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My notes for the Frances

Colin Decker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2017)
I started on August 27th and walked until October 4th. Started from St. Jean. The first week was hot, but then it cooled off. Zip off pants were definitely a plus. Shorts not so much. Mornings started at 8 - 10 degrees C. and then got up to 20 - 25 degrees in the afternoons. I only had two days with sprinkles so rain gear pretty much stayed in my bag. I brought a heavy North Face raincoat, but could have gotten by with a light windbreaker. I brought an umbrella, but I only used it once. A sleeping bag was unnecessary, a light sleep sack would have done fine. All albergues had blankets. I brought a plugin heater for coffee, only used it once. The REI day first aid kit was pretty much useless. So in summary August - October was pretty cool, dry and ideal walking weather. I could have cut 5 - 10 lbs from my pack by cutting rain gear and the sleeping bag. I had a fleece vest, but some mornings sleeves would have been great. Shoes and sandles a size and half larger and double socks prevented blisters. no glide or Vaseline. Trekking sticks were a definite help, particularly on up hills and downhills. Look at pensions and Casa Rual's for rooms as well. There are some room deals out there. Wise Pilgrim, hostelworld and booking.com help. Also I saw several camel backs leak so a couple 500 ml bottles of water work just fine. and don't soak your clothes. Aquarius and bananas are your daily prevention against foot and leg cramps.
 
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Waka

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Some but not all, and other routes too.
Congratulations. It's always good to asses what you didn't use on the camino, certainly makes the pack lighter for the next one. Although you didn't need the rain gear I think it's always a good thing to take it with you, you never know with the weather, for me it's worth there extra ½ kilo even if it's not used.
 

Julia Mumford

Adventure Geek
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Camino Ingles (2018)
Great post, thank you. We often hear of what people are taking on the Camino, but it’s good to hear of the things you didn’t use.

I’ve just purchased a heater to make coffee as I’m a real grump until I’ve had my first cup. But if you only used yours once then perhaps it’s something I can do without.

Cheers
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I am vindicated! Thank you Colin...

My oft-repeated advice about shoe sizing, double socks, poles, water bottles and hydration salt replacement apparently work for others...yippee!

For all other things, like clothing or gear that worked or did not, this can only be determined individually, based on your experience and the local conditions at the time you walked. It has taken me five Caminos and as many years to get to my minimum tolerable and useful gear load.

Here in the forum, I always sign off with "I hope this helps..." In this case, I guess it did.

I cannot claim sole credit. Many others share the same experiences as me here in the forum. But, the combination of suggestions may be uniquely mine.

In any event, I am very glad is worked for at least one other pilgrim.
 
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2019
I started on August 27th and walked until October 4th. Started from St. Jean. The first week was hot, but then it cooled off. Zip off pants were definitely a plus. Shorts not so much. Mornings started at 8 - 10 degrees C. and then got up to 20 - 25 degrees in the afternoons. I only had two days with sprinkles so rain gear pretty much stayed in my bag. I brought a heavy North Face raincoat, but could have gotten by with a light windbreaker. I brought an umbrella, but I only used it once. A sleeping bag was unnecessary, a light sleep sack would have done fine. All albergues had blankets. I brought a plugin heater for coffee, only used it once. The REI day first aid kit was pretty much useless. So in summary August - October was pretty cool, dry and ideal walking weather. I could have cut 5 - 10 lbs from my pack by cutting rain gear and the sleeping bag. I had a fleece vest, but some mornings sleeves would have been great. Shoes and sandles a size and half larger and double socks prevented blisters. no glide or Vaseline. Trekking sticks were a definite help, particularly on up hills and downhills. Look at pensions and Casa Rual's for rooms as well. There are some room deals out there. Wise Pilgrim, hostelworld and booking.com help. Also I saw several camel backs leak so a couple 500 ml bottles of water work just fine. and don't soak your clothes. Aquarius and bananas are your daily prevention against foot and leg cramps.
Great post. Great heads up. Absolutely love the no-nonsense get to the point delivery. As good as it gets. Thank you Colin for this pearl of information.
 

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