the newfoundland packing challenge

When we went to Ireland in 2001, some friends told me an old cliche: be prepared for all four seasons, every day. Perhaps we were just lucky, but we didn't find quite that much variation. It was November, so often overcast and chilly, but it was mostly what I would consider typical autumn weather.

But Newfoundland, from what I hear, really is like that. A Campaigner friend who grew up in Newfoundland has been giving me tips and advice. In our email exchange today (with her parents' addresses!), I said, "Packing for this is a challenge, but we're trying to prepare for all four seasons.". Her reply:
Quite often experienced in the same day. A warm sweater and windbreaker is essential for hiking in Gros Morne. When you see how bent the trees are around the shores you'll know why. Then as you progress inland, you'll need to take off the sweater, then 10 mins later you'll need it again. They give out light parkas on whale watching tours in St. John's. This is not enough -- you'll need a warm sweater as well. Even if the temp is 25 degrees, it'll be freezing on the water, this is the North Atlantic. When I went, I was wearing a turtleneck, wool sweater, fleece sweatshirt, plus the jacket they give you on the boat and it still took about two hours to thaw out once we got off the boat. And it was a really warm day.

Now, I am the woman who spent her anniversary in an Ice Hotel. I love the cold, but I do need to be dressed for it. I also don't like being damp (people with arthritis usually find damp weather very uncomfortable), so I have to take extra care with a damp cold, as opposed to the dry cold we had in Quebec.

We went back into historical data for Newfoundland weather (very cool feature), and it seems like we're arriving on the cusp of summer. Right now it's cold, but if the last few years are a guide, it will get much warmer while we're there.


impudent strumpet said...

people with arthritis usually find damp weather very uncomfortable

Whoa, this totally explains every clothing-based disagreement between me and my mother in my entire adult life! (I know, I should have outgrown clothing-based disagreements with my mother by now.) I had no idea we experienced damp weather differently, and I don't think she did either. Thanks!

(I've got no insights on packing for Newfoundland though, sorry)

L-girl said...

Whoa, this totally explains every clothing-based disagreement between me and my mother in my entire adult life!

Are you kidding me? One of you has arthritis and doesn't realize the other isn't bothered by the damp?

Glad to have helped.

Now won't someone please help me pack?

Scott M. said...

Layers. My suggestion, bring a backpack to carry whenever you're out-and-about.

In the backpack, carry:

- toque
- mitts
- merino wool (the non-itchy super-soft kind) socks
- splash pants (rain pants)
- light fleece
- rain jacket

When you're starting your day, put on undies (preferably wicking) and a wicking summer layer (shorts and a microfibre t-shirt) if appropriate for the predicted high.

Remember that fog, mist and wet will likely soak you sometime during the day. If you're wearing denim jeans or cotton or the like, it won't dry quick enough to prevent you from being cold. Instead wear quick-dry materials.

You generally won't see temperatures *greater* than the predicted high. You will see lots below though.

As necessary, put on the equipment in the bag.

L-girl said...

Layers, of course. And we would normally have a backpack with us, too. That much I know. :)

Thanks for the advice, Scott. We're not camping, so we probably won't need everything you've outlined, but it's a good list to work with.

Scott M. said...

When Dawn and I were in St. John's, and we had a rental car, we still needed everything in the backpack. The weather changes very fast there.

redsock said...

I guess that's what they mean by all four seasons in one day! Good to know, thanks, Scott.

redsock said...

Oops, this is Laura on Allan's computer. :>)