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2019 Camino Guides

10 Top Tips for Walking the Camino Francés

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2005, 2017) Camino Portguese 2018
#1
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/
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2005, 2017) Camino Portguese 2018
#4
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (Oct. 2018)
#6
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
#7
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2005, 2017) Camino Portguese 2018
#8
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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Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#9
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#10
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#11
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
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés (2004-), C. Portugués, C. de Madrid, 1/2 V. Plata, 1/8 Levante, hospitalera Grado 2016.
#12
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#13
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2005, 2017) Camino Portguese 2018
#17
My tip would be "make washing clothes your number one priority when you arrive at accomodation". This should hopefully negate the need for tips 4 and 9.
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2005, 2017) Camino Portguese 2018
#18
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:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#19
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."
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#21
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.
New verse for the "Smurf Song"
Do you wear your lamp in bed?
Yes, my lamp stays on my head!

headlamp.png
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#23
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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Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
#28
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
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2005, 2017) Camino Portguese 2018
#29
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:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino francis (2014). Camino portugese (2015).camino via francigena (2016) camino norte (2017) .
#30
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.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#32
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#33
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
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
#34
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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