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Camino prep Q's - last minute camino please help!

Camino(s) past & future
August 2018
#1
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
 
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fraluchi

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
#2
Hi Caminomarie, welcome to the Forum. You have many questions, to which the answers are available on searching the large experiences of other caminantes. In the top right corner "search" you can enter each doubt and you'll see loads of answers. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre 2017
#3
Welcome! You asked excellent questions. Many pilgrims are eager to get started so unless you need extra sleep you will likely decide to start the next day. Many of us are fans of Darn Tough light cushion micro crew socks, I use Fox River liners with them. Do not be afraid of the weight of water, you will need every drop. I carry Camelbak bottles with a tube available on Amazon, makes drinking easier while walking. Please excuse any typos.

Do not leave toilet paper on the ground, even if you bury it. Have a couple of small zip loc bags. Do not put your pack on the beds and bunks, spreads bedbugs.

There are several ways of carrying money, passports, etc. A few of us use a small Travelon or similar cross body bag that I even sleep in. Spend some time browsing the forum, you will get a lot of ideas.
Lots of people are wearing Altra Lone Peaks, they have cushioning and a wide toe box that helps prevent blisters. Buen Camino!
 
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Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18)
#4
Any other advice at all?
Yes. Breathe slowly into a paper bag.

In all seriousness, you're 22 years old, you'll be fine. Equipment in the summer consists of a good pair of shoes and something to keep the sun off your head. Worry about your shoes, everything else is a minor detail. Walk in them until you think you have a blister proof answer. If they don't work out for you change to something else until you can walk without blisters.

A stainless steel water bottle? Why add the weight? Buy a bottle of water anywhere, and use that PET bottle for the whole trip, refilling as you go.

Keep your money, passport, and bank cards with you at all times. I zip them in my pants pocket, or in my toilet bag when I shower, but I'm a guy. Nobody is going to steal your credential.

Do not worry about keeping yourself entertained in the albergues. Something tells me that you will figure that one out pretty quickly. Your fellow pilgrims, the endless need to do washing, foot maintenance, and taking in the surroundings will rescue you from the need for electronic distractions.

Relax. Experience of a lifetime. Go with with it.

Buen Camino!
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
#5
Agree. Footwear important AND a backpack that fits you and is well adjusted. I use a "bumbag" for (sun)glasses, smartphone and the like while passport, money and credit card go in pockets in a ziplock bag. Apart from that, bring clothes that dry fast.

And off you go -Buen Camino
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#7
(1) You don't say where you are travelling from. If you arrive in SJPP after 36 sleepless hours and many hours of jet lag, you might want a day of rest. It really depends on how you feel. At the end, in Santiago, it depends on how many spare days you have (if any), what your new camino friends are doing, and what you feel like. I recommend allowing for a couple of spare days to use during the walk or at the end.

(2) There are many good shoes. You need to find the one that best fits your feet, so our specifics are not relevant. Make sure they are as roomy as possible - better to get a bit big and wear a thicker sock when you start out, than to get too small. There is no single type of sock that will win majority votes here. If you are uncertain, take one pair of each of 3 different types, and see which one you like most when you walk. Wash that pair every evening and wear it every day. Use your other socks for the evening or as spares for shorter periods. I get blisters every time, so clearly I haven't found the ultimate answer. All of the tips you read here on the forum are worth trying.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#8
1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.
It depends on where you are coming from, and how jet lag might affect you. I split the walk to Roncesvalles and stayed at Orisson for both my Caminos. It's only about 8km/5 miles from St Jean, but the steepest section of the Camino. If you do want to spend the first night there you must have a reservation. And you can spend a leisurely morning in St Jean before you start out.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.
I wore Vazee Summit for both of my Caminos. They work for me because I have a pretty narrow "low volume" foot. I tried using them with Superfeet insoles, but found them more comfortable with the insoles that they came with. I used Wrightsocks lightweight quarter socks, and only had one small blister on a toe on my first Camino, and none on my second. I also tape the balls of my feet with Omnifix Stretch tape, which you can buy at most farmacias in Spain, and put Body Glide on the rest of my feet.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).
I carry a 2 liter water bladder, and usually only fill it half way. There are plenty of places to refill along the way. However, I do also carry a small disposable bottle of "emergency" water, just in case.

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?
I think that a money belt would get sweaty and uncomfortable. I wear this small cross body by Travelon. They also have this convertible crossbody/waist pack.

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.
When I reached the albergue I showered, washed my clothes, hung out with other pilgrims, ate dinner, etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Portugués / Mozárabe (2019)
#9
My thoughts on some of your questions:

1) Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.
Yes, I recommend staying at least two nights and preferably three. It's a great little town and you'll bump into pilgrims you met along the way and reconnect with them which is really nice. Give yourself some extra time with your return flight if you can to guard against injuries etc, and if you have time left over you can spend it in Santiago or go to Finisterre.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).
I had just a 1L bottle on the Francés last June and found that was plenty. There are a lot of places to refill.

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.
I have brought just my phone and my Kindle Paperwhite (i.e. just a reading Kindle, not a tablet) on both my caminos and found that to be enough. Actually while I read a lot on the Francés last year, I didn't read at all on the Primitivo this year.

The camino is tiring so after showering and washing clothes, you'll probably want to rest in the afternoon. Some towns you'll be staying in have things to do tourism-wise, and there'll be no shortage of pilgrims to talk to if you feel like being social!

¡Buen camino!
 
#10
1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.
For me, the best cure for jet lag is fresh air and exercise - which is exactly what you get when you start walking. So for me, starting the Camino the morning after arrival is great. Other people like the extra day. it really just depends on how you do with jet lag. You could always see how you feel when you arrive and decide then. For Santiago - yes, definitely stick around for a day or two if you can. It is a neat city and it is fun to be there to see other pilgrims arrive - people you met along the way that ended up a day or 2 behind you. We spent some time at cafes on the last stretch to the Cathedral just cheering for people as they walked their final steps.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.
I love the Wrightsocks. For a 2nd pair of shoes, I would bring the hiking sandals - they will be handy for walking around after you've finished walking for the day - air out your feet and give them a break from your hiking shoes. They can also be an alternative for hiking if your feet need a change. I like to bring flip flops for the shower, but some people just go barefoot and are ok with that.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).
I like nalgene bottles - light weight, durable. I carry 2 0.5L bottles to balance the weight. I usually fill the bottles about half way and then refill as I find water on the way. There are only a few stretches without available water, so for those, I'd fill up completely. I don't worry about keeping water cold - there will be fountains along the way with cool water if you want it. Cold water isn't any more hydrating than room temperature water.

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?
I took a small cross-body purse that rode in my pack when walking, and came with me when I put my pack down anywhere. It had my valuables. I think a money belt is overkill, but some people are more comfortable wearing one.

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.
People shower, wash clothes, eat, drink, socialize, nap, read, go to mass, explore the town, village, or city, shop, cook, get a massage or reflexogy treatment, etc. I took a Kindle for reading. Next time, I would just read using the Kindle app on my phone and save the weight. I don't write in a journal and I never felt the need for TV or videos or anything, so I didn't feel the need to bring any additional devices. Some people have them, some people don't.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?
Honestly, I didn't do anything to prevent bed bugs except inspect the mattress at each bed I slept in before I settled in. I never found evidence of bed bugs, so it was all good. If I did find evidence of bed bugs, I would have reported it to the hospitalero and moved onto another place.

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.
My advice is to relax. You've done your research. You have the basic idea of what you'll be doing. Really, it is very simple. You get up in the morning, you walk west for several hours, stoping along the way for food and drink, so admire the view, talk to people, do some sightseeing. Then when you get where you are going that day, you find a place to stay. You shower, do laundry, and then whatever else you feel like doing. Then you sleep. The next day, you do it again. Listen to your body, your soul, your mind.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
#11
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.
If you have the time, an overnight stay in StJPDP can be helpful, if you can stay for a whole day and an extra night you won't regret it, and you'll still hook up with an early Camino family if that's what you want. An extra day in Santiago can give you time to "come back down to earth" so to speak, give you time to start thinking about getting back home and your responsibilities.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.
I hesitate to comment about footwear because it's such a personal thing. Personally, I use tape on my toes where I usually have hotspots/problems. My choice of socks is to double up and wear two pairs of Coolmax liners. Other combinations tend to make my feet hot, sweaty and blister prone. I find it useful to take my boots and socks off every 1.5-2 hours for 15 minutes. If you are wearing walking shoes/boots then sandals and flip flops seems like overkill to me.
3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).
On the CF there very few places where you will be far from a water supply or somewhere to buy (for 1euro) a small bottle of water. So perhaps a 1 litre bottle will suffice. Depends entirely on your individual water needs though.

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?
One or the other is would be my choice. When you're walking you will probably find that it is convenient keep your valuables in a small bag/purse/fanny pack in your back pack with a small amount of cash in your pocket.

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.
If your Camino turns out to be like that of many before you and many to follow, you'll probably regret taking your Kindle. It may,unless you want to be, turn you into a "loner"?

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?
That seems like a sensible precaution. Try not to get too stressed about bed bugs. Personally I use a treated liner and have never had a problem.

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.
Perhaps stop researching for a while if it's becoming overwhelming. It sounds like you are almost on top of your preparation already judging by your questions.
What to do?............ Use common sense, start slowly, pack light, keep hydrated.
What to expect?....... The Camino is what it is, will be what it has always been, can be what you want it to be and will be what you make of it. Expect hills, lots of them.
What not to do?........... Start to quickly, try keep up with people who walk at a different pace to you, you will meet them later in the day, and try to be yourself.

Hope this helps

Buen Camino
Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#12
Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.
Make sure to plan in extra days for injury, rest, etc. You can also continue on the Finisterre and or Muxia, which makes a nice wind down from the Camino. There are plenty of great places to visit in Spain, so having a bit of extra time at the end is definitely a bonus if you can swing it!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#13
You are only 22 years of age and it sounds like you are fit and healthy. You will probably find the Camino Frances to be a fairly easy walk once you get settled in on a routine and you get everything sorted out. I know at 22 I would have not found walking it to be difficult at all.
Those Brooks shoes will be just fine I am sure. As far as socks go, wear whatever kind fit best with the shoes and insole combination. Take the combos out on some 5-10 kilometre walks and test them before you leave.
Don't give bedbugs too much worry. Most pilgrims don't.
Walking in August to September it will be warm, and probably pretty dry on the Camino. I would be surprised if it rained while you walked more than 2-3 days. Pack light, and for sure so not pack anything for "just in case" or "what if".
I recommend two .5 litre water bottles. That is all I have ever carried. I would not bring a heavy stainless steel bottle. I always just bought two plastic bottles of water at the beginning of the Camino and refilled them the entire way. I never really found the water to get warm in those bottles, and it's not something I worry about.
Personally I would not hang around the albergue playing games on a tablet/device. I mean, c'mon....
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterra-Muxia (Sept/Oct 2017)
#14
*Budget as much time as you can afford. I enjoyed a half day in SJPdP and two days in SdC.
*Darn Tough Vermont socks!
*Re water, take two regular plastic bottles and refill them. Leave stainless steel at home. You'll save weight as well.
*I had two experiences with bedbugs despite having a bedbug sheet as well as spraying with Permethrin pre-departure.
 
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Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#15
I see other people have given you plenty of info, just one thing I'd add about bedbugs. I treat my pack with Permethrin because I dont want to bring any home to my house as hitchhikers.
I'm not too concerned about getting bitten on the walk, I was bitten last time and antihistamines reduced their itch.
But I have heard some horror stories from people who have taken them home and had to spend thousands on getting rid of them from their home.
 
#16
@caminomarie-o

Your breathless excitement is lovely :)

I’ve carried Platypuses (Platypi?) for water since the 80s, in all sizes. My favourite is still the 500ml. I carried that and 2 of the 1l size. I like being able to stick them in my pockets when they’re empty.

My daughter was 18 when we walked. Her (old) trusty walking boots died somewhere around Villatuerta and her pack weight and her boot problems were probably what caused the hamstring injury which ended our walk in Rabe, on the edge of the meseta.

So, as everyone on here says, keep your feet happy and travel light :)
.... and send anything you no longer want to cart around on your back, forward, to Ivar in SdC.

I wish you joy,
Buen Camino!
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#17
If you can take the time off, give yourself a couple more days along the Camino. I'd recommend 35 days or more. You don't want to be crunched for time at the end.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#18
Here's my take:

1) This depends a bit on when you arrive but I would stay in SJPD. Relax into being in a new country, take time to visit the pilgrim office, take a moment to pause. Definitely stay in Santiago, loads to see and do and take some time to transition out of walking mode.
2) I usually walk in sandals, no socks and use anti-chafing gel
3) Buy a plastic water bottle with water in it and then refill, one less thing to worry about
4) You'll need something. Personally, I take a superlight weight over the shoulder bag or rucksack. Put all my valuables including phone charger and stuff in, if I want to leave my rucksack by a door to wander around a museum I just grab that bag so I have all the stuff I really need with me. It can also come with me into the shower.
...
7) Lush solid shampoo bars are very good. If it's your thing a silk/fake silk strappy dresses for hot evenings is super lightweight and more stylish than outdoor gear. A lot of younger people wear gap year kind of clothes rather than outdoor gear - less true for Americans I think. If you walk and decide the camino isn't for you, have the courage to do something else. I met a few people in their early 20s who were bored, really not enjoying the experience, and would have been better enjoying the food and drink in San Sebastian, at a music festival in Salamanca or surfing Tarifa. The camino will still be there for you when you are ready. Learn some Spanish. Take every opportunity you can.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#19
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.
I3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
  1. I arrive in St Jean the afternoon prior to starting the Camino. I spend that afternoon and evening stretching my legs by walking around and enjoying the sights around town, visiting shops, gathering some snacks for the first day's walk, and scoping out where I will end up for dinner. :)
  2. Both shoes have good qualities, like rock plates, good outer sole traction, and stability. Brooks Cascadia now has a Version 13 as an fyi. As to socks, I prefer a light padded Merino wool sock. No liner, just a single sock which fits snug on the foot so that any shear force friction, which is the cause for blistering in most cases, takes place between the sock and shoe, and not between the sock and skin.
  3. I use a Platypus Big Zip 2 liter, and adjust the amount of water that it carries by anticipated conditions. Given the frequency of clean and sanitary water access, that carried amount is about 1 to 1.5 liters. I also have the drinking tube fitted with a quick disconnect device so that I can refill the Platypus as needed without having to remove it from my pack. Or even having to take my pack off.
  4. I have a Zpacks double sided pouch which holds those things. It can be worn around the neck with its lanyard, or carried in my zippered pocket. It is waterproof, so I can take it into the shower with me. It never leaves my person. Ever.
  5. I walk or hike from sunrise to late afternoon/early evening. My choice as I would be bored out of my skull with so many usable walking hours. When I arrive at my destination, I shower, do some clothes washing, and go walk around the town or village. I will not carry the extra weight of a reading device. I have a Kindle app on my iPhone, but usually I have other things to do and people to interact with to spend a lot of time reading.
  6. I don't worry about bed bugs. I do a quick inspection of the bed area for signs of the little do-bads, but that is about all. I do take out my pack liner and keep my pack tightly secured inside while overnighting. I do the same whether I am in a hotel or albergue.
  7. You are on a forum that is deep with a database of resources to help with your research. As you think of a concern, type it into the search engine and you will rejoice at how much information appears. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#21
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? //

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!

1). I hate being sleep deprived and tend to be unpleasant company when short on sleep. I don’t adjust to jet lag comfortably and it takes a few days (I had a 8 hour time change). I happened to have two weeks to acclimatize before walking, so jet lag was a none issue. But I would want to have at least one night to acclimate before a real day of walking. Then again... I might be too excited! You know you, so be flexible!

I had lots of time in Santiago or so I thought. I’d planned to walk to Finisterra. But I needed more time than I thought I would,so I didn’t have the extra days I thought. I did have a total of three full days in Santiago. That was actually too much- I didn’t really want to be in a city after so much time in Contemplation and quiet.

2) you don’t need a huge amount of time to break in shoes, but please please please buy them this weekend if you can and walk at least 10km to try them out. I am a fan of trail runner style, with a wide toe box and stiffeish sole. Different folks, different feet. Make sure that going down hill your toes don’t touch the front of the shoe.

I used merino wool socks, one pair with a liner (smart wool I think?). Loved them.

3). I used a Camelback with 2liter capacity and carried an empty 1litre disposable bottle. The bottle got donated to desperate pilgrims a couple of times, and saved me from having to unpack my camelback if I was low on water. I didn’t always fill my camelback full every day. - I made an educated guess based on planned distance and temperature . I learned on the way what worked and made adjustments. I was fine. You will be too. And if you find yourself having a breakdown while working, please remember to sit down, have a drink of water and eat something. You’d be amazed at what a difference it makes. Really.

4). Pockets with zippers and a ziplock baggy. Photo of passport and documents saved with hubby at home. Emergency cash in my backpack (20 to 49 euros)

5) Nap, explore the village, drink a cerveza con limon with another pilgrim or 5, eat, chat, give people cookies,cook, sing, read on my phone, pray/meditate , shop, listen to other musicians, mass if available, stretch, watch tv on luxurious nights in. A hotel. Visit museums (not the best for the feet but hey why not!) write, draw, text my husband. Eat. Did I mention eat?

6). Not a fan of pesticide use-it increases resistance. There is good advice elsewhere which I took. Don’t worry about bed bugs too much while travelling, just plan on prevention when you get home. It’s pretty easy to manage.

7). Slow down. Really. Just slow down. Do things that take more time like sketching or writing out a description of what you see instead of snapping a quick picture. Walk alone for a few days. Walk with other people for a while. Read something about a place you will visit, or a novel set in a place you will travel through. Walk slower than you think you should. And drink more water. And when you need a pick me up (and you will), start reminding yourself about what you are actually and honestly grateful for in that moment. It might be your shoes or shoelaces or another pilgrim or a sunrise or the sound of bees or that you are in the shade or.... but if you can... it can help. And feels AMAZING.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
#22
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk. WE DID NOT STAY AN EXTRA DAY, BUT I WISHED WE WOULD HAVE. WE GOT THERE LATE AFTERNOON, SLEPT AND THEN STARTED UP THE MOUNTAIN AROUND 730AM THE NEXT DAY. WE ALSO DID NOT STAY IN SANTIAGO BUT AGAIN, I WISHED WE HAD OF. INSTEAD, WE HAD A FLIGHT TO PARIS SO WE COULD TOUR NORMANDY AND BRUGE FOR 10 DAYS.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night. IF YOU HAVE WIDE FEET, YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER TAKING SOME KEEN BOOTS - SUPER WIDE TOE BOX AND I DIDN'T EVEN BREAK THEM IN BEFORE I WENT. AS FAR AS SOCKS GO, I USED LINED MERINO WOOL SOCKS WHICH WORKED FOR THE MOST PART, HOWEVER, NEXT TIME MAY TRY THESE;

https://www.armaskin.com

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack). I WOULD NOT BRING ANYTHING 'JUST IN CASE'. WATER BOTTLES ARE FINE. WE USED A 22OZ INSULATED ONES AND EACH CARRIED TWO IN OUR PACKS. I THINK ONE WOULD DO, AS YOU CAN REFILL FREQUENTLY ON THE WAY.

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all? I PACKED A LIGHT CROSSBODY BAG THAT I AND MY PARTNER USED AT NIGHT WHEN WE WENT OUT FOR DINNER, ETC..AND POPPED OUR PASSPORTS/MONEY/IPADS, ETC..IN AND IT WORKED OUR PERFECTLY. I ALSO USED IT TO GET THROUGH ALL THE AIRPORTS WITH ALL OUR DOCUMENTS IN IT. AS AN ASIDE - YOU MAY WANT TO MAKE A COPY OF YOUR PASSPORT, ETC..TO KEEP IN YOUR PACK, IN THE EVENT YOURS GETS LOST OR STOLEN. YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO CONSIDER TUCKING AWAY A 100EURO EMERGENCY FUND, IN CASE YOU CAN'T GET TO AN ATM. YOU SHOULD ALSO PUT YOUR STUFF IN A ZIPLOCK BAG, SO IT DOESN'T GET WET.

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal. HAHAHA! YOU MAY REACH THE ALBERGUE AT 2PM BECAUSE YOU ARE 22 YEARS OLD, BUT EVEN THOUGH WE ALSO HAD GRAND PLANS TO REACH OUR DESTINATION BY 1 - 2PM, WE NEVER DID BECAUSE WE HAD BREAKS TO TAKE OUR BOOTS OFF AND AIR OUR FEET OUT, HAD A SECOND BREAKFAST, PLUS THE TERRAIN IS SOMETIMES INSANE SO WHAT WOULD NORMALLY TAKE US 4 HOURS AT HOME TOOK ABOUT 6 - 8 ON CAMINO. LOL. WE WOULD USUALLY SHOWER, HAVE DINNER, WALK AROUND TOWN, AND THEN LIGHTS OUT AROUNG 10PM. SOMETIMES WE WOULD READ BEFORE BED, AND DOWNLOADED A FEW BOOKS TO OUR IPADS (THAT WE ALSO USED FOR TAKING PICS BECAUSE OUR PHONE DIDN'T TAKE GREAT ONES).

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice? I HAD A SILK LINER BUT STILL GOT BIT UP TWICE, YET MY PARTNERS' SILK LINER WENT MISSING ON NIGHT 1 AND HE DIDN'T GET ANY?! I WOULDN'T WORRY ABOUT IT, AS IT'S EASY ENOUGH TO TREAT THEM.

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO. YOU MAY WANT TO BUDGET SOME REST DAYS IN YOUR TRIP. WE HAD TWO OF THEM AND STILL ENDED UP GOING FROM ST. JEAN TO SANTIAGO IN 32 DAYS. WE WERE ABLE TO DO THIS BECAUSE WE RENTED MOUNTAIN BIKES TO GET THROUGH THE MESETTA, BECAUSE IT SAVED US ABOUT 5 - 6 DAYS. YOU CAN PLAN YOUR DAYS, BUT THEY RARELY GO TO PLAN, SO I WOULD JUST SAY TO BE IN THE MOMENT, AND JUST GO WITH IT. I TOOK A LOT OF PICS OF THE SCENERY BUT NOT ENOUGH OF THE PEOPLE I MET, SO I WOULD SAY TO ALSO TAKE LOTS OF PICS OF THE LOVELY PEOPLE YOU MEET.

ALSO, YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER TAKING A BABY MUSLIN BLANKET INSTEAD OF A TOWEL. I TOOK ONE OF THOSE MICROFIBRE ONES AND IT JUST MOVED THE WATER AROUND MY BODY INSTEAD OF ABSORBING IT. ALSO, LUSH SHAMPOO BARS WERE FANTASTIC AND SAVED A LOT OF WEIGHT. THE LUSH CONDITIONER BARS? NOT SO MUCH, SO I BOUGHT LITTLE CONDITIONER MINIs ALONG THE WAY.

Thank you!
Please see my responses in bold upper case, above (I'm not yelling at you, i promise!)

Buen Camino!!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#23
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
=======================

I will answer your questions directly and refer you to the very good advice of the others here.

Answers, numbers keyed to OP questions.

1. Yes and yes.

2. Do NOT use the green Superfeet. Opt for something slightly more flexible. The green model is too stiff and can cause foot problems, especially at the heel. It is intended for folks who STAND a lot all day, not those who walk a lot. I checked with my podiatrist on this. Six years ago, i started using the green variety and nearly ended up in hospital at Burgos. I now use Dr Scholl's gel insoles for athletics.

3. Recommend multiple .5 L water bottles bought full and reused until gross and funky. Dispose properly and buy more. Spread the weight around your pack, belt and pockets...as you can.

4. Fanny pack is better than a purse. Keep your valuables with you AT ALL TIMES, even in an albergue shower or bathroom. Stash in your sleeping bag or liner sack when you sleep. Use ziplock bags where the fanny pack cannot go.

5. Leave ALL extra weight at home. Use your smart phone for all communications and internet needs.

6. S2S infused liner is a good option. Bed bugs are a hit or miss proposition. Do not obsess. This should be adequate protection from bites to you. But be aware of your gear, so you do not give the little buggers a free ride down the road.

7. FRALUCHI gives the correct advice. Use the search function with key words to find a boat-load of advice and recommendations on any issue or subject.

Final advice, RELAX! Millions have done this before you. Millions more will do this after you.

Go with the flow. It will improve the experience.

Miscellaneous ideas and thoughts:
  1. Every item you decide to carry should have at least two functions or uses, no matter how odd or unlikely. For example, a sleeping bag liner can also be used as a towel if it is made of microfiber. Challenge yourself to justify NOT RATIONALIZE each and every item in your pack or pockets. You will be surprised just how much you do not need.
  2. A disposable / reusable water bottle can be used to mix instant coffee (stick packets) using hot water from a sink. I use them to mix medical grade protein powder supplements, electrolyte replacement drinks and just to carry plain water.
  3. Zip lock bags in the 3-liter or one gallon size are invaluable for organizing protecting valuables from water and placing same in your sleep sack. Remember, you must keep your valuables with you AT ALL TIMES.
Lastly, I will be working at the pilgrim office in Santiago as a volunteer from 9 July through 12 August. If you (or anyone else reading this) get that far, introduce yourself to me. See the avatar. Add a full mostly salt (& pepper) beard, and sometimes a red clown nose... The name is Tom.

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago May 2018
#24
If you want the Compostela, leave enough time that you can spend hours waiting in the Pilgrim office in Santiago, they're very busy (and all volunteers). Be patient.

If you walk 500 miles to Santiago but don't continue to Finisterra or Muxia, you miss the iconic photo at the 0,00 marker. Add a day to ride the bus to get that photo - you'll be glad you did when you return home.

The Kindle app worked on my phone BUT remember you won't always have hi-speed Wi-Fi and data was 3G at best (T-Mobile). Download books to the phone so you're working off-line. That includes your camino guidebook. The extra electrons weigh nothing.

If you plan to carry a water bottle in the side pocket of your pack, practice to see if you can reach it on the go. I couldn't. Consider something like the Blue Desert Smart Tube Hydration system - fits any bottle, no reaching, under $20 at Walmart - refill or replace bottles as you go.

After you dump your pack at the hostel, you'll likely want to walk around town to grab a beer, get a bite, see the town. No offense, but I never met a woman who could do that empty-handed. You're going to need something to haul your phone and money and girl stuff, whether it's a cross-body purse, tiny little knapsack, fanny pack. Don't worry about looking like a tourist, every pilgrim looks that way to the locals, this isn't a fashion show, it's all about comfort and convenience.

I did the short walk from Sarria in May. When you get there on your long walk and see the swarms of short-walkers, remember that we're jealous of you: we couldn't afford the time and money to do the long walk. Be kind.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#25
Fanny pack is better than a purse.
Have you tried a purse? ;)
I've tried both a waist pack and a small cross body purse, and the purse works much better for me. It goes on before my backpack, and only comes off when I go into the shower and to bed. When I'm showering it's in a waterproof bag, and when I'm sleeping it's in my sleep sack.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? CF, again :-)
#26
If you want the Compostela, leave enough time that you can spend hours waiting in the Pilgrim office in Santiago, they're very busy (and all volunteers). Be patient.
(...)
I did the short walk from Sarria in May. When you get there on your long walk and see the swarms of short-walkers, remember that we're jealous of you: we couldn't afford the time and money to do the long walk. Be kind.
Both nice reminders! :)
 

J F Gregory

Preparing for the Norte
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
October- November 2018 to walk the Del Norte.
#27
You have had lots of good advice here. I stopped carrying fancy water bottle and use a 2 liter smart water bottle which is easily refillable. a smart tube has different size caps to fit these bottle and can carry them in your side pouch. I hike a lot and use a bottle for mixing powders (dirty bottle) and 1 for clean water.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#28
Do not forget, the OP is only 22 yoa. In my observations on the Camino, especially the Frances, the younger, say under 30 yoa, pilgrim community tend to be more gregarious, open minded, complain less and overall have less difficulty and more enjoyment while walking the Camino and tend to walk in their own groups comprised of those their age. Even ones that start solo most often fall into a group of others about their age. I know I would have been when I was that age. I have come to the theory that most of the regulars on this forum are over 40 years of age, and if you break it down even more, are 50+. That is the regulars, and I am in the over 40 set. I try and take that into consideration when giving advice to the under 30 yoa pilgrims who ask questions about walking the Camino. If I was say 20-25 years old again, quite honestly I would probably take very little advice from someone twice my age, or more. That is besides travel advice like train times, bus times, how to get to stations etc. As far as foot issues, health issues, sleeping communally, what to eat etc?.....no.
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#29
1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean
One night is sufficient. Thinking of the journey ahead will trump jet lag.
Suggest arrival before 15h (3 pm) - visit pilgrims office - look around the village from the castle remains, then slowly down to the river and up the other side.
Next day start with the crowd 1 hour before sunrise to minimise heat of day

I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.
Flip flops at most (I take just my shoes). Extra weight if you are not a regular hiker / tramper / trail walker may well take a lustre off your journey across Spain.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L
Please consider again. I tried these for a week during training - didn't know when I was getting low - awkward to fill on the go - put water inside the pack!!!
Please consider a bottle in side pocket - with or without Blue Desert system.
But keep it simple.

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt
And put all your other valuables there as well - keep things simple, really simple

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque
Have a lie down - walk around the town / village - talk to other walkers / pilgrims.
Rather than carry another device consider a tablet that is also a phone (and reader etc) - keep it simple is my mantra

6) To avoid bed bugs,
What bed bugs? In five months around Europe in 2016 and two months in 2017 (often using hostel blankets) I failed to find any.

7) Any other advice at all?
Have I mentioned keep it simple.
I also suggest make time to smell the roses, meet others, see different landscapes, ecology, archtecture, customs - try different foods in local (not camino) cafe, restaurants etc

Yes. Breathe slowly into a paper bag.
Good suggestion - and paper bags don't weigh very much :rolleyes:

And also do regular training before you set off. I suggest:
Work up to, say, 15 km (10 miles) before stopping for breakfast (brunch)
Work up to an elevation gain of, say, 400 metres (1,300 feet) before first stop.
Always wear / carry what you propose to take to.
The purpose is to build up your stamina and your mind space.
Resist the sin!!! of taking stuff in case ...
In my experience, and that of many others, Spain is quite civilised and you will be able to replace, at least once a week, whatever you may have run out of.

So, kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 
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#30
Do not forget, the OP is only 22 yoa. In my observations on the Camino, especially the Frances, the younger, say under 30 yoa, pilgrim community tend to be more gregarious, open minded, complain less and overall have less difficulty and more enjoyment while walking the Camino and tend to walk in their own groups comprised of those their age. Even ones that start solo most often fall into a group of others about their age. I know I would have been when I was that age.
Yes, good reminder. We are in our 40s and met a lot of younger people on the Camino - they seemed to be having the time of their lives.
 
#31
I’m sure you will have an amazing time with memories that last forever, remember that it is the journey and not the destination . . . although Finisterre and Muxia are beautiful, I head back out there tomorrow. I finish each of my Caminos at the ocean, but that’s just my preference.

I am pleased to say that after my 2nd Camino I figured a foot care that works well for me. No blisters on my 3rd Camino and for my 4th I’ve just walked 330 kms from Oviedo with only 1 blister and that was due to my own stupidity . . . an afternoon run in hiking shoes Like some have said, everyone’s got different feet and different combinations work for them. For me, I use a slimy layer of Vaseline but not too thick (around the toes, heal and ball of foot), a liner sock and an outer sock, something with some cushioning. The Vaseline really doesn’t gunk up the socks and it works well for me, maybe the bodyglide which someone suggested will do similar. If you have a little toe which sits a bit under the next one, I’d suggest some of the toe sock liners, injinji make a great pair.

Bed bugs . . . never come across them. I doubt you’d get bored in the afternoons. You’ll no doubt make your bed, shower, wash socks and underwear, snack, siesta, sightsee, prepare dinner or eat out . . . it all happens fairly quick.

Have a wonderful Camino
Richie
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#32
If you are leaving in August you still have time to break in New Hiking shoes?

Do spend an extra day in Santorini ago. If you want a compostela go to the office the morning after you arrive in Santiago when the officer first opens! Takes much less time!

Stay a night in St Jean! The walk to Roncevalles is one of the most strenuous of days! . Be rested when you start.

I wear long lite pants it’s big pockets that allow me to put half liter bottles in them. So I always depart with at least a liter of water. I buy the plastic bottles either in various towns, bar or at supermarkets. I usually reuse the bottle once and then buy a new one.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#33
If you are leaving in August you still have time to break in New Hiking shoes?
Trail running shoes really don't require a break in period, but you should wear them a few times on some long walks to make sure that they will work for your feet. I trained in a pair of Vazee Summits, and then brought an almost brand new pair on the Camino. I only wore them once to make sure that there wasn't anything wrong with them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#34
I am a wee bit older, ok a lot older than you, but probably just as excited, lots of great tips, though never thought about having to queue at the end, " grumpy old guy" don't really do queues, what is the quietest time of day ?
Like you deciding on boots or trainers. Bill,
Flying to Bordeaux on July 25th and back from Vigo on the 5th Sept , so might meet you .
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#35
I am a wee bit older, ok a lot older than you, but probably just as excited, lots of great tips, though never thought about having to queue at the end, " grumpy old guy" don't really do queues, what is the quietest time of day ? ....
Hi, Hansel, and a warm welcome to the forum.

Put it into a bit of perspective. You will have waited to obtain your Compostela or Certificate for the time it takes to complete your Camino. A wait in a queue is a measly teeny amount of time by comparison. :)

As to the footwear question, there have been numerous recent threads so the search engine will find you a lot of information that will take more time to read through in your research, than it would take to wait for a Compostela even at the busiest of times ;)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#36
I am a wee bit older, ok a lot older than you, but probably just as excited, lots of great tips, though never thought about having to queue at the end, " grumpy old guy" don't really do queues, what is the quietest time of day ?
Like you deciding on boots or trainers. Bill,
Flying to Bordeaux on July 25th and back from Vigo on the 5th Sept , so might meet you .
Hansel, If you do not want to wait long on line for your compostela, go to the office the morning after you arrive in Santiago. Be there when it opens and you will not have a long wait!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#37
Hansel, If you do not want to wait long on line for your compostela, go to the office the morning after you arrive in Santiago. Be there when it opens and you will not have a long wait!
Thanks , Marbe2 , that's a great idea, should have plenty of time at the end of my Camino, it's probably a separate thread somewhere, but what weight did you manage to get your pack down to ?
And more daft questions, should a pair of salomon approach shoes last 500miles ?
Cheers Bill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#38
Hi, Hansel, and a warm welcome to the forum.

Put it into a bit of perspective. You will have waited to obtain your Compostela or Certificate for the time it takes to complete your Camino. A wait in a queue is a measly teeny amount of time by comparison. :)

As to the footwear question, there have been numerous recent threads so the search engine will find you a lot of information that will take more time to read through in your research, than it would take to wait for a Compostela even at the busiest of times ;)
Thanks Dave, think I have decided on approach shoes, following a few camino walkers on instagram and noticed their foot wear in the pictures!
Just got a few shopping jobs to do now, and I'm all set,
Cheers Bill
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#39
Hansel, I try to take only what I absolutely need! Besides what I was wearing, my pack weighed abt 6lbs. On Camino Frances one goes through enough towns where sufficient supplies are available. Make sure that almost every item has a dual use.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#40
Thanks Dave, think I have decided on approach shoes, following a few camino walkers on instagram and noticed their foot wear in the pictures!
Just got a few shopping jobs to do now, and I'm all set,
Cheers Bill
Approach shoes have become popular among a lot of fastpackers; there are some compromises, but if one's feet are compatible, then it can be a terrific option. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#41
Hansel, I try to take only what I absolutely need! Besides what I was wearing, my pack weighed abt 6lbs. On Camino Frances one goes through enough towns where sufficient supplies are available. Make sure that almost every item has a dual use.
Wow that's good going, under 3kg, did you still manage to take a sleeping bag ?
I will have to get the scales out and see what I can leave out,
Cheers Bill
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#42
No, we took a silk sleeping sheet. We mostly stayed in private rooms in albergues so the beds had blankets. I still slept in my silk sheet in the bed because the sheet was treated. Bed bugs do not distinguish between private and municipal establishments or bunks and regular beds!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#44
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
My comments are numbered below.

1. I recommend staying a full day in SJPDP. I didn’t and wish I had. I will next time. I also recommend spending a couple extra days in Santiago. This allows for reunions with pilgrims you met along the way. It also gives you a chance to savor things and power down a bit. I did do this and will do it again.
3. I recommend 1 liter water bottles. The collapsible type from Vapur are nice. I’m not a fan of bladders. I’ve had two and both developed leaks. Also, it’s not convenient to hand a bladder to someone at a bar to have them fill it.
5. I’d leave the Kindle or tablet at home. You’d be surprised at how quickly the time passes once you’re at the albergue. There’s washing to be done, showers to be taken and food to be acquired.
6. My main bed bug prevention advice is to inspect the mattress. There are lots of YouTube videos on how to do this.

Buen Camino!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#45
Wow that's good going, under 3kg, did you still manage to take a sleeping bag ?
I will have to get the scales out and see what I can leave out,
Cheers Bill
What month are you walking? June-August, maybe even September you don't need a sleeping bag. A lightweight liner is enough.
Also those months can be dry and rain minimal, as your rain gear can be.
Minimize those two categories of gear and you could easily shave off 2 kilos out of your backpack.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First time pilgrim and walking solo. Leaving SJDP around April 5, 2018.
#46
You ask a lot of questions and have a number of great answers here. I highly recommend this guy or his cousin Lifestraw for water: https://www.amazon.com/SurviMate-2-...UTF8&qid=1529535672&sr=8-1&keywords=SurviMate. I didn't want the extra weight of a camel pack, but I also have the propensity to pick up food poisoning bugs everywhere I travel so I was concerned about refilling from the village fountains and bathroom sinks (I know, I heard all about it from fellow pilgrims in April-May how I was being too careful... but you know what? I never got sick from water so I'm sticking to my recommendation). After running out of water on day 2 from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles, I would buy an extra 1.5 liter bottle of water for those stages Bierley warned didn't have services... maybe 4-5 days out of 40 I packed extra water. It couldn't possibly have weighed more than a full camel pack. To be fair, I just finished walking spring 2018 and not in the summer months, but I did drink a lot of water. Buen Camino!
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#47
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
I 1. I'm not sure what you would do for a full day+ in AN.
2. Good wool socks
3. Skip the bag. There are enough places to refill 1 or 2 16 is bottles.
4. Money belt is a must. I pin mine to either my underwear or pants to add extra security. I take all the money I will need + My passport in the money belt. I also wear a Danny pack for the day's money, My phone, etc.
5. If you take advantage of seeing what is in town plus resting up for the next day, you won't need the devices for extra entertainment.
6. Spray bag with a bug spray. Brands are probably not that different.

We just returned yesterday from our 3rd consecutive Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#48
What month are you walking? June-August, maybe even September you don't need a sleeping bag. A lightweight liner is enough.
Also those months can be dry and rain minimal, as your rain gear can be.
Minimize those two categories of gear and you could easily shave off 2 kilos out of your backpack.
What month are you walking? June-August, maybe even September you don't need a sleeping bag. A lightweight liner is enough.
Also those months can be dry and rain minimal, as your rain gear can be.
Minimize those two categories of gear and you could easily shave off 2 kilos out of your backpack.
Thanks RJM , end of July, all of August and first few days Sept, guess I can always buy a sleeping bag out there if I get too cold, and maybe leave the waterproof trousers!
It is still single figures at night in Scotland, and rainy so hoping for a huge difference in the weather from here, usually do most of my walking in the mountains, looking forward to travelling light, and walking in shorts and t-shirt.
Cheers Bill,
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#49
If you are leaving in August you still have time to break in New Hiking shoes?

Do spend an extra day in Santorini ago. If you want a compostela go to the office the morning after you arrive in Santiago when the officer first opens! Takes much less time!

Stay a night in St Jean! The walk to Roncevalles is one of the most strenuous of days! . Be rested when you start.

I wear long lite pants it’s big pockets that allow me to put half liter bottles in them. So I always depart with at least a liter of water. I buy the plastic bottles either in various towns, bar or at supermarkets. I usually reuse the bottle once and then buy a new one.
Please, please reconsider your use of disposable plastic. With so many lightweight options for reusable bottles, there really is no need to keep buying bottled water.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#50
Please, please reconsider your use of disposable plastic. With so many lightweight options for reusable bottles, there really is no need to keep buying bottled water.
Ditto. I shamelessly get on a soapbox when buying bottled water frequently along the Camino (or in general) is brought up. I say just plain do not do it. It is wasteful. Terrible for the environment, as are those small plastic bags.
https://www.outsideonline.com/23143...=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=tweet
 
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#51
Thanks RJM , end of July, all of August and first few days Sept, guess I can always buy a sleeping bag out there if I get too cold, and maybe leave the waterproof trousers!
It is still single figures at night in Scotland, and rainy so hoping for a huge difference in the weather from here, usually do most of my walking in the mountains, looking forward to travelling light, and walking in shorts and t-shirt.
Cheers Bill,
I would say definitely leave behind the waterproof trousers. There was not a single day on the Camino between the months of July-September I would have needed or worn waterproof trousers.
Some nights in the albergues in July and August it was so warm I slept on top of my liner. I could not have imagined sleeping in an insulated bag. If you do get a bag, the lightest summer weight type is all you need.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#52
I would say definitely leave behind the waterproof trousers. There was not a single day on the Camino between the months of July-September I would have needed or worn waterproof trousers.
Some nights in the albergues in July and August it was so warm I slept on top of my liner. I could not have imagined sleeping in an insulated bag. If you do get a bag, the lightest summer weight type is all you need.
Thanks I'm off tomorrow so lots of packing options , then a hillwalk Saturday to try out kit.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting May 18th in Burgos to Santiago
#53
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
Hi,

It seems to me that you are rather well prepared.
The shoe issue could be your challenge if they are new and not fitted enough.
Camel pack- 1 litre is fine. There is plenty of water holes along the track.
Keep your passport on you at all time.
Don’t worry what to do when you finish your daily walk. This is the best part. Just let things happend. Don’t plan too much. That is the whole point. Take it as it comes. Put your phone and wrist watch inside your back pack. You really don’t need it before you are supposed to check in on the way back home.

Buen Camino!

Best

H
 

Kenack

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances, del norte
#54
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
Hi Caminomarie-0. I did my first Camino last year on the Frances. In answer to a couple of questions. I wore 1000 mile socks which are lined. Really great socks and no problems with my feet BUT. Do make sure you prepare well every morning before your walk eg treat with Grohwol cream or something different and also when you finish at the end of the day give them a soak if possible and massage.
Re the Kindle. Try avoid any extra weight. I just took my iPhone and used it for everything camera, book, messaging, watch.
I'm taking the Norte route this year
Ultrea ultrea y buen camino!
 

Gazelle2

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
19th May 2014
#55
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

Thank you!
 

Gazelle2

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
19th May 2014
#56
Always drink water before you depart and when you arrive at your destination.

Take your boots and socks off every time you stop for a break, you will really notice the difference.

If you become aware of any issue with your feet, stop immediately check for hotspots and redness and treat with a compeed, never let a minor issue become a huge blister, as you did not act, I have walked 4 Camino’s and never had a blister.

Weight is your enemy, only take what you need , never fill a rucksack because you have you space left over, I have seen people bought to their knees by the weight of their rucksack. I am going to use a 30 liitre one this year .

I always have my wallet phone and glasses attached to my body as when you get tired it is very easy to leave something behind after a stop, the amount of times I have seen people having to go back to retrieve an item they have left behind .

Share what you have with people in need .

Take safety pins for clothes pegs and a makeshift line so,you can dry your clothes.

I always get into the shower with my clothes on after a days walking and wash everything as personnel hygiene is very important , there is nothing worse than a smelly pilgrim who is not doing his personnel admin on a daily basis, it also means you can take less if you wash everything you have walked in daily

I have loved every Camino I have done and made wonderful friends from around the world , you will have a great time.
 

twh

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#57
  • Just finished my first Camino Frances May 13 to June 17. 61 yrs old, 180 lbs, 36 lb back pack with water. Heavy pack due to camera gear. Weight did not bother me but may have impacted the sore feet I had for most of the Camino (Plantar Faciitis?) One blister on little toe, 4 days of growth, 4 days of shrinkage and gone, no needles or draining, self healed.

  • 1. Extra days before/after. Make a reservation at Orisson NOW. If you arrive in SJPdP before 3pm you have time to walk the streets, visit the old fort, the Pilgrim office, have a few beers/wines and meet people, have dinner and then walk it off for a few hours with people you have met or walk around town solo. The next day if you want to tour some more of San Jean PdP do it in the morning and then after lunch hike up to Orisson (must have a reservation and arrive before 5 or 6). Half or more of the group of roughly 35 people in Orisson will become your Camino Family that you will continuously bump into over and over again over the next 792 km. You will make many many more additional friends along the way…new people everyday but there is something special about running into your original Camino family over the following 5 weeks. I shared wine and food in Santiago with 6 original Camino family members at the end of my trip. Orisson provides a huge social benefit and it allows for an “easy” first day as opposed to a long and grueling first day all the way to Roncevalles where you arrive exhausted and possibly blistered or worse. Day 2 after stopping in Orisson is still a long demanding day in the best of conditions but much more manageable after already completing half the elevation gain and 30% of the distance to Roncevalles. In Santiago de Compostela – if you arrive in the morning, like 10am, you can quickly get your Compostela and then go to the noon mass. You then have the rest of the day and night to check out the old city…it got dark at about 10pm June 17, 2018. Next day take a tour by bus to Muxia and Finisterre, 9:30am to 6pm, $42 and worth every penny! Tour Santiago the next morning and early afternoon, then fly out on you way to Madrid or Paris in your first travel day back home. This worked for me, I saw everything I wanted and did not feel rushed or as if I missed anything in SJPdP or SdC but for you and the other readers, you may need more or less time in either city.

  • 2. Shoes, socks, sandals? There is no “best” of any of these. Get what fits you best. Get fitted wearing your liners and hiking socks. Your feet will swell to some degree during the Camino. Your hiking shoe/boot with the 2 pairs of socks will probably need to be at least a half size larger than you normally wear and probably a full size. Don’t try to save money when choosing your shoes/boots. If a perfect fit is $150 more than a good fit, spend the extra $150 without thinking about it. An extra $5 per day to walk in comfort and without blisters will be the biggest bargain of your life once you are on the trail. I wore Solomon Hiking Boots for all but 2 half days when I wore Solomon Trail Runners. My plan was to split each day between the boots and shoes. The bottoms of my feet were very sore and felt every imbedded stone in the roads and trails. I needed the extra stiff sole of the hiking boot for my tender feet and plantar fasciitis. The Trail Runners ended up being my after-hiking shoe which worked well because they were light, provided good arch support and protected my feet/toes in the evening. I was going to bring Merrill sandals (with toe protection) for the evenings and showering but I had to cut weight and volume when packing so those got left behind and I brought a cheap, light pair of thong sandals for showering and airing out the feet. Socks: No Cotton! Wool or Synthetic with anti-microbial benefits. I used 3 - Darn Tough Vermont socks, 3 - Injinji Liner socks with toes and 3 – FoxRiver liner socks conventional style in case foot swelling was too much I could wear the FoxRiver liner over the Injinji liner. I did put a light layer of Vaseline on my toes and heels each morning. I had one blister on little toe that self healed.

  • 3. Water Container – I brought a 3 Liter camelback bladder that I put in the top section of my backpack. I drink a lot of water and filled this twice a day. For me, I knew I would be dehydrated if I had to take off my pack to get a water bottle out each time I got thirsty. My Osprey Pack is 20 years old and does not have functional pockets for water bottles that can be accessed while walking. It was important to me to have a system where I could drink hands free while walking. If you are using a water bottle system, make sure you have a way to stow he bottle securely. Clipping it where it can swing around and bounce off your body or pack will get old very quick. Problems with my system: A. hose was long enough to be caught under pack when I took it off and set it on the floor/ground. This opened the silicone mouthpiece several times completely draining my water supply. B. the siliconce mouth piece was like Velcro. It wanted to stick to everything it touched. This was a problem when putting the pack on and taking it off my body. The mouth piece was always hanging up on something, interfering with the process of getting the pack on or off. I think they make a cover for the silicone mouth piece to protect it from dust and to help it slide more easily over other surfaces.

  • 4. Money belt/Fanny Pack: Search: Amazon zippered secret money pocket. I had these sewn into my two pairs of convertible pants. I carried large notes or amounts in these pockets and the rest in my regular pants pockets and/or fanny pack. The fanny pack was worn on the front (belly pack) containing my phone and small video camera, loose change (which you will have a lot of since there are no One Euro Notes….a 5 euro note is the smallest.) my guide book, pen, lens cleaner, small notebook, passport, stamp book and other miscellaneous stuff. Figure out the things you will want to get to frequently and quickly and put them in the fanny pack for quick access. The fanny pack was always with me. It was clipped to my bed while sleeping and the contents moved to my “safe” while showering. Yes, I said “safe”. See Pacsafe Travelsafe – I used this for all my camera equipment and electronics. I locked it to the bunk bed frame and walked away with peace of mind that a casual/opportunistic thief was not going to get my valuables (but a professional thief would have no problems defeating the security systems.)

  • 5. What to do with free time: You won’t have any. That journal you committed to writing in at least 30 minutes a day….it lasted 2 days for me and that’s about the average. You will be too busy living life to take time away from that to record what you are doing, feeling etc… It seems like you should have lot’s of free time but you don’t. If you are open to all the experiences the Camino offers, you will have very little ‘free’ time…not enough to bring a book or a kindle. If you get solace from a particular book, put it on your phone. Use that phone for a few minutes each morning to dictate while walking what you did yesterday, highlights, lowlights, discoveries, feelings, details etc… When the trip is over, compile all of that and add to it after looking at pictures etc…

  • 6. Bed bugs: I sprayed a sleeping bag liner and pillow case with Premethrin and did not have a problem. I heard of no one that had a problem. One person had some reactions to insects but she already knew she was hyper-sensitive to mosquitos and other biting bugs. She reacted to something, possibly bedbugs but it’s not certain. The bite pattern was more random and not linear like bed bugs typically do.

  • 7. Anything else I should know. You know enough already. You do want some surprises right? You will adapt, you will have a great time, you will find some magic in the Camino. Just be open to all it offers and go without any expectations.
 

Suzanne H

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Baztan and Frances 2017
#58
I SO appreciate your enthusiasm!
Wrightsocks and Lorpen were terrific for me. Injinji, too.
I carried a bpa-free bottle with carabiner. 24 oz. with built-in straw. I drink a lot, filled in every village, rarely went thirsty.
I started with a money belt. After 4 sweaty days, transitioned to a waist pack. Best decision; allows your most important items to stay on your person at all times.

What you do with your time after you arrive is up to your needs — don’t forget to meet the many wonderful people walking with you, take your time, and do what is best for you. If that includes carrying heavy, ‘unnecessary’ items that ultimately fulfill your needs... then go ahead. But remember that at the end of your walking day each additional pound feels like 10 ;) I recommend less, but my body is older than yours and can probably endure less. You will likely adapt along the way.

Enjoy every step, slow down, and breathe deeply.
Ultreia!
 

Suzanne H

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Baztan and Frances 2017
#59
One more thing… I spent a week in Santiago and did not rush home (I had the luxury of time). I thoroughly enjoyed the sightseeing, the museums, the food, etc. and it gave me time to reset from my pilgrim mindset before heading back. I’m glad I did. I should add that your trip may unfold in many different ways, and being open to the changes is what makes it the perfect trip for you. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
On it now
#60
Hey guys!

I have a few *random questions* as I approach the Camino Frances this August 2018 (or end of July). Okay now I decided to walk the camino last week so I'm going to have to train + prep like a champ, but I'm up for the challenge! (Note: female + 22 y/o + 5ft 1in + 120lbs + size 6.5/7 shoe.) I have a few questions listed below - please answer any or all questions! Specifics are amazing! Anything said is greatly appreciated! I understand that everyone is different, so I would love to hear YOUR personal opinion even though it may differ! Thank you :)

1) Do you recommend staying in St Jean for one whole day (after arrival) and then leaving at 6am in the morning to start the Camino? // Similarly, do you recommend staying in Santiago de Compostela an extra day or two after completing the Camino? Or do most people just leave? Gotta plan flights. I am estimating a 33 (maybe 34) day walk.

Hi Caminomarie! I highly recommend making a reservation at the Orrison refuge, both to break up the first day and because it was the best evening of my Camino! That said, depending on what time you arrive in St. Jean, you might be able to see some things there that evening and the next morning, and begin at a leisurely pace with all the time you want to enjoy the AMAZING views up the Pyrenees!

2) Since this decision to walk is last minute - I do not have time to break in Merrel hiking shoes so I will probably buy Brooks Cascadia 8 (or secondly New Balance Vazee Summit V2 with Superfeet pain relief green sole support). What type of socks do you recommend? I was thinking Wrightsock double layer quarter socks under ankle SmartWool or Icebreaker socks. Any specific brand or style recommendations? Specifics would be much appreciated! What worked well for you to avoid blisters or heard worked well?! I also may bring Keen Whisper sandals - and then light flip flops for shower and night.

I had the same issue re: last-minute decision and no time to break in hiking shoes. Knowing I tend toward knee problems, I just got some Brook Ghosts 10...very light. I just had to be VERY CAREFUL to avoid rocks whenever possible, due to flexible sole. The one day I was talking intently with someone who chose the smooth part of the path, my feet hurt so badly I had to stop for a while.

3) I am considering bringing a CamelBak Chute 1L - as well as a Platypus 1L water bag for just in case. Do you recommend a .5L or 1L water bottle? Do you recommend a stainless steel water bottle to keep the water cold? (I am afraid of the weight of the water - I will probably bring a carabiner to connect to my front backpack).

No need for 2 water sources. My 20 oz. camelback was plenty...I never ran out because water is usually not hard to get. Note: they have a very light insulated one that kept the water cool - NICE on hot days.

4) I am planning on bringing a money belt to keep my passport + credit cards (2) + and cash to wear under my clothes. I am also considering a fanny pack or over-the-shoulder purse for my phone + cash + pilgrim passport. Q: Do you recommend a fanny pack or purse or nothing at all?

A friend of mine suggested a Scott e-vest, which I wore the whole time. Worked for me, cuz with all the pockets I always had what I needed organized and close at hand.

5) What do people usually do once they reach the Alberque - from 2pm until bedtime? I am considering bringing a Kindle Fire 7 16GB (would have to buy one) - do you recommend it or should I leave the extra weight at home? I could just use my phone for entertainment + audio books + videos // and write in a journal.

LOL...I wouldn't know about that...only experienced it ONCE! I was slow and arrived with barely enough time to shower, wash and hang my clothes (honestly, often found machines to do it), eat, and get ready for the next day!

6) To avoid bed bugs, I will use a Sea to Summit Coolmax Insect Repellent sleeping liner (instead of a sleeping bag). Any experience with it? Any bed bug prevention advice?

I got bedbugs once along the Way...NOT PLEASANT. The liner sounds like a winner if it doesn't surround you in toxic chemicals all night! :)

7) Any other advice at all?! I've research a TON and its getting overwhelming but would love to know any tips of WHAT TO DO + WHAT TO EXPECT + WHAT TO NOT DO.

I was told to bring things that dry quickly...I tried, but NOT everything that says it's quick-dry is. Try them out first...nothing worse than putting damp clothes in a hot backpack all day!!!

I brought 3 of everything so that if there was not enough time for clothes to dry, I wouldn't have to be stinky the next day.

Despite what I was told, I found a BIG difference in the type of albergues. I quickly ditched the municipal ones when I could avoid them - cheaper, but I felt like I was being herded into a concentration camp. The more people, the more noise, the less toilet paper, more chance of bedbugs...OK, more opportunity for camraderie but that wasn't my priority.

I am responding without reading other responses, so forgive repeats. I wore compression stockings which I attribute to my having no blisters, but I always wear them...they are hard to get used to. FootGlide seems to work very well without getting your socks oily. The two things that cause blisters are friction and moisture, so anything you can do to minimize those two should help. I used light, breathable socks and my shoes were breathable, too.

For a towel I found a simple, thin washcloth was enough...just dried each limb, wrung it out, and it dried very quickly and took little space. I'd gone with an expensive REI microfiber towel that didn't dry and quickly ditched it.

Though they say the albergues have WiFi, it RARELY worked well and I rue all the time lost trying to use it. I often had to revert to using data and had $100 phone bill afterward. If you purchase beforehand a disposable European phone, you don't have to worry about WiFi - all EU folks have unlimited data on their network.

That's my 2 cents! Hope something helps!
Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
#61
You can answer your own questions by simply testing all your gear at home. Walk in the local park for 6 hours with your pack. Did you bring enough food and water?

Sleep on the floor in sleeping bag. If you were not warm enough, try something different.

You cannot perfectly duplicate the Camino at home, but you can get a good approximation to train your body and test your gear. What works for one person may not work for you.


-Paul
 

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