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Donation Box

VintageElsa1967

PeacefulWarrior
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2021 or 2022
I read about hiking and have read in several books about Donation boxes that Hikers leave items they don't feel they need for others who may need it, to lighten their load. People leave clothing, books, camp gear, extra shoes, etc. Is there such a thing for the Camino Frances? Is there a forum where people can purchase hiking bags or equipment that was used for the Camino and put away never to be used again or they upgraded with the next Camino. I tried searching on the forum for (Donation boxes) but nothing came up. SO, I imagine most people mail items home?

Just as a side question: I am wondering what if anything did you leave behind or cast off after starting the Camino to lighten the load or because you realized you really did not need it.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Oh, yes!

The first box i came across was a big one in Roncesvalles.
It was filled with a bunch of new and used gear and stuff.
Mostly small items like band-aid, socks, raingear, sticks, stick-rubbers, hats, gloves, trekking-cutlery, etc.
Sad to say I never took a photos of those boxes.

And you'll find it quite often. The bigger the albergue, the more likely you will find a donation box.

BC
Roland
 

VintageElsa1967

PeacefulWarrior
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2021 or 2022
Oh, yes!

The first box i came across was a big one in Roncesvalles.
It was filled with a bunch of new and used gear and stuff.
Mostly small items like band-aid, socks, raingear, sticks, stick-rubbers, hats, gloves, etc.

And you'll find it quite often. The bigger the albergue, the more likely aou will find a donation box.

BC
Roland
That's awesome to hear! I love books and found books especially. I don't plan on bringing reading material so maybe a Camino Angel will leave me a good one..LOL
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
That's awesome to hear! I love books and found books especially. I don't plan on bringing reading material so maybe a Camino Angel will leave me a good one..LOL
I did see a book once in a donation box, but it was in Korean. So no use for me.
But you will connect with other pilgrims. Even me, as an introvert in the real world, interconnected with other pilgrims I met on the way or in the albergues.

I downloaded two books to my phone and never read them on the Camino, no time. It's more fun to eat together, prepare the meals or to share your thoughts and sights. There will be so much new input, I think you won't miss a book. And even in the smallest village it is fun just to wander and talk to the locals, if they were able to speak english, french or german. Most of them will, all I met were friendly.

BC
Roland
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I don't want to say you will be disappointed but it is usually stuff that someone scuttled that they didn't want to carry any longer. Ragged sleeping bags and lots of sleeping pads. This happens in the first couple of stops. There are some resources in Santiago, the Pilgrim House takes used things but they also don't want to get overloaded with junk either. Several people have tried to organize a system for collecting and distributing things, Sybille Yates has tried but then there are expenses. I would say most people take their stuff home with them and replace it before their next walk by giving it to recycling shops.
 

VintageElsa1967

PeacefulWarrior
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2021 or 2022
I don't want to say you will be disappointed but it is usually stuff that someone scuttled that they didn't want to carry any longer. Ragged sleeping bags and lots of sleeping pads. This happens in the first couple of stops. There are some resources in Santiago, the Pilgrim House takes used things but they also don't want to get overloaded with junk either. Several people have tried to organize a system for collecting and distributing things, Sybille Yates has tried but then there are expenses. I would say most people take their stuff home with them and replace it before their next walk by giving it to recycling shops.
Do Alburgues have libraries with books to take and leave?
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Some Albergues do have shelves with books. But I didn't look exactly which languages and if it is possible to take them with you on the Camino and leave them elsewhere.

BC
Roland
 

Ianinam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
You won't find any of these boxes at the moment, as due to the Covid regulations albergues are not allowed to have these boxes. And yes indeed, in Roncesvalles in normal times people leave behind lots of things they do not want to take with them like big bottles shampoo, heavy clothes, tents, shoes and many, many books. In fact the albergue's library is filled with those books left behind, but - again according to the Covid rules - the library has to be locked, and also the kitchen.
 

VintageElsa1967

PeacefulWarrior
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2021 or 2022
You won't find any of these boxes at the moment, as due to the Covid regulations albergues are not allowed to have these boxes. And yes indeed, in Roncesvalles in normal times people leave behind lots of things they do not want to take with them like big bottles shampoo, heavy clothes, tents, shoes and many, many books. In fact the albergue's library is filled with those books left behind, but - again according to the Covid rules - the library has to be locked, and also the kitchen.

I do hope that this is all over soon. I am sad that this happened and that so many have suffered loss. I pray that we can come to Spain soon, it is crazy that I dreamed of it for years, then when I could go, this happened. Thanks for the information.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I've picked up several things in the "Free Boxes" over the years.
I have picked up camping towels, foot cream, a hat, a bra, a clothesline, rain paints, and a warm sweater, among other things.
I've also left items, ESPECIALLY on my first Camino so many years go. I think that year my pack weighed around 17 pounds to start. Last year, it only weighed 12.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
I've picked up several things in the "Free Boxes" over the years.
I have picked up camping towels, foot cream, a hat, a bra, a clothesline, rain paints, and a warm sweater, among other things.
It almost sounds like you did not need to carry a pack. 😂 Kindof like a bike rental that you pick up and drop off at different locations.👣:D:cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
You can ask about donated things in albergues that you pass. In Monserrat I asked about a pole and they showed me two mismatched single ones. I picked one (I wish I hadn't, I hardly used it). In Pamplona I left it at the albergue with a gratis/free sign in a bin with way more pole pairs there than pilgrims that were staying there.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have inadvertently contributed a sarong, a buff, and a headlight to donation boxes. 😄
I have inadvertently contributed my favorite wool hat, my favorite white wicking running cap, and two pair of sunglasses. If they didn't make it to any donation boxes, I hope they were enjoyed by the new owners who found them on restaurant tables.
Oh, and I "donated" one set of hiking poles to an airport employee. 😂
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Winter 2014, I wore my usual walking shoes: Nike sneaks. I nearly always walk late summer/fall.

Suffice it to say, that was a no go.

By Ponferrada, I had a taped ankle from two falls on slippery ice, and needed boots to continue.

The continuum at San Nicholas Del Flue albergue in Ponferrada had a pair of nearly new Columbia waterproof boots in my size.

Camino provides.

Another time, another camino, I saw a pilgrim wearing clothes I had donated.

Camino provides.

Boy, do I miss the way.
 

Rex

One Step at a Time
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
via Francigena (1st Half ~ 6/2021)
I discarded almost nothing along the Way, but did ship home a couple of expensive items I wanted to keep, but didn't need to carry on the Camino. Postage for a pair of hiking boots and a self inflating sleeping pad (about 5 lbs or 2.2 kg) from Burgos to Seattle was 50 Euros, just for reference if you are thinking about sending stuff home. I still use the boots, some seven years later, so am happy I didn't donate them. A couple of novels I thought I'd read got donated at various albergues; the interaction with other pilgrims occupied nearly all of our afternoon and evening R and R and unexpectedly turned out to be the richest part of a wonderful experience for me.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Postage for a pair of hiking boots and a self inflating sleeping pad (about 5 lbs or 2.2 kg) from Burgos to Seattle was 50 Euros
For future reference for other pilgrims, you can mail items to the main post office in Santiago and pick them up when you arrive.

 
Camino(s) past & future
I am walking in March and April of 2019.
I read about hiking and have read in several books about Donation boxes that Hikers leave items they don't feel they need for others who may need it, to lighten their load. People leave clothing, books, camp gear, extra shoes, etc. Is there such a thing for the Camino Frances? Is there a forum where people can purchase hiking bags or equipment that was used for the Camino and put away never to be used again or they upgraded with the next Camino. I tried searching on the forum for (Donation boxes) but nothing came up. SO, I imagine most people mail items home?

Just as a side question: I am wondering what if anything did you leave behind or cast off after starting the Camino to lighten the load or because you realized you really did not need it.
I always thought it would be nice to be able to send stuff, like walking sticks that you can't take on the plane back home, or swiss army knives,
to an address at the beginning of the Frances to people starting out. Does such an address exist?
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
I have used a bounce box on the Camino Frances. I shipped a box to myself general delivery "lista de correos". I bounced it from Madrid to Burgos, Burgos, to Leon, Leon to Santiago de Compostela. I also checked it the correos on Rua do Franco when I went to Fisterra and Muxia. I just stopped by the correos office, retrieved my box, resupplied, and then sent the box forward. I had an extra pair of trail runners, jeans and a shirt, and other miscellaneous items to resupply. The person at the counter taped it back up for me. 👣 :D :cool:
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
@VintageElsa1967 welcome to the Forum!

At the moment albergues in Spain (and hotels, hostals, and our Pilgrim House welcome center) are required to throw away anything left behind by pilgrims. At PH we've had to stop our donation exchanges, and we've also had to remove all our books from our library and from the "Take a Book, Leave a Book" section we used to have. We also retired the guitar for now, and disallowed self-serve plates, mugs, cups, etc. Basically, in Spain the hospitality industry has had to reduce the exchange of items between guests as much as possible.

Before Covid, you could leave trekking poles, and sometimes other gear, at albergues along the way. And anything you didn't want to take home with you, you could leave it at Pilgrim House or a few other albergues after you got into Santiago. :) I see you're walking hopefully next year or the year after that - we'll see if donations have opened up again at that time.

Many larger towns do have Humana or Cáritas bins where you can drop in gently used clothes, but they won't take gear or books. But you could look for those if you want to give a second life to any clothes you don't need while you're on the trail. And yes, many people have sent things ahead of them to the next big town - that's a great option.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I read about hiking and have read in several books about Donation boxes that Hikers leave items they don't feel they need for others who may need it, to lighten their load. People leave clothing, books, camp gear, extra shoes, etc. Is there such a thing for the Camino Frances? Is there a forum where people can purchase hiking bags or equipment that was used for the Camino and put away never to be used again or they upgraded with the next Camino. I tried searching on the forum for (Donation boxes) but nothing came up. SO, I imagine most people mail items home?

Just as a side question: I am wondering what if anything did you leave behind or cast off after starting the Camino to lighten the load or because you realized you really did not need it.
Many albergues have similar donation boxes. HOWEVER, I've heard that these are not available or being used currently due to the Covid situation.

As well, many pilgrims will mail stuff home (often from Pamplona if they start at SJPP) or to Santiago de Compostela to pick up after their walk. In the latter case, it is generally mailed to the Post Office or to Ivar (the fellow who runs these forums, who also offers a service for this).

trecile has pointed you to the only fora I'm aware of for used Camino goods.
 

Laura Olsen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning a trip in september 2016
I have never wanted for books. They always turn up. Many in English and even some in my native language (Danish). I once read a Norwegian novel I found somewhere too. But if you read English you should do fine. Many people leave things when they start, when they realize their bag is too heavy. Things like extra shoes, cotton t-shorts and trousers (heavy and takes forever to dry), books (many), big bottles of shampoo etc.
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
I read about hiking and have read in several books about Donation boxes that Hikers leave items they don't feel they need for others who may need it, to lighten their load. People leave clothing, books, camp gear, extra shoes, etc. Is there such a thing for the Camino Frances? Is there a forum where people can purchase hiking bags or equipment that was used for the Camino and put away never to be used again or they upgraded with the next Camino. I tried searching on the forum for (Donation boxes) but nothing came up. SO, I imagine most people mail items home?

Just as a side question: I am wondering what if anything did you leave behind or cast off after starting the Camino to lighten the load or because you realized you really did not need it.

On my first Camino I of course had to bring way too much stuff. I found that in many towns along the way there are bins set out for donated items, particularly clothing.
 

Lisa HS

Contributing Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPdP - Santiago) Spring (2016)
Portuguese (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) Spring (2018)
Re: finding books in albergues. I can not imagine walking without a book. I'm very social, but really need my alone time as well, and especially like to read myself to sleep. But books are heavy, I'm picky about what I read, and managing a light in bed in an albergue at night without disturbing others is difficult. My solution to all was a light weight, back-lit Kindle. I arrived in Spain with 10 novels and 3 guidebooks to choose from. I was even able to download additional books suggested by other pilgrims. I was very happy with this choice.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Re: finding books in albergues. I can not imagine walking without a book. I'm very social, but really need my alone time as well, and especially like to read myself to sleep. But books are heavy, I'm picky about what I read, and managing a light in bed in an albergue at night without disturbing others is difficult. My solution to all was a light weight, back-lit Kindle. I arrived in Spain with 10 novels and 3 guidebooks to choose from. I was even able to download additional books suggested by other pilgrims. I was very happy with this choice.
Of course, some of us go even lighter, reading on our phones. :) Not only can we use our Kindle app, but if we want to spend less, we can use our local public library's app to borrow e-books and return them when we are done.
 

Lisa HS

Contributing Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPdP - Santiago) Spring (2016)
Portuguese (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) Spring (2018)
Of course, some of us go even lighter, reading on our phones. :) Not only can we use our Kindle app, but if we want to spend less, we can use our local public library's app to borrow e-books and return them when we are done.
Many people read on their phones (and it works great for them)...but I really dislike reading much on my phone, plus trying to use many of the guidebooks on the kindle phone app is a nightmare. Since my Kindle is only 9.5oz, and allows me to forego carrying any books at all (including guide books), it's been worth it to me.
 

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