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My favorite seasons are spring and fall, primarily due to the mild weather experienced then. It’s easy to enjoy outdoor adventures or explore sprawling cities unhampered by temperature extremes.
Of all the seasons, winter is my least favorite for adventures. I love the holidays and I celebrate my birthday in January, however I don’t like the cold. Let me appreciate the beauty of winter indoors, through a window, while sipping a cup of hot tea.
So my strong desire to experience the Edinburgh Christmas Market in December was tempered somewhat by my dislike of the cold. I love to walk a city, explore new to me areas and take lots of photos. Edinburgh, Scotland is far enough north that the winter days are incredibly short, and frosty with rain or snow a definite possibility.
To get all that I wanted from my explorations I needed to adjust my thinking about low temps and prepare for hours spent outdoors. I did both and the visit to Edinburgh in winter was a success! These are my essentials for cold weather adventures.
Essentials for Cold Weather Adventures
I spent a week in Edinburgh in early December. While temperatures there that time of year typically average 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and dip to the mid 30s at night, during my visit temperatures stayed below average.
Fortunately, I researched what the weather is like in Edinburgh well before my trip and started watching daily forecasts on the Weather App two weeks out. I saw how cold the week of my visit could be and planned accordingly.
This is exactly what I purchased and packed for my trip, using a carryon only plus a roomy cross body purse. The following items proved essential indeed.
Thermal Underwear by Thermajane
Layering is key to staying warm in cold temps. I purchased a thermal top and thermal leggings to wear beneath jeans and heavy sweaters. Greg loaned me a second set of thermals as well. I alternated the sets of thermal wear, washing the thermals I wasn’t wearing in the sink in my apartment and drying them near the radiator on a chair-turned-drying-rack.
What I love about Thermajane thermals
This set is a nice, heavy weight, lined, stretchy and comfy. Beneath my clothes and outerwear, they kept me toasty warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees. They also wicked away moisture, which proved valuable when walking actually caused a sweat. And they dried quickly when washed.
Socks, Socks and Socks
When my feet are cold, the rest of me is miserable as well. These knitted wool socks by FYC kept my feet comfy and warm. I bought two packages of socks and packed enough for six adventure days. On travel days, I wore compression socks. Packing tip: tightly roll socks and place inside boots or shoes.
What I love about my socks
I’m one of those people who LOVES good socks. I appreciated the warmth of the FYC socks and loved the fun patterns.
On the long flights to Scotland and home again, I wore knee high compression socks, which helped to prevent swelling and restless legs. And I removed my boots and slipped on a pair of these thick cushiony thermal socks, over the compression socks, for warmth and comfort.
Heavy Outdoor Campfire Sweater by Magellan
I discovered Magellan’s campfire fleece sweaters before my Washington DC trip. The one I bought was perfect for DC’s cool, rainy weather. The sweaters breathe and wick away moisture, for comfort, and yet trap body heat for warmth. I loved the sweater shirt so much that I bought another one in a different color so that I had two for Edinburgh. I also purchased a thick cowl neck sweater that I wore for afternoon tea.
What I love about campfire fleece sweaters
The Magellan sweaters are trim fit, so not too bulky, AND they have two front pockets, which I appreciate. I took two on the trip and alternated wearing them every other day. On my afternoon tea day, I wore a pretty dark gray cowl neck sweater.
Boots by St John’s Bay
With the sweaters, I wore jeans every day. For simplicity, I took two pairs of black jeans on the trip. I also wore a pair of boots and packed a pair, one black and one brown. With the cold, rain and snow, I always had dry boots by switching them out every other day. Because I am vegan, I purchase boots with man made uppers, from JC Penney.
What I love about boots from St John’s Bay
Both pairs of boots worked well and stood up to miles of walking, in all kinds of weather.
Heavy Waterproof Coat by Gemyse
I’m not a coat person. Even in cold weather, if I’m mostly riding in a car or moving from car to indoors, I don’t bother with one. So a heavy waterproof coat became a top priority. The coat by Gemyse worked so well!
It’s lined and insulated with multiple pockets, including inner ones, wind guards, a lined hood and adjustable cuffs with stretchable, fingerless gloves with thumb holes. The coat is designed for cold temps and outdoor activities.
What I love about the Gemyse coat
This coat, worn over my warm layers, kept me dry and comfortable and provided lots of pockets. The outer hand pockets are zippered. Plus there’s a zippered pocket on the chest that’s perfect to hold a phone. And the large, mesh inner pocket easily held my portable battery for my iPhone.
Cashmere Tartan Scarf
It’s so cozy, wearing a cashmere scarf around my neck. And a few times, I pulled that scarf up to cover my lower face and nose. Purchase a similar scarf HERE.
What I love about my warm scarf
This scarf, made in Scotland, is my Clan Maitland Tartan. I proudly wore it every day while out exploring.
Stocking Cap, Gloves, Snacks
I grouped these together because I have a photo with all three!
Stocking Cap by Couthie Gifts, Scotland
My red stocking cap came from a Wee Box subscription box. I love the pop of red and matched my gloves to it. It’s lined with a faux fur and is sooo warm. Keeping my head warm helped keep the rest of my body comfortable. Get a similar one with this LINK.
What I love about the stocking cap
I never left the apartment without my cap upon my head. I received many compliments on it!
Cable Knit Wool Gloves by ViCherub
My thick, fleece lined gloves kept my hands warm and dry. I matched them to my cap, color wise.
What I love about the gloves
For convenience, I purchased gloves with touch screen finger tips, so I could use my phone and camera while keeping my hands warm.
Munk Pack Snack Bars
Yes, I traveled with Munk Pack snack bars! Why? When it’s cold, the body uses more energy to stay warm. I wanted to keep my body fueled and energized. I slipped a couple of bars into my sling purse every day and when I need refueling, I ate a delicious snack.
What I love about Munk Pack Snack Bars
These yummy bars are low sugar and highly nutritious. Plus they are so easy to pack for adventures. Order on Amazon or pick them up at Walmart.
Extra Essentials for Cold Weather Adventures
These additional items contributed to the success of my trip.
Voke Energy Pack
To help combat jet lag, I included Voke Energy Packets. One chewable berry flavored tablet, twice a day, naturally gave me a boost. I don’t have time for jet lag, not when there’s a beautiful city to explore.
What I love about Voke Energy Pack
Each soft packet contains six tablets, making them easy to tuck into my carryon.
Natural Dreams by Univera
Univera provided another way to fight jet lag. I took their sleep supplements the first three nights in Edinburgh. Natural Dreams sleep aid promotes deeper sleep, which allows the body to rest and restore itself. Those nights of deep, restorative sleep enabled me to wake up refreshed and ready to explore.
What I love about Natural Dreams
This product didn’t leave me feeling groggy and the ingredients are all natural.
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars from The Earthling Company
I tried shampoo and conditioner bars for the first time this trip…and I love them! They are easy to pack, come in small reusable cardboard boxes so no plastic and they are simple to use. Back home, I’m continuing to use them.
What I love about shampoo & conditioner bars
These bars are plant based, with no parabens, sulfates or silicon. The shampoo bar suds up wonderfully and yet rinses clean. The conditioner bar is easy to use as well. Together they leave my hair clean, soft and less frizzy. Plus I love the coconut vanilla scent.
The BOOM Trio makeup sticks are super easy to pack and to use. I slip the three BOOM sticks into their canvas zippered bag and carry them in my purse.
What I love about BOOM Trio
While I use a variety of products for skin care, my makeup is extremely simple: three sticks for moisturizing, color and a touch of glimmer! I’ve been using BOOM, designed for mature women, for years and continue to appreciate it. The moisturizing Glow stick is also handy to prevent dry, cracked lips due to the cold.
Sling Purse by Chala
Since I travel solo, I wanted a small purse to carry while out walking in the city. This cute sling purse worked perfectly. It was just big enough to hold a couple of snack bars and my debit card. I chose to carry my iPhone in a coat pocket however it fit in the purse too. Use this link for a similar purse.
What I love about the sling purse
I wore the sling purse UNDER my heavy coat. When I needed a snack bar or my debit card, I’d unzip the top of my coat, reach in and unzip the purse and pull out what I needed. I could explore without concern about a noticeable purse and keep my debit card safe. Packing tip: I placed the empty sling purse in an outside pocket on my carryon.
Batt Pack Portable Battery by Octave
I ordered a new iPhone 14 Pro before my trip, however it didn’t arrive until January. To keep my old iPhone charged up and ready for photos, I carried this handy portable battery. While flying it traveled in my purse. While out exploring, it fit perfectly in the mesh inner pocket inside my coat. In my cozy apartment, I plugged in the portable battery every night to recharge. Get a portable battery HERE.
What I love about the portable battery
I quickly discovered that extremely cold temps drained my iPhone battery. It was necessary to connect it to the portable battery about half way through the day. The mesh pocket was big enough to hold the portable battery AND the iPhone connected to it. By the end of a day of exploring in the cold, my phone usually quit working until it warmed back up.
Cold Weather, No Problem
With all my essentials for cold weather adventures, I truly loved my week in Edinburgh. I learned that preparation and proper clothing and outerwear make a HUGE difference. Even with temps in the 20s, rain and snow, I spent hours outdoors every day enjoying fun experiences and discovering new places to explore in a city I dearly love.
I look forward to more cold weather adventures, at home and abroad.
Do you have any cold weather essentials to add to my list? Please share them in the comments below.
And I close with one more item that’s a fun essential.
An online friend created the perfect travel t-shirt for me, with my departing airport, Springfield, on the front along with my destination airport, Edinburgh. I added a long sleeve gray shirt beneath and enjoyed wearing it on my long travel day to Scotland. So many people asked me about it that I want to share it with you. Get your travel tee by visiting my friend’s Etsy shop.
I treasure this shirt! It makes a wonderful memento of my trip.
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