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What jacket to pack for Christmas Markets trip

Hello - My husband and I will be visiting Christmas Markets November 30 - December 12. We will be going to the Alsace Region in France; Munich and Prague.

I need suggestions on what type jacket I'll need. Looking for something warm, but light weight and probably water resistant. What's your favorite jacket for this type of trip?

Thanks for your help.

Posted by
943 posts

Patagonia makes a "ultra-light down jacket" that I love to take because it packs into a sack the size of my fist. If your wanting something else then buy a nice fleece pull-over like a (Patagonia, Marmot, Columbia,etc.) and then use a waterproof shell like a Marmot Alegis or Mica and you will be fine.
Don

Posted by
252 posts

Last year at that time...it was freezing in Prague! So be prepared and you will be fine. I was well prepared for the outside weather and also arena cold (went to see hockey games in Prague) so it did not bother me at all...and made it more ''christmassy''.
Layers under the coast is a good idea too...you may get warmer days. But I was coming from Oslo...so I had everything I needed :)

I am not sure where you are from...but do plan on having a winter coat, preferably long one (you may not need it depending on what you have planned there, but with my arenas visits and loving to walk early morning and until late at night...for me it was necessary). And boots, hats, mits, scarves, etc. I like Columbia as well.
Perhaps gloves that make it easy to take pictures...either by ''unfolding'' or the newer type that make it possible to ''swipe'' a phone or electronic device. People who did not dress warmly enough did not seem to be having as much fun as I was.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
509 posts

Thanks Don. I like the idea of the pullover fleece with a rainproof shell. I already have a Columbia fleece, so that will work.

Thanks again.

Posted by
2353 posts

I would highly recommend at least a 3/4 length coat - the last thing you want is to be cold - It will put a damper on your trip. Hat, long scarf, & gloves are also essential as are warm shoes.

Posted by
509 posts

Thanks everyone. My Son and his family went skiing last Winter in Montreal, so we're going to borrow their scarves, hats, gloves, etc. Also plan on doing a lot of "layering".

Posted by
43 posts

A long gortex jacket with lining has always been a winner for us. Living on vancouver island we have rain, wind storms and cold weather. Our gortex jackets, toques and mitts are winners for living in this area of canada!

Posted by
258 posts

I know you asked about jackets but what about your pants? I would avoid jeans, they are not warm at all and when they get wet, you will be miserable. I would suggest light weight wool or wool/poly blend and also some silk longjohn type underwear. You can also get some lightweight fleece undergarments but they may be bulky. Most importantly, is what you have on your feet. Well insulated shoes or boots with wool socks are critical. I find that gloves do not keep my hands warm at all...I use mittens. Winter in a cold climate is not about being fashionable but staying warm. (I live in Vermont).

Posted by
258 posts

I know you asked about jackets but what about your pants? I would avoid jeans, they are not warm at all and when they get wet, you will be miserable. I would suggest light weight wool or wool/poly blend and also some silk longjohn type underwear. You can also get some lightweight fleece undergarments but they may be bulky. Most importantly, is what you have on your feet. Well insulated shoes or boots with wool socks are critical. I find that gloves do not keep my hands warm at all...I use mittens. Winter in a cold climate is not about being fashionable but staying warm. (I live in Vermont).

Posted by
5792 posts

We were in Prague in late winter (end of February) 2012. I'm not sure how that would compare to fall weather but we experienced moderate weather for winter. A Patagonia R3 high loft fleece full zip jacket covered by a Patagonia 2.5 layer Goretex shell was fine. My Patagonia jackets are about 15 years old so models names have changed.

I did wear either wool or brushed synthetic trousers with thin (light weight) long baseylayer pants plus gloves and a hat. That and low cut boots with Smartwool socks separating feet from cold cobble stone pavers keep me warm for all day walks around the town.

Posted by
108 posts

The Columbia Mighty Lite jackets with Omni-heat technology are great for that kind of situation. They're warm, lightweight, and fairly water resistant. I think Columbia has a lot of things on sale now, too.

Posted by
509 posts

Thanks to everyone. I researched the Columbia Mighty Light jacket - read lots of reviews. Looks like it's just what I need - so thanks for that suggestion. I ordered it in purple!!!

So true about not wearing jeans. Still looking at my options for pants. I already have some "smart wool" socks, so hoping they will be nice and warm.

Thanks again for all your help.

Posted by
15058 posts

I found that layers were very good when I was outdoors all day, but if I went into a restaurant for lunch or dinner, or a museum, layers were impractical with the central heating - especially wearing thermal underwear. It was just too hot and uncomfortable. I also found that a good rain poncho is excellent when it's snowing. When I didn't wear it, my coat, hat, gloves, etc., got very wet after awhile and then I was really cold.

Posted by
89 posts

I went to the Christmas markets in Berlin last December and I took this coat: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/42359?feat=610-CL1&page=ultrawarm-coat-long

I did take off the hood because it was too big and flopped over my eyes, and took a fleece hat instead. I was so happy to have such a long coat that covered my legs, really kept me warm. My travel companions had shorter coats and wore long under ware under their pants, but both said they were still cold. This isn't so much "light weight" (in fact I call it my "sleeping bag coat") but it sure did keep me cozy when it started to snow and the wind blew!

Have a great trip!

Posted by
786 posts

I would recommend long underwear too! It is great as a second layer under pants (especially jeans if you do choose to wear them). And if you find you are too warm, they will roll up and easily fit into a bag or jacket pocket.

Posted by
40 posts

I did a Christmas market trip in Bavaria and Austria last December. It was really cold! I wore my Lands End parka with wool scarf, hat and long johns and sweater if windy. Better to be prepared...you can always remove a layer, but can't add if you don't have it with you.

Posted by
2 posts

Check out the packable down jackets at Costco. I have the shorter one which worked perfectly under my leather coat. They also have longer ones this year. Both roll up small and into a little bag. They are very light and can be worn alone on a not-too-cold day. $40-50.

Posted by
8180 posts

The longer the coat the better, as it will keep you warm. Knee length or longer. Get a water repellent one in case there is a wet snow. All you have to do is brush the snow off of it. A huge, wet poncho will really be a pain every time you go inside a building, so I wouldn't recommend wearing one. Cords are warm pants to wear, and I would bring long johns too. Get the thin, silk ones. I am not a layerer, as it just too hot when you get on the trains, go in stores, museums and restaurants, so prefer a coat I can take off. Big, ski type mittens are great as they don't absorb water or snow and are super warm. If you like, wear them with some thin gloves with the finger tips cut off so your hands won't freeze when you take your mittens off to take photos. Nice warm hat that covers your ears, and if you can, try to find one that combines a knit/fleece inner part and water repellant outside covering, and a good scarf will all help to keep you warm. Shoes or boots with thick soles will keep your feet warm, the thicker the better. It does no good to wear knee high boots with a thin leather sole. Your feet will freeze. Don't wear Ugg boots either. They soak up water like a sponge and you will really regret bringing them. Plus, they have no support.

Posted by
1353 posts

Thanks for posting on this Jo! I am bringing my knee length water repellant down parka for trip this December and was really wondering about some of the suggestions given so far:) Also have some Keen boots I will be wearing, and was wondering if I should bring my ski mittens or just some gloves. Growing up in Colorado I know how grumpy I get when I'm cold:)