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Women's Winter Travel Clothing

I will be traveling through Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy in January/February 2016. I am looking for any recommendations on women's pants and clothing in general. I plan on having a merino wool base layer but I'm not sure what to layer on top. Cold weather accessories recommendations are also welcome! I'm willing to spend $50-$100 per item assuming it is good quality. Thank you in advance!

Posted by
983 posts

If you are wearing a base layer (top and bottom) then you ought to be good for most any pant or jeans. I would definitely buy merino wool socks to wear with your boots or walking shoes. They even have tights which are nice and warm but I tried them under my pants and where the pants would ride up when I sat or bent the pants were stuck to the tights, so I will only wear them with skirts or dresses. If you are going to be outdoors a lot you will also appreciate a knit wool cap that will cover your ears. Even in winter layers will be the key so a snug fitting long sleeve top under a heavier button up or pullover, followed by a winter jacket should be enough for the worst of weather. I do a lot of shopping at Kohl's and usually find what I need. Oh, don't forget your gloves!

Posted by
5818 posts

Layers!

Mixing outdoor and indoor activities during winter is a challenge. What works outdoors at the German Baltic (Ostsee) and the Tyrol doesn't work strolling in museums and crowded trams.

Base layer (which you apparently have), shirt and pants of wool or quick drying synthetic, insulation layer (e.g. wool sweater or fleece jacket or similar) covered a wind/rain shell, add cap and gloves and you are good to go in a northern European winter environment.

See:
http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/layering-basics.html

Re: ...willing to spend $50-$100 per item....
Good quality stuff both functions and lasts a long time. With a sub $100 each budget try shopping sales, last season "fashions" outlets etc. I bought a Patagonia shell 15 years ago for my first Norway winter trip and its still as good as new, just not the color of the year. http://www.patagonia.com/us/worn-wear

Posted by
137 posts

You mentioned pants, but perhaps a Macabi skirt might be an option, especially with merino wool tights or leggings. The skirts have terrific pockets, pack light and small, shed moisture and dust. They work well for many climates; I got one for Africa.

Came across this review recently. Halfway down she describes using the. Macabi in snow and colder climates.

Posted by
11 posts

I strongly recommend investing is a Patagonia nano vest. Regular price is $149 but you can sometimes find them on sale. It will keep your core warm but with a base layer underneath will not be too hot once you take your jacket off when you go inside. It packs much smaller than a typical down vest & can stuff into its own pocket. If you want to take the vest off, the pocket pouch can attach to your day bag with a carabiner.

If you are looking for a new jacket, I find that even a shell that goes to my mid-thigh keeps me much warmer than one that stops at the waist. It also helps when sitting on cold surfaces.

I purchased merino base layers from Patagonia and Icebreaker on sale last week ($35-50 each). Might be worth checking their websites.

As for pants, if my head, upperbody, hands, and feet are warm, I don't need a heavy pant. I find them uncomfortable. I like black corduroy jeans but they need to be washed as regular laundry.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
15329 posts

I love thermal underlayers for days I'm planning to be outside most of the time. They are too warm if I'm going in and out. Churches will generally be pretty cold, though warmer than outside, museums and restaurants will be cozy. So you need layers you can shed easily.

I have Italian shearling gloves that I love. They are the warmest gloves I've ever had and I can use my camera without taking them off - but not a touch screen. If you need that, I suggest gloves without fingertips underneath heavy gloves. That way you aren't exposing your whole hand . . . or use a stylus. Disposable hand warmers are very good but they weigh a lot. If you're only going for a couple of weeks, you don't need many. If you're going for a couple of months, that's another story. If you don't have a warm hat or scarf, wait and buy them in Europe. They'll make great souvenirs.

Posted by
1220 posts

There are also gloves made with a very thin metallic mesh built into the fingertips that are designed and sold as 'touchscreen gloves' made by a number of different companies now.

Posted by
9222 posts

I wore layers on a winter trip. Never again. I had to take off too many layers when going inside if I didn't want to sweat to death. Then what do you do with all those layers? I agree that layers are a good idea if you plan to spend all day outside, but if you plan to go to museums, restaurants, or even rides on public transportation you will be uncomfortable. If I do a winter trip again I will take a warm down or wool coat long enough to cover my upper legs. Then I only have to take one thing off. I might wear a down vest under the coat. Plus a scarf, gloves and hat. I wore tights under my pants rather than thermals.

Posted by
5818 posts

Re: No layers, just one down coat.

In spite of down coming from geese (or ducks), down insulation and water don't mix. If you go with one down jacket and no rain/wind shell, the down jacket needs to be constructed with a waterproof outer covering.

See:
http://www.mountaingear.com/themountainblog/2013/06/the-scoop-on-waterproof-down/

Down, of course, is a natural insulation that comes from the under
plumage of ducks and geese. Since Eddie Bauer patented the first down
jacket in 1940, it’s been the insulator of choice for outdoor
enthusiasts around the world. Down has stood the test of time, too.
Even today, over 70 years since Eddie Bauer’s first jacket, no manmade
insulator can match down in terms of weight, warmth, comfort, and
durability. But, there’s a catch. Down has an Achilles heel. It loses
all of its insulating properties when wet.

Better to have a wet wool jacket than a wet down jacket.

PS. I can remove both my rain shell and fleece thermal insulating jacket as a single combined unit. Stick gloves and cap in a jacket pocket first. Only one hanger needed at the coat check stand.

Posted by
5697 posts

For our Austria/Germany trip last December I found a barely-used winter parka (Eddie Bauer or LL Bean) at a thrift store for $35.