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Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
I don't consider that a compass is required. You will find that the route is very well waymarked.
Enjoy your space
moonwood said:
Is a compass recommended/essential on the Camino? I've never used one and not even sure I know how too. Is it required?
I will be bringing or rather attched to my zipper pack will be a whistle/temperature/compass with me which i bought in outdoor store a while back. I always bring it with me to help my bearings and temperature but never and hope not to use the whistle especially in the camino.

buen camino,
tonette :)


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2006)
In all the hundreds of kilometers of walking SJPP-Santiago I've never heard (or seen) anybody using a whistle. You don't need a thermometer; you'll know how cold is cold and when to put on the jacket. Compass? Useless. Use the sun for your bearings. It's always on your back in the morning, on your left side in mid-day, and right in front of you later in the day. The path is well waymarked. And if you can't find the yellow arrows? That's where the adventure begins!



I had a compass/whistle/thermometer attached to my backpack strap, and found it useful upon occassion. I missed the arrows leaving a fairly large town and used the compass to keep going in the right direction and meet up with the Camino again outside of town. Without it, I would have had to do some serious backtracking. It was sometimes also nice to be able to double check that I was going more-or-less in the right direction. The sun works early in the morning, but isn't much help on a cloudy day. Of course, I have absolutely no natural sense of direction, so your situation might be different. If you're one of those people who can sit down in an enclosed room and point to the west, don't bother with a compass.

The thermometer is only helpful if you want an excuse to feel sorry for yourself about exactly how hot or cold it is. :wink:


I got lost in France as the waymarking was really poor - only lost in the sense of walking left at a fork for a few hundred yards. Was carrying a lightweight monocular and used it to sight the other path where I saw a small waymark so retraced my steps and got on track - saved me who knows how far, compass? If you need one in the city you will need one on the camino, otherwise, no - and you never want to be that lost anyway!!


Though I have never used any instruments, I do have pilgrim friends that use "navigators" . I've seen them, but not a comp wiz here. Buen Camino, xm


Active Member
Whistles are good for when you're in trouble... They don't take up much weight or space, so why not? As another thread points out, the Camino can lay danger in your path.

Re: compass. Nah... Follow the little yellow arrows! One word of advice to make sure you're going in the right direction, especially in the dark would be to make sure you have a torch.


Look out for piles of stones that many times (not always) pilgrims leave on hard to follow roads. I have a friend who became an expert at reaing fooprints. I tried this last one, but could never not distinguish cows from humans :!: Buen Camino :arrow: xm 8)


Active Member
depends which camino.....
Frances, just follow the person ahead
Norte, primitivo, yep, and a map
Yellow arrows are not always so obvious on the less travelled routes.
Asking the locals works where there are people. Sometimes out of season there aren't so many to ask.
Whistle and thermometer?
Good grief!


:lol: Heck, diff strokes for diff folks...I think what matters is to be informed and then make choices that without any doubt will be tested on the Caminos. One can always mail things home or leave behind in albergues for others to use. Best, xm 8)


On the other hand...if a compass or any other gadgets like it would have been "required," I would have failed "Caminos 101," miserably! Best, xm 8)


Active Member
moonwood said:
Is a compass recommended/essential on the Camino?
As others have said, the Way is well-marked, so you shouldn't need one to follow the trail.

However - if you are spending a day sightseeing in a big, unfamiliar city (like Burgos, for example), a small, inexpensive compass is helpful. My sense of direction is less than perfect, and I can get turned around if I'm not careful. For me, combining a compass with a city map helps keep me from walking around in circles and getting lost. I've been saved by my tiny Rick Steves compass time and again during my travels in places like Paris, London, and Madrid...not to mention Burgos. :arrow:
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