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Last minute decisons - fleece or puffer?

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I like to have a windproof jacket with light insulation (that i can wear most of the times) and combine it with a light fleece underneath (when it gets colder).
You can look at the weather forecast about 3 days prior to setting out and decide how much gear you want to take. But the weather can be completely different a week later, so you might need to purchase something along the way (or mail/trash/gift some stuff not needed)
 
I have agonized about this too. The extra weight is not helpful. I did the Frances from León to Santiago last month and decided to take a light puffy and use my rain jacket as a windbreaker too. It worked very well. Some mornings I had all my t-shirts on under my puffy and took off layers as the day warmed up.
 
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I walked the CF starting in April - a light waterproof Rain jacket as my outer and a fleece vest underneath worked best for me coupled with a long-sleeved shirt. Of course, I also had warm, water-resistant gloves and very warm wool hat helped me in all of the weather variables from the Pyranees through O Cebriero!
Buen Camino!!!
 
I’m on my 8th day now. There is a temperature drop to 2 degrees in the morning.
I use three layers - shirt, softshell plus windbreaker - to start hiking just before dusk. I’m not cold, and today is the first day that I didn’t put anything off, ending with 12 degrees in the sun. This was the coldest day, so far. Other days I started only with two layers and dropped one at 10.
But there hasn’t been rain while hiking, and I’m not you.
The next days while be far warmer. It’s going up and down.
Plus the first day will be higher in the Pyrenees, which means a couple of degrees lower.
 
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Which stays warmer when wet? Which dries faster? Which can be used for more than an insulating layer?(pillow/back support on plane etc) which weighs more? Which protects more from wind? Which looks sexier at 3am walking? LOL - its all about safety/security and your preferences- and dont forget your journey before and after actually walking.
 
I am always uncertain when someone refers to a "fleece jacket" because fleece jackets come in different weights and constructions, and people have different preferences for when they wear what. So I would ask the question (like @anoldfireman): how would you expect to use the fleece and puffer differently.

If they have different functions/features, those must be considered. If you are wearing it only in evenings and night, then the puffer might be better. If you like to wear it as a regular walking jacket in variable weather, then maybe the fleece would be better. If they serve the same purpose, then weight or bulk would be the deciding factor.
 
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Fleece definitely. Fleece retains 35% of thermal ability when utterly soaking, wool does 50%, down jacket does ZERO.
A synthetic puffa keeps more heat than down when sodden.
 
I'm on the CF right now (also from Aus). I walked Pamplona to Puente La Reina today and it was very cold, about 8-10C max. I was very comfortable wearing a long sleeve merino, lightweight fleece (for comparison, RAB Nexus jacket) and my rain jacket. I also went through the puffy/fleece decision, so I do understand. I was very happy with my packing decisions when it mattered today. Hope this heps and buen camino.
 
First Camino and walking with my wife. Decision time. Fleece and Puffer. I think one only but weather looks changeable at the moment. Trying to keep under 7kgs! Looking forward to a experience of a lifetime. Flying on from AUS.
Last minute decisions.
Rob
I used to carry a fleece and a very light rain shell. I recently switched the fleece to a light puffer and was happy with the change.
 
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I used to always bring a microfleece (no zips/pockets) and used it as a layer under the Rain jacket, this time I'm bringing a very light Puffer, I will wear it travelling, it has a zip for ventilation and works as a very cosy pillow or back support on planes and buses. Also it has a hood which can go over my sunhat on a windy day and protect my face more. (very high winds on Portugese Coastal, very much rain on the Norte, heat wave on the CF (it varies).
 
When I did the Norte in mid-April through late May last year, I brought both a lightweight fleece and a lightweight puffer vest. A few times I used both at the same time; others I chose one or the other. It gave me options, including the ability to wear both on colder days. I'd probably do it the same way again.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Is the Puffer Down or Synthetic?
I have used both before, each on different Caminos. I don't really have a preference, except I do worry a bit more about the down jacket as I got caught unexpectedly in some rain once before I could get my rain gear on.

I have often also brought a quarter zip lightweight fleece as my long sleeve item in early spring under the puffy with a performance t-shirt. I didn't wash the fleece often as it took quite a while to dry, but I liked its cozy feel and often wore it to bed in the albergues. I can't wear merino that some prefer.
 
First Camino and walking with my wife. Decision time. Fleece and Puffer. I think one only but weather looks changeable at the moment. Trying to keep under 7kgs! Looking forward to a experience of a lifetime. Flying on from AUS.
Last minute decisions.
Rob
I just took a fleece pullover and with my rain jacket I was warm enough. I bought a light weight puffer jacket but decided to leave it at home. Was contemplating taking it this year because i'am leaving a week earlier on May 12 but probably won't. Even then I only used my fleece a couple times and that was in May. Don't think I used it at all in June. I walked May 18 to June 28.
 
I prefer a fleece because it’s cozier for lounging around in the afternoon/evening and if I have to sleep in it. Also water just kind of wicks off it, puffer absorbs the water.
 
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I carry a mid-weight fleece, and if I need any more I use my rain jacket. There have been one or two times where it was particularly cold in the morning, and I added a layer to my normal base/middle/fleece before I left the albergue. I did not want to have to contemplate where to find a place to strip the rain jacket and top layer so I could add one more base or mid-layer garment when I was already walking.
 
I am bringing my layers consisting of 1) ultralight rain jacket, 2) ultralight down puffy, and 3) ultralight fleece. This way I can mix and match depending on the conditions. The fleece is the Alpha Direct 60 weight from Senchi Designs.
 
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Choose one. I would pick whichever is lightest.
Notwithstanding your admiral tack record on this forum for excellent contributions, I think there can be more nuance to this choice. Minimal weight is better considered against function in all its parameters, and in addition even aesthetics if that is important.

When I went down the rabbit hole of "lightest" my pack reduced from 8 kg first time to 5.9 kg on a Portuguese. That did not work for me and I am very comfortable now doing long Caminos with over 8kg (with balance pockets on the front for the usual reasons) to get the best function, and my aesthetics fortunately have no weight penalty.
 
Notwithstanding your admiral tack record on this forum for excellent contributions, I think there can be more nuance to this choice. Minimal weight is better considered against function in all its parameters, and in addition even aesthetics if that is important.
Sure, my answer was rather simplistic. To expand - if I am deciding between two items and they both perform their function to my satisfaction, and I would be happy with either one of them, then I will choose the lighter weight item.
 
I prefer a fleece because it’s cozier for lounging around in the afternoon/evening and if I have to sleep in it. Also water just kind of wicks off it, puffer absorbs the water.
I usually wore my fleece pullover under rain jacket if i'am cold in the morning when walking but yes it is nice and cozy if your cold when trying to sleep.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Marmot fleece jacket most of the time when chilled, lightweight (no lining/insulation) Outdoor Research rain jacket with hood for rain and/or wind. Combine both with a merino long sleeved base layer on colder days.

I did the CF in Sep/Oct 2021 and it was close to Zero C several mornings on the meseta starting in Burgos in early October. I layered both on those mornings, but typically was able to shed one layer after the first couple of hours as temperatures rose. I also wore the fleece on cooler evenings - more than anything else, my arms get chilled!

My L.L. Bean 850 weight down puffy is very light weight, warm, and compresses into a built-in stuff sack, but is not waterproof. Also the shell is easily snagged/torn, so it stayed home during my caminos.

If I were expecting colder temperatures, I would invest in a waterproof jacket/parka with some insulation and probably still bring a fleece to use as either a mid-layer or outer layer on milder days.
 
I am siding with the “fleece under light rain jacket” lot. I started out with fleece and light puffer, and quickly found out that the puffer tended to absorbe water and get all soggy, whereas the fleece wicked the moisture out and kept me feeling dry.
On the coldest, rainiest days I faced, I ended up wearing fleece, rain-windbreaker jacket, and a poncho on top of all. That kept me nicely dry, and as soon as the walking got intense, it was warm enough that I ended up unzipping both fleece and windbreaker.
 
First Camino and walking with my wife. Decision time. Fleece and Puffer. I think one only but weather looks changeable at the moment. Trying to keep under 7kgs! Looking forward to a experience of a lifetime. Flying on from AUS.
Last minute decisions.
Rob
Presumably you have raingear, so answer is lightweight (8-10 ounces) down puffer. Much more warmth per ounce. If it is so hot you sweat, just wear the shirt that you presumably have. I have walked many spring and fall Caminos with this arrangement. Puffer comes in very handy in unheated albergues with no blankets, and on the early cool mornings in April/May where I have seen temps of 36 degrees F--it can get colder. Got mine from Uniqlo on sale for $35.00 in 2019. My baseweight is under 4 kg.
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.

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