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2019 Camino Guides

Pepper spray in Léon?

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sitareh19

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
09/2018 - Camino Frances (Leon to Santiago)
#1
Hello all,
I am going on my first camino on Wednesday, starting from Léon. Since I am a solo female traveler, I wish to carry a pepper spray - not out of fear but for "just in case" scenario and ease of mind. However, I am not sure where I can purchase it in Léon... Would anyone know? Unfortunately, I cannot bring it on the plane.

I will also buy a whistle as suggested in other threads!

Thank you,

Ester
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
#3
I used to think it wasn't necessary either. A few events--toward women, mind you, not men--make me a bit more forgiving toward women who consider it. I also used to think that publicizing it was a bad idea. I still do.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
#4
Side note--I told a story once about being way out in the middle of nowhere on the beautiful Meseta and whistling, as the person just ahead had dropped her sleeping bag. The noise floated out into the sky and no one noticed. Personally, I'd just go and walk with a friend, or near some others. Whistles and sprays, probably not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future (2019) Portuguese.
#8
Hello all,
I am going on my first camino on Wednesday, starting from Léon. Since I am a solo female traveler, I wish to carry a pepper spray - not out of fear but for "just in case" scenario and ease of mind. However, I am not sure where I can purchase it in Léon... Would anyone know? Unfortunately, I cannot bring it on the plane.

I will also buy a whistle as suggested in other threads!

Thank you,

Ester
If this is your plan please, I implore you, take a local course (most police offer it in US) on self defense and how best to protect yourself. If you have no experience you may very well find the PS a hinderance that could possibly be used to cause you greater suffering at the hands of a n'er do well than simply being pushed down and robbed. Only carry PS if you are sure you are equipped to use it. Please!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#9
There are threads right now giving people the willies, IMO out of proportion to the risk that actually exists. And there have been are some strident self-defense voices on other sites, too, stirring up fear.
Not to deny that things happen.
They do. Everywhere, even on the Camino.
Not to deny that women face higher levels of risk than men.
We do.

But the reality of the Camino is that Mace is huge overkill. Besides being out of place: the camino is a path of peace and the mace is a weapon. One of defense, but still a weapon.
Please don't bring it here.

not out of fear but for "just in case" scenario and ease of mind.
Something to consider: 'In case' is always fear - much more subtle than the heart-pounding kind, but still on that spectrum. One thing that most of us get to see on the Camino is how much 'in case' drives us, and how burdening it is.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#12
I really don't think it's necessary, or that you should, and urge you to consider dfunghi's post. However, Armeria Castro on Calle la Rúa, 7 would be your place. It's quite close to the church of Nuestra Senora de Mercado, who may be of more help than pepper spray.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#13
it is NOT just "your camino." It is OUR camino. You are not walking alone, you are part of a family when you walk here. A family that will care for you, and do its best to keep you safe. Lots of bad things happen in families, but you don't bring pepper spray or mace to Thanksgiving dinner, do you?
Leave weapons at home. They are not needed on the camino, nor are they welcome.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#14
I would not speak for or against carrying pepper spray for self defense. I do so in the mountains at home, where the predators against which I am defending myself are mostly bears (or cougars). Having met a number of bears, recently one up close, I am not so confident that the bear spray would protect me. But then, I am not really afraid, just cautious. I became aware, through this summer's bear encounters, that fear is not really rational. I should have been afraid of two close encounters with a very large bear, but I was not. Mostly I think that human fears are not based on statistics, but on personal experience. I am afraid of drowning, and so am extremely cautious with river crossings, based on my own experience. But I try to be rational and to take reasonable precautions. My bear spray is always in a belt pouch worn in front and instantly accessible. I don't follow the advice that I would be safe from bears if I walked closely with three others and made lots of noise. That would be to destroy what is precious to me about my time alone in the backcountry. I think that some pilgrims, even women who hear about sexual predators, feel the same about the camino. If you don't want it and it would destroy the feeling of the camino for you, by all means do not take anything that resembles a defensive weapon. I don't, in Spain. But if you think that if you took it you would feel safe and unafraid and you prefer to walk alone, take whatever is legal for self-defence, know how and when to use it and keep it close to hand. If you take it and leave it at the bottom of your pack, it makes more sense to accept that you are carrying an unnecessary weight of fear and leave it behind.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#16
I'll be looking for it in Pamplona as it's my first camino and I don't even hike the Appalachian Trail alone. As I've written one other place on the forum, I carry it at home. Remember @sitareh19, this is your camino and you have to do what feels right for you. Buen Camino!
As it is your first camino, you are in for a treat, @BucketBabe.
Because this is not at all like home - and please don't assume from a place of not knowing that it is the same.
As @Rebekah Scott says, pilgrims DO look out for each other; more than you can imagine.
This is not the AT, either. It's neither remote nor dangerously isolated.

So carrying mace ('pepper spray' makes it sound innocuous) on the camino is so unnecessary that the idea is laughable. And importing the attitude that it might be necessary is importing a level of over-caution that is totally out of context. If you bring it you'll likely end up like @Caligal, lugging it around in the bottom of your pack. With the rest of the stuff that 'In Case' insisted you would need.

Some of us live in a culture of fear. One of the gifts of the camino is that it offers a vision of life outside of that prison.
 

lissie45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#18
I'll be looking for it in Pamplona as it's my first camino and I don't even hike the Appalachian Trail alone. As I've written one other place on the forum, I carry it at home. Remember @sitareh19, this is your camino and you have to do what feels right for you. Buen Camino!
Hmmm - there's no way in hell I'd solo hike a remote trail, with dangerous animals and limited cell phone coverage. The caminio is a walk between towns, villages, rarely remote, and with no wild animals. Surely pepper spray is illegal in Spain as it is in most countries?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#21
@sitareh19, the long and short of it is that nobody knows where to get pepper spray in Leon or won't tell you. I have no clue myself. Your best bet is probably an armeria; if they don't have it they might know where to purchase it and there is one such shop right bang in the middle of Leon on the marked Camino de Santiago itself in the Calle La Rúa. Buen camino in any case.

PS: I see now belatedly that @oursonpolaire has already mentioned the shop in an earlier post in this thread.
 
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martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#22
... I also carried a small knife (checked baggage) and I definitely pulled it out twice as a confidence booster when needed and it also served me well in slicing apples...
I think I cannot decide on the pepper spray because I am not a woman... for a man I would say it is totally unnecessary and should not be on the camino.
But I think that most of the experienced female pilgrims would say pepper spray is not necessary and should not be on the camino.

But a knife (small or big)... a knife is not a weapon for self defense because in many cases it does not stopp an attacker before he is deadly wounded. A knife is good for slicing apples and I had a knife on my first camino and I would take one on my next camino... but if you use it as a confidence booster it is not good. If you are in a situation that feels threatening for you (but maybe it is not so threatening) you maybe do things under stress that are dangerous... if you hurt or kill someone (or e.g. a dog) with a knife under stress you maybe regret that later very much.

A knife should NOT be used as a weapon if you are not extremely well trained in self defense and in fighting with a knife... and if you are extremely well trained in self defense you would not even think of using a knife as a confidence booster on a camino - whether you are a man or a woman.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#24
it is NOT just "your camino." It is OUR camino. You are not walking alone, you are part of a family when you walk here. A family that will care for you, and do its best to keep you safe. Lots of bad things happen in families, but you don't bring pepper spray or mace to Thanksgiving dinner, do you?
Leave weapons at home. They are not needed on the camino, nor are they welcome.
Well spoken.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#26
For me the whole idea of carrying a weapon is astonishing, and sad. It must be terrible to live life in a state of constant fear.

I think some perspective is needed.

Spain. Here is a website which gives some statistical comparisons between crime in the US and Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#27
The problem with carrying any sort of weapon is that one may feel the need to use it - and if one does, the weapon is not enough, one has to also have the mental state to be nastier than the predator and that is pretty hard to instantly conjure up as we are not predators. Any predator has worked themselves up into an extreme mental state and it is very difficult to match that - this being so, an attack on a predator that doesn't work will further enrage that person ... fill in the dots ..

The best defense for anyone, male or female, is to regularly take a self-defense course, such as Karate or Judo, make it part of their home life routine.

First action, in any encounter, is to take two steps backward, this removes one from being held or attacked. And to me, the best defense on camino if concerned is to unclip the hipbelt - then the pack can be dropped in a moment and one can run - running away is a good thing to do. Everything in a pack can be replaced so it is unimportant.
I knew a wonderful old guy ran a boxing gym in a poor area. Any youngster joining had to learn to run a mile before he would teach them, his ethos being that if attacked one should run away but only a fraction faster than the attacker, after half a mile or so look to see if the pursuer were out of breath and gasping and if so they should stop and turn round, punch them hard so they fell down, and then stroll home.

The thing about carrying a weapon such as pepper spray is that it is no good unless it is held in the hand, thumb on the trigger, as attacks can be super-quick and unexpected - does anyone really want to do that for 500 miles?? Really?
At night one can carry a bright torch - flash it in the eyes and you have a five second head start when you run away and if one really feels the need to carry a spray, well, it doesn't matter what it is as the aim is to hit the eyes (don't you hope they aren't wearing sunglasses) so many sprays would do the job, hair spray, deodorant spray, even WD40!

Just about a quarter of a million pilgrims last year, and we heard of how many incidents? Five or so? Now look at the crime stats for any town of a quarter of a million and compare. Exactly - we are safer out there than in any town in my country that I know of.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#28
I know I should stay out of this but I'm surprised to read that women who consider carrying mace or pepperspray are too dumb to use it properly and live in a constant state of fear. As to statistics, how relevant are they without looking at the actual situation in which one might find oneself in? It is an undisputed fact that more people are killed by knife attacks in London per year than along the CF. Are the situations where such an attack might happen to someone like me the same in London as somewhere in Northern Spain? I don't think so.

In any case, it's a hypothetical question. I don't carry pepperspray, I always have a pocket knife with me when I walk with a hiking backpack and usually I forget where I put the emergency whistle and don't have it with me. I fear dogs and so far walking the Camino has not changed this one bit.
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino Frances ( 2007) Via de la Plata 2016/2017 . Final pilgrimage Sept 2018...Via de la Plata
#29
Ester , the original poster , just wishes to know where to buy the pepper spray from .....simple question and i don't suppose she is looking to justify her choice . If it make her feel safer/happier as a lone female then that is already a plus . If she never has to use it then it was just a bit of useless kit , and i am sure we have all been guilty of that .

As an aside ......last year on the VdLP i was attacked by a pack of 5 dogs ( they brought me off my bike ) , this year if it happens again they will learn what WD 40 tastes like ( if i am quick enough ):rolleyes:
 

navarro

Active Member
#30
Hello all,
I am going on my first camino on Wednesday, starting from Léon. Since I am a solo female traveler, I wish to carry a pepper spray - not out of fear but for "just in case" scenario and ease of mind. However, I am not sure where I can purchase it in Léon... Would anyone know? Unfortunately, I cannot bring it on the plane.

I will also buy a whistle as suggested in other threads!

Thank you,

Ester
You can have a pepper spray in Spain under conditions. You must be older than 18 years aun the product must be released to use by G. Civil. The main problem, the utilization of it. In you cannot prove that you were being attaket at that moment, and you cause injures to the aggressor he can demand you.
 

possie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cf 2 times
Cp oct. (2017) Via francigena (starting in Lucca 2018)
#31
I carrried pepper spray on the CF, the CP and recently on the VF. I'm a man and I'm nearly 80. Being raped is obviously the last of my worries but dogs are not and pepper spray saved the day for me in the north of Portugal when two Castro Laboreiros came after me. I say: take pepper spray whether you're a man or a woman.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
#32
I am very against the people who feel they must carry "dog dazers" or chemical agents in case they encounter what they might consider to be dangerous dogs. They risk causing great injury to the dogs and far greater danger for future pilgrims than whatever advantage they think they are receiving.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#33
Ester , the original poster , just wishes to know where to buy the pepper spray from .....simple question and i don't suppose she is looking to justify her choice . If it make her feel safer/happier as a lone female then that is already a plus . If she never has to use it then it was just a bit of useless kit , and i am sure we have all been guilty of that .

As an aside ......last year on the VdLP i was attacked by a pack of 5 dogs ( they brought me off my bike ) , this year if it happens again they will learn what WD 40 tastes like ( if i am quick enough ):rolleyes:

Dang! Good point!! Ester must be hiding under the sofa right now - with all our replies (including mine!) :)
 

possie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cf 2 times
Cp oct. (2017) Via francigena (starting in Lucca 2018)
#34
I must mention that the same sentiments go for the people who feel they must carry "dog dazers" in case they encounter what they might consider to be dangerous dogs. They risk causing damage to the dogs and far greater danger for future pilgrims than whatever advantage they think they are receiving.
"Risk causing damage to the dogs" ? Are you serious ? That's a good one.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#35
I am very against the people who feel they must carry "dog dazers" or chemical agents in case they encounter what they might consider to be dangerous dogs. They risk causing great injury to the dogs and far greater danger for future pilgrims than whatever advantage they think they are receiving.
I have walked the CF 3times and not been threatened by dogs. We have a rescue dog! However...Was wondering if dogs do attack someone is there a way or something to use that will not hurt the dogs but detract them from following.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
#36
Many dogs attack out of fear or because they are protecting their terratory. Working dogs tend to have "one event learning". I would slowly remove myself from the area and look for an owner to get his dog. Plan B would depend on the exact situation.
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino Frances ( 2007) Via de la Plata 2016/2017 . Final pilgrimage Sept 2018...Via de la Plata
#37
Hello Marbe2.........in my case , as posted earlier, the largest dog made a lunge for my rear panniers ( this is what unbalanced me ) and as i was already off my bike i placed it between me and the most aggressive dog and walked very slowly away , in the meantime he/she grabbed my cycling gillet from the panniers and they all started to rip it to shreds.which distracted them for a short while ......thank the lord i was not inside it !
To answer your question i suppose throwing something for them to "play with " might help , be it a glove/hat piece of paper /stone but all i know for sure was what happened in my case .
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#38
Wow jony....you were fortunate to get away unscathed!
When we first got our rescue dog we got a trainer to help some of his behaviors (we love him to pieces). The trainer suggested wearing a hat or scarf something to offer an aggressive dog if we encounter one.
I obviously want to take the most non-threatening approach?
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
#39
Don't even think about bringing Mace or any similar substance to the UK - you will get a prison sentence. (S 5 (1) (b) Firearms Act 1968, if you're interested.)

Personally, I don't think weapons of any kind have a place on the Camino. I am a man, but I can't imagine my daughters wishing to carry anything like that (unobtainable in the UK in any event) or, for that matter, any woman I know - and I've met a lot of solo female walkers. The Camino is a very safe place, there is always someone close by, and although there have been isolated reports of "flashing" actual physical attacks are very rare.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#40
Like I said on earlier occasions on this forum when the topic of carrying pepper spray came up.
I will never let a Camino be fuelled by fear of what could possibly happen.
I am anti weapons ( in any situation ) in the hands of a private person.
If I would know that one of my fellow pilgrims would carry pepper spray in the albergue I would leave the place immediately. That is how strongly I feel about the subject.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#41
I do not know where to buy pepper spray in Leon. If I did, I would tell you...but not encourage you to do so. Honestly, my sister and I would not walk the Appalachian Trail by ourselves either, as we would not feel safe alone. Nor can any of us,really say, for sure, that you may not find yourself in a dangerous situation on the Camino. However, the CF between Leon and SdC is well traveled if you are starting this week! There should be other pilgrims within whistle distance for most of your journey. We have attached our own loud whistles to our straps so that they are instantly available. We have traveled the CF at off times and when we have perceived the trail into woods to be isolated, then we have walked along the road. You will likely find other pilgrims out of Leon who will walk at a similar pace-and you might ask to join them, or keep your distance but keep them in sight.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#42
Hello all,
I am going on my first camino on Wednesday, starting from Léon. Since I am a solo female traveler, I wish to carry a pepper spray - not out of fear but for "just in case" scenario and ease of mind. However, I am not sure where I can purchase it in Léon... Would anyone know? Unfortunately, I cannot bring it on the plane.

I will also buy a whistle as suggested in other threads!

Thank you,

Ester
I took a small can this March on El Norte which I walked almost all alone. I left it at the albergue in Guernica because 1. I no longer felt fearful and 2. I never actually practiced with it and a German lady warned that if there was any wind I’d likely end up spraying myself and 3. I wasn’t going to carry it in my hand so how would I get it out, uncap the can and hold it in the right direction.......but I did and will carry a small knife and have AlertCops ready if I see a suspicious male.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#44
As for dogs on any Camino and especially stray dogs they learned from natives that raising or pointing a stick to them or bending down as if you would get the stone will put them back at least for some moments for you to walk away.

As for carrying a pocket knife in your trousers while walking and plan to use it as a weapon then better make sure it is (sorry don't know the right expression) a knife that locks the blade. With knives like Swiss Army you would cut your fingers off before make any really damage to attacker.

I have some experience in "dangerous" situations and awareness of possible danger (which/whatever might cause that) is the best bet you will get out of that situation safe and sound. Be alerted but still don't walk Camino in constant fear that something bad will happen :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#45
Good grief! I honestly had no idea that people can feel so strongly about carrying pepperspray and pocket knives and would find a discussion about this topic depressing. I'm not making fun of it but I'm asking myself now, being a carrier of pocket knives and a sympathizer with the pepperspray crowd, whether I'm a fear-ridden woman who should not set foot on the camino let alone enter an albergue or a trusting, generally happy person who is convinced that my fellow peregrinas will do me no harm. o_O
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#46
What do you intend to do with it? :eek:
Honestly this is the most depressing thread.... I will not revisit it again. My horror is beyond words....
I think you’ve miss understood my reply. I did take a can of pepper spray last March when I walked almost 90% of the days ALONE (through some very lonely forested areas) but ditched it early on, it served only as a psychological aide but as I said I left it in Guernica realizing it was unnecssary. However, I carry a small knife to cut up apples etc and should I need to defend myself (a 71 year old woman was attacked by 2 men only yesterday on the Portuguese Way) I would not hesitate to use it if I was physically attacked. Each to their own.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#47
Good grief! I honestly had no idea that people can feel so strongly about carrying pepperspray and pocket knives and would find a discussion about this topic depressing. I'm not making fun of it but I'm asking myself now, being a carrier of pocket knives and a sympathizer with the pepperspray crowd, whether I'm a fear-ridden woman who should not set foot on the camino let alone enter an albergue or a trusting, generally happy person who is convinced that my fellow peregrinas will do me no harm. o_O
Or we may all just learn Maori Haka dance to scare the perpetrators and loose dogs:
:D
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#49
I think we should be aware that our opinions may be shaped by the country or countries we are closely associated with. I noticed that, at least according to Wikipedia, countries such as Austria and Slovakia do not only allow adults to carry pepper spray but that the police in these countries even encourages women and pensioners to use it. Wikipedia, not my opinion. Also, the quantity allowed to be carried and the percentage of the active ingredient are not the same everywhere.

And in some countries pepper spray is simply not classified as a weapon so the whole idea that it is primarily a weapon is already alien.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VDLP Autumn 2019
#50
Question: if you consider the Camino to be a dangerous place - dangerous enough to justify carrying a weapon (mace/pepper spray/knife!!) - why bother walking it in the first place?
This is THE question. This thread has me stunned. I have traveled a bit and never felt safer anywhere than when I was on the Camino. Maybe equally as safe when in northern Thailand. On my first Camino, I did try to heed the common advice that you often overpack because of your fears, but I still overpacked a bit. But that overpacking was about weather and such, not about carrying defensive weapons. I do not travel to places where I have a high expectation of being unsafe. If you believe you need a defensive weapon to walk the Camino, maybe it is not for you.

Buen Camino,
--jim--
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#51
I think we should be aware that our opinions may be shaped by the country or countries we are closely associated with. I noticed that, at least according to Wikipedia, countries such as Austria and Slovakia do not only allow adults to carry pepperspray but that the police in these countries even encourages women and pensioners to use it. Wikipedia, not my opinion.
If you were replying to my post I must add that I come from Slovenia, not Slovakia.
Very often mix-up ;)
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#52
I have a friend who taught me and my wife some self defense using our walking sticks. Those hurt when you struck by them and tip uncovered can stop some one quickly. Thank God I have never had to use them
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#53
Don't pack your fears - that's such a tired cliché. When we pack too much stuff, it's not our fears that we pack, it's our comfort. And more often than not one ends up in a competition with oneself to pack less next time but still have the same comfort. Not to mention the credit card that will buy anything that one hasn't packed. Sorry but ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#54
I think we should be aware that our opinions may be shaped by the country or countries we are closely associated with. I noticed that, at least according to Wikipedia, countries such as Austria and Slovakia do not only allow adults to carry pepperspray but that the police in these countries even encourages women and pensioners to use it. Wikipedia, not my opinion. Also, the quantity allowed to be carried and the percentage of the active ingredient are not the same everywhere.
I have never before carried pepper spray despite spending a lot of time in Slovakia. Actually someone accidently sprayed my dog while out walking one day and as he yelped and shook his head to get it off, I tried to wipe his eyes only to get it in my eyes so suffered the burning effect. As I said it was for me in retrospevt, totally unnecessary.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#56
I am very taken back by many comments here that suggest that if a woman is afraid to walk the Camino alone she shouldn’t walk it then. Have you ever considered that some of us (I’d suggest MANY of us women here) have been the victim of male on female violence and we are being extremely brave to step way out of our comfort zones and actually do walk a 1000 km Camino and live to rejoice that we can feel “unafraid” despite walking some very lonely areas. Please try to show some compassion.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#57
Take a whistle and keep it in your pocket. If you use it it may not summon help but it may scare an attacker away. It neither costs or weighs much.

To find the pepper spray in Leon why not ask the police? They could also brief you on the law And give you an idea of whether it is likely needed.

P.S. Another advantage to a whistle is that it won't go off accidentally. :)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
April (2017)
#59
Hello all,
I am going on my first camino on Wednesday, starting from Léon. Since I am a solo female traveler, I wish to carry a pepper spray - not out of fear but for "just in case" scenario and ease of mind. However, I am not sure where I can purchase it in Léon... Would anyone know? Unfortunately, I cannot bring it on the plane.

I will also buy a whistle as suggested in other threads!

Thank you,

Ester
I carried what I call a screamer. It gives off a loud shrill noise that can damage your hearing if left sounding too long. I never used it, nor did I ever feel unsafe. Buen Camino.
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel aka Cyborg Turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte for April (2019) possible Primitivo
#62
I agree with @J F Gregory. If you are already carrying trekking poles this can be seen as a deterrent and in a pinch can be used in an emergency as a way to ward off the predator. I also agree with many others here that unless you have the pepper spray/knife in your hand all the time at the ready it may be difficult to quickly get it out in time to be used. I walked alone, but I was never truly fearful on the camino. Many days I started walking before sunrise and I tried to use situational awareness At all times. I did have a whistle but never used it....I had my poles but thank goodness I only used those for walking.

Couple times I did get flashed but I did not give those persons the satisfaction of knowing that they disturbed my peace....I just kept walking and watched my back. At times I felt some trepidation but I just kept on walking.

I have a military background but not everyone is confident. Yes maybe some do carry a sense of comfort (i.e.pepper spray/knife) with them while walking but I would hope we dont judge those people to say they should or should not walk. You will never know what the person is thinking maybe the reason for walking the camino is to gain that confidence and step outside their comfort zone. Not what I would do but If the OP feels safe carrying pepper spray that’s ok I think because this makes her feel safe.

I think the majority of women here who have walked the camino felt safe but there are some who actually were accosted or felt unsafe one way or another. I actually met a woman on my camino who was violated on the camino the year before and reported the incident . She was afraid but yet she was willing to face that fear and walk the camino again, making her way back to the place where she was attacked to ascertain the status of her case with the police. She was not carrying pepper spray or any weapon that I know of however she was walking with her boyfriend.

I am greatful to know that while on the camino I felt that sense of family and I knew other pilgrims had my back, my front and my side....I walked alone but I was never truly alone. Buen Camino
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino September-October 2017
#65
I don’t know where to get it, but just want to write supporting your desire to bring it with you. If you need pepper spray to feel safe, buy it. Don’t listen to other people telling you how you should feel. Especially if they are men who don’t know what it’s like to go through the world as a woman. I had a lot of fear that I had to overcome on my Camino and I wish I’d had pepper spray just to put my mind at ease. When I started carrying it at home, it changed the way I walked through the world.
 
#66
I think this discussion has run its course. It’s pretty obvious that we have some huge cultural divides on this one. Many people from countries where weapons and things like pepper spray are illegal are appalled that anyone would want to bring them to the Camino. Others from countries where weapons and pepper spray have a different status believe that it will make them safer and that it is reasonable. I think it’s time to close the thread because we are just arguing now.
 
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