A friend and me have planned a three week trip through Central and Northern Europe from January 20 - February 12, 2012.
(We will start from London, go through Erfurt, Berlin and Hamburg in Germany, then up to Kiruna in Sweden).
We're both from Australia and have never been anywhere that so much as snows, let alone is in the Arctic Circle.
In the hopes of not freezing to death, we're trying to find some decent thermals that wont burst our budget, but will be good enough quality to keep us warm, but no where in our town sells them.
We need thermal pants, gloves and a sleeping bag (each), but when I google any of those things the hits are overwhelming, and having never purchased thermals before I don't know what to look for and whats a decent price to pay.
If you could perhaps suggest a brand, know a site, or have any information that could be of use, please let me know.
ım also sure you could fınd some at your local thrıft for a fractıon of the prıce.
If you're willing to spend the money, look for thermals made of merino wool. It's not like the wool you may be thinking of. It's not scratchy, feels smooth, and will keep you warm in the cold without making you feel hot when it warms up. It wicks sweat away from your body and also has anti-microbial properties that keep it from getting stinky if you need to go a while between washings. Outdoor shops (I don't know what the good ones in Australia are, sorry) will carry them. They are, however, very costly.
If you don't want to pay that much, synthetic thermals will work fine, and as a bonus, you can often find them in second-hand shops or regular clothing stores -- although maybe not where you live.
Some people favor silk thermals. These are great too, although again, costly, and they don't hold up to repeated washings quite as well as synthetic or wool.
You won't need heavy-weight thermals: they will just be bulky and make you sweat when you go from the chilly outdoors into heated buildings. Look for something in a lightweight or mid-weight range, instead. The way that layering works, it's largely the warm air trapped *between* your layers of clothing that are keeping you warm, so even if the light- or mid-weight thermals don't look to you like they'd do much, don't worry -- they really will help.
Sorry to double-post, just noticed you're also looking for sleeping bags.
Are you planning on camping out anywhere, or are these just for using indoors?
If you're not camping or sleeping in unheated buildings, you probably don't need them at all, honestly. The places you'll be staying will almost surely provide bedding. Check first to make sure, but I suspect that you'll find that blankets will be provided, in which case you could make do with a sheet sleeping bag or sleeping bag liner.
If you do need sleeping bags, though, and they are not for sleeping out of doors, then look for something very lightweight that compresses small. Sleeping bags are "rated" in terms of the lowest temperature at which they can be relied upon to keep you comfortable enough to sleep. If you're only going to be using them for sleeping indoors, then you don't need something rated for very cold temperatures at all. Look in the higher-rated ranges (they will usually be both less expensive and less heavy), and let low weight and bulk be the most important features you look for.