids
This is the second pair of Keen waterproof hiking shoes we’ve purchased for our kids. We’ve been very happy with them.
Though the “waterproofness” of them tends to diminish after all their puddle jumping they still do a pretty good job at keeping their feet try. They work better if we have rain pants that can cover the top as well. For especially rainy days, rain boots are better and we tend to hike less on those days anyways.
Our daughter wore the KEEN Kids’ Hikeport MID Strap WP Hiking Boot and this is her second pair of this style of hiking shoes.
Our son wore the KEEN Kids’ Targhee Mid Wp Hiking Boot, which are very similar to Dan’s hiking shoes. Our only complaint about these is that they are a bit narrow and therefore harder to get on.
Our kids wore these shoes almost exclusively for 7.5 weeks throughout Scotland and Ireland. They were still going strong 4 months later when we hiked to the Lost City in Colombia.
The kids mostly wore their waterproof hiking boots, but on heavy rain days we used the rain boots. They were perfect for jumping in puddles or running through the long grass while exploring the Fairy Glen. Unfortunately, the boots we used are no longer sold, but these claim to be foldable rain boots.
If I was going to pack my own rain boots, I might go with something like these rain boots for women.
Ball caps are great for rainy and sunny days. On the rainy days, they help keep the rain out of our eyes.
In all honesty, we could have saved space by leaving our Keen sandals behind. It was nice to have a second pair of shoes, but we went 3 weeks before we finally wore them in Edinburgh.
Small gloves or mitts
We brought small gloves for our kids, but we didn’t end up using them in Scotland. We did use them more in Ireland, especially on the rainy days on the bikes.
Anytime we are doing a trip that involves a lot of hiking, we bring along our Platypus hydration bladders.
They fit easily in our backpacks and allow us to bring a lot more water than what our reusable water bottles can hold. The drink tubes also make for quick access for both us and kids, meaning we all drink more water throughout the day.
Backpacks with Rain Covers
I recently bought this Deuter Futura 26 L for travel. Though I didn’t have it for our Scotland trip (I traveled with a very similar 26L bag), it’s a great backpack. I use it as a carry on for the plane, then use it daily for hiking.
I already had a Deuter Aircontact 60+10 SL backpack as my large backpack, so I’m not surprised I ended up with another Deuter.
We use Eagle Creek packing cubes (in fact, ours are 10 years old!) to help keep everything organized in our backpacks.
Reusable water bottles
We always travel with our reusable water bottles, even if we pack our hydration packs. We use S’well bottles and the smaller S’ip by S’well bottles for the kids.
Electronics for Travel
Best Camera for Travel
When we arrived in Scotland, we had our Canon Rebel DSLR with us. Though we liked the pictures it took, it was big to travel with and especially for the type of travel that we do.
It can be a lot to carry it around your neck hiking all day (plus carrying all your kids stuff on your back). I can’t even tell you how many times I’d bend down to help the kids with something and they’d get hit in the head with it…
As luck would have it, our camera decided to quit on us in Edinburgh. We took a couple of days to do some research then ended up sacrificing one of our days in Belfast with kids to hit the camera store. We purchased a Sony A6000 Mirrorless camera (with the extra 55-210 mm lens) and couldn’t be happier with it. It might be the perfect camera for travel!
It’s easy to carry around while hiking (I almost forget I have it) and rather than having it put it away in my backpack when it rains, I can just tuck it in my rain jacket.
Don’t forget your memory cards, you’ll be taking a TON of pictures in Scotland!
Portable hard drive
Besides our camera, phones and laptops, we always travel with a portable hard drive. We couldn’t imagine losing all our pictures so this gives us peace of mind.
Our Must Have Items when Flying with Kids
Inflatable Airplane Cushion
We bring two Fly Tots on long haul flights with kids. They take up a lot of room, but having kids sleep on a long haul flight is more than worth it. When we arrive at our destination, we usually make room in our large backpacks, where they stay until our flight home.
Want to know more about Flying with Inflatable Airplane Beds for Kids, read this post on our Baby Can Travel site.
This two pack of headphones is perfect for anyone with more than one child. They are comfortable and even come with a splitter so kids can share an iPad (perfect for long car rides on a road trip through Ireland!)
For younger kids, check out these best toddler headphones for airplanes!
We travel with two iPads because we often each take a kid on flights.
Travel Activities for Kids
As for travel toys for kids, we keep it pretty minimal since we spend most of our time playing outside when we travel. That being said, we do like to give the kids time to play sometimes in the morning or late afternoon.
Usually, they will each bring a stuffy and we will pack each kid a small lego set (superheroes and princesses play well together!) and an activity book. We also pack crayons and a blank notepad for drawing & writing practice.
What about books? We use the Epic reading app for online children’s books to minimize the number of heavy books we pack.
Click here to find all these items we recommended in a handy Amazon Shopping List.
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