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Outerwear

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Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
Outerwear is my last remaining dilemma before I start walking on September 7. I expect to finish around October 20. It's the variation in temperatures that's confusing me. I tend to run cold but sweat a lot and will quickly shed layers. I'm taking one short and two long sleeve, ultra lightweight SPF shirts. Here are my choices: ultra lightweight down jacket; ultra lightweight down vest; long sleeve technical fleece with hood; long sleeve pullover fleece, short zipper. I'm willing to take 2 of them if necessary. I know everyone has their own opinion but I'm really torn here! Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
Outerwear is my last remaining dilemma before I start walking on September 7. I expect to finish around October 20. It's the variation in temperatures that's confusing me. I tend to run cold but sweat a lot and will quickly shed layers. I'm taking one short and two long sleeve, ultra lightweight SPF shirts. Here are my choices: ultra lightweight down jacket; ultra lightweight down vest; long sleeve technical fleece with hood; long sleeve pullover fleece, short zipper. I'm willing to take 2 of them if necessary. I know everyone has their own opinion but I'm really torn here! Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

I would take light layers.
I would take the fleece. You'll be peeling it off after 5 minutes.
Down (to me) is overkill, plus won't keep you warm in the rain.
If you have a felted merino sweater, even better -- buy a man's merino sweater at Goodwill (charity shop), and wash it in the machine on hot to shrink/felt it.

Buen Camino!
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF
You could consider a Light- to medium-weight wool shirt and very lightweight rain jacket. This gives you an insulation layer and if it rains or is very windy you can pop the jacket on for dryness and warmth. Even in the winter months I rarely needed a down layer so aside from maybe first thing in the mornings at higher altitudes you probably won't use a down jacket all that much.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Outerwear is my last remaining dilemma before I start walking on September 7. I expect to finish around October 20. It's the variation in temperatures that's confusing me. I tend to run cold but sweat a lot and will quickly shed layers. I'm taking one short and two long sleeve, ultra lightweight SPF shirts. Here are my choices: ultra lightweight down jacket; ultra lightweight down vest; long sleeve technical fleece with hood; long sleeve pullover fleece, short zipper. I'm willing to take 2 of them if necessary. I know everyone has their own opinion but I'm really torn here! Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
Maybe this will give you an idea of what will work during your time on Camino. Below is a list of my "closet" that I carry in my pack. Besides it being used during the early to late Fall on the Camino last year, it is about the same as what 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 -- REI, Classic Sahara Convertible, Zip-Off Legs
  2. Baselayer Top -- Smartwool 150 long sleeve OR Patagonia Capiline, lightweight long sleeve
  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 Frogg Toggs Ultralite
  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 25F 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.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Here are my choices:
  • ultra lightweight down jacket;
  • ultra lightweight down vest;
  • long sleeve technical fleece with hood;
  • long sleeve pullover fleece, short zipper.
Your title says "Outer wear" but I'm not sure that your choices correspond well. I love my down vest and always take it for evenings and chilly nights. I have never worn it walking, even though I like to dress warmly.

I understand from your post that you are looking for something in addition to your "one short and two long sleeve" shirts. My recommendation would depend very much on your rain wear. Combining a rain jacket with any light layer or two (such as your ) will be warm enough for the chilliest walking days. However, if you are planning a poncho for rain, you might want a different choice for clear cold days. Then it gets to personal preference - the hood might be annoying and less versatile than a separate buff or hat; the pullover doesn't have as good temperature control because it can't be fully zipped and unzipped.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I prefer short sleeve base layers, a light weight second layer with a full zip or button front and something like a very very lightweight fleece - also full zip. Usually those two layers are enough, but if not I also have a 3 ounce windbreaker that can go over all the layers.
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
Your title says "Outer wear" but I'm not sure that your choices correspond well. I love my down vest and always take it for evenings and chilly nights. I have never worn it walking, even though I like to dress warmly.

I understand from your post that you are looking for something in addition to your "one short and two long sleeve" shirts. My recommendation would depend very much on your rain wear. Combining a rain jacket with any light layer or two (such as your ) will be warm enough for the chilliest walking days. However, if you are planning a poncho for rain, you might want a different choice for clear cold days. Then it gets to personal preference - the hood might be annoying and less versatile than a separate buff or hat; the pullover doesn't have as good temperature control because it can't be fully zipped and unzipped.
Thanks, and let me clarify. I'm going by the terms used in the book, "Walk Far Carry Less" and I should have said "insulating layer" rather than outerwear. I have: baselayer: Patagonia long underwear. Mid layer: 1 pair REI convertible Sahara pants, 1 pair yoga pants, 3 pairs socks, 2 lightweight long sleeve (SPF 50+) and 1 lightweight short sleeve shirt (Patagonia capilene). I have a hooded, vented North Face rain jacket, a sun hat, and a fleece beanie. It's the insulating layer I'm having trouble with.
I appreciate your comments!
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
Maybe this will give you an idea of what will work during your time on Camino. Below is a list of my "closet" that I carry in my pack. Besides it being used during the early to late Fall on the Camino last year, it is about the same as what 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 -- REI, Classic Sahara Convertible, Zip-Off Legs
  2. Baselayer Top -- Smartwool 150 long sleeve OR Patagonia Capiline, lightweight long sleeve
  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 Frogg Toggs Ultralite
  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 25F 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.
Helpful as always, Davebugg!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I feel the cold, even the cool of the evening. Beta-Blockers and blood thinners add to my bodies inabilities to cope with warm humidity while walking or cool breezes while relaxing in the evening on a terraza or even in some of those old stone buildings where the heating won't get sparked up 'till November.

I would take a down jacket at that time of year. Not for hiking in; I'd probably hike in shorts and a light short-sleeve shirt but I'd want that down jacket handy for whenever I came to rest and I started to cool down. I'd definitely want it for sitting out after the sun has gone down and the mountain breezes are slipping down & across the lowlands. I underlined "I would" because I was talking about me at a certain age with certain health conditions and a certain tolerance to ambient temperature and my own personal comfort levels.

I know nothing about the OP's needs, circumstance or tolerances so I cannot directly answer their question. I guess I could ask @Evvie what they would wear sat out in the wilds where they come from on a night in October & suggest they adjust for climate variance.
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
I feel the cold, even the cool of the evening. Beta-Blockers and blood thinners add to my bodies inabilities to cope with warm humidity while walking or cool breezes while relaxing in the evening on a terraza or even in some of those old stone buildings where the heating won't get sparked up 'till November.

I would take a down jacket at that time of year. Not for hiking in; I'd probably hike in shorts and a light short-sleeve shirt but I'd want that down jacket handy for whenever I came to rest and I started to cool down. I'd definitely want it for sitting out after the sun has gone down and the mountain breezes are slipping down & across the lowlands. I underlined "I would" because I was talking about me at a certain age with certain health conditions and a certain tolerance to ambient temperature and my own personal comfort levels.

I know nothing about the OP's needs, circumstance or tolerances so I cannot directly answer their question. I guess I could ask @Evvie what they would wear sat out in the wilds where they come from on a night in October & suggest they adjust for climate variance.
I would wear a down jacket, for sure! I wouldn't need it during the daytime because I sweat a lot but once I sat down and cooled off a bit I'd definitely want to bundle up! I also am of a certain age so I really appreciate your comments.
 

rorerich

CaminoLifer
Camino(s) past & future
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, (2019)
I agree that a (very) lightweight rain jacket* can be an essential layer. Besides shedding rain, it works as a wind break and will warm you when worn over a shirt or fleece. Pick whatever other layer(s) you prefer. Merino tops are my favorite.

A good thing to do when trying to decide: Imagine if/how an item will be useful for various situations. The more useful items are worth bringing.

*My Columbia (I think Arcadia II) weighs almost nothing, is reasonably priced, and has served me very well.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Thanks, and let me clarify. I'm going by the terms used in the book, "Walk Far Carry Less" and I should have said "insulating layer" rather than outerwear. I have: baselayer: Patagonia long underwear. Mid layer: 1 pair REI convertible Sahara pants, 1 pair yoga pants, 3 pairs socks, 2 lightweight long sleeve (SPF 50+) and 1 lightweight short sleeve shirt (Patagonia capilene). I have a hooded, vented North Face rain jacket, a sun hat, and a fleece beanie. It's the insulating layer I'm having trouble with.
I appreciate your comments!
The primary task of the insulating layer fro the upper body is to conserve the heat from the body's core. That is why a down vest works so well. Combined with the long sleeves of baselayer shirt, it provides adequate warmth for evening temps during Fall. Add the rain jacket or wind shell on top of that, and you increase efficiency by 20 degrees F.

Plus you have a second long sleeved shirt to add as an additional layer if you still need increased thermal efficiency with insulation. I would forgo taking the short sleeve shirt. . need a short sleeve shirt, roll up the long sleeves :)

Over the last five years, most down insulation has been treated with a hydrophobic conditioner. It doesn't affect the down one bit, or add weight. What it does is to keep the down from being saturated with water and loosing its insulative capacity. So the old concern about down as insulation and water no longer is of much concern. :)

As to issues of cool weather, clothing, and overheating while hiking/walking, below is a re-post of a guide that I had previously posted.

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

Layering is a biggie in cool and cold weather, as is controlling exertion levels to minimize perspiration.

An important principle is: You never dress with the amount of clothing needed to keep you warm at the start of walking or hiking... you wear the amount of clothing needed to keep you warm 10 minutes after you start walking.

In cold weather, or even cool weather, one needs to do what is necessary to prevent overheating and sweat. That includes how fast a pace one is moving as part of one's total level of exertion, as well as how much clothing one is wearing, and how much air circulation one is able to maintain.

It does not take long, with any layering amount, to saturate clothing with sweat. THAT is when the danger of hypothermia, and at the very least a chilly discomfort will begin to take its toll. If saturation or wetness happens, the only recourse is to change into dry clothing. Since there is usually a limited amount of clothing carried in a backpack, it is essential to adopt strategies to control sweating. Keep in mind that the material of your layers will also determine the effect to you from the above scenario. Focus on clothing made from merino wool or specialized synthetics. These will allow the garment to remain somewhat insulative even though saturated with sweat. Cottons and cotton blends are a menace and can accelerate a hypothermic condition.

Strategies include those mentioned above:
  • Limit layers of clothing to only that which is needed when full exertion is achieved. :) For those who just can't suck it up for a few minutes when first starting to walk, wear only layers which can be quickly and easily removed. For instance, adding a poncho will add about a 15 degree F advantage to existing layers. It allows for good air circulation. As you warm up during the first 10 minutes of your walk, the poncho is easily removed and stashed into a side pocket of your pack.
  • Move as slow as you need to, within reason, to keep perspiration to a minimum. This may also mean stopping to allow your body to cool down. Even with a single, lightweight layer, some folks walking under load will tend to over-heat. Keep monitoring yourself.
  • Keep an insulative layer, like a puffy down jacket or vest, near at hand so that if you are wetting-out while walking, you can put it on quickly when you stop for a break. Keep it in an outside pocket or on top of the other contents in your pack. A light puffy jacket or mid-weight fleece or a down vest works well here. The key is to keep this layer dry and to use it as a last resort when at rest. If this strategy is needed, do not continue walking until you have been able to stop sweating and you can achieve some level of dryness to your clothes.
In the above scenario, you may actually become warmer by removing your saturated layers so that you only have on your dry insulative layer. Dig out a towel and dry off excess sweat as best you can. Wring out your other layers and let them start to dry. If you have a second shirt, put it on. Hang your wet things from your pack so that they can dry. After you have cooled down, and with your dry layer and your insulative layer on, walk slowly to avoid re-heating. You will make progress down the path, stay warm, while letting your wet layers become dry. The real goal at this point is to dry your layers, not achieve distance.
  • Do not discount the amount of added warmth a light scarf or bandanna or a buff will bring as it insulates your neck. Wearing one can make wearing less layers very comfortable. It will also be a good first line of defense against over-heating and excess sweating by the ability to remove it, thus allowing the neck to act as a radiator in helping to shed body heat.
  • Yes, the type of head gear worn makes a big difference in one's body's heat loss or retention. A hat that works well for sun is not going to be the best choice for cold weather. Wool is king, as it is far less impacted by sweat affecting its inuslative properties than most other materials. And even though wool weighs more than other types of insulation, you do not need a heavy cap of wool to keep you warm. Wool is also far more breathable than many materials which aids in heat control.
As with neck wear, a wool cap can be easily removed to assist with cooling the body to prevent overheating.

Much of the above is what I have used when mountain climbing at high altitudes. Patience and light, multiple layers is the key to preventing hypothermia when being active outdoors.
 

Helen Aussie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Camino de Saint Jacques 2018
I have had many skin cancers so took two long sleeved shirts and two pairs long pants wearing one set at a time. I also had long tights, one cotton t-shirt and one polar fleece no sleeve vest and one pair of light weight shorts plus one not expensive raincoat plus a sleeping sheet. I get cold usually but was perfectly fine with this. I also had a hat and normal, foldable umbrella. There are shops along the way to buy extra if you need them
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
I have had many skin cancers so took two long sleeved shirts and two pairs long pants wearing one set at a time. I also had long tights, one cotton t-shirt and one polar fleece no sleeve vest and one pair of light weight shorts plus one not expensive raincoat plus a sleeping sheet. I get cold usually but was perfectly fine with this. I also had a hat and normal, foldable umbrella. There are shops along the way to buy extra if you need them
I've had skin cancers too and that's the reason I'm taking the long sleeved shirts (they're SPF 50). My REI pants can zip off to shorts. I'm also taking a pair of sun gloves.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
I wore long sleeve light weight wool shirts every day, September through the beginning of October, even on the Meseta. In the morning I added a short sleeved wool shirt over the long sleeve and an older nano puff jacket. The nano is a great light weight compactable jacket that works great in temperature from 40-65 degrees F. It was a great evening addition also. It can get wet and still keep you warm. Dries quickly. The older versions have a better fabric than the newer ones.
I thought about a vest, but decided on the nano as I tend to get cool on my arms and wanted only one item.
 

Calvin & Hobbes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
I walked the same time as you, but in 2016. Lots of good advice here. I agree with the layering. Even on the cooler days I would start out with a couple of layers and be down to shorts and short sleeves later in the day. I wore a tech shirt and pullover fleece under a windbreaker shell on the colder days. My one suggestion is to use a FULL zipper fleece instead of a pullover fleece. Many times I wished I could open the fleece before completely removing it. I had no real need for a jacket except for maybe one day - maybe I was lucky. Of course, walking kept me warmer than standing. And all "tech" clothing. I made a mistake with my long sleeve shirt which was cotton - never again.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
Sounds like you're just looking for advice on which jacket to take. My two cents, after walking last October and this May, this October I'm going with a lightweight down hoodie. Neither fleece (October) nor Smartwool (May) was windproof enough, leaving me cold. I had a down vest that I wore almost every day in May, & found myself wishing it had long sleeves and a hood on more than one occasion.
 
Last edited:

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Maybe this will give you an idea of what will work during your time on Camino. Below is a list of my "closet" that I carry in my pack. Besides it being used during the early to late Fall on the Camino last year, it is about the same as what 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 -- REI, Classic Sahara Convertible, Zip-Off Legs
  2. Baselayer Top -- Smartwool 150 long sleeve OR Patagonia Capiline, lightweight long sleeve
  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 Frogg Toggs Ultralite
  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 25F 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.
Dave, I love Patagonia Capeline base layer crew shirts!! They are not in the economy category. However, I use the semi see though at home when it’s hot in the summer as my only layer. Mine are white and reflect the sun, protecting me from the rays. I can wear them outside on walks well into the 70s. Well worth the money.
 
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