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Prepping for a second and a third Camino. Cell phone and Gear observations

D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino... It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.
It is not an uncommon suggestion here on the forum, but really it is far outnumbered by the people who accept technology and use it appropriately. There are many threads helping people understand how to use their devices for Camino activities like GPS, photo uploading, off line maps, reservations, etc.

People tend to express their opinions with "enthusiasm" and sometimes they overstate things to make a point. For example you very clearly told future pilgrims what type of rain gear they should and should not take. There are some very experienced poncho-lovers (I'm not one of them) among us who would disagree! :D
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
It is not an uncommon suggestion here on the forum, but really it is far outnumbered by the people who accept technology and use it appropriately. There are many threads helping people understand how to use their devices for Camino activities like GPS, photo uploading, off line maps, reservations, etc.

People tend to express their opinions with "enthusiasm" and sometimes they overstate things to make a point. For example you very clearly told future pilgrims what type of rain gear they should or should not take. There are some very experienced poncho-lovers (I'm not one of them) among us who would disagree! :D

Yup... I'm one of those poncho lovers. :) Without breaking stride, I can grab it out of my side pocket and slip it on; and when I don't need it, it is just as quick to remove and stash. It covers my pack and I very comfortably and with lots of ventilation, so sweat build-up is vitually non-existent. Things get windy, it has a built-in elastic cord that can be fastened around the waist. It can also be used to create a tarp, or serve as a ground sheet. It is a bit pricey, as cuben fiber gear is wont to be, but it is extremely tough and light.. 4 ounces. Quite a bit lighter than what I had in Vietnam. :)

Nothing wrong with other types of rain gear. My decision is based on a lot of experience with all types of gear, and with what works best for me. Other's mileage may vary :)
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.

Hi @Morgan Holmes ! We each and everyone of us take what we choose...and need....:cool:
I only take a smart phone because that is all I want, my walking mate sometimes even takes his computer, because he needs it. We can not all be fortunate enough to be able to switch off as we please... My husband takes his i-pad because he can't be bothered with the small phone screen.... What does it all matter? ;)
As for the poncho.... I loved mine! Saw me through many kms in rain, kept me dry AND my backpack.
Each to his own :)
Buen camino.
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.

Hello Morgan,
We will also want to stay connected to someone degree in our Camino next year for family reasons, so we would be grateful if you could expand on those three points:
- why is the solar charger un-needed
- what type of reliable portable charger are you taking
- which SIM card provider would you recommend
Thank you!
Cheers
Andrew
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.

Well said. I took my iPhone and a small portable charger. I wish I'd taken my iPad because I had a hard time writing my blog on my phone which actually took away from my experience. My tablet would have let me type out my post much faster. I wasn't able to upload real time due to have a SIM card that was crap and didn't have data as promised. Having electronic devices didn't take away from the wonderful hike, nor did it keep me from speaking with my husband and fellow walkers. Like you said-we're not 7 year olds :)
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Well said. I took my iPhone and a small portable charger. I wish I'd taken my iPad because I had a hard time writing my blog on my phone which actually took away from my experience. My tablet would have let me type out my post much faster. I wasn't able to upload real time due to have a SIM card that was crap and didn't have data as promised. Having electronic devices didn't take away from the wonderful hike, nor did it keep me from speaking with my husband and fellow walkers. Like you said-we're not 7 year olds :)
Yes but my ipad is 481g (with its case) and my phone 163! Also with its case.
I have to carry the d*mn things for hundreds/thousands kms....
To me it's a no brainer :D
But of course I go along with peeps who want to carry whatever they need... :cool:

After all I choose to always carry a sleeping bag and often...a tent! :D
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
Hello Morgan,
We will also want to stay connected to someone degree in our Camino next year for family reasons, so we would be grateful if you could expand on those three points:
- why is the solar charger un-needed
- what type of reliable portable charger are you taking
- which SIM card provider would you recommend
Thank you!
Cheers
Andrew


Hi Andrew;
I ditched the solar charger because it needs to be stable for far longer than one generally is while walking. But also because there were always enough outlets in the hostels, albergues and 3 hotels in which I stayed over 34 days.

The portable charger I'm taking is a Belkin, and it has: a small LED flashlight, a charge level indicator, and two USB ports. It charges *fast* and can simulate-charge 2 devices -- meaning I can help out a fellow peregrino while also charging up my stuff. And it holds enough charge for about 3 days so that I don't always have to be hooking up at night. That means other pilgrims have a chance!

For SIM card, I picked mine up at Orange in Pamplona if I recall correctly, but what I did, actually, was enlist the help of 2 friends. Each one took a ticket in the line-up, and I ran between them to get the first opportunity for the card that came available. I know it sounds manic (it was), but I was working on a deadline and I *had to* have the "tarjeta Nano SIM" and not every small provider had those in 2014. We had arrived in Pamplona very late because we had overshot our accommodations to Cizur Minor and I had to backtrack... and i didn't want to be left behind by my Camino friends the next day while I stayed behind in the city to get a card.
I paid 10 euros for a month and 1.5 GB of data. Considering I sent 8 chapters with image files back home to my publisher and also virtual post-cards to friends and family, I think the 1.5 GB was a very good deal. Once you have the SIM, you can top it up at gas stations or bodegas or tiendas all along the way.

Buen Camino!!
 
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D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
Hi @Morgan Holmes ! We each and everyone of us take what we choose...and need....:cool:
I only take a smart phone because that is all I want, my walking mate sometimes even takes his computer, because he needs it. We can not all be fortunate enough to be able to switch off as we please... My husband takes his i-pad because he can't be bothered with the small phone screen.... What does it all matter? ;)
As for the poncho.... I loved mine! Saw me through many kms in rain, kept me dry AND my backpack.
Each to his own :)
Buen camino.
Good heavens! I went through 2 ponchos -- one I bought at home that *tore* in the wind coming out of Atapuerca... and the second that I purchased in Burgos and which just blew around and let all the driving rain in at me. I have a photo of me taken by my Camino friend in the rain outside Triacastella.... the misery on my face is kind of hilarious.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
It is not an uncommon suggestion here on the forum, but really it is far outnumbered by the people who accept technology and use it appropriately. There are many threads helping people understand how to use their devices for Camino activities like GPS, photo uploading, off line maps, reservations, etc.

People tend to express their opinions with "enthusiasm" and sometimes they overstate things to make a point. For example you very clearly told future pilgrims what type of rain gear they should and should not take. There are some very experienced poncho-lovers (I'm not one of them) among us who would disagree! :D

Good heavens! I went through 2 ponchos -- one I bought at home that *tore* in the wind coming out of Atapuerca... and the second that I purchased in Burgos and which just blew around and let all the driving rain in at me. I have a photo of me taken by my Camino friend in the rain outside Triacastella.... the misery on my face is kind of hilarious. But now, with the fitted coat and peaked hood, I am as happy as a duck in the rain.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
My 96 year old Mum loved my phone calls from Spain. Vodaphone sim 15€ a month 100 hours local and international calls 1.5 GB data but I got twice that amount of data as Vodaphone was having some sort of promotion. I bought the sim in Vodaphone shop in Pamplona on my way to SJPdP. English speaking staff who kindly set up the sim for me and got me started. Yay for them! Ask them how to get a balance if your Spanish isn’t good. My instructions were something like press 1. Then press 2. Then press 1.
Cannot renew online or over the phone unless you have a Spanish credit/debit card. I renewed in supermarkets but it was very easy.
https://movil.vodafone.es/static/microsites/touristspain/index.html
I got Vodaphone but there are lots of other providers eg. Orange, Lebara, etc.
Would plug into wifi overnight as if lucky enough to get a reasonable wifi service (rare) then my photos would load to Google Photos.
Did manage to throw my phone onto the asphalt at one stage. Pretty much shattered the screen but luckily it still worked and once I got over the shock it was fine. I did use some of the stash of duct tape wound around my poles to keep the glass screen on the phone.
Now what did I use my phone for?
  • Phone
  • Whats app texts
  • Still & video Camera
  • Guide book apps
  • Maps
  • GPS
  • Booking accommodation
  • Weather reports
  • Translator
  • Electronic book reader
  • Audio Spanish language lessons
  • Alarm clock
  • Calendar
  • Diary
  • Internet
  • Notes
  • Address book
  • Photo album
  • Calculator
  • Emails
  • Banking
  • Currency converter
  • Torch
Would I walk without one? No, especially if walking alone
Do I care if anyone walks with or without a device? Not really
Long detailed response but thought it might be useful.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I use a rain jacket and a provided cover for my pack. I have not had to endure too many days of rain, but I must admit when I have some of the contents of my pack have somehow become damp. Maybe there is something to the poncho approach.
 
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D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I use a rain jacket and a provided cover for my pack. I have not had to endure too many days of rain, but I must admit when I have some of the contents of my pack have somehow become damp. Maybe there is something to the poncho approach.

To keep the contents of a pack dry, use a pack liner, something like a trash compactor bag or a heavy-duty plastic utility garbage bag. Alternatively, clothes can be packed into waterproof stuff sacks.
 

norelle

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
There are as many ways to walk a camino as there are pilgrims!

p.s. love my poncho :)

buen camino
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
To keep the contents of a pack dry, use a pack liner, something like a trash compactor bag or a heavy-duty plastic utility garbage bag. Alternatively, clothes can be packed into waterproof stuff sacks.
I know some people swear by the 'bags in a bag' method, but it does mean extra content, bulk and attention. Doesn't keep the backpack dry either. I would refer the whole to remain dry, and thought the provided pack cover might do the job, but was only partially effective.

Perhaps other pilgrims could comment how effective they found their ponchos to be.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2014), Camino Inca (2015), Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre (2018)
I also found, while walking the Primitivo this summer, that there were people who were all too willing to pass judgement on others for a variety of reasons - not walking far enough, not walking fast enough, not walking for the "right" reasons, not walking the "best route" (when there was a choice), carrying too much gear, not carrying enough gear by having bags forwarded, ...... One of the very first Camino phrases that I heard was that everyone's Camino is their own. I guess not everyone heard that one. On my first Camino I did not carry a phone (did not own one), but I had an iPad mini. I decided that for the Primitivo ( and other travel and personal purposes) I would get a phone as well. And I found it immensely useful as a multipurpose tool. For me, the main purpose was security in case of an emergency but I ended up using it as my camera, an alarm clock, a flashlight, a translation device, to research information, to make bookings and to confirm bookings, for the app of the route, for maps, to keep in touch with family and friends ....
We are never going to have total agreement on things like whether to take sleeping bag, a poncho or rain jacket, rain pants, etc. Take what works for you, and what makes you comfortable.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
I know some people swear by the 'bags in a bag' method, but it does mean extra content, bulk and attention. Doesn't keep the backpack dry either. I would refer the whole to remain dry, and thought the provided pack cover might do the job, but was only partially effective.

Perhaps other pilgrims could comment how effective they found their ponchos to be.

Karl, I (and many others) wear what is called a "poncho" but it is more of a long rain jacket with an ungainly space in the back that leaves room to cover the back pack. It works exceedingly well for me, but as noted, what works best for some, doesn't necessarily work best for all.
 
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Rad

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Your post reminds me of the old man joke I highly represent. Old man is being interviewed for a job by the HR Manager. He asks the old man "what is your greatest weakness". Old man answers honesty. Hr manager says "I don't think that's a weakness. Old man replies "I don't give a dam what you think". I'm 73 and bringing my IPhone and ipad and don't give a dam what anyone thinks.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I know some people swear by the 'bags in a bag' method, but it does mean extra content, bulk and attention. Doesn't keep the backpack dry either. I would refer the whole to remain dry, and thought the provided pack cover might do the job, but was only partially effective.

Perhaps other pilgrims could comment how effective they found their ponchos to be.

I am an ultralight backpacker who has thru hiked both the PCT and Colorado Trail and thousands of miles of other distance hikes over the decades. Every piece of gear I have is based on ounce-consciousness and minimalist/multitasking need. My base weight for 7 days on the trail is a bit over 9 pounds.... add food and fuel and other consumables, and the pack's total weight hovers around 16 pounds.

Believe me when I say that a bag liner provides little extra 'bulk'. I have no idea what extra attention is needed as loading or unloading a pack requires no real extra effort with a bag liner. You are right about liners not keeping a backpack dry, and a wet backpack adds weight; not much, but some. Of course, backpacks dry out pretty quickly.

I use a poncho, as mentioned in a post above. It keeps my pack and straps and waist belt totally dry. The key is to make sure that it is big enough to easily slip on and to thoroughly cover both you and your pack with enough room so that there is adequate air movement inside to reduce sweat buildup. I backpack in shorts all the time, unless the temp drops below 40 degrees F, then I put on a light pair of smartwool-type bottom leggings/longjohns. That means my legs may get wet, but they dry off quite nicely. I have a 1.5 ounce rain skirt / kilt that can be quickly wrapped around my waist should I not want my legs to get wet. (The rain kilt is also great when its not raining, but you are travelling thru wet brush and grasses along the trail).

As I mentioned before, I carry my poncho, which rolls up about the size of a 1 liter water bottle, in a reachable side pocket of my pack, which also holds my rain kilt. If it starts raining, I don't need to stop and take off my pack, I slow my pace a bit, reach into the side pocket to grab the poncho, and slip it on. I takes all of about 15 seconds at most. When the rain stops, it is just as simple and quick to take the poncho off and stash it. Over the course of a day, where one travels through off and on rain showers, the amount of time and energy spend putting on and taking off raingear is dramatically minimized with a poncho.

I've never had my backpack get wet, and on Camino -- if I needed to leave my pack outside a small bar or tiny mercado -- I can wrap the bag in the poncho before I set it down outside. Other multi-tasking includes having the ability to set a tarp for rain or sun shade when taking a long break, or use as a groundsheet when needing to kick back and lay down or eat lunch.

Lots of folks like the rain jacket, rain pants, pack cover combination; personal preference is the key to what one is comfortable using.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
It is not an uncommon suggestion here on the forum, but really it is far outnumbered by the people who accept technology and use it appropriately. There are many threads helping people understand how to use their devices for Camino activities like GPS, photo uploading, off line maps, reservations, etc.

People tend to express their opinions with "enthusiasm" and sometimes they overstate things to make a point. For example you very clearly told future pilgrims what type of rain gear they should and should not take. There are some very experienced poncho-lovers (I'm not one of them) among us who would disagree! :D

I think that the difference is that there is a real tone of condescension and aspersion hurled at those who remain connected via a personal device... a *lot* of folks asserting that if you can't ditch your phone that you aren't able to experience the Camino/don't deserve to be on it, etc.

I don't care one way or another about the poncho for anyone else, but if people found them miserable, I just want them to know that light-weight coat options do exist. My poncho left me freezing and sick after 3 days of rain coming out of Foncebadon and O' Cebreiro.... so in hopes of my next camino, and because I try to walk in the rain here, I've found gear that keeps me dry, prevents too much rain from collecting on my glasses, and breathes well enough to prevent me getting sweaty and then cold inside the gear. Had I only known before my first Camino that such stuff could be found, I'd not have suffered so unnecessarily.

I enclose the miserable poncho shot for the amusement of the forum.
 

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cher99840

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
I think that the difference is that there is a real tone of condescension and aspersion hurled at those who remain connected via a personal device... a *lot* of folks asserting that if you can't ditch your phone that you aren't able to experience the Camino/don't deserve to be on it, etc.

I don't care one way or another about the poncho for anyone else, but if people found them miserable, I just want them to know that light-weight coat options do exist. My poncho left me freezing and sick after 3 days of rain coming out of Foncebadon and O' Cebreiro.... so in hopes of my next camino, and because I try to walk in the rain here, I've found gear that keeps me dry, prevents too much rain from collecting on my glasses, and breathes well enough to prevent me getting sweaty and then cold inside the gear. Had I only known before my first Camino that such stuff could be found, I'd not have suffered so unnecessarily.

I enclose the miserable poncho shot for the amusement of the forum.

I wouldn't wear one like that either @Morgan Holmes, but fortunately I didn't see many of them.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Yes but my ipad is 481g (with its case) and my phone 163! Also with its case.
I have to carry the d*mn things for hundreds/thousands kms....
To me it's a no brainer :D
But of course I go along with peeps who want to carry whatever they need... :cool:

After all I choose to always carry a sleeping bag and often...a tent! :D
Weight has never been a problem for me. I can and have carried 18-20 pounds for hundreds of miles. That's light weight for me. My iPad wouldn't have made any difference for me. I would never carry my tent on a Camino. I leave that for my wilderness backpacking trips. :)
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
On this forum we insist on civility by all members. To the extent that some quite well known members find themselves being excluded or individually moderated for periods of time. Other members would be unaware of that.

Our world is sufficiently troubled by "oppositional" thinking, based on reaction and emotion. We do not need to add to it on the forum.

We have plenty of threads on the forum assisting members with their questions about Sim cards, GPS tracks, cameras, wifi etc. I appreciate that it takes many, many positive responses to cancel out a single negative one, but please, don't let the single negative be an excuse to throw punches back.

It is easy to report a post if you find it upsetting or offensive. The moderators are not on the forum all the time, but they do respond to reports as soon as they are.
 

mr potatohead

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2014); Primitivo (2017)
Norte (Sept 2018); Portuguese (coastal) Sept 2019
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.

This summer, I took a tablet on the Primitivo but not a phone. Unfortunately, at most places, you have to phone in for the password, so I was left unconnected until I got to Melide.
 

peter obrien

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
second week in may to start from St jean de pieds Santiago
Hi my name is Peter i did the camino frances from sjpdp to Santiago inb January of this year and the one thing that i cherished was the ability to facetime my family backhome every night and sometimes having lunch on the camino it took nothing away from the experience, i am starting the Camino portugues on January 18 01 2018 and i will be taking my ipad along and i will update my blofg as before Buen Camino Peter
 

Loja

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plan is to walk the camino in April of 2018
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.


Good morning,

Your words are potent to me. Thank you! I am 58 and I had planned to do the camino in April. Things at work took a change and I am in a Supervisory position (losing one of my managers, expectantly) I HAVE to be able to do payroll while gone. I'm a bit apprehensive. I certainly not a techy... I would love to hear moe..

Thank you!
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I have nothing against you taking your iPad-- But I do have a story about why I'd like to be unplugged. I was walking a few weeks ago, with my iPhone. I use it to check in with my husband in the evenings-- so we can let each other know we are alright. But.. he kept texting me. I mean, I swear, every 15 minutes. I ended up switching it off and then feeling guilty (and worried). So I switched it back on. I ignored the texts, but then felt guilty. And then he was texting me about renting a car if the car repair shop couldn't fix the car the next day. Where should he rent a car? Did we have points? How do they work? I told him I'd take care of it, if the car couldn't get fixed. -- Yes, but what if he couldn't get a car downtown, but had to get to the airport. (OMG!) And here I am walking my camino, and I'm discussing rental car points! Then I said that my phone was almost out of power and he suggested I get my spare battery out of my pack and use it. Right. The spare battery was at the bottom of my pack. I texted him this (as I was trying to navigate one of those hills near Saugues, France.). He suggested I stop walking, unpack and find it. Argh! -- So this problem may not be a connectivity problem, but a relationship problem. But my next Camino, I'm putting my phone on airplane mode. ---
 
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Loja

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plan is to walk the camino in April of 2018
I have nothing against you taking your iPad-- But I do have a story about why I'd like to be unplugged. I was walking a few weeks ago, with my iPhone. I use it to check in with my husband in the evenings-- so we can let each other know we are alright. But.. he kept texting me. I mean, I swear, every 15 minutes. I ended up switching it off and then feeling guilty (and worried). So I switched it back on. I ignored the texts, but then felt guilty. And then he was texting me about renting a car if the car repair shop couldn't fix the car the next day. Where should he rent a car? Did we have points? How do they work? I told him I'd take care of it, if the car couldn't get fixed. -- Yes, but what if he couldn't get a car downtown, but had to get to the airport. (OMG!) And here I am walking my camino, and I'm discussing rental car points! Then I said that my phone was almost out of power and he suggested I get my spare battery out of my pack and use it. Right. The spare battery was at the bottom of my pack. I texted him this (as I was trying to navigate one of those hills near Saugues, France.). He suggested I stop walking, unpack and find it. Argh! -- So this problem may not be a connectivity problem, but a relationship problem. But my next Camino, I'm putting my phone on airplane mode. ---


I so get it! I was looking forward to the solitude or being away. Now that I'm losing several employees.. its tough, perhaps I may have to postpone? Thank you ! Good Luck! I' Jealous!
 

Fonzie

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
The French Way (2018)
I am an ultralight backpacker who has thru hiked both the PCT and Colorado Trail and thousands of miles of other distance hikes over the decades. Every piece of gear I have is based on ounce-consciousness and minimalist/multitasking need. My base weight for 7 days on the trail is a bit over 9 pounds.... add food and fuel and other consumables, and the pack's total weight hovers around 16 pounds.

Believe me when I say that a bag liner provides little extra 'bulk'. I have no idea what extra attention is needed as loading or unloading a pack requires no real extra effort with a bag liner. You are right about liners not keeping a backpack dry, and a wet backpack adds weight; not much, but some. Of course, backpacks dry out pretty quickly.

I use a poncho, as mentioned in a post above. It keeps my pack and straps and waist belt totally dry. The key is to make sure that it is big enough to easily slip on and to thoroughly cover both you and your pack with enough room so that there is adequate air movement inside to reduce sweat buildup. I backpack in shorts all the time, unless the temp drops below 40 degrees F, then I put on a light pair of smartwool-type bottom leggings/longjohns. That means my legs may get wet, but they dry off quite nicely. I have a 1.5 ounce rain skirt / kilt that can be quickly wrapped around my waist should I not want my legs to get wet. (The rain kilt is also great when its not raining, but you are travelling thru wet brush and grasses along the trail).

As I mentioned before, I carry my poncho, which rolls up about the size of a 1 liter water bottle, in a reachable side pocket of my pack, which also holds my rain kilt. If it starts raining, I don't need to stop and take off my pack, I slow my pace a bit, reach into the side pocket to grab the poncho, and slip it on. I takes all of about 15 seconds at most. When the rain stops, it is just as simple and quick to take the poncho off and stash it. Over the course of a day, where one travels through off and on rain showers, the amount of time and energy spend putting on and taking off raingear is dramatically minimized with a poncho.

I've never had my backpack get wet, and on Camino -- if I needed to leave my pack outside a small bar or tiny mercado -- I can wrap the bag in the poncho before I set it down outside. Other multi-tasking includes having the ability to set a tarp for rain or sun shade when taking a long break, or use as a groundsheet when needing to kick back and lay down or eat lunch.

Lots of folks like the rain jacket, rain pants, pack cover combination; personal preference is the key to what one is comfortable using.

Hi Dave,

Can you provide specific dependable brands of the items that you mentioned? (Poncho/backpack/backpack liner). I am looking to plan my first Camino trip and need some tips regarding reliable good quality brands. Also, I am looking to pack as little as possible so any ideas on size of backpack is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I have nothing against you taking your iPad-- But I do have a story about why I'd like to be unplugged. ......The spare battery was at the bottom of my pack. I texted him this (as I was trying to navigate one of those hills near Saugues, France.). He suggested I stop walking, unpack and find it. Argh! -- So this problem may not be a connectivity problem, but a relationship problem. But my next Camino, I'm putting my phone on airplane mode. ---

This story made me laugh. As did the text I received from my husband ("URGENT") asking me how to work the remote for the TV and speaker so he could turn on the sound.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Hi Dave,

Can you provide specific dependable brands of the items that you mentioned? (Poncho/backpack/backpack liner). I am looking to plan my first Camino trip and need some tips regarding reliable good quality brands. Also, I am looking to pack as little as possible so any ideas on size of backpack is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Current:
-- Backpack: Gossamer Gear Mariposa. Although can hold the volume of a 60 liter pack with the extension collar extended, with the extension collar not used it is effectively a 40 liter. It is highly water resistant --- if the seams are sealed it is waterproof. Another thing that I like, is that it's dimensions meet both international and domestic airline's dimensions for carry-on luggage, if that is important to you. It is to me after an incident where my pack and gear were lost (I suspect stolen) after a flight taking me to the beginning of a backpacking trip. https://www.gossamergear.com/products/mariposa-60-lightweight-backpack

-- Poncho: Zpacks Double Poncho. Although Zpacks states that it is 6.1 ounces, mine is just over 4. Expensive, but tough and reliable (I have over 3,000 miles with mine). http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/groundsheet_poncho.shtml

-- Backpack liner: Any non-deoderized trash compactor bag, of the volume of your backpack, will be cheap and work well. For Camino, I purchased bag liners from Gossamer Gear ($5.00 for two. They are tough). However, since my poncho works well to cover my pack, I didn't take a bag liner. If I use a rain jacket, then I would, and skip the a pack cover. https://www.gossamergear.com/products/clear-waterproof-pack-liners

Please keep in mind that a pack is as individual a fit-N-feel as are shoes. In other words, what feels good to me, might not for you. For instance, a lot of folks like Osprey packs becuase they are comfortable for them. For me, Osprey sucks because none of the smaller volume packs are comfortable against my back, shoulder blades, and collar bone. The bigger sized Atmos and Aether feel pretty good, but they are too heavy. For you, the opposite might be true and, like many others, Osprey might be the cat's meow.

If I didn't have my Gossamer Gear Mariposa, I would have used my ULA Circuit, which is another lightweight and comfortable pack; it was what I used on the Colorado Trail.

As to the size of the backpack, that is far less important than the fit. Manufacturers will usually have two or three sizes of each model of their backpacks. The size that is right for you is one that fits your specific body frame; these measurements are based on your torso length and your waist size. Look on Google and YouTube for information on how to measure your body for the right fit.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I ditched the solar charger because it needs to be stable for far longer than one generally is while walking. But also because there were always enough outlets in the hostels, albergues and 3 hotels in which I stayed over 34 days.

I carried a small 7W solar charger on the Via de la Plata last month and found it very useful. A folding model about a 6-inch square when closed and quite light. I tied this to the top of my pack and ran a long USB cable to the pocket of my trousers where I store my phone. No problem at all to use this while on the move. I slept outdoors in a bivvy bag for several nights and so did not always have access to power sockets. If I had been sleeping indoors every night I probably would not have used it. Given the intense sunlight on most days of my walk the small panel was more than capable of keeping my phone charged.

savfy.jpg
 
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Zelda Costa

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Yup... I'm one of those poncho lovers. :) Without breaking stride, I can grab it out of my side pocket and slip it on; and when I don't need it, it is just as quick to remove and stash. It covers my pack and I very comfortably and with lots of ventilation, so sweat build-up is vitually non-existent. Things get windy, it has a built-in elastic cord that can be fastened around the waist. It can also be used to create a tarp, or serve as a ground sheet. It is a bit pricey, as cuben fiber gear is wont to be, but it is extremely tough and light.. 4 ounces. Quite a bit lighter than what I had in Vietnam. :)

Nothing wrong with other types of rain gear. My decision is based on a lot of experience with all types of gear, and with what works best for me. Other's mileage may vary :)
Yup... I'm one of those poncho lovers. :) Without breaking stride, I can grab it out of my side pocket and slip it on; and when I don't need it, it is just as quick to remove and stash. It covers my pack and I very comfortably and with lots of ventilation, so sweat build-up is vitually non-existent. Things get windy, it has a built-in elastic cord that can be fastened around the waist. It can also be used to create a tarp, or serve as a ground sheet. It is a bit pricey, as cuben fiber gear is wont to be, but it is extremely tough and light.. 4 ounces. Quite a bit lighter than what I had in Vietnam. :)

Nothing wrong with other types of rain gear. My decision is based on a lot of experience with all types of gear, and with what works best for me. Other's mileage may vary :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Zelda Costa welcome to the forum! I use an Altus raincoat with a special pouch for the backpack - available in Spain. Others use a more traditional style poncho. Mine Looks like this:

Version 2.jpg
 
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Russell Klopper

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.
 

Russell Klopper

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese
Just a short observation on communication with a tablet
3 in the UK and many other European countries can provide a date sim for your tablet and now all roaming in the EU is the same cost with no roaming fees .I have the 3 sim in my iPad and the 12GB last 12 months
It was invaluable when we walked from Porto this October
 

Bornean

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015)
Chemin Le Puy/Camino del Norte/Camino Primitivo (2018)
Another Gossamer Gear fan here. My backpack is the 40L Gorilla (pack and belt size small). And those bag liners are fantastic!

Other gear:

I tolerated ponchos until I stopped laughing at trekking umbrellas and decided to actually try using one. Love it!! The umbrella on its own is usually fine, but in heavier rain (and wind), I also have a lightweight raincoat. I am a short individual, so most decent raincoats come down well past my bottom. As a total sweat-bucket, I love the trekking umbrella.

As for electronic stuff, I always have a phone with me, though it is rarely switched on. When I'm off on one of my jaunts, my family likes me to keep in touch every few days via email or group message, because I can be quite clumsy and have a tendency to stumble into things, or just stumble and tumble, usually downhill. Also, my mother (bless), likes to track my progress on her map and to be able to email me all the very important news that I have no interest in about people I don't know.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.


Remember Camino Rule Uno... "Each pilgrim does their own Camino. No one else has the standing or the right to judge or question the manner in which each accomplishes their Camino...PERIOD."

This necessarily includes using technology as appropriate to YOUR situation and needs. It is part of the gear solution that becomes part of YOUR CAMINO. Different strokes for different folks...

You are absolutely correct that not everyone can disconnect from their everyday world for a month or two to go off on Camino and leave their world behind. As a general issue, this seems to be common among North American pilgrims. Our personal holiday and vacation time is very stingy, when compared to other parts of the world.

There are many reasons why pilgrims need to have telephones, smart phones or internet access. It is not for anyone else to judge. Besides, they have to choose to carry the excess weight... In many cases this is significant and becomes a sacrifice in and of itself.

So, to everyone, unless you know the entire back story for a pilgrim's personal choices for their Camino...please butt out.

I hope this helps the dialog...
 
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I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.

Thank you for your post. It sounds like you have wonderful summer and autumn planned. I have noted at times how hasty (and even harsh) we can be with judgment, both on the Camino and, at times, here on this forum. It's both ironic and pretty typically human in my experience.
Last Spring, at a stop between Pamplona and Burgos, I recall sitting at dinner with a couple who said they planned to walk the entire Frances in 28 days. I told them that it was too fast and they would miss a lot. After I apologized for giving unsolicited advice I resolved to walk my Camino and no one elses. That's still my goal.
As far as a mid-length, proper fitting rain coat vs a poncho, I'm of the same mind, though I know there are those who prefer their Altus ponchos. I have an Arc'teryx rain jacket that has been the difference between walking in rain/sleet/snow and having to stop somewhere to wait for the weather to improve.
Buen Camino
 

mvanert

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I'm hopeful that I can travel to Portugal this summer (2018), with my son, to do the stretch from Porto to Santiago.
We are also looking at the possibility that my dear Spouse will do the entire SJPDP to Santiago route in the fall, and that I might be able to meet up with him at Léon to complete it.
I did the SJPDP to Santiago route in 2014, and to be able to bring my beloved family into the experience as walkers will be amazing.
Here are two things that will make the journey possible, things without which it could not take place:

A fitted raincoat with a peaked hood. Seriously. I bought mine from a Canadian company, Lolë. If you are wondering about ponchos etc., just don't bother. Get a lightweight raincoat that comes down to at least your mid-thigh. Then get some decent wet repelling pants. I have the MEC "sandbagger". I've tested these in driving autumnal rain here, and I know that on my next Camino I won't end up miserable and cold, wet, and sweaty from the combination of rain-pants that don't breath, and a poncho that blows all over the place. My rain coat is light enough that for 2 weeks I forgot that it was in the bottom of my pack.

And: a tablet (in our case an iPad) connected to our iPhone hotspot.

I've put this in bold because I've read so much (and endured so many judges questioning on my first Camino) that disparages the use of communication tech while out on Camino. I'm 50 years old, not some grade 7 girl who can't stop chatting by text. We will take those items because they will allow me to stay connected to graduate students I supervise, and will allow my son to continue his university studies (something he does year-round). We are not retired; we don't get "time off" even when we are not needed on campus. Last time I was on Camino I had my tablet with me in order to finish a book that the publisher had changed the timeline on.

If I hadn't had the tablet, I could not have gone on Camino at all. And as it didn't ruin anyone's night if I had to stay at the Albergue to work instead of going out for dinner, I don't see why accusations about not understanding what Camino is "all about" were so common.

It's a common aspersion tossed around in the equipment questions here in the forum, too.

I encourage all the lovely and gentle pilgrims to keep in mind that the ability to "unplug" is a privilege that not all of us can have. We may have ill family members at home; or persons with unique needs that include being able to know where their parent is, and to have a way to communicate with them to handle day-to-day challenges. We may have work that does not take off-time until we retire (even on sabbatical, I advise and supervise students, and complete larger projects).

When people assert that being connected to home is some kind of bastardization of Camino, they are being very unkind in their presuppositions about the reasons we need to stay connected.

So, if anyone wants to know about handling their tech on Camino, please feel free to ask me. I won't judge, and I won't tell you that if you can't unplug you should not be out there. I will say that my solar charger was un-needed, and that on the next trips I will take a portable charger with 2 ports. And if you need to get a SIM card, you can do that in the larger cities (like Pamplona) but you may need a bridging plan for the first few days while you are "roaming" on your home-provider plan.

You are so on the mark.

I, too, need to be able to connect to loved ones and clients. My loved ones support me, my clients make it affordable. If I couldn't, I would not be able to be on camino, it's really that simple for me. I need both, the camino and the connection to home especially to my wife as she is not able to do this yet she supports me in doing it.
 
D

Deleted member 32363

Guest
Thank you for your post. It sounds like you have wonderful summer and autumn planned. I have noted at times how hasty (and even harsh) we can be with judgment, both on the Camino and, at times, here on this forum. It's both ironic and pretty typically human in my experience.
Last Spring, at a stop between Pamplona and Burgos, I recall sitting at dinner with a couple who said they planned to walk the entire Frances in 28 days. I told them that it was too fast and they would miss a lot. After I apologized for giving unsolicited advice I resolved to walk my Camino and no one elses. That's still my goal.
As far as a mid-length, proper fitting rain coat vs a poncho, I'm of the same mind, though I know there are those who prefer their Altus ponchos. I have an Arc'teryx rain jacket that has been the difference between walking in rain/sleet/snow and having to stop somewhere to wait for the weather to improve.
Buen Camino
I also chose a lite weight rain jacket and pants , after wearing a rain poncho across the Mesita, trip 1. Wind and rain blew sideways. I got hypothermia...
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I know some people swear by the 'bags in a bag' method, but it does mean extra content, bulk and attention. Doesn't keep the backpack dry either. I would refer the whole to remain dry, and thought the provided pack cover might do the job, but was only partially effective.

Perhaps other pilgrims could comment how effective they found their ponchos to be.

I bought the first poncho in NZ, never took it out of the pack until I was in Spain, and it was raining. It was hopeless, too light, too long, it blew up over my head in the wind. After a while it was as wet on the inside as it was on the outside.
The second time I bought one in Spain, it is heavier, shorter, has a good hood, and I love it. It was a fraction of the price I paid first time around. Didn't blow around, kept my pack dry (although I do have my stuff in plastic ziplock bags) and was easy to put on in a hurry. Being shorter it didn't catch on my legs all the time.
There are a number of different types of poncho, and whether you like them or not may depend on the particular poncho design.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I also chose a lite weight rain jacket and pants , after wearing a rain poncho across the Mesita, trip 1. Wind and rain blew sideways. I got hypothermia...

That can be a problem. But, with the proper fasteners and ties which are easy to use and make a poncho adjustable, blustery, windy weather shouldn't be an issue. Ponchos are great; they minimize condensation during exertion while walking, are easier and quicker to put on and take off, and eliminate the need for a rain cover for a pack. But, as with everything else, there are good and bad ponchos, and price doesn't necessarily reflect how usable it might be.

I'm not criticising rain jackets and pants --- I've tested some for various manufacturers which are pretty good in real world use. But most of the concerns voiced about a poncho's weaknesses are usually due to a bad poncho design, or a user who is not knowledgeable about its effective use. There can be a short learning curve in order to get the best use out of a poncho. :)
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
And it doesn't have to be very expensive either.... I bought two very good ponchos a few years ago from ...Lidl. Still going strong after many kms.
 

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