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What to wear? Bring? Trip in September

Hi all,
I HATE PACKING. For September do I need a winter coat or will jacket be ok? I wish I could buy a 10 pc already assembled wardrobe for all 14 days and pack in a carryon. We will be sightseeing the entire time and hoping for a few nice dinners. Any insight is appreciated in what I should bring.

Posted by
71 posts

Hi. Where are you going? What are you going to do? This will make a difference to a degree. We have travelled to Europe quite a bit during September. It is usually still quite warm. I bring light weight pants and tops I can layer such as tees, sweaters and a light weight rain jacket just in case. I sometimes throw in a sleeveless dress I can layer under different shirts or a sweater.

Posted by
4923 posts

Look on a map and see how far north Scotland is. Golf was actually invented in the equivalent of southern Alaska. It rains in Scotland lots. I have been there in August and worn my packable down jacket. Your most important wardrobe items will be waterproof shoes, full-length rain coat, and maybe rain pants. In my experience, it doesn't rain all day, just on and off. It can be quite chilly in Sept and Oct. No one will see what you're wearing underneath your coats.
That being said, Scotland is a beautiful country, and you'll enjoy your trip. What is your itinerary?
Safe travels.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks @ramblin and all for your feedback. We are sightseeing in Edinburg 2 days, Inverness 2 days, isle of sky 2 days, Dublin, Galway, cliffs of Moher, Shannon.

Not needing a winter coat is key. Saves space.

Can’t wait!

Posted by
4958 posts

While Scotland's latitude is equal to southern Alaska, it's climate is somewhat more moderate. Whether or not you would find it cold in September may be affected by where you live. Someone in San Diego may indeed find it cold; whereas I ( being raised on the Canadian prairies), would say cool and damp. And windy.

I really don't think a winter coat or jacket is necessary. However a wind and waterproof jacket definitely is. You can add layers underneath as the temperature demands- long and short sleeve t shirts or shirts, a thin layering sweater/cardigan or 2 and/or a thin fleece, as well as several pair of pants. Black or dark wash jeans will work for a nice dinner out if paired with a nice top.. If you might be doing long hikes in the country, then rain pants would be useful. Definitely waterproof shoes. A scarf and thin pair of gloves for nippy evenings or early mornings. And if you bring a hat, make sure it's one that will stay on your head in the wind. Or just use the hood on your jacket.

Posted by
14097 posts

I was also on Orkney and Shetland in August and took a waterproof rain jacket, puffy vest, lightweight glove liners. I also needed waterproof pants but it really depends on what you are doing as to whether you will need them or not.

I don't think you'll need a winter coat but your profile doesn't reveal any clues as to where you might live so you might be less cold tolerant than I.

Have you ever looked at The Vivienne Files? She does capsule wardrobes every day (or at least 5 days a week) - some based on a painting, some on a bracelet, some on other things. Very easy to find items that match what she collates. By and large her clothes are too expensive and too formal for my retired Idaho life but she often uses basics from LLBean or Lands End and you may be able to shop in your closet for that. Here's a link to Janice's "Start Here" page that walks you through a capsule wardrobe.

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/start-here/

For a 10-piece wardrobe, I'd pick:

4 Short sleeve shirts
1 long sleeve shirt that goes over everything
1 cardigan, jacket or LS dri-fit quarter zip
3 pr of pants (1 jeans, 2 travel pants)

OOps...that's only 9! So maybe 1 cardie or jacket plus 1 LS topper that matches everything

This includes the outfit you will wear In Transit.

Plus waterproof rain jacket, maybe a puffy vest (look at the inexpensive ones on 32Degrees website), 2 pr of shoes (wear one pack one), underwear (bras, undies, socks), sleepwear

It's easier for me if I write things down, then see what I've got. Basically every item I have is also a travel item. My jeans are poly/cotton mix so will wash and dry within 24 hours. All my shirts are travel-ready.

Posted by
8183 posts

Median temperatures in Edinburgh for September run from 50 degree lows to 62 degree highs. It rains about 1/3 of the days so you may want to carry a light jacket that sheds water.

I most often follow Rick Steve's packing list--with minor changes. I pack everything into a 21" carry on bag and a small backpack with a 22 lb. maximum weight.

Posted by
12 posts

I’m in the Northeast USA (Connecticut) so I can mange with some cold!
I will check out the Vivviene site maybe get some ideas!

I am months away but I’m getting so excited!

Posted by
286 posts

I wouldn’t bring jeans. You want clothing that is quick drying and jeans are not.

Posted by
1166 posts

I live in Skye. Typically early September is very different from late September. By late September I am wearing my Lands End down puffer jacket, whereas in early September I don't generally need a jacket, just a lightweight zip up fleece. But I always carry a waterproof and windproof jacket (long enough to cover my butt) and if hiking waterproof over trousers to go over my regular hiking trousers. Jeans are not a good idea as once wet they get cold and are difficult to dry. Even the poshest restaurants here don't expect you to dress up. Smart casual would do fine, although probably not blue jeans for the most fancy places. You won't need an umbrella - it's always too windy to use one here - a close fitting beanie or hat with a brim under the hood of your coat is better. You might want gloves.

Posted by
1063 posts

Layers are always more useful than a big coat.

I’d take a lightweight puffa that I can layer under a wind and waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers and waterproof shoes/boots. A running type cap can be good to go under your hood to keep the rain off your face. Always take a fleece jacket.

I’m going away next week in the U.K. (Cornwall but it’s not warm here at the moment) and will take 2 under vests, 4 t-shirts, 2 sweatshirts, a fleece jacket, a lightweight puffa and a waterproof coat and waterproof trousers. I’ll take jeans and running leggings but I’m not doing any serious walking. Also a hat mainly to keep my hair out of my face in the wind. Footwear - walking boots and a pair of running shoes.

This will be enough to later up in various ways and I’m quite happy to wear jeans and a fleece anywhere I’m likely to be eating.

Posted by
27269 posts

Even in mid-summer it can be chilly and windy enough to be unpleasant if you get soaked to the skin. My trip included 26 days in Scotland but also a lot of time in warmer, drier places, so I didn't want to carry rain pants around just to use them on a very few days. I took 97% nylon slacks that do a pretty good job of shedding rain and wore merino wool long johns underneath them. That wouldn't have been adequate for actual hiking, but for spending an hour or two outdoors, wandering around in significant rain in an urban environment, I was comfortable enough to get going.

Western Scotland tends to be warmer and wetter than Edinburgh.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks everyone. Super helpful comments. I guess no jeans on this trip :) I wear them almost everyday back home!

Posted by
1063 posts

I would always take jeans. Obviously they’re no good for doing proper walking but if it’s just a wandering about type of day I’d wear them. I’d also wear them in the evenings. They’re no good for heavy rain and quite uncomfortable to layer under rain pants so definitely good to have some walking trousers as well but I wouldn’t go without my jeans!

I have some packable rain pants that weigh almost nothing.

Posted by
14097 posts

I always take jeans. I wear the Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda style and although different colors have different fabric mixes they dry within 24 hours. They are really generally dry in 12 hours except for the waistband. I don't take heavy jeans like Levis but the GV work great. Take a look at the fabric content of your "usual" jeans and see if they might work. I'd also do a test sink wash and hang to dry to see how long it takes. I just bought a new shirt at Target last week. It's cotton/modal and the test wash/dry worked fine for travel even though I was rushed and did not get it squished out in a towel as much as I would have if traveling.

"I am months away but I’m getting so excited!"

Oh, to me it is MUCH better to start well ahead, especially if you don't like packing yet want to have a cohesive, packable, easy capsule wardrobe. Whatever you do, don't pick items you'd not normally wear at home! Literally every piece of my clothing is "travel ready". I've worked at that over maybe 10 years, lol, but when I buy something it's always in the back of my mind to think....will this sink wash and dry overnight? lolol!!

Also think about what colors make you feel wonderful? Vivienne Files will recommend 4 pieces of your neutral - black or navy? And then other pieces of your accent colors to start you off.

Posted by
286 posts

Just remember, it is likely to be very damp in Scotland and the dampness will affect how long it takes for something to dry.

Posted by
14097 posts

"Just remember, it is likely to be very damp in Scotland and the dampness will affect how long it takes for something to dry."

I've worn the GV Amandas in Scotland, sink-washed them and had them dry. Last August on Orkney and Shetland both hotels had heated towel rails so they easily dried overnight. Obviously can't guarantee OP's hotels will have the same amenities but the jeans did dry within 24 hours without the heated rail (because it took me a few days to find the "on" switch, lolol!!). It was humid, rained buckets every day and one hotel was right on the water so "damp? fits, lol.

Posted by
4390 posts

We like pants, including lined jeans(I love lined pants in cool whether) from a British company called Rohan-they dry relatively quickly which is helpful when we wash clothes in the sink. They are not cheap though.

Posted by
9730 posts

I always travel with jeans, too. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if that's what you like to wear and are most comfortable in.

The most important thing, as has been emphasized before, is a really good waterproof rain jacket with hood. And at least one pair of shoes that is waterproof.

Posted by
2611 posts

I was in Edinburgh in mid September last year and brought the usual things I like to wear: jeans, long sleeved rayon/cotton jersey tops and a couple of cashmere sweaters, rayon scarf, walking boots and a London Fog lightweight hooded anorak-style jacket with excellent zipped pockets. It rained quite a lot so the hood was more useful than an umbrella--you don't really see the locals using umbrellas. I discovered that a waterproof purse would have also been great to have--I like my nylon LeSportsac crossbody but after walking in the rain I discovered things in the outer compartment could get a trifle damp. I tend to get warm easily so the lightweight jacket over a top or sweater was perfect as the temps were right around 55 degrees.

Posted by
12 posts

I’m so looking forward to this trip. However I do have to say that being cold and wet are my least favorite things lol

Posted by
5 posts

I just got back from a 2 week trip in the Highlands so it was the end of March and beginning of April. It was about 40F raining off and on and windy but I enjoy the cold and hate midges so it was great!

I only take one carryon bag and it served me well.

Everything I packed could be layered. All of my outerwear (hat, coat, pants) were windproof and waterproof as well as foldable and packable into a pocket. I also bought 2 pairs of bicycle winter gloves as they are very lightweight waterproof, windproof and dry fast.
I put everything into large ziploc bags that I compressed to save space.

I am on a pretty tight budget and can't afford high-end outdoor gear/wear. The most expensive piece I bought was from Land's End and was a windproof waterproof jacket that hit me mid thigh so I could sit and not get my seat wet and that was under $80. I packed some lightweight sweaters made of natural materials like wool and those kept me quite warm.

As prior posts have stated, it depends on what you're going to be doing. Most of my trip was hiking so one of the worst things I could have brought (and did not) are jeans. But if that is something you're going to wear while visiting museums or taking shorter walks then go ahead and pack them. I also brought extremely lightweight waterproof windproof pants which covered other leggings I wore. I only ended up sliding those over my pants while touring the Culloden as it was snowing and quite windy that day. Other than that I never put them on again.

I packed 2 scarves which I ended up taking off after 5 minutes of hiking, so I regret bringing those as they were wool and took up space.

Remember though that I thrive in the cold. So go with what you feel comfortable with. Test clothing/gear out by taking walks and hikes in inclement weather well before you go. I made sure anything I ordered, including more lightweight hiking boots, arrived a month before my trip and broke everything in and tested it out so I knew how I felt in it.

Happy travels!

Posted by
877 posts

I was in Scotland I September for three weeks, starting the first week, and travelled from Edinburgh all the way up to Inverness and Skye. Since I live where it rains a lot, I already have a gortex jacket with a removable liner, so I took that, and three pairs of jeans. It’s what I would wear at home in the fall. The jacket was perfect. There were days I didn’t need the liner, days where I just added a long sleeve shirt, and even some days when I didn’t need the jacket at all. The jeans became a problem when I got not just wet, but also muddy, on a very nasty day at Hadrian’s wall. I was staying in various B&Bs, and had trouble finding a place to do laundry once I left Edinburgh. They also wouldn’t dry overnight if I hung them up in my room, so I would pack them into a zip lock bag and hang them up again at the next place. Really wish I had the Eddie Bauer Travex pants I travel with now. They dry overnight and don’t wrinkle and crease.