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First Camino! Some questions about luggage transfer, weather, boots etc.

sineadalexandria

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
October 2018?
Hello!

I am a solo female planning to walk from Sarria to Santiago, leaving around October 17 2018. I have never done any kind of overnight hike before, so I have lots of questions. I hope you can help!
  1. From my research, I have gathered that companies such as Correos will transfer my luggage from Sarria to Santiago for 20 euros per 15kg piece. Should I organise my luggage transfer in advance, or can I simply arrive in Sarria and do it then? Also, will I need to book my accommodation in Santiago ahead of time so I can provide a drop-off address? I don't need my luggage to meet me at my various accommodations along the way, as I will have a 30L pack with me. Will they keep my luggage at a post office until I am due to arrive in Santiago? Also, if I take a day or two longer than expected, how can I notify them?
  2. How cool will this trail get in late October? I have purchased a polar fleece jumper, and I have a North Face windbreaker. Will that be enough or should I take a puffer jacket also (can pack down small and is super light)? Perhaps a beanie? I am determined to pack light as light as possible but I also really feel the cold!
  3. Will I need a hat? I'll wear good quality sunscreen regardless of how sunny it is or isn't, but a hat will be burdensome if it is not necessary.
  4. I don't have a sleeping bag, so I am planning to buy one at a Decathlon store in Portugal during my one-month stay in Lisbon. How much should I spend on a sleeping bag? Should I fuss about getting a super warm one, or buy a cheap one and plan to sleep in my warm clothes if it is cold at night?
  5. I haven't purchased hiking boots yet. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good quality boot that don't cost the earth? I live in Australia, so have the option to purchase here, or when I arrive in Barcelona and Lisbon in mid-September.
  6. A minor question - I'd like to pick up a copy of John Brierley's book, but wondering if I will find lots of second-hand cheap or free copies on the trail?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer, even if it's not related to my questions! Feel free to throw in anything you think I should know as a solo female walking in late October :)
 
Last edited:

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Hello,

Mornings can be a bit chilly. Take lightweight gloves and beanie.

A regular bag is fine.

Others will fill in the blanks.

As a solo woman you'll be okay. There should still be goodly numbers of pilgrims on the way to keep you company if you wish.

Buen camino.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@sineadalexandria welcome to the forum. All your questions will be answered here, and then some! Have you looked at the bottom of the forum for local groups? There are quite a few in Australia and it can be useful to go along to a meeting, if there is one nearby.

As to your questions:

1. No need to do anything in advance. At that time of the year accommodation will be plentiful and you can simply walk up. If you do want to book do it the day before, using your smartphone. Unless your arrival coincides with some special event, but I cannot think of anything in October. As to baggage - yes, you can forward extra luggage directly to the main post office in Santiago and they will keep it for a month so you don't need to know exactly when you will arrive. You can send it from the post office in Sarria. Just check the opening times of the post office (it is Spain!) to make sure you will be able to co-ordinate your arrival to suit. There are also other storage facilities in Madrid airport if you are flying in and leaving from there.
2 and 3. It will likely be cold, at least in the mornings. Although you could get lucky. No, I don't think you need a puffer jacket as well but you should take gloves (woollen or possum/wool is my choice). I take a buff, and that can be used as a warm head covering. Most important is rain gear - it always rains in Galicia. Instead of a hat - would you consider an umbrella? I take one and it is fantastic for sun and rain. Unless it is windy!
4. Yes you need a sleeping bag unless you plan to only stay in hotels or expensive bed and breakfasts. Decathlon would be fine but if you are a member of Costco - here in Australia they have double down throws at only $15! Super lightweight. I sew a few large press-studs on the sides to make them into a sleeping bag (you could sew the sides together for a sleeping bag, but I get hot and like being able to open it out - a zip would do it but that is a lot of trouble).
6. No need for hiking boots. For years I wore lightweight Asic runners and now I walk in sandals. Especially between Sarria and SDC - there is nothing really tough in the way of terrain. What do you wear at home when you go walking?
7. Brierley - you won't need it. Only buy it if you enjoy reading guides or want it as a souvenir.

My bit of unsolicited advice? Take yourself outside your comfort zone and talk to everyone! Don't wait to be asked.
 

sineadalexandria

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
October 2018?
@sineadalexandria welcome to the forum. All your questions will be answered here, and then some! Have you looked at the bottom of the forum for local groups? There are quite a few in Australia and it can be useful to go along to a meeting, if there is one nearby.

As to your questions:

1. No need to do anything in advance. At that time of the year accommodation will be plentiful and you can simply walk up. If you do want to book do it the day before, using your smartphone. Unless your arrival coincides with some special event, but I cannot think of anything in October. As to baggage - yes, you can forward extra luggage directly to the main post office in Santiago and they will keep it for a month so you don't need to know exactly when you will arrive. You can send it from the post office in Sarria. Just check the opening times of the post office (it is Spain!) to make sure you will be able to co-ordinate your arrival to suit. There are also other storage facilities in Madrid airport if you are flying in and leaving from there.
2 and 3. It will likely be cold, at least in the mornings. Although you could get lucky. No, I don't think you need a puffer jacket as well but you should take gloves (woollen or possum/wool is my choice). I take a buff, and that can be used as a warm head covering. Most important is rain gear - it always rains in Galicia. Instead of a hat - would you consider an umbrella? I take one and it is fantastic for sun and rain. Unless it is windy!
4. Yes you need a sleeping bag unless you plan to only stay in hotels or expensive bed and breakfasts. Decathlon would be fine but if you are a member of Costco - here in Australia they have double down throws at only $15! Super lightweight. I sew a few large press-studs on the sides to make them into a sleeping bag (you could sew the sides together for a sleeping bag, but I get hot and like being able to open it out - a zip would do it but that is a lot of trouble).
6. No need for hiking boots. For years I wore lightweight Asic runners and now I walk in sandals. Especially between Sarria and SDC - there is nothing really tough in the way of terrain. What do you wear at home when you go walking?
7. Brierley - you won't need it. Only buy it if you enjoy reading guides or want it as a souvenir.

My bit of unsolicited advice? Take yourself outside your comfort zone and talk to everyone! Don't wait to be asked.
Thank you so much for your advice!

1. I've also discovered the option of sending my luggage from Lisbon (where I will be staying in an Air Bnb pre-Camino) to Santiago. This will save me on airfare fees to A Coruna and having to lug it to Sarria. Can anyone provide further information on how exactly I can send it to Correos or to Ivar, and how much will cost?
2. and 3. I'd prefer not to take an umbrella. Perhaps one of those cheap plastic rain ponchos that can also cover my pack would suffice?
6. I do have Nike Airs that I often walk in near my home, however I'd really love something waterproof, and wouldn't mind owning hiking shoes for future adventures around Europe and Australia!
7. Good to know!

Thanks again!!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@sineadalexandria you need a poncho or rain-jacket regardless of whether you also have an umbrella. I don't like rain-jackets because I get too hot, and they require taking packs on and off, but it is personal preference. Decathlon should have what you need. We use Altus raincoat/ponchos - not cheap. Here is a photo of what it was like on 5 October 2015 in Galicia - it was windy and very cold, and this photo was taken between heavy, heavy bursts of rain! But other years it is beautifully sunny in October.

Rain in Galicia.jpg
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
A cheap plastic poncho is not the wise choice for late October in Galicia. I like a jacket and pants, which slso be an extra layer of insulation.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Instructions to send a suitcase to Ivar can be found here: http://www.casaivar.com/luggage-storage-in-santiago-de-compostela/sending-instructions.html
There is a FAQ question as well.

6- About shoes, I'm also a fan of trail runners, not waterproof boots. The waterproofing is great when it rains, but all the other times it makes it too hot, too heavy imho. But to each their own :)

I walked with a cheap plastic poncho, but did not get any heavy rain. It probably would not resist a storm (although still better than nothing). My husband had a poncho similar to Kanga's, and besides working as rain protection, it was quite good camouflage for when he needed to use the toilet in the bushes.

4 - If you are ok wearing extra layers, you can go for the cheap, light sleeping bags.
 

mvazquez

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(Camino Primitivo September 2018)
Hi everyone!
I'm doing my first Camino this year as well - the Primitivo route starting September 22nd from Oviedo.
I can fit all my things in this Ortlieb 21L backpack. Am I being too minimalist?
Backpack has a simple waist strap and I know this is an important thing to have but will this be enough?
Should I take a bigger backpack just in case?
Thanks a lot.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
I have never done any kind of overnight hike before
Kia ora (greetings and good health) from across the ditch

The 120 km from Sarria to Santiago etc is more of a walk than a hike, You are never far from a cafe and other walkers, for example, on that route.

You suggest you have done little or no long distance walking as yet. No shoes for example.

I strongly suggest you start some training walks sooner rather than later.
As a guide I also suggest you work up to, say:
1) 15 km before stopping for breakfast; and
2) attaining an elevation gain of 200 metres before stopping for breakfast
The purpose is to give both mind and body stamina for that route.

As to shoes I strongly suggest ypu find out what works best for you before you leave home. We all have different feet. So what is brilliant for one person may be dangerous for another. For example, I prefer shoes with an open weave upper. I cannot recall my feet overheating or suffering blisters. But that is me. Your feet will be different. I also go about two sizes bigger than my day shoes to allow for my regime of pressure hose, a thin inner sock and then the outer hose.

@sineadalexandria , kia kaha (you take care, be strong, get going)
 

Craig Towers

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago
Hello!

I am a solo female planning to walk from Sarria to Santiago, leaving around October 17 2018. I have never done any kind of overnight hike before, so I have lots of questions. I hope you can help!
  1. From my research, I have gathered that companies such as Correos will transfer my luggage from Sarria to Santiago for 20 euros per 15kg piece. Should I organise my luggage transfer in advance, or can I simply arrive in Sarria and do it then? Also, will I need to book my accommodation in Santiago ahead of time so I can provide a drop-off address? I don't need my luggage to meet me at my various accommodations along the way, as I will have a 30L pack with me. Will they keep my luggage at a post office until I am due to arrive in Santiago? Also, if I take a day or two longer than expected, how can I notify them?
  2. How cool will this trail get in late October? I have purchased a polar fleece jumper, and I have a North Face windbreaker. Will that be enough or should I take a puffer jacket also (can pack down small and is super light)? Perhaps a beanie? I am determined to pack light as light as possible but I also really feel the cold!
  3. Will I need a hat? I'll wear good quality sunscreen regardless of how sunny it is or isn't, but a hat will be burdensome if it is not necessary.
  4. I don't have a sleeping bag, so I am planning to buy one at a Decathlon store in Portugal during my one-month stay in Lisbon. How much should I spend on a sleeping bag? Should I fuss about getting a super warm one, or buy a cheap one and plan to sleep in my warm clothes if it is cold at night?
  5. I haven't purchased hiking boots yet. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good quality boot that don't cost the earth? I live in Australia, so have the option to purchase here, or when I arrive in Barcelona and Lisbon in mid-September.
  6. A minor question - I'd like to pick up a copy of John Brierley's book, but wondering if I will find lots of second-hand cheap or free copies on the trail?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer, even if it's not related to my questions! Feel free to throw in anything you think I should know as a solo female walking in late October :)
Just a quick reply re boots. Everyone has a different preference. Sandals, low boots, high boots etc. up to you. Obvious differences. People do spend a lot of time suggesting you break your boots in. What I think is important is to toughen your feet. Boots to day are generally well made. ( get the right size). But our feet are super soft. You need to toughen them Up. Wearing boots for 8 hours a day for a week then doing say 20km a day takes a toll on that soft weak skin. One old timers tip I read was to soak your feet in cold tea. Tannin toughens up skin. More tea bags the better. I think you can buy tannin cream in Europe. I’ve done 5 caminos now my feet are well worn in. . I truly think if you get good boots & good socks the missing link is your weak pale skin on your heels and feet. At lunchtime when you stop take socks and boots off. Dry feet. Put on new dry socks if the sun does not dry your morning pair. Walk barefoot around home. Enjoy your walk. Take Compeed. Good luck.
 

Bob P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First timer, leaving April 3rd from SJPDP
#6 Altra Temp Trail trail runners. One full size too large
SJPDP to Finisterre in 1 week old shoes and ZERO blisters.
Worn out at finish but only $130
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
#6 Altra Temp Trail trail runners. One full size too large
SJPDP to Finisterre in 1 week old shoes and ZERO blisters.
Worn out at finish but only $130
Hi -- I just started wearing Altra timps trail runners a month ago and they are the most comfortable trail runners I have ever worn. I have walked 2 caminos before, one in Saucony Peregrines and one in Altra Lone Peaks. I didn't have a problem, I find the Timps even more comfortable.
 

suzTeach

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (October 2018)
Hello!

I am a solo female planning to walk from Sarria to Santiago, leaving around October 17 2018. I have never done any kind of overnight hike before, so I have lots of questions. I hope you can help!
  1. From my research, I have gathered that companies such as Correos will transfer my luggage from Sarria to Santiago for 20 euros per 15kg piece. Should I organise my luggage transfer in advance, or can I simply arrive in Sarria and do it then? Also, will I need to book my accommodation in Santiago ahead of time so I can provide a drop-off address? I don't need my luggage to meet me at my various accommodations along the way, as I will have a 30L pack with me. Will they keep my luggage at a post office until I am due to arrive in Santiago? Also, if I take a day or two longer than expected, how can I notify them?
  2. How cool will this trail get in late October? I have purchased a polar fleece jumper, and I have a North Face windbreaker. Will that be enough or should I take a puffer jacket also (can pack down small and is super light)? Perhaps a beanie? I am determined to pack light as light as possible but I also really feel the cold!
  3. Will I need a hat? I'll wear good quality sunscreen regardless of how sunny it is or isn't, but a hat will be burdensome if it is not necessary.
  4. I don't have a sleeping bag, so I am planning to buy one at a Decathlon store in Portugal during my one-month stay in Lisbon. How much should I spend on a sleeping bag? Should I fuss about getting a super warm one, or buy a cheap one and plan to sleep in my warm clothes if it is cold at night?
  5. I haven't purchased hiking boots yet. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good quality boot that don't cost the earth? I live in Australia, so have the option to purchase here, or when I arrive in Barcelona and Lisbon in mid-September.
  6. A minor question - I'd like to pick up a copy of John Brierley's book, but wondering if I will find lots of second-hand cheap or free copies on the trail?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer, even if it's not related to my questions! Feel free to throw in anything you think I should know as a solo female walking in late October :)
Hi! There's a group of 4 of us Canadians leaving Sarria on the 19th. I hope we meet you at some point. I'll be the lady with all kinds of streamers on my pack.

2 of us have hiking shoes and 2 have boots. I think both are fine. My friend did the whole Camino Frances in azics runners. Let's just say there wasn't much left by the end and he had the mother of all blisters!
 

BmoreNomadic

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Oct 2017)
Re. sending your bag from Portugal, I have no personal experience but have read that sending from another country (even in the EU) into Spain can cause all sorts of delays, so perhaps you can do a search on the forum to learn more about that.
You can send your bag to the post office or to Ivar in Santiago (I do have experience with Ivar and he is a stand-up guy providing an excellent service!)
 

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