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Camping Question - Things that go 'bite' in the Night

Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
For those who have walked the VdlP.

I know a shelter is not required, but I kind of have a hankering to maybe 'sleep rough' now and again, particularly in some remote very scenic area. Of course following the rules, carry everything out, leave only footprints etc etc.

So I've been researching ultra lite shelters like tarps, or 1 person tents. Amazingly lightweight.
I'll go ultralite if only using a few nights. Like 500-600 g for a tarp/tent and sleeping mat combined!

But my question is this.

What about creepy crawlies! :eek:

I know it's sad. For a guy who was in the Military for 22 years and slept in holes in the ground and worse...... :oops:

But I think it was moving to Australia 25 years ago that did it.
Many things that creep and crawl here, not only bite, but can potentially kill you....... even stuff in the garden.
(check out the Funnel Web spider who happens to be a native of the area that I live in, and Yes I have seen some)
Furthermore, at the other end of the 'lethality' scale, I'm like catnip for Mosquitoes for some reason.

So whilst the 'idea' of a few nights under the stars is quite appealing, what are the realities when it comes to the local wildlife. What does one need to keep an eye open for?

The Vipers seem limited to Northern areas and there are only 3-6 snake bites a year in Spain anyway.
No lethal spiders by all accounts.
Seems like scorpions might be the only issue, though again they seem not to be lethal varieties.

Any thoughts from VdlP 'old hands'..........

Do I camp in Australia? Not a hope in Hell! :cool:
 
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linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
@Robo I cannot speak to the creepy crawlies or other things that go bump in the night, but have you considered a hammock? If you walk in warmer weather ... above 70F ... you can get by without an under quilt or pad. Many have a built-in no-see-um netting. It can be more comfortable than a sleeping pad on the ground. 👣 :D :cool:
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
@Robo I cannot speak to the creepy crawlies or other things that go bump in the night, but have you considered a hammock? If you walk in warmer weather ... above 70F ... you can get by without an under quilt or pad. Many have a built-in no-see-um netting. It can be more comfortable than a sleeping pad on the ground. 👣 :D :cool:

Yes I did think about a Hammock. And did some research.
But they need trees or something to sling them........
That could limit the use a bit?
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Deer, pigs, wolves, vipers, newts, salamanders, moles...
Don't touch the salamanders and newts - poisonous secretions on their skin. I did come across a wolf print on the Invierno. Nothing like Australia though! My partner is a professional wildlife spotter and loves his reptiles. Useful person to hike with! My favourite critter was the jewelled lacerta we came across at Ponte Ulla.
 
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linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
Yes I did think about a Hammock. And did some research.
But they need trees or something to sling them........
That could limit the use a bit?
Yes, it would be best to hang between trees. However, you could go to ground with the hammock, but then you would ideally need a sleeping pad.

I have the Zpacks - Duplex tent. It sets up with trekking poles, and is ~20oz. I just used it this past weekend. There are 1 person tents on the site as well.

I am just not comfortable with stuff crawling on me at night either. 👣😃😎
IMG_0902.jpg
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Hi Robo, I've only slept a few nights out on the camino under a glorified bivy - either Gatewood Cape or Trailstar - and had no real issues with bugs. But if I'm not behind a mesh I do like to plug my ears.. 😧
You don't really get much in the way of trees to hang a hammock on until you get to Sanabria, except for the Extremadura oak woods inhabited by the iberico pigs, and around the occasional homestead amidst miles of open and fielded plains.
I didn't see any salamanders until Galicia - if that's what those striking yellow and black creatures are that seem to get washed into the road paths after rain... and presumably newts are going to be beside water?
linkster's Zpacks tent is indubitably fab - but a big investment if it's just for the camino - and it's getting into that whole camping thing, rather than just rolling up under a half-shelter like a bivy or tarp.
Having said that, if you are still thinking about actual tents, there's a lot of positive chat at the moment on the trek-lite forum about the Dan Durston tents. And what's great is that he, the designer comes on the forum and answers everyone's questions, plaudits and moans http://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/dan-durston-massdrop-x-mid.4960/
Cheers, tom
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
20 oz! That's heavy :cool:

Amazing technology these days.
I found this one at only 15 oz.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
20 oz! That's heavy :cool:

Amazing technology these days.
I found this one at only 15 oz.
Yep that's the one. But it it pricey like @peregrino_tom said. There are other options like MSR Mesh House, but it needs a separate fly. Do use use a poncho or rain jacket? If poncho, you may be able to use that as the fly.

PS: Gossamer Gear has a sylnylon tent that is 1/3 the price of the Duplex.
 

WildPlace

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2013, 2015
Via de la Plata (2021)
Ants. Plenty of ants in Spain (i have a friend that studies them), i would be loathe to sleep in a bivvy bag. Husband once used a hammock in Andalusia and was disturbed from his nap being over-run by ants that had climbed the tree and tightrope walked along the hammock fastenings 😂
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Ants. Plenty of ants in Spain (i have a friend that studies them), i would be loathe to sleep in a bivvy bag. Husband once used a hammock in Andalusia and was disturbed from his nap being over-run by ants that had climbed the tree and tightrope walked along the hammock fastenings 😂

Now that.............does not sound like fun!

I gotten bitten by an ant at the weekend whilst gardening. Very painful!
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I have seen wolves a couple of years between Rabanal del Camino and El Acebo so I always wait till dawn to travel along that route.

On the other hand, I live in a suburban development in a populated area of eastern, PA and we have spotted not just a couple of coyotes as well as black bears, ticks, snakes, red aunts, etc. It just goes with camping. Sleeping in a bunk bed once or twice a Camino is as wild as my worn bones can now handle. Not sure if you have to worry much about bed bugs outdoors ? 😀
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
A couple of years ago I followed the blog of a couple who walked the Vdlp and used a tarp ocassionally some of the time. They never spoke of any critters, but most of their walk was in late January/February. I do recall they did have some cold weather, which I'm sure helped.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
Yes I did think about a Hammock. And did some research.
But they need trees or something to sling them........
That could limit the use a bit?
People who swear by them say that they can still function as shelters if you can't find any trees to hang them from. I think you'd find plenty of places to hang a hammock on the stages north of Merida. I can't speak to the stages further south.

On my first Camino, I spent two nights under the stars in the south of Spain with no shelter at all (early October). I can't say it was comfortable but the following year I took a tent on a walk through southern England and it was much better. On both trips, the only scare was from birdlife that made some terrifying screeches. To keep mozzies at bay, I recommend getting some military grade repellent.
 

FSP

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
To go straight to your question about things that crawl in the night I can relate this experience from a young couple I met on the norte. The took a ground sheet and sleeping bags with them to sleep out under the stars on occasion. They soon gave up after waking up each morning covered in slugs and snails. Didn't seem to matter what their surroundings were, they were just everywhere. While harmless they do leave quite a mess to deal with.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
Those dyneema tents look the part, user reviews are very favourable. But..... The cost. For anyone outside the US, postage, customs and import duties can add up to a 20% minimum increase to the US price.

Lightweight tarps are seriously good and so easy to set up in lots of different configurations. A cheapy light airbed to go with it and you're probably talking about an extra kilo maximum of weight, but can be half that weight by spending very little extra.

Now the thing about a tarp is that they can double up as a rain cloak so no need for a rain jacket, poncho or rucksack raincover.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Just to add to your list of worries, how about wild boar :)
https://www.theolivepress.es/spain-...pmarket-urbanisation-on-spains-costa-del-sol/ & they are found all over Spain. (Joking aside, hiking in South of France the local fire brigade warned me to be really careful of the wild boar!)

I biked the VDLP north to south and mostly stayed in luxury but there were some beautiful places for a spot of wild camping - quite envious of your plans. I had a mix of searing heat, a number of days of torrential thunderstorms and some snow so the camping might not be quite as romantic as it sounds. Enclosed mesh 'thing' definitely the way to go if you don't like bugs, lightweight tent much nicer (imho) if you have the finances. Make sure you have stuff to carry extra water & food, VDLP is pretty empty for long stretches.
 
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2021 Camino Guides
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
Hello. I’ve wild camped quite a bit in Spain and I have had more problems with bugs and wildlife in the beds then on the ground. The only unexpected bugs to look out for are caterpillars with poisonous body hair. They are found in groups usually long single file lines and are easy to avoid. Ants are common but not too active in the dark.
I take a very light bivy bag and I cut down quarter inch foam pad just for shoulder and hip, and have a small piece of mosquito net. I have occasionally rigged a Walking stick and a raincoat to deal with unexpected rain. My total extra weight to be able to sleep outside is less than a half kilogram as I like to carry a lite sleeping bag sprayed with a bit of insect repellent anyway to use even in dicey hotels. The option of being able to sleep comfortably without a roof is very liberating.
good luck,
Gary
 

Nev Sheather

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Walking now (2017)
For those who have walked the VdlP.

I know a shelter is not required, but I kind of have a hankering to maybe 'sleep rough' now and again, particularly in some remote very scenic area. Of course following the rules, carry everything out, leave only footprints etc etc.

So I've been researching ultra lite shelters like tarps, or 1 person tents. Amazingly lightweight.
I'll go ultralite if only using a few nights. Like 500-600 g for a tarp/tent and sleeping mat combined!

But my question is this.

What about creepy crawlies! :eek:

I know it's sad. For a guy who was in the Military for 22 years and slept in holes in the ground and worse...... :oops:

But I think it was moving to Australia 25 years ago that did it.
Many things that creep and crawl here, not only bite, but can potentially kill you....... even stuff in the garden.
(check out the Funnel Web spider who happens to be a native of the area that I live in, and Yes I have seen some)
Furthermore, at the other end of the 'lethality' scale, I'm like catnip for Mosquitoes for some reason.

So whilst the 'idea' of a few nights under the stars is quite appealing, what are the realities when it comes to the local wildlife. What does one need to keep an eye open for?

The Vipers seem limited to Northern areas and there are only 3-6 snake bites a year in Spain anyway.
No lethal spiders by all accounts.
Seems like scorpions might be the only issue, though again they seem not to be lethal varieties.

Any thoughts from VdlP 'old hands'..........

Do I camp in Australia? Not a hope in Hell! :cool:
I was told by a local, on the Norte route, that they are re-introducing bears....... having said that, the people I saw 'sleeping rough' seldom seemed to have great places to sleep at, the routes are not set up for camping spots.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Don’t forget - sharks!!!

Of course! You don't catch me swimming in the sea here either!
I love the way the TV News reports that someone was 'bitten' by a Shark........
It's a bit like saying a pedestrian was 'nudged' by a Bus whilst crossing the road. :oops:
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
Way off topic, but a short story about sharks.

Several years ago, we towed the flats boat behind the big boat to Useppa Island. We were there during "Shark Week" on TV. The boys were watching Shark Week every night after dinner. Mid week I suggested we go water skiing on the backside of the island. The boys were a little reluctant to just jump in and try it which is unusual because they are adventurous and are in the water all the time. I thought they were just nervous beginners, so I jumped in, and skied to show them how. Then came their turn. They were pleading, almost teary, and scared. I didn't get it ... finally Denice said they have been Watching Shark week all week. DUH!o_O
 
Year of past OR future Camino
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
I was told by a local, on the Norte route, that they are re-introducing bears....... having said that, the people I saw 'sleeping rough' seldom seemed to have great places to sleep at, the routes are not set up for camping spots.
Bears on the Norte!? Well, scratch the Norte for this boy then.

I have rapidly decamped prime fishing waters in bear country upon seeing fresh, dinner-plate sized tracks on mud flats and sand bars. (This is despite being armed with both a large-bore firearm and liter-size canister of bear spray.) Why?

Because I understand the simple wisdom attached.....
 

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Old Bamboo

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, Francigena, KumanoKodo,Benedetto, Iseji, Assisi, Kunisaki, Shikoku 88 (1~24), Kohechi,Dajia Mazu
Three years ago on another camino (not VDLP) i was rough camping and during the night my tent was charged by wild animals ripping a small hole in the side. The animal ran over the tent which being a pop-up sprang back up. They then stood beside the tent making noises while i cowered inside being as quiet as possible. When they finally left i quickly packed up and fled. I never really knew what animal(s) it was but i assumed boars as i'd seen some although i also saw deer and it could've been them. I figured the food i had inside had attracted them even though it was in plastic containers. Quite the unwanted experience in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere!
 
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somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
Don't exactly know why, but I always assumed you were female.
Hmmmm... let's just say that my working life started among a bevy of nurses in a large metro hospital, then graduated into being surrounded by a dear wife of over four decades and four daughters from our life together. Throw in a mother-in-law living with us for many years and our son who was rapidly schooled by his sisters.

Yeah, I communicate with a bit more sensitivity than one might expect. It is a survival instinct....though "Camino-ing" has also had an impact.;)

B
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hmmmm... let's just say that my working life started among a bevy of nurses in a large metro hospital, then graduated into being surrounded by a dear wife of over four decades and four daughters from our life together. Throw in a mother-in-law living with us for many years and our son who was rapidly schooled by his sisters.

Yeah, I communicate with a bit more sensitivity than one might expect. It is a survival instinct....though "Camino-ing" has also had an impact.;)

B
Thank you, B!
I appreciate this little window you have shared about your life, and I have often enjoyed your posts on the forum. 😊
 
Year of past OR future Camino
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
Three years ago on another camino (not VDLP) i was rough camping and during the night my tent was charged by wild animals ripping a small hole in the side. The animal ran over the tent which being a pop-up sprang back up. They then stood beside the tent making noises while i cowered inside being as quiet as possible. When they finally left i quickly packed up and fled. I never really knew what animal(s) it was but i assumed boars as i'd seen some although i also saw deer and it could've been them. I figured the food i had inside had attracted them even though it was in plastic containers. Quite the unwanted experience in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere!
A good post and brought up a thought that I do not recall being addressed here. Specifically about food in tents...

Simply put, food does not belong in tents - EVER!

I will go one step further. (But wait, there is one more!) When camping out, my "food preparation clothes" also do not remain in the tent. Rather than pack extra clothes, I have always used a trash bag apron or poncho while cooking.

The cooking apron/poncho, and leftover food, are put in a garbage sack and tied up in a tree at least 50 meters from the campsite and 10 feet above ground.

The last bit? (And I am looking at the guys here...:p) Should you have an urge to ummm... "surrender the lease" on a late night beverage? Again, get yourselves 50 meters away from your tent before doing so. A lot of critters enjoy a windfall salt lick and your "leavings" are worth fighting over. How do I know?

Because a buddy and I were doing a long day-hike above Avalanche Creek (Glacier Nat'l Park - USA) and spent most of the day, past our arrival above the tree line, doing corporal works of mercy. No sneering here, we were both educated by the experience almost a half-century back....

A guy our age had "the urge" but no impetus to walk ten feet from his tent. Mountain goats descended upon the bounty he provided and fought over it for the night. His tent, pack, and much of his clothing was destroyed. After checking him over for serious damage, we stuffed the remains of his camp into trash bags that we had with us, tied them off to our packs, and carried him off the mountain to the village of Apgar where he was treated and released. (We did charge him a beer at the Lake McDonald Lodge so it was not pure charity.)

Do NOT under-estimate the damage that can be done by cloven hooves. This fellow's Primus Stove had been literally cut, sharply, in half. His exterior frame pack had no chance of being salvaged...each major section looked like a snake with scoliosis. Hope this helps...

B
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
A good post and brought up a thought that I do not recall being addressed here. Specifically about food in tents...

Simply put, food does not belong in tents - EVER!

I will go one step further. (But wait, there is one more!) When camping out, my "food preparation clothes" also do not remain in the tent. Rather than pack extra clothes, I have always used a trash bag apron or poncho while cooking.

The cooking apron/poncho, and leftover food, are put in a garbage sack and tied up in a tree at least 50 meters from the campsite and 10 feet above ground.

The last bit? (And I am looking at the guys here...:p) Should you have an urge to ummm... "surrender the lease" on a late night beverage? Again, get yourselves 50 meters away from your tent before doing so. A lot of critters enjoy a windfall salt lick and your "leavings" are worth fighting over. How do I know?

Because a buddy and I were doing a long day-hike above Avalanche Creek (Glacier Nat'l Park - USA) and spent most of the day, past our arrival above the tree line, doing corporal works of mercy. No sneering here, we were both educated by the experience almost a half-century back....

A guy our age had "the urge" but no impetus to walk ten feet from his tent. Mountain goats descended upon the bounty he provided and fought over it for the night. His tent, pack, and much of his clothing was destroyed. After checking him over for serious damage, we stuffed the remains of his camp into trash bags that we had with us, tied them off to our packs, and carried him off the mountain to the village of Apgar where he was treated and released. (We did charge him a beer at the Lake McDonald Lodge so it was not pure charity.)

Do NOT under-estimate the damage that can be done by cloven hooves. This fellow's Primus Stove had been literally cut, sharply, in half. His exterior frame pack had no chance of being salvaged...each major section looked like a snake with scoliosis. Hope this helps...

B
A good post and brought up a thought that I do not recall being addressed here. Specifically about food in tents...

Simply put, food does not belong in tents - EVER!

I will go one step further. (But wait, there is one more!) When camping out, my "food preparation clothes" also do not remain in the tent. Rather than pack extra clothes, I have always used a trash bag apron or poncho while cooking.

The cooking apron/poncho, and leftover food, are put in a garbage sack and tied up in a tree at least 50 meters from the campsite and 10 feet above ground.

The last bit? (And I am looking at the guys here...:p) Should you have an urge to ummm... "surrender the lease" on a late night beverage? Again, get yourselves 50 meters away from your tent before doing so. A lot of critters enjoy a windfall salt lick and your "leavings" are worth fighting over. How do I know?

Because a buddy and I were doing a long day-hike above Avalanche Creek (Glacier Nat'l Park - USA) and spent most of the day, past our arrival above the tree line, doing corporal works of mercy. No sneering here, we were both educated by the experience almost a half-century back....

A guy our age had "the urge" but no impetus to walk ten feet from his tent. Mountain goats descended upon the bounty he provided and fought over it for the night. His tent, pack, and much of his clothing was destroyed. After checking him over for serious damage, we stuffed the remains of his camp into trash bags that we had with us, tied them off to our packs, and carried him off the mountain to the village of Apgar where he was treated and released. (We did charge him a beer at the Lake McDonald Lodge so it was not pure charity.)

Do NOT under-estimate the damage that can be done by cloven hooves. This fellow's Primus Stove had been literally cut, sharply, in half. His exterior frame pack had no chance of being salvaged...each major section looked like a snake with scoliosis. Hope this helps...

B
You’re comment about food management is excellent. I wish I had remembered to mention it. It has been many years since I walked the Dela plata but I remember on one occasion being warned that one of the large ranches I would be crossing that day might have guard dogs still out. Evidently they were let out to watch the cattle at night and sometimes not put in the pen before the pilgrims started arriving.
I think maybe loose dogs are by far the most likely larger animal you are likely to encounter. I’ve never had a problem with them except when near a house and they thought I was invading their territory.
You’re certainly right about salt attracting animals. I remember waking up somewhere in glacier national Park with a porcupine chewing the salt out of my hair.
Still,compared with being caught in unexpected weather with equipment insufficient to keep dry and warm or taking the wrong street at night in any large city, creepy crawleys are really not much to worry about.
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I am loving this thread - re urine and distance .. may attract goats (obviously does) it has the opposite effect on wolves - leave a circle of urine 'samples' around your perimeter and wolves will not cross it.

Scorpions will not cross Lavender .... everything else will just go straight for you I think :D.

Robo - I think you need to think from the ground up (no pun intended). You want a tent that has insect screens - me too! - but you want it super-light for your backpack so high costs arrive, but then you will need a real sleeping mat rather than a thin one, good bag ... and hey .. like coffee or tea in the mornings? then a stove, fuel, mug .. hhmm ... make some pasta in the evening? .. pot, water .. cutlery ... you can see where this is going? - now, you just cannot do that with a pack without spending a fortune and even then your day walking will be painful - so start at the beginning is what I say - maybe think about getting a trailer, or make a trailer. (a 2 wheel trailer, not a monopod as they leave half the weight on your hips).

A trailer replacing a backpack reduces energy expenditure by 80%. When on Camino, with my first aid packs and back up first aid supplies I start day one with an all up weight of just over 17 kilos - but it is on a trailer so I walk along, smiling and non sweaty, kissing my hand to struggling pilgrims as I pass ;) -

- so if you had a trailer you could build yourself a rather pleasant camping kit at much lower cost - don't you think?
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Bears on the Norte!? Well, scratch the Norte for this boy then.
Robin Walker in his Cicerone guide for the Cordillera Cantabrica (the much wilder, higher and remoter area of mountains running between the Frances and Norte) writes:
'..just remember that if the worst comes to the worst and a bear is squaring up to kill you, there are two thoughts which will surely soften the blow, so to speak. The first is that you have found the needle in the proverbial haystack, something many of us would dearly love to do; and secondly, you are about to make international radio, TV and press headlines as the first person killed by a bear in northern Spain in a century or so.'
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
No food in tents is surely only from the US type of perspective. Hiking in the UK and most of Europe the chances of coming across anything that could cause severe damage to your tent is extremely rare. More chances of being hurt by bullocks or cows with calfs than anything else.
 
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D

Deleted member 34316

Guest
I would never go for wild camping in Andalucía or Extramadura (the first half of the VdlP) because of the wild boars, there are many of them, and myself I have seen them twice on Via de la Plata (once I almost got a heart attack because it ran just in front of me). Wild boars became a real issue and for example last year local government of Andalucía introduced the state of "emergencia cinegética" caused by overpopulation of wild boars and feral pigs. It is similar if not worse in Extremadura. Wild boar is called jabalí, you can search Yotube for jabalí en Andalucía or jabalí en Extremadura to find some interesting videos (mostly made by hunters).

Thank you, but no "sleeping rough" on VdlP for me!
The North and South of Spain are two different worlds.
When you go to the south of Spain to walk in nature, it's a bit like going to a safari 🦒🦘🦣🦓🐪

Wild pig grazing in the pasture, in Extremadura, Spain (stock photo)
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
You’re certainly right about salt attracting animals. I remember waking up somewhere in glacier national Park with a porcupine chewing the salt out of my hair.
My son hiked the whole of the Colorado Trail three years ago. He had purchased a rather expensive ultra-lite tent that used hiking poles to set up the tent instead of normal tent poles. The hand grips on his hiking poles had lots of salt from his sweaty hands during the day. He woke up one morning to find chipmunks had not only licked the sweat off the hand grips, but also chewed and destroyed them, ruining his Leki poles.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
You’re certainly right about salt attracting animals. I remember waking up somewhere in glacier national Park with a porcupine chewing the salt out of my hair.

I love having my hair tousled. Wife, kids, and grandkids know it is the key to getting me to say "yes" to things...

Call me "kinky" but that sounds vaguely pleasurable. I'd probably let it finish while I drifted back to sleep.

That, and I would not want the beast to get alarmed and give me a new hair style called "Quills".

B
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
No food in tents is surely only from the US type of perspective. Hiking in the UK and most of Europe the chances of coming across anything that could cause severe damage to your tent is extremely rare. More chances of being hurt by bullocks or cows with calfs than anything else.
You are certainly right as regards to dangerous animals. On the other hand if you don’t learn to stash your food away from your tent even in Europe you will eventually meet a collection of interesting squirrels,mice,and enterprising stray dogs.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
I would never go for wild camping in Andalucía or Extramadura (the first half of the VdlP) because of the wild boars, there are many of them, and myself I have seen them twice on Via de la Plata (once I almost got a heart attack because it ran just in front of me). Wild boars became a real issue and for example last year local government of Andalucía introduced the state of "emergencia cinegética" caused by overpopulation of wild boars and feral pigs. It is similar if not worse in Extremadura. Wild boar is called jabalí, you can search Yotube for jabalí en Andalucía or jabalí en Extremadura to find some interesting videos (mostly made by hunters).

Thank you, but no "sleeping rough" on VdlP for me!
The North and South of Spain are two different worlds.
When you go to the south of Spain to walk in nature, it's a bit like going to a safari 🦒🦘🦣🦓🐪

Wild pig grazing in the pasture, in Extremadura, Spain (stock photo)
I had forgotten about the pigs. I replied to Jimmy Smith before I read your post.I guess the bottom line is he will sleep much more peacefully if you do not sleep with your food.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
A good post and brought up a thought that I do not recall being addressed here. Specifically about food in tents...

Simply put, food does not belong in tents - EVER!

I will go one step further. (But wait, there is one more!) When camping out, my "food preparation clothes" also do not remain in the tent. Rather than pack extra clothes, I have always used a trash bag apron or poncho while cooking.

The cooking apron/poncho, and leftover food, are put in a garbage sack and tied up in a tree at least 50 meters from the campsite and 10 feet above ground.

The last bit? (And I am looking at the guys here...:p) Should you have an urge to ummm... "surrender the lease" on a late night beverage? Again, get yourselves 50 meters away from your tent before doing so. A lot of critters enjoy a windfall salt lick and your "leavings" are worth fighting over. How do I know?

Because a buddy and I were doing a long day-hike above Avalanche Creek (Glacier Nat'l Park - USA) and spent most of the day, past our arrival above the tree line, doing corporal works of mercy. No sneering here, we were both educated by the experience almost a half-century back....

A guy our age had "the urge" but no impetus to walk ten feet from his tent. Mountain goats descended upon the bounty he provided and fought over it for the night. His tent, pack, and much of his clothing was destroyed. After checking him over for serious damage, we stuffed the remains of his camp into trash bags that we had with us, tied them off to our packs, and carried him off the mountain to the village of Apgar where he was treated and released. (We did charge him a beer at the Lake McDonald Lodge so it was not pure charity.)

Do NOT under-estimate the damage that can be done by cloven hooves. This fellow's Primus Stove had been literally cut, sharply, in half. His exterior frame pack had no chance of being salvaged...each major section looked like a snake with scoliosis. Hope this helps...

B
That made me laugh, when I was much younger a group of us walked in to a beach camping spot ( now a park) up north . It was quite a hike in, several hours across farms and we didnt notice that the last person forgot to shut a gate.
We woke up the next morning to find everything trampled into the ground, and giant footprints and cow pats everywhere, the ground and everything we left outside was literally covered in 'shit'. By leaving a gate open we had invited a herd of cows to camp with us.
I cant believe we never 'heard' them during the night.
 
Last edited:
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
No food in tents is surely only from the US type of perspective. Hiking in the UK and most of Europe the chances of coming across anything that could cause severe damage to your tent is extremely rare. More chances of being hurt by bullocks or cows with calfs than anything else.
You wont encounter dangerous animals in NZ , but we do have kleptomaniac birds. We learned the hard way to put anything portable; hair ties, combs, matches, teaspoons, towels, utensils, leftover food etc in the tent. The cheeky wekas wait until its quiet and then steal everything they can from the tent site. We were blaming each other until we saw them one night. If you dont actually catch them at it, you can never find your stuff again, they can take it quite far away.
They are cute though, and quite bold for a wild bird.
1606470430199.png
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
You are certainly right as regards to dangerous animals. On the other hand if you don’t learn to stash your food away from your tent even in Europe you will eventually meet a collection of interesting squirrels,mice,and enterprising stray dogs.
Never happened to me nor to many, many mates in the UK over many years. I tend to walk for a fortnight at a time a few times a year and stealth camp. Be interesting to know where about in these Islands you came across the problems you mention.
 

meni

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May (2019)
For those who have walked the VdlP.

I know a shelter is not required, but I kind of have a hankering to maybe 'sleep rough' now and again, particularly in some remote very scenic area. Of course following the rules, carry everything out, leave only footprints etc etc.

So I've been researching ultra lite shelters like tarps, or 1 person tents. Amazingly lightweight.
I'll go ultralite if only using a few nights. Like 500-600 g for a tarp/tent and sleeping mat combined!

But my question is this.

What about creepy crawlies! :eek:

I know it's sad. For a guy who was in the Military for 22 years and slept in holes in the ground and worse...... :oops:

But I think it was moving to Australia 25 years ago that did it.
Many things that creep and crawl here, not only bite, but can potentially kill you....... even stuff in the garden.
(check out the Funnel Web spider who happens to be a native of the area that I live in, and Yes I have seen some)
Furthermore, at the other end of the 'lethality' scale, I'm like catnip for Mosquitoes for some reason.

So whilst the 'idea' of a few nights under the stars is quite appealing, what are the realities when it comes to the local wildlife. What does one need to keep an eye open for?

The Vipers seem limited to Northern areas and there are only 3-6 snake bites a year in Spain anyway.
No lethal spiders by all accounts.
Seems like scorpions might be the only issue, though again they seem not to be lethal varieties.

Any thoughts from VdlP 'old hands'..........

Do I camp in Australia? Not a hope in Hell! :cool:
“Sea to Summit” make a wonderful enclosed mesh net that weighs next to nothing - this would keep out any creepy crawly!!!
 
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geraldkelly

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
I've walked the Via in its entirety three times and I've never seen (or spoken to anyone who had seen) any of the potentially dangerous animals mentioned above.

I've never camped myself but I've met lots of people who did, either all the time or some times. They never mentioned any problems with wildlife.

Whether it's worth it to carry your camping equipment 1000km because you think you might like to sleep out from time to time, that's another question!
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I wildcamped, without a tent but sometimes with a tarp, on the Mozarabe, VdlP, Sanabres etc., and was never disturbed by any creatures that sting, bite or go bump in the night. I did, however, wake up to find myself sharing my bivvy bag with gastropods in Galicia - utterly harmless but not pleasant as slugs do not respect the camping code to leave no (slimy) trace behind.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Year of past OR future Camino
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I've walked the VdlP in 2018. The wildest animals I encountered were a number of vultures, probably just waiting for walkers to collapse...

After turning left to follow the Via Sanabres (instead of joining the Frances) and entering Galicia, I stayed in a small Galician town. After sunset, in the twilight, I noticed a number of dogs starting to make howling sounds in the distance. There were no other noises to be heard, so it was a quite haunting sound.

The next morning I told the hospitalero about that experience and he explained that it hadn't been dogs, but wolves.

Thankfully wolves are in more danger of being eaten by me than the other way round!!

Well, I can't remember how long ago it is that the last pilgrim was killed by any kind of animal in Spain, so I'd say you can camp without being in danger.
 
D

Deleted member 34316

Guest
Thankfully wolves are in more danger of being eaten by me than the other way round!

If you don't come accross a wild boar on the VdlP, you can always have one on your plate in a restaurant in Extremadura, as this region is famous for game meat cuisine (maybe there's a reason for it 🤔)
"Jabalí hurdano" takes it's name from a region north of Cáceres where I would guess there must be many wild boars if they became a regional specialty...

Watch those hairy piggies in the city of Caceres (2 minutes video)
It's funny that the person with walking poles doesn't even slow down :)
 
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Karl G

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
August and September 2019 - Arles
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
And don't leave your shoes outside your tent either! My son had one of his 'stolen' by a dingo in outback Australia - just as well we were car camping and not walking! When hiking the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory we tied our shoes to our packs at night.
 

Joejoe

El Topo Verde.
Year of past OR future Camino
The French way, plus aiming to walk the mozarabe through to muxia.
For those who have walked the VdlP.

I know a shelter is not required, but I kind of have a hankering to maybe 'sleep rough' now and again, particularly in some remote very scenic area. Of course following the rules, carry everything out, leave only footprints etc etc.

So I've been researching ultra lite shelters like tarps, or 1 person tents. Amazingly lightweight.
I'll go ultralite if only using a few nights. Like 500-600 g for a tarp/tent and sleeping mat combined!

But my question is this.

What about creepy crawlies! :eek:

I know it's sad. For a guy who was in the Military for 22 years and slept in holes in the ground and worse...... :oops:

But I think it was moving to Australia 25 years ago that did it.
Many things that creep and crawl here, not only bite, but can potentially kill you....... even stuff in the garden.
(check out the Funnel Web spider who happens to be a native of the area that I live in, and Yes I have seen some)
Furthermore, at the other end of the 'lethality' scale, I'm like catnip for Mosquitoes for some reason.

So whilst the 'idea' of a few nights under the stars is quite appealing, what are the realities when it comes to the local wildlife. What does one need to keep an eye open for?

The Vipers seem limited to Northern areas and there are only 3-6 snake bites a year in Spain anyway.
No lethal spiders by all accounts.
Seems like scorpions might be the only issue, though again they seem not to be lethal varieties.

Any thoughts from VdlP 'old hands'..........

Do I camp in Australia? Not a hope in Hell! :cool:
Robo,
I walked that route this year and took a tent, never any problems with creepy things, wild camping is illegal in Spain so you have to pick your spot , we had no trouble with pitching up.
Plus its a good idea in the current situation.
Joe.
 

Martin64

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2nd 2017
For those who have walked the VdlP.

I know a shelter is not required, but I kind of have a hankering to maybe 'sleep rough' now and again, particularly in some remote very scenic area. Of course following the rules, carry everything out, leave only footprints etc etc.

So I've been researching ultra lite shelters like tarps, or 1 person tents. Amazingly lightweight.
I'll go ultralite if only using a few nights. Like 500-600 g for a tarp/tent and sleeping mat combined!

But my question is this.

What about creepy crawlies! :eek:

I know it's sad. For a guy who was in the Military for 22 years and slept in holes in the ground and worse...... :oops:

But I think it was moving to Australia 25 years ago that did it.
Many things that creep and crawl here, not only bite, but can potentially kill you....... even stuff in the garden.
(check out the Funnel Web spider who happens to be a native of the area that I live in, and Yes I have seen some)
Furthermore, at the other end of the 'lethality' scale, I'm like catnip for Mosquitoes for some reason.

So whilst the 'idea' of a few nights under the stars is quite appealing, what are the realities when it comes to the local wildlife. What does one need to keep an eye open for?

The Vipers seem limited to Northern areas and there are only 3-6 snake bites a year in Spain anyway.
No lethal spiders by all accounts.
Seems like scorpions might be the only issue, though again they seem not to be lethal varieties.

Any thoughts from VdlP 'old hands'..........

Do I camp in Australia? Not a hope in Hell! :cool:
How about this? .......https://alpkit.com/products/soloist. Ive used this during 2020 doing some wild camping. and this to sleep on.......https://www.blacks.co.uk/15904974/oex-traverse-imx-inflatable-sleeping-mat-15904974/?istCompanyId=d92b362f-ac8a-4a8a-87ca-c56eafad795.
both are lightweight and the tent is direct from the manufacturer. I bought the tent footprint too which protects the ground sheet.
Next time i go on a Camino , these will be coming with me for sure.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
Robo,
I walked that route this year and took a tent, never any problems with creepy things, wild camping is illegal in Spain so you have to pick your spot , we had no trouble with pitching up.
Plus its a good idea in the current situation.
Joe.
Joejoe
The illegality of wild camping in Spain is not as clear-cut as it seems. Evidently the practice of walking until dark ,sleeping ,and continuing to walk at dawn is protected in a lot of provinces. I have heard that on the Frances Rioja is the only province or this practice is not specifically allowed.
Each of the park and conservation areas have their own regulations that they do take seriously.
In every conversation with local people the only objection anybody has offered to the practice of wild camping has been concerning my safety. And of course to fire. If it’s dry enough to light a fire easily-DON’T! And any evidence of a fire any time will make camping less welcome for everyone.
Your advice to just use good judgment in picking a location is spot on.
I found Spain to be the most welcoming country I have ever wild Camped in except maybe for Scotland. On the other hand Spain has a great selection of other sleeping options and sleeping on the ground is the least comfortable of all of these.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
Robo,
I walked that route this year and took a tent, never any problems with creepy things, wild camping is illegal in Spain so you have to pick your spot , we had no trouble with pitching up.
Plus its a good idea in the current situation.
Joe.
Joejoe
The illegality of wild camping in Spain is not as clear-cut as it seems. Evidently the practice of walking until dark ,sleeping ,and continuing to walk at dawn is protected in a lot of provinces. I have heard that on the Frances Rioja is the only province or this practice is not specifically allowed.
Each of the park and conservation areas have their own regulations that they do take seriously.
In every conversation with local people the only objection anybody has offered to the practice of wild camping has been concerning my safety. And of course to fire. If it’s dry enough to light a fire easily-DON’T! And any evidence of a fire any time will make camping less welcome for everyone.
Your advice to just use good judgment in picking a location is spot on.
I found Spain to be the most welcoming country I have ever wild Camped in except maybe for Scotland. On the other hand Spain has a great selection of other sleeping options and sleeping on the ground is the least comfortable of all of these.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
Robo
You might just be right. There is a bit of a learning curve involved and until you’re well upon that curve you’re not going to really sleep very well.
I’ve been doing this for almost 7 decades and I’m still discovering things I will try to remember not to do again.
The latest was a few years ago when I found a spot unusually soft green grass with a bit of surrounding brush so I wouldn’t be disturbed in the night and on a piece of semi public land near canal towpath and England. Perfect!
Did you know that golf courses are generally watered at night and not all the sprinklers are directed at the playing area?
I can still say that I love the freedom of being prepared to wild Camp and I have never had a genuinely unpleasant experience.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Robo
You might just be right. There is a bit of a learning curve involved and until you’re well upon that curve you’re not going to really sleep very well.
I’ve been doing this for almost 7 decades and I’m still discovering things I will try to remember not to do again.
The latest was a few years ago when I found a spot unusually soft green grass with a bit of surrounding brush so I wouldn’t be disturbed in the night and on a piece of semi public land near canal towpath and England. Perfect!
Did you know that golf courses are generally watered at night and not all the sprinklers are directed at the playing area?
I can still say that I love the freedom of being prepared to wild Camp and I have never had a genuinely unpleasant experience.

I'm a bit like that with boats. Sydney is a great place for them.
But I'm never 100% relaxed sleeping on board.
I'll check the anchor security and 'swing' of the boat at least once during the night.......
And wake to any strange noise.

I'm sure if I was 'sleeping out' I'd be the same, half awake all night.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
That’s a very good comparison. In a lot of locations I’m more comfortable without a tent. It is easier to keep track of your surroundings.
what is your boat? I just kind of passed on my West Sail 28 to a new owner. He’s doing an extensive upgrade and appears to be doing a great job. He says I can use it again
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
That’s a very good comparison. In a lot of locations I’m more comfortable without a tent. It is easier to keep track of your surroundings.
what is your boat? I just kind of passed on my West Sail 28 to a new owner. He’s doing an extensive upgrade and appears to be doing a great job. He says I can use it again

A Jeanneau 37'. But I 've learned my lesson about boats. After the initial honeymoon they get used less and less. So this one is a syndicate boat so i get to use it 1/12 th of the time, which is more than enough, and way cheaper!

The West Sail 28' looks great! Years back I had a Compass 29' which was quite similar. Loved it.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
Did someone say BOAT ... bring, out, another, thousand. 🤣 😂
 
D

Deleted member 34316

Guest
I think between the roving 'beasties' including the wild boar .....'sleeping out' might not be such a great idea
Rob, don't worry too much about wild boars on VdlP, I never said they are a danger to pilgrims, they won't attack if you don't scare them, and if you give them some food they can even be your friends and maybe follow you on the Camino.
On VdlP there are tons of animals but mostly domestic ones. You have to enter and close dozens of gates of private farms where you encounter all sorts of animals including free range black pigs, goats, sheep, horses, cows etc. There are so many gates on the way that sometimes you dont know if you are inside or outside of a farm.
The Iberian Pigs will welcome you on their land and ask you for some food (near El Real de la Jara):

IMG_1736.JPG
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
That was one of the things I liked best about the VdlP. I grew up on a farm and I still miss the livestock. The animals are not usually a problem but will greet you enthusiastically if they think that you might feed them.Pigs can get really pushy. I like to avoid being on the same side of the fence as a dairy bull but the animals I thought might have been young fighting bulls were very easy going.
The first rule of crossing any farm is to leave open gates open and closed gates securely closed.
I didn’t do any wild camping on this Caminobut I don’t remember seeing any problems finding a place to spend the night if you wanted. Plan well though. A lot of this Camino is a really long way from breakfast.
 
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