Trenchcoat or Not?

Hi, we are heading to Europe for a 26 day trip from late September starting in London and ending in Salzburg mid October. We only plan to take carry-ons along with a small backpack. I bought a Trenchcoat on EBAY while in the USA with a wool liner, intending to bring it on the trip, however it is a bit heavy. I also bought a lightweight microfiber jacket and a portable rain poncho. My question is, should I bring that heavy trenchcoat or not? Will I ever use it weather wise being in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich etc during those months. Can I just get by with the light jacket and rain poncho? Thanks for your replies.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

Leave it. Too heavy, too bulky with limited use.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
562 posts

Unless they are going through some really cold weather at that time (which I doubt), leave the trench coat at home. Dress in layers with the coat you mentioned and shed as needed. Maybe bring a hat and a scarf.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

No! Unless you bought a fedora to complete the outfit.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

Leave the wool liner at home but bring a warm sweater to wear under it when it's cold toward the end of your trip. That's dressing in layers but still being dressy enough for the cities you are visiting.

Posted by James
Frisco
1800 posts

Our recipe through the end of October in Central Europe: Long johns (thin tech ones) Medium weight sweater Nylon shell. For November
We do what is above sometimes and what is below sometimes. For December, January, February. Same as above but Replace the sweater with a down jacket. Real down packs into a fraction of its expanded size. If we plan on doing a lot of "class" activities like the Opera, good dining, social events, etc we bring wool great costs. Its a pain in the ...... but you can wear it with a nice dress or a business suit.

Posted by Daniel
San Luis Potosi, S.L.P., Mexico
3 posts

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I think I will just leave the trenchcoat it at home and invest in some long johns !

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4766 posts

I really don't think you need long johns for Oct. That is overkill. The weather can be very pleasant until mid Oct.

Posted by James
Frisco
1800 posts

the long johns just eliminate the need of a light coat in the evening. these are super thin, easy to pack and sometimes get used and sometimes not. worked this out over 10 years of being in Budapest in the fall.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
633 posts

I believe James is referring to silk long underwear which could make sense for traveling light in colder weather. A trench coat doesn't make as much sense. Mostly pack what you would wear at home in the same weather. Takes less than you think you need. Buy something along the way if you need more clothes. My next trip I plan to leave with a bag that is not jammed full.

Posted by James
Frisco
1800 posts

Not really silk, but very thin. I try and so the whole layer thing. We have done dozens of transatlantic trips in all sorts of weather from August to February and done most of them with nothing but carry on. We discovered that we rarely used everything we took and more amazingly we discovered that we would rather do laundry every few days than carry 50lbs of clothing. More amazingly we dress appropriately for things like the opera, despite the carry on limit. With a little creativity you can do it.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

I do like the thermal tops for keeping warm. They are only good if you are going to be outside - if you are going in and out, you'll get overheated when you're in, because you can't just put it on and off like a jacket. Sometimes I get cold because of wind chill, not truly cold temps. The rain poncho under the jacket acts as a great windbreaker. It does look odd, though you could tuck the "excess" into your pants if it bothers you. The jacket is a great choice. Keep it with you on planes/trains, cozy if the AC is too high and you can fold it up and use it as a pillow too. Sounds like a great trip. Have fun!

Posted by Daniel
San Luis Potosi, S.L.P., Mexico
3 posts

Looks like temperatures will be very cold near the end of the trip 8-13 OCT in Munich and 13-15 in Salzburg with lows of 1C historically. We come from a very warm climate in Mexico, still having highs of 36C just last week, so anything under 15C is going to be really cold for us at first till we get acclimatized.
I purchased a couple of DUOFOLD VARITHERM MENS SILK WEIGHT DRI-RELEASE L/S CREW shirts for the first layer, since full out long johns will be too much for the first couple weeks, though I probably will want them near the end of the trip though so will have to find some in Munich I guess. Only taking carry ons, this will be fun since I havent been on such a long trip with just a carry on before!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

Daniel, here's a small comfort. The lows are usually reached just before sunrise, so the evenings won't be that cold. I've found the micro-fiber thermals to be warmer than silk. They are easy to wash out at night, and if you wring them well in a towel, they'll be bone dry by morning. Keeping your head and hands warm is the key. Pick up a hat and a scarf that you can wrap around your face (if needed) along the way. Maybe gloves too, especially if you'll be taking a lot of photos, your hands can get really cold without them. Be sure that you can operate the camera with them on before you buy. If you can fit them in, some disposable chemical hand warmers can help a lot - and you can share them, back and forth.

Posted by Thomas
Vienna, Austria
502 posts

Mid-October? It's not going to be that horribly cold. I'd be more concerned about the rain. I personally vote for the trenchcoat. Not because it's practical in this age of tight coach seats and jammed-together tables, but because its wonderfully evocative and "old school". Microfibre fabrics can't touch the look. Nothing says style like a guy who wears the classics with confidence. As for the fedora crack, strangely enough, here in Vienna in winter, that's a look that is not seen infrequently. Of course, Vienna is a bit funny that way. Sometimes you'd swear its stuck in a bye-gone decade. Speaking of old beauties that still go the distance with grace: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/sports/77-years-later-yacht-repeats-win-in-transpacific-race.html?_r=0 Fire away, friends. By the way, I just returned from a month in the States. Had a fabulous time!

Posted by Wray
Boston, ma, usa
155 posts

I'm with Thomas. I'd go, and have, with the trench coat without lining. Works all seasons for me. I like to look nice.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Leave the smartphone home and get a two-way wrist radio. The Dick Tracy look is coming back according to the fashion supplement to Mad Magazine.

Posted by Judy
Adelaide, SA, Australia
802 posts

Like Ed when I think of trench coats, I think Dick Tracy. On a completely different tack, I also associate trench coats with 'flashers'!!!!

Posted by Thomas
Vienna, Austria
502 posts

I think Bogart in "Sirocco", Robert Michum in "Farewell my lovely", and Michael Caine in "Get Carter". This whole topic has got me daydreaming about the so-called "golden age of travel", when people dressed up to fly, train travel was romantic & mysterious, and (according to Hollywood) you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a spy, diplomat, jewel thief, or Countess. I'll have to think about posting a GAoT topic. Not sure what the question would be. Perhaps "are you delusional like me?" Still sometimes a good fantasy beats reality. Or at least adds a little flair to the daily drudge. But I think I've strayed off topic. If you have the gravitas to pull off a trench coat, you like the look, and don't mind that its a little bulky, why not?

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

Maybe it's just me, but I hear trench coat and I picture all the guys standing in line for the movie theater to open, with their trench coats folded over their arms . . . or carrying the newspaper.

Posted by stan
Kansas City, Missouri
220 posts

I think I can remember way back to the late '70s, when RS was just starting out, that a rain coat was one of the recommended packing items, since it could double as a bath robe. Of course back then, much of focus was on hotels/pensions/B&B with shared baths.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

@Thomas...delusional? I like to think of it as looking at the world through rose colored glasses... a lot more fun that way:))

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4766 posts

Count me in with the trench coat look. Wear it on the plane. I think you will get far more use out of it than you would long-johns. I have never, ever worn long johns in Oct. here in Germany. If you are wearing jeans, or heavier slacks, that should be warm enough. A trench coat looks stylish in the evenings when it cools down, it will be great in the rain, and because it is long, this will keep your legs dry. On warm days, wear it open. Easy to take off when entering museums, stores and restaurants, unlike a poncho which can be a quite unwieldy and messy to remove once wet.

Posted by colleen
dallas, TX, USA
149 posts

We were in England and France two years ago from last week in September thru first 2 weeks of October. My husband wore his trench (without liner) and was very happy. The English thought he was a Brit (as long as he kept his mouth shut). Several French asked if he was from the UK. At the Paris Fleas he told people he was from Canada (you get better deals if they don't think you are American). I wore my Black LL Bean Unlined Trail Model Raincoat. You will see lots/most women wearing black all around Europe. We had sweaters to wear under on chillier days and we survived the few showers we experienced very well. No complaints! FYI - we purchased our umbrellas over there - the minute it starts to rain umbrella sellers appear out of nowhere - we didn't need to buy one until the trip was almost half over.