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Recommendation - Keeping Back Pack Dry

C2

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2014) Frances (2015) Frances (2016) Frances (2017) Frances (2019)
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
 
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Deleted member 67185

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You are correct; a lot of beginners to using a backpack do not know this. Rain covers for packs have a history of failure during heavy or constant rains. I am not saying that all will fail, but the percentages of failure is significant.

Choice of rain gear will also play a role in keeping the contents dry, and the pack itself. It is one of the many reasons that I use a poncho as opposed to rain jackets. Thousands of backpacking miles, and walking Camino, and no matter how torrential the rainfall, the pack stays dry. Knowing proper techniques for wearing a poncho alleviates issues with things like wind.

When I have used a rain jacket, I do not cover my backpack, I just make sure that the contents are keep in an inner liner that is a tough and heavy duty material. Individual stuff sacks can do the same thing when one wants to keep things organized and not use a liner for the backpack. Or use both :)
 
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David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Ah, not fun! There is capillary action from the shoulder straps and also the inner back of the pack where the water runs down so doesn't matter how cute your cover is - it won't keep the inside dry.

Rather than going for one big waterproof bag look into buying a number of 'DryBags' of various sizes - once you squeeze the air out, roll that top, and click it together whatever is in it will stay dry.

Cheapest seem to be on Ebay - put in Dry Bag and go from there!
 

Stroller123

Member
Past OR future Camino
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
I have 2 or 3 very light waterproof bags in my pack to keep everything organized and dry. I put backpack cover on only with heavy rain, but I don't use it alone as wet backpack straps annoy me. I also use it to sit on it on wet ground and to cover things which are outside the tent. Poncho goes on top always.
I rather use single bags rather than a big one for easy accessing the content and because if one of them fails the rest of the gear will stay dry.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
In years of backpacking in both torrential rain and snow, I've never had the contents of my pack get wet as long as I had the pack cover cinched on tightly. At one time I did used to use a pack liner and that probably made a difference (but that was for rough terrain, wilderness backpacking in Alaska). On the Camino, the closest I've come to wet contents is making the mistake of setting my pack down near a puddle and then when it started to rain I forgot to pick it up and move it. It was sitting in an inch of rain by the time we realized it :) The sleeping bag inside the stuff sack got a little wet but synthetic bags dry fast.
On the Camino I don't use a liner, I just put all the contents of my backpack in individual stuff sacks which provide organization and another layer of protection. I have one small dry bag for my passport, Euros and credential which stays in the top zipper compartment for easy access. I think everybody has their own technique that they develop over the years.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I have never used a rain cover. A poncho does the trick ie keeping everything dry but when I don’t bring a poncho, dry bags work as well. I use one for my sleeping bag, one for my clothes and another one for everything else that needs protecting.... Works fine.
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
Walked for weeks in rain. Had my stuff inside in zlockbags, had my back bag sprayed with water repellent, then a rain cover for the back bag a rain jacket for me and my back and me under a rain poncho. It worked. Only when rain came sideways my pants got wet, and the rain poured into my boots. But my bag was 😊 happy.
Maybe a bit of an overkill?
 

alhartman

2005-2017 Delightful 346 days in Spain and France.
Past OR future Camino
2017
Clothing and gear in ziplocks (transparent so I can see contents well). A heavy duty garbage bag as a pack liner. All the pack seams sealed. My trusty Altus poncho over it all.
Gear never wetted; not so for my pants, socks, boots, gaiters and hat.
IMO pack covers are good protection only for lite spritzing.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Davebugg and David above have nailed the problems and the solutions. Personally, I am a 'belt and suspenders' sort of guy. So, I start off wearing a rain parka with pit zips, and the pack cover that came with my Osprey rucksack.

But, in heavy rainfall, water will still get under the cover, via the shoulder straps and down your back. That is when I put my backpacking poncho on, over everything. Like I said, belt and suspenders, both...

The key to keep water from draining down your back, under the pack cover and onto the rucksack appears to be wearing a ball cap under he poncho hood, instead of something with a broader brim. I need a brim to keep rain off my eyeglasses. But, to keep the rain out, I need to cinch the hood fairly snugly about my face.

Of course, I sweat like a pig under all of this rain gear. But, that is another story entirely...o_O

The alternative, if you do not mind getting wet, like in the warmer summer months, is to use a bin liner inside your rucksack to hold everything. A better alternative in this vein is a trash compactor bag, as they are a much heavier gauge. In either event, you are making a choice to allow the pack to get saturated, while keeping the contents dry.

Hope this helps.
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
Dom You make me laugh.
Is there a theory on what’s better, keeping them on and squish squash in them so to speak and take you very own water pool with you
or try to find a place to sit get those darn things off, look undecided about your socks, while meanwhile your behind is not only wet but muddy.
You don’t care about this time about your happy bag and are asking yourself the question of questions: what on earth possessed me to do this?
Of course heavenly intervention is not accepting calls in this moments so uttering to yourself putting wet as wet can be back on your feet and you marsh on.
So with my get up looking like lost sad Waldschrat (Austrian nature ghost) a less than flattering pants situation I embarke to new horizons into the next mud hole.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
No such thing as too much when keeping the contents of your pack dry. The contents, not the pack. Keeping the pack dry is not nearly as important.
I have two heavy duty trash bin bags to put my stuff in when it even looks like a drizzle. That's a double layer of bin bags. All the stuff in one, and the second one pulled over that, opposite end. Then a pack cover on the outside, which had been treated with scotchguard as well as the pack. Even then they are water resistent, not proof. The bin bags are water proof.
 

camino-david

RIP 2020
Past OR future Camino
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
Ah, not fun! There is capillary action from the shoulder straps and also the inner back of the pack where the water runs down so doesn't matter how cute your cover is - it won't keep the inside dry.

Rather than going for one big waterproof bag look into buying a number of 'DryBags' of various sizes - once you squeeze the air out, roll that top, and click it together whatever is in it will stay dry.

Cheapest seem to be on Ebay - put in Dry Bag and go from there!

Totally correct in every way except that it is not only capillary action but there is a gap between the pack and your body which a pack cover does not cover, and in torrential rain the moisture gets into the pack. Use dry bags as not only does it keep your contents dry, but organised as well. Also use a dry bag for your towel to contain the moisture in your towel. Of course this only applies if you use a rainjacket.
 
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Pia Valbak Schmidt

Pilgrim, DK, Caminos 2007,09,11,12,13,14.15,16,18
Past OR future Camino
2007,2009,2011,2012,2013,2014.2015,2016,2018. Hospitalera 2012,2013,2014,2016,2017
In years of backpacking in both torrential rain and snow, I've never had the contents of my pack get wet as long as I had the pack cover cinched on tightly. At one time I did used to use a pack liner and that probably made a difference (but that was for rough terrain, wilderness backpacking in Alaska). On the Camino, the closest I've come to wet contents is making the mistake of setting my pack down near a puddle and then when it started to rain I forgot to pick it up and move it. It was sitting in an inch of rain by the time we realized it :) The sleeping bag inside the stuff sack got a little wet but synthetic bags dry fast.
On the Camino I don't use a liner, I just put all the contents of my backpack in individual stuff sacks which provide organization and another layer of protection. I have one small dry bag for my passport, Euros and credential which stays in the top zipper compartment for easy access. I think everybody has their own technique that they develop over the years.
I always use a poncho when the weather is rainy, and the things in the backpack are never wet. The poncho is also good, when the wind is really cold.
 

linkster

¡Nunca dejes de creer!
Past OR future Camino
2022
I use a drybag pack liner, and have the contents of my pack organized in smaller drybags especially my down quilt. It does add a few extra ounces, but I think it is well worth it to ensure the contents of my kit are dry at the end of the day. I have never had a failure. I really do not care if my back pack gets wet. I do the same when canoeing. Sometimes the packs are sitting in water in the canoe. This method also ensures they will float in the event of a capsize. REDUNDANCY!:D:cool:

PS: When I used a trash bag ... I would twist the top, fold it in half, and use a rubber band to secure the closure or stuff the twisted end facing down in the side of the pack to prevent it from opening.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Walked for weeks in rain. Had my stuff inside in zlockbags, had my back bag sprayed with water repellent, then a rain cover for the back bag a rain jacket for me and my back and me under a rain poncho. It worked. Only when rain came sideways my pants got wet, and the rain poured into my boots. But my bag was 😊 happy.
Maybe a bit of an overkill?
Overkill, ya think!!!!???A good poncho covering your backpack keeps everything dry.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
I carry one of those $1.00 ponchos in my hip belt pocket and it goes over me and my pack in the rain. I also have the pack cover on if there is any possibility of rain. Last year it rained 14 days out of 20 walking days and my little poncho survived being put on and taken off a few times a day, left outside restaurants on benches with my poles, and somehow it stayed together. There were a few holes in it, but it was worth having it with me. I had a rain jacket, but most days it was too warm to wear it. I preferred the poncho as I could put it on without taking off my backpack and it kept the straps of my backpack dry. I was trying to save weight, but on my next camino I will bring an umbrella as well.

I hiked my pants up in the rain, so that they were underneath the poncho. That kept them dry most days.

I actually liked my feet getting wet in the rain. It seemed to help my blisters!
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
I used large ziplock bags inside my backpack. I would take a change of clean clothes in a ziplock bag to the shower with me (also helps ensure they stay dry during the shower, which is not guaranteed for your stuff at all albergues). When I changed into them at the end of the shower, I'd use the same ziplock bag to carry them to the laundry. When they were clean and dry - back into the ziplock bag to be packed.

In addition to keeping the clothes dry if the backpack wouldn't, I had the idea that the ziplock bags would also keep bedbugs out of the clothes if my backpack got exposed.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
Overkill, ya think!!!!???A good poncho covering your backpack keeps everything dry.
No such thing when it comes to keeping your kit dry. Believe me, one only has to experience having a completely drenched kit to know. Pilgrims planning on walking during the rainy months do well to add an extra layer of protection from heavy rains. That thick trash bin bag weighs nothing, is easy to put stuff into.
 

Peadarmac

Irlandes Pedro
Past OR future Camino
Astorga-S de C '11,'18,19
St Jean-Belorado '13 & '17
Belorado-Astorga '15
Fisterra-Muxia '11,'18,'19
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
Hello Pilgrim,

A set of dry sacks/bags are your only man . Perfect for keeping all your items completely dry in your rucksack and brilliant for organising your gear......put shirt/trousers in yellow, socks/underwear in green , washing gear/chargers in red etc ..... when I get to the Albergue I simply take out the bags and clip them onto the rails of the bunk for easy access. I bought a three set of Karrimor Drybags on Amazon. They will 100% keep your gear dry.

Rgds,
p
 

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Tay and I

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis " 2018"
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
 
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Stinaw

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May 2019
You are correct; a lot of beginners to using a backpack do not know this. Rain covers for packs have a history of failure during heavy or constant rains. I am not saying that all will fail, but the percentages of failure is significant.

Choice of rain gear will also play a role in keeping the contents dry, and the pack itself. It is one of the many reasons that I use a poncho as opposed to rain jackets. Thousands of backpacking miles, and walking Camino, and no matter how torrential the rainfall, the pack stays dry. Knowing proper techniques for wearing a poncho alleviates issues with things like wind.

When I have used a rain jacket, I do not cover my backpack, I just make sure that the contents are keep in an inner liner that is a tough and heavy duty material. Individual stuff sacks can do the same thing when one wants to keep things organized and not use a liner for the backpack. Or use both :)
Ok, what are the proper techniques for wearing a poncho?
 

steve cole

Member
Past OR future Camino
Starting the french way today
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
. Refuse sack is better,. A bin Liner will rip easy. But you are thinking in the right direction 👍
 

Mugatu

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.

I keep 98% of my items organized in S2S Silnylon dry sacks, perfect for organization, compression, UL, & added protection
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
Ok, what are the proper techniques for wearing a poncho?
There is none. Just make sure it is a quality poncho, waterproof, lightweight (important) and is big enough to cover you and your pack with adequate length.
I suppose have a friend assist you with making sure it is snapped together and draped over the pack and not hung up on something, otherwise no special techniques.
The advantage a poncho has is breathability. That open bottom allows the air to circulate around you while having an actual waterproof (not just water resistant) covering over you and your kit.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
There is none. Just make sure it is a quality poncho, waterproof, lightweight (important) and is big enough to cover you and your pack with adequate length.
I suppose have a friend assist you with making sure it is snapped together and draped over the pack and not hung up on something, otherwise no special techniques.
The advantage a poncho has is breathability. That open bottom allows the air to circulate around you while having an actual waterproof (not just water resistant) covering over you and your kit.

Exactly!!! The calmer the wind, the more open one keeps the poncho... things like fully opening arm holes. Extending the bottom opening. Opening the head space. As wind speed picks up, then reduce the ballooning effect by closing the bottom more and the arm openings and the opening for the head. As the wind speed increases even more, then using a bit of cord to lightly tie the poncho at the waist. My poncho has one 'built-in'.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2021
Past OR future Camino
2016
When I am day hiking I put a poncho in for emergency shelter and don't like them for hiking. While walking the Frances in the winter of '16' I witness other pilgrims wearing the Altus Poncho/rain coat, now I would consider using one of those and I may for our walk next fall.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I have used the Sea to Summit Siliconized Nylon backpacking poncho on my Caminos for several years. One problem with this, otherwise excellent Camino poncho, is that the plastic / nylon snaps do not stay fastened in any sort of wind.

After several different attempts to remedy this problem using tape and adhesive reflective patches, a tube of Super Glue solved the problem...permanently.

It simply works. The plastic fasteners now stay connected. I stay drier...it's a relative thing... But, if you have a similar problem with plastic snaps on most any poncho, consider this 'nuclear option..."o_O
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
The back ( sorry the sack*) cover is not optimal until it has been properly proofed with silicone or the like.
Osprey covers can be detatched at some models and hung on a line and sprayed properly,
I do it twice over and it improves my chances considerably.
Factory proofing is not enough!
corrected*
 
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AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner

I start with a (very lightweight) waterprooof pack from zPacks. I also needed a bag (with handle) to keep straps and belts out of harms way when travelling, especially by air. zPacks made one that also acts as a liner. First job done.

For me, I started using a ground sheet (I carry a tent) that doubled as a poncho. That plan failed the day a strong wind came up followed a few minutes later by a cloudburst. The rain got me wet and the wind got me cold. With the swirling wind there was no way I could get the poncho over. With 10 km still to go to the next town I was saved by damsel in a white car. To make me feel more comfortable, she started a haka while we were underway :eek::eek:

Later, at Burgos, I purchased a red Altus at Base. Now that is my outer layer for cold, my wind breaker and my rain cover. I keep it strapped across the top of the pack. So the Altus also acts as visual inidcator for following traffic. Wow, four uses for one item. But the ground sheet / poncho is now just a ground sheet.

@C2 , I hope that gives more grist to your thinking.

And, for when you are underway, I say kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 
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C2

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2014) Frances (2015) Frances (2016) Frances (2017) Frances (2019)
I start with a (very lightweight) waterprooof pack from zPacks. I also needed a bag (with handle) to keep straps and belts out of harms way when travelling, especially by air. zPacks made one that also acts as a liner. First job done.

For me, I started using a ground sheet (I carry a tent) that doubled as a poncho. That plan failed the day a strong wind came up followed a few minutes later by a cloudburst. The rain got me wet and the wind got me cold. With the swirling wind there was no way I could get the poncho over. With 10 km still to go to the next town I was saved by damsel in a white car. To make me feel more comfortable, she started a haka while we were underway :eek::eek:

Later, at Burgos, I purchased a red Altus at Base. Now that is my outer layer for cold, my wind breaker and my rain cover. I keep it strapped across the top of the pack. So the Altus also acts as visual inidcator for following traffic. Wow, four uses for one item. But the ground sheet / poncho is now just a ground sheet.

@C2 , I hope that gives more grist to your thinking.

And, for when you are underway, I say kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
Thanks for your good wishes. Only 68 days to go not that I’m counting haha
 
D

Deleted member 77020

Guest
You are correct; a lot of beginners to using a backpack do not know this. Rain covers for packs have a history of failure during heavy or constant rains. I am not saying that all will fail, but the percentages of failure is significant.

Choice of rain gear will also play a role in keeping the contents dry, and the pack itself. It is one of the many reasons that I use a poncho as opposed to rain jackets. Thousands of backpacking miles, and walking Camino, and no matter how torrential the rainfall, the pack stays dry. Knowing proper techniques for wearing a poncho alleviates issues with things like wind.

When I have used a rain jacket, I do not cover my backpack, I just make sure that the contents are keep in an inner liner that is a tough and heavy duty material. Individual stuff sacks can do the same thing when one wants to keep things organized and not use a liner for the backpack. Or use both :)
I have done 10 or so Caminos and never have had that problem. When it starts to rain I use the poncho that covers me and the backpack. It's called Altus. I bought 8 yrs ago in SJPD and has lasted well.
 

Marcus-UK

Old Git
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017 Considering Invierno late (2020) In lieu of VdlP (2020)
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
The simplest option is to buy cheap plastic builders refuse sacks, which are both lightweight and waterproof. To seal just use one of those plastic sandwich clips or a combination of folding the top and placing upside down in your pack (Counter intuitive but it does work). Then put all your stuff in 2 or three bags inside your pack. You could aslo use proprietary dry sacks but these generally very heavy. If you are fast enough to put it on, a poncho will keep both you and your pack dry.
 

John H.

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF - 2017
CP Central - 2017
CP Coastal - 2018
CF - [hopefully again someday]
Although the ponchos are a little warm to walk in they keep the pack dry. I would be without a poncho
Agree. I recommend a rain cover for the backpack and a fitted rain poncho that covered me and my pack. Priceless combination.
 

LynnG

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Plan to walk in 2019
You are correct; a lot of beginners to using a backpack do not know this. Rain covers for packs have a history of failure during heavy or constant rains. I am not saying that all will fail, but the percentages of failure is significant.

Choice of rain gear will also play a role in keeping the contents dry, and the pack itself. It is one of the many reasons that I use a poncho as opposed to rain jackets. Thousands of backpacking miles, and walking Camino, and no matter how torrential the rainfall, the pack stays dry. Knowing proper techniques for wearing a poncho alleviates issues with things like wind.

When I have used a rain jacket, I do not cover my backpack, I just make sure that the contents are keep in an inner liner that is a tough and heavy duty material. Individual stuff sacks can do the same thing when one wants to keep things organized and not use a liner for the backpack. Or use both :)
Can you share your proper techniques for wearing a poncho in rain/wind? I am walking SJPdP to Santiago in April/May for the first time and knowing how to best prepare for rain is one of my biggest uncertainties.
 
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debbie r

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago (2019)
You are correct; a lot of beginners to using a backpack do not know this. Rain covers for packs have a history of failure during heavy or constant rains. I am not saying that all will fail, but the percentages of failure is significant.

Choice of rain gear will also play a role in keeping the contents dry, and the pack itself. It is one of the many reasons that I use a poncho as opposed to rain jackets. Thousands of backpacking miles, and walking Camino, and no matter how torrential the rainfall, the pack stays dry. Knowing proper techniques for wearing a poncho alleviates issues with things like wind.

When I have used a rain jacket, I do not cover my backpack, I just make sure that the contents are keep in an inner liner that is a tough and heavy duty material. Individual stuff sacks can do the same thing when one wants to keep things organized and not use a liner for the backpack. Or use both :)
Could you share your tips on poncho wearing? Ta
 

Alasdair Williamson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Setting off on the French route on Wednesday 13th June
I started from SJPdP on 13th June last year crossing the Pyrenees in torrential rain. Coming from Scotland, I am fairly used to heavy rain when walking in the Scottish Highlands and I have a fully waterproof backpack liner which was invaluable.
 

Dennis Ferguson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May 2016
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
Hi, I used an All in One waterproof rainware coat that covers the backpack and your body. I had no problems once I figured out how to stop the bottom of the coat flapping around. Cheap on EBay....but get a size larger. Have a blessed Camino.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
The only downside I found to using a poncho system as opposed to rain jacket/pants combo to stay dry on the Camino is the lack of versatility with the poncho. It works great most of the time (assuming the wind is not too strong) but is not very practical to wear after you have finished walking for the day and are going out and about in a town/city and the weather still drizzly. Also, and this is just a personal thing for me, I just don't like walking about with a poncho on around town.
The only time I walked the Camino when there a lot of inclement weather I used my poncho for almost all of it. A really good ultralight one, not expensive. When there was only about two weeks left, and inclement weather still in the horizon, I stopped in a sports shoppe and bought a packable rain jacket/parka (I don't mind my legs getting rained on) which was actually on sale, 50% off. It was a good one and kept me dry and more practical to go about town in. I then left my poncho on a donativo table at an albergue.
A poncho is less practical when one goes by the philosophy of everything you carry having more than one use. The rain parka also doubles as a layer of warmth when it's not raining and may be chilly about. Just as a fleece jacket can be worn at night when you sleep to act as a layer of warmth allowing you to carry a lighter sleep system. I have arrived at Santiago before with a poncho in my pack that was never used. Had it been a rain jacket it would have been worn when chilly about and I would have left my fleece at home.
 
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camino.ninja

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 5 6,16,17,18,19,20
Primiti+Salvador 19
Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.

Use a rainponcho with sleeves and closed in the sides. They are available in outdoor stores in Spain but hard to come around online.
 

HikingGeo

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2017-Sarria to Santiago and Lires to Finisterre
I used the rain cover as well as compactor bags. Probably overkill, but the contents stayed dry. I went the rain jacket route and wore rain pants during heavy rains. Stayed dry except for my feet.
 

camino.ninja

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 5 6,16,17,18,19,20
Primiti+Salvador 19
Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
I used the rain cover as well as compactor bags. Probably overkill, but the contents stayed dry. I went the rain jacket route and wore rain pants during heavy rains. Stayed dry except for my feet.

Shoes with an OutDry membrane (Colombia or other) with gaitors and then rainpants on top should keep your feet dry :)
 

Jackieduda

Member
Past OR future Camino
CF September (2018)
Here is what kept my pack and me dry on my last day, which was torrential rain: 1/ everything in my pack is inside a ziplock bag...like cheap little packing cubes, these also keep everything organized. 2/ pack a couple of those cheap, see thru rain ponchos you buy for a dollar, 3/ put large sandwich bags over your socks before you put your shoes on when it is raining that morning. No fancy, expensive stuff, and i was never wet until i stepped into a puddle deeper than my walking shoes on the very last hour of my entire trip. Believe it!
Jackie
(Jacscamino.wordpress.com)
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Lol you are too funny please let me know if they work
Jump into the shower with them on. That should tell you if you got it right!

Lol.
I should have said ‘I don’t know how to fasten them’... I need to go back to the shop and ask. I belong to a group of walkers and none of them knew either 😕


This forum helps in ways you didn’t know existed! :D Found the link to show you and I just read it for the first time ‘cut to size’. Sorted! Thank you all :D
 
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Primitivo Sept 2021
I’ve found a double approach works well. Dry bags and poncho work a treat. Ponchos are almost super powered things. They keep you dry, your equipment dry, can serve as a wet ground picnic blanket, folded up is a nice seat cushion for hard and/damp ground/seats, a lean-to/awning, or a tent if you have a (close) friend who will snap their poncho to yours.
 

cbacino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
On two separate occasions I was walking in torrential rain, ironically both times I have left Astorga, and within half an hour or so became not only drenched but the contents on my backpack were also saturated. Foolishly I assumed that the rain cover was supposed at least to keep the pack dry although I was aware that no clothing is sufficiently water resistant if the rain is too heavy to keep me dry. I am walking again from SJPdP in April and this time intend to keep the entire contents of my pack contained in a plastic bin liner. Shame I didn't think of this before but I would thoroughly recommend it to any newbies. Perhaps its just me and everyone else does it as a matter of course.
Line the inside of the pack with a trash compactor bag; they’re sturdy enough to last 1000+ miles and cost $1. At night put your pack inside it as bedbug prevention. Pack covers simply do not work. I use an umbrella instead of a raincoat or poncho (threw mine away; they don’t work well either).
 

Oravasaari

Helsinki, Finland
Past OR future Camino
2015 SJpdP to Fistera, 2016 Leon to Fistera, 2017 CF-Salvadore-Primitivo, 2018 CF run/walk
I've always used a drybag and never worry about the rucksack getting wet (if it does it gives the sweaty straps a good rinse anyway). I use a drybag mainly because it is a great space saver - stuff everything in then sit on it to expel the air, then roll up tight. Saves about 50% of volume for compressibles like the sleeping bag, towel and clothes.
 

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