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Packable Down Jacket or Vest?

I’m hoping to get some advice as I start packing for my upcoming Christmas Market trip. I will be in Bruges, Cologne, Strasbourg area, Ravenna Gorge in the Black Forest and Frankfurt. First let me say that I don’t tolerate cold very well. We did a 2 week winter trip 15 years ago, arriving in Amsterdam the day after Christmas and spending most of the time in Paris. While I know we had a great time my primary memory was how cold I was. I thought I had prepared well. I hadn’t so I’m trying to be smarter this time. I have waterproof Ecco booties with gortex, Costco merino wool socks, warm gloves, hat, scarf, 32 Degree thermal tops and bottoms, merino wool pullover sweaters, jeans, water repellent fleece lined Eddie Bauer pants and water repellent fleece lined leggings. I can wear thermals under all my pants. I will be bringing an extra pair of shoes. I always struggle with outerwear. I have a supposedly very warm Eddie Bauer Altamira down parka, but I haven’t been able to test it out because I’m in Northern California and it’s not that cold here. I’m worried that it might not be warm enough and I’m considering bringing an Eddie Bauer packable down jacket or vest to put under it if needed. I will probably bring a thin fleece jacket and cardigan sweater. I don’t want to overpack, but I really don’t want to be cold. Those of you who don’t tolerate cold, what do you think? Jacket? Vest? Fleece vest?

Help!

Thanks for any advice you can provide.

Posted by
4677 posts

Arm Layers: I'm wondering whether you can fit all the arm layers under your down parka. Have you tried it? Can you still bend your arm to drink Gluhwein? :-)

Core: I don't think I get as cold as you (and your weather is looking 15 degrees colder than mine was last year, in Frankfurt anyway) but I would focus on keeping my core warm and go with the vest, rather than a jacket with another sleeve layer.

Head: I bought a 2nd hat, because my one knit hat didn't cut it and I hadn't brought my ski hat.

I'm picturing you warmly-wobbling through the Christmas Markets in all your layers :-)

Posted by
441 posts

I would suggest getting a good vest to put under your jacket or parka. I have two down vests from Lands End and they have worked very well the few times I have had the chance to use them (I live in Tucson so the weather usually isn't very cold at all). I also have a packable vest from 32 Degrees and it is much lighter (and more packable) than the two from Lands End but isn't as warm.

I hope you write a trip report after you get back. I'm thinking about planning a Christmas Market trip for next year. Have a great trip!

Posted by
18144 posts

The warmest jacket I have is down with a reflective interior. The beauty not down is that it packs down to a fraction of its size.

Everyone's cold tolerance is different but I am in freezing Budaprst weather this week snd midweight Long-John's, heavy socks, jeans and a light to midweight synthetic sweater under the down jacket will take me down to 25F. Oh, and a scarf and cap. They make a huge difference.

All the wool stuff is nice but doesn't pack well and is difficult to clean.

Posted by
10260 posts

CWsocial, I’ll probably look like the kid from A Christmas Story!

I tried the down jacket under the parka and it fit. Obviously the vest would fit as well. I’m trying to avoid wearing so many layers that I feel like I have to strip so much off when I’m indoors, and then what do I do with it all? Maybe the light fleece jacket and down vest would be plenty?

I have a warm fleece lined beanie and a fleece lined headband, and of course my parka has a hood. My gloves have thinsolate. I’ll bring a couple of scarves as well. Am I missing anything?

Oh yeah, I’m bringing disposable hand warmers. :-)

Posted by
10260 posts

Mr. E, thanks for telling me specifically what you are wearing and the temps you’re experiencing. My merino wool sweaters are very thin and won’t take up much room. I intend to layer them with the thermals.

Posted by
10260 posts

Thanks Sherry, I have a 32 Degree vest and jacket, but I’ll bring the Eddie Bauer I have. Still packable, but warmer.

Posted by
6563 posts

I like my wool watchcap with Thinsulate, probably the most warmth for the least bulk and weight I have. Investing in the warmest, compactest hat you can find might be the best thing you can do to add to what you already have. We lose a lot of heat from our heads -- even those of you who have kept their hair!

Posted by
6788 posts

Danger, Jill Robinson!!!

Is that really a down jacket? I mean, like real goose down? Is it really filled with that stuff? Tiny little, whispy feathers. Great stuff! And expensive. It's so light, so fluffy, like dandelion seeds, fragile, and ethereal. And an excellent insulator, which of course is why you went out and spent a small fortune on that coat filled with little birdie feathers - it'll keep you nice and cozy warm even in frigid temperatures.

That is, it will until a drop of water touches it.

Then it'll collapse into a soggy, sodden mess that clings to your frost-bitten skin and provides no more insulating magic than if you wrapped a dripping wet rag around your shivering self. A tiny bit of moisture is like kryptonite to goose down, instantly cancelling all of it's wonderful (when it's bone-dry) insulating magic powers. So watch out for rain, which does often happen in the winter. And, by the way, the natural moisture produced by your own body will have the same effect on it if it works its way to your expensive fluffy coat. So I hope you won't be sweating under all those layers.

Natural goose down is wonderful stuff. It makes an absolutely heavenly cover for your bed, and – if properly kept dry – it can keep you warm and cozy outside. But it's gotta stay dry. Out in the rain or sleet? You better have a good waterproof shell (yet, it's gotta breathe, too, because...we all sweat...so, remember: In Goretex We Trust).

Years ago, smart folks figured out that there are insulating materials that are nearly as good as natural goose down, but do not suffer from it's one great weakness (Aquagenic urticaria, or "wicked witch of the west syndrome", where contact with moisture just might kill you) – various synthetics (usually polyester, but occasionally other stuff, manufactured under a variety of trade names) have become very popular for insulating winter outergarments, and for lots of good reasons.

Check the details on your "down" coat or vest. If it's really filled with little bird features, consider leaving it at home where it'll stay dry. If it's filled with something you can't pronounce, then ignore all the above, just have good shoes that'll keep your feet dry, be sure you've got a good raincoat, and be ready to add or peel layers as needed. Then go have fun, and don't look back.

Hope some of the above helps.

Posted by
606 posts

You don't need another jacket under your parka. I have an EB wool cardigan that I wear as an extra layer when I am concerned about being cold. If the temps are really low, I put a vest over the sweater. I use a neck gaiter (from EB) to keep my neck warm. For feet and hands, I use Hothands warmers. Mittens are warmer than gloves. If my feet are cold, everything is cold, so I have moved to wearing my warm Bog boots whenever I am going to be outside for very long.

The moisture shedding finish on your Altamira should keep you dry (I've never had an issue getting wet when wearing either of my EB parkas).

Posted by
4677 posts

Maybe the light fleece jacket and down vest would be plenty?

Along with your 32 degree thermal layer and merino wool sweater - that would be enough for me.

Does your down parka resist water? It's not a puffy type down jacket, is it? When it was 22 degrees and snowing in the mornings here and I had to take the dog out, I wore my packable rain jacket over 3 layers of tops (2 with sleeves,) a furry lined vest and a non-wool cardigan. I was quite content. But when the snow first started and I was out with similar layers, but no rain jacket layer, I couldn't have stayed out for long without becoming drenched. (ETA: exactly to David's point, above.)

But then, I just ate pizza outside (21 degrees) in my 3 layers of tops with no thermals, no vest, no jacket, no parka, no gloves and no hat. Not for 3 or 4 hours, of course. And it's different in Denver, with no humidity to soak the chill into you.

Posted by
6563 posts

Of course David is right about down and water. That's why I also bring a hooded Gore Tex shell parka, to wear over whatever else I have on when it's wet or windy. It comes down to my knees, but I haven't found anything else that long despite years of searching. Seems like the outerwear people think all anyone does is ski. Looking at your list again, Andrea, I don't see anything waterproof on the outside above the waist. Something breatheable would be best, but even a non-breathing rain jacket would keep your upper body dry (unless you're skiing) and add value to the insulating layers behind it. A hood adds to the effectiveness of the cap. Look for one you can adjust so it doesn't flop around in front of your face, or for a fleece baseball-type hat to keep the hood out of your eyes.

Posted by
3155 posts

Even though I live in Canada and love winter, I have to be warm.
For my trip to Belgium and the UK very soon, here’s what I’m taking.
Two sets of Uniqlo HeatTech thermal tops and bottoms.
Merino wool socks that fit snugly and don’t “bag” in your boots.
One pair lined jeans, one pair plain.
Thicker black “yoga” pants to wear on the plane.
Two or three snug fitting long sleeved T’s.
Two merino wool pullover sweaters and one all wool sweater.
One fleece zip up top, not very thick.
Everything fits either under or over everything else for layering.
Two pairs of gloves, one is waterproof.
One soft hat….can’t bear itchy things.
One giant blanket scarf and one smaller warm scarf.
My boots are ones I wore in Iceland one winter and they are waterproof and have Vibram soles with good treads.
They are lightweight and comfy.
Also a pair of Merrell’s JungleMocs with great treads.
My jacket is new, quite thick, lots of pockets and a big warm hood.
The brand is Canada Weather Gear.
It’s pale grey so I can be seen at night rather than my usual black.
If I’m cold, I can go shopping, but I think I’ll be fine.
All these items are what I wore in Iceland one December, and I was plenty warm there outdoors, even at night waiting for the Northern Lights in a huge open field.

I’m more worried about being cold in my friend’s Scottish house where I’m staying for 8 nights! 😳

Andrea, as long as you have good thermal base layers, good socks, and a warm hat and gloves, everything else is layers.
Just leave the down at home if it’s an outer layer, and be sure that your jacket is waterproof or resistant.
An inner down vest would be fine.

Posted by
10260 posts

After reading these comments about how down is useless if it gets wet I realized that I omitted two pertinent facts. The down parka isn’t waterproof, but it is the most water resistant that Eddie Bauer makes. I wore a similar one when I went to NYC one December and it was fine. The other thing I forgot to mention is that I have a packable waterproof rain poncho that will keep me dry when necessary. It’s longer than the parka. I have a great rain jacket, but it’s shorter than the parka. I’m also bringing an umbrella too.

Posted by
10260 posts

CWsocial, that is the parka! I like the berry color too, but as with much of my wardrobe I got the black. I didn’t want a jacket with fur around the hood because I thought it wouldn’t be good if it got wet.

Posted by
10260 posts

SJ, thanks for including your packing list.

Posted by
9423 posts

Andrea, bring a tote bag or small backpack to put all your stuff in when you’re indoors… : )

Posted by
7480 posts

Merino wool is a fabulous insulator. If you want to test your clothing in California, would your local grocery store allow you into their freezer room for a few minutes? Unless they’re afraid their liability insurance wouldn’t allow that, you should be able to see how your layers work, without having to help them stock ice cream or frozen dinners!

Posted by
3155 posts

I saw these , to attach to bulky jackets when you get too hot indoors.

https://www.jacketstrap.com/
Genius!

A lot of museums and galleries in Europe have free lockers so you can walk around in them in comfort and not have to carry your big jacket.
Or, just bring a fold up tote bag and stuff it in.

Posted by
319 posts

I’ve found this such an interesting thread - as a South African who’s lived in London for 30 years, my weather experience has been freezing but very dry (Johannesburg, much like Denver) and London (usually not as cold but often wetter), so it’s interesting to hear the technical analysis of what works and why. Also a learning curve to not assume my hooded Lands End puffa coat will be fine if it rains because i hate using umbrellas!

Posted by
18144 posts

David, if its raining I stay home. If it begins to mist a little, my down jacket can take it. If it starts raining I pull out the shell that I brought along because I read the weather forecast in the morning. My little feathers are pushing 10 years old and they still perform like new.

What works for me is pants, shirts, sweater, socks, jacket are all what I wear in the fall. Nothing new or exotic for winter. I just add to the mix the long johns and all is good. So i travel with about the same weight in 25F weather as I do in 60F weather. And every bit of it can go in a washer/dryer at the end of the day......

Posted by
10260 posts

AmandaR, you have touched upon the biggest problem for me. I live in a dry climate. When I went to Europe in the winter I realized that I had never experienced the damp bone chilling cold I found there. That’s the feeling I’m hoping to avoid. And now I’m 15 years older, not a spring chicken, and more cold averse than I was then. It’s now 5:00 a.m. and 33 degrees F (1 degree C) so I plan to take a walk around sunrise, when it will be 32 degrees. I’ll wear a thermal top, Merino wool sweater, thermals under my pants, wool socks and my down parka. I’ll be interested to see how I feel after being outside for a while.

Posted by
606 posts

I have waterproof Ecco booties with gortex

Are these boots rated for cold weather temps? For reference, my main winter boots for northern MInnesota are rated to -58°F/.

Also a learning curve to not assume my hooded Lands End puffa coat will be fine if it rains because i hate using umbrellas!

It depends on the fabric/finish of the coat. I have a very packable, lightweight EB down jacket that I wear a lot. I wore it on a hike at Lake Louise one September when it was snowing, and I ended up soaking wet. The temp was high enough that the snow melted when it hit my hat and jacket. I had to pull out the waterproof poncho. My EB parkas have a water shedding finish that perform well.

So far this season I have only worn the lightweight down, but today temps are lower and I'm headed to the arena, so I will pull out a parka and winter boots.

I wear gloves when I am driving or going in and out of stores, but for being outside for any length of time, it's mittens for me!

Posted by
10260 posts

I’m back to report on my walk this morning. It was 32 degrees and felt like 30 with the wind chill. I wore my 32 Degree under layers, a thin merino wool sweater, fleece lined leggings, merino wool socks, a fleece gaiter, my Eddie Bauer parka mentioned above and a fleece lined headband to cover my ears. They were all okay, but my arms were a little cold. I can always layer with my thin fleece jacket or a cardigan if necessary. I think tomorrow when the temperature should be similar I’ll see how it works out with a down vest under the jacket. Now for the big fail…I bought some gloves from Costco that have Thinsolate and are supposed work with your phone. Except they don’t work with the phone. I’ll be using my phone for taking pictures, directions and who knows what else. Living where I do there aren’t many options for places to buy gloves. I was thinking about going to REI, but I definitely don’t want ski gloves. I would love to hear any suggestions you may have.

Thanks again for all the help.

Posted by
4677 posts

The gloves that work with your phone typically work... if you have the magic finger pad in exactly the right position and apply exactly the right pressure. And then it probably moves a little bit on your finger and you have to adjust it to be in exactly the right position again.

Even the ones I've paid a little more for have never really been practical for more than just maybe answering the phone. Once.

Posted by
6788 posts

Consider "Convertible" glove/mittens, like these. When it's cold, or when you do not need finger-tip dexterity, you slip the mitten-ends on, over your fingers. When you need to take a photo or otherwise use your fingers for something, flip back the mitten-end. A separate "thumb mitten" covers your thumb.

There are many different options available for these, many styles, different thickness/warmth. I always keep a lightweight fleece pair of these in my jacket pocket (even in the summer, I just leave those in my pockets all years round). They've come in handy (pardon the expression) on many trips when it got colder out than I had expected. For winter outings, I'll bring a thicker, more serious pair.

I love these things. Personally, I prefer the ones that have small magnets to secure the mitten parts; there are some with velcro or even buttons (otherwise that part will flop around annoyingly). Great for winter photography, or anything else when you need working fingers in the cold. They're awesome.

Posted by
6583 posts

I wear this sweater vest from Orvis almost every day in the winter inside (we keep the house relatively cool) and when traveling to colder climates. I bought my first one (the green) over 5 years ago, and it's still going strong, but just got another one in blue (and they're on sale right now). https://www.orvis.com/product/womens-r65-sweater-fleece-vest/3BB81652.html

They are great for layering, keep me warm inside but are so nice when layered with a coat or jacket outside. They look good and I just love them. I actually bought a black one first but exchanged it for the blue as I like the colors better.

ETA: Andrea, REI has convertible gloves and mittens, and some are on sale now. My daughter has a pair of the convertible wool mittens and she loves them. I think they're much more practical than the gloves with the so-called touch feature. https://www.rei.com/c/gloves-and-mittens?ir=category%3Agloves-and-mittens&r=c%3Bglove-type%3AConvertible

Posted by
2382 posts

Andrea - I have no experience with these particular gloves, but they're an example of a style that has worked for me - a mitten/glove combo. You can extract your fingers for phone usage and cover them back up right away. Just a thought! https://a.co/d/4V85lck

Posted by
10260 posts

mnannie, I don’t know what temperature the booties are rated to, I just know they have gortex and are waterproof. Living in California I have no need for anything like you need where you live. I can try adding extra socks or a felted wool insert to see if it helps.

My EB parka supposedly has the best water shedding finish they have and I will also have a poncho I can put over it.

Posted by
10260 posts

Wow, thanks for the suggestions for the glove/mittens. That might be just what I need!

Mardee, I love the sweater vest. There’s an Orvis store across from the REI near me. I’ve got shopping to do today, and thankfully won’t even have to go to the big mall.

Posted by
4556 posts

Living in California I have no need for anything like you need where you live.

Pointing out that having lived in the Upper Midwest my entire life, and having a job with a lot of field work, the coldest October day of my life was in Alturas California, easily 0° F windchill and all the ponds were frozen solid. All 3 of us were in disbelief that October anywhere could be so cold (in a non-alpine location).

Your main concern with clothing is sweating from over-dressing because then you have to change clothes. You can take stuff off but then you have to carry it. Long underwear is difficult to remove in public. Insulated jeans are for standing in very cold weather, like ice fishing or road construction, not for travel.

Did you cover the top of your head on this morning’s walk? That’s key. I use a fleece pullover hat that packs thin. I wouldn’t pack a headband of any kind.

I live in a dry climate.

Everyone in the Upper Midwest is in the same boat. We have dry winters, not the wet raw winters like near the North Sea and other places in Europe. Your itinerary I think is more on the dry end of things.

Posted by
606 posts

Living in California I have no need for anything like you need where you live. I can try adding extra socks or a felted wool insert to see if it help.

The coat is great! It's what I would wear here outside when the weather is blustery.

Mardee, I love the looks of that vest! I might have to add it to my "vest only" closet.

Posted by
10260 posts

Tom_MN, the climate where I live in the Sacramento Valley cannot be compared to Alturas, which is in the northern Sierra Nevada. Currently in Alturas it is 27 degrees, with a high of 45 today. At my house it is now 42 degrees with a high of 61. We all have different tolerance to cold. I don’t handle it well. My winter experience in Europe was that I was always cold and I’m trying to avoid that this time. Once I’m there in the actual environment I may have to tweak some things, but I want to be prepared.

I did not wear a hat this morning because I wanted to see how it would be just using the headband that covers my ears. I don’t particularly like wearing hats, but do when necessary. I did put the hood for my jacket on.

Posted by
6563 posts

Andrea, you gotta wear a hat. Covering your ears does no good when heat is pouring out of the top of your head. It's the #1 source of heat loss in the body. Your heart is always pumping blood to your brain because it's so critical, sometimes at the expense of your hands and feet. That's why the old adage: "If your feet are cold, put on a hat." No kidding! ;-)

Posted by
6563 posts

Another advantage of a hat, especially a dense compact one like a beanie or watchcap: if you find yourself overheating, you can pull it off and stash it in a pocket. Then the excess heat will escape through your head until you're ready to put it back on.

A hood helps, especially along with a hat, but you really want that wool or thinsulate or fleece right up against your head where the cold air can't get in between.

Posted by
3155 posts

Andrea:
I hate hats too, and am taking a headband with me as well as a hat.
I used to ski three or four days a week years ago, and the hat only came out if it was minus 10 or 15 C. !
(Hat hair! 😱)

Another thing is a neck gaiter instead of a scarf.
REI or a ski shop would have them.
Easy to pack and comfy.
You can pull it up over your lower face if it’s really cold out.

Enjoying this thread, as I’m not quite packed yet either for my impending trip.

Posted by
6788 posts

Agree with Dick in Olympia, and Tom_MN.

Believe those who live in very cold, very wet places and embrace their advice, they know. We have learned these lessons (sometimes the hard way).

That said, in the real world, this may be a delicate subject for some who might place a higher value on fashion than those of us who do not care one bit if we look completely hideous or ridiculous. For me at least, it's all about comfort, and in more extreme cases, it's about outright survival. OTOH, my dear spouse has a greater "fashion sense" than me (I'll leave it at that - no judgement here). She does care about style and how she perceives that others might perceive her. But only up to a point.

When conditions get extreme, so do I. My view is "this is not a fashion show, this is your life, and survival." Over our years together, my spouse has come around to accept this as a sometimes-necessary approach (she was born and grew up in a warm, sunny place - it took a long time and prolonged discomfort in the wild places of the Pacific Northwest for her to embrace "adventure gear"). She will put up with more discomfort than I will to appear stylish, but eventually she will break down put on an unfashionable wool hat, a goretex parka, downright ugly hiking boots, or whatever is necessary to get through the conditions. Hypothermia has a way of adjusting our priorities sometimes.

You can always go back to being a fashionista after you've stopped shivering or dried off (assuming you live that long).

Posted by
4186 posts

Ok, y’all experts in really cold weather, feel free to shoot this one down. It’s what I got for Norway in March and am considering giving it a trial run in London this week.
https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/20612953/women's-sun-valley-down-parka?sp=1&color=Blue%20Smoke&size=&sizeType=

The hood (and the fur separately) detach. I will have a hat for under the hood for Norway, as well as mittens and a neck gaiter. But I will just have gloves and my Harris tweed hat for London.

I also have some good thermal layers. I am a cold weather know-nothing.

Posted by
9696 posts

Mardee, thanks for posting that Orvis vest - I know you have posted it before but this time I have remembered to bookmark it !

Andrea - anytime I have been anywhere truly cold where I am going to be outside -- and literally I can include Christmas markets in this list - I have found that silk sock liners have helped immensely. Something about having another reinforcing layer for my feet really helped.

Posted by
7480 posts

places to buy gloves. I was thinking about going to REI, but I definitely don’t want ski gloves

If you’re talking about not wanting heavy downhill ski gloves, there are much lighter, less-bulky cross country ski gloves that might do the trick. Many of the latest models are supposed to be compatible for smartphone use.

Swix is a good brand, as well as Bjorn Daehlie. Kari Tara, a former Norwegian Olympic champion, now has skiwear designed just for women. There are Nordic Ski shops around the country who sell Online and can mail to you. An excellent shop here in Colorado is Boulder Nordic Sport, with their own Website.

Posted by
6583 posts

mnannie and Kim, that vest is truly one of my favorite clothing items. I especially like wearing it around the house when it gets cold. It warms me up without having to turn up the heat or bring out a portable heater. It must be popular, too, because Orvis has been selling it for years.

Posted by
10260 posts

I’ve returned from my shopping expedition. At REI I bought gloves that actually work with the phone and a pair of merino wool sock liners that I can pair with my Costco merino wool socks if necessary. At Orvis I bought the vest. It was full price, but when I mentioned the price online the salesperson matched it. I will look on amazon for the mitten/gloves.

I will have a fleece lined knit beanie and a fleece gaiter with me. I actually wore the gaiter on my walk this morning. I will also be taking a scarf that I can also use as a wrap on the plane or otherwise as needed.

Posted by
4556 posts

Alturas, which is in the northern Sierra Nevada

Quibbling but although at 6000 ft, I would not consider Alturas in or near the Sierras. It's on a plain with some mountains in the distance, more than anything an extension of the Great Basin of nearby Nevada and Oregon. See.

Good work on the purchases. I buy online fleece gloves which are always available somewhere for $4. The handwarmer packets can be lifesavers, and are light and easy to pack, work in socks too.

Posted by
9423 posts

Andrea, i can picture you checking in for your flight with a bulging 30” suitcase full of all this cold weather gear, lol.

Posted by
10260 posts

If only I had a 30” suitcase! Not really, it will all fit into a carry on case. It has to!

Posted by
10260 posts

Okay, Alturas is at 6000’ and I live at about 25’. That’s a big temperature difference.

Posted by
4556 posts

You didn’t ask, but I would bring this (using what I own):

Light waterproof hiking boots with plastic soles to keep feet above cold pavement by at least 1/2”. I would use thick cotton crew socks but bring optional wool socks, thin.

Jeans with optional long underwear, cotton.

I’d have the ability to put 5 layers on top:
Cotton T-shirt, short and optional long sleeved.
Cotton turtleneck
Optional Button or snap shirt that fits over turtleneck
Choice of 2 fleeces with front zippers, one with sleeves one without, that can fit over the 3 shirts (w/sleeves for coldest days)
Outer shell covering derrière, water resistant, with hood and ability to tighten bottom edge to seal in warmth.
(Note ability to open up 3 outer layers to release heat and moisture, this is important)

Choice of Ball cap or fleece pullover cap to cover ears

Cheap fleece gloves with several hand warmer packets.

For walking or standing cotton will be fine, fancy fibers are really only necessary when exercising.

Posted by
4186 posts

Thank you, @mnannie! That does make me feel lots better! I do have layers to use underneath also. And yes, I got ankle snow boots that I think will be good - they have a nice tread for snow and a fleece lining and plenty of room for wool socks.

And bonus points that both are light blue and match. 🤦🏻‍♀️

I pulled out a pillow sham to stuff the coat in and plan to use it as my travel pillow on the plane. Lol!

@Andrea, sorry for piling on to your thread, but I would never have thought to ask. So thank you.

Posted by
10260 posts

TTM, think nothing of it. We are here to learn from each other. You have to love the Eddie Bauer coats!

Thanks Tom!

Posted by
3155 posts

I’ve also been testing out my layers outdoors today.

I’ve just come in from a local tree lighting event this afternoon, where my choir was singing.
It was about 3C, no wind and dry out.
I had on thick leggings under corduroy pants, thick merino socks in my Jungle Moc shoes.
Long sleeved T, wool pullover, thin packable jacket and my winter jacket on top.
Mitts and a warm fleece scarf.
I wasn’t cold overall at all, even standing still most of the time; but by the end I did notice that my ears were cold, so I’ll definitely be taking my warm hat on my trip.

My friend’s husband showed up with heated gloves!
Similar to these, he says they are just the best!

https://www.thereviewnerd.net/best-heated-gloves?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_id=20579514382&utm_content=154382441512&utm_term=heated%20gloves&creativeId=674747790648&gclid=CjwKCAiA9ourBhAVEiwA3L5RFmma18Pj7PIn_Ebe3FOiShb_e4Pyr24-S6fEaIRReQF8kHEPufoq8RoCUF0QAvD_BwE

I’m taking my bigger suitcase as I’m planning on some UK shopping……
I only have to pull it along, on a flat street, twice on the whole trip, so no hauling it on and off multiple trains like on my usual trips.

Andrea, I applaud you going carryon for a winter trip. 🙂

Posted by
9696 posts

It's crazy that all these Eddie Bauer coats are currently 50% off!!

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10260 posts

S J, thanks for letting us know what you wore. That’s very helpful. I looked at the heated gloves. They are pricey and don’t appear to stay warm for more than a few hours. I think I’ll stick with my plan to bring disposable hand warmers. They are inexpensive and stay warm for many hours.

Kim, Eddie Bauer has great sales throughout the year. And if you purchase enough things you get rewards and free shipping. Don’t ask me how I know. 😉

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I took another walk this morning to see how switching out a few things would be. It was 33F and felt like 30F. I wore the same 32 Degree top and bottoms and the same fleece lined leggings and merino wool sweater. Also the same parka. What I changed was I wore a fleece lined beanie, a blanket scarf and the vest I bought from Orvis yesterday. My core was warmer and the beanie and scarf worked well. It’s probably not a scarf I would wear daily, but I’ll like it on the plane and any other situation that warrants it. Tomorrow the temperature should be similar so I’ll switch things up and try some other things.

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3967 posts

How timely that we have all of these pre trip planning mornings for you 🥶. We drove granddaughter #1 to the airport this morning at 6AM and the car said it WAS 30°!

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10260 posts

Mona, it’s definitely good timing. Tomorrow morning it will be a couple of degrees warmer, and warming even more after that. My friend and I were going to go up to Truckee last Tuesday to test everything out, but the forecast was for highs in the upper 40’s so we didn’t bother.

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6583 posts

Andrea, you're welcome to come to Duluth and test out your clothing here! It was 9 degrees this morning. 😊

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I think potential wind/wind chill is still a factor to keep in mind, for the pre-trip testing?
I had my synthetic down parka tied at my waist, for transit through Reykjavik in mid-August, from Greenland. I stayed overnight and the wind was SO strong and so cold I was not too warm in the winter coat!
It's also a good point, about whether you're going to be hiking or walking briskly a lot on the trip (warmer from generated body heat) vs standing around outdoors...

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4677 posts

Ms Jo mentioned snow at the first night of Frankfurt Christmas Markets. I hope that rain layer over your parka has been snowflake tested!

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10260 posts

We will be outdoors and walking around Christmas Markets and other points of interest. I’m sure we will do some indoor sightseeing as well. No hiking, but we will be doing a torch walk (with real torches, not flashlights) when visiting a small town in the Black Forest. Based on the locations where I’m tracking weather that will be the coldest place I’ll be going.

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10260 posts

Mardee, thanks for the offer but I think I’ll pass. ;-)

CWsocial, I think I would rather deal with snow than rain.

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10260 posts

Day 3 of experimenting with my wardrobe. It was 32F and felt like 31F. There was frost on the grass and cars, unlike the other mornings. I wore the same thermals on top and bottom, merino wool sweater, Orvis vest, fleece lined hat and parka. What I changed was I wore jeans, I put a lightweight Eddie Bauer fleece jacket under the vest and a different scarf. My legs have been a little chilled each day, but I can double up on the 32 Degree thermals if necessary. Tomorrow at sunrise it will be 38F so I’m glad I took the opportunity to try things out. I have to remind myself that if something isn’t working out there are stores where I’m going.

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4677 posts

there are stores where I’m going

There is a store called "Canvero Accessories" immediately across the corner from where Frankfurt on Foot start their walking tours.

Google Maps: Braubach Strasse 41

Canvero sells seasonal accessories, from sunhats to winter hats, sunscreen to knit gloves, mittens, hats and headbands.

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606 posts

I don't know what you think of these pants, but they keep my legs warm. I usually put a lightweight pair of leggings under them, although my husband just did his 90 minute walk without another layer under his pair. They are a great price today.

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10260 posts

CWsocial, thanks for the store information. Unfortunately Frankfurt is my last stop, so I’m guessing if I need to buy something it will be in Bruges or Cologne. I’m sure if I need anything in Cologne my cousins will be able to tell me where to find it.

mnannie, thanks for the suggestion. I have a pair of these Eddie Bauer fleece lined water repellent pants that I plan to bring and will be prepared to put a pair (or two) of thermals under any bottoms if necessary.

https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/23151036/women's-2.0-polar-fleece-lined-pants?sp=1&color=Black&size=&sizeType=

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Hi Andrea,

I am heading to London and Stockholm in February and I'm looking at the same EB parka that you brought. I just read through this thread and I'm curious to hear how your warmth held up on your trip. I am also only bringing a carry on for luggage, so bulk is of a concern for me.

Thanks!
D

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10260 posts

Hi DJ - The parka was great! I stayed warm with a couple of layers underneath. One thing I appreciated about the parka was that I was also able to zip it up from the bottom which made it easier for sitting for longer periods. One disadvantage is that I always had to wear the parka when changing locations. It isn’t packable, at least in a carryon sized suitcase. That wasn’t a big deal though. I only used the poncho I brought on one very rainy day. Otherwise I stayed dry with just the parka and sometimes an umbrella. I will say that after the first few days in Belgium the temperatures were up to 15* F warmer than average for the rest of my trip in Germany and France. For traveling in shoulder season I will stick with my normal combination of packable down jacket and packable waterproof raincoat, but for winter I would definitely bring the parka again.

I came across this nifty little thing to hold your jacket while you're travelling so that way you can dress warm and then just take off your jacket if it gets too warm!

https://www.thebandstrap.com/

Very smart!

You can also just bring a large bag to put your jacket in but you'll likely have to bring a very large one to fit your jacket and all of your other things