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Budget Kit

A

Anonymous

Guest
Hello all - I almost over-ran a question about rucksacks .. for me, and another, it became more to do with budgeting ...

There are many on here when asked equipment questions will offer answers that are very good, and quality kit but each of them cost in the hundreds of pounds (dollars) .. sleeping bags that weigh only 500 gms but cost perhaps $89 ... rucksacks that are great and fit well but cost perhaps 145$ and raincoats - let alone the trousers - that cost 249$ and so on ... yet, ... - well I was in a GoOutodoors today and they had a big 35+4 Hi-Tec rucksack that had all the bits and straps and so on that other expensive sacks have but was priced at $42 brand new ... and I personally use an Altus Poncho (very long, with hood and sleeves, etc) which costs under $25 .. so there are budget alternatives ...
- all of which are better than what the pilgrims had access to for the 800 years between 1200 ce and now ... and they walked each way ...!

So my question is - for the 90+% of the humans on this planet who do not have much disposable income (or if they do they tend to pass it on to charitable enterprises) .. what about some tips on budget pilgrimaging kit

My latest thought, for instance, is that one can buy a single synthtic duvet in any UK supermarket or Ikea for under £6 - $7.50 and I cannot think of the difference between that and a sleeping bag, apart from the slick cover and the zip ...

Yes, and for those (which include me) who don't have the disposable cash (nor a consumer fetishist desire) to buy lightweight expensive kit ... (absolutely no criticism intended to anyone else) ... isn't a lightweight synthetic sleeping bag basically just a duvet in a smart cover? or a duvet with a zip? or am I missing the point here?

In the UK in our main supermarkets - Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury, etc, as well as the Fab Ikea - you can buy a stunningly light but effective duvet for less than £6 .. and they do roll up really small .. though you might have to get a piece of cloth and stitch a bag together for it - not difficult but fun, and it would be your bag .... so ....

well, I know there are many on here who carry rain jackets that cost literally hundreds of dollars, and sophisticated bits of all sorts, rucksacks that were a 'snip' at 185$ and so on when there are 39$ copies on the market .. but 90+% of the humans on this planet do not have lots of disposable cash - but many of these still dream and desire to go on pilgrimage ... so ... cheap but effective kit? why not?

so .. for those necessarily on a small budget - my question is . .. budget kit .. this is a pilgrimage, an invitation to attend .. so for all who are on limited budget ... what are your tips for low-cost pilgrimage kit?
 
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CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Well, I think that a person should spend most of their money on their shoes, personally.
Well-fitting shoes can make or break your Camino.

After that, it's the rucksack/backpack. If you keep it lightweight, it's maybe not such a problem, and you CAN pad the straps. But for me, I spent money on a good backpack, which you can buy USED on craigslist!

Joe just uses a $39 fleece sleeping bag liner instead of a sleeping bag and I know you can buy the same quality fleece for about $5 per yard here in the USA, so for $10 a person could have a fine bag/blanket, even if they did not sew.

I bought all of my lightweight trekking clothes at Goodwill for $4 per piece, including zip-off pants.
I carried my water in the bottle I purchased it in.

I found a lightweight rainsuit at a yard sale -- the $20 poncho doesn't work for me, but Joe love his and he only paid $6 for it.

If a person travels light and stays in the pilgrim's hostels, the Camino is very affordable.
 

evanlow

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I've met a young Austrian woman during my first camino doing it on the budget. She was carrying a army issue backpack (the ones with a big pouch on each side for the mess tins). The backpack does not have a waist strap support so it can be hard on the shoulders for daily camino distances.

I try to buy things for the camino on the cheap but we have to make sure that the equipment is suitable for long distance walking (camino).

The only thing I find that is generally useful is the front pockets for small water bottles, glasses (reading), guide/map and stuff. On my first camino I have a small water bottle hooked and secured with a big elastic band on one of my shoulder strap. Later caminos I just got myself a high sierra lumbar waist strap (express) with a pocket and two small holder on each side, one for the small bottle (one bottle included) and the other for the suntan lotion.

http://highsierrasport.com/Activity?id= ... e=activity

That or any similar devices that allows one to hold small stuff in front.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
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Like many others Terry and I work to a budget. Terry's more expensive equipment was a gift on his retirement. I am now seeking/buying equipment and where possible making use of 'Sale' offers. My Rohan shirt had a slight mark on the sleeve, removed with a little 'Swarfega' and then some soap. (Only works if you do not wet the mark first!) The underwear was marked as 'sample', as was the fleece. If you live near Street in Somerset, England try visiting the Rohan sale outlet at Clark's Village. Many of the items are end of line, slightly shop-soiled or samples, as well as returns etc. They are also online at http://www.rohan.co.uk although many prices are higher here as this is a sale of current stock.
The rucksack too was in a sale and then I was given an extra 10% off the price as well as the store making sure it was the right fit.
The main need is for time to find the cheaper items or offers. So look around, make sure the fit is still the best and enjoy the preparation.
Walk safely,
Tia Valeria
 

johnBCCanada

Active Member
hi

I would agree that the most mportant plce to spend money is on good footwear although even here the very most important thing about the footwear is that it fits and that you wear them lots before you go.

For a pack I used an older one that I had. Good packs don't wear out. It may be possible to borrow one from a friend. I travelled in the Fall and wanted some of those travelling pants that the legs zipped off to make them shorts. In canada we have thrift shops called Value Village that are HUGE. I found my travel pants in oen of these thrift shops. I wanted to take a fleece jacket also and there were lots of fleece jackets for very little in the thrift shops.

There are also 2nd hand shops in Canada that specialize in sporting goods and that have good selections of packs and outdoor clothing.

There are ways of keeping the costs down. It is NOT necessary to run out and spend huge amounts of money. You will not be climbing the alps but rather walking from village to village carrying a light pack and sometimes getting rained on.

john
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Yes, that is how I tend to feel about it .... and there is a strange pleasure in finding 'that item'
 

Sansthing

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
French Camino (2009), French Camino (2011), Via de la Plata (2012), Camino Inglês (2014),
Instead of taking one of those expensive high-tech towels I used two muslin baby nappies - very cheap, dried me perfectly, weighed next to nothing and dried very quickly.
Sandra :arrow:
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
A nappy is an excellent idea!
I found some microfiber dishtowels at the $1 store and we carried those.

We shopped at the panaderias for fresh bread each morning , the tiendas in the little villages for eggs (which we boiled), tuna, tomatoes, olives and fruit, and of course WINE!!! Our picnics were fantastico!

Oooooooooooooooo I can't WAIT!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Real nappies - what a fab idea! When I was a family man we used real nappies for our children and boiled them (the nappies, not the children) in a galvanised bucket on our kitchen range ... great and steamy days .. great tip!

And, yes, those buying fresh goodies and eating al fresco rather than in a cafe - over just a week it is much healthier and saves serious amounts of money, let alone the whole journey! ... and it is so pleasant. I also always carry a pack of dried wholewheat pasta so if I turn up somewhere with a cooker there is always a really satisfying meal to make (and enough to share when you are in the refuge in the village with no shop and you see the person in the corner pretending not to be hungry) - I always carry salt and pepper mills (can't bear that pre-ground stuff!), olive oil, and cheese/bread/sausage (and a large napkin for the hedgerow dining room) - so boil up some pasta, mill in the seasoning, add a little oil and pare in some cheese, et Voila! Rien de plus simple! (and there you go! nothing could be more simple!)

the whole meal would cost under a euro I suppose .. but I am one of those people who can eat the same thing day after day, no desires for the high life (if you can get me past the cream cake shop)

Yes Annie - I'm going to have to stop reading all this stuff or I will faint from the desire to be there! :oops:
 

jeff001

Active Member
If you are going in the summer you probably don't any high tech and expensive rain gear. As long as you keep moving you will be warm enough even if you are soaking wet, which you will be anyway even with the best beatheable gear, because it doesn't really breathe enough. If not, an inexpensive windbreaker will be adequate.
 
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Artemis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
I am all for budgeting and finding sale or resale items. I bought my backpack from LLBean when it was on sale for $49. It was perfect on the camino and I was very pleased with my find. I bought Merrells and they were about $90. I didn't get any blisters and they were comfortable but I found that the soles didn't protect me from all the stones so by the end of the day my soles were hurting. I bought inserts for them and will take them again this time. I found a huge sale on Teva Terra Fi 2 for $32 so that is my alternate pair of shoes. I bought a down throw for $7 (maybe what you are calling a duvet?) It is only 1" narrower than a sleeping bag when it is opened out and the same length. I am toying with the idea of putting a zipper in but haven't decided yet. It is very lightweight and warm and can be washed and dried. I found a coolmax shirt for $4 on sale, two pair of zip off pants for $19 each, a Lands End fleece jacket for $8 new but on sale. Swiss Army hiking poles at Walmart for $20 for the pair. I bought 4 microfiber clothes at Walmart and sewed them together to make a towel. Danskin capris for $5. A friend is lending me her Altus poncho. I think the only thing I paid reg price for were my sock liners and wool socks. I enjoy my stuff more when I find it on sale because it is like a treasure hunt.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Way to go! (correct American English?) .. love it .. especially like the sewing together of the four micro towels!

Yes, the throw is what we name a duvet I think .. (originally quilt?) - I have moved from my first synthetic thought to down single, like you, for the weight v warmth and comfor, and that they scrunch up small - will sort of disappear into one of my fold-and-seal dry bags ..(and I have just remembered that I have an old one in a bedding bag under a bed) ..

Did think the zip thing but I have warm feet and so have been thinking of stitching on buttons and loops, about 5 or 6 of them.

My shirts are always from seasonal sales and we too have countless charity shops (goodwill stores?) .. does seem though that we all focus on well-shod .. boots/sandals, good socks, foot-aid kit and so on ... though my boots are Hi-Tec Sierra Lites .. about £23-28 ... I like them - perhaps aren't the best boot in the world, I do have to use good sports cushions in them - I buy them, apart from price, as they are really wide - really wide!

I think there is another spin-off from this budgeting game .. perhaps an assurance that if something is taken or breaks or is lost .. well, there are shops in the next town .. all is well.

A budgeting tip for Brits ... if you use a card to access money in Europe (or should I say 'the mainland'?) most banks and building societies charge for each cash-point transaction ... if you take out the Post Office credit card (belongs to the Bank of Ireland) there is no charge for cash withdrawals abroad. Think Nationwide are the same.
 

Artemis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
Great idea about the buttons and loops. I would imagine it would be lighter also. I think I will try that.
 

johnBCCanada

Active Member
Hello

an additional thought. This may be obvious or may not but make sure your clothing is synthetic. natural fibres may sound good but aren't so practical. You want clothing that dries out quickly so that if when gets wet in a rain or by your sweat or when you wash it by hand in a sink at a crowded alberque it dries out relatively quickly. Synthetics do and natural fibres don't.

and with respect to water bottles I will suggest a one litre wide mouth water bottle such as hiker use. I found one litre lots cause I could re-fill regularly and wide mouth cause it is easier to refill. Of course I also drank probaably 1/2 a litre in the morning when leaving the albergue which meant that the single litre I was carrying was quite sufficient until I reached the next source of water.

and don't forget to have a memorable trip enjoying Spain and the people, spaniards and peregrinos you meet along the way!

John
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
John, two weeks ago I would have agree with you about synthetic clothing.

And perhaps during the cooler months, it makes sense.

But it is about 95 degrees in Portland, Oregon this week, and I put my synthetic "Camino shirt" on yesterday morning to go take my training walk. I yanked it off about 5 minutes later when I was so hot and sticky I couldn't bear it. I changed to a lightweight cotton shirt and that is what I plan on wearing on my Camino this time. I do have one featherweight polyester shirt I will take. It is large enough to layer UNDER and loose enough not to stick to my sweaty body.

Last Camino, (September to November) I had both synthetic and cotton. My lightweight cotton shirt dried just as quickly as the synthetic one. While I agree a heavyweight cotton shirt won't dry, a lightweight shirt should be no problem.

Also, I'm switching from a synthetic featherweight jacket that I spent $150 on to a man's 100% wool sweater that I felted down to size (by putting it in the hot washing machine and hot dryer). It cost me $2.50, it weighs only a few ounces more than the jacket, and is MUCH warmer. If it rains, I'll wear my rainjacket. No sense in taking two jackets.

The other cotton shirt I'm taking is one of those East Indian long sleeved tunic type shirts. They are made of a gauze type cotton and are VERY lightweight and excellent coverage for sun for those like me who won't wear sunscreen (too many dangerous chemicals).

I'm also considering dropping my Teva sandals for a simple pair of rubber thongs. The only time I wear them is in the shower or in the evenings anyway.

Based on my last Camino, weight is a big issue for me. The less I have to carry, the better. Anything extra I need, I'll find along the way...

Filling your belly with water BEFORE you leave is excellent advice!
 
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johnBCCanada

Active Member
Annie
I will stick with the synthetics but I tend to walk in the Fall or Spring as the heat of summer wilts me and, what works for me doesn't necessarily work for you and vice versa. makes an interesting world doesn't it.

Of course the clothign and gear is something to talk about and ponder over until we are on the trail and then we walk. I saw pilgrims with expensive new gear and others with cheap, sometimes old gear and we were all walking to Santiago.

John
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Then, the OTHER thing to think about is just finding or buying things you need once you arrive in Spain, and supporting the local economy along the Camino. I bought my palo, my rainsuit, and warm clothes when I actually needed them along the way. I found some things in the "FREE" boxes that are present at most alburgues.

Regarding my clothes sticking to my body :oops: ... Oops!
 

andy.d

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Pilgrims in the UK might like to know that Aldi have camping kit this week and Lidl have cycling clothes.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Being on a budget doesn´t mean you have to be a cheapskate, either. It´s all in your viewpoint.

I recall a young man resplendent in his Everest Expedition-worthy gear who was signing in at Ponferrada refuge last year. He asked me: "Is this place donativo, or do I have to pay?"

I should´ve smacked him.
 
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johnBCCanada

Active Member
spend a bit less on gear and you have a few more euros in your pocket to treat yourself to a nice meal once in a while or buy a coffee for a new friend. Minor treats and generosities can give more pleasure than expensive gear.

john
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Rebekah Scott said:
Being on a budget doesn´t mean you have to be a cheapskate, either. It´s all in your viewpoint.

I recall a young man resplendent in his Everest Expedition-worthy gear who was signing in at Ponferrada refuge last year. He asked me: "Is this place donativo, or do I have to pay?"

I should´ve smacked him.


The rascal. Keep custard pies behind the counter!! :lol:
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
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Another consideration on budget is also 'What is best economically?'
If you are only planning to walk the Camino once, or are taking stuff 'just in case' then cheapest is probably best, apart from footwear. However if you plan to use the gear more often; walk the Camino again etc then better quality may cost more at first but last longer and be less expensive in the end.
I am trying to strike a balance by seeking better quality in the sales etc. Also I am collecting gear over a time as I need it, and see it, while walking at home. Hoping to walk parts of the Camino next year and the Camino Inglés in 2011, so I do have the time to look around.
Tia Valeria
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
It is amazing what you can find in charity shops. Yes, if you are short of time and need something straight away they are not great but if you have the time and live in a town with a number of shops you can pick up much of what you need over a month or two.
 

anniethenurse

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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
Anniesantiago said:
Then, the OTHER thing to think about is just finding or buying things you need once you arrive in Spain, and supporting the local economy along the Camino.

Annie - you are right. We all should think about the local economy along the camino. In the donativos donate some extra Euros so the albergue can keep up the quality it has and even get better than it is. Eat the Pilgrim meny in the local restaurants, drink the local wine, donate money in the churches and the catedrals, buy the local products etc.

annie :D

The most important thing about the gear I wear is that it is comfortable for me. I prefere thin cotton T- shirts, light weight shorts easy dry material (don´t have to wash them every day) and one water- proof jacket that keeps me warm, too.
 
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KiwiNomad06

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Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
[quote="johnBCCanada" or buy a coffee for a new friend. Minor treats and generosities can give more pleasure than expensive gear.
john[/quote]

I had a wonderful rest day in SJPP, and it felt like a 'celebration' day as it marked reaching the end of my 'Chemin' from Le Puy. I had met a few 'new' young people in the last few days of walking. As I wandered around exploring SJPP, I saw one of these young men, from Switzerland, having coffee and he called me over. I ordered a hot chocolate and enjoyed a chance to chat with him. He left slightly before I did. When I went to pay, I was told that the young man had already paid for me. I never ever saw this young man again, and I imagine he was probably a student, so not wealthy. But as an 'old lady of 50' I really appreciated his kindness.
Margaret
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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Trying to keep both costs and weight to a minimum - has anyone tried waterproofing the removeable ends of a pair of zip-off trousers? Would it work, or might it just run water into the boots? I think a long top waterproof would be needed (poncho type). Has any-one any similar suggestions please to combine use/cost and weight?
Tia Valeria
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Year of past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
REI in the US often has "used gear" sales where they sell all of their returned items. I picked up a $150 raincoat for $40 a couple of years ago. The reason it was returned: it didn't keep the person warm enough! It was a rain shell, thus not designed to keep one warm. Their loss, my gain. When I layer it with my Adidas soft-shell jacket (which I got at the Adidas employee store with a special coupon for 50% off), it keeps me warm and dry. I found a pair of the zip-off leg pants at Goodwill for $7. I'm not doing the Camino until April 2010, so I figure I have plenty of time to find things I am looking for. The only things I plan to splurge on are good walking shoes/boots and socks. I think the rest of my gear will come from either REI sales, Next Adventure (a really cool shop in Portland that sells close-outs,etc), and Goodwill. Half the fun is finding the bargains!
 

Pacharan

Member
I would very much agree you should not spend a fortune on kit if you are only going to use it once. Even if you walk all year round (like I do) you still want the best deals. The only thing you shouldn't skimp on is boots and socks. Buy those that fit you the best and budget with the rest of your kit.
If shopping in UK I would recommend:
Cotswold Outdoor for boots as they give very detailed and patient advice. I believe they will also look at boots purchased elsewhere if you are having problems with fit.
All the outdoor stores have sales every now and then. Check them out regularly to see what's on offer. Mountain Warehouse are particularly cheap.
TK Maxx has a reasonable selection of fleeces and other outdoor wear at good prices.
Try your local workwear shop, these are usually small independently-owned. Amongst the hardhats and overalls you will find walking boots, socks, shirts, fleeces, trousers, shorts, rucksacks etc, all usually at very reasonable prices. When I was a student I always got my walking gear from these shops.
If you see something in a shop but it's too pricey, search online for a better deal.
 
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nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Ok having read the above I must confess I'm a 'profligate pilgrim' :( .
But I felt so conscious of being one of those 'unprepared pilgrims' you read about that I spend ages trawling around the main outlets in Dublin trying to ensure that if all else failed (and believe me that covers a multitude) at least it wouldn't be due to gear. One young salesman man displayed such benign tolerance for my indecisiveness that I lit a candle for him en route. Being time poor and not insufficient in funds I took the rather unpilgrimly approach of throwing money at the problem. :oops:
However if there are any other pilgrim shopaholics out there out there don't get too downhearted as the upshot of all this excess was that I also ended up:- kitting out 'himself' with my castoffs-but he's not proud and uses the gear for a variety of non-pilgrim activities; becoming a sort of central depot for all walking/campinggear requests/advice from the next generation of my extended family and their girl/boyfriends ( my 'Camino Pack' has seen action at this years Oxygen festival and it and one of my sunhats are currently in use 'somewhere in Jaipur'); being able to offer loans of kit to some potential pilgrims so they can try out stuff on a 'use and return' basis before committing their hard earned cash; alternatively, and this is one I haven't tried yet, one could donate any surplus/used gear to Charity/thrift shops thus providing some of the items sought for by the more budget conscious/frugal pilgrims.

Rebekah Scott said:
by Rebekah Scott on 23 Jul 2009, 14:34

Being on a budget doesn´t mean you have to be a cheapskate, either. It´s all in your viewpoint.

I recall a young man resplendent in his Everest Expedition-worthy gear who was signing in at Ponferrada refuge last year. He asked me: "Is this place donativo, or do I have to pay?"

I should´ve smacked him

What on earth stopped you Rebekah?
I found, as a nearly novice pilgrim, that each days end seemed to merit a celebration. Personally spending money locally for either a 'budget banquet' or something a little more luxurious seemed a natural part of my daily 'thanks giving'. What I gained from the CF was priceless so no matter what I spent I could never repay the people and communities en route. I felt that by making (what was for me in my circumstances) an appropriate contribution to the local economy I was at least making some tribute and that approach was the right one for me.

Nell
Bonne route
 

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