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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    how old are your girls? Any way to borrow some stuff? Get hand me downs from friends/relatives living in colder weather?

    I got a down coat for dd1 that was ~30and it wore very well at Costco. She wore it for 3 yrs and dd2 wore it for 3 years. For 1 time use, I would get some fleece gloves, hat & scarf and call it good. Wool would be bulkier and more expensive. If you think your feet will be cold, fleece socks are great but again, I dont have any for my kids and we still play outside in <0 weather.

    For winter wear that is bulky, I like to travel with those 'space' bags they have some that you can roll to get the air out rather than needing a vacuum.
    dd1 10/05
    dd2 11/09
    and 2 cocker spaniels

  2. #12
    jgenie is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    East Coast


    Costco is where I would look for buying gear. You can generally buy most of their gear online if your local club doesnít carry it. Get everyone gloves, base layers, packable vests, wool socks (I got rid of all my SmartWool socks and replaced with Costco Merino socks), Costco coats (unless you want to buy Uniqlo packable coats). I think Costco usually has a couple versions of winter shoes / boots(maybe rain boots with liners would work). You wonít be investing a ton and honestly for what you have in mind their gear should work fine for you. Watch the prices and buy when the coupons start. It all goes on sale for a few dollars off and will help take the sting out of only using them for one season. You can donate and someone will be thrilled to get them when youíre done.
    Last edited by jgenie; 08-18-2019 at 04:44 PM.
    for Carmen

  3. #13
    o_mom is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Central IN


    Quote Originally Posted by smiles33 View Post
    Wow, thank you all for the quick and detailed replies! We are not used to cold weather at all, so I'm leaning toward going with Stanton's recs to be honest. I am worried we are going to be far more sensitive to cold than "normal" people used to winter, especially if it's windy and cold! I also have the Old Navy fleece jacket I had in high school in mind--cold air went right through that! I guess there's better "performance" fleece now?
    Fleece makes an excellent insulating layer and will insulate even when wet, but it is not as wind-resistant as a windbreaker. Pair it with a wind-resistant shell (rain jacket) and you will be toasty. The Costco or Target 3-in-1s are what I would get for the kids.

    You also may find that you get there and it is warmer than normal, so you only need to wear one layer or the other, so you can adjust for the weather. It may be warmer in the southern part as well.

    Our SoCal relatives have visited here in Dec, which is normally around those temps here and they were not freezing. A fleece jacket with a rainshell was plenty for walking around the city to see Christmas lights or at the Christmas market and no snow boots or ski gloves were needed. If you were skiing or hiking in the mountains or planning to do a lot of outdoor activity, that would be different.
    Mama to three boys ('03, '05, '07)

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Fleece jacket plus package down jacket. Hat, scarf, and gloves. Nothing bulky. No need for long underwear. Wear regular pants. Bring warm/longish socks (so your bare ankles arenít exposed.).

    Wool is overkill. Ski gloves are overkill. Waterproof boots are overkill. Iím originally from so cal and live in the cold Midwest. Iíve never worn long underwear.
    DD (3/06)
    DS1 (7/09)
    DS2 (8/13)

  5. #15
    nfowife is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Northern Virginia


    Are you going to ski or snowboard while there? We were in Paris and Amsterdam over winter break this year and we did ski. If you arenít skiing, it really wasnít bad. I brought my down puffer as did everyone else, plus gloves and hat and a thin Costco long underwear to put under clothes. We also did layers of long sleeve shirts and then a fleece and then jacket because you will be going from outside to inside frequently and if you are walking and such it isnít that cold. We brought our ski go separately and we all ski at home so we didnít buy much there. You can also bring hand and foot warmers with you for outdoor sightseeing. The only place I was freezing sightseeing was in chamonix taking the cable car up. It was SO COLD and I was not prepared. I should have brought the warmers but I didnít and regretted it!
    M, mommy to A 2005, E 2007, and L 2010

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2014


    If you are just walking around and not doing winter sports, you wonít need as much gear as you think you do.

    Layers will be yours friend!

    -I love my base thermal layer from Lands End. I wear it all winter. (Iím Canadian and it gets legit cold here) You can wear it under everything - jeans, dress pants, whatever. I bought the crew neck top but donít wear it as much as the bottoms.

    -as for shoes, if you are walking around you wonít need snow boots - thatís overkill. I personally wear my Dr. Martens. Youíll only need snow boots for snow. All your family members just need a decent pair of shoes. I wouldnít wear running type shoes with the nylon in them - those are cold. My girls would wear the riding style boots that are popular or ankle boots.

    Wear a hat! That will help keep you warm.

    You donít need a big puffer coat. A packable coat will be ok. Iíd even wear a heavier fall coat with a fleece layer underneath. A coat that has a wind breaking layer and hood are what you should look for.

    Look for stretchy gloves or running style gloves. Leather is too much.

    If your feet and head are warm, that will make a big difference.

    Sent from my iPhone using Baby Bargains

  7. #17
    sariana is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Bay Area, CA


    I would look into borrowing as much as possible, especially for the kids. Why buy a bunch of stuff you likely will never use again? I've given away kids' clothes to people who needed them. I would lend winter things to someone if I had the right size. I'll bet you know people who would do the same.
    DS '04 "Boogaboo"
    DD '08 "Lilybear"

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    Where you live always feels chilly to me! If you can handle that, you'll be more ok than you're thinking.
    LOL! I'm not sure where you think I live in CA, but there are a ton of microclimates here. Sometimes just driving 5 miles means a 15-20 degree temperature drop. My area is not on the coast, so we don't get any fog and stay pretty warm year-round.

    To others: maybe I am overreacting? We have clothes for 50-60 degrees weather and maybe we can just wear an extra layer and buy some accessories? We do not plan to ski/hike/linger outside other than walking to and from public transit and restaurants/markets/etc. Plus, we don't run super cold (like my mom who thinks 60 degrees is super cold), so maybe we'll be fine.

    OK, I think I'm going to try to use what we have and just buy a few things. I'm leaning toward using my black trench coat (which will block the wind and withstand rain) and wear a sweater and a long sleeve shirt underneath. I also have a gray pashmina that I can layer on top to add a little more warmth. I'm not a hat person and think a beanie/ski cap will make my hair super-staticky. So maybe I just use my pashmina to cover my head and ears if I get really cold? Or does someone have a rec for something warm but practical?

    My kids each have lightweight to medium-weight jackets already (e.g., zip up hoodies, water-resistant shells/windbreakers), so perhaps they can just layer 2 of them (hoodie for warmth and then windbreaker to block the wind). DH can wear his lightweight jackets and layer something underneath. The three of them will look very "sporty" casual, though, which I guess will just signal our American-ness in France. I presume if we go to a nicer restaurant, they can just peel off their casual layers once we get inside the restaurant.

    I have really comfortable Ecco knee high boots that I can wear on the plane and use most days. They aren't waterproof but I'll keep my fingers crossed that we won't get caught in a major rainstorm so that I regret not having waterproof shoes. I need to think about a second pair of comfortable and weather-appropriate shoes. I assume women don't wear wedges or other slip-on shoes in the cold. I wear those year-round so I will need to buy something else as my second pair of cold weather shoes. DDs don't wear boots so I need to figure out comfortable options that they can break in before our trip. I don't know if their Adidas or Converse sneakers make sense in cold rainy weather. When it rains here, we wear our rain boots but those are too big and awkward to bring on vacation.

    I do need to look into buying gloves for everyone (hopefully touch-screen compatible). I have leather gloves my mom gave me (which are also cashmere lined, so they are awesome) that I wore when I used to wait for 30 minutes at 6 am for my commuter bus. After standing outside for 30 minutes, my fingers did get cold and those gloves worked well. I didn't realize there were other materials for gloves. I was envisioning my options to be limited to those giant puffy ski gloves, yarn mittens, and leather gloves!

    DDs are in the tween/teen stage, so they are picky about certain things. Plus, we don't have anyone to borrow cold weather gear from so I will try to see what has. I know I've seen the 32 Degrees packable coats at Costco before, but just figured we would never need them.

    Thanks again!

  9. #19
    mom2binsd is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Feb 2003


    I agree, not to think that you need all these layers, and certainly not long underwear.

    You will probably not be walking too much where you'll be freezing, and then when you get inside somewhere you will be too hot.

    Boots for fashion but you don't need snow boots. I would sweat with wool socks.

    I agree, fleece scarfs are fine, you can pack a small pair of ear muffs (they make some that are low profile). The kids could buy a fun cute beanie/pompom hat, again, it will come off when they are inside though.

  10. #20
    trales's Avatar
    trales is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    fleece gloves are great. light, small to pack and warm, I like the wind blocker fleece ones from LLbean or lands end. You might find some of last years on sale right now.

    Down sweaters pack really small and if you layer them with the raincoats you are already bringing they are now waterproof and windproof. Add a light fleece and that is what we wear in the deep NE winter.

    A nice hat makes your whole body warm, you can find some lightweight and really warm ones in wool blends.

    DD1 3/07 Itching to take over the universe.
    DD2 1/14 My mellow little snuggler.

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