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Patagonia better sweater or down jacket?

NurseNancy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2018
I’m walking CF Sept 19-Oct 25. I have the better sweater, very warm but bulky to pack. Should I buy a down jacket to use instead?

Thank you!
Nancy
 
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D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Hi, Nancy. . .

Let me offer up a third option, which is what I use for a thermal layer when backpacking and on Camino during fall. A down vest. This is an example of a dynamite value for a good quality vest. Vests like this are half the weight of the Better Sweater, and far more compressible to take up a lot less space.

For the purposes of providing an example, this is what is in the "clothes closet" in my backpack.
  1. Pants -- REI, Classic Sahara Convertible, Zip-Off Legs
  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
  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.
 

NurseNancy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2018
Thank you. I had thought about a vest but am afraid my arms might get cold. I see you have a zpack poncho, do you us a zpack pack?
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Thank you. I had thought about a vest but am afraid my arms might get cold. I see you have a zpack poncho, do you us a zpack pack?

All of the shirts or baselayer tops are long sleeved. In hot weather, long sleeves keep me cooler by not allowing the sun's radiation to have direct contact with skin. Short sleeves actually make one hotter as the sun's energy directly heats the skin and works that heat through the upper layers.

The long sleeves will dramatically increase thermal warmth in cool or cold weather. Since I have two long sleeve shirts (one in the pack and the one I wear), I can add the second which really ramps up the insulating factor. Add a vest and the comfort range is pretty significant. Add a wind shell or rain jacket on top of that, and it is surprising just how warm you will stay at low temperatures.

No, I don't use Zpacks packs, but I have other pieces of gear from them. I was hired by them to do a gear test of their ArcFlex, and While it was OK, I never could get used to it. My current pack is the Gossamer Gear Mariposa. I've used it on part of my PCT thru-hike, on my Colorado Trail thru-hike, and on last fall's Camino. It will come with me again during this September/October Camino. And unlike the ArcFlex, the Mariposa meets all standards for use as a carry-on for flying. :)
 

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
Hi, Nancy. . .

Let me offer up a third option, which is what I use for a thermal layer when backpacking and on Camino during fall. A down vest. This is an example of a dynamite value for a good quality vest. Vests like this are half the weight of the Better Sweater, and far more compressible to take up a lot less space.

For the purposes of providing an example, this is what is in the "clothes closet" in my backpack.
  1. Pants -- REI, Classic Sahara Convertible, Zip-Off Legs
  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
  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.
Hi Dave

It's really useful to see this clothing list and the other items that form your layering system. 25F to 'very hot' is quite a climatic range.
 
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NurseNancy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2018
I have a long sleeve base layer and a Columbia Pfc long sleeve. I’ll try layering them together to check for bulk. Thanks for the advice.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Hi Dave

It's really useful to see this clothing list and the other items that form your layering system. 25F to 'very hot' is quite a climatic range.

And the fascinating thing about it is, I had some qualms when I first started evaluating this list in real world conditions. But the principles behind it held up.

It started in Campo, at the Cali/Mexi border to the Canadian border, and during the frost of a middle autumn in the Rockies above 11,000 ft.

Alos, keep in mind that you are actively walking on Camino while outside, for the most part. You are not camping outside, although I do while using this same list. So that provides a large buffer or margin against when you would be needing the most warmth. And the Season you are walking is still moderate temperature wise. Bottom line: If you were to wear all of the layers during late September thru October while walking outside, you would be soaked with perspiration. :)

Starting at a 68F base temperature, each shirt layer either adds or subtracts from 10F to 15F of warmth. The windshell adds about a 15F increase to the warmth. The vest adds up to 15-30F. To that, an individual may either normally be more or less comfortable at a given colder temperature.

So, for me, that "clothes closet" keeps me comfortable at a lower than stated temperature when not active. For others, it will be effective at about the stated temp. And for others, it will keep them warm about 5-10F above the stated low end of the range.

And of course, the fewer layers the cooler one stays. :)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
All of the shirts or baselayer tops are long sleeved. In hot weather, long sleeves keep me cooler by not allowing the sun's radiation to have direct contact with skin. Short sleeves actually make one hotter as the sun's energy directly heats the skin and works that heat through the upper layers.

The long sleeves will dramatically increase thermal warmth in cool or cold weather. Since I have two long sleeve shirts (one in the pack and the one I wear), I can add the second which really ramps up the insulating factor. Add a vest and the comfort range is pretty significant. Add a wind shell or rain jacket on top of that, and it is surprising just how warm you will stay at low temperatures.

No, I don't use Zpacks packs, but I have other pieces of gear from them. I was hired by them to do a gear test of their ArcFlex, and While it was OK, I never could get used to it. My current pack is the Gossamer Gear Mariposa. I've used it on part of my PCT thru-hike, on my Colorado Trail thru-hike, and on last fall's Camino. It will come with me again during this September/October Camino. And unlike the ArcFlex, the Mariposa meets all standards for use as a carry-on for flying. :)


Hey Dave, I have never used a vest before, but your recommendation, and the sale price convinced me to buy two of the those vests you linked. At 49 bucks each..and no shipping charge seems like a good deal? Will let you know! Thanks!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Hey Dave, I have never used a vest before, but your recommendation, and the sale price convinced me to buy two of the those vests you linked. At 49 bucks each..and no shipping charge seems like a good deal? Will let you know! Thanks!

Please do let me know what you think. My Ghost Whisperer vest is lighter and works great, but it is more expensive; and that vest looked like a great deal, plus the stated fill of the down should make it just as warm.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Please do let me know what you think. My Ghost Whisperer vest is lighter and works great, but it is more expensive; and that vest looked like a great deal, plus the stated fill of the down should make it just as warm.
As soon as we get a cool enough day here on the East Coast
We will try them out. May not happen before we leave so We may have to baptize them when going up the Napoleon route.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I’m walking CF Sept 19-Oct 25. I have the better sweater, very warm but bulky to pack. Should I buy a down jacket to use instead?

Thank you!
Nancy
I took my Patagonia lightweight puffer jacket and it was great. I get cold on planes, so I used it there, but actually only wore it a couple of days on my September Camino. It was mainly hot, but a couple of very cold days snuck in there, and I was glad it had sleeves.
The down jacket was great because it cut the biting wind, and was showerproof. I had a thin fleece under.
I am always surprised by the sudden temperature changes in Spain, as I live on an island nation where temperatures don't tend to fluctuate to the same extreme between one day and the next.
The day we walked into Leon it was in the 30's, in a couple of hours it dropped to 8 degrees, and I wore every thing I had for a day, then it was hot again.
I experienced the same in Burgos.
.
 
Last edited:

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
We walked in the Frances in winter. I had smart wool T shirt and 1 long sleeve smart wool base layer and a light Patagonia full zip fleece and my rain jacket. By layering as needed I was very comfortable. The coldest I got was in a couple of Albergues. I do own a down vest that I took and never did wear while walking, but in town in the evenings
 

NurseNancy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2018
Thank you all so much. I think it will come Down to weight/bulk . I already have the fleece and to buy a vest or jacket is money that could be spent on vino tinto!
 

amocatnerak

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances April 2018, Frances October 2019
It was cold and wet this past April so this is how I managed: layers! I walked in a long-sleeved “tech” shirt and depending on the temp and/or precipitation I layered on a lightweight fleece and my rain jacket. I brought my down puffy, but it stayed in my pack during the day and only came out after my daily shower. Some of the albergues were so cold that I ended up sleeping in the puffy jacket!

Oh, and I used the layering for my bottom half too. I walked in long pants (tech fabric), and depending on temp and/or precipitation I would add my base-layer wool leggings and rain paints.
 
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Raz

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Gathering info for a future trip
Now I am second guessing what I planned to take. I am starting the Camino Frances a week later than NurseNancy and plan to be walking until the end of October.
I have Icebreaker merino wool layering:
2 merino t-shirts
1 merino base layer
1 merino medium-weight mid layer hoodie
Windproof, waterproof, breathable rain jacket
convertible hiking pants
hiking skirt
leggings (havn't decided their warmth but have a Columbia titanium pair)
wool hat, mitts

I have contemplated whether I should be bringing a down mid-layer instead of the merino mid layer hoodie.
Should I be switching this out? I don't have one, so would have to make the purchase.
I am also contemplating re the use of a poncho which I think would certainly come in handy if there were much rain but I also hate the idea of both a poncho and a rainjacket.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
What temperature do you consider cold enough to need a down jacket? Or even to wear a fleece jacket at all? Answer that question and look at the average temperatures along your route for Sept and Oct.
 

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
I’m walking CF Sept 19-Oct 25. I have the better sweater, very warm but bulky to pack. Should I buy a down jacket to use instead?

Thank you!
Nancy
I'm walking the CF starting on Sept 22 from SJPP. I estimate that I'll finish at the end of October. I too have been thinking long and hard about what clothing to bring along that would cope with a possibly wide range of weather conditions. And all the time being aware of the critical importance of keeping down the weight of the pack. Good Fun, eh? I've been influenced very much by Dave Bugg's clothing list that he posted earlier on the thread. I've never ever taking a down filled garment with me - but I have just ordered one of the Ghost Whisperer Vests. When it arrives I'll check it out against the J Wolfskin Gecko fleece that I had intended to take. I will only be taking one of them.
 

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