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winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

Huntington Beach CA
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663 posts
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winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

Ok. I searched many posts regarding winter coats. Many bring wool 3/4 coats (women). I am going in January & I need to buy a coat. I live in So CAL. I think it would be too heavy & if it rains, wet & heavier. I was thinking of a 3/4 poly/down filled water resistant coat, but not a big poofy one. They are light weight &flatten when smashed for packing. Any suggestions? I am trying to find a stylish water proof, lined comfty boot too. Thanks for help.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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1. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

I think your choice of coat is excellent. A water-proof downcoat is light and practical. You may also investigate whether you can find the vacuum bags to flatten it even more during packing. I put my down coat in such bags and then just squeeze the air out (no vacuum necessary).

Huntington Beach CA
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663 posts
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2. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

I did buy those bags! I am planning on using it to smash my coat down. I bought one, but I can return it if I find one I like better.

Kamloops, BC...
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3. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

Hi --

I carry a lightweight raincoat. It has a wool liner for the winter months and I leave that at home if I'm traveling in the warmer seasons. I shove a rain hat in one of the pockets and I'm good to go. I just sort of roll the coat up and slide it through a strap on my rolly.

I only wear down in dry climates. It gets damp and heavy in humid ones and eventually it mildews. In your situation I'd get a polyfil or thinsulate coat - thinsulate won't be poofy at all, and it's an excellent insulator.

For your boots - look for a shearling fully lined model that you wear over bare feet - the way you wear Uggs. You'll be warm when it's cold and comfortable even when you're indoors in a warm room.

London, United...
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4. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

I just got back on monday from Paris, it was drizzly 60% off the time, we walked constantly in the rain both of us in 3/4 wool coats without issue of heavyness at all. We were grateful for the warm when required, and they can be light enough to drape over an arm whilst in shops etc.

I wouldnt rule it out, but its totally your choice.

Canada
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5. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

Well I have 3 choices (we are in Ireland for a year from Canada) when we go on to Paris on Dec 29- I have the waterproof coat from Costco that came as part of a set, I have the short down one from Old Navy and I have a spring/fall trench. I was planning on bringing the old Navy one but wondering if it would be better to bring one of the others instead with a heavy sweater.

Shoewise - I was thinking of getting waterproof walking shoes instead of boots. We are travelling Ryanair and not checking any bags so we have to pack right.

Loire Valley
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6. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

I don't own a waterproof coat. In cities - especially one as built up as Paris is, with decent public transport, you just don't need them.

Rochester, MN, USA
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11 posts
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7. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

I have a follow-up question regarding formality.

I'm going to Paris over the Christmas holidays, and have two options that I'm considering: (1) a 3/4 length North Face Gore-Tex coat; and (2) a leather coat (sort of a slightly more formal bomber jacket style). Both do fine for me in Minnesota winters, so I'm not worried about being warm enough.

If I was ignoring looks, I'd choose the North Face coat -- warm enough, totally waterproof, light and easy to pack. However, I have read that a more formal look is common in Paris, and wonder if this coat with a "windbreaker" appearance might be too informal, especially in the evenings at restaurants. The beauty of the leather coat is that it's nice enough to wear in moderately formal settings, yet casual enough to wear just walking around. Is it worth my while to carry the slightly heavier coat along, or am I misinterpreting Parisians' expectations of formality?

For what it's worth -- we don't plan on going to the most upscale (jacket and tie) restaurants, but we hope to go to some nice neighborhood restaurants where locals eat, and don't want to stand out too much. Thoughts?

New Orleans, La.
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86 posts
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8. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

I was in Paris for Christmas two years ago and I found that my ski jacket was a little too informal so I ended up buying a wool coat in black. I found that most people in Paris seem to wear black wool coats and beautiful scarves. This is a town of fashion and I didn't see bluejeans with holes and scruffy clothes that we Americans love to wear. They do wear bluejeans but with a more dressy look i.e. blazers on top of a nice shirt, etc. As for the downcoat. I took my downcoat with me last year skiing in Austria and I got caught in a heavy rain. Even though my coat is rainproof according to the label, the rain penatrated into the down which then became very cold and heavy. That coat did not dry out for a week. Because I was going to London after the ski trip I had brought my wool coat which was a blessing. I have found after several trips that the Germans pefer the downcoats and the French/English perfer the wool coat so now as stupid as it sounds I take one of each (one for skiing, one for a more formal look). I carry my wool coat on the plane and stick the downjacket in a compressed bag which flattens down to nothing including weight. I have been told by a friend who owns a sports shop that very few downjackets will really be rainproof if it is a hard rain althought I have been in a lite rain with my jacket and it held up fine just don't get caught in a heavy rain. Have a great time. By the way, Northface makes a downcoat 3/4 that is really nice.

Dublin, Georgia
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422 posts
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9. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

I agree with nat24s. I just returned from Paris on Monday as well and the weather was quite dreary. I took a wool pea coat (not having a heavy enough weather-proof coat). It was perfect. The rain rolled right off of it. It was very warm (with a scarf tucked in around my neck). I was glad I had made the choice. Plus, it fit right in. It seemed that wool pea coats (or similar) were everywhere in Paris this fall.

NYC
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660 posts
1 review
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10. Re: winter coat: waterproof vs wool, etc

If you are only going to own one coat make it a black, wool long coat (a pea coat/car coat would be a good call too). You can wear it for years and years and it will never go out of style and you will always look very together. I would not go for a poly fill as it adds an unflattering line – your best bet is thinsulate. I like J Crew as it’s all very simple and classic. And this might be insulting but here I go anyway: waterproof coats and boots don’t look very urban – they look country like you’re expecting to be tracking about in the mud rather then walking down a shiny city sidewalk into a cool little café.

A coat doesn’t count as luggage on airlines. I know it sounds cumbersome but your best bet is really to carry it on.