Coat for Europe in December/January

Sep 30th, 2019, 10:43 PM
  #41  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,865
In case not already mentioned: Silk underlayers can go a long way: Silk longjohns, sock liners, gloves, turtlenecks, scarf, etc. Mine, at least, are very thin, lightweight, insulating, and they wick and breathe. And if they get wet, they dry very quickly. For your ears, collapsable 180s. Easy to clip around a strap when not in use, surprisingly protective.

Last edited by kja; Sep 30th, 2019 at 11:00 PM.
kja is offline  
Sep 30th, 2019, 11:10 PM
  #42  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,291
Thanks again for everyone's input.

Adelaidean, my daughter plans to take (only) jeans, which is not my choice at all. I guess she can shop if needed and post the jeans home. Thanks for the link.

I've had a casual look for silk thermals as have had them recommended before but have yet to find any - need to look harder. I did buy some non-silk ones from Uniqlo but they won't breath as well. What are 180s, kja? I've never heard of them.

I think I need to add a fleece to the list - and a bigger bag!

The challenge is that when you step inside wearing all this clobber, you break out into a sweat, so need to be able to strip off easily.

I think it's interesting how these threads about the practicalities of travel gather quite a bit of interest.
dreamon is offline  
Sep 30th, 2019, 11:17 PM
  #43  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,865
The silk items don't need to be thermal, though that can be a benefit. I always opt for silk for its breathability (among other things). I don't know what's available in Austrailia, but you might look at wintersilks.com, campmor.com, or sierratradingpost.com to get ideas.

180s: https://www.rei.com/b/180s
(Remember: google is your friend.)

Re: sweat -- that's why you might want to look for something that wicks.
kja is offline  
Oct 1st, 2019, 01:28 AM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,254
jeans, oh dear, nothing worse than cold tight wet jeans, still kids goto learn.
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 1st, 2019, 01:56 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,968
I don’t know, I wear silk thermals under my jeans. That’s actually one of the reasons I even have silk to begin with—to wear with tight jeans and dress pants. It works fine. I don’t care if you’re wearing jeans or wool pants, if you fall in the snow or get drenched, you’re probably going back to the hotel to change clothes. The silk also does wonders indoors. And I think that’s a key part you might be overlooking. If you get cold, you can duck into a coffee shop or museum. Better to underdress than strip off 5 layers every time you step inside.

i will say that what I don’t like about jeans is that I don’t think they transition well from day to dinner out, they feel “dirty” faster, and they take up a lot more space in your bag. I tend to pack more leggings now.

since kja mentioned rei, I’ll add that’s where I get my silk thermals. I like the rei brand. I concur with some of the poor reviews, but there are usually caveats. Like I agree they’re not wonderful quality, but they’re reasonably priced, and not meant for wrestling tigers. They’re also ineffective once the temperature drops below 10 degrees F, but I’m going to assume that a family from oz is not going to be traipsing around outside at that point.

marvelousmouse is online now  
Oct 1st, 2019, 03:59 AM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,005
I'll offer a different opinion. I would prefer the long Goretex coat, with several sweaters, including one heavy wool sweater, to wear under it. I don't like wearing thermal leggings or silk leggings, because they are not suitable for indoor wear, and can't easily be removed if I get too warm. With a long coat and a heavy sweater, I don't need additional layers for my legs, and I can take the sweater off and put it in my daypack if I go into work museum or restaurant.
bvlenci is offline  
Oct 1st, 2019, 04:04 AM
  #47  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,275
I wear jeans to Europe and those are the only pants I have taken with me in years. They are very lightweight, with a touch of stretch, and quite nice IMO. They are skinny jeans, so not your typical ones. Anyway I wore those to Iceland, Denmark and Norway when it was cold (mid to late Oct)and I was fine. Our daughter wore hers there too in December but did wear long underwear underneath. My jeans will be what I take to Germany and Prague this December FWIW.
mms is offline  
Oct 1st, 2019, 06:27 AM
  #48  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,624
Everybody wears jeans. I would always take a pair in winter. There are very few restaurants where I wouldn't wear jeans.
Tulips is offline  
Oct 1st, 2019, 07:27 AM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,251
I'll just tell you how we pack (have already chimed in) and let you to your druthers...

Background: We've averaged at least one trip to Paris per year over the past 25 years. Most of our trips were in the winter! We were cyclists during most of this timing, which meant we knew layers, and we did only carry-on luggage.

Overall conclusion: Making the most of what layers you pack is key to staying dry and warm but not sweating inside and outside.

So, my observations...
1) Jeans were never practical for us. They just did not dry. But people we respected believed in them. My youngest, the kid who actually lived in Paris during her year abroad, decided she was going to be cool doing jeans 24/7. Huh. That ended soon after five days of straight rain in November. I had shipped her both synthetic and wool pants, and I soon saw online pics of "I'm not wearing these."
2) Gore-Tex was a sort of friend while cycling. It's NOT the be-all and end-all in cold weather. Multiple layers, the things one wears underneath, are more key. Heck, just the ability to vary is key.
3) SmartWool was the best lesson we learned cycling. Doesn't itch, but has the same properties as wool for warmth retention when wet. We came home from New Zealand once and stocked up on every possible item. I even wear SmartWool socks (light PHD) now in hot, hot Atlanta weather. In Paris, I wear SmartWool hats, socks, gloves, you name it. Luckily, you are more than familiar with that product!
4) Silk underwear is the bomb. It's our museum friend. It keeps the Seine wind from whipping us to death; it doesn't make us want to peel off our clothes in heat. It's sort of like a second skin. Doesn't smell; washes out in the sink; dries.
5) Technical down coats can be water/wind resistant and are worth their weight (make sure you shop the type for the temp) in gold along the Seine once the temp dips below freezing. And now with new type of seaming, we can look rather great at a top restaurant at the door. I choose a longer length; my husband refuses to go below hip length. I am cozy; he is not. NO NEED for plastic bag to contain. Sit on your suitcase lid or sit on the coat or pillow your coat on the flight. However, I do use a space bag (not the vac kind) to compress my dirty laundry on the way home.
6) Rain is rain. Plastic is your best rain-shedding friend. Cheap clear ponchos take up no room in your backpack, and an umbrella (bring or buy) keeps all out of your eyes.

No matter what, happy packing and joyous planning. You get to go to Paris this year; I do not. I have trip envy.
My very best,
AZ
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Oct 1st, 2019, 10:41 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,624
I live in Europe. I wear jeans in winter. I have never ever worn silk underwear nor fleece-lined pants ever (except under ski clothing when it's extremely cold). It would be just way too hot and uncomfortable when you step into a restaurant, museum or shop. These are things you wear when out hiking or skiing or trekking; not in a city in Europe. A longer winter coat with a hood is ideal; Uniqlo do good ones that are inexpensive. Or just wear your down coat.
I think some of the advice given here is from people who come from warm climates and do not live in northern Europe. I don't know anyone who wears thermal underwear except for skiing.

Just check the weather forecast a few days before you go. Weather is unpredictable. It can be quite pleasant in January. Or it could be arctic.
Tulips is offline  
Oct 1st, 2019, 10:54 PM
  #51  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,865
I have lived in parts of the US where wearing silk or other thermal underwear was absolutely critical to being outside for even a few moments. One of the things I loved about the silk ones is that I was NOT bothered by them when I was inside. I can't say the same about wool or flannel.
kja is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 09:58 AM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,968
Same here kja.

Tulips, I’m not sure if you’re male or female. But women’s clothing—dress pants, leggings, jeans—are often so thin that the silk thermals are necessary for me even here, where the temperature rarely dips below freezing, because wind chill is a factor. Before that, I lived in a place where several weeks of subzero temperatures is perfectly normal, and I wore wool thermals to walk the dog or to walk to work. I wouldn’t recommend them if I hadn’t used them on a very similar trip as the OP. She’s coming for the markets, not going from her house to her work and back again, like people who live there. I saw a lot of shivering tourists on my first trip!

(Although like I said, I use thermals at home, and it has never come up in conversation. So I’m not sure how you can be so sure no one there wears them&#129315
marvelousmouse is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 10:56 AM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,668
I'm currently in Switzerland - I brought my silk long underwear bottoms and they wouldn't have gone amiss under my thin hiking pants today. It was cold, windy and wet. And it's only October! I also packed a pair of my fleece lined pants - just in case.

We visit Switzerland/Germany/Austria once a year, usually in winter and our trips are hike-centric, so warm clothing is essential. It's also a godsend when wandering Christmas markets.

I'm about as far from a cold weather wimp as they come. I live in Colorado. I love cold weather. No way, no how would I travel to Austria and Prague in December/January without my silks and fleece lined pants.

I've also lived in Australia - we used to joke about how cold the Aussies were when it got below 70 F. These folks live in thongs most of the year. If anyone needs warm clothing in Europe it's a visiting Australian (no offense dreamon!)
Melnq8 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 11:29 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,525
As far as the UK is concerned, ladies do not generally wear thermals silk or otherwise. They wear tights. I lived there and got along fine with jeans, no thermals, no waterproof shoes, water proof pants or Gor-Tex. If one feels that they need such things, fine but I'm often bemused by those who insist if traveling or just spending time outdoors in the UK that you need all this foul weather gear. I can also say that I have visited Scotland dozens of times and you can always tell the American tourists when it's damp or raining by what they're wearing. Funny that those who actually live there are not outfitted in the sam manner. I have even worn jeans and, yes, they did get wet but a few hours on the hot towel rack solved that. Of course the OP, who I'm sure has made a decision and moved on, is talking about Austria and Prague ( I believe ) in the winter. I live in Colorado and even spent three years at a ski resort and the only time I wore thermals was when skiing. If traveling to Austria in winter I doubt I would take anything more than what I would wear at home and that does not include thermals.I have taken silk thermals on trips but mostly used them as pajamas as they can be washed in bathroom sink and dry overnight. Knowing one's tolerance level for cold temperatures should be the determining factor in what to take.
historytraveler is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 11:37 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,461
<<I have never ever worn silk underwear nor fleece-lined pants ever (except under ski clothing when it's extremely cold)>>

Me neither. Never even considered it. I have tights, I have leggings, I wear jeans, sometimes wool pants. I can't ever remember a time when my legs got cold enough for me to be needing something special for them, and I've been in some super-cold places, like the Pyrenées in mid-winter.

But assuming you DO need this stuff, I should think that silk thermals would be the answer.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 11:51 AM
  #56  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,275
history traveler--As I stated, I wear jeans without any thermals etc and am just fine. Some of us Americans are just fine in the cold and rain. We live in Washington state and so are used to the cold and damp. We went to Scotland in February and were just fine and wore our usual clothes. So I don't think you can "always tell the American tourist". Some people run cold and thermals work great for them, others don't. No right or wrong and no reason to mock either one, IMO.
mms is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 12:02 PM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,525
I was certainly not mocking American tourists. I will admit to being bemused by the fact that IMO some get carried away with what to wear. As an American tourist I am not wearing such gear so I would also assume that there are other American tourist not completely decked out in waterproofs. Perhaps reread my last statement.
historytraveler is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 12:31 PM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,609
Originally Posted by historytraveler View Post
As far as the UK is concerned, ladies do not generally wear thermals silk or otherwise. They wear tights. I lived there and got along fine with jeans, no thermals, no waterproof shoes, water proof pants or Gor-Tex. If one feels that they need such things, fine but I'm often bemused by those who insist if traveling or just spending time outdoors in the UK that you need all this foul weather gear. I can also say that I have visited Scotland dozens of times and you can always tell the American tourists when it's damp or raining by what they're wearing. Funny that those who actually live there are not outfitted in the sam manner. I have even worn jeans and, yes, they did get wet but a few hours on the hot towel rack solved that. Of course the OP, who I'm sure has made a decision and moved on, is talking about Austria and Prague ( I believe ) in the winter. I live in Colorado and even spent three years at a ski resort and the only time I wore thermals was when skiing. If traveling to Austria in winter I doubt I would take anything more than what I would wear at home and that does not include thermals.I have taken silk thermals on trips but mostly used them as pajamas as they can be washed in bathroom sink and dry overnight. Knowing one's tolerance level for cold temperatures should be the determining factor in what to take.
I don't know when you've lived in the UK but even if it was recently, it's not the same UK where I live. High tech outdoor clothing and shoes/boots are commonly worn all over the place. This has been the case for many years. The high street has many lower cost outdoor shops and many UK specific brands. And the international brands: North Face, Salomon, Patagonia was late to the party but it's arrived, Rab, Arcteryx, Lowe, etc. Very mainstream. Rab puffer jacket is required for any male between 30 and 50. It might be a nice stereotype to think that we don our heavy waxed canvas coats and heavy leather boots in the worst weather but we aren't dumb and we do have access to the latest clothing technology.
walkinaround is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 12:48 PM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,968
You do realize tights can serve the same function as thermals? That fleece lined or wool tights are a thing? And I’ve seen plenty of brits wearing brands of outdoor gear I recognize. It’s not like they have “gore Tex” scrawled in huge letters. My waterproof shoes look very similar to my summer shoes. Same brand, same model, just one with goretex and one without.

I’m not saying everyone needs thermals, or even that they’re always a necessity. But they often do make life more pleasant—and it seems really odd to insist that British don’t wear outdoor gear when they clearly do.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2019, 03:10 PM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,005
I wear wool slacks. I have lightweight wool for spring and autumn and heavy wool, with a satin lining, for winter. When it's quite cold, I wear a jacket or coat that's at least mid-thigh length.

For warmth, I swear by 100% wool.
bvlenci is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:53 PM.