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10 Top Tips for Walking the Camino Francés

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Deleted member 84269

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Can anyone add to these tips that I've found very useful?

  1. Pack flip flops to give your feet some air and kick off your boots when you finish walking for the day.
  2. Take a dictaphone – walk, think and talk. You’ll be surprised at how good your brain is at untying mental spaghetti when you switch off your smart phone – studies have shown we look at them an average 150 times per day and will spend five years staring at a screen by the time we die – and escape into nature. Capture that camino consciousness on your dictaphone.
  3. Make snacks easily accessible when on the road. When you’re tired and in need of a quick shot of energy the last thing you want is for that banana to be at the bottom of your backpack. Keep snacks and water in side pockets or best case scenario, in short/trouser pockets.
  4. Carry safety pins to attach wet clothes onto your rucksack so they can dry while you walk. You may have to show the world your power rangers underwear but at least they won’t be wet. Carry some pegs too. These little commodities are like gold dust at the albergues and essential for making sure your clothes haven’t been blown off the line all the way to Finisterre.
  5. Put all your valuables in your sleeping bag while you sleep. If anyone wants to get them they’ll think twice if they have to get close to your crown jewels.
  6. Have some spare change in pockets.
Picture it: you’ve walked 20km for 8 hours in thirty degree heat without a break. You see that cafe/shop up ahead open. If you’ve got a few euros in your pocket, you dig in, pay up and instantly savour that drink you’d been dreaming of. That is unless you’ve got to rummage in your rucksack and waste valuable time and energy trying to find some coins. Now you’re at the back of the queue and have to wait behind five fellow ‘grinos who had spare change in their pockets.

7. Break in your boots! Though your new boots may look shiny and impress your fellow ‘grinos, if you don’t break them in before leaving, get ready for biting blisters.

8. Pack earplugs and a blind fold to silence snoring, flatulence and shield your eyes from torch wielders at albergues.

9. Buy a flexiflask. Fits into your side pocket and has a straw that extends over your shoulder that you can draw water from to hydrate on the move. Saves wasting energy taking your backpack off when you want a drink.

10. Put high vis/reflective stickers on rucksack (including straps) for roadside walking and travelling in the dark. While 500km is holding hands with mother nature and 200km on quiet roads, almost 100km is alongside busy roads

Bonus Tip:

11. Use your sleeping bag stuff sack to carry around passport, wallet and other valuables when you’ve finished walking for the day and want to explore where you’re staying.

[ivar added the blog post linked in the link below]

https://caminosantiagoblogcom.wordp...-top-tips-for-walking-the-camino-de-santiago/
 
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Deleted member 84269

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You don't need a head torch to use the bathroom in fact you will likely be a pain in a*** with one. A small low output torch shone on the floor will stop stubbed toes and not wake others.

I've never had anyone complain about use of a head lamp and also helpful for pre-sunrise hours. I think if used in a conscientious way you wouldn't be a pain in the proverbial.
 
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Bala

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015, 2018, 2022
Do you wear it on your head at night in the albergues when people are trying to sleep? If so, and no no has said anything I think that they are just being polite.
.
Yes. They are just being polite. Why anybody think a headlight doesn't bother others is a mystery to me. Why not just take a flashlight and shine it directly into people's faces? It accomplishes the same thing.
 

Stroller

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
I've never had anyone complain about use of a head lamp and also helpful for pre-sunrise hours. I think if used in a conscientious way you wouldn't be a pain in the proverbial.

That's because most people in dormitories are too tired and when woken tend to be too polite, they swear quietly, roll over and go back to sleep. Head torches have their place if you are walking before first lighter late into the evening but not in dormitories.
 
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I'm genuinely surprised at the reaction to head lamps and had no idea they'd be such a topic of mass debate (or hate!) The last thing I would want to do is annoy someone or wake them up so I'll certainly reconsider having that on the tips (or delete it).

Please understand I'm writing this blog because I'm trying to share my experience and have people learn from wonderful time walking in Spain. My intentions are well-meaning. No probs if the headlamp comes off the the list. The rest of the tips I hope will be useful and able to put to good use. Like I wrote, I'm just trying to help.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm genuinely surprised at the reaction to head lamps and had no idea they'd be such a topic of mass debate (or hate!) The last thing I would want to do is annoy someone or wake them up so I'll certainly reconsider having that on the tips (or delete it).

Please understand I'm writing this blog because I'm trying to share my experience and have people learn from wonderful time walking in Spain. My intentions are well-meaning. No probs if the headlamp comes off the the list. The rest of the tips I hope will be useful and able to put to good use. Like I wrote, I'm just trying to help.
Keep the headlight, just use it in a way that won't annoy other pilgrims.
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I used a small single-LED keychain light that has a low power setting for those early morning and late night needs. I would only use the light until I knew I was free of obstacles and knew my way, then I would turn it off. Of course, if I didn’t need it and could see okay I wouldn’t use it. When using it I would keep it pointed at the floor.

I’ve seen single-LED tent lights that have a red light color, which is supposed to be much better in the dark. I might think about picking up one of those.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I’ve seen single-LED tent lights that have a red light color, which is supposed to be much better in the dark. I might think about picking up one of those.
I have a tiny headlamp that has both red and white lights. I can hold it my hand, facing down in the albergues. But I tend to just use the light from my phone for middle of the night bathroom trips
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
I've never had anyone complain about use of a head lamp and also helpful for pre-sunrise hours. I think if used in a conscientious way you wouldn't be a pain in the proverbial.

I hereby officially complain regarding the use of headlamps inside albergues - unless you keep it on your hand, directed at your feet while stumbling to the toilets.

Using a headlamp while walking outside, if you start before dawn, is fine.

I stopped bringing a headlamp several years ago. The light on my phone is sufficient to get me to the loo.
 

Dorpie

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
I present for your delectation these.

1539942021635.png

Cheap, small, weigh virtually nothing, with a beam bright enough to negotiate a dark albergue but barely visible from any angle other than head on.

I got mine free from somewhere so sadly lack the delighful?? "home kitty" inscription.
 
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Deleted member 84269

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I hereby officially complain regarding the use of headlamps inside albergues - unless you keep it on your hand, directed at your feet while stumbling to the toilets.

Using a headlamp while walking outside, if you start before dawn, is fine.

I stopped bringing a headlamp several years ago. The light on my phone is sufficient to get me to the loo.

i've deleted it:)
 

Dorpie

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Great tip too but you've still got to dry them... so many times I wished I had my own pegs after washing. And if it rains? Those safety pins would come in handy the next day.

Ah, but if you've finished your washing first you get first dibs on what clothes pegs there are :)

Admittedly both my caminos have been in good weather but I've never had use for either of these items. I tend to just drape my things on the line rather than use pegs (and in fact when I have used them I often get a wet patch around the peg when everything else is dry). And if anything was still wet most decent backpacks have a mutitude of attachment points these days.

It's your list and your experience and it's good of you to compile it to help others, I just think two spots in a top 10 dedicated to hanging washing is overkill, maybe combine them into one? Or again to stop the problem before it happens have the tip "make sure you wear quick drying materials- drying options may be limited."
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Ah, but if you've finished your washing first you get first dibs on what clothes pegs there are :)

Admittedly both my caminos have been in good weather but I've never had use for either of these items. I tend to just drape my things on the line rather than use pegs (and in fact when I have used them I often get a wet patch around the peg when everything else is dry). And if anything was still wet most decent backpacks have a mutitude of attachment points these days.

It's your list and your experience and it's good of you to compile it to help others, I just think two spots in a top 10 dedicated to hanging washing is overkill, maybe combine them into one? Or again to stop the problem before it happens have the tip "make sure you wear quick drying materials- drying options may be limited."

And the prize for best unintentional "double-entendre" of the day goes to . . . . . "I often get a wet patch around the peg when everything else is dry"

(sorry, I'm in a mood today :))
 
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Dorpie

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
And the prize for best unintentional "double-entendre" of the day goes to . . . . . "I often get a wet patch around the peg when everything else is dry"

(sorry, I'm in an mood today :))

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I've never had anyone complain about use of a head lamp and also helpful for pre-sunrise hours. I think if used in a conscientious way you wouldn't be a pain in the proverbial.
Headlamps no complaints?? yes because most pilgrims don’t complain, trust me these pre dawn pests who wake everybody up with no regards to anybody but themselves were the only thing that got on my nerves in the mornings. Basically all you have to do is hop up put everything in your sleeping bag or silk pick your pack up in the other hand and walk outside or out to the foyer and get ready for the road. Nothing peeves the sleeping pilgrim off more than these disorganised rustlers light shiners and noise bandits who take up to an hour to get ready in the mornings. It’s usually a reflection of their normal life.... but who are we to judge we simply bite our tongues shake our heads and persevere with broken sleep for the next hour before the light comes on at 6am. Just saying
 
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New verse for the "Smurf Song"
Do you wear your lamp in bed?
Yes, my lamp stays on my head!

View attachment 47721
Headlamps no complaints?? yes because most pilgrims don’t complain, trust me these pre dawn pests who wake everybody up with no regards to anybody but themselves were the only thing that got on my nerves in the mornings. Basically all you have to do is hop up put everything in your sleeping bag or silk pick your pack up in the other hand and walk outside or out to the foyer and get ready for the road. Nothing peeves the sleeping pilgrim off more than these disorganised rustlers light shiners and noise bandits who take up to an hour to get ready in the mornings. It’s usually a reflection of their normal life.... but who are we to judge we simply bite our tongues shake our heads and persevere with broken sleep for the next hour before the light comes on at 6am. Just saying


Point taken and deleted off the list:)
 

Starseeker54

New Member
I used a small single-LED keychain light that has a low power setting for those early morning and late night needs. I would only use the light until I knew I was free of obstacles and knew my way, then I would turn it off. Of course, if I didn’t need it and could see okay I wouldn’t use it. When using it I would keep it pointed at the floor.

I’ve seen single-LED tent lights that have a red light color, which is supposed to be much better in the dark. I might think about picking up one of those.
I have a headlamp that incorporates a red light for unobtrusive use in the darkness of the alberge.it is an invaluable aid and one of the first things i pack .having said that i always have one in my daysack,even at home.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have a headlamp that incorporates a red light for unobtrusive use in the darkness of the alberge.
I have a similar headlamp with red light. I still would not wear it on my head in the albergue. It can be carried in your had hand with the light facing down.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
I present for your delectation these.

View attachment 47717

Cheap, small, weigh virtually nothing, with a beam bright enough to negotiate a dark albergue but barely visible from any angle other than head on.

I got mine free from somewhere so sadly lack the delighful?? "home kitty" inscription.

If you live in the US, you can get a powerful keyring light like this at REI:
https://www.rei.com/product/858827/inova-microlight-sts-keychain-flashlight

They are made by Inova.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Great tip too but you've still got to dry them... so many times I wished I had my own pegs after washing. And if it rains? Those safety pins would come in handy the next day.

That's why you carry large safety pins ;)
Like many, I carry my own washing line too. weighs nothing.
 

Jodean

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
Found most albergues to have plenty of light to see your way to the toilets without needing an extra light. Exit signs, smoke alarms, outside light.
(Well, except for that church where I broke my wrist)

Have my own plastic clothes pins. Prefer them to safety pins for my laundry.
 
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MethaV

Member
Past OR future Camino
2014 Camino Frances
2017 Le Puy en Velay-Cahors
2018 Cahors-SJPdP
Le Chemin Piemont Pyrénéen (2019)
I've never had anyone complain about use of a head lamp and also helpful for pre-sunrise hours. I think if used in a conscientious way you wouldn't be a pain in the proverbial.
I've never had anyone complain about use of a head lamp and also helpful for pre-sunrise hours. I think if used in a conscientious way you wouldn't be a pain in the proverbial.
I don't remember having complained about people using a head lamp, but I definitely have been bothered by them. Not only in the dormitory, but more outside in the dark. The problem is, when someone with the head lamp says something to you he/she also looks at you. And so does the lamp...
Do use it by all means but if together with others, it's quite possible to keep it in your hand.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I don't remember having complained about people using a head lamp, but I definitely have been bothered by them. Not only in the dormitory, but more outside in the dark. The problem is, when someone with the head lamp says something to you he/she also looks at you. And so does the lamp...
Do use it by all means but if together with others, it's quite possible to keep it in your hand.
The better ones have a hinge so you can point them down at the ground where you need the light rather than up in someone's face.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
I used a small single-LED keychain light that has a low power setting for those early morning and late night needs. I would only use the light until I knew I was free of obstacles and knew my way, then I would turn it off. Of course, if I didn’t need it and could see okay I wouldn’t use it. When using it I would keep it pointed at the floor.

I’ve seen single-LED tent lights that have a red light color, which is supposed to be much better in the dark. I might think about picking up one of those.
My headlight has a red (night vision) LED which I used if getting up in the dark to leave early. I held it in my hand and aimed the light towards the floor, so as not to shine directly at people sleeping. Personally, I found most sleep disturbance was caused by people sorting out their rucksacks while others were asleep, snoring loudly, banging doors, coughs and sneezes - but isn't sleep deprivation, annoying night and light activity part of the experience? Embrace it with a softness and try not to get upset with these things. People will not always think of others around them - I don't think anyone deliberately sets out to disturb other people, but with several strangers all sleeping in a dormitory in bunk beds it's a given that sleeping well and comfortably is not going to happen every night. I had good nights and bad nights just as I had good days and bad days, but I loved every minute of it.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
You don't need a head torch to use the bathroom in fact you will likely be a pain in a*** with one. A small low output torch shone on the floor will stop stubbed toes and not wake others.
The subtle glow from my iPhone screen has been enough to avoid a stubbed toe
 

Lurch

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
looking at 2018-2019
You don't need a head torch to use the bathroom in fact you will likely be a pain in a*** with one. A small low output torch shone on the floor will stop stubbed toes and not wake others.

For decades I have used a Timex with Indiglo to light my way at home. Worked just as well on the Camino. After using the head and becoming night blind, I just waited outside the door and waited till my vision returned before using my watch to return to my bunk.
 
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gersevink

senior pelgrim
Past OR future Camino
2013 del Norte, Fisterra, Muxia
2015 Via de la Plata
2016 Camino Portugues
2019 Camino Frances
Do you wear it on your head at night in the albergues when people are trying to sleep? If so, and no no has said anything I think that they are just being polite.
Die hoofdlampen gedragen zich als een vuurtoren!
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Die hoofdlampen gedragen zich als een vuurtoren!

Gersevink, not everyone on this forum understands Dutch (I know this is a shame, but something we have to live with). But I agree with you.

These headlamps behave like a lighthouse !
 

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