While I have been to Europe several times, I'm sad to say it's been 20 years since my last trip! Planning a big vacation to Scotland in September to celebrate my 50th birthday. I am bound and determined to only take a carry-on! My biggest question is what is the best kind of jacket for a female? I would of course be wearing on the plane. My last trip to Scotland was in early October, and I remember having just a spring jacket (wearing layers underneath) and I was fine. However, I've been to Ireland at Christmas and almost froze to death with a winter coat! Should I be scouring the after Christmas sales for more of a winter coat ?? I will be travelling as far north as Inverness. I have always been a notorious over-packer, so any advice at all is welcomed!
If you can swing it take a looksee at the new high tech coats/jackets out there. some of them maybe warmer/lighter than what you currently have now.
I recently got a "medium" weight jacket for my travels. i wanted/needed something with a hood since my favorite jacket didnt have one and the waterproofing was toast. I use to wear my new jacket while commuting, but i realized i could "pack" it into a 2 Liter? stuff sack easily, so thats where it is now. I will need to make a smaller one soon so i can free up some space since the jacket can pack smaller.
Also, what you may want to look into instead of just a "jacket/coat" to keep you warm, is to look into some Marino wool base layer clothes. I find that they keep my body temp more normal and that i can tolerate the temperature swings easier.
good luck and happy trails.
I'm trying to take advantage of year/season end sales, since I will be needing some-what warmer clothes..
You might look at the Columbia Mighty Lite hooded jacket and/or Columbia Mighty Lite III Jacket. I have the hooded jacket and it's lightweight, somewhat water resistant (won't keep you completely dry in a downpour but fine in some drizzle), and is really warm. I find that I can wear it with normal clothes down to about 15F. Though, I live in Canada so my perception of cold may be a bit skewed. ;)
I live in NE Ohio, home of Lake Effect Snow! I will check out that jacket, thank you!
My go-to travel jacket is a Marmot Precip which is water proof and will fold small enough to go in my purse. It is a couple of years old so there are newer ones out now. Nearly every big company has a similar waterproof jacket, so I would go to a big store like REI to do some looking, trying on and feeling fabric. Some people object to really crinkly sounding fabric. To me the Precip is not too bad, but that is comparing it to an earlier jacket of a different brand that was pretty noisy. I have noticed that the newer jackets make less noise and are softer than mine. My criteria still would be that it would have to fold up and fit into one pocket of my travel purse which is a LeSportsac Everyday bag.
If you think you are going to be cold, I would take a polarfleece vest to layer under the waterproof (which would also be windproof) jacket. My layering is usually cotton/modal tee shirt/long-sleeved cardigan/fleece vest/Marmot. I would wear the cardie on the plane, pack the vest in a compression bag in my carry on and have the Marmot folded up in my purse. One thing I would pick up if you find them on sale are Smartwool merino wool glove liners. They are light and warm. (I was out walking yesterday in 18 degree weather with just the liners on my hands and was surprised that my hands stayed warm!)
BTW, I follow the advice I got on here when I first came to this forum and that is to start packing on paper first. I feel bad that I don't remember who offered that advice, but it is the best. Start now with a packing list and then do some trial packs between now and Sept. For 2 weeks I would take 3 or 4 short sleeved shirts and 1 long sleeved shirt, 2 pr pants, 2 cardies, 2 pr shoes all of which will need to go with each other. So every cardie with every shirt with every pr pants. This includes the outfit you will wear In Transit. I love the Lands End cotton/modal tee shirts as they sink wash well and usually dry overnight. You can go 2 weeks without having to wash the cardies. I use the Lands End cardies as well. I usually do a black cardie and a print one and take tees that match the colors in the print. Don't think in terms of outfits since if you do that you will likely be restricted and have something that does not go with everything else. Definitely think in terms of colors that work together.
I love the blog the Vivienne Files for ideas about color combinations. Most of her clothing choices are too formal for my retired, Inland Northwest lifestyle, but looking at her combinations has helped me figure out how to manage in a carry on. I love how she picks a painting and works a wardrobe off the colors in the painting!
Start looking in your closet now and pull out what you think you might take with you so you know if you need to fill in some wardrobe gaps. Also when you make your packing list, write a separate list for things to do 1 month out, 2 weeks out, 1 week, etc.
I would suggest a packable waterproof train trench like the Northface Grace, Columbia Pardon My Trench, or Marmot Elan. In cool weather I'd layer a merino cardigan under it. In cold weather I'd layer a packable puff jacket under it.
Puff jackets are a fashion item this year. You can get them for 50% off in the post-Christmas sales. I saw a puff trench for $90 at Kohls the other day, and I know that Uniqlo and Macys also has them on sale. They pack down smaller than a soda can and make a great secret weapon against cold.
I also bring a pair of ultra-light synthetic gloves to keep my hands from getting chapped.
Backcountry.com currently has the Elan on sale for $95, a great deal. I have this jacket and love the hood that rolls up into the collar. It easily rolls up for storage in my purse.
Just did my first order from Uniqlo and while I didn't get the puffy coat, the items I did get seem to be very good quality for the price point. They also use American sizing for their products sold in America.
I did carry-on only to Scotland (and Norway!) this past September/October and I brought one "puffy" coat with a detachable hood and a thin, almost weightless raincoat that packed down to nothing in my bag. Those items, along with some thin sweaters and the usual underthings, did the trick for me. It was nice to have the raincoat on days when it was rainy but not especially cold.