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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Do I really need a compass?

Camino(s) past & future
June (2016)
#1
I've read a few different suggested pack lists, and noticed that a compass is suggested. I thought the Camino was well-marked. Do I really need a compass for the Camino Ingles and to Finsterra?

Susan
 

supersullivan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2012. SJPP-Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia 2013. Ponferrada-Santiago June 2014. Leon-Santiago-Finisterre September 2014. April-May 2015: SJPP- S de C- Finisterre -Muxia- S de C.
#2
Susan, short and sweet: no need for a compass unless you're planning on taking detours off the marked route.

Buen camino

Seamus
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#3
No. You absolutely do not need a compass.

Even if the road were not marked and the people not used to redirecting pilgrims who have wandered off route ... a compass would be of little value without a good map. If you are concerned about navigation ... get an app that tracks the camino on google earth for your ipod or tablet device and turn on the glonass.

If you need to determine direction in rough ... the sun is to the south, rises in the east, and sets in the west. You really don't need more as that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Lourdes for my first Camino 29th Aug 16 and starting to walk 31st.
#4
On the other hand... you may be in a forest path and coming to a T intersection, on a cloudy/rainy day... you may benefit from knowing where is West and where is East... GPS and an iPad/iPhone app are great if you have a local sim card... if not, you may be walking in the wrong direction for kilometres... Just my humble opinion. Buen Camino!
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#7
I've never found the need for one.
But if it's a small compass and clips to your pack...sure, why not. Won't hurt to have.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#8
No. What camino pack list suggests one?!
I'm sorry, I didn't notice that you are walking the Camino Ingles, not the Frances. I have no experience with the Ingles, so I don't know if a compass would be useful and should not have weighed in!
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#9
On the other hand... you may be in a forest path and coming to a T intersection, on a cloudy/rainy day... you may benefit from knowing where is West and where is East... GPS and an iPad/iPhone app are great if you have a local sim card... if not, you may be walking in the wrong direction for kilometres... Just my humble opinion. Buen Camino!
It is this kind of rationalizing that fills ones pack with useless junk.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
#10
If you are carrying a smart phone, you can download a compass app. I find them useful in cities when I'm trying to figure out which way is which.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#11
I have unfortunately been lost multiple times, only once on the Camno after too much afternoon beer. They make a great Lager called 1906....best on tap.
I always carry a compass never a phone. Just my view of the world. The places I have found it useful: Big cities, after dark in every type of geography, tubes or subways, & wilderness. Maps are helpful if you now how to orient them & use a compass with them. But a simple compass will give you a direction the road or trail is running & really that is basically all you need to determine if it is the way you need to be going. If on the Camino you have or should have the knowledge you will be walking west or on some routes north. After finding other humans just start asking the question Camino Santiago por favor? & then Cervasa por favor??
Buen Camino!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Lourdes for my first Camino 29th Aug 16 and starting to walk 31st.
#12
I have unfortunately been lost multiple times, only once on the Camno after too much afternoon beer. They make a great Lager called 1906....best on tap.
I always carry a compass never a phone. Just my view of the world. The places I have found it useful: Big cities, after dark in every type of geography, tubes or subways, & wilderness. Maps are helpful if you now how to orient them & use a compass with them. But a simple compass will give you a direction the road or trail is running & really that is basically all you need to determine if it is the way you need to be going. If on the Camino you have or should have the knowledge you will be walking west or on some routes north. After finding other humans just start asking the question Camino Santiago por favor? & then Cervasa por favor??
Buen Camino!!
Oh, I really, really like this answer MTtoCamino! The only thing I would add/change is the order of your question... 'una Cerveza por favor' and then, 'el Camino de Santiago por favor'?!!
Actually, I thought about trying local wines more than beers in France and Spain, but... we'll see how I go in a few months!
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
#14
I took a small compass on the CF and used it once. Coming out of Sahagun in the half light, on an overcast drizzling morning, I followed a group of about 8 people, because I did not want to get lost. After about 15 mins, I felt something was wrong as we were walking along a road with no hard shoulder. Are you sure we are on the right road? I asked the others. Oh yes, they said, did you not see the arrows back at the start? Another 15 mins and I was seriously worried so I got out my compass. We were heading SW, not W as the map in the Red Guide showed. A few minutes later a car came by and I flagged it down. Yes, we were going the wrong way. Goodness knows how far out of our way we would have walked had I not had my compass. As it was, we walked an extra 6 km that day. Just wished I had got my compass out sooner.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#15
If you do use a smartphone compass app then please check its reliability and calibration beforehand. Last year on the Via Francigena I walked quite a few extra kilometres on a very damp and totally overcast day when my phone decided to display precisely 180 degrees out (ie. 'North' was actually South). Took some time before I understood why my navigation skills had suddenly deserted me.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#16
Oh, I really, really like this answer MTtoCamino! The only thing I would add/change is the order of your question... 'una Cerveza por favor' and then, 'el Camino de Santiago por favor'?!!
Actually, I thought about trying local wines more than beers in France and Spain, but... we'll see how I go in a few months!
Yes even my terrible Spanish got me along. Since the bars seem to feed most times there is no shortage of wine with every meal. It's the sharing of those meals with the other folks that helps make the Camino what it is.
Keith
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
#17
Leave the compass at home.

Take a needle and thread for any blisters that may occur.

Here's the clever part. Magnetise the needle before you leave. If you're lost you can
easily attach the needle to the thread, dangle it from waist height and thereby
determine which way is north.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP: May/June 2015; English Route Nov 2015; Lycian Way Oct 2015; Coast to Coast Aug/Sep 2015; West Highland Way July 2015; Hadrians Wall June 2015; Westweg Jul/Aug 2015..... ..... .... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2020; A Coruna 2020... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2025... .. . SJPdP May/June 2030... .. . SJPdP May/June 2035... .. .
#18
No. If you have a smartphone with GPS you never do.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#19
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#20
Good idea, Mark. Perhaps something like this, since many folks have also inquired about the advisability of having a whistle. This one also has a C/F thermometer. http://www.basspro.com/Coghlans-4in1-Whistle/product/21029/. I've seen similar products at Walmart and other outdoor shops.
That's exactly what I'm talking about. Something small, and clip-on. No need for large, military style ones for what little, simple compass work one might need on the Camino. Anything more and you need to break out the topo maps, ha ha, and if it's that much of a concern I would recommend hauling around an electronic GPS with the Camino route you are walking programmed in.
 

Nekodemus

Certified insane
Camino(s) past & future
Been there, done that. Keep coming back.
Most likely addicted.
#23
Even though I have a well developed sense of direction, I always bring a button compass. Weighs less than 9 gram (third of an ounce for the uneducated).

I've used it in foggy conditions on the Napoleon route (SJPP to Roncesvalles) and in woods/cities with narrow winding tracks/streets. It's also a great help, if you walk in darkness, when the arrows can be rather difficult to see.

Once went tapas hunting with some friends in Pamplona and had to use my wee compass to convince the others that our beds really were in the opposite direction.
 

vlebe

Walker Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001; 2004; 2009; 2013, (2016/2017)
#24
For the Camino Frances: In the 90's and early 2000's one could easily get lost in the CF, but even then it was for a short period.

Last time I walked the Camino Frances (2013) I was astonished by the amount of signs...It was even a bit of a kick in my mood (in a negative way). There were way markings every few meters all over. I was thinking that soon they will be installing light posts, neon signs and such all over the Camino...

Bottom line is : on the CF ( from sjpp to SdC)you cannot get lost even if you want to ! Bringing a compass (or gps) will make you feel stupid once you see the amount of way marking...

The other Caminos are a a bit less marked so you have to check with the pilgrims that have done them lately..but even then, sun is all you need....When I walked from Le Puy to Santiago, in the stretch from Le Puy to SJPdP I found myself lost 4 or 5 times But never needed more than the sun and waiting to find a small village to ask about the right way...

Buen Camino!
 
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martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#25
Years and years of hiking here.
Most of the people I see lagging a compass along on a trail have no idea how to use it or read a map.

So, if you feel the need to take a compass, know how to use it and read a map.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#26
On the Camino Frances if the sun is shining in your right ear you are lost. In Galicia if the wind and rain are coming from behind you you are lost. In Leon if you can't see the next little yellow arrow you are ... still in Leon. Look for a brass scallop in the pavement instead.

I always carry a compass, even to the Co-op, its in my head and it pays attention to where I am and where I am going. As @martyseville nearly says if you don't know how to use a map and compass don't take them. I'll add that if you do know how to use a map and compass you will not need them on the Caminos.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#27
Agree with Tincatinker, you will not need one on the Camino(s).

But, pay attention to the arrows. Know your where about at all times. If you feel lost, ask for directions.

Locals on the Camino are used to being asked "Camino????" And are very helpful to get you in the right direction.

It is easier to get lost (by missing a arrow) in the larger towns/cities than out on the open Camino in the country side.

It is hard to get lost on the Caminos. On the Ingles once I actually looked at foot prints in the dirt (thread and direction of walkers) and knew I was heading the right way.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#28
I DID get lost coming out of Logrono once. They were building a housing development and had obliterated a sign.

Soon realised there were no other footprints so backtracked to the correct route.

It was a little embarassing to later hear from a young Czech couple that they had followed somebody's footprints onto a building site and then had to turn around . . . .

So, unless you're behind me, follow the tracks!

I saw many footprints heading to Santiago, very few coming back. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Lourdes for my first Camino 29th Aug 16 and starting to walk 31st.
#29
Oh, I really, really like this answer MTtoCamino! The only thing I would add/change is the order of your question... 'una Cerveza por favor' and then, 'el Camino de Santiago por favor'?!!
Actually, I thought about trying local wines more than beers in France and Spain, but... we'll see how I go in a few months!
Now I know how I went... Plenty of both!!!
 

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