Eddie Bauer Parka

I just bought my first Eddie Bauer parka for our trip next September to January. Do you think this is a good idea? Will be in Germany at Christmas. I read it is good to be an extra blanket in cold apartments or on trains. I know it is big. Thoughts would be helpful!!

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11074 posts

"for our trip next September to January." For most of Europe, you will need to apply for a special visa to stay longer than 90 days. Look up "Schengen Treaty" for more information. I have an Eddie Bauer parka that was perfect for a winter I spent in the interior of Alaska, but I haven't worn it since moving to Europe. Most of Germany doesn't usually get cold enough for such a heavy coat. If your trip will last as long as you are planning, you probably won't even need any kind of winter coat until late November, at the absolute earliest. That's a lot of wasted packing space for something that you won't use until towards the end of your trip. A better idea might be to wait until you get here. Then, when the weather is cool enough to justify some kind of jacket or coat, buy one, then add layers underneath as the temperature gets colder. "I read it is good to be an extra blanket in cold apartments or on trains." Trains are generally climate controlled. To me, a blanket just seems like another unecessary bulk item that would slow you down.

Posted by A&A
44 posts

Hmm those are all good points. Will be in the UK first six weeks only 90 days w/in Schengen zone.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8198 posts

I wouldn't pack a blanket, just mix-match clothes that can be layered. Add silk long-underwear, a knit (ski type) cap, leather or knit gloves (not ski gloves), and a wool scarf (one that's not bulky). All these can be packed into a carry-on and added/taken away as needed throughout the trip. I don't think the trains pose a temperature problem. A blanket might be nice to curl up and sleep in on the train, but it really is too much to pack. Energy is expensive and not wasted in Europe, so your apartment thermostat might not be what you're used to, but the comforter you will get in Germany is more than enough to keep you warm. I can't recall lacking blankets in UK, though I don't recall the fluffy comforter you see everywhere in Germany.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6822 posts

There are lots of different Edie Bauer parkas, from rain jackets to down-insulated coats with hoods. I don't see any on the website like the EB Polar Parka I wore when I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for a number of years; it was good down to 40 below. I assume that is the one Tom refers to too. A parka like that would be too bulky and overkill for a German winter. Some of the others I saw on the website would be fine; they are more fitted, less bulky, and have the advantage of packing really small due to the down (although if it has a fur-lined hood that adds bulk). But most of these are made for clear, cold weather, and do not work well in the rain or wet falling snow. You would need a separate jacket or coat for rain.

Posted by James E.
4489 posts

I bought their heaviest for a trip to Moscow January before last and while it did the trick perfectly (never imagined that cold could be that cold) I have no idea what else i will ever use it for. I spend a lot of winters in Central Europe and get by fine with layers as opposed to the opressive parka. Hat and gloves and a good scarf are the keys for me. But everyone responds different to the cold.

Posted by A&A
44 posts

The one I purchased is the classic down parka from the outlet and does have a detachable hood. It is very light and seems to fold up well. I got the idea when my friend from Germany visited us last winter and she had a parka for our northern us winter weather. At least I can use it this winter and decide the practicality of it. We will be doing a lot of walking and public transportation so I wanted a good cold weather protection option. Any other thoughts?

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8735 posts

As others have already said, layers are the key (along with gloves and a hat). Public transportation cna sometimes be sweltering, as opposed to cold. Take some kind of waterproof shell with a hood, and adjust the layers underneath to suit whatever the weather is.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6030 posts

I think layers are fine for most of the year, but for me it didn't work in the winter. It was VERY COLD for me. It never got above 33 degrees. I found that I had to remove most of my layers when I went indoors to restaurants, museums, etc. I was sweating on the metro. What do you do with multiple layers when you get to a museum? Sometimes you can check your coat, but no more than that. If I ever do a winter trip again I will take a down coat that hits somewhere above the knee, so I only have to remove one thing. I do get cold easily, so the layering may work better for others from colder climates who are used to it. A warm hat, gloves and scarf are necessary. Warm socks are good too. Thin silk "thermals" don't take up room but will help keep you warm. I also went to REI and bought hand warmers that on the coldest days I could put in my pockets to help keep my hands warm. They don't take up much room and you just dispose of them after they loose their heat. Because you will be traveling in 2 seasons, I would bring something waterproof that you can wear at the beginning of the trip. Also a light fleece jacket or sweater that you can wear under the jacket or on its own. When it gets colder, if needed you can go buy a warmer coat. There's no reason to cart something bulky around for an extended period when it's not needed. It will make a nice, useable souvenir. That's what I did last fall. In Barcelona and the South of France I didn't need more than a light sweater or light jacket. I got cold when I got to Paris, so I went shopping. I have been to C & A stores in Amsterdam, Munich and Paris and find they are very reasonably priced.

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2701 posts

Just like you can buy $5 blankets at WalMart or Target in the US you can buy €5 blankets over here. I wouldn't bother carrying it all the way and only get one if I really felt I needed it.

Posted by melissa
848 posts

A&A, I bought an Eddie Bauer down coat ( to knees)for winter trip to Amsterdam, Munich, and northern Italy. I thought the coat was better than a parka for park benches, your decision. It is a very good coat with the other layers as suggested by previous posters. I also suggest taking a fleece vest. In Venice in December 2010 I was chilled with 4 layers on; in Milan on a sunny day I still wore the coat, unfastened, and was comfortable.
EDIT: Bad me to suggest coating it with a waterproofing spray from a camping store. Use an umbrella in case of snow. Keep your feet warm and dry; I like smartwool socks. I also take 2 pair of shoes/low boots in the winter and waterproof them with the same silicon spray.

Posted by Dennis
Redmond, WA
292 posts

"May I suggest coating it with a waterproofing spray from a camping store."
No! No! Never do that to a down coat. One of the points of a down coat is that it breathes, allowing moisture to wick away from your body and not condense inside the outer layer, which it would if waterproofed. If you want a waterproof (somewhat) down coat purchase one with a Goretex outer layer. This from a mountain rescue team member.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

I'm not sure that you need a parka, but if you can spend some bank, check out Canada Goose...these have to be some of the best parkas on the market...but $$$. Another option you can check online is 66 Degrees North...Icelandic outerwear...also $$$ but very good stuff.

Posted by melissa
848 posts

Good info Dennis- i've edited my response. I didn't totally ruin the coat then, but it is "resistant". Maybe I'm lucky I wear it only a couple times a year.

Posted by Judy
Grass Valley, California
499 posts

I just received my eddie Bauer Insulated Trench that I am wearing for a DEC/Jan trip to France and I was actually sweating in it trying it on in the livingroom. It is made very very well. So I just plan on tucking in a fleece pullover incase it is really cold. I just know that in cold climate places inside like museums tend to be warm, so I think some layers would be a good idea.

Posted by Paul
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
45 posts

A&A and everyone: I was faced with this question last year on a late fall trip to Germany. I like to have multi-tasking garments that can adapt to the climate. Ergo, I successfully opted for a Columbia Sportswear parka with a zip out lining. You can wear the outer water proof shell alone, the lining alone or you can put the two together and be really warm. It has plenty of pockets for all your stuff. I think it should be good to 0 degrees F; however I did not encounter such low temperatures. It is also big enough to wear a sweater under it if you want to be really really warm. I note there is one currently on sale at Campmor for $99.96. See http://www.campmor.com/columbia-sportswear-men-39-s-3-1-valency-bond-interchange-parka.shtml?source=CI&ci_sku=54362OLIS&ci_gpa=pla&ci_kw={keyword}. I think the solution to staying warm in cold weather is to keep your feet dry, wear a hat and gloves. You may be better off investing in a good set of waterproof shoes and insulated socks than going overboard on an expensive parka. I think the dampness will get to someone from Arizona before the cold truly sets in. Also, unless you are going ice fishing the parka will be comming on and off as you enter and leave buildings. You will be carrying it around if you cannot check it. Have a good trip.