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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

I think I’m ready, but I have a couple of questions...

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#1
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
7609467F-F94C-4C19-BDE3-C247EE6B8B82.jpeg
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#2
Hello,

SJPP to Roncesvalles is a tough day. I found the walk to O'Cebeiro and the walk to Ponferrada more difficult.

If you sleep warm sack should be okay.

By middle to end of your camino mornings may be chilly lightweight gloves and hat are nice to have.

Buen camino.
 

tillyjones

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2015
VDLP May 2017
del Norte Sept 2018
#3
Personally, I found the descent to Roncasvalles the most difficult experience I had. Perhaps there more 'difficult' sections in latter stages, but I was more fit, physically and mentally. It's a challenge right at the beginning.

Temperature wise, I don't know that you need a sleeping bag....but a sleeping liner doesn't 'protect against bedbugs'.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#4
Hello,

SJPP to Roncesvalles is a tough day. I found the walk to O'Cebeiro and the walk to Ponferrada more difficult.

If you sleep warm sack should be okay.

By middle to end of your camino mornings may be chilly lightweight gloves and hat are nice to have.

Buen camino.
I’ll be bringing my Icelandic gloves, just in case.

Those mid 20’s stages do look a bit testing!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#5
Personally, I found the descent to Roncasvalles the most difficult experience I had. Perhaps there more 'difficult' sections in latter stages, but I was more fit, physically and mentally. It's a challenge right at the beginning.

Temperature wise, I don't know that you need a sleeping bag....but a sleeping liner doesn't 'protect against bedbugs'.
Yes, the downhill stretches can be harder than ascending. I found that on Snowdon last year.

I read something about pre-treated sleeping sacks as a defence against bedbugs?
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, July 2014
Via di Francesco (Italy), July 2015
Frances, Sept-Oct 2016
Portugues Oct. 2017
#6
1. Yes, SJPP to Roncevalles is the hardest stage for us. By the later stages, we have our trail legs and they were not so challenging for us.

2. Sleeping bag definitely too warm that time of year. Take some sort of warm jacket and in the cooler places, sleep in that (I carry a lightweight, 6oz down jacket).

3. Feet stuff is personal. For me, the only stuff the works well is paper tape (available from Amazon). Anything else does not breath enough and causes more problems once applied.

I'll pass on the next two questions--I don't carry a smart phone.

6. That pack is about the size of my wife's pack, but I'm not sure it has a good hipbelt. Trust me, you do not want your load, however light, hanging from your shoulders for 500 miles. My wife has an 11L Osprey Talon--small, but good support and hipbelt. It kills me to see all of the peregrinos who have sent their luggage ahead (thinking they are helping themselves) trudging with daypacks (with no hipbelts or support) hanging off their shoulders that look heavier than my entire pack. So good for you for getting your gear down. One key lesson for me was how little I needed materially to thrive and be happy. But the other lesson was how far 500 miles really is. You can hang a daypack from your shoulders for a day--but not for a month +.

Buen Camino,
Jo Jo
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#8
That’s really good advice, Jo Jo.

I reduced my apartment to two bags of stuff in order to come and live in Reykjavik for the spring and summer, so I’ve got pretty good at simplifying and deleting stuff this year and I liked the idea of taking it down a notch to the backpack.

But the absence of a hip belt had concerned me and you’ve confirmed it now.

I’ve got a 30 litre rucksack- I’ll just transfer it all into that and avoid the temptation to fill it...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (Oct. 2018)
#10
Welcome, @JohnLloyd . I used the Wise Pilgrim app and the Brierley book as complements to each other. I find Brierley's maps easy to read, and Wise Pilgrim's aren't available offline (although the rest of the information on the app is... albergues, towns, etc.)

I never had any trouble charging my phone. I had a plug with two ports, but nobody ever seemed interested in sharing. In places where outlets were in short supply, we were all considerate of one another somehow it all worked out. Maybe I was lucky?

I can't tell from your photo. Does your backpack have hip straps? You definitely want the weight of your pack on your hips, not your shoulders or back.

I've used real Compeed and fake (generic brand) compeed, and got blisters with both. The fake stuff didn't stick very well and bunched up in a big blob on the bottoms of my feet. Not fun! I haven't used tape, so can't compare. A thin coat of Vaseline each morning and evening worked best for me. A few small blisters, but no major problems.

I think coming down from the Cruz de Ferro and up to O Cebriero are far harder than getting to Roncesvalles. But by that time, I think we all feel like true road warriors and accept what comes as part of the camino, LOL!

I totally agree with what you say about this Forum. Sometimes I come on just to get away from the unpleasantness so much of the rest of the cyber world. Or the real one, for that matter.:p

Buen Camino!
 

spagirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances(Sept 2018)
#11
Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people.
totally agree with what you say about this Forum. Sometimes I come on just to get away from the unpleasantness so much of the rest of the cyber world. Or the real one, for that matter.:p

You are both spot on about this forum.
Its become my happy place.
Im extremely thankful to those pilgrims who share their knowledge, experience and love of the camino so freely.

Thanks to everyone.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#14
Compeed plasters are designed to be used to treat blisters, not as a preventative. And indeed, they are rather expensive for that purpose. The best tapes that I've found are called dressing retention tapes. Two brands that you can buy in Spain are Omnifix and Hypafix. They are breathable, soft, and stretch to fit the contours of your feet. Use them to prevent blisters - don't leave the tape in your first aid kit until you already have them!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#15
Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?
The first leg is tough if you walk all the way in one day, mainly because it is Day 1. Many factors can make a day difficult, and it depends on what distances you choose - the stages are not set by anyone but yourself. For example, going up O Cebreiro at the end of a long day must be hard, but I always planned my stops so I could do it in the morning when I was rested. There are 3 or 4 stages that most people would agree are among the most difficult, and SJPP-Roncesvalles is certainly one of them.

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?
Sleeping bag might be warm. Likely a sack/liner and extra clothes would suffice. If you want defense against bedbugs, you'll have to put DEET on your face, neck and hands/arms that protrude from the bag.

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?
I recommend heeding the warnings about stripping skin off your blisters with some products, and then taking all three.

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?
Sure. Others will advise.

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?
Yes. I like to carry a spare power pack too.

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.
The difference between a "backpack" and a "rucksack" is lost on me. What is the capacity in litres of that backpack? Can you fit everything you plan to take into it?
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#16
Compeed plasters are designed to be used to treat blisters, not as a preventative. And indeed, they are rather expensive for that purpose. The best tapes that I've found are called dressing retention tapes. Two brands that you can buy in Spain are Omnifix and Hypafix. They are breathable, soft, and stretch to fit the contours of your feet. Use them to prevent blisters - don't leave the tape in your first aid kit until you already have them!
Great advice, thanks!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#17
Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?
The first leg is tough if you walk all the way in one day, mainly because it is Day 1. Many factors can make a day difficult, and it depends on what distances you choose - the stages are not set by anyone but yourself. For example, going up O Cebreiro at the end of a long day must be hard, but I always planned my stops so I could do it in the morning when I was rested. There are 3 or 4 stages that most people would agree are among the most difficult, and SJPP-Roncesvalles is certainly one of them.

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?
Sleeping bag might be warm. Likely a sack/liner and extra clothes would suffice. If you want defense against bedbugs, you'll have to put DEET on your face, neck and hands/arms that protrude from the bag.

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?
I recommend heeding the warnings about stripping skin off your blisters with some products, and then taking all three.

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?
Sure. Others will advise.

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?
Yes. I like to carry a spare power pack too.

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.
The difference between a "backpack" and a "rucksack" is lost on me. What is the capacity in litres of that backpack? Can you fit everything you plan to take into it?
Thanks for all the comments above - I’ve now settled on taking a proper rucksack with a hip belt, but with the same small amount of stuff!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#18
1) Yes I think the SJPdP to R is the most difficult part only due to the fact that our body is not use to walking it so I would recommend doing a stop over, I also think it is one of the most beautiful parts so to rush it would be a shame.
2) If the weather is warm you don't need a sleeping bag, a sleep sack or something similar should be all that you need.
3) I may be in the minority here but I am not a compeed fan as they did not seem to do anything to lessen my massive blisters. Moleskin worked the best for me as a preventative measure then I used the old school that my Mom taught me and I had great success with and that is draining it and leaving the thread in it to keep the drain going. I then used medical tape to keep the area clean. You will learn everyone's feet are different and they all react differently to each treatment. Everyone will learn what is best for themselves.
4)Never used an app or brierly I really found the sheets they gave out at the Pilgrims office in SJPdP the best help. I will say that I found that no app or book completely agreed with each other and as the Camino is ever evolving don't presume the km you are expecting are accurate nor all Albergues are as written.
5) Most alburges I stayed in had enough plug ins but as a favour to all get a usb plug in with spaces for multiple places for plug ins.
6) The rucksack will have enough room for all you need but I would highly recommend to make sure that it has a waistbelt as no matter how lightweight your bag is it will get heavy. My bag was approximately 10 pounds but it still got heavy after over 800 km's of walking (there were a few wrong turns involved, lol) I also overpacked and could have dropped another pound or so easy.

While walking each and everyone will find their own way of walking
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#19
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
I can't speak to the first question as for both of my Caminos I started in Roncesvalles. Almost everything I've read has suggested it is, though. But perhaps not if you break it into two days at Orisson.

Based on my experience walking in July/August, and what I've heard about the temperatures this year, I don't think you are likely to need a sleeping bag. a sheet liner should be sufficient. But I wouldn't count on it providing any sort of defense against bedbugs. It's there to provide some sort of sheet layer between your body and the mattress, and some sort of thin sheet covering you, as many sleep better with a cover of some sort.

I'm not really a footcare expert. But I can say that the podiatry students at the podiatry clinic in the albergue in Astorga weren't to fond of it. Their technique seemed to be (a) drain the blister (b) wash it out with antiseptic (like an iodine), (c) cover it with a thin layer of gauze under tape. If the blister was big or bad, rather than putting padding over the blister (which would put more pressure on it when you walk), they put extra padding around the blister (to reduce the pressure when you walk).

Apps I found most useful were the Wise Pilgrim and Camino Pilgrim apps. I also visited websites like Gronze.com. And I liked the e-book version of the Village to Village guidebook. I also took the e-book version of The Pilgrimage to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook. I preferred the apps and ebooks, which take less space and weigh less. I know that's a lot of books/apps, but the apps are cheap and I figure given how much I'm spending in time and money on the trip, it isn't a lot to add to the price and makes me better informed to make the most of my pilgrimage.

The quantity of outlets depends on the albergue. We needed a European converter anyways, so we took one that could charge multiple devices so that we could share outlets. My son also carried an external battery/charger, which he found very useful.

Finally, I agree with the earlier poster that you want a pack with a hip belt. If you have extra space: (a) remember that you might sometimes want to put food in there; I'm not sure if you were including that in your calculations of needed space and (b) more importantly, you can fill it up with souvenirs in Santiago, when weight will be less of a concern. I know I wish I had brought more back and I intend to rectify that on my next Camino.

I hope this helps.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#20
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?
Hi, John. . .

I'm going to focus on your Compeed question. Actually, I'd like to expand on it with a post I had written earlier. I hope this was OK. The first repost deals with blister prevention strategies. The second deals with blister treatment.

--------------------------------------------

Blisters are a product of friction.... often referred to as shear force friction. The skin of your foot, and the sock that is in contact with that area of skin, are sliding and rubbing together.

Strategies for the prevention of shear force friction and blisters have changed and matured over recent years.
  1. A properly fitting shoe. In brief, it needs to be long enough and wide enough to accomodate any insoles, orthotics, metatarsal pads, etc, PLUS the socks that you will be wearing, PLUS the increased pressure on the feet from wearing a loaded pack.
  2. Light padded Merino wool sock designed for walking or backpacking, or the same type of sock in a good synthetic blend. A heavy pad on a sock allows potentially more movement against the skin, takes longer to air out, and takes longer to dry when washed.
  3. A sock fit that is snug and form fitting to the foot, but not gangrene-inducingly tight. You want the shear force to be between the sock and the interior of the shoe, not the sock and the skin. A snug fitting sock will help to make that happen.
  4. Allow the sock to move a bit in the shoe. By keeping the shoes a bit looser on the feet, the sock will take the brunt of the shear force. If a shoe is tied snug, then that forces the foot to move more in the sock, which means the sock and skin are absorbing the shear force. An exception occurs on long downhill grades; the shoes need to be tied tight enough to keep your toes from hitting the front of the shoe which can cause injury and trauma to the nail bed and toe joints.
  5. While there are foot lubricants, from Body Glide and Hiker's Goo to plain old vaseline, the have a fairly short viable working span as the material rubs of the skin and is absorbed by the socks. For prophylactic protection from shear force friction, a long lasting barrier is the better option. The placement of tapes, like Leukotape P, or moleskin-type products, if adhered correctly, will last the whole day.
  6. To apply tapes and moleskin type products,
    1. Clean off the area of application with a bit of alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and body oils. A bit of regular hand sanitizer works for this, in addition to hand cleansing.
    2. Cut a piece of your chosen barrier material to fit the area you want protected; be sure to cut rounded corners rather than square in order to help the material from rolling up away from the skin.
    3. Apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin to the skin area where the adhesive will stick. This will increase the holding power of the tape or moleskin.
      1. If the tape or moleskin, etc. is going on top of a blistered area, avoid getting the benzoin on the roof area of the blister, and add a thin coating of ointment/vaseline onto the blister roof, avoiding the surrounding skin area. This will allow removal of the product without hurting the blister wound.
    4. Place the barrier on the area, taking care to not handle the adhesive; spend a bit of time rubbing the material to create friction so that the adhesive will heat up and adhere more firmly.
    5. At the end of the day, remove the barrier and use some alcohol to wipe the area that was covered.
      1. Since fungus (athletes foot) and pathogens splash around in showers, shower shoes are not necessarily preventative to one's feet being exposed or infected. It is helpful to use an alcohol or astringent product applied to the feet after showering.
-----------------------

Blister treatment falls under hygiene level two. So, clean hands ( soap and water, or hand sanitizer, or rubbing alcohol, etc). All that needs to be done is to cleanse hands so that the level of potential pathogens is reduced to below the level which could cause infection to this type of wound.

Also, any product used to dress the blister should be clean as well. It doesn't have to be sterile, but should at least be in its protective packaging.
  1. If the blister still has it's 'roof', it is recommended to leave the 'roof' intact, but to drain the fluid. Needles are not the ideal tool, as the initial puncture can reseal later, allowing fluid to build up again. A disinfected tool (alcohol or flame from a lighter/match) which can create a slit at the base of the blister near the skin of the foot is best --- a pair of tiny scissors to snip a slit; a disposable scalpel blade or a hobby knife blade as part of a first aid kit.
  2. If the blister has 'deroofed', then trim off any skin tag which might flap back into the raw open wound.
Preparing the wound for dressing involves two steps.

1. Cleaning the wound by flushing away any debris away with clean water or a mild dilution of hydrogen peroxide. Pouring or squirting the wound is fine, but any dirt particles sticking to the wound MUST be cleared away.

2. A topical antibiotic ointment, not creme, is gently applied after the blister wound is dry. The ointment serves two purposes: it reduces any risk of infection and it prevents any dressing material from inadvertently adhering to the wound.

Blister Dressing

The primary issue is that whatever method of taping, adhering a pad, taping a covering over the pad, etc, getting it to stick and remain in place -- and not sweat or prematurely roll off or wear off -- can be a challenge. Here are a few strategies to help.

1. Use hand sanitizer or alcohol to clean the skin area, not the wound, to which the tape or dressing will be stuck to. Get as much dirt and body oils removed as is possible.

2. To the cleansed skin, apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin. Do not put on the wound. This will multiply the holding power of the adhesive that is used.

3. When the adhesive is finally applied, rub the area of the tape or moleskin or compeed or etc... The idea is to create heat from the friction to allow the adhesive to warm and adhere better.

For dressing a blister, this NOLS video does a good job of describing the methods which work best. For a blister with a roof, I like to place a hydrogel dressing, like Spenco, to the top of the blister and them use Leukotape P or Omnifix or etc... to affix the dressing in place. The hydrogel provides basic cushioning and additional protection, helping the tape to reduce additional damage to the wound.

For a deroofed blister, the addition of the ointment to the open wound is applied prior to the hydrogel being put into place. The hydrogels are package and designed to be sterile. Bandaging is done as previously described.

IF the blistered area, whether roofed or deroofed, is so tender it is uncomfortable to walk on as treated above, then remove the dressing and then redress the blister the same way as before, but with the addition of using the 'doughnut' padding as the NOLS video demonstrates.

Unless additional attention is needed, it is best to leave the dressing in place until the end of the day. Then, remove the dressing, recleanse the wound, shower, cleanse, apply ointment, and redress for evening activities. At bedtime, remove the dressing, recleanse and apply antibiotic ointment and wear a clean sock.

The next morning, carefully evaluate for any sign of infection, and apply ointment and redress the area for a new day of walking. If the wound looks worse, then think about taking at least a day off to let the wound do a bit of healing. Even a half-day off your feet can be of help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
#21
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
Hi,
As others have answered some of these fully, I’ll just focus on two: the climbs and phone recharging.
Taken as a whole, I found the Cruz de Ferro climb and descent more difficult than climbing to Roncesvalles. On the downhill part of the first-day climb I took the road, which might be easier on the toes, if not on the knees. The Cruz entails a long climb, depending on where you started, and a long, steep in parts, sometimes harrowing descent over loose scree, bare rock, gullies and mud. (Add to this the cyclists bombing down the path, but I digress).
I had no trouble with charging my phone. Most of the places I stayed in (private albergues for the most part) were well-supplied with outlets, and even little tables or ledges for your phone to take its place among the several already there.
As a side note, I was in a bar in Santiago eating lunch when my phone died. The bartender asked me what kind it is, then took it and plugged it in. It was fully charged when I left, but she was gone. I revisited the next day to thank her in person. My kind of place.

Have fun.
Best wishes,
Paul
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#22
Think of the prep for blisters in three separate phases:

1) Proactive ...you'll want great fitting shoes/boots/runners and sox that don't have bulky seams. You'll want to consider using some type of anti blister/anti chaff topical . Some swear by vasoline, I personally wear Injini Toe sox so vasoline simply does not wash out well ( and certainly won't wash out in cold alburgue wash station water ) I do use Compeed. Keep in mind 'Compeed" is a brand name, not only a bandage. They make a whole line of items to treat feet. I use the Compeed foot glide religiously before putting on sox and there are other brands that work too. Be sure nails are inspected and trimmed regularly.

2) Active ... Be aware of what's happening with your feet as you are walking. Take the time to stop at intervals and remove your shoes to dry your feet & sox or put on fresh sox. Address any hot spots immediately. I use Leukotape to protect the area in question...others use all kinds of things ( duct tape, moleskin, lambswool, gauze, bandaids...) At this point, you are trying to ward off any potential blisters. Empty your shoes...tiny pebbles can be your nightmare, don't try to tolerate them.

3) Reactive... Too late :( You've got blisters, so time to treat. Always have clean sox ready to place over treated feet. It will drive the nurses and docs among you insane, seeing you put old dirty sox on over treated/infected/damaged feet! Here's where some prefer the other Compeed products used for blisters. While they seal and provide a protective covering with a bit of padding, I've seen many blisters get worse, or skin being torn off because they were left too long. There are lots of schools of thought on blister treatment. I personally use alcohol wipes or betadine gel to sanitize the entire area, and do thread the blister with a sterile needle and thread. The thread should be doubled or thick enough to be an adequate wick and the entire area needs to be covered immediately with sterile dressings /gauze/bandaids loosely to allow both drainage and drying. Try to remove the dressing and thread early in the morning to assess the blister, let dry a bit more, redress properly to walk. Lots of opinions on threading. It can introduce bacteria if not covered immediately, as will any type of cutting or slicing, but draining anything that will only be retraumatized by walking is essential.

So...as you read and as you pack, consider these three pieces of footcare. Ultimately what works best for you is your gold. As you read suggestions, ask yourself, what phase of blisters are they offering advice for.

Walk with joy !
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
#23
Hi,
Something I forgot to add I my previous post above. It might be worthwhile to get the Booking.com app on your phone, and go the Only Pilgrims web site to get familiar with it.

Both will help you if you need or want to book ahead.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
#24
Regarding phone charging, I carry a plug with 2 USB-outlets. It weight a little bit more but then I can change phone and GPS watch at the same time or share power outlet with another pilgrim. I did sleep in some albergues wiht just a few outlets but now it if 5 years since I did the CF so I can have changed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
None
#25
You dont indicate how much pre-walking training you are, or havd, done. Use whatever has worked for you. Some have strong preferences one way or the other. I recommend to go light with comfortable foot were and plenty of water.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#26
I can't speak to the first question as for both of my Caminos I started in Roncesvalles. Almost everything I've read has suggested it is, though. But perhaps not if you break it into two days at Orisson.

Based on my experience walking in July/August, and what I've heard about the temperatures this year, I don't think you are likely to need a sleeping bag. a sheet liner should be sufficient. But I wouldn't count on it providing any sort of defense against bedbugs. It's there to provide some sort of sheet layer between your body and the mattress, and some sort of thin sheet covering you, as many sleep better with a cover of some sort.

I'm not really a footcare expert. But I can say that the podiatry students at the podiatry clinic in the albergue in Astorga weren't to fond of it. Their technique seemed to be (a) drain the blister (b) wash it out with antiseptic (like an iodine), (c) cover it with a thin layer of gauze under tape. If the blister was big or bad, rather than putting padding over the blister (which would put more pressure on it when you walk), they put extra padding around the blister (to reduce the pressure when you walk).

Apps I found most useful were the Wise Pilgrim and Camino Pilgrim apps. I also visited websites like Gronze.com. And I liked the e-book version of the Village to Village guidebook. I also took the e-book version of The Pilgrimage to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook. I preferred the apps and ebooks, which take less space and weigh less. I know that's a lot of books/apps, but the apps are cheap and I figure given how much I'm spending in time and money on the trip, it isn't a lot to add to the price and makes me better informed to make the most of my pilgrimage.

The quantity of outlets depends on the albergue. We needed a European converter anyways, so we took one that could charge multiple devices so that we could share outlets. My son also carried an external battery/charger, which he found very useful.

Finally, I agree with the earlier poster that you want a pack with a hip belt. If you have extra space: (a) remember that you might sometimes want to put food in there; I'm not sure if you were including that in your calculations of needed space and (b) more importantly, you can fill it up with souvenirs in Santiago, when weight will be less of a concern. I know I wish I had brought more back and I intend to rectify that on my next Camino.

I hope this helps.
Really enjoyed the thoughtfulness and fullness of your comments - it’s much appreciated!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#27
Hi, John. . .

I'm going to focus on your Compeed question. Actually, I'd like to expand on it with a post I had written earlier. I hope this was OK. The first repost deals with blister prevention strategies. The second deals with blister treatment.

--------------------------------------------

Blisters are a product of friction.... often referred to as shear force friction. The skin of your foot, and the sock that is in contact with that area of skin, are sliding and rubbing together.

Strategies for the prevention of shear force friction and blisters have changed and matured over recent years.
  1. A properly fitting shoe. In brief, it needs to be long enough and wide enough to accomodate any insoles, orthotics, metatarsal pads, etc, PLUS the socks that you will be wearing, PLUS the increased pressure on the feet from wearing a loaded pack.
  2. Light padded Merino wool sock designed for walking or backpacking, or the same type of sock in a good synthetic blend. A heavy pad on a sock allows potentially more movement against the skin, takes longer to air out, and takes longer to dry when washed.
  3. A sock fit that is snug and form fitting to the foot, but not gangrene-inducingly tight. You want the shear force to be between the sock and the interior of the shoe, not the sock and the skin. A snug fitting sock will help to make that happen.
  4. Allow the sock to move a bit in the shoe. By keeping the shoes a bit looser on the feet, the sock will take the brunt of the shear force. If a shoe is tied snug, then that forces the foot to move more in the sock, which means the sock and skin are absorbing the shear force. An exception occurs on long downhill grades; the shoes need to be tied tight enough to keep your toes from hitting the front of the shoe which can cause injury and trauma to the nail bed and toe joints.
  5. While there are foot lubricants, from Body Glide and Hiker's Goo to plain old vaseline, the have a fairly short viable working span as the material rubs of the skin and is absorbed by the socks. For prophylactic protection from shear force friction, a long lasting barrier is the better option. The placement of tapes, like Leukotape P, or moleskin-type products, if adhered correctly, will last the whole day.
  6. To apply tapes and moleskin type products,
    1. Clean off the area of application with a bit of alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and body oils. A bit of regular hand sanitizer works for this, in addition to hand cleansing.
    2. Cut a piece of your chosen barrier material to fit the area you want protected; be sure to cut rounded corners rather than square in order to help the material from rolling up away from the skin.
    3. Apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin to the skin area where the adhesive will stick. This will increase the holding power of the tape or moleskin.
      1. If the tape or moleskin, etc. is going on top of a blistered area, avoid getting the benzoin on the roof area of the blister, and add a thin coating of ointment/vaseline onto the blister roof, avoiding the surrounding skin area. This will allow removal of the product without hurting the blister wound.
    4. Place the barrier on the area, taking care to not handle the adhesive; spend a bit of time rubbing the material to create friction so that the adhesive will heat up and adhere more firmly.
    5. At the end of the day, remove the barrier and use some alcohol to wipe the area that was covered.
      1. Since fungus (athletes foot) and pathogens splash around in showers, shower shoes are not necessarily preventative to one's feet being exposed or infected. It is helpful to use an alcohol or astringent product applied to the feet after showering.
-----------------------

Blister treatment falls under hygiene level two. So, clean hands ( soap and water, or hand sanitizer, or rubbing alcohol, etc). All that needs to be done is to cleanse hands so that the level of potential pathogens is reduced to below the level which could cause infection to this type of wound.

Also, any product used to dress the blister should be clean as well. It doesn't have to be sterile, but should at least be in its protective packaging.
  1. If the blister still has it's 'roof', it is recommended to leave the 'roof' intact, but to drain the fluid. Needles are not the ideal tool, as the initial puncture can reseal later, allowing fluid to build up again. A disinfected tool (alcohol or flame from a lighter/match) which can create a slit at the base of the blister near the skin of the foot is best --- a pair of tiny scissors to snip a slit; a disposable scalpel blade or a hobby knife blade as part of a first aid kit.
  2. If the blister has 'deroofed', then trim off any skin tag which might flap back into the raw open wound.
Preparing the wound for dressing involves two steps.

1. Cleaning the wound by flushing away any debris away with clean water or a mild dilution of hydrogen peroxide. Pouring or squirting the wound is fine, but any dirt particles sticking to the wound MUST be cleared away.

2. A topical antibiotic ointment, not creme, is gently applied after the blister wound is dry. The ointment serves two purposes: it reduces any risk of infection and it prevents any dressing material from inadvertently adhering to the wound.

Blister Dressing

The primary issue is that whatever method of taping, adhering a pad, taping a covering over the pad, etc, getting it to stick and remain in place -- and not sweat or prematurely roll off or wear off -- can be a challenge. Here are a few strategies to help.

1. Use hand sanitizer or alcohol to clean the skin area, not the wound, to which the tape or dressing will be stuck to. Get as much dirt and body oils removed as is possible.

2. To the cleansed skin, apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin. Do not put on the wound. This will multiply the holding power of the adhesive that is used.

3. When the adhesive is finally applied, rub the area of the tape or moleskin or compeed or etc... The idea is to create heat from the friction to allow the adhesive to warm and adhere better.

For dressing a blister, this NOLS video does a good job of describing the methods which work best. For a blister with a roof, I like to place a hydrogel dressing, like Spenco, to the top of the blister and them use Leukotape P or Omnifix or etc... to affix the dressing in place. The hydrogel provides basic cushioning and additional protection, helping the tape to reduce additional damage to the wound.

For a deroofed blister, the addition of the ointment to the open wound is applied prior to the hydrogel being put into place. The hydrogels are package and designed to be sterile. Bandaging is done as previously described.

IF the blistered area, whether roofed or deroofed, is so tender it is uncomfortable to walk on as treated above, then remove the dressing and then redress the blister the same way as before, but with the addition of using the 'doughnut' padding as the NOLS video demonstrates.

Unless additional attention is needed, it is best to leave the dressing in place until the end of the day. Then, remove the dressing, recleanse the wound, shower, cleanse, apply ointment, and redress for evening activities. At bedtime, remove the dressing, recleanse and apply antibiotic ointment and wear a clean sock.

The next morning, carefully evaluate for any sign of infection, and apply ointment and redress the area for a new day of walking. If the wound looks worse, then think about taking at least a day off to let the wound do a bit of healing. Even a half-day off your feet can be of help.
Wow. This is getting printed out. I’m very grateful for the time you’ve taken here. So thoughtful and thorough. I’m humbled.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#28
Hi,
As others have answered some of these fully, I’ll just focus on two: the climbs and phone recharging.
Taken as a whole, I found the Cruz de Ferro climb and descent more difficult than climbing to Roncesvalles. On the downhill part of the first-day climb I took the road, which might be easier on the toes, if not on the knees. The Cruz entails a long climb, depending on where you started, and a long, steep in parts, sometimes harrowing descent over loose scree, bare rock, gullies and mud. (Add to this the cyclists bombing down the path, but I digress).
I had no trouble with charging my phone. Most of the places I stayed in (private albergues for the most part) were well-supplied with outlets, and even little tables or ledges for your phone to take its place among the several already there.
As a side note, I was in a bar in Santiago eating lunch when my phone died. The bartender asked me what kind it is, then took it and plugged it in. It was fully charged when I left, but she was gone. I revisited the next day to thank her in person. My kind of place.

Have fun.
Best wishes,
Paul
This is good to read too!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#29
Think of the prep for blisters in three separate phases:

1) Proactive ...you'll want great fitting shoes/boots/runners and sox that don't have bulky seams. You'll want to consider using some type of anti blister/anti chaff topical . Some swear by vasoline, I personally wear Injini Toe sox so vasoline simply does not wash out well ( and certainly won't wash out in cold alburgue wash station water ) I do use Compeed. Keep in mind 'Compeed" is a brand name, not only a bandage. They make a whole line of items to treat feet. I use the Compeed foot glide religiously before putting on sox and there are other brands that work too. Be sure nails are inspected and trimmed regularly.

2) Active ... Be aware of what's happening with your feet as you are walking. Take the time to stop at intervals and remove your shoes to dry your feet & sox or put on fresh sox. Address any hot spots immediately. I use Leukotape to protect the area in question...others use all kinds of things ( duct tape, moleskin, lambswool, gauze, bandaids...) At this point, you are trying to ward off any potential blisters. Empty your shoes...tiny pebbles can be your nightmare, don't try to tolerate them.

3) Reactive... Too late :( You've got blisters, so time to treat. Always have clean sox ready to place over treated feet. It will drive the nurses and docs among you insane, seeing you put old dirty sox on over treated/infected/damaged feet! Here's where some prefer the other Compeed products used for blisters. While they seal and provide a protective covering with a bit of padding, I've seen many blisters get worse, or skin being torn off because they were left too long. There are lots of schools of thought on blister treatment. I personally use alcohol wipes or betadine gel to sanitize the entire area, and do thread the blister with a sterile needle and thread. The thread should be doubled or thick enough to be an adequate wick and the entire area needs to be covered immediately with sterile dressings /gauze/bandaids loosely to allow both drainage and drying. Try to remove the dressing and thread early in the morning to assess the blister, let dry a bit more, redress properly to walk. Lots of opinions on threading. It can introduce bacteria if not covered immediately, as will any type of cutting or slicing, but draining anything that will only be retraumatized by walking is essential.

So...as you read and as you pack, consider these three pieces of footcare. Ultimately what works best for you is your gold. As you read suggestions, ask yourself, what phase of blisters are they offering advice for.

Walk with joy !
Awesomely impressed with this too. I’ve been walking a lot here in Iceland (at least 10km a day for several weeks) and I feel like I’ve put a lot of hardness into my feet, as I’ve not had any blisters or soft spots in ages. But I know this is of a different order of intensity.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#30
You dont indicate how much pre-walking training you are, or havd, done. Use whatever has worked for you. Some have strong preferences one way or the other. I recommend to go light with comfortable foot were and plenty of water.
According to my pedometer app, I’ve walked 750km over the last four months here in Iceland, with 300km done in the last five weeks. I feel that’s a good level of preparation.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#31
Hi,
Something I forgot to add I my previous post above. It might be worthwhile to get the Booking.com app on your phone, and go the Only Pilgrims web site to get familiar with it.

Both will help you if you need or want to book ahead.
Excellent - I already have Booking.com so I’ll combine it with the Only Pilgrims site too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#32
I used the Editorial Buen Camino app for the Norte, and found it to be very complete and well integrated. The offline mapping always kept me on track, and the albergue information is up to date. I was still discovering new features of the app all the way through my Camino.
https://www.editorialbuencamino.com/app-del-camino-de-santiago/
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#33
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
For me, the day from SJPP to Roncesvalles wasn't too bad
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
I didn't think the day from SJPP to Roncesvalles was too tough, mainly because the path was fairly smooth. My worst days were the downhill from Roncesvalles to Zubiri and the day when I came down from the Iron Cross to Molineseca. Both involved steep and extended downhill sections and very rough, rocky terrain. I took it slow and went side to side whenever possible. Many people were injured on those days from moving too fast. I also thought the segment from Herrerias to O'Cebrero was particularly grueling, a very rocky and vertical uphill stretch.

In the foot care department, my solution involved taping my feet every morning, from the start. I didn't give blisters a chance to form. The physical barrier protected my feet and I didn't get a single blister. My favorite tape was Leukosilk, a white very slippery fabric tape. I couldn't always find it in the pharmacy, so substituted anything similar when necessary.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May or September (2018)
#34
Yes I agree this forum is truly amazing! I will be starting 28/8/18. How many shirts/ socks do you plan on bringing?
I have 4 sets of liners and socks, 2 short sleeve and 2 long sleeve hiking style shirts, one pair of zippered pant/shorts and a hiking skort. Is that too much?
 

cathn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed one 550 Miile and six partial caminos
#35
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
A lot depends on temperature when doing the climbs. I personally think the Pyrenees is the toughest. O Cebrerio, take your time and enjoy the marvellous vista. You will reflect on this when you get back home.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
#36
You've gotten good information and suggestions - I can only add my experience regarding sleeping bags. In August/September, you usually wouldn't need a regular sleeping bag, but some albergues are cold in all seasons. I have been very happy with my 'indoor' sleeping bag (MEC Equatorial), good down to temperatures of 15C. One side is lightly quilted and the other side is cotton, so you can decide which side to put on top depending on the temperature inside the albergue. I also take a very lightweight silk liner for extra warmth when needed or to use on its own when it is warm. I have only experienced bed bugs once and I don't think my sleeping bag or liner provide any defence from the critters! You will have a wonderful Camino!
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#37
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
In order of difficulty to me tough but not the toughest, the trail from Honto up to Orisson. Next was the trail up to La Faba on the way up to O Cebreiro but the ones I found the toughest were Rabanal to Foncebaden and Alto de Poio my absolute pet hate. Of course, they are all uphills. Downhills that I would rather not do if they were avoidable are Perdon down to Uterga and the trail down to Acebo after the cruz de ferro. Of course, I am a slow almost 70 year old so if I can do them anyone can :)
 

cindyjo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte /Primitivo (2014)
Chemin la Puy (2016)
Camino Portuguese (2017)
#38
Just a quick possible suggestion on blister prevention. I’ve walked a number of caminos and have always used 2Toms. It’s a roll on (like a deodorant) that you put on before walking in the morning. On long or difficult days, I would also treat my feet mid-day. It can be purchased on Amazon. Never had a blister except the first day on the del Norte when I forgot to put some on and walked an excited 26 miles. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
#39
In order of difficulty to me tough but not the toughest, the trail from Honto up to Orisson. Next was the trail up to La Faba on the way up to O Cebreiro but the ones I found the toughest were Rabanal to Foncebaden and Alto de Poio my absolute pet hate. Of course, they are all uphills. Downhills that I would rather not do if they were avoidable are Perdon down to Uterga and the trail down to Acebo after the cruz de ferro. Of course, I am a slow almost 70 year old so if I can do them anyone can :)
I agree 100%...I am slow and careful, and over 70, but I don't want to break my ankle and never walk the Camino again! In November, I plan to walk on the road from the Antenas refreshment stand down to Acebo and to Molinaseca, as there were almost no cars passing by when I walked there in the spring and it seemed safe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
#40
1. Yes, SJPP to Roncevalles is the hardest stage for us. By the later stages, we have our trail legs and they were not so challenging for us.

2. Sleeping bag definitely too warm that time of year. Take some sort of warm jacket and in the cooler places, sleep in that (I carry a lightweight, 6oz down jacket).

3. Feet stuff is personal. For me, the only stuff the works well is paper tape (available from Amazon). Anything else does not breath enough and causes more problems once applied.

I'll pass on the next two questions--I don't carry a smart phone.

6. That pack is about the size of my wife's pack, but I'm not sure it has a good hipbelt. Trust me, you do not want your load, however light, hanging from your shoulders for 500 miles. My wife has an 11L Osprey Talon--small, but good support and hipbelt. It kills me to see all of the peregrinos who have sent their luggage ahead (thinking they are helping themselves) trudging with daypacks (with no hipbelts or support) hanging off their shoulders that look heavier than my entire pack. So good for you for getting your gear down. One key lesson for me was how little I needed materially to thrive and be happy. But the other lesson was how far 500 miles really is. You can hang a daypack from your shoulders for a day--but not for a month +.

Buen Camino,
Jo Jo
Hi John,

Jo Jo is right on point. The first stage is challenging from the standpoint of the climb AND the descent. I'm starting in SJPdP on August 21 and decided to break the first day with an overnight in Orrison. I used a sleeping bag on my first Camino Frances and I was very hot. A silk bag liner (treated for bedbugs) was much more accommodating for me. If you are staying in albergues, electric sockets can be scarce. I was able to find time to recharge. If you are using an Apple product, they make a nifty adapter. The lighter the backpack the better the Camino experience. Keeping it simple will pay great dividends. Buen Camino! Bill
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
#41
>> Alto de Poio my absolute pet hate.

I’ll second that emotion.

I was pretty tired of uphill walking by the time I got to Alto de Poio, but I was so glad to get there that I stopped to order the (what seemed like) buckets of fresh orange juice all these pilgrims were drinking. I left my walking pole on a chair there. I certainly could have used it
later on. The juice was good, but that’s about all that I can say good about that place.
Cheers,
Paul
 

Oddyspapa

My soul is staying on the way, always.
Camino(s) past & future
Full CF (May/Jun of 2014, 2018 )
Full CF+Finisterre (2016 May/Jun)
Will go again 2020
#42
Here are some my opinions.

1. Yes, SJPdp to Roncesvalles is hard stage but I’m sure it is not harder than what you expect. The first part, from SJPdp to Refuge Orisson, is little bit stiff. After that, yes, it is uphill but not that stiff. I agree others who said it is hard because it is a first day. And it is only little over than 25km. You can enjoy that with nice view.

2. I only walked from May. Pass!

3. There is no absolute solution about the blister. The best way I think is to listen carefully what your foot says. Most of blister caused from friction. So do not disregard when your foot says 'it is hot', and stop, check the place out, and dry your feet. I recommend to put moleskin on that place where you feel hot. After few days walking, you may know where easily goes to hot. Then you can prepare it before you leave in the morning. Doing like this, I never got any single blister through my 3 times Camino.

4. Except the map you get from SJPdP pilgrim office, I recommend to bring OSMAND app for mobile. It is offline map and you can use it free(even you drive after Camino, you can use it as a navigation). Just download the Spain map. It doesn’t say this way is the Camino Frances but it can lead you on the correct way. Just set the destination of the day and make it navigate by foot. It will show you the shortest way to be there and you can realize it is almost as same way as Camino Frances. I’m sure you never lost even you leave early morning in the darkness. Also, it can help you to find where the grocery store is, where the albergue is, etc.

5. I couldn’t say it is enough but I never have any serious problem in the most albergue. If you need to charge more than one, I recommend to bring back up battery. When you goes out, just plugged-in that battery. It will give you not only the power but also peace in your mind than leave the phone in the albergue.

6. What kind of and what size of backpack is up to your needs. I strongly agree that backpack should have nice hip(waist) belt. If me, I will absolutely choose 20 pound bag with hip belt than 5 pound bag without hip belt.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#43
@JohnLloyd , what an amazing number, range and quality of responses.

My tuppence worth to you queries, slightly rephased

1) What are the toughest sections?
As many have said above, decsents can be difficult as well as ascents.
These those that I know:
a) Saint-Jean to Roncesvalles - both up and down
b) Alto del Perdon to Uterga - steep descent on loose rubble
c) Cruz de Ferro to Molinaseca - steep decent on rubble - consider the road
d) Herrias to La Laguna - just steep ascent - surface mostly OK,
e) Fonfria to Tricastella - steep decent on dodgy surfaces
f) the approach to Portomarin
I do tough sections better early in the day and not later, when tired

2) sleeping bag? quite personal - bed bugs not an issue for me

3) Compeed? YES

4) Scan all the guides you can get and put them on you phone (I prefer a tablet), for personal use only.

5) Albergues: enough plug sockets? Generally yes. But help yourself and your room mates by taking both a charger with universal mains sockets opposite the pins, and a long 3 metre cable.

@JohnLloyd , kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#44
@JohnLloyd , what an amazing number, range and quality of responses.

My tuppence worth to you queries, slightly rephased

1) What are the toughest sections?
As many have said above, decsents can be difficult as well as ascents.
These those that I know:
a) Saint-Jean to Roncesvalles - both up and down
b) Alto del Perdon to Uterga - steep descent on loose rubble
c) Cruz de Ferro to Molinaseca - steep decent on rubble - consider the road
d) Herrias to La Laguna - just steep ascent - surface mostly OK,
e) Fonfria to Tricastella - steep decent on dodgy surfaces
f) the approach to Portomarin
I do tough sections better early in the day and not later, when tired

2) sleeping bag? quite personal - bed bugs not an issue for me

3) Compeed? YES

4) Scan all the guides you can get and put them on you phone (I prefer a tablet), for personal use only.

5) Albergues: enough plug sockets? Generally yes. But help yourself and your room mates by taking both a charger with universal mains sockets opposite the pins, and a long 3 metre cable.

@JohnLloyd , kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
Thanks Alwyn - I’m honoured to have received so much sage advice!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#45
Here are some my opinions.

1. Yes, SJPdp to Roncesvalles is hard stage but I’m sure it is not harder than what you expect. The first part, from SJPdp to Refuge Orisson, is little bit stiff. After that, yes, it is uphill but not that stiff. I agree others who said it is hard because it is a first day. And it is only little over than 25km. You can enjoy that with nice view.

2. I only walked from May. Pass!

3. There is no absolute solution about the blister. The best way I think is to listen carefully what your foot says. Most of blister caused from friction. So do not disregard when your foot says 'it is hot', and stop, check the place out, and dry your feet. I recommend to put moleskin on that place where you feel hot. After few days walking, you may know where easily goes to hot. Then you can prepare it before you leave in the morning. Doing like this, I never got any single blister through my 3 times Camino.

4. Except the map you get from SJPdP pilgrim office, I recommend to bring OSMAND app for mobile. It is offline map and you can use it free(even you drive after Camino, you can use it as a navigation). Just download the Spain map. It doesn’t say this way is the Camino Frances but it can lead you on the correct way. Just set the destination of the day and make it navigate by foot. It will show you the shortest way to be there and you can realize it is almost as same way as Camino Frances. I’m sure you never lost even you leave early morning in the darkness. Also, it can help you to find where the grocery store is, where the albergue is, etc.

5. I couldn’t say it is enough but I never have any serious problem in the most albergue. If you need to charge more than one, I recommend to bring back up battery. When you goes out, just plugged-in that battery. It will give you not only the power but also peace in your mind than leave the phone in the albergue.

6. What kind of and what size of backpack is up to your needs. I strongly agree that backpack should have nice hip(waist) belt. If me, I will absolutely choose 20 pound bag with hip belt than 5 pound bag without hip belt.

Buen Camino!
Great advice! Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#46
>> Alto de Poio my absolute pet hate.

I’ll second that emotion.

I was pretty tired of uphill walking by the time I got to Alto de Poio, but I was so glad to get there that I stopped to order the (what seemed like) buckets of fresh orange juice all these pilgrims were drinking. I left my walking pole on a chair there. I certainly could have used it
later on. The juice was good, but that’s about all that I can say good about that place.
Cheers,
Paul
Something to watch out for, then!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#47
Hi John,

Jo Jo is right on point. The first stage is challenging from the standpoint of the climb AND the descent. I'm starting in SJPdP on August 21 and decided to break the first day with an overnight in Orrison. I used a sleeping bag on my first Camino Frances and I was very hot. A silk bag liner (treated for bedbugs) was much more accommodating for me. If you are staying in albergues, electric sockets can be scarce. I was able to find time to recharge. If you are using an Apple product, they make a nifty adapter. The lighter the backpack the better the Camino experience. Keeping it simple will pay great dividends. Buen Camino! Bill
Thanks Bill! I hope our paths might cross at some point, although you’ll be two days ahead of me!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#48
I agree 100%...I am slow and careful, and over 70, but I don't want to break my ankle and never walk the Camino again! In November, I plan to walk on the road from the Antenas refreshment stand down to Acebo and to Molinaseca, as there were almost no cars passing by when I walked there in the spring and it seemed safe.
Thanks Marylynn - good luck with your walk later in the year.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#49
Just a quick possible suggestion on blister prevention. I’ve walked a number of caminos and have always used 2Toms. It’s a roll on (like a deodorant) that you put on before walking in the morning. On long or difficult days, I would also treat my feet mid-day. It can be purchased on Amazon. Never had a blister except the first day on the del Norte when I forgot to put some on and walked an excited 26 miles. Buen Camino
Thanks CindyJo - good advice!
 

Alexla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
December (2018)
#51
Hello. we decided to do the Camino from Sarria (or Morgade) to SDC in December. We decided to let go of doing Camino Portugues in December.
My question is: is this do-able in 6 days? this includes the first day starting out late (at least 10 AM). We are arriving in Sarria (or Morgade) from Porto...we are arriving into Porto airport very late the night before so we had no choice but to stay the night in Porto (the hotels in Sarria might not allow us to check in past midnight).
Thank you.
 

c2c

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017
#52
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
Wise pilgrim app was excellent for us. If you use this app you won't really need Brierly. Could read him beforehand and take some notes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#53
You are both spot on about this forum.
Its become my happy place.
Im extremely thankful to those pilgrims who share their knowledge, experience and love of the camino so freely.

Thanks to everyone.
Spa girl, you are awesome! I am still in wonderment with your reply to Tilly, who was worried about her ability to travel on after losing her job
 

LaFlorida

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF May-June 2018
#54
The days with steep descents were the toughest for me, even though trekking poles helped tremendously. I stayed at Orisson between SJdPP and Roncesvalles and am glad I did. The descent into Roncesvalles was still tough, but the day wasn't overwhelming.
Coming down from the Cruz de Ferro was my hardest day. Some people took the road and some people stopped in El Acebo at Albergue La Casa, which they said was heavenly. It's the new one with the pool and lots of signs. By Molinaseca, I was wrecked, so I think Albergue La Casa would have been a good move.
I stayed in Ruitelan before O Cebreiro, so that the ascent would be in the morning, and I really enjoyed the day.

I hiked in May/June and was happy with a sleep sack with pillow pocket I made out of a cotton sheet, and I layered my long-sleeved, UPF 50 shirts under my light rain jacket instead of taking a warm jacket.

I was able to avoid blisters. Your feet may swell with so much walking, so make sure your shoes have a little room for that without being loose. What worked for me was either midweight padded socks or two pairs of thin ones, and Vaseline every morning on dry feet (no morning showers.) I had some Smartwool padded socks, some Merrell Trailglove padded socks, and two pairs of Smartwool lightweight socks that I often wore together. Stop and air out your feet, and be aware of hot spots so you can add moleskin or an extra sock layer before they turn into blisters.

A hip belt is necessary, not just to adjust the load, but to be able to air out your back, too. Loosen your shoulder straps from time to time, let the pack hang back, and let the sweat dry. I had a nice Osprey pack with a mesh panel.

To Alexia - I Yes, I think 6 days from Sarria is doable even with a late start.

Buen Camino!

Julie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Leon to Santiago in Sept.- Oct. (2016)
#55
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
I found Injinji liner toe socks to be perfect for blister control...I had no blisters whatsoever.
 

Campo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte, Camino Francés, Camino to Nidaros, Camino Primitivo
#56
I second or third the suggestion of Injinji toes sock liners to prevent blister. IN combination with a lite or midweight wool sock works great for me. I've walked 5 Caminos and rarely get any blisters-- if I do its usually because i didn't break in my shoes enough. Some will need vaseline, others will need foot powder-- you will learn what your need will be. I suggest all three options in your first aid kit issn a bad idea. Of course, half size to one size bigger hiking footwear is also recommended to allow swelling. A small bottle of Hibiclens is useful because remember that a blister is a wound once it is open-- keep it clean and disinfected. All feet are different and all react differently. Compeed should only be used on open wound blisters, otherwise, breathable tape like Leukotape or cushioning. With that said, there are many methods that work and the folks here have given great advice. Just my 2 cents.

I would say stage 1 to Roncesvalles is the most difficult. Yes, there are still difficult stages- but none are as taxing on your knees as St.Jean to Roncesvalles' 6+ hour climb and two more on a knee destroying descent. Take it easy on your knees, go slow and use trekking poles. You'll be alright.

I carry a small battery pack for when I happen to get a bed thats not close to an outlet. Its useful.
A sheet/liner sack is all you'll need-- but the permethrin ones don't really work against bed bugs. Ive come to accept that its just a chance we have to take on the Camino. Check the bed, keep your packs off the bed, closed (in a plastic bag if you have one)-- about all you can do. Some react with more of an allergic reaction, some won't even know they were bit. I take a small spray pump of eco raider to ease my mind, but im pretty sure it doesn't do anything. Permethrin liner, eco raider, still gotten bit.

Buen Camino! You'll have a great time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2 Camino Frances completed, 1 Camino Portugues completed from Porto
#57
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
Hi - few thoughts. I start late Aug on 4th camino, and although I’ve loved my 20 ounce sleeping bag in past Sept caminos, got a $25 polyester sleep sack with full zip for this year. Bag will likely be far too warm, yes - if you get cold late Sept/Oct, just buy a bag, they can be found cheaply in cities. Give your sack a good spraydown of permethrin, bedbugs accumulate over the season and you will likely encounter them.

Two toughest stages are SJPP and Acebo descent.

No problem on albergue plugs.

Compeeds vs bandaids etc is unknowable until you get out there. Bring a few of each along (whatever helped on your training walks), cut your nails supershort and buy what you need enroute. I also believe in switching socks every couple hours plus cold water soaks in laundry basins (cubos) each evening to cool feet and drain blisters.

I’ve done the full Frances twice and so don’t need full Brierley, am carrying the map-only book this year. I also really like the WisePilgrim app because it shows all sleeping options in a village and connects to booking.com for bookable places.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances -
Sept-Oct 2017
#58
As far as toughness, down (in my opinion) is way harder than up, so the descent into Zubiri, Acebo, Molinaseca & Portomarin were tough. We just missed the rain at Zubiri, and that would have been tougher.

My wife swears by Hiker's Wool she found online. I think it comes out of New Zealand. Check it out online. We met some Canadians who purchased someplace in Canada as well.

Wise Pilgrim was a great app to use.

Take it easy - don't be in a rush - let others pass you by. Your feet and tendons will like the slower pace.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#59
Well John Lloyd I think I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said.
I just use the Brierly guide book but, I'm 'old school' and not intrigued by electronics. I like books, but that's me.
The suggestion to set yourself up to tackle more strenuous ascents/descents in the morning is a good idea if it fits your schedule.
You didn't mention a time frame that you will be walking in. Hopefully you have booked in some downtime. Some like to take a day in a city and become tourista. Some would suggest after a difficult day rest on the next. Last year after coming down from the Cruz de Fero into Molinaseca I got up early the next morning and by noon was pretty tired on a section that really is not that difficult. For me that would have been a good layabout day.
Also, on that theme, between St. Jean and Pamplona take it slow. Rest, take your socks off and dry your feetand socks. It is in the early days of the walk when pilgrims have a lot of energy and want to keep up that they can strain. In 2015 I had blister problems and had to bus from Pamplona to Puente La Reina. The nurse said no camino for three days.
If you have the luxury of time spend it. Short days (10km) might present themselves as you talk with other pilgrims, spend time in an historic setting, or just take extra long rests/naps by a river.
I am a big proponent of taking your time and not rushing. If you have the time...

Peace be with you.

Buen Camino
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#61
Well John Lloyd I think I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said.
I just use the Brierly guide book but, I'm 'old school' and not intrigued by electronics. I like books, but that's me.
The suggestion to set yourself up to tackle more strenuous ascents/descents in the morning is a good idea if it fits your schedule.
You didn't mention a time frame that you will be walking in. Hopefully you have booked in some downtime. Some like to take a day in a city and become tourista. Some would suggest after a difficult day rest on the next. Last year after coming down from the Cruz de Fero into Molinaseca I got up early the next morning and by noon was pretty tired on a section that really is not that difficult. For me that would have been a good layabout day.
Also, on that theme, between St. Jean and Pamplona take it slow. Rest, take your socks off and dry your feetand socks. It is in the early days of the walk when pilgrims have a lot of energy and want to keep up that they can strain. In 2015 I had blister problems and had to bus from Pamplona to Puente La Reina. The nurse said no camino for three days.
If you have the luxury of time spend it. Short days (10km) might present themselves as you talk with other pilgrims, spend time in an historic setting, or just take extra long rests/naps by a river.
I am a big proponent of taking your time and not rushing. If you have the time...

Peace be with you.

Buen Camino
Thanks Baba John

I’m aiming to do it in around 35 days, but I’m not bound by that.

I’ll stop when in need, when the moment catches me and when the feet need a rest!
 

Dutchwalk53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015 with son #1, CF 2016 alone, CF 2017 with son #2 and husband , CF Sept 2018 with daughter
#62
I personally prefer the following guide book over Brierley :
A Village to Village Guide to Hiking the Camino De Santiago: Camino Frances: St Jean - Santiago - Finisterre
by Anna Dintaman and David Landis.
Used it 3 Camino's now and LOVE it.
Hardest: decent into Acebo. I took the road decent (instead of forrest path) to Roncesvalles and loved it.
Yes SJPP to Roncesvalles is hard but your 1st day eagerness will get you through it. Just go slow.
Leukotape P prevented me from blisters for 3 camino's. so I taped my sensitive areas of feet(heels , bottom and 2 pinky toes) every morning carefully. combined with medium thick Thorlo hiking socks. I love hiking poles to prevent rolling my ankle when I trip (happens now and then lol ) and for knee support.
I sleep in private rooms in albergues and hostals so can;t answer your sleeping bag question.
36 liter bag should be fine although I have a 45 L there it fitted me better. I have aside from water about 12 lbs in my bag.
Buen Camino
 

Maria K

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2013) (2018) Camino Frances
#63
Hi,
Something I forgot to add I my previous post above. It might be worthwhile to get the Booking.com app on your phone, and go the Only Pilgrims web site to get familiar with it.

Both will help you if you need or want to book ahead.
Hi Paul, is the Only Pilgrims a web site or an app?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
#64
Hi Maria K,

So far as I know it’s only a web presence. I have not been able to find an app for my iPhone.
I found it to be extremely useful, and the interactions I’ve had with them have been great. Plus the reservations went without a hitch.

All the best,
Paul
 

anthonymhughes

Irish lad heading back for more Camino!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances & Camino Portuguese (Aug-? 2018)
#65
Wishing you the best on your Camino; you'll have a blast!

1) St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles from my experience was the hardest stage technically BUT i was so excited and getting energy from everyone I met on the way, that it was actually a breeze. It's the only time you'll have to walk uphill for that distance. there are some other steeper uphills along the way but take plenty of breaks.

2) Definitely bring a sleeping bag. Assuming you are walking to Santiago, it will be September and getting cooler. and sometimes you have to pay extra for a blanket in albergues.

3) Pack a Compeed just in case but I didn't get one blister over 900k. Buy a couple of pairs of good socks for EUR20. and i rubbed my feet with Vaseline every morning.

4) Didn't depend on apps in the past but used downloaded documents. this time I'll be using "Camino Pilgrim - Frances" on google app store (lists hotels/prices and amenities) . I have a .pdf which I can't source online anymore but can send you (it is probably outdated re: prices etc. but a good guide)

5) Generally charger points in albergues are few and far between so it's a case of getting lucky or waiting your turn. If you have a USB splitter, you can share the same plug with a friend. A lightweight portable charger can get you by so it might be worth bringing one in case you run low on charge.

6) Regarding your backpack/rucksack... see how it goes but I personally don't think it's enough. I always pack too much though... but I really recommend bringing a sleeping bag which would take up a lot of your space. I recommend if you can afford another bag, to bring a smallish rucksack with a waist strap. That way you can even make space for lunchtime snacks along the way.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#66
As far as toughness, down (in my opinion) is way harder than up, so the descent into Zubiri, Acebo, Molinaseca & Portomarin were tough. We just missed the rain at Zubiri, and that would have been tougher.

My wife swears by Hiker's Wool she found online. I think it comes out of New Zealand. Check it out online. We met some Canadians who purchased someplace in Canada as well.

Wise Pilgrim was a great app to use.

Take it easy - don't be in a rush - let others pass you by. Your feet and tendons will like the slower pace.
I walked with a very funny Hungarian women for a few days, who referred to every bad patch of road as a “”@&$ Molineseca Road “!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#67
Hello all

Firstly, thank you all for being part of a rare thing - an online community that seems to be made up almost entirely of positive and life-affirming people. I’m an admin for a 7k Facebook group and we could learn a few lessons from here.

It’s my first Camino and so I’m grateful for all the fantastic resources available here - the stage profiles, the albergue guides, the packing lists and so on. Amazing - they’re all downloaded and made available offline too.

My Facebook group is often plastered with repetitive messages on the same topics and questions, so I’ve done my best to try and research my own queries, but there are a few that could do with additional wisdom and suggestions from you lovely people.

So, with your forbearance, here I go.

Is St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles actually the toughest of all the stages?
Or is it much later on, when Alto de Poio appears? Or somewhere else?

It all depends on what your body is up to on any given day. Personally, I thought the descent into Molinaseca was harder.

I’m starting on August 23rd and I am thinking a sleeping bag may be too warm for me - a sheet sack/bag to provide a defence against bedbugs should be enough. Do you agree?

You are the best judge of this.

Is Compeed more or less effective than toe tape or blister pads? Or are all three recommended?

I’d bring tape and Compeed. The tape is useful with hot spots. Compeed is useful if a blister has formed and the roof is intact.

Is there a particular mobile app that might augment my Brierley?

Wise Pilgrim Camino app. It is great.

Do the albergues generally have enough plug sockets to help keep the phone charged up?

If you bring a charger unit with multiple USB outlets you should be okay.

Finally, I think I can get everything I read is required into this backpack, rather than a rucksack.

Most people find a 30-38 liter pack is the right size. Mine is 36l.


Am I being too reductionist?

I await the wisdom of this crowd...
View attachment 45225
My comments are inserted above.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francis, Portuguese, El Norte
#68
Compeed plasters are designed to be used to treat blisters, not as a preventative. And indeed, they are rather expensive for that purpose. The best tapes that I've found are called dressing retention tapes. Two brands that you can buy in Spain are Omnifix and Hypafix. They are breathable, soft, and stretch to fit the contours of your feet. Use them to prevent blisters - don't leave the tape in your first aid kit until you already have them!
Absolutely agree I always use Hypafix as a preventative tape and have never had a blister over 3 Camino’s
 
Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2018
#69
1. The first stage wasn’t bad because I stayed in Orrison overnight. Going down is harder than going up. My toughest stage was coming down after O Cebriero and going to Molinaseca.

2. A sleeping bag may be too much, but you may want warmth for albergues that don’t have blankets. Check out Enlightened Equipment. Really. You can design a sleeping quilt with the temperature rating you need, width, and length. Mine packed very small and provided the perfect warmth. If you get cold, the quilt zips and cinches at the feet, or snaps around you at the top. I did the Camino in the summer, so ordered the 50* blanket and I was fine.

3. Compeed is expensive and not worth it. I had plenty of blisters (one that even got infected) and tried ALL the recommendations. Everyone is different. For me, Compeed became gooey mess and tore the skin off the top of the blister. The blister that I left alone and didn’t pop was the one that became infected. Granted it was under my toenail, and I ended up losing that nail. But what worked for me: I brought a roll of medical tape (Leukotape off Amazon), I would use scissors to cut some gauze for over the wound and put the tape on that. The tape came off every night so the blisters could heal at night. Make sure your shoes are plenty big enough. I had to buy new shoes.

4. Mobile apps: Yes, I bought them, but never used them. I used my guidebook and a list of all albergues. They give you this in St. Jean, but not anywhere else. The list isn’t completely accurate, but very close. Pay attention to which towns have an ATM, because you don’t want to run out of money, when Spain run primarily on cash.

5. I think there will be no problem with plug sockets. I brought a plug socket that had 4 USB ports. I could always plugged mine into the socket, and charge my device and up to three others. No one complained.

6. If you can get everything in a backpack, go for it. Many people bring too much rather than not enough. I could’ve packed smaller, but I had a few extras that I didn’t want to part with- a nice journal for the Camino, inflatable pillow, 5 pairs of underwear (to wear with 2 outfits, but heaven forbid I run out of clean underwear. I can wear a pair of shorts twice, but...)

Good luck with your Camino!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#70
Thanks again to all of you for these amazing contributions to my planning.

I’ve just packed my rucksack (with hip belts) and it weighs 6.5kg

I’m very happy with that.

Now, the only unknown is whether Ryanair will be operating from Stansted to Biarritz next Tuesday.

Fingers crossed!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances planned for October 3-mid November (2018)
#71
I found Injinji liner toe socks to be perfect for blister control...I had no blisters whatsoever.
Injinjis and a second wool sock have measurably reduced my blisters, however, I still get them. I'm shy of 5 weeks still I leave and am still trying different methods to prevent huge blisters (36 miles in 3 days and mostly ascents and I got a HUGE half dollar size one on my heel), changing shoes, trying Altra trail shoes instead of my boots, and awaiting leukotape from A,azpm. Medical cloth tape (J & J) has been helping but I have not gotten to the holy grail yet ;) - I've been using moleskin, tape and compeed on blisters (open)...I am sure that the Camino will teach me a lot about my feet.
 

Dutchwalk53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015 with son #1, CF 2016 alone, CF 2017 with son #2 and husband , CF Sept 2018 with daughter
#72
Injinjis and a second wool sock have measurably reduced my blisters, however, I still get them. I'm shy of 5 weeks still I leave and am still trying different methods to prevent huge blisters (36 miles in 3 days and mostly ascents and I got a HUGE half dollar size one on my heel), changing shoes, trying Altra trail shoes instead of my boots, and awaiting leukotape from A,azpm. Medical cloth tape (J & J) has been helping but I have not gotten to the holy grail yet ;) - I've been using moleskin, tape and compeed on blisters (open)...I am sure that the Camino will teach me a lot about my feet.
Ive used leukotape P for 3 camino's and have been blister free. Trick is to take every morning 10 minutes to put it on carefully without wrinkles ( i put 2 strips on heels and tape the outer 2 or 3 toes and tape the ball of my feet) and add during the day if you feel a hot spot coming up right away. Don't wait 10 minutes.......that might be too late . Good luck
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances planned for October 3-mid November (2018)
#73
Ive used leukotape P for 3 camino's and have been blister free. Trick is to take every morning 10 minutes to put it on carefully without wrinkles ( i put 2 strips on heels and tape the outer 2 or 3 toes and tape the ball of my feet) and add during the day if you feel a hot spot coming up right away. Don't wait 10 minutes.......that might be too late . Good luck
Thank you! Do you use it directly on the skin or use the "cover all with the bandage" they send with it? I agree about waiting....when your feet cry out for help - DO NOT make them wait.
 

Dutchwalk53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015 with son #1, CF 2016 alone, CF 2017 with son #2 and husband , CF Sept 2018 with daughter
#74
Thank you! Do you use it directly on the skin or use the "cover all with the bandage" they send with it? I agree about waiting....when your feet cry out for help - DO NOT make them wait.
Directly on feet. Just be careful taking it off. You don't want to tear skin. it's just tape. NOT bandage
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
#79
What is the best way to treat a blister?

Go get a "practice" blister at home and try out your remedy! If you are not getting a blister from practice walks, your walks are probably not long enough.

Don't wait until your are in Roncesvalles to learn how to treat your feet.

Your Camino will be much more enjoyable if you are in good physical condition for hiking.

-Paul
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santa Domingo (2017)
Santa Domingo to Fromista (2018)
#80
What is the best way to treat a blister?

Go get a "practice" blister at home and try out your remedy! If you are not getting a blister from practice walks, your walks are probably not long enough.

Don't wait until your are in Roncesvalles to learn how to treat your feet.

Your Camino will be much more enjoyable if you are in good physical condition for hiking.

-Paul
I like that! “Get a practice blister”, makes perfect sense.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#82
If you are not getting a blister from practice walks, your walks are probably not long enough.
I didn't get blisters on my long practice walks - or on the Camino, because I learned to recognize hot spots and prevent blisters before they happened during those training walks!
 

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