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Buying gear along Camino vs locally at home

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
Hi, I am wondering if it is cheaper to get the gears, e.g. sleeping bag, poncho etc, as and when needed along Camino (CF) vs buying it locally at home. Fyi, home is Brisbane, Australia. The advantage of getting it when needed in Camino is so that only the necessary stuff is bought rather than over buying based on 'I think I may need this', or 'this may not be good/strong/comfy' enough. Perhaps better quality too?

Cheers.
 

fortview

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances Sept/oct 2012 , Salvador, Primitivo 2013
Cotswold Way July 2014
European Peace Walk August 2014 (John)
This is a great idea. I have no idea how much things cost in Brisbane though! You increase the weight as you get stronger, which is good, and as you need it. And it is AMAZING how the very shop magically appears selling gloves, for instance, exactly when you need them!
This is what I bought along the caminos and approximate prices :A long sleeved Quercha t shirt 10 euros, an Altus poncho, I think around 40 euros, a fleece top 12, Source hiking sandals 50 , fleece gloves 4, beanie hat 1 euro and torch 1 euro from an Asian store.
Yes, some of the quality might not be great, but it works. Good luck !
Helen
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Which pieces of kit Siom? - depends on where you start. Were you to start in Logrono you could turn up naked, go to the Decathlon shop and walk out an hour later completely kitted out - but there are outdoor shops only in the cities so if you needed something whilst on Camino, even just a bootlace, you may have to walk for days until you find a suitable shop. Though ... the Camino experience tends to put what you need right in front of you when you need it!

The "I may need this" problem is a fear thing, not a practical thing .. it is internal, not external ... the pilgrim is going into the unknown and the mind wants to be ready for EVERY possible situation ... you have to fight that battle at home before you go ... it is amazing how little you actually need out there, once you have the basic kit (pack, footwear, toothbrush, etc) - all the "I may need this" you can leave behind.

The other thing about kitting out at home is that you get to try out your kit before you go .. also, pack all the items you think you may need and then go for a very long walk; once you have experienced a heavy pack when you get back home you will most likely discard as much as you can!!

So my answer is to do it before you leave ..... then again .... you could start with the clothes you were wearing at home and a toothbrush and take it from there .. could be fun!

Buen Camino
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Hi!
I doubt you'd save very much if anything, just because you'll know the shops at home better, know when the sales are on, be able to order online etc. Essentials like a sleeping bag and poncho/rain jacket you could need from Day 1, so you'll want to have these with you. For items that you're not sure you'll need (e.g. gloves at the end of April) it may be better to wait. If you're lucky you'll get them from an albergue's lost property box!
Buen Camino!
 

lettinggo

Active Member
Hi!
I doubt you'd save very much if anything, just because you'll know the shops at home better, know when the sales are on, be able to order online etc. Essentials like a sleeping bag and poncho/rain jacket you could need from Day 1, so you'll want to have these with you. For items that you're not sure you'll need (e.g. gloves at the end of April) it may be better to wait. If you're lucky you'll get them from an albergue's lost property box!
Buen Camino!
Hola
I am with davis and Tyrrek on this.
It depends on what equipment you are thinking of.
I think it would be wise to collect your 'base' gear at home.
This includes outer shell, boots/shoes, warm clothing and sleeping bag if you plan to bring one.
The volume of the base gear will tell you what size backpack you need.
If you on route find that you need further gear, then you can buy it at some of the larger cities.
I am thinking of Pamplona, Logrono, Leon especially.
Visit the stores homepage that Davis recommended at: http://www.decathlon.es/ to get an idea about cost.
If you think you may top of with gear in Spain, get a backpack which allow this extra space.

Hope this helps.
Buen Camino
Lettinggo
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
My observation is that there are many things that are quite a lot cheaper in the major outlets in Europe than purchasing them here in Australia. I am not so sure that the same price advantages would be as great buying in smaller towns along the way. So for things where it is not important to have checked and tested before you leave, it might be worthwhile. But otherwise, you will forego the opportunity to make sure that they fit and are functional before you leave.
 

NicoZ

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
Decatlhon has been mentioned. You can surf over to their website and check prices. Prices in shops are close to the online. They can at times be higher in the shops but the difference isn't great.

I like the quality/price ratio of Decathlon but when sales happen at other shops you'll likely find better deals.

Personally I wouldn't depend on buying things after arriving. You're risking all the issues with buying. Sizing. Figuring out which item fits your needs best. Just finding things in stock.
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
... it is amazing how little you actually need ..... then again .... you could start with the clothes you were wearing at home and a toothbrush and take it from there .. could be fun!
Wherever I'm travelling, the two things I check I have are my passport and my credit card. Anything else is a plus!!
Suzanne :)))
 

David Snyder

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SdC July 2014
All the above is sage advice, my only addition is a few short stories. These align with the "camino provides". We lost our guidebook on the train going to St Jean. Of course, not knowing the realities of the Camino we were desperate. Within a few hours of arriving, a Pilgrim provided an "extra copy". The next day were were able to purchase the same one in St Jean (for twice the internet price). Our Rain gear was totally inadequate an we found excellent gear in the larger cities. Finally, a fellow pilgrim walked into a Camino store in St Jean and the proprietor asked "are you going to walk the Camino in those shoes?" He bought much better shoes that day, walked the Camino, no blisters, and didn't pay much more than he would have at home. In the end, bring the essentials, which isn't much. Stay warm, stay dry, some minor hygienic items, and then find yourself and family along the WAY.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
I liked buying and gear testing at home. It was by stripping my bed down to the mattress and climbing into my silk liner that I learned that I hated the way the silk clung to my body. It was by walking with my pack loaded with actual gear, packing and unpacking, wearing, washing, and wearing again, that made me feel ready to brave weeks in a country where I do not speak the language. I was confident that 1) I had everything I needed within a manageable 14 pounds, and 2) If I had miscalculated, there were stores in Spain. I not only "gear tested" but "routine tested" for about a week before leaving. I kept my few valuables with me at all times. Each night as I prepared for sleep and each morning as I prepared for my day, I pretended that I wasn't alone and performed my ablutions under conditions of what I considered to be acceptable modesty. Yes, I am a planner, but as soon as I walked out my door, I had no worries and felt completely ready to be open to whatever lay ahead.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Which pieces of kit Siom? - depends on where you start. Were you to start in Logrono you could turn up naked, go to the Decathlon shop and walk out an hour later completely kitted out - but there are outdoor shops only in the cities so if you needed something whilst on Camino, even just a bootlace, you may have to walk for days until you find a suitable shop. Though ... the Camino experience tends to put what you need right in front of you when you need it!

The "I may need this" problem is a fear thing, not a practical thing .. it is internal, not external ... the pilgrim is going into the unknown and the mind wants to be ready for EVERY possible situation ... you have to fight that battle at home before you go ... it is amazing how little you actually need out there, once you have the basic kit (pack, footwear, toothbrush, etc) - all the "I may need this" you can leave behind.

The other thing about kitting out at home is that you get to try out your kit before you go .. also, pack all the items you think you may need and then go for a very long walk; once you have experienced a heavy pack when you get back home you will most likely discard as much as you can!!

So my answer is to do it before you leave ..... then again .... you could start with the clothes you were wearing at home and a toothbrush and take it from there .. could be fun!

Buen Camino
So, so true.
You don't really need that much stuff to walk a warmer weather Camino (June-October).
It is true. You can show up at SJPP, Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos or Leon with absolutely no gear at all and go into one of the outdoor stores and walk out an hour or so later completely kitted out and ready to walk the Camino (like Superman stepping out of a phone-booth ;)) and from what I observed not much of a price difference than buying the gear beforehand. If I had known that before walking my first Camino, that's what I would have done. I think that would have been a cool way to do a Camino.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
Not sure if it's cheaper but you can certainly find places all along the way to purchase anything you may need. I tried to start with all the basics because I wanted to test things at home first. The one thing I didn't buy before leaving was rain gear. I had decided that the Altus poncho was the way to go and couldn't buy it in Canada. I could have bought it online but I really like to check things out before I buy them. I found info re: the shop in St. Jean, contacted them and they had Altus' in stock, which I purchased when I arrived. It was about the same price as I would have paid online. Was also able to buy a light fleece cap and gloves as the early mornings became cooler. Only other thing I purchased were new rubber tips for my poles at a great shop in Viana.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
Another consideration is the day of the week. I neglected to bring a windbreaker, and the weather was getting iffy, so I thought I would buy one in Astorga. Guess what? It was Sunday when we went through Astorga. Nothing was open. So, I didn't buy a windbreaker and it turned out I got by just fine without it, so that was perfectly fine. I guess if there was something that I really needed to get there, we could have stayed overnight in Astorga and then shopped on Monday.
 

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
Which pieces of kit Siom? - depends on where you start. Were you to start in Logrono you could turn up naked, go to the Decathlon shop and walk out an hour later completely kitted out - but there are outdoor shops only in the cities so if you needed something whilst on Camino, even just a bootlace, you may have to walk for days until you find a suitable shop. Though ... the Camino experience tends to put what you need right in front of you when you need it!

The "I may need this" problem is a fear thing, not a practical thing .. it is internal, not external ... the pilgrim is going into the unknown and the mind wants to be ready for EVERY possible situation ... you have to fight that battle at home before you go ... it is amazing how little you actually need out there, once you have the basic kit (pack, footwear, toothbrush, etc) - all the "I may need this" you can leave behind.

The other thing about kitting out at home is that you get to try out your kit before you go .. also, pack all the items you think you may need and then go for a very long walk; once you have experienced a heavy pack when you get back home you will most likely discard as much as you can!!

So my answer is to do it before you leave ..... then again .... you could start with the clothes you were wearing at home and a toothbrush and take it from there .. could be fun!

Buen Camino
Hi David, I'm intending to do the CF in mid Sep 15 to Oct. I will bring the essential stuff, e.g. clothes and poles. But I'm undecided about things like sleep bag and poncho. I intend to bring along bag liner and hopefully that will suffice. If sleep bag is required then I am thinking of getting it along the way. As for poncho, I hope to get it in SJPP.

Btw, has anyone camped out in the open admiring the galaxy of stars during their Camino walk?

Cheers
 

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
My observation is that there are many things that are quite a lot cheaper in the major outlets in Europe than purchasing them here in Australia. I am not so sure that the same price advantages would be as great buying in smaller towns along the way. So for things where it is not important to have checked and tested before you leave, it might be worthwhile. But otherwise, you will forego the opportunity to make sure that they fit and are functional before you leave.
Hi Doug, thanks. The things which I'm unsure are sleeping bag and poncho. I mean I can find poncho available, but it seem to cost a bit more for the better quality ones. Also, it seems there's only 1 size and unfortunately, I'm not on the right size for a good fit. I'm hoping that the Altus poncho has size that suits me else I will appear like the 'bedsheet ghost' when wearing it :). Having been there, done that, can you recommend a suitable shop in SJPP? Thanks.
 

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
All the above is sage advice, my only addition is a few short stories. These align with the "camino provides". We lost our guidebook on the train going to St Jean. Of course, not knowing the realities of the Camino we were desperate. Within a few hours of arriving, a Pilgrim provided an "extra copy". The next day were were able to purchase the same one in St Jean (for twice the internet price). Our Rain gear was totally inadequate an we found excellent gear in the larger cities. Finally, a fellow pilgrim walked into a Camino store in St Jean and the proprietor asked "are you going to walk the Camino in those shoes?" He bought much better shoes that day, walked the Camino, no blisters, and didn't pay much more than he would have at home. In the end, bring the essentials, which isn't much. Stay warm, stay dry, some minor hygienic items, and then find yourself and family along the WAY.
Hi David, it is very nice and comforting to know that 'camino provides'. Looking forward to experiencing the providence part of the Camino. Cheers
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
There are places on the camino that have the potential to experience lethal conditions if you are not prepared for it. There will not then be time to buy that rain coat or that fleece jacket ...

Other than that your needs will be the same day in day out. You will need things on a daily basis from day 1.

The only shopping that should be done after you start is if your gear breaks or is otherwise inadequate and needs replacement.

I bought an immersion heater in SJPdP. It was probably the most expensive place I could have bought one.

I bought a pair of walking shoes in Santiago after a hole developed in my boot. They fit fine in the store ... I guess my feet were quite swollen. They are very loose now.
 

Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
I would definitely buy at home just so you have the chance to walk in and try things out at your leisure before you hit the trail. Some things are just more comfortable than others and it is good to have that sorted before you leave home. It is the same as wearing your boots in.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@Siom, I didn't buy anything in SJPP, so I am not in a position to recommend any particular store there. There are pilgrim outfitters there, but others would need to assist with a recommendation as to which might be better.
 

marylynn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2019 CF, Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
I recommend that you start out fully kitted for all the good reasons mentioned above so that you arrive in St. Jean prepared to experience and enjoy The Camino, rather than with a shopping list in hand and worry about whether you can get the things you need "along the way." Go fully prepared from Day 1!
 

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
I recommend that you start out fully kitted for all the good reasons mentioned above so that you arrive in St. Jean prepared to experience and enjoy The Camino, rather than with a shopping list in hand and worry about whether you can get the things you need "along the way." Go fully prepared from Day 1!
Hi Marylynn, thanks for the advice. I understand the need to train with the actual weight and have time to test out all the gears. Cheers.
 

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
I would definitely buy at home just so you have the chance to walk in and try things out at your leisure before you hit the trail. Some things are just more comfortable than others and it is good to have that sorted before you leave home. It is the same as wearing your boots in.
thanks, carol. Appreciate it.
 

Brissy

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012) (2018)
Hi, I am wondering if it is cheaper to get the gears, e.g. sleeping bag, poncho etc, as and when needed along Camino (CF) vs buying it locally at home. Fyi, home is Brisbane, Australia. The advantage of getting it when needed in Camino is so that only the necessary stuff is bought rather than over buying based on 'I think I may need this', or 'this may not be good/strong/comfy' enough. Perhaps better quality too?

Cheers.
I can understand your hesitance to purchase everything in Brissy. Even when Kathmandu is having a sale the prices are exorbitant. Globe Trekker in West End is not too badly priced. I bought my boots there. Better still, try the Quartermaster's Store at Enoggera. They don't have a big range, but the quality and prices are not bad.

Even though gear may be more expensive, I would go along with the advice of many others on this forum, and buy the important things before you go. Test them out.

On-line shopping is also a good option.

Whatever you decide, it is your decision, and your Camino. Do whatever you feel is right for you! Buen Camino!
 

Simonvw

New Member
We shopped at Campsaver and Sierra before we left. These places are cheaper than anywhere in Australia almost across the board. I saw some shops on our trip. There was one in Pamplona but the range was limited and it was really good stuff but expensive. I'd recommend buying before you go.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I don't think it this is just about taking the opportunity to become familiar with one's gear or potentially higher purchase costs in smaller towns. There are other considerations here as well. If you are travelling by air, and don't want to check baggage, it makes some sense to consider buying trekking poles and a pocket knife when one arrives.

My only caution about that approach is not to scrimp, particularly on the trekking poles if you intend to use these properly. My experience is that cheap gear doesn't survive very well. When I needed to replace my original poles, I found a pair in a $2 shop for under 10 euro. They survived a couple of days, and I cannot tell you how glad I was when I found a shop in Melide that sold decent poles (by Quecha). They were about 35 euro for the pair, and worth every bit of that.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
Hi, I am wondering if it is cheaper to get the gears, e.g. sleeping bag, poncho etc, as and when needed along Camino (CF) vs buying it locally at home. Fyi, home is Brisbane, Australia. The advantage of getting it when needed in Camino is so that only the necessary stuff is bought rather than over buying based on 'I think I may need this', or 'this may not be good/strong/comfy' enough. Perhaps better quality too?

Cheers.
Hello Siom,
For what it's worth I met some Aussies last year who said they couldn't believe how much cheaper 'some' gear was compared with at home. I don't recall them mentioning specifics although I do remember a brief discussion about how some things were cheaper than the sales back in Oz. On the other hand they also said they were pleased they had trained with the gear they would be carrying.

Rock and a hard place comes to mind mate.

Buen Camino
 

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
I can understand your hesitance to purchase everything in Brissy. Even when Kathmandu is having a sale the prices are exorbitant. Globe Trekker in West End is not too badly priced. I bought my boots there. Better still, try the Quartermaster's Store at Enoggera. They don't have a big range, but the quality and prices are not bad.

Even though gear may be more expensive, I would go along with the advice of many others on this forum, and buy the important things before you go. Test them out.

On-line shopping is also a good option.

Whatever you decide, it is your decision, and your Camino. Do whatever you feel is right for you! Buen Camino!
Hi Brissy, yup! Comparing prices, even 'on sale' prices are still expensive than the brands (e.g. Altus) mentioned in here. Sigh!!! :(. Forgot about some camping shops in West End area. Will go and have a look there. Thanks.
 

Siom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Frances around Sep 15
Hello Siom,
For what it's worth I met some Aussies last year who said they couldn't believe how much cheaper 'some' gear was compared with at home. I don't recall them mentioning specifics although I do remember a brief discussion about how some things were cheaper than the sales back in Oz. On the other hand they also said they were pleased they had trained with the gear they would be carrying.

Rock and a hard place comes to mind mate.

Buen Camino
Hi John, they are right. The 'on sale' price are still expensive when comparing with the prices overseas after taking the currency conversion into account. I guess the need to train and get accustomed to the gear prior to the actual walk is more important. Cheers!
 

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