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Pillow - bring one or is it provided?

Burgundy

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 19-May 5/24 - Porto to Santiago
Do I need to bring my own pillow & pillow case for albergues?
 
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Generally provided, but not guaranteed in the public/parochial albergues. Private accommodations all of the time. Standard Spanish size, which means oddly large for US travelers. My one luxury item is a nice King-sized pillowcase because I don’t want my face against either a well-used pillowcase cover or the throwaway paper one that is often provided. Also, in the few instances where pillows were not present, I could stuff my own case with clothing to make one.
 
I've never stayed anywhere that didn't provide a pillow. I'm sure some greedier pilgrims snatch pillows/blankets from other beds so they can have 2 (yes, really)

Pillow cases aren't guaranteed. Your sleeping bag might have a hood, or maybe a towel can act as a makeshift pillow case.
 
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I've only ever stayed in one albergue that didn't provide pillows, and it was in 2022 as a Covid precaution.
 
On the Portuguese there is a few albergues that don't provide pillows - never seen this anywhere else.
My memory might be faulty but I think it only ever happened between Lisbon and Porto as well, and not any further.
 
Do I need to bring my own pillow & pillow case for albergues?
I've only been to one place that didn't provide a pillow (Grañon on the Camino Frances, actually an often recommended albergue, but you are sleeping on a mat - not even a mattress - on the floor). You can pretty much count on one.

Most albergues either provide sheets or will sell you disposable sheets for a modest price. If you get the disposable sheets, there will be a fitted sheet and a pillow case, but no flat sheet.

Generally, the fitted sheet will almost fit the mattress. :)
 
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I have always had a pillow provided at every Camino albergue I have stayed in. I do usually bring a Dollar Store bottom sheet that fits, and always bring the pillowcase that doesn't quite fit..
 
Most albergues either provide sheets or will sell you disposable sheets for a modest price. If you get the disposable sheets, there will be a fitted sheet and a pillow case, but no flat sheet.

Once, i received a pack that had a flat sheet. It was a nice surprise
 
I carry an inflatable air pillow (Sea to Summit). It is useful in case there are no pillows - or they are unsuitable.

Also, I like to elevate my feet when sleeping at night. I typically use the bed pillow for that purpose and my inflatable pillow for my head - or vice versa.

This inflatable pillow does double duty as a lumbar support on the flight over to Europe from the US.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I carry an inflatable air pillow (Sea to Summit). It is useful in case there are no pillows - or they are unsuitable.

Also, I like to elevate my feet when sleeping at night. I typically use the bed pillow for that purpose and my inflatable pillow for my head - or vice versa.

This inflatable pillow does double duty as a lumbar support on the flight over to Europe from the US.

Hope this helps.

Tom

On my first camino I carried an inflatable pillow. I forget how many days it was before i "donated" it by leaving it in a free box in an albergue. It was a lovely idea but not worth the weight

If you need extra support because your pillow is too thin, use clothes or a towel.

Glad it worked for Tom especially given his need for 2 pillows but I'd say 99% of walkers would not recommend bringing an inflatable pillow.
 
On my first camino I carried an inflatable pillow. I forget how many days it was before i "donated" it by leaving it in a free box in an albergue. It was a lovely idea but not worth the weight

If you need extra support because your pillow is too thin, use clothes or a towel.

Glad it worked for Tom especially given his need for 2 pillows but I'd say 99% of walkers would not recommend bringing an inflatable pillow.
I despise inflatable pillows.😅
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Do I need to bring my own pillow & pillow case for albergues?
Two caminos (Frances from SJPDP and Portuguese from Porto) and I've never stayed at a place that didn't provide a pillow. That said, I'd either carry my own pillowcase to use over it, or - what I did- was lay my sleeping bag hood over the top of it. There's quite a bit of turnover in the albergues (daily) so peregrino be warned. Buen Camino!
 
I bring a pillowcase that zips closed. At night I store my passport, money and anything else I value inside and sleep on it.
That must be one very long pillowcase due to those incredibly long pillows in Spain. I keep all my important things in my waist bag and put it at my feet in my sleeping bag or liner.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Do I need to bring my own pillow & pillow case for albergues?
Short answer, NO. Just take pillow and case they provide on the plane to guarantee you have one. As said in posts, 99% of albergues provide a pillow, and you can survive without one once. No guarantee of a case, and it is usually thin plastic mesh paper. Personally, I always take inflatable Trekology pillow, my one luxury item that weighs 3 ounces. Needs no case. Custom adjustable with 3 puffs. I do not worry about anyone else's sweat or boogers.
 
They do sometimes leak over time. I note that the valves are the first thing to go.
The Trekology pillows last about 18 months before pinhole leaks occur at the bond between the inner baffles and pillow skin. Happened on 2 pillows. I was able to patch a couple holes to get another 2 months, but the next camino found numerous pinholes. I blasted Trekology for this, and they claimed to upgrade the design. I noted my 3rd pillow was just a bit different. It has held for a year now. Time will tell. Sea to Summit has a better warranty, but 2x the price. Never tried those.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I walked Lisbon to Santiago and always got a pillow ... but I didn't know that would be the case so I carried a nice, soft material blow-up pillow, 103 grammes. Any you know what? It was great for my naps under a bush or behind a wall after lunch, or anytime it was hot and I needed a break in the shade. So, no need for albergues, but great for the day!
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Pack a pillow case with your clothes. That covers all bases .
Not directly related to caminos...

But when I lived in Australia, I was involved in some organized cycling/camping 9 day holidays as a volunteer (for those in the know like cycle Queensland, NSW big ride, GVBR). Oh, good memories from those days...

Anyhow, it involved sleeping in tents in show grounds/fields, and I never needed a pillow. A folded up jersey/clothes in a pillow case/packing cell did the job.

Those trips make albergues seem luxurious.
😀
 
That's a big reason why I decided to walk my first Camino...it wasn't camping or wilderness backpacking.
I highly recommend those kind of trips. So much community spirit, dare I say, even more than a camino!

Imagine it, hundreds (sometimes over a thousand) cyclists traveling 600 ish Km across Australia. Each day staying in small tents in grassy show grounds/field's. With volunteers, being bussed between camp sites, managing the catering, cycling support, entertainment, luggage transfers on site bar etc.
I usually spent a few hours a day in the catering marquee, but for the work, I met so many nice people, got fed, entertained, free bus trips, saw quaint aussie towns and a few aussie pubs.
I also slept in a small tent, used shared shower and toilet trucks, and used a folded up jersey as a pillow.
Not always the glamorous life, but I really look forward to those trips!!

But caminos are cool too.
Would very much like to do a few more, who doesn't enjoy a long stroll across Europe.!! Comfy bedding or not, it's all good!
 
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€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I highly recommend those kind of trips. So much community spirit, dare I say, even more than a camino!
I don't doubt your trips were wonderful.

I have camped many times in tents and pop-up campers in a majority of the US National Parks and hiked many trails over the years, but my days of camping are over.
After my son hiked a majority of the Appalachian Trail and I heard about the Camino I was very intrigued and have enjoyed this new way to walk in the outdoors while being immersed in new cultures and architecture at the same time.
 
I don't doubt your trips were wonderful.

I have camped many times in tents and pop-up campers in a majority of the US National Parks and hiked many trails over the years, but my days of camping are over.
After my son hiked a majority of the Appalachian Trail and I heard about the Camino I was very intrigued and have enjoyed this new way to walk in the outdoors while being immersed in new cultures and architecture at the same time.
I do miss my camping days, still would do it again, if just for the communty vibe. Now your camping stories are definitely roughing it, but the Appalachian Trail sounds like an unique experience...

I heard about Caminos from my dad. They're not too popular in NZ., but he heard about it somewhere. My mum encouraged him to give it a try. That was the full French path, followed later by the walk from Seville...then mum joined him on the central from Lisbon..
They invited me to join them on the coastal from Porto...first time to Europe, loved it.
And now I love Portugal as much as mum does!
Last year, did a solo walk from Tomar, great experience....the architecture, food, people, landscapes, flora and fauna, the solitude, living in the moment, time to think, and just the relaxing vibe one gets from walking...a very special time.
And the feeling when you arrive at Santiago cathedral, that's special too.


Regarding the question, for the OP.
Packing advice....don't overthink it.
There are shops over there if you do need stuff, and alot of stuff you think you really need, you dont. So don't sweat the small stuff, like pillow cases.
As long as you have shelter, a mattress, bathroom facilities, access to water/food and electricity...don't stress about the rest.
 
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Two donativos i stayed in did not have pillows: Granon and Tosantos. Experiences I cherish. For my back, and as a side sleeper, i bought an inflatable pillow to put between my knees, a must for me. I also brought a silk king pillow case which fit most of their long pillows.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Don’t like other peoples used pillows. Folded fleece lining of my jacket inserted in t-shirt . voila there was my pillow. No extra stuff to carry. If you have a sack for your sleeping bag , stuff this one with next day clothes and there you have an alternative.
 
Put your fleece top or jacket on your backpack. Sorted!
maybe things changed but pilgrim‘s backpack in bed was generally frowned upon. less better
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
If a pillow was provided we wouldn't need to do this. 🤷🏻‍♂️
no issues here. If you can not sleep on used pillows due to allergies or such, just offering alternative.
 
The only place I remember on the Portuguese Coastal where no pillows and bedcovers were was at an albergue in Póvoa de Varzím just beyond Vila do Conde
And on the Inglés in Betanzos there were’nt even blankets.
I had an inflatable pillow. We had silk sleepliners and in Betanzos we used our fleecevests as blanket. It was freezing but we survived.
 
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