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Fleece or no fleece?

lovelyshell

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October/November 2016
Hi,
I'm heading out of SJDPP in early October. I see on a lot of the packing lists to bring a fleece. I am not a big fan of fleece, wore one on the Inca Trail years ago and it drove me crazy because they feel so constricting to me, plus a lot of them are 3/4 zip/mock turtleneck which I am also not a fan of. That being said if I bring my Patagonia lightweight puffer (compresses nice and small) do I even need a fleece or would a midweight base layer suffice? I'm planning to also bring a lightweight base layer and merino lightweight layer. Can anyone help get me sorted on this decision before I go crazy?? Fleece, midweight tech or a midweight merino? While I am at it... what's the general consensus on sleeping bag & silk liner, just liner or just the sleeping bag, given this time of year. Many thanks in advance for your thoughtful opinions!
 
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Purple Backpack

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2012
England C2C 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Le Puy ... someday.
Hi there,

Base layer, insulating layer, rain layer.

If your puffer is down, leave it at home, it will be worthless when wet. If it's a Patagonia Nano, take it! Hiking in cold/wet weather is kind of similar to cross country skiing and I dress the same...base/insulating/shell. October won't be that cold but could be damp and chilly. As far as fleece, I'm a big fan of Arc'Teryx and their lightest fleece, full zip jacket. This fleece over a quick dry (or wool in cold weather) plus a shell works for me. It's called the Delta Lt and is on sale now at REI for $89 in red. Other colors available on other sites. Light gloves for early morning and a beanie or hood and you're good to go.

Everyone says to just take a liner but I got hypothermic somewhere after Sarria from being wet and cold for several days in mid-October 2012. One afternoon, I came in, took a hot shower and just couldn't warm up. As the peripheral blood supply starts warming, it shunts from the core and there is almost a secondary hypothermia. I was so grateful for my 1 pound sleeping bag and even with that, it took a while to stop shaking. So I bring it now and usually toss the liner in, too, for more options. The only time the bag stays home is in the summer or if I know I'm going to be in hotels.

Have fun and safe travels!
 

Kiwi-d

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sep/Oct 2014
I took a puffer jacket in September and loved it, but I only wore it in the evenings, not while I was walking. I also took a zip up fleece, but could have managed without it. I did have a good, warm rainjacket though, and rainpants, and wore these over a longsleeved merino shirt when we had four solid days of torrential rain.

Definately the sleeping bag, and for October, I think I'd take the liner too, but then, I feel the cold.
 

BonitaHolland

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Starting 3rd Sep 2016
I left my fleece at home and have just bought one on Day 12 in a sale in Logrono as I caught a cold and really wanted to feel warm..... I might leave it behind in a few days - so there's going to be a grey fleece let loose and free on the Camino- perhaps bring a lasso! I brought a sleeping bag which was invaluable when sleeping on a floor mat in Viana st Albergue Perigrono as they have no blankets. Others with just liners were very cold and uncomfortable.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
No experience of the Camino in October but those are the
layers that have worked for me even in minus temperatures:
Silky camisole (well, tech fabric but feels like silk) - can be a sun-top but more importantly a very effective layer in cold weather.
Short sleeved tech T-shirt
Long sleeve merino top
Light fleece jacket
Light windbreaker jacket.
In rain: poncho .

I always bring a sleeping bag, Summer or Winter, but then I feel the cold...
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Poncho's are great if its pouring down cats and dogs in buckets! Otherwise, one usualy sweats more and comes out wetter than if walking in the rain. A fleece is a good solution against light rain, it dries quickly you don't sweat, but take a light weight cheapo poncho in case it really does cut loose.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Fleece is a mist for me. I used daily on my Caminos, in May-June and Sept.-Oct. I like the LLBean fitness fleece as it is light and has zippered pockets:

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/53635?feat=fitness fleece-SR0&page=women-s-fitness-fleece-jacket

The plus with fleece is that it is washable and dries quicly, also it won't rip like that super thin material the tech duvets are made with. I can assure you this is not constricting in anyway. In fact on my last Camino I brought a fleece similar to this one sold at Costco as part of a pyjama kit, so super comfy.

Also yes to,the sleeping bag. It is so nice to finally read accounts of people who needed them, and needed them badly. And that we have not read "don't take as albergues have blankets" because that is not always the case. We expend so much energy on the Camino, day after day, after day, that we can't afford sleepless nights because we are cold.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
For me long-sleeved silk/merino plus a Patagonia Houdini jacket - weighs absolutely nothing but cuts the wind. An Altus raincoat/poncho in a downpour. I take something soft and warm for evenings. A down quilt to sleep under. And bed socks!
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
I think next time ( spring ) I even bring two fleece jackets. I tend to sweat heavily during walking making the fleecejacket I wear rather clammy. When I stop walking I get cold quickly so then another light fleece jacket comes in handy.
I prefer to sacrifice the extra long sleeved Icebreaker baselayer in order to bring this extra fleece with me.

These are my two favourites.
http://www.jack-wolfskin.com/moonrise-women/1703881-2260001.html

http://www.haglofs.com/gb/en/Tops-and-Shirts/TRIBE-HOOD-WOMEN/p/603001.2V2
The second one is not cheap but very high quality.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
In the three CFs I've walked during Sept/Oct I've never once regreted carrying a fleece. Nowadays I go for cheap and cheerful Decathlon Forro Polar Forclaz 200s. Just €13.99 at present because I know I'll be sick of it after a month and never want to see it again.

Carried one in the bottom of my bag this past month through temperatures peaking at 36 degrees. Got to SdC on Tuesday, 16 degrees and pouring down. LOVED that fleece.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
I am a fleece fan over down just for the simple reason, I can get very wet in constant rain for days even if it gets wet under the rain coat I stay warm. With down or a puffer not the case. If I were to walk in winter I would add wool layers. It really depends on the time of year you walk.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
Still on the Camino. I chose to leave my long sleeve merino T at home with no regrets after 3 weeks.
I hike hot and my light weight fleece is full zip, critical for temperature adjusting. After days of 33 and 35 degrees, we got near Leon and cold rains hit. Even the next 2 days at 15 degrees without rain but a wind chill near freezing, I was using my short sleeved merino T, fleece, rain jacket and pants for warmth and my buff!!
 

lovelyshell

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October/November 2016
Thanks for the great feedback everyone! I have the Patagonia Nano not the down jacket so it sounds like I will be ok with that as my insulating layer. I might head to REI and check out some fleece options instead of the Nano. For my outer shell/rain layer I have the Patagonia Torrentshell, which isn't as light as the Houdini but its a packable jacket. My base layers are a short sleeve tech tee, long sleeve tech tee and long sleeve merino lightweight. I will definitely bring my sleeping bag and liner. I appreciate the insights and it sounds like if I do need warmer layers I can find some along the way. Thank you!
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Still on the Camino. I chose to leave my long sleeve merino T at home with no regrets after 3 weeks.
I hike hot and my light weight fleece is full zip, critical for temperature adjusting. After days of 33 and 35 degrees, we got near Leon and cold rains hit. Even the next 2 days at 15 degrees without rain but a wind chill near freezing, I was using my short sleeved merino T, fleece, rain jacket and pants for warmth and my buff!!

That's impossible. at 15 degrees even a 100 knot wind wouldn't create a 0 degree windchill :)
But I don't doubt that you felt as though you were freezing :)

I wouldn't even consider wearing that much clothes to hike in until it was below -10 C. I need to remember how cold sensitive the members of this forum are when I read recommendations. LOL!
 
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MacMac

The Ghost Who Walks
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I would urge you to take a fleece or something comparatively warm! I crossed the mountains from Orrison to Roncevalles (and further) today, and up there it was freezing cold! I come from Germany, and used to the cold and don't freeze quickly. I was literally shivering ... it was raining, very strong wind from the side, and it felt like in winter. Everyone I met felt miserable, and I collected a bad cold. I was wearing only a shirt and my poncho up to the shelter near the border, and then added the fleece, my buff, cape, fresh socks.. and still froze.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
Hi @lovelyshell, It looks like you have plenty of options to choose from.
I wanted to add another option. Last year on the CPI (Central Portugal through Douro Valley) in October I took my usual wool layers (short and long sleeve), plus a fleece plus a (synthetic) puffer vest. Rain gear - super light jacket and Altus poncho.
I wore the vest nearly every evening over my fleece and long sleeved wool. It was very chilly and I was super thrilled I had thought to carry it. It folded into it’s own pocket, was small and light. Some mornings I started with it as an extra layer while it was cold and foggy.
I am a ‘cold’ person and the extra warmth over my core was very welcome.
Always walk with a silk liner and my lightweight square quilt sleeping bag - mostly used as a blanket.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
That's impossible. at 15 degrees even a 100 knot wind wouldn't create a 0 degree windchill :)
But I don't doubt that you felt as though you were freezing :)

I wouldn't even consider wearing that much clothes to hike in until it was below -10 C. I need to remember how cold sensitive the members of this forum are when I read recommendations. LOL!
There is the cold of winter & the cold of being outdoors for hours away from any heat sorce, The body needs energy much like game animals get stressed in the winter, when all they due is search for food & getting chased they loose what little energy they have left & perish. My point is the cold you experience even in Alaska you typically can go back home even after a couple days or shelter. But if you walk for days in bad weather I froze my ass off in 80 deg cold even when it is well above freezing until I could get food.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
That's impossible. at 15 degrees even a 100 knot wind wouldn't create a 0 degree windchill :)
But I don't doubt that you felt as though you were freezing :)

I wouldn't even consider wearing that much clothes to hike in until it was below -10 C. I need to remember how cold sensitive the members of this forum are when I read recommendations. LOL!

15C, wet, in a strong wind ... a recipe for hypothermia, particularly if you are low on energy. If you get hypothermia it feels like you're freezing ... you're not ... its just your body core temperature going down ... a much worse situation than frost bite.
 
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W

whariwharangi

Guest
Hi,
I'm heading out of SJDPP in early October. I see on a lot of the packing lists to bring a fleece. I am not a big fan of fleece, wore one on the Inca Trail years ago and it drove me crazy because they feel so constricting to me, plus a lot of them are 3/4 zip/mock turtleneck which I am also not a fan of. That being said if I bring my Patagonia lightweight puffer (compresses nice and small) do I even need a fleece or would a midweight base layer suffice? I'm planning to also bring a lightweight base layer and merino lightweight layer. Can anyone help get me sorted on this decision before I go crazy?? Fleece, midweight tech or a midweight merino? While I am at it... what's the general consensus on sleeping bag & silk liner, just liner or just the sleeping bag, given this time of year. Many thanks in advance for your thoughtful opinions!


Rule for COLD is Clean Overlapping Layers of Dry clothes.

You don't need to bring a fleece jacket if you don't want to.

You don't need to bring your your sleeping bag either.

Anyone can be uncomfortable on the camino. Some people would consider a pilgrimage without suffering to be missing the point.

I brought light fleece tuque, scarf, wool gloves, two fleece jackets 100 and 300, rain gear (useful to cut wind). I only wore the 300 evenings and the tuque was used only at night in bed. The scarf draped over shoulders and under the light fleece was enough to keep warm while walking on frosty mornings. Gloves went on in any cool or wet weather.

Merino is nice for a couple weeks because of its odor free characteristic. Then it becomes a pain in the ass because laundry is scarce and Merino takes forever to dry in weak autumn sunlight. Leave the merino at home. Wear regular long sleeve shirts.

Don't go crazy. Its just a walk in the countryside ... its not like you're going to be in the Himalayas. People do this in jeans and a t-shirt so if you don't normally have a use for better gear don't buy it.
 

lovelyshell

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October/November 2016
Rule for COLD is Clean Overlapping Layers of Dry clothes.

You don't need to bring a fleece jacket if you don't want to.

You don't need to bring your your sleeping bag either.

Anyone can be uncomfortable on the camino. Some people would consider a pilgrimage without suffering to be missing the point.

I brought light fleece tuque, scarf, wool gloves, two fleece jackets 100 and 300, rain gear (useful to cut wind). I only wore the 300 evenings and the tuque was used only at night in bed. The scarf draped over shoulders and under the light fleece was enough to keep warm while walking on frosty mornings. Gloves went on in any cool or wet weather.

Merino is nice for a couple weeks because of its odor free characteristic. Then it becomes a pain in the ass because laundry is scarce and Merino takes forever to dry in weak autumn sunlight. Leave the merino at home. Wear regular long sleeve shirts.

Don't go crazy. Its just a walk in the countryside ... its not like you're going to be in the Himalayas. People do this in jeans and a t-shirt so if you don't normally have a use for better gear don't buy it.

I understand all of what you are saying above and most of my gear is stuff I already have, I'm just trying to sort out what I should bring. My luggage was lost going to Inca Trail and not found, so I've done a short trek without a prrfect packing plan and was fine. However this is longer and I just want to be prepared. There's a lot of information on this forum and I just needed some clarity. I don't live in a cold weather climate so layers aren't my speciality. It would be nice if this forum was a little more understanding and not so harsh/condescending in some replies. Where's the spirit of the Camino I keep hearing about? Wow.
 

lovelyshell

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October/November 2016
I would urge you to take a fleece or something comparatively warm! I crossed the mountains from Orrison to Roncevalles (and further) today, and up there it was freezing cold! I come from Germany, and used to the cold and don't freeze quickly. I was literally shivering ... it was raining, very strong wind from the side, and it felt like in winter. Everyone I met felt miserable, and I collected a bad cold. I was wearing only a shirt and my poncho up to the shelter near the border, and then added the fleece, my buff, cape, fresh socks.. and still froze.
Thanks for the "live" update! Sounds like a fleece will be helpful and I got one tonight at REI that suits my needs. Good thing I did, it sounds like you really needed the cold weather items you had to use today. I'd rather be prepared and warm with the right gear even if I have to buy something new. Safe travels, hope you've warmed up!
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Year of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
My secret recipe is a merino 200 grms quality long sleeved fleece with looped frotté like a towel on the inside. Made by Woolpower i Sweden, washes up to 60 C. Dries very fast if turned inside out, for instance once you get into warmer surroundings. Saved my hide when going into Galicia and everyone else sounded like barking hyenas after three cold days.
 
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Sandra Ashby

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September
Hi,
I'm heading out of SJDPP in early October. I see on a lot of the packing lists to bring a fleece. I am not a big fan of fleece, wore one on the Inca Trail years ago and it drove me crazy because they feel so constricting to me, plus a lot of them are 3/4 zip/mock turtleneck which I am also not a fan of. That being said if I bring my Patagonia lightweight puffer (compresses nice and small) do I even need a fleece or would a midweight base layer suffice? I'm planning to also bring a lightweight base layer and merino lightweight layer. Can anyone help get me sorted on this decision before I go crazy?? Fleece, midweight tech or a midweight merino? While I am at it... what's the general consensus on sleeping bag & silk liner, just liner or just the sleeping bag, given this time of year. Many thanks in advance for your thoughtful opinions!
I am in Burgos at the moment. It was less than 12 degrees this morning. I have a light down jacket and I have already worn it half a dozen times. I have a silk liner and Costco down throw. The throw was mentioned on this forum. I have been very glad of the extra warmth. Yes there are blankets...but not every where. The temperature have varied from daytime highs in mid 30s to lows around 10.
 

lovelyshell

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October/November 2016
I am in Burgos at the moment. It was less than 12 degrees this morning. I have a light down jacket and I have already worn it half a dozen times. I have a silk liner and Costco down throw. The throw was mentioned on this forum. I have been very glad of the extra warmth. Yes there are blankets...but not every where. The temperature have varied from daytime highs in mid 30s to lows around 10.
Thanks Sandra, I'm not bringing my down jacket because of not being waterproof but I got a fleece that will be a good insulating layer.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I have a silk liner and Costco down throw. The throw was mentioned on this forum. I have been very glad of the extra warmth. Yes there are blankets...but not every where. The temperature have varied from daytime highs in mid 30s to lows around 10.
So glad my Costco quilt discovery is working well for you. I am so happy as you are the 2nd person to mention it this week. Yeah Costco discoveries!
 

jrm

Active Member
I am not a fan of fleece, though have a couple fleece coats in my closet. When on holiday (or, indeed, Camino), I prefer to take my Patagonia Ultralight Down jacket. It is incredible small/lightweight and a perfect layer for me. Keeps my warm, but not overbearingly hot, packs up small, and works perfect under a rain shell. I wear it hiking, skiing, working, filming, etc... it's my favorite coat and was very useful and welcome on the camino! Fleece is far too bulky for me...
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Year of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Rule for COLD is Clean Overlapping Layers of Dry clothes.

Don't go crazy. Its just a walk in the countryside ... its not like you're going to be in the Himalayas. People do this in jeans and a t-shirt so if you don't normally have a use for better gear don't buy it.

- but some do the Camino in early and late season where merino is a godsend. The looped Woolpower I use will wash and spin easily and dries better and faster than flatweave and weighs only 285 grms. I had mornings in close to zero condition with my wool on. The days were hot and lovely but I find the wool solution an insurance policy worth taking...The B.O. I must leave to others to comment on...merino does not tend to smell...
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
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 understand all of what you are saying above and most of my gear is stuff I already have, I'm just trying to sort out what I should bring. My luggage was lost going to Inca Trail and not found, so I've done a short trek without a prrfect packing plan and was fine. However this is longer and I just want to be prepared. There's a lot of information on this forum and I just needed some clarity. I don't live in a cold weather climate so layers aren't my speciality. It would be nice if this forum was a little more understanding and not so harsh/condescending in some replies. Where's the spirit of the Camino I keep hearing about? Wow.

The spirit of the camino is alive and well as you can see in all the great and varying answers you are getting to your questions. I just read your LAST post to Whari and I wonder if this isn't you over-reacting for some reason? What do you find condescending about his reply???? It looks like very good advice to me.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... It would be nice if this forum was a little more understanding and not so harsh/condescending in some replies. Where's the spirit of the Camino I keep hearing about? Wow.

Lol, you are not around many other forums, aren't you? I am and I can assure you that this forum is one of the most understanding and supportive I was ever part of. Buen Camino, SY
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Year of past OR future Camino
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
I note, @lovelyshell, that your Camino is timed for October/ November this year. Whilst the temperature can change in a heartbeat, we've been having a mini heatwave in Europe for sometime now. I'm presently on Via Podiensis & will join up with the Camino Frances tomorrow, and I'm finding a silk liner almost too hot at night, ie no need yet for my sleeping bag. During the day, a T shirt is sufficient whilst a long sleeved Merino shirt is enough for the evening. But then I don't really feel the cold much....
Buen Camino
Suzanne :)
 

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