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Question about raintrousers

Past OR future Camino
2021
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies
 
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Jimmy
Past OR future Camino
2019
I’ve taken a pair on two Camino walks, 46 days the first time and 24 days the second time before I finally chucked them in the bin. Used them twice in rain and they got hot and uncomfortable and my shoes and socks still got wet anyway. In short, useless. So, from where I stand, not worth the weight or the bother.
Edit: I forgot to mention, I cut them down into shorts before chucking them out. They were more useful as shorts but even then I found them bothersome. If I can keep the top half dry, hips and above, I’m a happy chappy!!
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
The best kit for rain is the Altus poncho, covers everything, has sleeves, and after it stops raining it can be worn like a superman cape while it dries out. It does become damp inside but then so does everything designed to keep the rain off. Can be hung up in an albergue to provide privacy if you're in a bottom bunk. Has a hood big enough to wear a wide brimmed hat under. If the weather is really that bad i tend to have a short day and retreat to the comfort of an albergue or pension and wait out the storm.
 

OnCamino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015)
Le Puy Route (2016-2019)
HWF (2019)
Gebennensis (2020)
Each to their own, but I would never use a poncho - too much material flapping about in the wind, waterproof over trousers are much neater and versatile too.

Having said that, do you need them on a Camino in September? I don't know. Depends how fond of being wet you are! 😄
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
We had mostly good weather our first two caminos. We had Goretex jackets and gaiters. When it rained, we hiked in shorts that dried quickly. For our 3rd camino two years ago, I had a sense we'd experience a soggy camino so I bought rain pants for my wife and myself. Good decision. At least two days, we walked in steady rain for at least 5 hours and were drenched to the bone, even with rain pants. So we'll bring with us our upcoming camino. And we even will bring a poncho, so can decide to use Goretex jacket in light rain or jacket and poncho in pouring rain. Yes, this is extra weight, but we are sending our backpacks ahead each day via Jacotrans. Bob
 
Past OR future Camino
2022_ViadelaPlata_Sanabres_hopefully
Hi there. I’m definitely with the majority on this one. I’ve walked a dozen or so Caminos in all sorts of weather. I had quite expensive breathable rain trousers on my first Camino and offloaded them early on despite encountering quite a few wet days and even one with light snow. Decided they were not worth the trouble. I’d rather have wet legs. They dry quickly. 🙂
 

stevelm1

Recovering Perigrino
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CP 2019, Jakobswege Germany 2022 or 23.
I used rain trousers for part of my first Camino. They got too hot and I was wetter inside them than if I was not using them. I have read the word "breathable" associated with these trousers, but none that I have found actually live up to that claim. After dumping them I only had one day that I actually had a problem with water in my boots. As someone else suggested perhaps a day like that would be a good one for a short day. I walked in Sep/Oct.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I too have used the same Altus poncho for all of my caminos and they work great. Walking in early September means you probably will not have to worry about being too cold if it starts to rain. I walk in November and December and i always have rain pants. I bought a cheap pair and they work great to keep my pants dry and keep me warm. If it is an especially cold day and you do not have enough layers the rain pants and the altrus poncho will help keep you warm. Sweaty too but warm for sure.
 
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linkster

¡Nunca dejes de creer!
Past OR future Camino
2022
I took an Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap on my first Camino. It packed down to the size of my fist which was great. I just kept it in my rain jacket pocket. The con was that the silnylon flipped around too much in the wind. In addition, it is semi-transparent. The latter made me uncomfortable on wash days when all my other clothes were in the washer and dryer.

I have since switched to a Zpacks Vertice Rain Kilt. Packs down to the size of my fist, and I keep it my rain jacket pocket. It does not flip around as much as the EE Rain Wrap, and the biggie ... is that it is NOT semi-transparent. Much more comfortable on wash days with my kilt and puff jacket while everything else is in the washer and dryer.

I also carry a pair of Zpacks Vertice Calf Gaiters. They pack down very small, and they provide good coverage in the rain. I think the combo is better than rain pants. Much more versatile, and breathable.
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
I wash one of my (very) lightweight pairs of trousers in TX Direct. It keeps the worst off and they dry so quickly anyway.
If it’s cold, I wear merino leggings underneath.

I used to have a pair of double layer goretex Lowe Alpine overtrousers. They were so light and effective that my trousers used to dry out underneath them.
I had to part with them after they were caught out in Chernobyl-contaminated rain … 🙁

Having said that, I’ve been looking at rain kilts recently …. 🤔😉
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
For a September camino, I wouldn’t take rain trousers. For a November-February camino, I would.

A rain skirt/kilt would be a better option in warm weather. Or just quick drying trousers.

The bigger problem with rain is keeping your feet dry. Your socks will act as a wick and pull water in. A pair of lightweight gaiters is worth considering.
 

pjacobi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
I’ve taken a pair on two Camino walks, 46 days the first time and 24 days the second time before I finally chucked them in the bin. Used them twice in rain and they got hot and uncomfortable and my shoes and socks still got wet anyway. In short, useless. So, from where I stand, not worth the weight or the bother.
Edit: I forgot to mention, I cut them down into shorts before chucking them out. They were more useful as shorts but even then I found them bothersome. If I can keep the top half dry, hips and above, I’m a happy chappy!!

This is a good reason to test equipment at home before bringing it on the Camino. Take a walk in the rain around your own neighborhood and test your rain gear. If it doesn't work, try something else. Don't wait until you are in Spain to try out your equipment.


-Paul
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
My first Camino I brought expensive rain pants. I hated them. I found them bulky and hot. I especially did not like the swishing noise. This Camino I have purchased a small rain skirt (some call a rain kilt) to go with my rain jacket. It is so small it fits in the palm of my hand. The other thing is it is multi use, can be used to sit on on the ground, privacy curtain etc.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I walked the Norte in the Spring. It rained on me pretty much all the way to Oviedo with a few rain free moments tossed in as a tease. I’ll look up average rainfall for fall and get back on that.
Re: pants v. Poncho—I’m in the breathable GTX jacket/pants camp. Together weighed less than poncho. Could be worn separately as needed for warmth layer, even if not raining. Could be worn as pants/top over nothing if albergue had washing machine and I wanted everything else to get a better cleaning than hand washing. Didn’t flap around. Extremely lightweight rain cover for my pack took care of that in the rain. Didn’t get snagged on trees or cafe chairs. But this debate has two entrenched sides, as much as the early vs late rising debate.
Whichever you decide I recommend testing any rain gear before the Camino, preferably in wind and rain but shower or garden hose will suffice.
Buen Camino!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I walked the Norte in the Spring. It rained on me pretty much all the way to Oviedo with a few rain free moments tossed in as a tease. I’ll look up average rainfall for fall and get back on that.
Re: pants v. Poncho—I’m in the breathable GTX jacket/pants camp. Together weighed less than poncho. Could be worn separately as needed for warmth layer, even if not raining. Could be worn as pants/top over nothing if albergue had washing machine and I wanted everything else to get a better cleaning than hand washing. Didn’t flap around. Extremely lightweight rain cover for my pack took care of that in the rain. Didn’t get snagged on trees or cafe chairs. But this debate has two entrenched sides, as much as the early vs late rising debate.
Whichever you decide I recommend testing any rain gear before the Camino, preferably in wind and rain but shower or garden hose will suffice.
Buen Camino!
Zarautz seemed a good point to check, you can look up all the major cities to get an idea



It looks like it may rain and could be hot or temperate🙄
Probably have clothes ready for both and check weather the last few days before departure

if nothing else I’d take a light weight runners ball cap to keep rain out of your face whether you take a hooded jacket or poncho.
 

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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
This is a good reason to test equipment at home before bringing it on the Camino. Take a walk in the rain around your own neighborhood and test your rain gear. If it doesn't work, try something else. Don't wait until you are in Spain to try out your equipment.


-Paul
This is the single best piece of advice for all caminos, and I say it often. In the words of my marathon coach “nothing new on race day”. My roommate in SJPdP bought boots that day to wear on her camino. I never saw her again
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
A few more major cities. EA7A8456-3F49-4AC2-B112-B93CA809B5AE.png 738225E6-3E94-412D-9850-5D4428C46883.png 1DAB064D-2215-4936-95EE-FA7B4A7EBAC5.png 5341972E-0428-4DB1-974E-B2C5BEA97C2B.png Depending on your schedule some cities will be raining others just a drizzle. If it were me I’d take the cap, jacket and pants but I hate wet feet and gaiters never worked well for me to keep rain out of my boots. Also this can change, they predicted heat wave until the week before I left for Spain. I crossed the Pyrenees in a snow storm
Hoping your travels are all between the rain.
 

Sherpa47

Member
Past OR future Camino
2008 and 2017
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies
When I last walked the Camino in 2017 in September/October we had mainly excellent weather and walked in shorts . It did rain occasionally and the rain trousers were great. However, on several early morning starts they came in useful to keep your legs warm! Enjoy your Camino.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
If it were me I’d take the cap, jacket and pants but I hate wet feet and gaiters never worked well for me to keep rain out of my boots.
I find my rainpants perfect to keep the water out of my boots, as well as off all of my lower body, and to offer extra warmth in wind, rain, cold, and snow. I always walk in the autumn, usually finishing in late November (this year will be November 29). The rainpants are light to carry and there when I need them, with pockets to hold a few other items that will be there when I need them. And they have never made me hot and sweaty. But that is the point of choosing suitable clothing, and gear, for the season.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies
Hi Lies
I have walked Caminos in April. May, June. July. September and October. I have never worn rain trousers. On rainy days I have walked in shorts. Everything has always dried overnight in alberques. I found September and October to be the nicest months for walking. Hope this helps.
Buen Camino
Vince
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May / Jun 2015
Camino Frances Oct / Nov 2016
Camino Frances May-Jun 2018
CF 2020?
I’m in the rain trousers camp. Lots of section hiking on the Appalachian Trail, plus three Caminos. Took an Atlas poncho on the first two Caminos in addition to the rain pants. Personal choice but having tried both, I am firmly in the rain pants camp.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I find my rainpants perfect to keep the water out of my boots, as well as off all of my lower body, and to offer extra warmth in wind, rain, cold, and snow. I always walk in the autumn, usually finishing in late November (this year will be November 29). The rainpants are light to carry and there when I need them, with pockets to hold a few other items that will be there when I need them. And they have never made me hot and sweaty. But that is the point of choosing suitable clothing, and gear, for the season.
That’s why I wear rain pants.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I will also note there were warm very rainy days when I walked to Finisterre. I wore just underwear under the rain pants and running bra under the jacket so I was dry and not too warm. The pants had zip off legs so when it stopped raining I turned pants into shorts and replaced jacket with t shirt without exposing anything anyone couldn’t see in a marathon with me. Not that I saw anyone on the road anyway, but…
 

Mark Barnes

Old Engineer
Past OR future Camino
Frances - September - November (2017)
I walked Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela Sept -Nov 2017. I took breathable rain pants and I wore them one day. I sweated so much with the “breathable” rain pants on it was better to just get wet from the rain. The next morning when I left the Albergue I did not take the rain pants with me.
my advice is if you plan to take rain pants walk several days at home with them on and see if they work for you.
 

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OnCamino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015)
Le Puy Route (2016-2019)
HWF (2019)
Gebennensis (2020)
That’s why I wear rain pants.
Not perhaps an issue on the Camino, but rain pants and jacket are also useful if you come across a very overgrown section of path, such as we did on our HWF - a track of approx 1 mile when there was absolutely no option other than walk through shoulder high brambles, thistles and nettles. It was warm, but a little sweat in comparison to the alternative .......
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
I do not argue personal choices, which are a subjective thing. . . what someone likes is not arguable. Some folks like liver and onions, others hate both. I will just point out some things that are objective considerations:

Some ponchos are bulky, but not all of them, and certainly not the ones I recommend. Frogg Toggs ponchos when weighed are around the 6-ounce mark. They are made from a 'breathable' material that is proprietary to the company that manufactures Frogg Toggs. They can be had for $10 to $25, so these ponchos are a HUGE bargain for a highly functional piece of rain protective gear.

If I use my Zpacks poncho, it weighs just a bit more than 3.5 ounces and is tough as nails. Nowadays, I most frequently take my Frogg Toggs.

A poncho is far more easily deployed. Since I can pull it out of the side pocket of my backpack and slip it on over my head and my backpack, I do not even have to stop. I usually do pause for the ten seconds it takes to put on, though, because I am a bit clumsy. :)

I do not need to take my backpack off, put on a rain jacket, put the backpack back on. This is a huge factor for me when it rains off and on during the walk, as is often the case. Periodic sprinkles and showers can eat up a lot of time and energy with a rain jacket IF you take it off and put it on based on the immediate conditions.

With a poncho, I can respond to conditions within seconds. I can whip off the poncho as soon as the rain has slowed or stopped, and not question "should I wait to see if it starts back up?" Keeps condensation way down.

Ponchos also create more airflow which also helps deal with interior condensation from sweat. Because it is worn over the backpack, it creates air space that allows better ventilation.

A poncho can work equally as well, and even more flexibly, as an outer layer. The same quickness to deploy and remove a poncho works well in trying to avoid unexpected wind chill. And if the morning is cool as I start to walk, but I know I will be warm after a short walk, simply putting the poncho on for a few minutes and then whipping it off works well to avoid overheating.

Windy or breezy conditions are dealt with by the use of ties which will keep a poncho from blowing around. My ponchos are modified to include simple cordage attached to each side of the poncho and velcro'd when not in use.

On the aesthetics side, rain jackets do have the edge. . . depending on if form is a factor with regard to function.

Aside from it's main function, ponchos are also multi-taskers
  • A shelter lean-to. (A bit of cord and trekking poles make it even more independent in setting up.)
  • A sun shelter, it can be rigged up to provide you shade in hot climates.
  • Ground cloth: Under a tent, or a survival shelter, a poncho can protect you from the damp ground. If you are in a cold damp climate, this can help you stay warm.
  • Wind Break: While a poncho without the liner does not have much insulating qualities, you will be warmer if you wrap up in the poncho in windy weather, this will help protect you from wind chill.
  • Privacy -- great emergency privacy screen when needing to do a 'nature break' and natural coverage of bushes or tall grass is scarce. It also works when needing to change pants or shorts.
  • Sit pad when taking a break and sitting surfaces are damp or dirty.
  • Mattress cover.
  • Can make an emergency backpack or carryall.
  • Windshell to add a bit of extra warmth to layers. Great for cool, early mornings when you need something that can be quickly removed after you have warmed up from walking.
Those are my preferences and thoughts. YMMV :)
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I do not argue personal choices, which are a subjective thing. . . what someone likes is not arguable. Some folks like liver and onions, others hate both. I will just point out some things that are objective considerations:

Some ponchos are bulky, but not all of them, and certainly not the ones I recommend. Frogg Toggs ponchos when weighed are around the 6-ounce mark. They are made from a 'breathable' material that is proprietary to the company that manufactures Frogg Toggs. They can be had for $10 to $25, so these ponchos are a HUGE bargain for a highly functional piece of rain protective gear.

If I use my Zpacks poncho, it weighs just a bit more than 3.5 ounces and is tough as nails. Nowadays, I most frequently take my Frogg Toggs.

A poncho is far more easily deployed. Since I can pull it out of the side pocket of my backpack and slip it on over my head and my backpack, I do not even have to stop. I usually do pause for the ten seconds it takes to put on, though, because I am a bit clumsy. :)

I do not need to take my backpack off, put on a rain jacket, put the backpack back on. This is a huge factor for me when it rains off and on during the walk, as is often the case. Periodic sprinkles and showers can eat up a lot of time and energy with a rain jacket IF you take it off and put it on based on the immediate conditions.

With a poncho, I can respond to conditions within seconds. I can whip off the poncho as soon as the rain has slowed or stopped, and not question "should I wait to see if it starts back up?" Keeps condensation way down.

Ponchos also create more airflow which also helps deal with interior condensation from sweat. Because it is worn over the backpack, it creates air space that allows better ventilation.

A poncho can work equally as well, and even more flexibly, as an outer layer. The same quickness to deploy and remove a poncho works well in trying to avoid unexpected wind chill. And if the morning is cool as I start to walk, but I know I will be warm after a short walk, simply putting the poncho on for a few minutes and then whipping it off works well to avoid overheating.

Windy or breezy conditions are dealt with by the use of ties which will keep a poncho from blowing around. My ponchos are modified to include simple cordage attached to each side of the poncho and velcro'd when not in use.

On the aesthetics side, rain jackets do have the edge. . . depending on if form is a factor with regard to function.

Aside from it's main function, ponchos are also multi-taskers
  • A shelter lean-to. (A bit of cord and trekking poles make it even more independent in setting up.)
  • A sun shelter, it can be rigged up to provide you shade in hot climates.
  • Ground cloth: Under a tent, or a survival shelter, a poncho can protect you from the damp ground. If you are in a cold damp climate, this can help you stay warm.
  • Wind Break: While a poncho without the liner does not have much insulating qualities, you will be warmer if you wrap up in the poncho in windy weather, this will help protect you from wind chill.
  • Privacy -- great emergency privacy screen when needing to do a 'nature break' and natural coverage of bushes or tall grass is scarce. It also works when needing to change pants or shorts.
  • Sit pad when taking a break and sitting surfaces are damp or dirty.
  • Mattress cover.
  • Can make an emergency backpack or carryall.
  • Windshell to add a bit of extra warmth to layers. Great for cool, early mornings when you need something that can be quickly removed after you have warmed up from walking.
Those are my preferences and thoughts. YMMV :)
I can sense you trying to be even-handed there Dave, but you’re still coming over as a poncho-phile.

I often wonder, with questions about basic equipment, for how many people their planned Camino is a ‘first outdoor experience’.

I mean, honestly, how many people who think they might enjoy walking 800k, or thereabouts, in an unfamiliar country, have never walked any appreciable distance, carried a rucksack, considered what to do if it rains, got an opinion about dietary preference, had a blister, booked a train or bus. It’s not exactly rocket-science.

The poncho is an exception. Certainly in the UK it is unknown as a waterproof option for walkers. (Actually in the British Army in the 1980s I was issued with one, but it was intended to be used to form a basic shelter).

Only on the Camino Forum do I ever see ponchos discussed.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I mean, honestly, how many people who think they might enjoy walking 800k, or thereabouts, in an unfamiliar country, have never walked any appreciable distance, carried a rucksack
🙋‍♀️That would be me before my first Camino. Fortunately, it ended up that I was well suited for it, and studying all the options here on the forum was a large part of my success.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies
Depends on how long you are walking, if you are walking for a week, may be not, but all the way to SdC and Galicia, YES. I would take waterproof gaiters/ gemachen? as well. And an Altus poncho and a rainjacket. When it rains in Biscaya, god help you witnout raingear. I walked there in May/june 2013 and it was rain and wind every day. I have also walked in Galicia in October and was very glad that I had carried my raingear since I started in Le Puy in August.
 
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Dawsie

Mature member
Past OR future Camino
Via De Plata (2019); Camino Del Norte (2019)
Hi all,

I have just returned from a wet week walking the UK South Coast Path.
I got much wetter from the waist high weeds by the path than from the rain from above. Wet shoes is a recipe for blisters, and at times I had to stop every half hour and wring out socks.
Experience (and pre-camino testing) showed that no amount of racksack covers, rain wear, (including ponchos) will prevent water eventually getting into the gear in my rucksack - so my most important rain gear are the drybags and plastic bags that I put my gear into in my rucksack rather than water proof trousers or jackets.
When it is raining hard, I prefer to wear the minimum of clothes that are going to dry easily.
Jackets and trousers are best for keeping me warm first thing in the morning rather than keeping dry - although you always want every item that you carry to perform more than one job.

I previously walked half of de Norte in May/June with a rain jacket, poncho and umbrella. One very rainy day I wore the just rain jacket - which got soaked; I didn't use the Poncho; and the wind wrecked my umbrella.

Booking a private room every four or so days gave me something to look forward to when it was bad weather.

Be safe
 

Sirage

Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
Shorts :: ...............all seasons, no rain pants (maybe a rain skirt)
................................................. no umbrellas, ponchos

Ankle gaiters ::......for every step - keeps stones grasses and rain out of shoes

Calf protection ::..elastic tubing (just tight enough not for "medical" support)
....................................from just above ankle to below knee
............................ warmth on cold mornings
............................ protection from nuisance vegetation on overgrown tracks
............................ and sometimes in the rain

ScreenShot 2021-08-19 at 09.44.34.jpg
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
I can sense you trying to be even-handed there Dave, but you’re still coming over as a poncho-phile.

I agree, my friend. :) I readily stipulate that the purpose of my post wasn't to be even handed, but to point out advantages and multiple applications of the poncho.
That's why I addressed the issue about personal choices at the beginning. While I am wanting folks to be aware of why I think ponchos are a terrific choice, I have no basis on which to criticize anyone's choice to use a rain jacket rather than a poncho. The usability that I value in a poncho may not matter to those who like rain jackets.

But from gear testing for manufacturers, to use over thousands of miles of backpacking, I found that switching over to a poncho had a host of advantages in usability and not just in its function as rain protection.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies

I would not walk a camino with out a complete set of rain gear.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Why both?
@trecile Rainjacket for keeping me dry in rain and warmer in windy days, altus poncho for extra layer over my backpack and me. A poncho is not as good as a breathing rainjacket.
My caminos have been in spring or autumn, so I don’t know what you need in summer.
On my first day on the camino ever,17.05 2005 from Roncesvalles, I was soaking wet from top to toe, everything in my backpack was wet too. so after that..!😉
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I walk in tights and skirts/dresses so for me rain trousers are protection not just from rain, but also wind and cold. My Berghaus Paclite ones were fantastic, very light and with zips down the leg for ventilation, but sadly too short. My new Marmot ones are almost too long, but have zipped mesh pockets that also provide ventilation. I promised myself on a wet, cold and windy day in 2019 to never go on a long walk without them and I intend to keep that promise. Combined with an Altus style poncho I can be covered quickly and easily when the Galician weather turns, as it must. Also works well for laundry wear ...
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Each to their own, but I would never use a poncho - too much material flapping about in the wind, waterproof over trousers are much neater and versatile too.

Having said that, do you need them on a Camino in September? I don't know. Depends how fond of being wet you are! 😄
As pointed out, an Altus is not a poncho. It is a loose raincoat (depending on the size you like; I prefer it loose and long), opens down the front (both ways), with sleeves and a hood, and a pouch at the back with room for a backpack. Ingenious bit of kit.
… and, pacé all Altus-philes, provides a free sauna … 🥵
Which is why the opening down the front is useful, as is the fact you can pull your arms out of the sleeves and hang it off your shoulders.

I agree it is not perfect, but I've yet to find any waterproof gear that is. I've tried the goretex jacket route (many different types) but I prefer something that covers my pack and does not allow water to drip down between me and it, and also that I do not have to remove my pack to put on. I wish they would make the altus in a lightweight breathable fabric. With big pit zips. I've looked at the Packa, but can't see any advantage.
 
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chinacat

Veteran Member
I wish they would make the altus in a lightweight breathable fabric. With big pit zips.

Wonder why this hasn’t happened? 🤔


Experience of four or five decades of Welsh (and Cumbrian) hills and high streets has honed my choices of rain protection.
We have every bit as much rain as Galicia, though we rarely have the warmth.

I think @henrythedog has identified the underlying reason for their lack of popularity in the UK. We have no tradition of wearing ponchos, except, in more recent years, as a thin plastic disposable (😠) emergency cover-up at the seaside, or sports venues etc.

I have an old Lowe ‘popover’ that has kept me dry in all but the worst rain, and an old Rohan jacket for the heavy stuff. After I had to let my Lowe (not North Face) overtrousers go, post-Chernobyl rain storm, I failed to find another pair like them.
If I had unlimited funds, I might be able to source some ultra-modern fabric ones that I could tolerate wearing, but in the mean time I rely on base and mid layers to keep me comfortable.

And a good lightweight rain jacket also serves as a windproof layer; it’s amazing how warm I feel, if I can only stop the wind whistling through to my skin 🙄
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
And a good lightweight rain jacket also serves as a windproof layer; it’s amazing how warm I feel, if I can only stop the wind whistling through to my skin 🙄

You are spot on the nose. . . a thin, light windshell will make a 15 to 20 degree (f) increase in insulative protection, PLUS add the blockage of wind.

I will only point out that a potential downside to using a rain jacket as a windshell - while workable and a multitasker which is great - can also create a clammy environment, and if actively walking create potential sweat condensation. So if that is an issue, a separate windshell or wind shirt may be a way to go.

Whether rain jacket or poncho (which could also act as a wind shell), I still bring a separate dedicated wind shell zip up. It adds about 1.5 oz. /93 gr to my closet, but is ideal for this type of application. Based on budget, a separate wind shell may range in weight from 1 ounce to 3.5 ounces.
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
You are spot on the nose. . . a thin, light windshell will make a 15 to 20 degree (f) increase in insulative protection, PLUS add the blockage of wind.

I will only point out that a potential downside to using a rain jacket as a windshell - while workable and a multitasker which is great - can also create a clammy environment, and if actively walking create potential sweat condensation. So if that is an issue, a separate windshell or wind shirt may be a way to go.

Whether rain jacket or poncho (which could also act as a wind shell), I still bring a separate dedicated wind shell zip up. It adds about 1.5 oz. /93 gr to my closet, but is ideal for this type of application. Based on budget, a separate wind shell may range in weight from 1 ounce to 3.5 ounces.

That’s where my ancient Lowe ‘popover’ comes in 🙂
With the added banefit of its being sufficient for light rain/drizzle 😎
And it has a hood!

I do love a good windproof ❤️
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Wouldn’t a poncho be less windproof?
Allowing wind to blow up from below … so to speak 😄
Not at all. And for a quick early morning cool weather layer, I will slip the poncho on, which increases the thermal efficiency of the base layer, or insulation layer if it is really cold, then after walking warms me up after five minutes, I just quickly pull the poncho off as I'm walking and stuff it into a side pocket.

If you are thinking of the effect of wind blowing the poncho, I have two cords attached to the outside edges of the poncho. If the wind blows, I can release the velcro and unroll them quickly and tie them together, which keeps the poncho from blowing around.

But for just dealing with wind only, long term, I use a windshell for its sheer breathability.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Nothing like a good gear debate :)
We all have our preferences.

I have not tried ponchos, other than in my military days.
I was never a great fan, but of course modern ponchos are a different thing.

Rain Pants I love.
But I guess it depends on 'which' rain pants.

Mine are very lightweight (220gms)
Totally waterproof, easy to put on, full length zips.
They breathe well, and don't get condensation on the inside.

Coupled with a similar style rain jacket, I have walked in the pouring rain for days on end.
I have never got wet beneath them.

With a pack cover on my pack, the pack has never got wet inside either.

It's impossible really to say what gear is better though.
Too many variables and personal preferences.
And there is a huge variation in terms of quality, effectiveness and price across these products.
So everyone's experience will vary to some degree.

Would I ever use a poncho, rain kilt, or other solution?
I doubt it, as the gear I have works really well, and I see no reason to change :rolleyes:

For what it's worth, this is the gear I use.


 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Thanks, @Robo . That was lots of fun, I suppose, because I agree with you. Except for going to a laundromat attired solely in raingear. That is an experiment that I am unlikely to try.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Thanks, @Robo . That was lots of fun, I suppose, because I agree with you. Except for going to a laundromat attired solely in raingear. That is an experiment that I am unlikely to try.

Thankfully I was the only one aware! :rolleyes:

It did feel a bit 'strange' but at least I got to wash ALL my clothes :)
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have used my parcho (homemade Altus-like poncho/raincoat) as a portable dressing room when washing all of my clothes to ensure that they were bedbug free. I was in downtown Logroño, and there was no restroom in the laundromat or anywhere nearby.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago 2010
Roncesvalles to Logrono 2015
Hospitalera 2016
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies
So many different answers! My experience as a long-time backpacker is that they aren't worth the weight. I'd rather have a spare pair of pants, for about the same weight, they are more versatile and I can just change if I get too wet. (all my clothing is synthetic, so it dries quickly) I do carry a rain jacket, as it doubles for a windbreaker and warm layer over a down vest. I also carry a very lightweight plastic poncho, which has a dozen uses. And I carry a large plastic garbage bag, also lots of uses, including rain protection for pack and body. Versatility is key, and rain pants have only one use.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
I love my

Lightheart Gear rain skirt.
Thanks for posting that. I've never seen that brand before. People looking for a hiking skirt (and women's boxer shorts to wear under them) will be especially interested. I'm considering it for the pockets alone. I see the rain wrap too, which is probably what you're talking about.
 

Charte57

Carolyn
Past OR future Camino
2021
I was so happy I had my rain pants! Camino #1 I didn’t have them and relied on that big poncho/raincoat thing (properly called a pelerin) I hated it. Camino #2 I didn’t bring them but after checking the rainy weather forecast I was able to buy some in Burgos, they also came in very handy for cold days. Fall weather is hard to predict in Galicia, rain pants are typically very lightweight, I don’t think you’d regret carrying them.
 
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Come follow the vivid imagery of this life-changing adventure.
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).

cbacino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies
I’ve thru-hiked the Norte-Primitivo, Via Francigena, and the Appalachian Trail, never taking rain pants. You want to keep your core mostly dry (an umbrella not a rain jacket). Your legs are fine in shorts, or zip on the leg bottoms in especially cold windy weather.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Lots of interesting replies.

It made me recall something that was drummed into me during Military training almost 50 years ago.

"Any fool can be uncomfortable"

The context was; a practical lesson on how to pack our gear for operations and some ideas on a few 'little things' that might be worth taking just to add a bit of comfort. Like a little pack of curry powder to spice up the rations, an extra pair of socks, some ultralite tent pegs and paracord to pin down a poncho/tarp shelter or whatever. Small things that would have a positive impact on comfort / morale.

For me rain gear (for rain) and my umbrella (for sun) fall into that category.

Not much extra weight; and keeps me bone dry, no problems trying to dry wet gear, comfortable to walk in any weather, keeps rain out of my footwear (reducing chance of blisters), provides added cold / wind protection when required....

P.S. Not that anyone here is a fool, or their suggestions foolish! It's just an old quote :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
"Any fool can be uncomfortable"
One of the sayings of my (now deceased) much loved older brother. When he and family went camping it was a sight to see. They took a big trailer that contained everything. Including a real, full size, queen bed.

I have a friend who has walked part of a couple of caminos with me. Ex army. He has the same philosophy. And a huge and heavy pack, which he claimed was lightweight compared to his army kit.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
I still have the rain trousers and silk liner I bought before my first Camino in 2007
Used the liner in my sleeping bag on my first night in the old Albergue in Roncesvalles, found it slippery and uncomfortable.
They are still in the cupboard and never taken again in 15 Caminos. Also no poncho for me, I prefer a Gore-Tex jacket with pit zips and light hiking trousers that dry quickly.
 
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Malachiuri

CaminoTranquilo
Past OR future Camino
2021
Look into good quality rain pants online or on Amazon. I found a pair of rain pants from a company called Little Donkey Andy that work well as rain pants and casual pants as well. They dont look or feel plasticky and dont generate a ton of heat and sweat. I love having a multi-use pant that is good in the rain and good for roaming about town while my laundry is in process.

Im not posting a link to the actual item, just a recommendation. There are many other options from similar manufacturers.

For years before I found them, I used rain pants from Enlightened Equipment and a couple other companies and always felt like I was wandering around in trash bags. Not my kinda fun.

Gotta add a big +1 for using a rain kilt. I LOVE mine and use it for shorter hikes near home and hunting season.

I test drove an Altus poncho at home on a couple hikes and it didn't work for me. I can see the draw for some, but the odd fitted construction drove me crazy. Test drive your kits all you can before you get on the trail!

Cheers,

M
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
I test drove an Altus poncho at home on a couple hikes and it didn't work for me. I can see the draw for some, but the odd fitted construction drove me crazy. Test drive your kits all you can before you get on the trail!

:) I consider the Altus style rain covering a one-piece rain garment rather than a true 'poncho'; a Frankenstein's hybrid, if you will. I've tried a few versions and never cared for them as they are heavier, bulkier, much more prone to producing interior sweat condensation, and not nearly as quick and easy to put on and take off as a true poncho.

If choosing a 'poncho' for rainwear, in my mind, when considering weight, ventilation, and the ability to grab it out of a side pocket and slip it on while moving (or with a brief pause while standing), I haven't found anything quicker to deploy - especially with rains that come and go - than the original form factor of the poncho.
 

Dilbin

Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
Dear all, on september the 8th I'm planning to start the Camino del Norte from Irún. It will be my first Camino and I'm looking forward to finally (..... Covid) start my journey. The question I have is: do I bring my raintrousers with me? Or is walking in september done mostly in shorts and is it preferable to use rainproof gamachen? Hope to hear from you and thanks for your advice. Kind regards, Lies
Hi. Having walked same route in September 2018 I would suggest better safe than sorry. If its raining then you will be glad you did. I have brought a poncho in the past but found it too cumbersome. Personally I have a good pair of Golf trousers which stop rain, wind but designed against overheating. They roll up perfectly and don't add too much weight to the pack. P.s will send positive vibes from the Camino portuguese in your direction. I start somewhere near Lisbon in September 12. Daniel
 

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