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Footwear in November

golden1789

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances November "2014"
Hi, I am going to be starting October 31st and at the moment I have no idea whether to go for a light boot or a hiking shoe. Did anyone do the walk November 2013. How much rain/mud...buying footwear this week so any information would be great.
 
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hampshire!tim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Ingles (2014), Finisterre (2015)
I left SJPdP on Nov 3 2013. First 3 days were drizzle and rain pretty much throughout, but little rain after that apart from 2 other days separately. I sheltered on one of them. Not a lot of mud except one day after Burgos when crossing through farmland. Generally clear skies, cold mornings and nights and lots of sunshine, even in the normally windy and wet Galicia. I think I was exceptionally lucky.

Personally I would go for a light boot. You can never count on what the weather will be, especially in these months. If it is indeed *a light boot*, it will give you the support and protection without much weight. The hiking shoe will be lighter but risks a lot of discomfort and uncomfortable if it becomes wet and cloud. On one very wet day there were a lot of large puddles to skip through and around, and a few stretches where I gave up and just walked through them as too wide to avoid - the boot definitely helped then.

But you could equally say those days were only 10% of the trip, and you could put up with a shoe and some discomfort for the benefits on the other 90%. If of course it's the same ratio this year !!

I used north face boot with vibram sole. It fitted well and so no blister problems. But everyone's foot is personal to them and you may prefer a different brand. Next time I will probably use the same but am testing a light boot from Ecco. It is still a boot, high to cover ankle, decent tread and waterproof. But lighter than the north face. So maybe you can get the benefits of a boot and get close to the lightness of a hiking shoe.

But the choice is always yours. Most people I saw at that time were using boots but there were a few with lighter alternatives and they didn't seem to be struggling too much. But I don't understand how one of them with very open shoe would have managed the few days of wet, mud (and one of light snow).

Just my experience - good luck with decision and Buen Camino !

Tim
 

golden1789

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances November "2014"
Tim, your reply tremendously helpful as most posts relate to a Spring/Summer early Autumn walk. The weather conditions you describe are what I thought they might be and it is mud/puddles that concern me about the use of walking shoes, however tempted I may be...slightly off topic, were the Albergues open and easy to get into at this time of the year? Also, did you start on the 3 November to avoid the National Holiday - All Saints' Day?
 

hampshire!tim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Ingles (2014), Finisterre (2015)
Hi golden.
Start date was just what suited me. Couldn't get away earlier.
I did experience one national holiday later in the trip. Not much inconvenience but definitely worth being prepared with food and drink. You will get food on those days, but it may be a scrum and not the food you want. But that's my limited experience.

In terms of albergues, generally no problem. There were definitely quite a number which were closed. Including the orisson one. So prepare well for that first day.

Elsewhere some were closed but there were enough which were open for it not to be an issue. Only once did I need to walk a bit further because the albergue at the planned stop was closed.

And if you are open to using private casa rural, you definitely won't have a problem. Some of those shut out of season, but enough are open. On these it is better to phone ahead if possible, but not essential.

If you're still walking between Dec 20 and Jan 6th, it will be very different - almost all closed I think. But you'll probably have arrived before then.

Back to mud & puddles, based on my very lucky just 2 bad days and 3 medium bad, you can probably cope with a hiking shoe if you are of sturdy mind and don't complain. And can accept risk of more bad days. Personally I whinge more ;-) and prefer to be prepared, hence preference for boot.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Golden,

Although this past November had many days of glorious sunshine November CAN bring winter conditions. November 29, 2012, the climb up O Cebreiro was through 1 meter of snow. Pilgrims must be prepared. Check out what others and I have written regarding walking in winter in this earlier Forum thread.

Since all my caminos have been in late autumn and winter you might find my kit list to be useful for your planning.

By November not all albergues will be open, but the welcome at those which are open is often most sincere. Most open albergues will be heated and/or have blankets, but not all. Generally the hospitaleros know who is open on the next stage.

Happy planning and Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith
 
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CISSA69

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
I have walked the Camino de Santiago many many times, volunteered as a hospitalaro and at the CSJ offices in London and have presented on "Camino and Equipment" .
I have walked in November and each time the weather has been very different so best go prepared, one year was very dry and one year very wet.

In addition to the advice above I would recommend bringing a small pair of Yack Tracks or something equivalent which will provide grip in slippery conditions, be it snow or mud.

Walking poles will provide support, grip and will help you walk faster

Lots of socks to keep your feet dry. Different types, layers and make sure new socks have been washed a number of times to to remove stuff from the manufacturing process.

A good boot drying routine every night (remove insoles and stuff with paper). Change the paper every so often, leaving the wet paper to dry on a radiator.

Don't place wet footwear near high heat as they my shrink and or warp.

Might be a good idea to bring an extra pair of insoles so that you always have dry feet.

Bring a descent pair of scandals if flooding is expexted for wading through over flowing rivers. I used scandals on the Via De La Plata in Mar/Apr. Heavy but worth it.

I bring cycling overshoes to wear with my boots to provide more waterproofing and warmth. Plastic bags could be a make do solution in an emergency.

Good gloves are a must as there is nothing worse than cold hands. Breathable glove covers might be a good idea, expensive but might be instrumental in keeping your arms warm. A bit over kill unless expecting severe confitions. Plastic bags would work perrectly well and easily available and free. Use a pair of socks if need be.

A runner or cyclist sweat band is great for keeping your ears and forehead warm.

I like to wear a base ball hat under my hood as the peak tends to be longer than the pesk on the hood anf less bendy in the wind.

A warm sleeping bag just in case they do not have blankets and or heating in the hostal. At least bring a sleeping bag liner.

Stuff sacks to protect your clothes from the rain. I use Eagle Creek clear plastic stuff sacks for within the rucksack, a normal stuff sack for my sleeping bag and a backpack cover to make sure rain has little or no chance of getting in as there is nothing worse than getting into your albergue to find everythinh is wet or damp. A bit over kill but I think it is worth it and it helps pep you up as you feel you have won the day over the rain.

A lunch box for food just in case you cannot find food during the day as some cafes shut for the Winter usually around mid to end October. I always carry a packet of biscuits, great emergency food along with cereal and milk.
 
Last edited:

CISSA69

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
I have walked the Camino de Santiago many many times, volunteered as a hospitalaro and at the CSJ offices in London and have presented on "Camino and Equipment" .
Many albrrgues close for the winter. The office in SJPP will give you a list of albergues, their opening and closing dates, no of beds, facilities, etc. Bring an A4 clear sleeve that you would use in a folder as the information is gold dust and weighs nothing. Seal it with tape to keep it waterproof.

If the office at SJPP tell you not to take the Nepolian route then best head their advice as this equates to skiing off piste so your insurance policies may be no longer valid eg health insurance, trsvel insurance, life insurance anf the rescue service charge for rescues €1,000 even if somebody calls them out on your behalf....
 

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