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How cold in October?

S/V Mahala

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
Hello!

I'll be walking the Camino Frances from SJPDP to Finisterre, starting around the 20th of September. So most of my way will be in October.

Let me preface this by saying, I'm a dive instructor in the Caribbean, I live on my sailboat year round with no AC. I'm no stranger to cold weather, but I am most definitely acclimated to a warm climate.

I'm pretty sure I've got clothing figured out, my bigger question will be sleeping. I'm leaning towards just a sleeping bag liner. My usual night time sleeping temperature is in the high 80's F. Would a light weight sleeping bag or quilt be overkill? Blankets in Alburgues? I see mixed opinions on this and I feel like a lot of them come from pilgrims trekking in summertime.

Rain jacket. October can be quite wet in Spain (so I've read.) Should I go with a more solid rain coat, or would a packable version or even a poncho be preferred?

Different gear for different people, I get it. But I'm looking for advice from anyone who has walked the Frances in the fall and may be able to provide some advice.

Thanks! Buen Camino!
 
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roving_rufus

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
October sees the weather normally change, and I don't think a sleeping bag liner would be sufficient as a number of albergues no longer offer blankets.
And warm layers- it can suddenly change from warm sunshine one day to a biting wind the next.
As for rain gear, this is a personal thing - some people love ponchos, but I am an umbrella, raincoat and rain trousers sort - but there is a huge variety in what you might mean as as packable or more solid
 

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
In this quasi post-Covid era, I don’t know if you expect to find blankets in all or even most of the albergues. Like @JWilhaus, I carry a 1-season, slightly over 1-pound sleeping bag. I believe that in October, although you can still have some hot weather, you’ll have many occasions to enjoy the warmth of your sleeping bag. And, if the albergue has blankets, all the better. With regard to rain gear, I can’t believe that you won’t encounter rain, and maybe a significant amount of it, in Galicia. With that in mind, I’d carry a good rain jacket that can also double for something to wear on cold mornings or evenings. Planning on having layers may be the best way to deal with a mix of weather and temperatures.
 

C clearly

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Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I'm pretty sure I've got clothing figured out, my bigger question will be sleeping. I'm leaning towards just a sleeping bag liner.
Choices of clothing, rain gear, and sleeping bags are all interrelated.
Would a light weight sleeping bag or quilt be overkill?
Taking a light weight sleeping bag or quilt would not be overkill for most people in most Octobers. (I have walked the Frances in 3 different Octobers.) Remember that your clothing choices should take into account what you might need for layering on cold nights.
Rain jacket. October can be quite wet in Spain (so I've read.) Should I go with a more solid rain coat, or would a packable version or even a poncho be preferred?
Ponchos and jackets can be flimsy or more robust. In mid-summer, you can risk one of the flimsy versions, but I would recommend that you be better equipped in October. I'm not sure what you mean by "more solid" versus "packable" - good rain jackets can be packable and light weight.

I take a good quality rain jacket that is a single layer shell (i.e. no lining) and quite light and packable, so I can layer it with whatever is needed to suit the conditions. It is also good as a wind breaker or insulation on cold days.

Ponchos might be more effective for downpours, but less convenient for cold winds. Putting a poncho over your sleeping bag/liner can help with an unusually cold albergue. So you can see that both have advantages, and either choice can work, as long as the components of your system complement each together.

Have I mentioned that "layering" is the key? :)
 
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This post is relative to my plans, so will watch the thread with interest. We intend to leave STJPDP on the 21st September with Santiago and the onwards to the coast our destination. We don’t have a fixed schedule but expect to be still walking end of October.

I will take a few base layers, a Berghaus fleece and a Berghaus rain/shell jacket. I intend to purchase a poncho and a season 2 sleeping bag prior to leaving Scotland.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I have walked in October at the same time two different years and the weather couldn't have been more different. Now I walk through December on different caminos and I have a very light sleeping bag that I bought at Decathlon that is insulated to about 45F and I have never been cold except one night when I had to stay in a cheap pension (long story). It was MUCH colder in my room than in the street. I just put on some extra clothes and was fine. I have an Altus Poncho that I bought in Madrid before my first camino. Still using it as I prepare for Camino 7. It is easy to put on and for me at least I think it does a great job against wind and rain. It can be hot but I think unless you are spending lots of money this is true for most ponchos and rain jackets. I think. One year on the Meseta I had the foulest weather for almost the entire Meseta. Rain often heavy throughout every day but 2 with the rain coming down horizontally because the wind was a steady (according to the weather reports in bars) 25K per hour with gusts above 40. It was between 40-50F every day. My poncho kept me dry. I learned the first day you have to keep the hood on or the top of my pack did get wet. I didn't have a jacket. I had only a fleece pullover and light Under Armour top and I was never cold. My feet got cold as my trail runners were soaked through every day but....
I like the poncho also because on days where rain is forecast I put it in the side pocket. As soon as it starts raining I take it out, face the wind, hold the poncho over my head. It flaps like a flag and I put one arm in and then the other and grab the ends and drop my hands and the poncho has me and my pack covererd. Zip it up, put on the hood and I am off. I always have my baseball cap on the visor does a good job keeping the water off my eyes.
 

Rmarkob

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 21 Sep/22 Oct 2021
I did the CF last year on almost the exact dates you are. I had a Marmot fleece for cooler mornings and an Outdoor Research (OR) rain jacket (unlined). On the day I left Burgos it was 1C at 0700 and I wore both*. I also had a pair of glove liners which I used since I walk with trekking poles and can't just put my hands in my pockets. As on most sunny days, the temperature rose to around 20C within a couple of hours and I removed layers as necessary. I didn't use a poncho as I had a trash bag inside my pack to keep everything dry, as well as a waterproof pack cover to keep the pack itself dry. The only truly rainy day was the day I walked from Atapuerca to Burgos. My shoes and socks were the only things soaked, as I walked wearing shorts.

*I was passed by a group of Dublin bus drivers wearing shorts and t-shirts that cold morning leaving Burgos. I asked if they were not cold, and one of them responded "Nah...this is our summer!"

I also carried a permitherin treated Sea to Summit brand sleeping bag liner as well as a down-filled camp blanket. Both were very light weight and compressed well into their own stuffsacks. Only one night felt particularly cold - in the Albergue Juan de Yepes in Hontanas - so I slept in my clothing inside the liner and under the camp blanket. This is not a complaint about the albergue - it's a very nice and well-managed place.
 

DyanTX

DyanTX
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
I walked the CF pretty much that exact timeframe in 2016. The coldest morning was 39 degrees (4 C) in Hospital de Orbigo but it warmed up to shorts-weather well before noon. Most days were quite comfortable for shorts/t-shirts. Only 3 days of light rain. I liked having my rainjacket. Seemed easier to manage than my friend's poncho and could be used for another layer if needed. Didn't ever need to walk in my fleece. Early on in albergues it was too hot and stuffy even for my lightweight sleeping bag - mostly because windows are closed at night. By the time it got colder at night, we had decided to do private rooms where bedding was provided. If I walked again in the timeframe - I would decide ahead of time whether I was going for private or public albergues and tailor my sleeping system to that decision.
 

Alfredo2021

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I am going to be walking the same time. I planning to take a sleeping bag liner and a hiking quilt. I will have fleece pull over, a nano puff jacket and rain jacket & pant. I tried a rain skirt once but found it too cold. By the way, I will be taking a taxi from Pamplona Airport to St Jean on 9/28 & hope to share the ride.
 
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Calimocho

Mark
Time of past OR future Camino
Oct. 2006 - Roncesvalles to Los Arcos
Oct. 2016 - Los Arcos to Burgos
I have walked two sections of the Frances in October and plan to return this October as well. Based on my experience, I plan to bring a lightweight waterproof and breathable rain jacket and rain pants and an umbrella ( I can wear layers under the jacket for warmth). For sleeping, I think I’ll bring my lightweight down Costco quilt. I had it modified a bit so that it’s enclosed at the feet (like a sleeping bag) but open at the top (like a quilt). I might also bring a silk liner, although I find it to be a real struggle to get in and out of the one I have. I’m open to suggestions for a better very light sleep sack/liner.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Walked Bayonne to Biarritz, then Porto to SdC in October 2021. Never was cold, had a few days of heat, and suffered through some rainy days: in short, a very mixed bag but nothing extreme. BTW, my wife walked with me and would tell you it was “freezing” so it’s really just personal comfort. 😂

Private albergues MAY provide sheets and blankets, but there’s no guarantee of that. Hostels, Casa Rurals, and Inns certainly do. You truly need to need to contact each one to verify.
 

markie6

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2018, 2019 2022
Early starts on the CF can be chilly in Sept / Oct so I always have a fleece and a rain /shell jacket.

The albergues nearer Galicia will more often than not have blankets. I'd never go without my sleeping bag, rain jacket or fleece and both my previous Caminos started in Sept which is a fairly reliable month in Spain
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I'm arriving in SJPDP Sept. 20th -- plan to walk for 15 days. I'm not carrying my pack. Would like to know what folks recommend for a rain jacket that's very compact and will fit over my day pack ... or what you recommend? Also I see many posts that have umbrella? What's that about? I've never walked or hiked with an umbrella?
 
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Hello!

I'll be walking the Camino Frances from SJPDP to Finisterre, starting around the 20th of September. So most of my way will be in October.

Let me preface this by saying, I'm a dive instructor in the Caribbean, I live on my sailboat year round with no AC. I'm no stranger to cold weather, but I am most definitely acclimated to a warm climate.

I'm pretty sure I've got clothing figured out, my bigger question will be sleeping. I'm leaning towards just a sleeping bag liner. My usual night time sleeping temperature is in the high 80's F. Would a light weight sleeping bag or quilt be overkill? Blankets in Alburgues? I see mixed opinions on this and I feel like a lot of them come from pilgrims trekking in summertime.

Rain jacket. October can be quite wet in Spain (so I've read.) Should I go with a more solid rain coat, or would a packable version or even a poncho be preferred?

Different gear for different people, I get it. But I'm looking for advice from anyone who has walked the Frances in the fall and may be able to provide some advice.

Thanks! Buen Camino!
All the advice below on layering is excellent. I’m starting in Le Puy on Aug. 24 and finishing in Muxia in mid-November so may pick up some layers, if necessary, when I get into SJPP or Spain.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
This post is relative to my plans, so will watch the thread with interest. We intend to leave STJPDP on the 21st September with Santiago and the onwards to the coast our destination. We don’t have a fixed schedule but expect to be still walking end of October.

I will take a few base layers, a Berghaus fleece and a Berghaus rain/shell jacket. I intend to purchase a poncho and a season 2 sleeping bag prior to leaving Scotland.
I’m from Cumbria and consider northern Spain to be relatively warm in October. Given that you’re north of me; unless you are a cold sleeper; I’d take the lightest sleeping bag you can find. You can always add a base-layer; but I don’t think you’ll need to.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
I'm arriving in SJPDP Sept. 20th -- plan to walk for 15 days. I'm not carrying my pack. Would like to know what folks recommend for a rain jacket that's very compact and will fit over my day pack ... or what you recommend? Also I see many posts that have umbrella? What's that about? I've never walked or hiked with an umbrella?
A rain jacket which goes over your pack; should you want one; is a poncho. Some love them; others really don’t.

An umbrella can be a very practical way of keeping light rain off without creating condensation. Also doubling as a sunshade. I wouldn’t say they’re commonly used; but it’s a sensible option. Do bear in mind this is not a wilderness expedition.
 

longdays

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 3, 2022
Hello!

I'll be walking the Camino Frances from SJPDP to Finisterre, starting around the 20th of September. So most of my way will be in October.

Let me preface this by saying, I'm a dive instructor in the Caribbean, I live on my sailboat year round with no AC. I'm no stranger to cold weather, but I am most definitely acclimated to a warm climate.

I'm pretty sure I've got clothing figured out, my bigger question will be sleeping. I'm leaning towards just a sleeping bag liner. My usual night time sleeping temperature is in the high 80's F. Would a light weight sleeping bag or quilt be overkill? Blankets in Alburgues? I see mixed opinions on this and I feel like a lot of them come from pilgrims trekking in summertime.

Rain jacket. October can be quite wet in Spain (so I've read.) Should I go with a more solid rain coat, or would a packable version or even a poncho be preferred?

Different gear for different people, I get it. But I'm looking for advice from anyone who has walked the Frances in the fall and may be able to provide some advice.

Thanks! Buen Camino!
I’m also walking it in October and was planning to take my tent so I can walk very long days and pitch up in the wilderness some nights rather than spend time looking for an auberge. Does anyone know if the Spanish police might fine me if I get discovered? Some Germans were talking about €400 fines for wild camping in Germany. I was also wondering if there was a danger of wild animals. I do it in the UK all the time and there is no hassle from the authorities or wildlife and normally cover about 40km a day.
 
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Karl Oz

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Frances
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Aragones
Sanabres
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Having walked caminos in Spring and Autumn, I would definitely recommend a sleeping bag. It gets cold at night at altitude, even after warm days. Waking-up cold in a silk liner in the middle of the night is not something I will risk again!
 

StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
Depends on what you are used to. I walked in late October and the weather didn't bother me but I am from Scotland and spend a lot of time outdoors all year round including winter camping. A friend I made on the walk was from San Diego and he suffered. At Cruz de Ferro he looked like he was at the top of Everest and to me it felt like a beautiful autumn day :)

Weather was generally cold at dawn, gradually warmed through the morning and usually rocketed up in the afternoon, peaking around 5pm. After sunset temp dropped quick again. There was already snow on the mountains in the distance after Leon. In the higher altitude sections there could be a huge range. It was not unusual for it to be below freezing when setting out and around 30degC by 5pm. Crossing into Galicia was almost instantly different. It transformed into typical Atlantic European weather. Grey, mild and damp with occasional blue skies.

I found most albergues very stuffy and uncomfortable. It's always the coldest person in the room that gets to control the heat and ventilation. A lot of people act like an open window at night could be fatal. And the more people, the hotter it is. A human gives off 50-100W of heat so 10 people in a room can be like turning on an extra 1kW heater on top of everything else.
 

jasperg357

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning first Camino for April of 2023.
I am going to be walking the same time. I planning to take a sleeping bag liner and a hiking quilt. I will have fleece pull over, a nano puff jacket and rain jacket & pant. I tried a rain skirt once but found it too cold. By the way, I will be taking a taxi from Pamplona Airport to St Jean on 9/28 & hope to share the ride.
Hello, I’m planning a trip for next April. Any idea what a taxi cost from Pamplona to St. Jean?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
This post is relative to my plans, so will watch the thread with interest. We intend to leave STJPDP on the 21st September with Santiago and the onwards to the coast our destination. We don’t have a fixed schedule but expect to be still walking end of October.

I will take a few base layers, a Berghaus fleece and a Berghaus rain/shell jacket. I intend to purchase a poncho and a season 2 sleeping bag prior to leaving Scotland.
For me too, as I have a plan to start next year in July from Lubeck, meaning it will be some time in October, perhaps late, when I arrive in Santiago. I also intend to have a sleeping bag with me 🙂
 

tommycamino

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Time of past OR future Camino
October 2022
I'm thinking of going at this time too. I have a shell jacket that I can take or do people tend to take a lightweight fleece instead?
 
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C clearly

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Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I have a shell jacket that I can take or do people tend to take a lightweight fleece instead?
Is it intended for wind proofing, rain proofing, or warmth/insulation of the layers underneath? As @JimG59 implies, you need to have the layers for provide all these functions. Those layers are more versatile if they are separate items of clothing.
 

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