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How to take trekking poles to Spain despite airline regulations...

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Deleted member 61803

Guest
Since the OP mentioned that she may be camping in another thread, then I understand her need for the trowel. However if at least one of your tent pegs is one of those strong triangular ones then you have no need for the trowel at all, just keep that peg handy. I carried one solely for that purpose in 2017 but never used it on the Frances route as there were enough toilets en route. However since you mentioned doing Northern route maybe others could let you know the availability of the servicios on that route
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
Since the OP mentioned that she may be camping in another thread, then I understand her need for the trowel. However if at least one of your tent pegs is one of those strong triangular ones then you have no need for the trowel at all, just keep that peg handy. I carried one solely for that purpose in 2017 but never used it on the Frances route as there were enough toilets en route. However since you mentioned doing Northern route maybe others could let you know the availability of the servicios on that route

An old backpacker’s trick … 😉
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Well, my bluetooth connection just about stretches 30ft, so you are unlikely to know whether that plane lifting off on Runway 2 actually has your kit stowed aboard... and I guess if you did know you couldn't very well run after it...
FWIW I have sometimes dreamed of inserting a satellite tracker into a walking pole, having it confiscated at Santiago airport and seeing where it ended up - possibly in a downtown A Coruna flea-market... or in a loaded-down van being seen heading east along our old combatant the N-120, against a tide of weary trudgers, to a lock-up in Saint Jean, to be re-sold those of us who left our poles at home to avoid all this carry-on.

In terms of pen-knives. I checked that the blade length of my Victorinix Officier Suisse was within the 6cm, but lost it to Security because of its tiny facsimile of a corkscrew

New technology -- from Apple that will work exactly the same way that "Find my..." does now. a secured BT technology pings nearby Apple devices to perform the location and the device ID communicates only with the owner. I've been using this technology for years and it is reliable within 10 m of the object; distance from the own is irrelevant.
 

gayeh

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Well, my bluetooth connection just about stretches 30ft, so you are unlikely to know whether that plane lifting off on Runway 2 actually has your kit stowed aboard... and I guess if you did know you couldn't very well run after it...
FWIW I have sometimes dreamed of inserting a satellite tracker into a walking pole, having it confiscated at Santiago airport and seeing where it ended up - possibly in a downtown A Coruna flea-market... or in a loaded-down van being seen heading east along our old combatant the N-120, against a tide of weary trudgers, to a lock-up in Saint Jean, to be re-sold those of us who left our poles at home to avoid all this carry-on.

In terms of pen-knives. I checked that the blade length of my Victorinix Officier Suisse was within the 6cm, but lost it to Security because of its tiny facsimile of a corkscrew
Oh my. This tricky equipment business is a bit much. If distance walking (including los caminos) becomes more popular (post-covid) with any luck, there may be some demand for the airlines to re-think the silliness.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Well, my bluetooth connection just about stretches 30ft, so you are unlikely to know whether that plane lifting off on Runway 2 actually has your kit stowed aboard... and I guess if you did know you couldn't very well run after it...
FWIW I have sometimes dreamed of inserting a satellite tracker into a walking pole, having it confiscated at Santiago airport and seeing where it ended up - possibly in a downtown A Coruna flea-market... or in a loaded-down van being seen heading east along our old combatant the N-120, against a tide of weary trudgers, to a lock-up in Saint Jean, to be re-sold those of us who left our poles at home to avoid all this carry-on.

In terms of pen-knives. I checked that the blade length of my Victorinix Officier Suisse was within the 6cm, but lost it to Security because of its tiny facsimile of a corkscrew
But who would want a beat up old pole? At the end of our 2016 CF we stayed at the Hostal Suso in Rúa do Vilar (recommended) where they have a table on the landing in the stairwell. There are various little souvenirs like "Santiago" cigarette lighters and a sign saying "Help Yourself" so my friend JoJo left her two cheap and cheerful Decathlon poles there as she was done with them and, sure enough, they disappeared within the time taken to enter our room, drop off our Compostela tubes and re-emerge.
She had visions of them being carried to some far away destination, venerated like the bones of some long dead saint: "These are truly the hiking poles of Pilgrim!" (Decathlon €9.99 a pair).
On the other hand, while working at the Pilgrim Office, I saw a Japanese Pilgrim with a beautiful set of silver and blue poles place them reverently on the stack of wooden sticks (which are cut up for firewood by a charity). He then stepped back, silently bowed to them and walked away.
They'd have to take my PacerPoles from my cold, dead hands.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
Question:
Thinking about taking ferry to Europe from UK.
Do ferry security folks conduct arduous checks with strict limitations?
I don't know about ferry services, but you should be aware that there are strict security protocols, with x-rays, for many Spanish trains. There is no "checked luggage" on trains, so if you have something they don't want on the train, you lose it or don't take the train. That's how my son lost the nice knife he bought in Toledo as a souvenir of the trip (I had talked him down from a sword). :'-( It was the last train ride of the trip, taking us back to Madrid for the flight home. There wasn't time to get to a post office to mail it home when the security folk said it wasn't allowed on the train in his luggage.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I don't know about ferry services, but you should be aware that there are strict security protocols, with x-rays, for many Spanish trains. There is no "checked luggage" on trains, so if you have something they don't want on the train, you lose it or don't take the train. That's how my son lost the nice knife he bought in Toledo as a souvenir of the trip (I had talked him down from a sword). :'-( It was the last train ride of the trip, taking us back to Madrid for the flight home. There wasn't time to get to a post office to mail it home when the security folk said it wasn't allowed on the train in his luggage.
Along with others I wandered onto the departure platform at SdC while Security were off on a break. When they came back everybody was turfed off and had to line up for a baggage check (2018).
 
Past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
you should be aware that there are strict security protocols, with x-rays, for many Spanish trains.
This freaked me out once. I didn't take a pocket knife on the plane from the US because I wanted to carry all my stuff. I bought a folding "pocket knife" at one of the shopping kiosks at Charmartin (that's a train station in Madrid). Think standard imitation swiss pocket knife. Also imagine this being offered at ANY airport!

As I approached the "xray machine" I hesitated, and told the nice woman "Tengo un cuchillo pequeno en el bolso."

She looked at me annoyed like, "why did you tell me that?"

Bag checked through...

Now, try to take a picture at Charmartin and the nice policemen came quickly.

So, IMO, X-Ray security at Spanish Train Stations is there but they are not looking for pocket knives or walking sticks.
 

SioCamino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Thanks Faye. This time around I don't have to worry as will check all deemed dangerous items. Unfortunately, I prefer regular manicure scissors but may (likely) need to factor in other options in future so this is good idea re rounded end type.
I generally carry only hand luggage so instead of a scissors for nails i carry a nail clipper and some soft (not metal) nail files.... They do the job for foot nail care for several weeks of walking.
How this is of help
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
But who would want a beat up old pole? At the end of our 2016 CF we stayed at the Hostal Suso in Rúa do Vilar (recommended) where they have a table on the landing in the stairwell. There are various little souvenirs like "Santiago" cigarette lighters and a sign saying "Help Yourself" so my friend JoJo left her two cheap and cheerful Decathlon poles there as she was done with them and, sure enough, they disappeared within the time taken to enter our room, drop off our Compostela tubes and re-emerge.
She had visions of them being carried to some far away destination, venerated like the bones of some long dead saint: "These are truly the hiking poles of Pilgrim!" (Decathlon €9.99 a pair).
On the other hand, while working at the Pilgrim Office, I saw a Japanese Pilgrim with a beautiful set of silver and blue poles place them reverently on the stack of wooden sticks (which are cut up for firewood by a charity). He then stepped back, silently bowed to them and walked away.
They'd have to take my PacerPoles from my cold, dead hands.
On one Camino Portugues I brought with me an inexpensive set of telescoping aluminum trekking poles. Only about 20 euro for the pair, but they worked great and even prevented an angry Rotteweiler dog in Portugal from biting me and a peregrina I was walking with. I had them checked in for my flight to Madrid and Porto, but had no intention on bringing them home. I arrived in Santiago and stayed there for two days my intent to walk to Fisterre. I stayed at San Martin Pinario in a pilgrim's room. The weather was nice and I propped open the wooden window shutters with my trekking poles and took a nap. I woke up a couple of hours later to a dark room, window shutters closed. What happened? My trekking poles being blown out the window by a gust of wind is what happened, lol. I think it was on the 4th floor, if not mistaken. I looked out the window into the sort of courtyard below, with a sidewalk and hedges and such. Didn't see the poles. Went downstairs and outside searched to no avail. My poles were gone. I hope whomever recovered them used them well. I did the three day walk to Fisterre with no trekking poles. I survived, lol. I have a mental image of them clattering from that window to the courtyard below. Hope nobody was down there when they did.
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
At my age, I would not be able to do Caminos without my sticks. They have saved me from dozens of falls. I get very attached to them, although they were "borrowed" at the end of my last Camino in 2019 never to be seen again from the storage bucket in the hotel foyer. At any rate, this is how I got them safely to Spain on my second Camino (the first Camino was pretty stressful as Easy Jet was super strict with me and mine don't collapse down far enough to fit in my back pack no matter WHAT I try. Love these Costco walking poles, though). When you get to your airport, simply have your whole backpack with the sticks alongside wrapped in the plastic or shrink wrap service (like $10). That way you are carrying on a sealed parcel and no one blinks an eye. The man doing the plastic wrap even cuts holes in the back so that your straps are exposed...so you can still get your backpack over your shoulder to carry around the airport. Just have whatever you need for the flight already in your pockets or a small plastic bag....treats, gum, whatever you will want to access on the plane. :)
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
That way you are carrying on a sealed parcel and no one blinks an eye.
The fact that your backpack is shrink-wrapped has no effect on what you can and cannot carry in it, onto the airplane. If the security x-ray reveals something suspicious, or even if the officer doesn't like the look of it, you will need to open it up. There is no point in wrapping your carry-on bags.
 

Marcus-UK

Old Git
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017 Considering Invierno late (2020) In lieu of VdlP (2020)
Oh WOW!! I have so looked forward to a “poles on ‘planes” thread. Thank you @Damien Reynolds. Things really are getting back to normal 😃
I was working at the Sochi Winter Olympics and was informed by security that my Leki poles were too dangerous to be allowed through into the Arena!!!
A few days later I was in one of the Hospitality venues and on this occasion a certain American Burger Corporation was providing the complimentary food. At that point President Putin arrived with his entorage and was seen to be offered a wrapped burger by a one of the Hostesses. I did not see Mr Putins reaction, but I suspect the Burger was more dangerous than my combined ski/trekking poles.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
HI Damien
I have done 4 Caminos. each time even though I only carry 8kg my back has had to go in the hold because of the shape. Poles were attached to pack. Once the poles came round on their own and twice a single pole came round while the other stayed with the pack. The last time I bought a cheap transport cover for the pack and although this basically fell apart in transit it did keep the poles with the pack.
Buen Camino
Vince
 
Past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
While living in Slovakia I sent my Diamond Z poles ahead to SJPDP (Beliari albergue owner agreed and my package was on my bed when I arrived) and to a friend in Barcelona where I flew and stayed the night before taking the train up to Irun (great sightseeing to start the Norte. It was a bit if creative thinking. For shorter caminos I just bought cheap poles at the local discount store and donated them in SDC. Perhaps there’s a business niche for organizing pole mailing ahead or not 🤔
 

Juno

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino French Way (2012 - 2014)
SJPDP - Sahagun (June 2015)
Sahagun - Muxia (June 2016)
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
I wonder if having walking poles which split into three sections can go through? I don’t know because I take a hand luggage size case with me as well as a rucksack and I can just fit my poles in the case crisscross in one of the compartments and I put it in the hold. Which doesn’t help anyone decide to test walking on to a plane with them but the wait at the carousel is going to be the least of our worries when flying just now, it’s the check in that’s an hour longer so I’ve heard! 😜
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I wonder if having walking poles which split into three sections can go through?
The number of sections doesn't matter. What does matter is the airport policy and the individual officer's interpretation of the rules. It is quite clear from reported experiences that often the foldable sticks go through, but not always.
 
Past OR future Camino
(September 2017)
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
I took my poles, protruding out both sides of my backpack, from Detroit to Charlotte, London, Paris, Barritz, Madrid, Charlotte back to Detroit. Not even one question or challenge if they were acceptable in 2017. Do we have new standards?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Do we have new standards?
I'd say no... I was on the Camino in 2017 like you, Chicago to Madrid, and then going home from Santiago, to Madrid, then Chicago. I had my poles from home taken away heading out, then going home my new cheapies were removed from my backpack and confiscated in Madrid...every carrier's rules, every flight, and every employee in security is different...I've come to the conclusion that sometimes they are just having a bad day. I once laid my collapsed poles loose on top of my backpack and they were allowed to go through...that employee maybe had a good night.😉
 

AnaRosario

Member
Past OR future Camino
Pomplano to Santiago (March 29-May 6 2018)
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
I just buy my poles there and then at the end of my pilgrimage I donate them
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Do we have new standards?
No, I don't believe we have new rules. We have the same rules - open to policy and interpretation by the thousands of different security officers.

I am happy to still be using the same poles I bought for my first camino in 2012.
 

Lost Pilgrims

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese (2017)
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
In 2017 we travelled to Portugal via Air Canada to Toronto and then on TAP airlines to Lisbon. We carried our backpacks as carry-on with our foldable walking poles in the backpacks. We had checked with security the day before we embarked and were told that would be fine. So we never had any problems taking them there or coming home. I don't know if it made a difference but I had replaced the metal tips with the plastic ones.
 

Michaellstout

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
Black diamond makes sweet light weight titanium poles the break in to 3s and easily fit in your CHECKED backpack . About 100usd
 
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ChrisAggie

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
Or 3) If you are in Europe and you are particular about your poles, say if you love your oddly shaped Pacerpoles*, you can send them by registered post to your first night's accommodation. That way you keep your trusty favourites, and it works out cheaper than paying to put a bag or cardboard cylinder in the hold. Plus you don't buy things and then throw them away. And you can bundle your little knife with them and still go through with hand luggage only.

*You can't get Pacerpoles from anywhere else but the lovely Heather in the UK. Worth my weight in gold.
How long does it take to send them? We are in the US. This is a great idea. We love our Pacerpoles!
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
How long does it take to send them? We are in the US. This is a great idea. We love our Pacerpoles!
I live in the UK and always send a message to the first accommodation, asking if I can post the poles to them. Normally two weeks before to be on the safe side, and marked with my name and date of booking - and with a pre printed address label inside for the return. They have always been there waiting for me!
From the US it might be cheaper to check them on your flight?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
How long does it take to send them? We are in the US. This is a great idea. We love our Pacerpoles!
Why go to the trouble of making those arrangements to send them around the world by post, when you could just put them on the same flight with you? The chances of them going astray are probably less, and the total effort would certainly be less. The only thing you need to do is to allow a bit of connection time and wait for them at the luggage carrousel.
 
Past OR future Camino
2018
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
Hi guys, we had no trouble with our poles flying out of South Australia, as we packed our poles in our backpacks in our cases, therefore had no trouble. I believe no poles are permitted onboard due to safety regulations.
Admittedly, we were doing further holidaying in France so we see sent our cases by Ivar's transport through to SJPP on arrival.

There is also a great shop at SJPP not far from the registration office. We found everything so much cheaper than here in Australia & service was outstanding.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
How long does it take to send them? We are in the US. This is a great idea. We love our Pacerpoles!

Why go to the trouble of making those arrangements to send them around the world by post, when you could just put them on the same flight with you? The chances of them going astray are probably less, and the total effort would certainly be less. The only thing you need to do is to allow a bit of connection time and wait for them at the luggage carrousel.

I agree with @C clearly. Plus there is could be a problem with Customs when you mail from outside the EU.
 
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Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
From the US it might be cheaper to check them on your flight?
It's definitely cheaper. I have mailed things to Europe in the past from the US and it is more expensive even for small items than buying cheap poles at Decathlon after arriving.
 

Eleonore

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese
Ingles
Bubble wrap and tape. Easy, done deal.
That’s what I do on my trip home. Only have a problem taking them on plane in Santiago. We usually do not fly straight home. Need them for rest of trip. Put them into backpack, but still were not allowed. I need them for physical issues.
 

Eleonore

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese
Ingles
I've done 3 Caminos and I always brought my 2 trekking poles with me on my carry-on with no prob from U.S.. the prob was on the way out in Santiago Airport. Dont know if anything has chnaged
The same has happened to me. I told them that I need at least one for walking because of physical issues and they finally let me take them on. Thinking of getting a doctors note for my next camino.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I understand hiking poles can be viewed as potential weapons onboard a plane.
I've never had problems carrying my poles onboard GOING to Spain from the U.S. I have ALWAYS had problems when I leave Spain on my way back to the U.S. (Each way on Iberia).
Crazy thing though is I once sat next to a lady who had knitting needles and scissors in her hands all the way back to the U.S. and was using them while she was knitting what looked like a sweater or something similar.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I've seen so many posts about the use of trekking poles. There is no doubt in my mind that they help any long distance walker enjoy their walk further by reducing wear on their joints and providing points for pivot and thrust when crossing whatever might be found. 4 legs are better than 2 when walking. They come in handy.

If you are a trekking pole hater... well, please don't respond.

But, they can't be carried on, on an airplane....

So, how to get them there?

So the only time this is ever really a concern is if you plan to carry-on your pack. I've have been paranoid in the past that I might check in my pack, after long months of planning, only to have it not appear at that baggage carousel in T4 (Madrid). That would be a bummer.

If you have trust in the airlines completely, then just pack your poles in your bag and check it in.

If you would prefer to carry your goods... understanding that some can't be carried legally, here are two obvious solutions:

1) Get a second bag - a cheap one - measure your sticks and make sure they can fit. In the past I have bought cheap children's backpacks on Amazon for like $5. If it fits, put it in. Check it in. If it doesn't show up, well, at least you still have all your other stuff. When it does show up, well, just throw the bag away or donate it to a child you see. If it doesn't show up, proceed to step 2. Also note that a cardboard cylinder can also serve this purpose.

2) Buy sticks in country: Numerous retailers offer them. Some not found in your ultimate destination tho.

On my way back I always check in all my stuff because by that point I'll take the risk that i never see it again.

Anyhoo, I believe the pain to get sticks for your walk is very worth it.
Clear and simple, mate. I think number 1) is your best bet. I have seen pilgrims simply check in their sticks unwrapped and even more astoundingly collect them at the other end. Just a word of warning to intending pilgrims from outside Europe - European airlines are very, very strict about enforcing carry on luggage limits and even what you are allowed as carry on luggage may be way smaller than would be usual in North America, Australia, NZ, Japan, Korea, etc. So don't assume that just because a long-haul operator allows your backpack on, Ryanair or their ilk will do so.

Incidentally, I've met a few pilgrims whose luggage didn't arrive. They managed, somehow. As one does.
 

Calisteve

Member
Past OR future Camino
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
I use a very simple solution. I pack my poles as normal on the outside if my backpack. Then I wrap my backpack (very well) in cellophane before flying. Never a problem in many years of flying. Protects my backpack also. A double benefit.
 

Calisteve

Member
Past OR future Camino
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
OK but I'd worry that the modern day cellophane doesn't have the same 'stickiness' as by-gone days. Was thinking bubble wrap and tape was the way to go - but how do you cut it off on arrival given you can't carry a knife on the plane?
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
Other than the afincados of pacer poles, who will accept no substitutes, the rest of us should bear in mind that, in use, one pole is resting on the ground and thus it’s weight is irrelevant to the user. (The family who designed and sell Pacers are just 10 minutes north of me. A superb product, but not for me)

There is thus no significant practical difference between a €20 pair of no-name poles and a €200 pair of ultra lite carbon fibre poles. I have a couple of pairs of both.

The difference is that the cheap pair are easily sourced in SJdPP and every decent sized town on the CF.

Personally, I check my pack in, complete with poles. In, literally 1000+ flights in my personal and (former) professional life my checked in bag has briefly gone astray twice.

First when I couldn’t believe that any nation on earth had an integrated transport system so sophisticated that it could unload my luggage from the aircraft and forward it by by scheduled train to my intended destination. Only by my wasting time complaining unnecessarily were my bag and I separated. The bag arrived on time, I missed the train. Take a bow, Switzerland.

The second was a BA flight LHR to O’Hare (with which I’ve had a hate-hate relationship ever since I tripped on an escalator and fell on the drug-dog, sparking an armed confrontation which I would not care to repeat)

On those odds, I just check the bag and poles and keep tight hold of a credit card.
Good advice, and I concur. In over 2MM miles on 2 different carriers over 8 years that I flew throughout the world, my bag & I were never separated. First time I flew domestically from CA to OK, the airline managed to break my wheel-aboard AND lose my golf clubs! Trust the international folks - They know what they’re doing! I will check my pack w/ the scary leatherman 1.5” pocket knife, trekking poles, and the dreaded 5 oz. bottle of PEROXIDE IN THE FIRST AID KIT!!! Aarrgghhhhhhh!!!

But first we must address the singular, most important question about your posts: When will we get to see a full pic of Henry the Dog?! He looks adorable!!

Thanks for all of your valuable contributions and advice. It’s very help to this newbie peregrino.
 

Chris RJ

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Or 3) If you are in Europe and you are particular about your poles, say if you love your oddly shaped Pacerpoles*, you can send them by registered post to your first night's accommodation. That way you keep your trusty favourites, and it works out cheaper than paying to put a bag or cardboard cylinder in the hold. Plus you don't buy things and then throw them away. And you can bundle your little knife with them and still go through with hand luggage only.

*You can't get Pacerpoles from anywhere else but the lovely Heather in the UK. Worth my weight in gold.
This is what I did last time. It’s a great solution.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
At my age, I would not be able to do Caminos without my sticks. They have saved me from dozens of falls. I get very attached to them, although they were "borrowed" at the end of my last Camino in 2019 never to be seen again from the storage bucket in the hotel foyer. At any rate, this is how I got them safely to Spain on my second Camino (the first Camino was pretty stressful as Easy Jet was super strict with me and mine don't collapse down far enough to fit in my back pack no matter WHAT I try. Love these Costco walking poles, though). When you get to your airport, simply have your whole backpack with the sticks alongside wrapped in the plastic or shrink wrap service (like $10). That way you are carrying on a sealed parcel and no one blinks an eye. The man doing the plastic wrap even cuts holes in the back so that your straps are exposed...so you can still get your backpack over your shoulder to carry around the airport. Just have whatever you need for the flight already in your pockets or a small plastic bag....treats, gum, whatever you will want to access on the plane. :)
In an age where we are being exhorted to cut back on producing waste plastics and micro-plastics are being detected in mother's breast milk do we really want to encourage the generation of yards and yards of plastic wrap used once and then dispatched to a land fill or, worse still, incinerated?

Will our legacy, in a couple of hundred years time, be archaeologists digging them up and exclaiming: "Look! the tattered remnants of the shroud of an authentic Camino Pilgrim in which they wrapped up their most precious possessions to carry with them into the afterlife!" :eek:
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I understand hiking poles can be viewed as potential weapons onboard a plane.
I've never had problems carrying my poles onboard GOING to Spain from the U.S. I have ALWAYS had problems when I leave Spain on my way back to the U.S. (Each way on Iberia).
Crazy thing though is I once sat next to a lady who had knitting needles and scissors in her hands all the way back to the U.S. and was using them while she was knitting what looked like a sweater or something similar.
Now that British Airways have decommissioned their 747 fleet they have been selling off the equipment they used to use on long haul including hotboxes, bone china, champagne flutes and rather nice stainless steel cutlery - including sawtoothed, pointed steak knives - presumably Club and First Class BA passengers were never considered a threat to the security of the aircraft? ;)
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I agree with @C clearly. Plus there is could be a problem with Customs when you mail from outside the EU.
Similarly all goods, gifts and packages being sent from the UK now require a customs declaration while goods coming into the UK from EU countries may attract customs duties - my nextdoor neighbour, whose daughter lives in France, was expected to pay duties on a Mother's Day present!
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
1. Instead of bubble wrap etc. use a fishing rod bag. Very cheap, very strong, and can double up on route as a scarf or a tourniquet😄 or for carrying a baguette, or two

2. BA steak knives must have been found in a store where they were being held in the hope of safer times. My one experience of first class (short haul) was plastic.

3. In large places of public access we are often asked to report suspicious packages, behaviour etc. Maybe the scissor bedecked knitter should have qualified as someone worth reporting. (mind you, she may have been a sky Marshall, armed for your safety)
 
After considering that I have four items that could (depending on the security folks' discretion) be confiscated, I am now checking in a bag.
This will now include:
1. Poo trowel - which (among other features) has a knife incorporated into one of the edges that is beyond 6 cm
2. Trekking poles - which BA told me over the phone are definitely not allowed in their overhead cabins
3. Swiss army knife - including a 6cm knife. (*Although technically, knives up to this length are supposed to be allowed; not taking the chance)
4. Manicure scissors - which I have had confiscated twice.
Just really don't want the hassle.
Mainly, I wanted to avoid lengthy waits at the carousels - which can be really bad at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Oh well.
Resigned now.
Swiss Army knives have corkscrews. I missed mine but pilgrims are resourceful and we never went without.
 
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Marcos D

Marcos D.
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Damien. I'm arriving late to discuss how to transport trekking poles
if it's forbidden in the cabin. My ticket gives me a free allowance of 10 kg of hand luggage, to dispatch the value is prohibitive. Even if I had the right to dispatch, for security reasons, I would not do that.

I will arrive in Madrid, from the airport I will go to the train station of Puerta de Atocha, while I await the departure to Pamplona, I will purchase the poles in Decathlon City Madrid Atocha next to the station.



please, be sure to buy the rubber point of the poles, for peace of mind of the residents is from other hikers ...
this is an example, there are other models even better.
Before the experts say, I know it's not a Black Diamond, it will suit me perfectly, as I intend to use it more in rough terrain.
At the end of the walk, I leave it as a donation. So without stress

solution I found for myself
 
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
I like trouble free, smooth traveling. Nothing I carry in my backpack on the Camino is really all that valuable and none of it has any sentimental value to me. It is just stuff, and quite honestly stuff mass produced in a sweat shop in all probability. If my flight allows checked in bags to Spain or France, I put non carry-on items (liquids, trekking poles) in a cardboard box. I then carry on my backpack with pretty much just clothes in it. Nothing questionable. If I am on a really budget flight with no checked in luggage, I buy anything that is not carry-on allowed when I arrive. That includes trekking poles, and my one experience trying to fly with trekking poles as carry-on I was not allowed to. That was from SDC to Madrid. No problem. I left them with security. I pretty much throw away about half the stuff in my backpack on the way home, anyway. Rubber sandals, socks, underwear and toiletries mostly. On my first Camino Frances my Merrell Moabs were so trashed from the walk and dirty I simply went and bought some new ones in SDC and flew to Paris in those. Tossed the old ones in a trash bin.
My best advice to prospective pilgrims debating to bring or not to bring trekking poles is think long, think wrong. More things way more important on the Camino. First and foremost being getting there trouble free so you can start the walk in the first place.
 

stinmd

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - May 2015; Camino del Norte/Primitivo - July/August 2016; Camino Portugues - Sept 2017
I'm oldish and have poles with a cane handle. My lovely wife has a brand that fold and fit in her pack (carry-on) . No problems five Caminos. I have donated a couple of minute Swiss Army knives.
In lieu of swiss knife, I just carry a plastic knife from McDonalds, which works for me just fine.
 
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Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
In lieu of swiss knife, I just carry a plastic knife from McDonalds, which works for me just fine.
I laugh because I had my clear plastic McDonald's knife confiscated a couple of years ago in security on my way to Madrid.😅
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
1. Instead of bubble wrap etc. use a fishing rod bag. Very cheap, very strong, and can double up on route as a scarf or a tourniquet😄 or for carrying a baguette, or two

2. BA steak knives must have been found in a store where they were being held in the hope of safer times. My one experience of first class (short haul) was plastic.

3. In large places of public access we are often asked to report suspicious packages, behaviour etc. Maybe the scissor bedecked knitter should have qualified as someone worth reporting. (mind you, she may have been a sky Marshall, armed for your safety)
Oh, short haul? ;) They were probably trying to cut down on the washing up . . .

1621878933266.png

In Long Haul, however . . . . (I know they're not steak knives but it was breakfast - 2019)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Jeff, that looks like 1st class eating utensils and dishes to me...and oh yes, lots of fresh fruit. Good for you!
 
Past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
It is, apparently, illegal for Camino pilgrims to carry "poo trowels" in Spain. This accounts for the numerous deposits of toilet paper inside every field gate from Roncesvalles to Lavacola.
Presumably though, after a year of decomposition and fewer additions, things along the trail might be cleaner nowadays?
and not a camper in sight to blame :)

samarkand.
 
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cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
I agree whole heartedly! I passed Lockerbie just after it happened. I am surprised that moderators didn't amend the thread title to remove the word "despite".
It seemed to me to be almost an invite to cheat. Those who consider themselves smart in doing so should remember Madrid etc.

Samarkand.
 

LynneR

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF '16, '18
You probably already have plenty of useful responses, but I'll add my solution.
I found an old, sturdy duffel bag I stopped using and didn't mind giving up. I carried on my pack, but I put my poles and a few other items in this duffel bag, checked it, then left it behind at my first alburgue.
On the way home, I checked my whole backpack (trekking poles in the pack).
 

LindaH82

Member
Past OR future Camino
None
I will probably end up buying some poles in Porto/Vigo (my starting point), seems like a cheaper, faster option than anything else! But to those of you who've donated them: where and how?? I think I'd want to donate them too, instead of schlepping them all the way back - that is, if I can let them go after spending two weeks with them! :p
 

Marcos D

Marcos D.
Past OR future Camino
2021
I will probably end up buying some poles in Porto/Vigo (my starting point), seems like a cheaper, faster option than anything else! But to those of you who've donated them: where and how?? I think I'd want to donate them too, instead of schlepping them all the way back - that is, if I can let them go after spending two weeks with them! :p

I go to my first path, I intend to leave my trekking poles in the last Alberque as a donation, if not, I leave it for recycling.
 
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Pipmahoe

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances June 2018
Central Portuguese April 2019 8 weeks post hip replacement!
I have had no problems taking my poles as hand luggage when packed in my backpack-on Ryanair, Flybe, Easy Jet and Air France.
:)
 

Optimistic Traveler

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
This is what I am hoping for. Someone in this strand I believe suggested writing to BA and getting it in writing that they will check them for at no extra cost. (?)
BA is not the arbiter of what you can take through security. No airline can approve what can be brought through security checkpoints. It's whoever is manning the security checkpoints at the airport - and their regulations.
 

Bill632

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2017). Portuguese (2019). Le Puy (2021)
Never had a problem taking pacer poles at the bottom of our bags. They come apart and just fit diagonally. I have never been asked about them by the airlines. They are too long for carry-on baggage, so it means we sometimes have had to buy extra baggage on the cheaper "carry-on flights". Over a few Caminos, I have never regretted transporting them and I believe they have saved my knees and ankles a few times.
 
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Deleted member 61803

Guest
Never had a problem taking pacer poles at the bottom of our bags. They come apart and just fit diagonally. I have never been asked about them by the airlines. They are too long for carry-on baggage, so it means we sometimes have had to buy extra baggage on the cheaper "carry-on flights". Over a few Caminos, I have never regretted transporting them and I believe they have saved my knees and ankles a few times.
I don't think anyone has a problem taking poles if they go into the hold. It's when you take them carry-on that security can and frequently do confiscate them.
 
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tomnorth

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I carried my pack on plane, but checked a 24” cardboard mailing tube (about $3) into which I put my poles and a few extra liquids—contact lens solution, mini shampoos, a small set of scissors. I figured if the airline lost that, not so bad...
The main drag in SJPdP has a good store on opposite side of street and down a bit from the Pilgrim Office where they sell good quality poles. In the bottom of my pack I had a 60L stuff sack that weighed nothing and folded up into something the size of a flat pair of socks. It stayed there my whole Camino til my flight home, at which time it came out and my whole pack along with poles went in it, as a checked bag.
Shipping tube is the way to go. All my sharps went in there along with my poles.
 

Sam - AU

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Apr/May 2018, Feb/Mar 2019 .... upcoming Nov/Dec 2019
I've seen so ma...
Haven't read the entire response trail so apologies if already suggested.

Having flown long haul from Australia to France / Spain with multiple connecting flights, 3 times for different caminos, I've done the following.

Buy a cardboard mailing cylinder, stuff it full of things like hiking poles, larger liquids, pocket knife etc (stuff you couldn't really carry on), then check it in for your flight, because it's not a usual type of luggage they normally check it in with the 'oversize luggage' which is normally for surfboards, strange shaped items etc (they won't charge you any extra on the checked baggage fee to do this).
Due to it's size they will normally put it in a plastic bin for ease of storage on the plane, so it's safe and won't get 'lost' due to being a small item, it will also likely be one of the first items off the plane and on the carousel for collection.

Then carry your backpack on the plane, thus reducing anxiety of it not turning up at the other end or a strap being broken etc, and also if you're one to worry about these things, worse case scenario you'll be short poles but you'll have 95% of your gear on your person so your camino can still continue without delay.

I have had zero issues doing it this way.
 

gayeh

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Haven't read the entire response trail so apologies if already suggested.

Having flown long haul from Australia to France / Spain with multiple connecting flights, 3 times for different caminos, I've done the following.

Buy a cardboard mailing cylinder, stuff it full of things like hiking poles, larger liquids, pocket knife etc (stuff you couldn't really carry on), then check it in for your flight, because it's not a usual type of luggage they normally check it in with the 'oversize luggage' which is normally for surfboards, strange shaped items etc (they won't charge you any extra on the checked baggage fee to do this).
Due to it's size they will normally put it in a plastic bin for ease of storage on the plane, so it's safe and won't get 'lost' due to being a small item, it will also likely be one of the first items off the plane and on the carousel for collection.

Then carry your backpack on the plane, thus reducing anxiety of it not turning up at the other end or a strap being broken etc, and also if you're one to worry about these things, worse case scenario you'll be short poles but you'll have 95% of your gear on your person so your camino can still continue without delay.

I have had zero issues doing it this way.
Thanks. good idea. question: don't the airlines charge for 'oversize luggage'?
 

dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
If you check-in your backpack, no problem, the poles go in your backpack. If you take your backpack on the plane, you are assuming the airline will let you and unless your backpack is very small, they might not. The allowable size of hand luggage is purely at the discretion of the airline. Long-haul flights e.g. from Australia, Canada, NZ, US, have much more generous limits than budget European flights, so just because they let you take your bag onto an inter-continental flight it doesn't mean you can do it on a short haul e.g. Gatwick to Bilbao/Paris. You would still have the problem of the poles then. So be prepared to bite the bullet and check them in, and if you do that you might as well check in your whole back pack (with the poles, Swiss Army penknife, trowel, scissors etc). They (budget airlines) will also charge you extra to check in any item of luggage, regardless of size or shape. It's how they keep the prices down.
 

Sam - AU

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Apr/May 2018, Feb/Mar 2019 .... upcoming Nov/Dec 2019
Thanks. good idea. question: don't the airlines charge for 'oversize luggage'?
Technically yes, but ‘you’ check it in as your standard 1 piece of luggage allowance (it’s within the max allowance dimensions), the airline then normally decides because it isn’t a standard suitcase shape to send it to the plane along with the other weird shaped items. If that makes sense, no extra charge to you.
 
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Karlgrino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2015 Portuguese coastal
2017 Frances
2018 Norte
2019 Portuguese inland
2020 La Plata
For the last 5 Caminos I brought fold-able poles that fit in my backpack. As I am flying on the cheapest tickets I can find, check in baggage is ALWAYS extra and very expensive, exceeding the cost of my poles.
I also tour different countries before my walk. Never had a problem having my poles in my carry on anywhere, except Madrid; they take them every time. Last year the airline wanted 85 Euros to check in my poles, which cost $19.99 on Amazon and worked perfect the entire 1000km on the C. d. Plata. For me thats a no brainer. Already have my next set ready for this years Primitivo.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
It is the airport security officer at baggage inspection that makes the decision - not the airline, which will always give the strictest advice in advance. Just don't automatically think in terms of checking your backpack if you need to check your poles. Keep your backpack with you because it has all of your detailed, carefully chosen items that would be a real headache to replace quickly. Just check the poles and your Swiss army knife (because security agents have been known to disallow even items that are not forbidden in the rules, and it is not advisable to argue with them). I sometimes add my sleeping bag to the checked package, simply to keep my carryon backpack less bulky.
With regard to checking any Swiss Army knife or multi-tool. I had a tiny, Gerber "Dime Travel" multitool. It measures about 2.5 inches long - overall. There was NO cutting blade. This model (the Dime Travel vs, the Dime) was specifically made to be TSA friendly. I had traveled with it, all over the world for several years. it had almost every tiny tool one might need, EXCEPT a blade.

In 2019, enroute to Santiago to work as a volunteer, I had to go through Spanish airport security after being admitted to Spain from the US.

They stopped me for further inspection because I was carrying a 'prohibited item.' I had to give up this tiny object because the Spanish security folks termed it a "tool." Tools are not permitted. They made no distinction between a full-size pair of pliers with a heavy handle, and a 2 inch pair of pliers with no handle. It was very frustrating.

I asked for a supervisor and showed them a printout of the EU rules regarding what is allowed on planes within the EU. Their answer was a firm but polite: "But señor, this is Spain..."

I even showed them the 4-inch long bladed, rounded tip child's scissors I used to open my nutritional supplement protein powder packets. This was in my carry-on bag. THAT was allowable. The rounded tip made them acceptable. They never checked to discover the razor sharp, honed edge I put on the blades, so I could use them to cut almost anything.

Rules can be capricious things. At least they allowed me to remove the carabiner attached to the tool's loop.

The takeaway is that, you might get it by one country's airport security at any given date, time or location. But, when you have to go through multiple layers of security, I suggest taking a conservative approach - check it!

Hope this helps.

Tom
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I’ve replied above but confess I’ve not re-read the entire thread.

“There are shops in Spain.”

(pacer-poles affinicados, you’re excepted)
 
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Or 3) If you are in Europe and you are particular about your poles, say if you love your oddly shaped Pacerpoles*, you can send them by registered post to your first night's accommodation. That way you keep your trusty favourites, and it works out cheaper than paying to put a bag or cardboard cylinder in the hold. Plus you don't buy things and then throw them away. And you can bundle your little knife with them and still go through with hand luggage only.

*You can't get Pacerpoles from anywhere else but the lovely Heather in the UK. Worth my weight in gold.
I'm a fan of checking the poles now. As someone said a checked bag is handy for larger tooth paste container poles a small knife and don't forget a good size jar of peanut butter! Don't leave home without it😊
 

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