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Coats for Christmas in Europe

My husband and I are traveling to Munich, Cologne, and Paris from December 20-January 2. He's warm blooded and has a plethora of good winter coats. I, however, am not and have lived in warmer climates my whole life. I have a good Eddie Bauer raincoat that is lined that I wore in Munich/Salzburg last fall and was perfect for slightly chilly fall weather. I'm thinking of just getting a light down, packable coat and wearing it under the raincoat, but I'm not sure if that will be warm enough. Should I suck it up and just get a good winter coat that's warm and waterproof? Thanks!

Posted by
8889 posts

Munich and Cologne will be colder than Paris. In winter, Europe gets colder the further east (inland) you go.
Paris, daily mean 5°C, Cologne 2.6°C, Munich 0.3°C (14.7°C in Sep and 10.1°C on Oct - a lot warmer). Expect below zero (C) after dark in Cologne and Munich. A thin raincoat will not be enough if you are not used to it. A raincoat keeps you dry, but not warm, this will be (mostly) dry but cold.
Also think of your feet, you want waterproof shoes and reasonable socks.
You may want gloves, and maybe a hat, but you can go into the first shop and buy them.

Posted by
3 posts

Right. I know just the raincoat won't be enough. I'm curious if the down + raincoat will be enough, or if I should just get a full-on winter coat. I'd probably continue to wear a packable down coat after the trip, which is why I was thinking of that option, but I'm afraid it won't be warm enough or will feel too bulky.

I forgot about LL Bean and their return policy - thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by
23419 posts

I normally travel with a rain coat shell with a light weight down vest. That handles chilly weather. When we were in German at Christmas a couple of years we just added more layers. First, was long underwear to keep the legs warmer. Next is a long sleeve top. I don't like turtlenecks because of the extra fabric but others do. A normal long sleeve shirt. Add a mid weight merino wool sweater, a mid weight down vest, a stock cap, a scarf, gloves, and was fine for near zero weather in Germany. The idea behind layers is that you add or subtract as the weather dedicates.

Posted by
985 posts

We will be in Amsterdam during the same time period, and although I bought hubby a new coat I am making do with what I already have. I am taking a thigh length fleece lined rain jacket and a medium weight fleece vest to wear under it. I will wear base layers under my clothes. I'm already doing that now in Fl with this cold snap. I also have a medium weight long sleeve fleece jacket I can take to wear under the rain jacket as well - just hate the extra bulk during transit. I think with base layers you could get by with something packable under your raincoat, but make sure to check those performance reviews.

Posted by
119 posts

I like th idea of the very lightweight packable down jacket to wear under your lined raincoat. With a long sleeved T-shirt and a lightweight sweater over it you should be fine. A friend of mine had the packable down jacket on her last trip and it was great.
The jacket will pack in it's own little nylon bag and takes up little space. She even used it in the nylon bag as a pillow on the plane.
I just bought one for myself for these travel purposes.

Posted by
5837 posts

I "layer" for winter travel, including light weight base layers (i.e. long underwear).

Most folks think of upper body insualtion with mutiple layers of clothing while neglecting keeping legs warm. A single layer of cloth bearly protects the legs against wind chill let alone provide any insulation. Think standing around waiting for a bus on a cold windy wet day. A long pant base layer helps hold a layer of warmth while packing very thin.

And don't forget gloves and a ski type cap that protects your ears.

Posted by
14157 posts

"I have a good Eddie Bauer raincoat that is lined"

I think it depends on which lined raincoat you've got. EB has several different waterproof coats with linings. They also have temperature ratings on a couple of them. The Eastside Trench coat is rated to -15 degrees while the Girl on the Go is rated to -25 - both ratings are based on moderate activity, so if you are standing around the rating is different.

For myself, I'd go with the trench, a fleece or down jacket under it and base layers. I've switched over to merino wool for base layers altho many use silk or other fabrics. I would definitely have wool socks, a warm hat, warm gloves and a scarf. If you don't have a scarf you can certainly get one there as ~everyone~ will be wearing one!

It does concern me that this coat felt good in Fall weather, so it would depend on what layers you had underneath. If you do get a new coat I would also want one that is waterproof. A number of the down garments are not waterproof but I did note last week when I was looking at REI that more are waterproof this year than in years past.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
1194 posts

If you are truly cold blooded then the coat isn't the solution. Think instead of filament weight long underwear. You can go with a tank or a scoop neck tee. You can go with light weight long johns under your pants. The filament weight adds around 10-15 F to your warmth.
Carry a zip lock in your day bag in case the long underwear gets too warm. You can always remove it and stuff it in your purse.
If you bring a 2nd set of light underwear you can:

  • alternate long johns
  • use the 2nd set for sleeping
  • double up for really cold activities that involve standing around.

I echo the advice about keeping your feet warm. A good pair of waterproof shoes and a pair of merino socks go a long way.
A good scarf keeps the cold air zipping down your neck. It also can be worn on the head under your hat for extra thermal protection.

I've found that a puff jacket with a waterproof outer layer works well in cold weather when accompanied by appropriate layers of long underwear.

Posted by
733 posts

. I have a good Eddie Bauer raincoat that is lined that I wore in Munich/Salzburg last fall and was perfect for slightly chilly fall weather. I'm thinking of just getting a light down, packable coat and wearing it under the raincoat, but I'm not sure if that will be warm enough. Should I suck it up and just get a good winter coat that's warm and waterproof?

I have an Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 jacket/coat. The outside sounds like your raincoat and the inside jacket is a thinsulate jacket. I love this because you can wear the inside by itself, the outside by itself, or together to add extra warmth. I would buy an inside thinsulate jacket and plan on wearing them together or not as needed. It's been about 30 degrees here the last couple of days in the mornings and evenings after sunset and my inner jacket has been adequate. Add some layers as weather dictates. We'll be there in less than a week so our weather will probably be a little warmer than yours. I plan to keep track of temps and all of that in my trip report :)

Posted by
16674 posts

Eddie Bauer does a very good job with cold-weather clothing for both men and women, especially down. It is how their business started here in Seattle.

And their Black Friday sale has started today ("Monday is the new Black Friday").

Everything is 40% off.

Here is the first of five pages of outerwear for women:

Since you are going to wear this down jacket under another coat, do not get one with a hood.