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how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

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how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?


we are doing a 7 country tour de force of europe but going to mostly warm places like croatia,greece,turkey,italy but one stop-bernese oberland has the snow and cold weather up in the mountains and we are not sure how to deal with this as we are trying to pack light for the rest of the trip.i guess we will bring lightweight thermals and light jackets? but do people pack heavy jackets and gloves/hats for the trip to up the one day jungfrau trip may be another day at the schilthorn and some hiking?

we will be there june 6-9 so not sure how the weather will be and even if the higher trails will be open.

but hoping to get some advise on how to stay warm without having to drag a ton of winter wear all across europe for just 3 1/2 days in the alps.

thank you

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for Verbier
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1. Re: how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

You need layers (which can be thin and you can wear elsewhere on your trip) and a windproof/water-proof shell jacket (also useful as it can rain anywhere). Hat and gloves.... you can probably manage without. Put the hood up, and hands in pockets if need be!

You definitely don't want a winter jacket. Wind and sunshine and the biggest determinants of how hot your feel in summer at altitude (not air temperature). Insulating winter wear is too inflexible and generally useless in summer. Even in the mountains, you have summer and winter wardrobes!

In summer, I would go in shorts up to 3000m and maybe never take 'sleeves' or the a jacket out of my backpack. But if the sun goes in and wind gets up, you need it. If the weather forecast looks more cautious, you might want long trousers - but they get hot is sun comes out. And most people can cope better with cooler legs!

Edited: 3:35 am, May 09, 2013
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
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2. Re: how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

We don't know what the weather will be like here in the mountains this coming weekend, let alone in June! And given that we are having a nasty, wet and cold spring it would be prudent to come prepared for rain. And that is most likely true as well for the other places you will visit on your trip. A small collapsible umbrella, waterproof shoes with good treads and a lightweight raincoat would be good things to pack.

But that said, it could just as well be a lovely sunny day and when you are in the mountains the biggest danger at that time is the sun, especially if you are up hgh enough to be in the snow. Bring total sunblock - I have seen people with really awful sunburn that they got in the snow in the summer - and really good sunglasses. A small hat that you can "scrunch" up into no space at all would also be a very good thing to have, both against the sun AND possible rain.

Destination Expert
for Zurich
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3. Re: how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

There are four different conditions you need to protect against in the mountains: cold, wet, wind, and sun. Any given day can be one or a combination of all of these things. Cold and wind can be dealt with using layers, wet can be managed with rain-gear or a hat + lightweight running jacket (! IF you don't let it soak through to your warmth layers!), and sun= sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses (which given your other destinations you will already have). Finally, if you are going "real" hiking you will certainly need good hiking boots (sturdy, good tread, waterproof), if you are just doing walks in good weather then solid running shoes are the minimum - but do keep your feet dry!

So - don't stress too much, but be sure to have a few long sleeved shirts, some long pants, and at very minimum a jacket that stops the wind and can be a temporary layer agains wet. ...and use common sense - If you get wet or cold - head for shelter so you can warm up and get dry.

However,... with any luck, in June it will be shorts, T-shirts, and sunscreen weather! Who knows..!

Have a great trip.

fort collins, co
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4. Re: how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

Thanks for posting this and for the replies. We are also planning a 3 country trip in mid June, but will visit Zermatt and ski the glacier one morning (bucket list thing). In Zermatt I found a ski rental place that also rents ski clothing. Might be something to look into in your area if your hike is on a bad weather day at higher elevations?

Mannheim, Germany
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5. Re: how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

This is a) only a rare feature of touristy places offering summer skiing (which Jungfrau areabdoes not) and b) you cannot hike in skiing gear as you will die of heat stroke before long, or will wish to...

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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6. Re: how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

Hi, the solution is easy and lightweight! First, get on line at Lands End and order silk thermals. They will pack in a shoe and weigh nothing! Get the turtleneck tops so you have some warmth around your neck if it's windy. The top can also be used as a regular T-neck top for dinner, etc. Remember it can be fairly chilly is places like Turkey at night.

Then go to REI or Lands End or Cabela's, etc. and get the lightweight nylon jacket made for fishing that has sealed seams and is water and wind proof - get one with a hood. You can also get matching trousers. Again, these are very light and will pack in a shoe. You will need a lightweight sweater with you and wear it as the middle layer. Take a shopping bag if you don't take a day pack so you can peel off layers if the sun is out. Be sure to have a great suntan lotion because the sun at altitude with snow is a dermatologist's nightmare! Sturdy shoes with warm socks and you should be fine. Throw in some silk glove liners if you like for your hands - amazingly warm on their own and, again, tiny and lightweight to pack.

Once you don't need this stuff, stick it in a box (available at the post office) and mail it home if you like.

Hope this helps.

7. Re: how we manage the cold without all the bulky winter wear?

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