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The Swedish Silver Lining

In a non-pandemic world, we would have been in Sweden this week. While mourning a bit, we're also using this as a chance to plan for next year especially in a weather sense. As I look at real time reports, we realize that we wouldn't have packed sufficiently for rain and chill. It's one thing to look at historic statistics and another to realize that it would have been very wet on the day we had planned to visit different archipelagos.

We're kludging upon this year's planning for next year. We pack light and I'm using the end-of-winter sales to look for items that might make the next trip more comfortable. It looks like we should beef-up our rain protection, enhance our layering and consider a second pair of shoes. Just watch, it will be a heatwave next year!

Posted by
18739 posts

If you haven't already done so, check the actual, day-by-day weather statistics available on the website They are much more useful than mere monthly averages. Data is available for about ten years. I like to look at the most recent five years; I feel as if that gives me a pretty good idea of the range of weather I may encounter.

Posted by
35 posts

Even looking at historical averages in temperature can only be a guide. There are always outliers, and they will likely be more common as time goes on. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, I can remember an 85 degree day in mid February when we moved into our house 30 years ago, and just last week we had a 30 something overnight temperature in May! It's not easy to prepare for such circumstances, but of course layers help.

Last year, we were in Saint Petersburg for three days beginning on May 1. The first day was 65 and sunny, and we left our jackets in the van. The second day was rainy and 45, and the third day was in the 30's with snow flurries and bitterly cold winds. We had packable down jackets and lightweight gloves, but in desperation I paid 48 euros for a Russian furry hat at the overpriced cruise terminal. It did the trick, and made a nice little souvenir, but that was a purchase I didn't really want to make. I guess I should have bought that packable down jacket with the hood after all !

Posted by
2083 posts

There is always an upside! But yes, we've had a bit of unusual May weather so far. There have been lovely warm and sunny days, but also a lot chillier ones. At the moment my thermometer says 7.4° and the sky is overcast. It has been raining most of the afternoon and we even got a bit of hail and sleet earlier today.

But, layers is always a great idea! My general recommendation for this time of the year is a good wind and waterproof light jacket that you can add layers under depending on the temperature.

Posted by
2083 posts

On the other hand, today the sun is shining, the sky is blue and thermometer says 19.4°…

Posted by
26 posts

Hi CT, I'd be interested to hear about what specifically you've settled on for rain solutions. The tug-of-war between "be prepared" and "pack light" is something I've been trying to balance as well (I was supposed to be in Ireland in 2 weeks :( -- now like many people I'm just gathering info for whenever I can travel again).

Posted by
1114 posts


My go to for packing light for Ireland would be a waterproof (not water resistant) outer layer and a very light puffer jacket. I bought my waterproof jacket and detachable puffer from LL Bean. You can wear them together or separate. Very versatile. The puffer weighs next to nothing and folds/ rolls really small. Add a light sweater and you are all set.

Posted by
72 posts

Hey Kristin,

In my home in Colorado, it's not unusual in a heatwave followed by freezing weather almost any time of the year. I have a lot of different coats and gear but it's a matter of how much I want to schlep. I also like to have a bit of style.

My go-to is a thigh-length, black rainshell with pockets and a zip-away hood that's bigger than I usually wear to fit over layers. I also have some lightweight merino wool (for warmer weather) and cashmere sweaters (for cooler weather) that I pack according to the forecast. In the after-holiday sales, I look for thin wool socks for the trip. Since I wear them all the time, my stock is pretty worn by the end of winter. Even in the summer, I bring one long-sleeved shirt for either warmth or sun protection.

This year, I added a down vest that covers my bottom. I'm considering adding some light gloves and a hat that will cover my ears but only if we'll be on the water or in the north. I've got a light thermal undershirt that might make the cut. The light cotton wrap I generally wear on the plan might morph into something more substantial. I can deal with cold but rain adds a whole other element. I'm undecided on umbrellas.

My biggest area of thought is shoes. Last year, I did the whole trip with one pair of Ecco low-cut shoes and my sister with low Merrill boots. It was great except in Venice. There is was raining torrential and we bought those ugly but functional plastic bubble boots that fit over our shoes. Looked dumb but it was nice to have dry feet. We've been thinking about what would be available in light, protective but supportive shoes. Our first vacation together, we brought a few pairs of shoes that were cute and we paid a heavy sore-foot price.

Last year, we traveled for three weeks with about 20 lbs each in rolling backpacks. That included some books and a picnic lunch kit. We'd planned to pare down this year.
and adding more shoes changes the equation. What are anybody's favorites?