I will be in France in December. What light weight jackets have you used to keep warm and at the same time found easy to pack in luggage?
I've not been in France in December but I live in North Idaho, lol. I use a puffy jacket under a waterproof outer shell. The shell is also windproof and has an attached hood. The puffy jacket folds up pretty small. There are many brands of puffy jackets but the current one I'm using is from Costco, brand name is 32 Degrees. If you are still living in PA, what kind of jacket do you use at home?
There are also dozens of brands of puffy jackets and all will be on sale soon if not now. Price points go from the 32 Degree of around $25 to several hundred for the nicer brands.
I'd also want to take a light base layer top and bottom, gloves, warm hat, scarf or neck gaiter.
I’m with Pam on the layers; fundamental preparation for multiple and unknown weather conditions.
I have used a light down sweater in fall and a full down coat in winter for decades, both from Eddie Bauer. Recently replaced the down sweater with a Patagonia nanopuff, which is slightly warmer but not nearly as compressible.
I am very happy with my LLBean packable jacket https://llbean.com/shop/Womens-PrimaLoft-Packaway-Jacket/119872.html. I layer with a merino tee and a mid-layer either light or heavy as needed. The jacket is also available hooded.
I have to say I favor a longer puffer coat in the depth of winter, though. Something to cover my rear, but harder to find one that is packable.
You don't want to pack it; you want wear it on the plane and to layer under it as needed. The weather in France is slightly milder in December than what you experience in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. So you should bring something similar to what you wear in your hometown in late November or March. Everyone has a different tolerance when it comes to weather.
I have the Eddie Bauer Girl on the Go Trench coat. It's longer than most and has a hood. You can get it with or without a removable insulated liner. I have it without but roomy enough I can add layers. If I was traveling in December I'd wear it not pack it.
Our travel wardrobe is largely populated by 32 Degree clothing - underwear, vests, light jackets, heavier jackets, etc. Checking just now - I rolled up two of my medium weight jackets in their included travel bags and easily fit both of them inside an empty Quaker oatmeal box - an indication of their very compact rolled-up size - and I wear 2XL jackets. I'm guessing their weight is about 8 ounces. Warm and cozy - I've worn them in Norway and Iceland in late autumn - very nice. They are not waterproof (although 32 Degrees do make a similarly compact rainsuit - I have one of those, too.) Currently, the 32 Degree vests are on sale at Costo for dirt cheap and additional items can be found on their website. I am a very satisfied customer.
(Don't forget gloves!)
I just bought one for my husband for a trip to Switzerland next year. I have one and I love it. I would also be layering: T shirt, long sleeve (thermal from 32 Degrees), lightweight sweater, plus this jacket will keep you toasty warm. Easy to remove layers as needed. Also bring a hat, scarf & gloves.
I agree with wearing this on the plane. You can always bundle it up and use as a pillow.
I hear what everyone is saying about wear it on the plane, but the nice thing about “packable” is that when you don’t need it, you can cram it into the suitcase or daypack.
For December, I’m planning to bring both a downlight jacket and a rainfoil jacket from Eddie Bauer. I’ll wear one and pack one. They zip into their own pockets and are very lightweight.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket. Highly compressible light weight and good looking. Water resistant but not water proof.
We will be packing light - taking our suitcase on the plane. We live at 9,000 ft. in the mountains – it is a fact that layers work best for comfort – easy to add & subtract for comfort as needed & much warmer than a single coat – anything bulky such as my boots or a warm piece of outer clothing I wear on the plane - my favorite down vest is easy to take off & cram in my seat to the side of me.
Enjoy your trip!
Thank you all for your recommendations.
Do you need it to be waterproof or, it just needs to be warm? Paris in December is usually wet, constant over-cast, cold wind, hovering above freezing in the evening, and 40+F's during the day.
For warmth, besides layering up and including sweaters into your style, insulated jackets are popular. Down-fill jackets are a bit speedy, however they pack-up very well and are lightweight. Synthetic-fill jackets are more price sensitive, they don't pack as tiny as down but, they'll keep you warm if the insulation gets wet. Much depends if you want something substantial like a coat/parka or, a layering piece that you can wear under a rain jacket. Patagonia, The North Face, LL Bean, Columbia, all have insulated options you can choose from. The bigger companies will have some contemporary styles versus, jackets that look more like they belong on the mountain.
Easiest way to keep warm is a proper hat, scarf and Merino wool socks, the light hiker variety I prefer. Good for walking but, not super thick.
I just saw this one at Costco. I’ve had prior versions for years and it served me well in Normandy and Paris in cold and rainy weather. The new version has added a zippered chest pocket and 2 interior pockets in addition to zippered hand pockets. It’s not bulky and the lining is sooooo soft. And it’s only $27. I’m definitely going to pick up another one. I live in Oregon and my old one is my everyday winter jacket.
Quilted down. Packs down to almost nothing, light weight and warm.
What makes this one work so well is the reflective interior, sort of like one of those space blankets. With a thermal shirt under a mid weight shirt, this works for me from 20F to 50F. Then I start pealing layers and it's good to 65F. Wads up to about the size of a large shoe.
Patagoinia NanoPuff, NanoAir, or any of their down units. Remarkably compact, well built, easy to care for, and warm. This outerwear came in great colors for many years but Patagoinia has shifted once again to the ugly, drab, and dull.
How much outdoor time are you planning?
What one would need for wandering outdoors for hours is not the same as just going from bus/taxi/subway to a building (e.g., a museum)
Just to add that quite a few museums in Europe have lockers, so you can take off all your outdoor layers to tour the museum in comfort.