One thing I was very scared about before travelling to Europe during the winter was how I would handle the cold, especially with only a very small suitcase of clothes! Thankfully it isn’t as bad as I imagined, not yet at least. There was a cold spell, down to maybe -2 degrees Celsius during the day with lots of snow, last week. This is the coldest we’ve had so far, so here’s my ‘winter uniform’ for this trip:
- Merino wool long-sleeved t-shirt
- Cashmere/bamboo sweater
- Duck down filled puffer jacket
- Skinny pants
- 180D stockings underneath
- Thick wool socks
- Gore-tex boots
- Scarf, hat and mittens
Travelling with such a small capsule wardrobe, I wear variations on this combination most days – maybe taking out one of the extra layers now that temperatures are above zero for the moment. If the temperatures drop further I have some thermal singlets and tights I can add in, although this does mean a lot of stripping layers as soon as I step inside!
If you’re worried about travelling in cold weather, here are my packing tips:
- Layers are the key, BUT bear in mind that taking off and putting on many layers when moving inside and out gets tedious and increases chances of losing things. A really good coat is better than layering several t-shirts.
- That said, temperatures indoors vary greatly – this is why I prefer to have a normal top, a mid-layer if it’s not super heated indoors, and a really warm jacket for outside.
- Big things that you can probably only pack one or two of, like a big winter jacket or boots, need a lot of thought because you’ll be wearing them all the time. Choose wisely!
- Snow and rain occur almost daily (depending on exactly where you are of course), so a coat and shoes or boots that are water-resistant really come in handy. Cobblestones become even more difficult to walk on when covered in ice or water, so shoes with good grip are important too.
- I don’t have much luggage space, so mix different hats and scarves with my winter uniform for a bit of colour and difference.
- Fabrics like wool are great at keeping you warm whilst allowing your skin to breathe – I tried wearing some polyester thermals once and overheated as soon as I walked inside! Wool is much more expensive but more hard-wearing and comfortable.
- Don’t worry if you don’t buy all these things before you go! There are so many more clothing options here, and it’s hard to resist shopping. Leaving some space for purchases is wise. It helps to observe what others are wearing locally, especially if (like me) you come from somewhere that never gets anywhere near this cold.
If anyone is curious about exactly what I’ve packed, I have a full list over here! More on packing and travelling light to come.