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Product reviews from recent VdlP trip

#1
We just got back from the VdlP, and I wanted to share few thoughts on equipment:

Packs: We used Osprey Atmos 50 models and were absolutely thrilled with them. They are well designed and showed few signs of wear when we were done.

Shoes: We went with new GoLite trail runners, and had mixed experiences. Mine were slightly heavier duty and held up better. After only 100km the bottom layer of the soles of my son's shoes started separating and had to be re-glued repeatedly. Overall, since around half of our route (the last 250km of the VdlP) was on either paved road or gravel track, I think boots would have been overkill. I would recommend trail runners instead.

Staff vs. Trekking poles: I went with a Tracks rubber-tipped staff, and my son went with metal-tipped trekking poles. Again, because so much of the route was on pavement, I got more use and more leverage out of my staff.

Shirts: I used some old Real Madrid soccer jerseys (dry-fit material) and a Mountain Hardwear t-shirt. My son went with Under Armour t-shirts. The soccer jerseys held up well, but didn't dry very fast. The Mtn Hardwear frayed rather easily but dried fast. The Under Armour held up exceptionally well and dried the fastest. I'd definitely go with the Under Armour, and it was the cheapest, too.

Shorts: I had a pair of ExOfficio shorts and we both had a pair of North Face pants with zip-off lower legs. Surprisingly, the North Face dried more slowly, frayed more easily, and mine even started coming apart at the seams. My son had a pair of Outdoor Research shorts that held up well, but didn't have as many pockets. Best product: ExOfficio.

First Aid items:
(1) One of the best things in my pack was a product called Second Skin, which helps with blisters. I had about a half-dozen of the circles, used them all, and on a couple of days they really made a huge difference. One product I would definitely take with me on another Camino.
(2) Duct tape. One the eve of our departure a friend recommended duct tape for "hot spots" caught before blisters developed. I used it and it worked brilliantly. For the hot spot I didn't get to in time, see above.
(3) Balmex. There's a topic on the forum called "Thigh chafing," which is why I had the Balmex. Actually, I had surprisingly little chafing, but for what little I did have I was glad to have the Balmex along.

I hope that this information helps future pilgrims!

Best,

Steve S
 

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Janeh

Active Member
#2
thanks for going to all the trouble of reporting the above for us Steve, much appreciated. Good to read especially about the first aid gear you took along. cheers, Jane :D
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#3
Thanks for the very helpful information, Steve. I wonder if you have any similar observations to make about the route itself. It's not too often that people report back on how they found the conditions/albergues/markings/etc. to be on the VdlP, and it would be a huge help for those of us who are thinking about walking it.

Muchas gracias!
 
#4
Thanks, Peregrina. I did add some info on the portion of the VdlP route that we walked; you can find it under the VdlP portion of the forum listed as "Updated info . . ."

I would be happy to comment further both on the route itself and on the waymarking, which with a few exceptions was excellent. Just let me know if you need further information after reading the post mentioned above.

Best,

Steve S
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#5
Thanks, Steve, I'll go have a look right now and post any questions I have on that thread. Sorry to have missed the other post.
 

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#6
Duct tape?? Sock liners

Steve S said:
First Aid items:
(1) One of the best things in my pack was a product called Second Skin, which helps with blisters. I had about a half-dozen of the circles, used them all, and on a couple of days they really made a huge difference. One product I would definitely take with me on another Camino.
(2) Duct tape. One the eve of our departure a friend recommended duct tape for "hot spots" caught before blisters developed. I used it and it worked brilliantly. For the hot spot I didn't get to in time, see above.
(3) Balmex. There's a topic on the forum called "Thigh chafing," which is why I had the Balmex. Actually, I had surprisingly little chafing, but for what little I did have I was glad to have the Balmex along.

I hope that this information helps future pilgrims!

Best,

Steve S
Looking at this old thread Ifound some nice tips on first aid items to take along.

I am wondering about the duct tape. How does one use it on hot spots? Has anyone else used duct tape for foot problems?

And while I am on the foot care subject someone told me to wear sock liners. Would like to hear comments from anyone who has used them.

Rita
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#7
I used synthetic sock liners, and absolutely swear by them. The theory is that they wick moisture away from the feet into the woollen sock, and that by removing this moisture they are removing one of the things that leads to blisters. The only time I got blisters in two and a half months of walking was after three days of walking in very wet conditions in the Aubrac Plateau area when my feet were absolutely saturated. Of course, it is also necessary to make sure your shoes are well worn in before you start.

As far as second skin goes, I am not at all so convinced. My blisters occurred as a result of pouring rain: I had some second skin that I tried to use, but I found that it just fell apart under these wet conditions and was useless. I gave up on it, threw it out, and bought compeed instead.

Margaret
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#8
Margaret offered: As far as second skin goes, I am not at all so convinced. My blisters occurred as a result of pouring rain: I had some second skin that I tried to use, but I found that it just fell apart under these wet conditions and was useless. I gave up on it, threw it out, and bought compeed instead.
Second skin as with many adhesive products do not do well in wet weather or on a wet skin. They just fall apart. Compeed has a bonding adhesive that will attach to anything. For example: If you put a small pad over a developing blister and fail to cover the entire area...it will hold under some very arduous conditions, but...when you try to remove it...it takes everything off and leaves a raw painful open sore. Duc tape is another wonder plaster with a similar set of restrictive properties.

Here's the common thread to avoid bad blisters and worse after action remedies.

As SOON as you detect a HOT SPOT (a place on your foot or lower ankle) that seems uncomfortable...IMMeDIATeLY...stop and take a look!

Most bad and limiting blisters form because you think/believe you must: 1. Keep up with your friends. 2. Need to make it just to the top of the next rise. 3. Only 5 km to the albergue.

Please...STOP...take off your boot and examine the HOT SPOT!

If caught quickly and the foot is dry...duc tape works wonders. If showing redness or white skin...second skin or compeed will provide a new layer of protection and a buffer.

Buen ouchless Camino,

Arn
 

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