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Defending Against the Elements in Germany

Defending Against the Elements in Germany

Old Oct 26th, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Defending Against the Elements in Germany

Hello again.

As some of you may know, I'll be travelling to Germany in December and staying until early January. I have heard that the German winter may demand raincoats and waterproof boots, which scares me, for I come from a toasty tropical country near the equator. Nevertheless, as sense of adventure increases proportionally with risk of danger and hardship, I'm willing to persevere.

Anyway, yes, I was just wondering what I would need on my trip. Ponchos? Waterproof caps (do they even exist)? Boots are a particular area of worry, for I've never worn them and well, the way they look sort of scares me. Never had a penchant for leather clothing with straps on them (they remind me of Bill Kaulitz, who happens to be German; what coincidence!) Also, I'm not sure if I would like to spend much on boots though, so I'm hoping vainly for some assurance that I would not need a pair. I would probably relent if I'm told they're essential, though. Specific advice would therefore be welcome, and greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Rosen

Oh I forgot to add, I will start at Munich in the second week of December, reach Dresden during Christmas, spend time in Berlin, and then Dusseldorf in the new year, if this information helps.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 08:28 AM
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Ok it gets cold but on average only 0C in these areas. Precipitation will be down but could be snow or sleet or rain. Certainly expect v chilly mornings and the cold starting once the sun goes down.

If you are traveling limo class you will not need boots but for the rest of us you will want warm waterproof clothes. While leather does it tends to mark (white or dull marking from the water), is heavy and harder to dry out. You should be able to find modern technologies in most clothes shops. No you are unlikely to be able to rent them.

Which country are you based in?
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Honestly, I'm a bit lost with your questions.
Anything from rainy or sunny days with +10C during the day to freezing mornings or nights at -10C with icy roads or sidewalks would be considered normal.

Whether you wear boots or regular shoes is up to you.
Regular sneakers can get a bit cold, but there are thousands of "urban hiking shoes" which look like trainers and have enough insulation and goretex-type shells against rain or mud.
Dress shoes with leather soles would be a waste.

The only people wearing ponchos will be those groups of Peruvian pan flutists with their llamas in the pedestrian zones. So ponchos would work, if your travel companion is a llama.
Waterproof caps seem to worn exclusively in showers these days. Most hotels offer them for free. If there is rain, most people here simply use their umbrellas.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 09:04 AM
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Because in your other posts you say you are two students traveling budget class, I will guess that your dress will be casual.
That being the case, think dressing in layers with outer layer waterproof. That way you can use clothes that you may be able to wear at home and not heavy winter clothes that you will not be able to reuse.

Top to bottom--
My husband has a waterproof hat from an outdoors store-REI, OR, those brands-that is called a safari hat. He uses it as a sun hat and as a rain hat. He hates umbrellas.
I own a cloth winter but lightweight woman's hat that resists water well except in a downpour and is perfect for snow. I also have a waterproof womens rain hat from Totes, which is more practical, but less stylish.

Layers can consist of lightweight sweaters, shirts, fleece, etc. Even lightweight silk underwear has come in handy for us in Germany in December if outside a lot. Avoid jeans as your outer layer--cold if wet and take too long to dry. If you must wear jeans, take changes for when others are drying.

If you don't have gloves, you can easily buy a pair in Germany if needed. Outer jacket (or poncho) waterproof is good. Again, we have waterproof rain jackets we use as our outer layer. I have sometimes worn my trench coat rather than my jacket to get the longer length protection on my legs.

Proper socks and shoes/boots are essential to enjoy your trip. I like to take liners + socks and wear my low rise hiking shoes when doing winter urban hiking. My husband wears his similar shoes most days. If not Gore-Tex (which is hotter), I spray them with waterproofing and that seems to be enough for a vacation trip. We find trainers too wet and cold. I have a pair of leather walking shoes that hold up to the wet well. The key is how/where the uppers are glued/sewn to the sole--does it let in water? Also, the pair of walking shoes I like for winter/wet has a rubber sole that sort of wraps up over the edge of the leather uppers, so you can step in higher water before it reaches the leather.

We can wear most all these clothes at home in the southern US--just not all at the same time.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 09:09 AM
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I would buy a waterproof jacket with a hood and buy it large enough to wear layers underneath (tee shirt, turtleneck, fleece vest or sweater). You'll also need warm gloves and a scarf for your neck. You might also want some type of wool cap to keep your head warm.

As to the boots - definitely buy some. Not leather but a waterproof material and again make sure you can either put 2 pairs of socks on or, better yet, a thin pair of socks plus a thick pair of socks. Coming from a tropical climate you're apt to feel the cold and damp more than others who are used to this weather.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 09:33 AM
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Because as Cowboy says the weather could vary a fair amount, layers are the answer.

In addition to stay warm and combat the dampness, I always carry
- silk long underwear (light, thin, easy to pack and warm)
- a scarf
- a hat
- gloves/mittens
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 10:14 AM
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Good and humoress advice from cowboy.

In addition to the the silk undies, scarves etc add a couple of nice sweaters

If you're buying socks anyway look into buying smartwool they're easy to pack, wear well and are very comfortable.

I live in a warm climate and while visiting Paris in the winter a very nice Parisian woman taught me a neat little trick. Take a long scarf (I'm partial to wool) and make accordian folds or pleats in it before you wrap it around your neck. Then when it gets really cold you simply pull the scarf up over your nose and your breath and the scarf will keep your nose from feeling like it's going to fall off.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 10:15 AM
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There is no risk or danger of hardhsip - just a litle chilly weather.

And I thnk you will find a raincoat and rainboots not nearly enough. Germany - esp anywhere near the alps - gets cold and can get substantial snow. You need a winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf and winter boots with nonskid soles. And pretend you're a child - who loves the snow and all the fun it brings.
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Old Oct 27th, 2011, 01:49 AM
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A little trick that keeps your feet warmer than a second or third pair of socks: put inlay soles into your shoes. You can buy these for a few Euros from any shoe shop or department store as soon as you are in Germany. I prefer the thin wollen ones with a layer of aluminium at the bottom. They keep the cold from the ground away nicely. Make sure you buy the correct size that matches your shoes.
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Old Oct 28th, 2011, 07:35 AM
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That's interesting quokka. It seems like the aluminium would conduct the cold. I'm not the OP but thanks I'll keep it in mind.
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Old Oct 28th, 2011, 07:55 AM
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LSky - I have them in all my winter shoes. They make a big difference as they form an insulating layer between your feet and the cold from the ground. And these things don't cost much.
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Old Oct 31st, 2011, 09:18 AM
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LOL It probably will be cold (very cold for somone from a tropical country) but you don't need boots or whatever. Just warm clothes + gloves + hat.
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Old Oct 31st, 2011, 04:45 PM
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I've never lived in snow and was surprised when we started visiting places in winter that it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be. Actually Paris in Feb was much colder than Germany or New York in March.

I think because Paris was wet and sleety. My nose had never been so cold before or since!

Thanks for the tip quokka
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Old Oct 31st, 2011, 05:00 PM
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If it's sleeting your nose shouldn;t be out in it - that's why there are scarves.
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