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I'm planning a trip to Québec City during Carnival and I've heard mixed reports on how to dress. Many internet sources/people I know say that I'll need $1000+ worth of the heaviest winter gear available. But after looking at the weather it doesn't even look like it's going to be below 5F, which is quite frankly not as bad as the winters I'm used to in Ohio.

Which of these is the correct way to go? Do I really need serious cold-weather gear or can I just use my normal winter clothing (think medium-weight ski gear) and just make sure to layer it?

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    $1000 is exaggerated. – gerrit Oct 22 '15 at 10:46
  • Just have good warm boots if expecting to stand and wal outside. – Max Oct 22 '15 at 13:06
  • try an image search and look at the people in the pictures. You'll see hats and scarves but the coats look pretty ordinary. Consider layering some leggings under your pants and having a sweater you can layer under your coat. – Kate Gregory Oct 22 '15 at 14:24
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Quebec city has a tough winter but, while I have never spent a winter in Ohio, I suppose you might experience something similar. The temperature in Quebec city in February is probably more in the -10/-20F (-20/-30C), the 5F (-15C) are usually reached as soon as December and Wikipedia lists 5F (-15C) as the average morning temperature.

It is probably worth being careful about dressing appropriately with one of the heaviest gear. The carnival happens outside so not only will the temperature be cold but you will spend long periods of time outside, maybe without moving much (while when it is that cold, on a daily basis, I suppose you do not stay more than an hour outside without entering a building, or you do physical activity which warms your body up).

That said, you seem to be used to a cold area as well, so you probably have experience with low temperatures. Just be prepared with your gear for the cold, and do not hesitate to go inside and/or get some hot beverage. Also, gear for this low temperatures need not be super expensive, but still in the hundreds of dollars (and I have indeed heard Quebeckers investing around 500 -1000 dollars in their winter coat).

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    I live in Quebec and never heard anyone say the spent 1000$ on a coat, not people who grew up here at least, even a fancy Canada goose costs "only" 700$ – blackbird Oct 22 '15 at 11:57
  • @blackbird57 I agree, the Quebecker I met mentioned a coat for 800 dollars. I considered 1000 dollars as an order of magnitude. To me the right price for a good winter coat (even for -20) is in the 200-400 dollars range. I updated to reflect your comment. – Vince Oct 22 '15 at 12:39
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    Well, most of us in Québec will buy a (around) 600$ Kanuk/Chlorophile winter coat, and $200-$300 for boots and more for extras (gloves/hat...). so $1000 is not that far off if you start from nothing. – Max Oct 22 '15 at 13:08
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    @Max "most of us in quebec"? We don't hang around the same crew my friend, or we have VERY different cold resistance. I have a 100-200$ coat and SHOES, not boots, and I do stay/walk outside for long periods. Granted I think I'm physically incapable of feeling cold so I may be a bad example, but I still don't know a lot of people who dress in $1000 for winter, even when windshear takes it down to "feel like -40 C" – Patrice Oct 22 '15 at 14:35
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Vince is right about the temperature range, -20 is more plausible, don't forget to factor windchill as Quebec City is relatively flat, but you should know that coming from Ohio.

The most important thing to remember is that you'll be standing still for a long time. You should opt for thick soles to isolate you from the ground and protect extremities. I recommend a good down jacket with layers underneath.

Make sure you move a little. Even the heaviest down doesn't actually warm you up, it isolates and keeps your body temperature so try to move a little.

You can also take a thermos with something hot and keep it on you. Hydrating is important as Quebec winters are very dry.

I'd add, avoid going in and out too frequently, the change of temperature tires the body pretty fast.

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