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Boots / Jacket

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member

I’m a 63 yr old female from San Juan, Puerto Rico, who’s been wanting to walk the Camino Frances after reading about it in the early 90’s, but had been unable to take 5 weeks off from work to do it.

Thanks to an early retirement, this is now possible in spite of an injured back. I already tested myself in the Sarria-Santiago stages during mid-September 2004 to check if my back could take the punishment. I completed the 115 km with no problems: just got a few blisters, lost a toe nail, AND got hooked!

With the confidence that I can go all the way and wanting to avoid the summer crowds in the albergues and airports, I intend to start on May 2/07 from Roncesvalles, or ideally, from St Jean Pied de Port.

Getting the equipment has been part of the journey experience. I’ve researched thoroughly all online sites, but still have some equipment related questions:

1. Boots (definitely this time!): But low or mid? My Ecco Aggressor GTX Low have almost 400 km on them and are very comfortable. My concern is how they will handle in the mud and puddles created by the rains in May. Would I be better off buying mid boots for added ankle protection or just wear gaiters?

2. Jacket: is fleece enough to keep warm in the high points of the camino: the Pyrenees, Leon and Cebreiro? I am at a loss here coming from the tropics and this is totally unfamiliar to me!

Any recommendations / suggestions will be greatly appreciated, but would appreciate specifics as I would have to order online!

Gracias y buen camino todos!
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Lupita Tequila

New Member
Boots and Jacket

Hey Lillian,

Well, Mother Nature can always play a joke, but here is my take on it....

I did the Camino in late May 2001... It was quite comfortable for me (I live in Arizona currently, so pretty mild to hot weather) and a fleece jacket did the trick (with a scarf either to have around my neck or hold my hair up).... I passed through O Cebreiro in the day time and kept going so I do not know there, but it was pleasantly cool for me, I am sure it will be cold in the evening.

As for boots... I have high... love them... been there 3 times and there is just about no more soul on the sole of them... but they are wonderful, trusty friends... My daughter on the trek Sept/Oct '06 started with high, we got stuck in Estella for 3 days and eventually she was able to walk better with low.... and mind you, it was pouring cats and dogs last month around Galicia....

As a suggestion... I went to a podiatrist (2001) before I left because the tendon on my left foot was giving me trouble, I ended up with form fitting inserts in the boots and it was the best investement I ever made... You might want to talk to one, they might have some good advice.

Ultreia and Buen Camino! :arrow:


Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member

I appreciate your “expert” advice and envy the journey you just went through with your daughter!

Buying the equipment for the Camino has been somewhat of a challenge because there is only one outdoor sports store in the island. Thanks to the internet, we now have access to product info and items available everywhere else, which means: can’t try before buying to ensure fit, and when done, pay for the shipping back and forth from the US!

My boot research has now narrowed on the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking with leather uppers for ankle protection, impermeability, low weight and ease to clean away mud. http://www.rei.com has them at reduced price and reduced shipping rates of only $2.99 thru Nov 26!

I’ll trust your advice on the fleece jacket. I do not tolerate cold temperatures too well and I’ll add layers when needed.

Thanks again. May you keep the camino experience into every aspect of your life.

Ultreia y suseia,

Lupita Tequila

New Member
Thanks Lillian!

Dear Lillian,

Thanks a lot for your kind thoughts! Yes, it is my third time on the Camino. I love it, that is why I keep going back.

I was going to suggest rei.com as well, but I see you have been on that site as well.

One thing that has worked great for me by the way, for my feet, is using Burt's Bees, coconut foot cream every day before walking and using wool socks... so far, so good... It has worked 3 times! and the one time my daughter left me without clean socks and cream is when I got a blister.... ah the joys of motherhood!

And yes, may the blessings and lessons of the Camino live in my heart forever! When you get to Santiago, say hi to my "compadre Santiago" for me.

Ultreia peregrina! :arrow:


Liv Marit

Hola !

I must say that I envy you to go on the amazing trip. I completed the camino in october, and I am longing back all the time !

I used ECCO hiking shoes that went over my ankles. They were good in both 40 degrees on the meseta and 6 degrees and rain on o cebreiro. They were soft enough on the hard paths and asphalt, and steady enough in the rocky downhills. I had NO problems with my feet for six weeks.

I used a Gewohl softing cream on my feet in the morning, and combined it with a anti-friction-stick that you can buy in almost every farmacia. In the evenings I used a cream for tired feet. And, I used Voltaren cream on my legs after the first hardest up- and downhill.

Good luck, and buen Camino !

Liv :D
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EMS (http://www.ems.com) is having a sale now until the end of the weekend on all its clothing.

I have had great experience with their Tekwick shirts & tights. Their Thunderhead rain jackets & pants are also fantastic, as well as their heavier jackets.

One thing I especially like about the EMS clothing is the zippers that run along the sides that can be openned to give ventillation in the arms & legs. Great stuff.

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member
Dear Lupita!
They say that when you walk to Santiago, you are never alone, not only do you have the presence of fellow pilgrims but you carry the “encargos” or requests from a lot of your friends. I’ll remember to say hi to Santi for you.

Wish your Thanksgiving holiday was a very special one.

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member
Thank you Liv!

Agree with you totally on the Eccos. I’m very pleased with my Perceptor GTX Lo, never had any problem, blister etc., but their soles are a little worn out. I’ll keep them as a last resort in case there won’t be enough time to domesticate my new boots.

Regards from accross the ocean.

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member
Hello Rob,

Thanks for the link to ems.com. I already have most of the equipment for the camino but checked the site and got some Techwick clothing at very good prices. Great stuff indeed!

Any luck finding airline tickets withour the 30 day maximum?

Best wishes for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Lupita Tequila

New Member

Dear Lillian,

Oh yes! very, very true!.... I carry many encargos every time I go, I place all of them in a special plastic bag and then when I go and see my "compadre Santiago" after I have finished with my litany of things I had to say and all the other ones I forgot, I place the bag under the gate and slide it towards the altar..... So far, all I have received are blessings and those whom I have carried their encargos have received blessings as well...... The old compadre is definetely a keeper!......

Thanks for taking the encargo for me.... I might send you a message of people to say HI to from me that you will meet along the Camino..... all of them a blessing and a light for many of us.

Stay in touch. Buen Camino y ULTREIA!

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Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member
Re: Thanks!

Lupita Tequila said:
I might send you a message of people to say HI to from me that you will meet along the Camino..... all of them a blessing and a light for many of us.
Lupita: I depart for Madrid on April 22 to start my camino from SJPdP on the 25th! and I'm getting ANXXIIOOUUSSS!!! :shock: Will be awaiting for your list of encargos!

Liv Marit said:
I used ECCO hiking shoes that went over my ankles. They were good in both 40 degrees on the meseta and 6 degrees and rain on o cebreiro. They were soft enough on the hard paths and asphalt, and steady enough in the rocky downhills..
Liv: Thanks to your input, got new ECCO GTX Hi boots, worn them in (275 kms), I am well equipped, well trained (500 kms walked ytd), now just praying for good weather to dry up the mud in the camino!!

Thank you all for your help in my preparations and equipment selection for this adventure.

Buen camino to all! :arrow:


Lillian, there's a (private) albergue, about 5,2 km from SJPdP, at Honto, that's very very nice-uuf, what a meal, + what a view from the terrace (summertime, don't know about May). It made the crossing to Roncesvalles easier. The first time I did this route was a killer. The second time, a breeze; having stayed there overnight and starting from Honto, made the diff, for me. The nice French hospitaleros at the albergue in SJ will call ahead to check and see if they're open and for reservations. There's another albergue further, but from what I was told it was more rustic. Also, I remember that before doing my first Camino people told me that walking the Camino was very hard, that I should only do a day or two, etc etc etc ... Bolony:!: Ur body will tell you what u need to know. Buen Camino :arrow: xm 8)

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member
Hola xm!

Thanks for the recommendation. I read about that one but chose to move on further uphill and stay at the Auberge Orisson where I have a confirmed reservation. Its roughly 8 kms from SJPdP yes, it looks a bit rustic but has wonderful views and all I need is a place to stop to break the stage in two days. But perhaps this might be academic.

With the snow and rains that affected that region, and the recent accident involving an English pilgrim, I'm having second thoughts and might take the Valcarlos road instead. It's unlikely that in just two weeks the snow will melt and the mud dry up to make a safe crossing. I cannot risk slipping and falling as that would be dangerous for my back condition.

A steep price to pay for the wonderful Pyrennean views but perhaps when I walk from Somport!

Saludos y buen camino :arrow:


Lillian, sounds good. U may want to keep in mind the possibility of starting in Roncesvalles as a plan "B" in the event that the track u want to walk is not in good shape. Pity u're not doing it in the summertime, it's a beauty then. But am sure u'll know once u get there. Buen Camino, peregrina :arrow: xm 8)

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