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Considerations about Gear and Clothing Recommendations

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Foreword Note: I know this is a wordy post. :) For those who want to avoid the entire read, and get right to the conclusion, you can skip down to where you see +++

Many of you know that a large part of my life has been as a so-called 'expert' who is hired by backpacking gear and clothing and shoe manufacturers to evaluate their products for quality control, performance, and usability. My skill set includes one highly important ability that is essential for proper evaluation: To be able to set aside subjective concerns in order to focus on objective measurements and observations. Objective evaluation involves a lot of functional comparisons, including during actual use in similar conditions and circumstances.

Unless something that I am testing is brutally painful and debilitating, or dangerous, I can ignore what is less than ideal or slightly uncomfortable, and focus on the quality of the gear or clothing/shoe itself.

Example: I have tested shoes that I have absolutely hated wearing. I did not like how they 'felt' on my feet. At all. However, my role and focus during testing are Quality Control issues: construction, longevity, what is claimed for motion control, cushioning materials durability, stability, and traction issues, etc.

Of course I would make a note of WHY I did not like the feel of the shoe in my reports, but I avoided coloring my objective observations because of my dislike of those shoes.

That is why manufacturers will hire quite a few people to do the same testing, and to do the same testing throughout the period of time that a piece of gear or clothing is on the inventory for manufacture. They know that every individual tester 'feels' and 'interacts' with a product differently, just as their customers will. The manufacturer is seeking out common issues and problems with use, to account for the performance 'outliers', and to look for the weakness that occur during all spectrum's of use regardless of how the product gets used, or how it feels and fits.

The bottom line point: Many people will buy an item based solely on other people's subjective recommendations, rather than taking time to try out gear for fit and feel and usability based on their unique needs and wants. Online ordering has made this a quite common way for choosing what to purchase; Amazon-style ratings and reviews take the place of going into a store to touch, examine, and interact with a product.

Relying solely on opinions and ratings to decide on which light bulb or a crockpot to buy is workable. These things either work and function as intended, or not. I can read opinions and reviews for a stand mixer, sort out those opinions to only those who mix heavy bread doughs, and get a good idea of what real world performance will be like.

The same process is not so easy when needing to purchase trail runners, a new mattress for the bed, or a backpack for distance walking. There are too many individual considerations involved, all of which can lead to a massive failure for those who need a specific comfort level in a mattress, or a backpacks, or shoes, and clothing.

What feels good and performs well for one person, might be ‘Misery on A Stick’ for someone else.

Sleep systems are a good, overall example. These are sleeping bags, sleeping quilts, sleeping bag liners, air mattresses, or sleeping pads.

A well-intentioned individual makes a Forum post stating that a 'liner bag' is all that is needed for sleeping while on a Camino. Now, we have no knowledge of that individual's baseline temperature comfort level. Does that individual feel chilled inside an alburgue dorm room when the ambient temperature is at 80f (27c), or is s/he perfectly comfortable while standing outside, naked and soaked with water at 37f (3c)?.

When we then translate this issue to the process of shopping for a piece of sleeping gear, like a sleeping bag or a sleeping quilt, the largest problem for a consumer trying to figure out what to purchase, are a manufacturers stated Temperature Rating Ranges.

Because there is a huge variation of individual comfort while sleeping, there is no reliable baseline temperature that covers everyone. That is why sleeping bag and quilt manufacturers use a temperature 'range' to describe the parameters of its product to consumers. But that's not the problem in and of itself. The problem is HOW a manufacturer arrives at that comfort range. Some manufacturers can be a bit sneaky with this rating.

When I have been contacted by companies to test a bag or quilt or air mattress, I am asked various questions that boil down to this: "are you a cold or a hot sleeper'? That is an understandable question. The sneaky part comes in when they know that I am a hot sleeper and they are ONLY selecting hot sleepers. They want us hot sleepers (who would be comfortable with a wet sheet at 37f/3c ) to give 'thumbs up' to their desire to state a low temperature rating of, say, 32f/0c, for a sleeping bag that many might find uncomfortable at 45f (7c).

Yeah, it happens. . a lot more than I would have expected. If I find out that this is what is happening, I will quit. Fortunately, there are a lot of sleeping gear manufacturers who will bend over backwards to give as accurate a rating as is humanly reasonable.

+++ So what should be a primary consideration when a Forum member takes the time to post that "this pack, or "that shoe" or "that pant" is what they use and that they would recommend it to others?

Simple. Folks can consider personal recommendations not as recommendations to purchase a specific bit of gear or clothing. Instead, treat it as an item to add to your list of products to consider for a tryout to see how each might work for your needs. I do that all the time.

I would also highly recommend that shop local, especially now with the need to support local businesses during the COVID-19 Economic Pandemic. If the shop does not have exactly what you want, then see if they are willing to order it in for you to try out, even if it costs a bit more money than from an AmazonDecathalonREI. Do not take something that is less than suitable for your needs, but do make an effort to give local stores a first crack at earning your business. Just make sure you understand their returns policy if you try something and it doesn't work out.

I am asked a lot about what I would recommend for gear and clothing and shoes. I don't mind folks asking one bit. People who are novices are feeling around and trying to find a place to start.

I will share what I know from experience, or the experience of others who I know and trust, as to what a well-constructed and designed piece of gear or shoes or ... whatever . . might be that seems to fit what the person is looking for. My suggestions are for auditioning only to try it for fit and feel and personal usability; something to add to the list of items to consider before making a decision to purchase.

End Note, so feel free to stop reading :) : My current status as a Quality Control tester.

"Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger, baby, sometimes you're the ball. Sometimes it all comes together, sometimes you're going to lose it all" - - Dire Straits

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want" - - David, the King who had once been a shepherd.

Since becoming ill many months ago, and now beginning recovery in both body and spirit, I have had to temporarily decline most contracts to do quality control testing which would involve the real life testing of gear and clothing. What is happening, though, are that many companies, especially the bleeding-edge makers of gear and clothing in the cottage manufacturing sector, are still asking me to evaluate products. They ask that I stick to what is able to be observed and detailed aside from actively doing real world, hardcore, wear and use testing on the trail.

So while I am currently not out and about using stuff while on training hikes in the Cascades and on backpacking trips, I am providing feedback by loading up backpacks and checking their usability for packing stuff and accessing stuff, assessing where I can see issues of potential weakness, premature wear and stress, and for comfort and fit during my daily walks. I can wear trail runners when walking around the house and outside, and also giving various insulating layers and rain gear a go.

This is actually pretty anemic stuff compared to what I am normally hired to do, and in my heart I know part of this is because of the long history and relationships I have developed with these companies. More than a few of the owners and managers kept in close touch while I was dealing with AML treatments. Some even going so far as to offer jobs in their QA departments if I ever choose to move and live within commuting distance to their physical locations.

I know that they are being kind and have other options for gear testers, and that my involvement is superficial compared to doing actual real world testing for quality control issues. They will rely on other testers for those things.

This has never been a 'full-time job" for me, it has always been fitted in with my regular professional money making jobs in other fields. But it is something that has never felt like work, and has even, at times, made me feel a tad guilty for being paid.

I have no clue whether or not I will ever be able to provide a 'normal' level of testing, but for now I am grateful that it hasn't just disappeared altogether and I still get to touch and play with terrific gear and stuff. :)
 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Sometimes it's hard not to get carried away.
I met way to many people on the camino, that had equipment that - seemed to - make it harder for them to have a joyful experience. And yes, besides maybe fear of the unknown, i blamed this on the eager salesperson in the sporting goods shop that has everything from fishing to golf to hiking. Maybe out of this i developed a bit of a "zeal" to get people to rethink what they are carrying.
But then, i absolutely agree with you, what works for me does not have to work for someone else. I try to remember that when posting... but then, sometimes i don't.
For me, very personally, getting my gear solely from internet advice and online shops worked really good, even when i had absolutely no prior experience in long distance hiking or the camino (and no, i have only joined corresponding online communities after returning home). But then, the local sporting good store is kind of a letdown (and there is only the one). This might be vastly different in countries with a more educated community or bigger cities.

And in regard to the quality of equipment: I differentiate a bit what is good or excellent equipment, and what is good enough for the job. A GTX Pro Jacket with a 20.000mm water level might be great. Any flimsy 20€ rainjacket thats reasonably light will likely be sufficient for a summer camino...
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Sometimes it's hard not to get carried away.
I met way to many people on the camino, that had equipment that - seemed to - make it harder for them to have a joyful experience. And yes, besides maybe fear of the unknown, i blamed this on the eager salesperson in the sporting goods shop that has everything from fishing to golf to hiking. Maybe out of this i developed a bit of a "zeal" to get people to rethink what they are carrying.
But then, i absolutely agree with you, what works for me does not have to work for someone else. I try to remember that when posting... but then, sometimes i don't.
For me, very personally, getting my gear solely from internet advice and online shops worked really good, even when i had absolutely no prior experience in long distance hiking or the camino (and no, i have only joined corresponding online communities after returning home). But then, the local sporting good store is kind of a letdown (and there is only the one). This might be vastly different in countries with a more educated community or bigger cities.

And in regard to the quality of equipment: I differentiate a bit what is good or excellent equipment, and what is good enough for the job. A GTX Pro Jacket with a 20.000mm water level might be great. Any flimsy 20€ rainjacket thats reasonably light will likely be sufficient for a summer camino...

I think it is good for folks to know what possibilities exist for gear; that includes hyperlite and expensive, to lightweight and moderately priced, to the army/military surplus stuff that can be found dirt cheap. :)
Zeal is great!!! In the 1960's at the age of 14, my first 7 day solo backpacking trip through the North Cascades on the Cascade Crest Trail (now part of the PCT) had a total backpack weight of 57 pounds. . . food, gear, fuel, stove, cooking gear, sleeping gear etc. Today, that same load weighs around 16 pounds -and get lighter every day as food is eaten.

Your observation about the quality of equipment is something that goes hand-in-hand with how to assess the 'cost' of a piece of gear.

I encourage people, who can are able afford the expense, to never consider the price of a piece of gear or clothing as the primary factor in determining actual value. My criteria is based on Cost Per Mile (kilometer).

If I am needing gear to ONLY walk a 500 mile Camino, hyperlite clothing and gear become much more expensive to me, than if I need that same clothing and gear to last for 5,000 miles/8046 km.

Suddenly, that $125.00, two ounce/57 gm cuben fiber poncho not only contributes to an ultralight load, but it goes from costing about 0.25 cents per mile, to costing only 0.025 cents per mile. That $600.00, 19 ounce/ 539 gm tent goes from costing $1.20/mile to costing 0.12 cents/mile.

As with everything, each person's budget will determine how much one can and should invest in equipment. It does help, however, to consider that a less expensive tent that needs replacing every three years, can end up being far more expensive than a more expensive tent which will last for 6 years.

The technology changes in backpacking gear and clothing at the hyperlight side also keeps trickling down as the materials become cheaper to manufacture. Various nylon-based textiles that were so expensive that they were only used by higher end products, are now much cheaper and are seen even in Chinese goods at a Decathlon or Walmart or Big 5 Sporting. They bring the overall weight of these more budget friendly choices. Unfortunately, the overall workmanship and construction will still not be up to the toughness and durability of the high priced spreads.

BUT, as you said, it the gear is not so durable, but is pretty light, if the price is right it only needs to be 'just good enough'.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I think it is good for folks to know what possibilities exist for gear; that includes hyperlite and expensive, to lightweight and moderately priced, to the army/military surplus stuff that can be found dirt cheap. :)
Zeal is great!!! In the 1960's at the age of 14, my first 7 day solo backpacking trip through the North Cascades on the Cascade Crest Trail (now part of the PCT) had a total backpack weight of 57 pounds. . . food, gear, fuel, stove, cooking gear, sleeping gear etc. Today, that same load weighs around 16 pounds -and get lighter every day as food is eaten.

Your observation about the quality of equipment is something that goes hand-in-hand with how to assess the 'cost' of a piece of gear.

I encourage people, who can are able afford the expense, to never consider the price of a piece of gear or clothing as the primary factor in determining actual value. My criteria is based on Cost Per Mile (kilometer).

If I am needing gear to ONLY walk a 500 mile Camino, hyperlite clothing and gear become much more expensive to me, than if I need that same clothing and gear to last for 5,000 miles/8046 km.

Suddenly, that $125.00, two ounce/57 gm cuben fiber poncho not only contributes to an ultralight load, but it goes from costing about 0.25 cents per mile, to costing only 0.025 cents per mile. That $600.00, 19 ounce/ 539 gm tent goes from costing $1.20/mile to costing 0.12 cents/mile.

As with everything, each person's budget will determine how much one can and should invest in equipment. It does help, however, to consider that a less expensive tent that needs replacing every three years, can end up being far more expensive than a more expensive tent which will last for 6 years.

The technology changes in backpacking gear and clothing at the hyperlight side also keeps trickling down as the materials become cheaper to manufacture. Various nylon-based textiles that were so expensive that they were only used by higher end products, are now much cheaper and are seen even in Chinese goods at a Decathlon or Walmart or Big 5 Sporting. They bring the overall weight of these more budget friendly choices. Unfortunately, the overall workmanship and construction will still not be up to the toughness and durability of the high priced spreads.

BUT, as you said, it the gear is not so durable, but is pretty light, if the price is right it only needs to be 'just good enough'.
I love the "cost per km" model. Highly recommend!!!

I've been using it for years now with my shoes, packs and coats. As a non-driver who gave up using the bus to get to and from work after my first camino, I get about 3000 km per year on my stuff. Boots can last me 3-4 winters depending on conditions. "Summer" hikers only last me one year because I wear them from March to November. I think I worked it out to a total of about 15 cents per km, and I don't need a license or extra insurance...

edit: other basic gear included in my "per km" calculation include trousers that repel water and still look good in a meeting (MEC sandbaggers), an assortment of jackets, and rain gear, and my packs. And socks.

:)
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
And of course people giving advice more often than not give it based on the size of their own wallets.
This makes sense to me, but there are generally other factors involved when a walker/camper is making gear decisions based on his or her personal situation and the planned journey on foot. My most basic questions are: "What do I want to do?" and "What do I need to do it?" I want to walk the Levante, one of the longer and more solitary camino routes in Spain. Will the former accommodations be open after the pandemic or will I need to plan for very long days, and/or camping gear? If the latter, I would choose basic survival gear, adding a bivy bag and my lightweight sleeping mattress to my pack and trying to think what I can leave out. There are some simple albergues along that route, where the local police keep the keys and open up for pilgrims. This may be a good arrangement for the coming situation, and a good resource to find out about the situation in the next town. The tricky thing about this situation is that, if the camiino routes are open at all, information about the current situation and available facilities may be challenging to find and changing by the day, as businesses serving travellers decide whether and when to open. I cannot carry everything that I might need, so I shall need trust in the kindness of the Spanish people and faith in my calling to carry me through.
 
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?)
Great post @davebugg .

I would hope that most people take recommendations as merely a 'guide' or an 'idea' of stuff that might be worth checking out.

As buyers, we all need to do our own due diligence!

A case in point being @David recommending the Hiptsa Clip some time back as something worth looking at. I now swear by them. I would never have known they existed without his post.

Conversely, I'm not sure we need to wait for 'expert' reviews on any item that we buy, although they are immensely useful. I have seen expert reviews on items that would certainly not suit my needs or preferences. But they were useful in helping me decide.

The message for me, is 'do your own research'.
And make sure you get advice and reviews from a number of sources.
A good source for me, is someone who has walked 1,000 kms plus using the gear.
And who gives a balanced perspective.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I think it is good for folks to know what possibilities exist for gear; that includes hyperlite and expensive, to lightweight and moderately priced, to the army/military surplus stuff that can be found dirt cheap. :)
Zeal is great!!! In the 1960's at the age of 14, my first 7 day solo backpacking trip through the North Cascades on the Cascade Crest Trail (now part of the PCT) had a total backpack weight of 57 pounds. . . food, gear, fuel, stove, cooking gear, sleeping gear etc. Today, that same load weighs around 16 pounds -and get lighter every day as food is eaten.

Your observation about the quality of equipment is something that goes hand-in-hand with how to assess the 'cost' of a piece of gear.

I encourage people, who can are able afford the expense, to never consider the price of a piece of gear or clothing as the primary factor in determining actual value. My criteria is based on Cost Per Mile (kilometer).

If I am needing gear to ONLY walk a 500 mile Camino, hyperlite clothing and gear become much more expensive to me, than if I need that same clothing and gear to last for 5,000 miles/8046 km.

Suddenly, that $125.00, two ounce/57 gm cuben fiber poncho not only contributes to an ultralight load, but it goes from costing about 0.25 cents per mile, to costing only 0.025 cents per mile. That $600.00, 19 ounce/ 539 gm tent goes from costing $1.20/mile to costing 0.12 cents/mile.

As with everything, each person's budget will determine how much one can and should invest in equipment. It does help, however, to consider that a less expensive tent that needs replacing every three years, can end up being far more expensive than a more expensive tent which will last for 6 years.

The technology changes in backpacking gear and clothing at the hyperlight side also keeps trickling down as the materials become cheaper to manufacture. Various nylon-based textiles that were so expensive that they were only used by higher end products, are now much cheaper and are seen even in Chinese goods at a Decathlon or Walmart or Big 5 Sporting. They bring the overall weight of these more budget friendly choices. Unfortunately, the overall workmanship and construction will still not be up to the toughness and durability of the high priced spreads.

BUT, as you said, it the gear is not so durable, but is pretty light, if the price is right it only needs to be 'just good enough'.
Thanks Dave great advice. You are 100% correct about gear and suggestions. That is why I still use the same REÍ pack I bought 9 years, 5000k and 5 Camino’s ago. That is why I still will still use Brooks Cascadias. I am in my 7th pair since my first Camino. My wife bought me some Hokas and they do feel great but I am sticking with my Brooks. That is why i still use the same brand of socks, still have the same 23Euro Altus poncho and cheap and rain pants, the same brand of quick dry underwear, well you get the point. I know what works for me so even though my pack looks like it has been through the war and I am far from a well dressed pilgrim among pilgrims that aren’t fashion plates, I know what is comfortable. So why roll the dice? It is a long way to Santiago from Sevilla and would hate to hate everything in
my pack by the time I get to Cáceres!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
With permission from the person who raised the question, I've moved some posts to a new thread, here, on recommendations for a lightweight tent. They are worth a specific discussion in the Camping section, and the thread can be found in future by searching "tent" in the title.
 
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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 think it is good for folks to know what possibilities exist for gear; that includes hyperlite and expensive, to lightweight and moderately priced, to the army/military surplus stuff that can be found dirt cheap. :)
Zeal is great!!! In the 1960's at the age of 14, my first 7 day solo backpacking trip through the North Cascades on the Cascade Crest Trail (now part of the PCT) had a total backpack weight of 57 pounds. . . food, gear, fuel, stove, cooking gear, sleeping gear etc. Today, that same load weighs around 16 pounds -and get lighter every day as food is eaten.

Your observation about the quality of equipment is something that goes hand-in-hand with how to assess the 'cost' of a piece of gear.

I encourage people, who can are able afford the expense, to never consider the price of a piece of gear or clothing as the primary factor in determining actual value. My criteria is based on Cost Per Mile (kilometer).

If I am needing gear to ONLY walk a 500 mile Camino, hyperlite clothing and gear become much more expensive to me, than if I need that same clothing and gear to last for 5,000 miles/8046 km.

Suddenly, that $125.00, two ounce/57 gm cuben fiber poncho not only contributes to an ultralight load, but it goes from costing about 0.25 cents per mile, to costing only 0.025 cents per mile. That $600.00, 19 ounce/ 539 gm tent goes from costing $1.20/mile to costing 0.12 cents/mile.

As with everything, each person's budget will determine how much one can and should invest in equipment. It does help, however, to consider that a less expensive tent that needs replacing every three years, can end up being far more expensive than a more expensive tent which will last for 6 years.

The technology changes in backpacking gear and clothing at the hyperlight side also keeps trickling down as the materials become cheaper to manufacture. Various nylon-based textiles that were so expensive that they were only used by higher end products, are now much cheaper and are seen even in Chinese goods at a Decathlon or Walmart or Big 5 Sporting. They bring the overall weight of these more budget friendly choices. Unfortunately, the overall workmanship and construction will still not be up to the toughness and durability of the high priced spreads.

BUT, as you said, it the gear is not so durable, but is pretty light, if the price is right it only needs to be 'just good enough'.

I agree completely with the cost per mile consideration when purchasing equipment! So I will puchase, for example, an inexpensive sleeping bag from Wallmart...as I rarely camp outdoors these days, but, in contrast, walk thousands of Kms iin Padagonia ultralite baselayer LS shirts and thus will splurge on quality clothing.

My experience with retail store personnel in terms of expertise in outdoor gear and clothing varies in places like Campmor, REI, LLBean, and Cabalas... especially when purchasing trail runners. In addition, their limited stock of brands and the time and distance to get to them are also considerations. Of course, I much prefer to go to a dealer to try on hiking shoes, but I find myself, reading more, and often purchasing shoes on-line with the ability to return them after a period of time if the fit doesn’t work for me.

I read the reviews you post on-line with great interest, Dave, and thank you for sharing your wisdom and expertise with us.
 

Bill905

Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The message for me, is 'do your own research'.
And make sure you get advice and reviews from a number of sources.
A good source for me, is someone who has walked 1,000 kms plus using the gear.
And who gives a balanced perspective.

Thanks for the interesting suggestions and recommendations. I kind of follow a corollary of what @Robo mentions, about someone having used the equipment and giving a balanced perspective. The equipment I used was pretty good, not perfect, but it did see me through the CF a couple of years ago, and quite nicely. But that is not to say that I did not stop asking other pilgrims about their packs, their footwear, their clothing choices, and their equipment in general. And I kept my eyes open, observing how others used their equipment, what were they wearing, etc. I did a lot of that and therefore I collected what I feel was good balanced opinions from real-world real-time users, over several weeks. Everyone I asked was very happy to have been asked. Thanks to what I saw and heard, I will be even better prepared for the next one ... as soon as this Covid thing is behind us. I have already invested in items based on this in-person research and I am looking forward to returning in the most optimistic and positive way.
 
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?)
Thanks for the interesting suggestions and recommendations. I kind of follow a corollary of what @Robo mentions, about someone having used the equipment and giving a balanced perspective. The equipment I used was pretty good, not perfect, but it did see me through the CF a couple of years ago, and quite nicely. But that is not to say that I did not stop asking other pilgrims about their packs, their footwear, their clothing choices, and their equipment in general. And I kept my eyes open, observing how others used their equipment, what were they wearing, etc. I did a lot of that and therefore I collected what I feel was good balanced opinions from real-world real-time users, over several weeks. Everyone I asked was very happy to have been asked. Thanks to what I saw and heard, I will be even better prepared for the next one ... as soon as this Covid thing is behind us. I have already invested in items based on this in-person research and I am looking forward to returning in the most optimistic and positive way.

And based on experience, research and reading reviews by others, our preferences can change.

I loved water bladders, but then found other options worked better for me.
I loved my lightweight Salomon boots, but now recognise I need something lighter.
 
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?)
Lighter you, lighter shoes. 😊

No it's not that.
I always loved my boots. They feel like bedroom slippers.

But because I have bad knees. Arthritis, Bursitis, torn meniscus........

I was advised by a couple of physios in Spain to get lighter footwear.
Less weight 'swinging' under my knees.
 
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