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Hello. A perhaps common question re camping and what you carry

Ge1ert

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
I will
Hi

Apologies for my naievity. I have only just started posting here after 2 years, but I now have enough free time to 'walk'.

For people who carry a tent and backpack, can anyone please recommend a past thread (if such a one exists), where people have compared or recommended backpack and clothing lists for the Camino. I'm planning on walking as much as I can of the Via Podiensis, from Le Puy to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

My background is that I'm used to colder weather hiking in Scandinavia, where supplies are few and far between, but I've never distance hiked in warmer regions (Le Puy-en-Velay along the GR65 - probably from mid-May to July), and where villages occur along the way.

Because of this I want some idea of what people carry. So I can avoid carrying TOO MUCH. I will be carrying EVERYTHING THOUGH, that I need for camping.

Is there anywhere here where packing lists, pack-weight and clothing has been discussed please? I have a good amount of camping kit, but I just don't want to be overloaded unnecessarily.

Thanks
 
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Not sure about older threads, but I have walked quite a lot in Northern Scandinavia ... actually I live in Northern Scandinavia these days :cool:
Warmer regions are indeed a totally different thing. While up here I use my normal gear. Now in May however, on the Camino I will go ultralight - flimsy backpack, single walled tent. I would not dare this in the mountains of the North but from my experiences on the Camino Frances you can survive well with 5 kg (not camping) on your back. Add the tent and sleeping system and you might end up at max 8 kg, potentially 7 . I will start packing late, so I do not know, where exactly I will end up with packing weight ;-)

Keep in mind though you might have to carry more water than in Scandinavia.
 
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I didn't camp the Camino - but I am camping on some of the Via Francigena. My packing list is ALMOST identical whether I am staying in accommodations/camping for either of those two routes.

What is the same? Clothes, rain/cold weather gear, first aid kit, toiletry kit, towel, sleeping bag liner, shoes, socks. Layers of clothing needed depend on the season - so in cold months I may have warmer layers than in warm months.

What is different? I add a tent or a bivy (Bivy for the VF since I won't be camping EVERY night), sleeping pad, and carry a warmer sleeping bag or sleeping quilt. And my backpack is also slightly bigger - dependent on the amount of space these additional items take up.

What I do NOT carry for either - cooking stove or dishes etc with the possible exception of maybe a spork and maybe 1 container that I can store leftover food in since I can't eat an entire meal in one sitting. There are NOT campgrounds all along the way on either route. This means you need to stealth camp. If you are stealth camping - it is better to not be needing to set up early for dinner and it is best not to draw attention to yourself by cooking and such. If I stealth camp - I want to set up at dusk and be gone by dawn.

Where do I eat? Well - on the Camino routes there are usually plenty of supermarkets, bars, and restaurants. I carry things that do not need to be cooked (even when not camping). But you can buy food pretty much every day, and often all throughout the day. On the VF - the availability of supermarkets, bars, restaurants are more sparsely located. I need to be prepared to carry food at all times, sometimes 1-2 days supply - dependent on the section of the VF.
 
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Hi

Apologies for my naievity. I have only just started posting here after 2 years, but I now have enough free time to 'walk'.

For people who carry a tent and backpack, can anyone please recommend a past thread (if such a one exists), where people have compared or recommended backpack and clothing lists for the Camino. I'm planning on walking as much as I can of the Via Podiensis, from Le Puy to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

My background is that I'm used to colder weather hiking in Scandinavia, where supplies are few and far between, but I've never distance hiked in warmer regions (Le Puy-en-Velay along the GR65 - probably from mid-May to July), and where villages occur along the way.

Because of this I want some idea of what people carry. So I can avoid carrying TOO MUCH. I will be carrying EVERYTHING THOUGH, that I need for camping.

Is there anywhere here where packing lists, pack-weight and clothing has been discussed please? I have a good amount of camping kit, but I just don't want to be overloaded unnecessarily.

Thanks


I had a conversation with Ivar in Santiago a few weeks ago (he’s Norwegian) and he said that of the packages sent to him in Santiago a good proportion are from Scandinavians who have packed like they would for long-distance walking at home, this includes a large number of tents.

Are you committed to camping?
 
I had a conversation with Ivar in Santiago a few weeks ago (he’s Norwegian) and he said that of the packages sent to him in Santiago a good proportion are from Scandinavians who have packed like they would for long-distance walking at home, this includes a large number of tents.

Are you committed to camping?
Yes. Apologies for the slow reply. I didn't receive a reply notification.
Yes, very much so. My whole intention is to camp, whether stealthy wildcamping, leave no trace (I've been advised on the opportunities to wildcamp in France along the GR65 in depth and it's feasibility), or in campsites when I am near any. In Scandinavia (northern Norway), I carry a great deal. I don't want to carry anywhere near as much on the Podiensis as the climate is entirely different and the opportunities to buy supplie far more frequent than Northern Norway.
 
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Not sure about older threads, but I have walked quite a lot in Northern Scandinavia ... actually I live in Northern Scandinavia these days :cool:
Warmer regions are indeed a totally different thing. While up here I use my normal gear. Now in May however, on the Camino I will go ultralight - flimsy backpack, single walled tent. I would not dare this in the mountains of the North but from my experiences on the Camino Frances you can survive well with 5 kg (not camping) on your back. Add the tent and sleeping system and you might end up at max 8 kg, potentially 7 . I will start packing late, so I do not know, where exactly I will end up with packing weight ;-)

Keep in mind though you might have to carry more water than in Scandinavia.
Thanks for your insight Alex. It's helpful. Lofoten, Senja Vesteralen and Kvaloya are the regions I usually camp and hike, and for up to 3 months at a time. Even between May and late September, I agree, far more gear and weather readiness is needed. I've never, though, hiked any sort of multi-day distances in warmer climes. Wales doesn't count (my home). Not in comaprison to southern France.
 
There aren't a ton of packing lists for those who will be camping simply because most people don't camp on the Camino. I have added the tag "camping" at the top of this thread. You can click on it to find other threads related to camping.
Thanks Trecile. I'll look.
 
I didn't camp the Camino - but I am camping on some of the Via Francigena. My packing list is ALMOST identical whether I am staying in accommodations/camping for either of those two routes.

What is the same? Clothes, rain/cold weather gear, first aid kit, toiletry kit, towel, sleeping bag liner, shoes, socks. Layers of clothing needed depend on the season - so in cold months I may have warmer layers than in warm months.

What is different? I add a tent or a bivy (Bivy for the VF since I won't be camping EVERY night), sleeping pad, and carry a warmer sleeping bag or sleeping quilt. And my backpack is also slightly bigger - dependent on the amount of space these additional items take up.

What I do NOT carry for either - cooking stove or dishes etc with the possible exception of maybe a spork and maybe 1 container that I can store leftover food in since I can't eat an entire meal in one sitting. There are NOT campgrounds all along the way on either route. This means you need to stealth camp. If you are stealth camping - it is better to not be needing to set up early for dinner and it is best not to draw attention to yourself by cooking and such. If I stealth camp - I want to set up at dusk and be gone by dawn.

Where do I eat? Well - on the Camino routes there are usually plenty of supermarkets, bars, and restaurants. I carry things that do not need to be cooked (even when not camping). But you can buy food pretty much every day, and often all throughout the day. On the VF - the availability of supermarkets, bars, restaurants are more sparsely located. I need to be prepared to carry food at all times, sometimes 1-2 days supply - dependent on the section of the VF.
Thanks jeanineonthecamino. That's very helpful. Perhaps I might have to consider taking my bivy bag as well, for times when it's not practical or easy to setup my tent discreetly. What do you think? As for food and, cookware (I carry a small MSR stove and gas canister), are you saying I shouldn't bother because, even on the Via Podiensis (GR65), opportunities to buy food, even if it's a baguette here and there, are very plentiful? I usually carry dried food because northern Scandinavia is very remote in parts.
 
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Thanks jeanineonthecamino. That's very helpful. Perhaps I might have to consider taking my bivy bag as well, for times when it's not practical or easy to setup my tent discreetly. What do you think? As for food and, cookware (I carry a small MSR stove and gas canister), are you saying I shouldn't bother because, even on the Via Podiensis (GR65), opportunities to buy food, even if it's a baguette here and there, are very plentiful? I usually carry dried food because northern Scandinavia is very remote in parts.
I wouldn't take a tent AND a bivy. I would just decide how much time you are likely to end up camping - and bring the one that is most appropriate. If you are planning to camp a lot - then the tent would be ideal and more comfortable. But make sure it is as small, light, and as low profile as possible. I don't know if you already own one that fits the bill - but you won't be camping in campgrounds regularly, so staying out of site is important. If you are only camping occasionally - the bivy might be better. Problem with bivies is you can't just hang out in them for hours while awake and sit up and be comfortable. They also are less breathable so they get more condensation - which is a problem if you can't create airflow due to rain and/or cold. Out of 6 1/2 weeks of walking, I plan to sleep in my bivy maybe 7 times. Carrying a heavier/bulkier tent for so few camping nights doesn't make as much sense for me.

As for food on the Podiensis - I haven't walked that particular route - so I don't want to give you inaccurate information about the availability of food. That said - what I did for the VF is I made a route map in google mymaps, located the "stage" towns for possible daily distances I might walk - then I scrolled through the map - zooming in to along the trail - and I looked to see the availability of supermarkets and I added waypoints and hours for all bigger supermarkets (usually the common "chain" supermarkets) to my map in Alltrails (which is what I will use for offline maps since I can't download a customized google map to my iPhone). Anyhow - by doing this, I located where I can access food along the trail if I can't find restaurants/bars (which of course you can also see on a google map). Because I did this research, I know in advance where I will be able to resupply my food. I will pass big supermarkets at least once a day, MOST days. There are a couple days where I might not pass a supermarket - but I won't go more than 48 hours without access. So - I know I don't need to carry more than 2 days food at a time. I will only cook when I stay in an apartment along the route. For days I can't cook in an apartment - I will eat food from supermarkets, bakeries, bars, and restaurants. But the food from the supermarkets that I will carry in my pack as I walk will be food that doesn't need to be cooked.

You might prefer to cook - but again - it might draw attention to you camping outside of official campsites. And remember - these routes aren't wilderness backcountry routes - so there ARE services available - but you will have to look into the Via Podiensis to see how frequently or sparsely they are located. But if possible, plan to eat in your start/end towns and only pack lunches and snacks as needed.

You also shouldn't need carry dried food that needs to be rehydrated. The Camino routes are not THAT remote. I save my camp stove and dried foods that need to be rehydrated for the remote wilderness hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail/Appalachian Trail in the US. But you will be going through regular towns much more frequently.
 
I had a conversation with Ivar in Santiago a few weeks ago (he’s Norwegian) and he said that of the packages sent to him in Santiago a good proportion are from Scandinavians who have packed like they would for long-distance walking at home, this includes a large number of tents.
I think this is spot on.
Ge1ert, it feels like you are a little bit aiming to impose a wild camping way of travelling onto the Camino Frances - for which it is not very well suited.
While it is understandable to become attached to a nice tent such as Macpac Minaret in your member photo 🤗, it's not really the best thing to be bringing to get the most out of the CF. The only reason to wild camp is necessity brought on by extreme poverty. And even then there are other ways to get along the CF with minimal funds. The CF is a social thing - a chance to meet wierd wonderful and occasionally tiresome people from across the world and sometimes walk in step with them and sometimes break bread with them in the evenings. The focus is often on the destination town and you and your compadres arriving like (or often becoming) a team that looks out for each other and ends up sharing and laughing together. You can of course walk to Santiago without doing any of this, but it feels like a life influencing opportunity lost.
If you must wild camp you are better off, probably, taking the obscure Camino Olvidado through the high country and having a different kind of adventure there.
But my advice is to give up the camping gear when you get to Spain and post it onto Santiago and just go with the flow.
Full disclosure: I have typically packed a lightweight shelter as a Plan B (Trailstar or Bear Paw Lair), but never yet used them on the CF.
PS my 44L Talon works for the camino as well as the Pyrenees with tent, and weekends in Brecons and Snowdonia etc
 
I did walk the via podiensis from Le Puy twice by now and camping is very easy there. There are countless official campsites and also the gites often allow to camp in their garden for a small fee. That way you can camp and still enjoy having dinner or just sharing a bottle of wine with other pilgrims. Perfect solution to have both.

Wild camping is not necessary on the GR65 but usually tolerated if you do it discretely. Campsites are not expensive (the cheapest I stayed at were less than five Euros, last year). The more luxurious ones are more expensive but still quite cheap ~10-15€. On the simple camping municipal you still get a warm shower for your 5-10€. The bigger more touristic campsites sometimes even have a pool.

Even on the Francés, there are more official campsites than one might think, and at least a few albergues that allow camping in the garden (you pay the same price as for a bed or a slightly reduced price, but are allowed to use kitchen, bathroom ect). I really loved those evenings camping at the albergues. Official campsites cost about as much as a bed in a private albergue (~15€).

In Spain there is not much tolerance for wild camping so I'd advice not to do it there, even if you're a respectful person doing it discretely.

I've written a list for camping from Germany-Finisterre via Le Puy but haven't translated it yet (working on it).

If you really love camping, a tent is wonderful to have in France, and at least nice to have in those days when you can use it in Spain.

I'd certainly being a tent or at least a tarp again.

My backpack is a 65/70l+ one (before, a cheap Decathlon one, now a Osprey Aura AG), I do not bring any special camping gear apart from tent (snugpak Ionosphere, perfect for stealth camping, low profile), sleeping pad (z-lite) and a down sleeping bag (Marmot ~ -8C comfort rating). No cooking kit ect., only a knife, a cup, and a spork. You can't use the Camping stove most of the time, anyway, because of the high risk of forest fires. Albergues often have kitchens, campsites a bar/restaurant, so no need for a stove ect. Water is available, the miam miam dodo Guide book indicated water sources, No water purification system needed, just a few empty bottles (the Perrier water bottles are nice, buy one, then use to refill).

Photo is camping in front of the albergue in Roncesvalles :)

Buen Camino and happy planning!

7uvcy26gcjveu.jpg
 
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And forgot to say, if you're okay with baguette and cheese/sardines, you'll be fine food-wise on the way from Le Puy. There are much less shops than in Spain but enough to get by.

Some days it makes sense to carry food for 2-3 days because the small french shops have strange opening times and of course are closed on the many holidays, also. Which means that often when you need something, they're closed 😂. The first time I walked the GR65 I remember a few days with stale bread and digging out the last peanuts from the bottom of my pack, but last year I was prepared and carried enough. Always a baguette, a tin of some sort (sardines, ratatouille are classics..) some dried fruit/nuts/chocolate and a piece of cheese for emergencies (and a can of beer, because I'm German 🍺).

No need for freeze dried food. The french food is sooo good, so you should enjoy fresh food whenever you can. The fresh melons for example are so good, I started carrying a full sized melon in my pack almost daily to enjoy for lunch break. It was worth the extra weight.

Bread is almost always available. Often there are small shops, sometimes supermarkets, cafés, bars, restaurants. If there's no bakery, you can often buy something in "multiservice" shops/bars/cafés.

Some pictures of breakfast/lunch stops.

IMG20220716092344.jpgIMG20220624144250.jpgIMG20220611093141.jpg
 
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I've not camped on Le Puy, but on other pilgrim routes in France. I have a 30l osprey tempest pack and my camping gear is a small tent, inflating mat and a sleeping bag. I carry alcohol stove (alcool a bruler is available in supermarkets in France so easily gotten, but I carry a small amount as i rarely do more than boil water or heat ratatouille up) and a metal cup that I can use on stove. I tend to have a plastic jar or box to use for leftovers/cooking, plus a knife and spork. Just be aware of any fire regulations in force ( less of issue on campsites until higher risk levels) in using a stove.
It is wise to carry at least 2 days of supplies in France as the shop might be closed for a half-day or a holiday etc when you are passing - so so I always have some porridge, some couscous or instant mash and a tin or sardines plus nuts as a backup. And I agree on the tins of ratatouille in France they are great with bread, pasta, potatoes or eggs.

As for clothing I would look at what other gite/albergue-staying pilgrims would travel with in the season you are planning as a starting point.
 
It should be possible to enjoy what the Camino brings you by both camping and staying in albergues.(There is room for both on such a long walk).
Here is a 2012 account of such an approach. This person travelled from Le Puy to Finisterre during the months of August & September and bivyed/cowboy camped 50% of the time.

 
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It's late tonight as I'm seeing your very helpful replies and I'll try my best to respond more cogently as soon as I'm able to. Especially if the following makes no sense. Thanks to all for your helpful responses.
I'll mention a few things though for as long as my sleepy head allows. Somebody (with eagle-eyes), recognised the tent in my profile avatar. The MacPac Minaret isn't the tent I'll be carrying, but a much lighter, low-profile, 1.2 to 1.4Kg one that I've used a lot over the last two years in the UK and again in Norway. The MacPac (excellent tent), is what I used in 2019 in Lofoten, and is much heavier; I'd never consider it here. As for what's needed to be taken with me, I'm a pretty experienced hiker (with tent), and I'm lucky enough to have just about everything that may or may not be needed. My initial question was motivated by wondering what other tent-hikers take in their pack on such a different journey to what I'm used to (colder, wetter regions). So as to not take more than's needed.
In particular, the food supply advice you've given will be very useful, as is what I've read elsewhere re- potable water sources, such as churchyard taps. You see, I'm used to filtering my own water from streams and lakes or waterfalls. This is probably completely impractical I realise and unnecessary with good planning and forethought.
I'll definitely remember what you've all told me re- food and what to take and what not to take and how much at any time. Also, restrictions on using a stove when restrictions are in place anywhere. By the way, how does anyone find out about restrictions in any area whilst walking?
Is there a recommended website for this? Or would there be clear notices along the routes when restrictions are permanently or temporarily put in place?
My walk is partly for reasons of reflection and contemplation following a loss, but that doesn't mean I may not 'adapt' and feel more comfortable with others' company along the way.
For now though, even though I completely appreciate how busy the Via Podiensis can be in places, it's a solo venture for me and I'm not setting any targets as to for how long for or how far. It may be long or perhaps not. It depends how it unfolds to be honest.
Also, sorry for any confusion I've caused at the outset, but my final destination would be Saint-Jean-Pied de Port at most .. .. .. At least that's my thinking. But, as I say, I'll take it as it goes and it may be even shorter.
I know some parts of France fairly well and, as for campsites and prices (and even auberges, if I feel I want to at any time), I've a good idea and I'll definitely be using them (campsites), where I come across them instead of wildcamping. Wildcamping isn't my focus this time (unlike elsewhere). It's more a contingency.
So, I don't have any one aim as such. Only to walk. I've no idea over how far or for how long.
So that's it. I've no idea if I'll feel better for it. But, hopefully, I will. :)
Thanks again. Now, bed. :) Zzzzz
 
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Not sure about older threads, but I have walked quite a lot in Northern Scandinavia ... actually I live in Northern Scandinavia these days :cool:
Warmer regions are indeed a totally different thing. While up here I use my normal gear. Now in May however, on the Camino I will go ultralight - flimsy backpack, single walled tent. I would not dare this in the mountains of the North but from my experiences on the Camino Frances you can survive well with 5 kg (not camping) on your back. Add the tent and sleeping system and you might end up at max 8 kg, potentially 7 . I will start packing late, so I do not know, where exactly I will end up with packing weight ;-)

Keep in mind though you might have to carry more water than in Scandinavia.
Sorry Alex and thankyou. I'll reply as soon as I can. Appreciate you getting touch. Bit chaotic here at the moment. LOL :)
 

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