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Men's clothing recommendations

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
I would like some recommendations for light weight base layers for bigger guy 6'1 240, I'm walking end of March so need items that are warm but can be layered.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Chose garments made with merino wool, not polyester or other synthetics. All these are good for keeping you warm if wet from rain or sweat but the wool's odor will be much better in the long run. Merino wool is only described by a small number of people as itchy.

On my October/November camino I brought both a long sleeve on short sleeve t-shirt with me. In the mornings I would wear both (but no other top). I would take off the topmost one as it got warmer. Before leaving I would guess which one I would be wearing in the afternoon and put that on first. When I lost the bet I would have to swap shirts.

Here's a good article about fabrics and body odor (and some related topics):
 

Rick M

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 22)
Sept 21
The odor comment is a good one, however, I must offer an alternative view. I too use merino T-Shirts and a single long sleeve merino as a base layer. These are GREAT as base layers against your skin, and take the brunt of the moisture. The rest are all polyester. A long sleeve heavy thickness shirt, and a zip up hoodie of a decent thickness should be all you need. With the merino long sleeve, a polyester long sleeve, and a hoodie as the insulating layers, I put my rain jacket on and I am good down to -5C or so. This is what I wear when I walk all winter long.

Its not that I don't like merino, I do. I find polyester gives more loft for mid layers, and therefore more warmth per pound. Its also a fraction of the price, and lasts a lot longer as the merino can be a bit fragile.

Buen Camino
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Maybe this will give you an idea of what might work during your time on Camino. Below is a list of my "closet" that I carry in my pack for early spring thru late fall.. In addition to it being used during my Caminos, it is about the same inventory that I used to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail and the Colorado Trail (most of which sits above 9,000 feet / 2743 meters in elevation. And for the thousands of other backpacking miles I have done.
  1. Pants -- Running shorts with liner
  2. Baselayer Top -- Smartwool, Lightweight, Long-Sleeve x 1
  3. Baselayer Bottom - Smartwool, Lightweight
  4. Hat - wool beanie
  5. Windshell Jacket - Patagonia, Houdini
  6. Insulating Layer -- Mountain Hardwear, Ghost Whisperer Vest
  7. Socks -- Smartwool Phd, Crew, Light Padding x 2
  8. Extra insoles x 1
  9. Poncho --- Zpacks, Cuben Fiber / or Frogg Toggs Ultralite Poncho
  10. Gloves -- North Face, polartec
The total weight is around 3.4 pounds.

The clothing that I wear usually consists of running shorts and a long sleeved synthetic and lightweight shirt. All of the clothing can be used in various layering configurations to provide a comfort range from 30 f / -1 C to very hot. This is just an example of how a layering system can be flexible and cover a wide temperature range which is more than sufficient for the time of year you are going over the Pyrenees and Galicia.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
Maybe this will give you an idea of what might work during your time on Camino. Below is a list of my "closet" that I carry in my pack for early spring thru late fall.. In addition to it being used during my Caminos, it is about the same inventory that I used to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail and the Colorado Trail (most of which sits above 9,000 feet / 2743 meters in elevation. And for the thousands of other backpacking miles I have done.
  1. Pants -- Running shorts with liner
  2. Baselayer Top -- Smartwool, Lightweight, Long-Sleeve x 1
  3. Baselayer Bottom - Smartwool, Lightweight
  4. Hat - wool beanie
  5. Windshell Jacket - Patagonia, Houdini
  6. Insulating Layer -- Mountain Hardwear, Ghost Whisperer Vest
  7. Socks -- Smartwool Phd, Crew, Light Padding x 2
  8. Extra insoles x 1
  9. Poncho --- Zpacks, Cuben Fiber / or Frogg Toggs Ultralite Poncho
  10. Gloves -- North Face, polartec
The total weight is around 3.4 pounds.

The clothing that I wear usually consists of running shorts and a long sleeved synthetic and lightweight shirt. All of the clothing can be used in various layering configurations to provide a comfort range from 30 f / -1 C to very hot. This is just an example of how a layering system can be flexible and cover a wide temperature range which is more than sufficient for the time of year you are going over the Pyrenees and Galicia.
I've been debating on whether to bring a poncho. I have a Marmot Rain Jacket as well as a BP rain cover.....
 
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I've been debating on whether to bring a poncho. I have a Marmot Rain Jacket as well as a BP rain cover.....
It’s a very personal decision. I’m ‘poncho curious’, bought one, but have never got around to even trying it where I live. I have a very comfortable set of goretex paclite waterproofs which work for me.

Use what you’re used to, would be my advice. Day one on any Camino is no time to try anything (other than the food) for the first time.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
It’s a very personal decision. I’m ‘poncho curious’, bought one, but have never got around to even trying it where I live. I have a very comfortable set of goretex paclite waterproofs which work for me.

Use what you’re used to, would be my advice. Day one on any Camino is no time to try anything (other than the food) for the first time.
True. Last time we did break down and buy 3euro ponchos at a "Dollar" store in Spain while in Sarria. Worked out pretty good and didn't mind trashing them at the end.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
I've been debating on whether to bring a poncho. I have a Marmot Rain Jacket as well as a BP rain cover.....
I do not argue personal choices, which are a subjective thing. . . what someone likes is not arguable. Some folks like liver and onions, others hate both.

For a lot of years, I used rain jackets and currently own the latest and greatest based on weight and breathability of the waterproof/breathable membrane, and the durability of the water repellency of the outer shell. I have it because I was allowed to keep it after I finished gear testing it for the manufacturer. I did hint that the weeks of wear may have left it with a bit of soiling, and asked if they still wanted it returned. I guess they thought it might have soaked up too much sweat and dirt, neither of which was the case. :)

For the last decade, at least, I have found myself choosing a poncho for wet-weather walking. There are certain usability characteristics that I now prefer with ponchos. So I will point out some things that are objective considerations about the poncho. Again, there is no wrong choice because personal taste and preference is based around a huge number of variables, and every person has unique need and wants..

Ponchos that I would recommend are pretty lightweight. As an example, The Frogg Toggs when it is actually scaled, weighs around the 6 ounce mark. They can be had for $15.00 to $25.00, so that is a HUGE bargain for a highly functional piece of rain protective gear.

If I use my Zpacks poncho, it weighs just a bit more than 3.5 ounces and is tough as nails. I do like the Frogg Toggs a lot, though, and have used it quite a bit.

I find a poncho is more easily deployed. I can pull it out of the side pocket of my backpack and slip it on over my backpack, and I do not even have to stop. I usually do pause for the ten seconds it takes to put on, because I am becoming a bit clumsy :) I do not need to take my backpack off, put on a rain jacket, put the backpack back on.

This alone is a huge factor for me when it rains = as is often the case - off and on while walking. Periodic sprinkles and showers can eat up a lot of time and energy with a rain jacket IF you take it off and put it on as the immediate conditions change. There is no need to fiddle with rain covers on backpacks, and shoulder straps remain dry.

With a poncho, I can respond to conditions within seconds. I can whip off the poncho as soon as the rain has slowed or stopped, and not question "should I wait to see if it starts back up?" This helps to keep sweat condensation way down.

Air circulation and ventilation reduce condensation moisture build up, and this is helped along because of the poncho sitting over the backpack, creating air space between itself and the body.

A poncho can work equally as well, and even more flexibly, as an outer layer. The same quickness to deploy and remove a poncho works well in trying to avoid unexpected wind chill. And if the morning is cool as I start to walk, but I know I will be warm after a short walk, simply putting the poncho on for a few minutes and then whipping it off works well to avoid overheating.

On my poncho, I spend about 15 minutes after I purchase it and add a slight modification with cordage that controls flappiness and billowing during windy, stormy conditions.

On the aesthetics side, rain jackets do have the edge. . . depending on if form is a factor with regard to function.

And ponchos are great multitaskers:
  • A shelter lean-to. A bit of cord and trekking poles make it even more independent in setting up.
  • A sun shelter, it can be rigged up to provide you shade in hot climates.
  • Ground cloth: Under a tent, or a survival shelter, a poncho can protect you from the damp ground. If you are in a cold damp climate, this can help you stay warm.
  • Wind Break: A poncho without a liner will not have much insulation. However, as an outer shell, it can add an additional 10 to 20 degrees of warmth to whatever insulating layer you are wearing. You will stay warmer wearing the poncho in windy weather, helping to protect you from wind chill.
  • Privacy: A great makeshift, emergency privacy screen when needing a Nature Break where a natural coverage of bushes or tall grass is scarce. It also works when needing to change pants or shorts.
  • Sit pad. When taking a break and the ground and benches and flat rocks and logs, etc. are damp.
  • Mattress cover.
  • An emergency backpack or carryall when you do not have a small daypack.
  • A windshell to add a bit of extra warmth to clothing layers. It is great for those cool, early mornings when you need something that can be quickly removed after you have warmed up from walking.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
I do not argue personal choices, which are a subjective thing. . . what someone likes is not arguable. Some folks like liver and onions, others hate both.

For a lot of years, I used rain jackets and currently own the latest and greatest based on weight and breathability of the waterproof/breathable membrane, and the durability of the water repellency of the outer shell. I have it because I was allowed to keep it after I finished gear testing it for the manufacturer. I did hint that the weeks of wear may have left it with a bit of soiling, and asked if they still wanted it returned. I guess they thought it might have soaked up too much sweat and dirt, neither of which was the case. :)

For the last decade, at least, I have found myself choosing a poncho for wet-weather walking. There are certain usability characteristics that I now prefer with ponchos. So I will point out some things that are objective considerations about the poncho. Again, there is no wrong choice because personal taste and preference is based around a huge number of variables, and every person has unique need and wants..

Ponchos that I would recommend are pretty lightweight. As an example, The Frogg Toggs when it is actually scaled, weighs around the 6 ounce mark. They can be had for $15.00 to $25.00, so that is a HUGE bargain for a highly functional piece of rain protective gear.

If I use my Zpacks poncho, it weighs just a bit more than 3.5 ounces and is tough as nails. I do like the Frogg Toggs a lot, though, and have used it quite a bit.

I find a poncho is more easily deployed. I can pull it out of the side pocket of my backpack and slip it on over my backpack, and I do not even have to stop. I usually do pause for the ten seconds it takes to put on, because I am becoming a bit clumsy :) I do not need to take my backpack off, put on a rain jacket, put the backpack back on.

This alone is a huge factor for me when it rains = as is often the case - off and on while walking. Periodic sprinkles and showers can eat up a lot of time and energy with a rain jacket IF you take it off and put it on as the immediate conditions change. There is no need to fiddle with rain covers on backpacks, and shoulder straps remain dry.

With a poncho, I can respond to conditions within seconds. I can whip off the poncho as soon as the rain has slowed or stopped, and not question "should I wait to see if it starts back up?" This helps to keep sweat condensation way down.

Air circulation and ventilation reduce condensation moisture build up, and this is helped along because of the poncho sitting over the backpack, creating air space between itself and the body.

A poncho can work equally as well, and even more flexibly, as an outer layer. The same quickness to deploy and remove a poncho works well in trying to avoid unexpected wind chill. And if the morning is cool as I start to walk, but I know I will be warm after a short walk, simply putting the poncho on for a few minutes and then whipping it off works well to avoid overheating.

On my poncho, I spend about 15 minutes after I purchase it and add a slight modification with cordage that controls flappiness and billowing during windy, stormy conditions.

On the aesthetics side, rain jackets do have the edge. . . depending on if form is a factor with regard to function.

And ponchos are great multitaskers:
  • A shelter lean-to. A bit of cord and trekking poles make it even more independent in setting up.
  • A sun shelter, it can be rigged up to provide you shade in hot climates.
  • Ground cloth: Under a tent, or a survival shelter, a poncho can protect you from the damp ground. If you are in a cold damp climate, this can help you stay warm.
  • Wind Break: A poncho without a liner will not have much insulation. However, as an outer shell, it can add an additional 10 to 20 degrees of warmth to whatever insulating layer you are wearing. You will stay warmer wearing the poncho in windy weather, helping to protect you from wind chill.
  • Privacy: A great makeshift, emergency privacy screen when needing a Nature Break where a natural coverage of bushes or tall grass is scarce. It also works when needing to change pants or shorts.
  • Sit pad. When taking a break and the ground and benches and flat rocks and logs, etc. are damp.
  • Mattress cover.
  • An emergency backpack or carryall when you do not have a small daypack.
  • A windshell to add a bit of extra warmth to clothing layers. It is great for those cool, early mornings when you need something that can be quickly removed after you have warmed up from walking.
Those are some great tips that I hadn't thought of. I do remember when I wore my Marmot Rain Jacket, I made the mistake of wearing a fleece under it and did I get soaked with condensation. Thanks so much
 

JMac56

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF(2015)
CF+Fis(2016)
CP:Porto-SdC-Mux-Fis(2017)
CF:Leon-SdC(2017)
CF+Mux+Fis(2018)
My constant companion Camino base layer is graduated compression gear, i.e. full length tights and long sleeved top. I use Skins brand "Recovery" products. These are slightly lower compression than the regular "sports" ones and are much more comfortable for me. I say "constant" because I wear them nearly all the time - when travelling, walking, even sleeping. (I am 6'3" and around 200lb, and always walk in April/May.) They work brilliantly for me, but obviously not to everyone's taste. I layer up with short sleeved tech T-shirt, lightweight merino wool fleece, and Goretex jacket as required. Also a buff, or cap, and lightweight gloves if it gets really cold. Buen Camino.
 
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CAJohn

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
I walked in Sept/October/November. For bottom layer, I wore jogging tights with light weight soccer style shorts over them. I was comfortable in the heat and the cold. It also protected against sun and bugs.
 
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
I walked in Sept/October/November. For bottom layer, I wore jogging tights with light weight soccer style shorts over them. I was comfortable in the heat and the cold. It also protected against sun and bugs.
A very practical choice - and (probably for a separate thread) - one of the triggers for my ‘guess the nationality of the peregrino’ game. Rucksack brand is another.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Chose garments made with merino wool, not polyester or other synthetics. All these are good for keeping you warm if wet from rain or sweat but the wool's odor will be much better in the long run. Merino wool is only described by a small number of people as itchy.

On my October/November camino I brought both a long sleeve on short sleeve t-shirt with me. In the mornings I would wear both (but no other top). I would take off the topmost one as it got warmer. Before leaving I would guess which one I would be wearing in the afternoon and put that on first. When I lost the bet I would have to swap shirts.

Here's a good article about fabrics and body odor (and some related topics):
The micron factor of the merino is important for both durability and comfort. The micron range for next to skin is quite broad, roughly 16 - 28 micron. It can be a balance between very soft but not that hardwearing (16 micron - feels like cotton wool) to 23-24 micron which is commonly used for underlayers, and 28 which I would use only for outer wear.
Personally I find anything over 25 too scratchy for next to skin, although some people don't mind. If you are buying online, and you have sensitive skin, that is a question to ask the supplier.
The lower the micron, the more likely for it to fall into holes over time and washings - but in the short term it will be very soft and comfortable.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Merino for next to your skin, as you move to outer layers, synthetics, e.g. Goretex is fine but merino is warm even when wet and doesn't smell anywhere near as bad as polyester. If you are worried about cold you can wear a merino singlet as well. I have a very lightweight down jacket that squeezes into a 2 litre drysac, that is very good value for weight, size and warmth (it was a $30 knock-off I bought in Nepal). On the subject of drysacs, much better bet than a pack cover - all that is good for is hi-vis when you are walking along a road in the dark. They keep your stuff dry and your pack well-organised. Buen camino.
 

mikebet

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
I've been debating on whether to bring a poncho. I have a Marmot Rain Jacket as well as a BP rain cover.....
I've never been a poncho guy, but I'm re-evaluating based on our last hike when I donned a Dollar Store throwaway on a rainy morning. My arms got wet (so what?) but the nice thing about a poncho is that it allows air circulation inside. I don't know about you but I tend to sweat quite a bit when exercising, and my styli$h Marmot rain jacket gets as wet inside as outside after a while. Those jackets may allow water vapor to pass through, but I sweat drops, not vapor. One or two of those cheap ponchos will allways be in the pack from now on because they cost nothing, weigh nothing, but can be quite useful.
 
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EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
Merino for next to your skin, as you move to outer layers, synthetics, e.g. Goretex is fine but merino is warm even when wet and doesn't smell anywhere near as bad as polyester. If you are worried about cold you can wear a merino singlet as well. I have a very lightweight down jacket that squeezes into a 2 litre drysac, that is very good value for weight, size and warmth (it was a $30 knock-off I bought in Nepal). On the subject of drysacs, much better bet than a pack cover - all that is good for is hi-vis when you are walking along a road in the dark. They keep your stuff dry and your pack well-organised. Buen camino.
I used a small strobe on my pack. when walking along the camino roads.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
I’m 6ft and roughly 250lbs (depending on the season) I’ve walked the Portuguese in April and started a week from St Jean in late September. from bottom to top I go with…
Goretex trail runners (with thick memory foam insoles in place of the manufacturers)
1000 mile fusion anklet socks (feet taped)
Step one boxer briefs (these are a revelation for the heavier walker)
Forclaz shorts from decathlon (zip off trousers also available)
Short sleeve tech t shirt
Long sleeve 1/4 zip tech shirt for cooler days
Light weight zipper
Paramo velez smock (I’ve worn this walking around Scotland for the last 10yrs I think it’s my comfort blanket now🙄)
Buff
Baseball cap/beanie
Light running gloves for the morning chill

All worn in various combinations to suit the weather

As was said above these are my personal preference from years of tried and failed experience but I found they “currently” work for me 👍
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I've been debating on whether to bring a poncho. I have a Marmot Rain Jacket as well as a BP rain cover.....

I bought a pricey high-end rain jacket for walking on Le Chemin-- then it didn't keep the rain out when I was walking. :( So now whenever I buy rain gear, I try it out in the shower before I head out on the trail. -- To check a tent, I give it a good steady drenching with a hose.
 

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