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Sleeping Bag or just Silk Liner??

#1
One question I still have is this. We are travelling the first 3 weeks of May 2011 and I was looking at a lightweight sleeping bag but it still will take up room in my backpack. I was considering using a silk liner instead for protection on the beds and leaving the sleeping bag at home. Do the refugios offer blankets because if they do, I would take just the liner which is lighter and more compact.

Thanks much because I don't want to buy a lightweight expensive bag and end up ditching it there as I have read other pilgrims end up doing to free up space and lessen the load...

Jan :)
 

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skilsaw

Veteran Member
#2
While some Albergues have extra blankets, you can't be sure all will have them.
The Camino gets to fairly high elevation 3 times. Roncesvalles, Rabanal, and O'Cebreiro. It can be cool at night in these villages in May.

A silk liner is not enough in May. Take a sleeping bag. It need not weigh not much more than 2 lbs and will keep you warm.

There are lots of good packing lists on the internet. Search them out, and you need not take too much.

Buen Camino,
David, Victoria, Canada.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#3
I swear by my tiny 480 gram down Macpac bag, it is superb, you can unzip the side and stick your legs out, a silk bag keeps you trapped. Blankets are not always available and can be a bit grubby or scratchy. I have agonised over this same issue many times, but every time I was really pleased to have taken my own sleeping bag, there is an element of luxury, one's own nest kind of a feel, which adds comfort to the otherwise basic experience. Cheers, Gitti
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
#4
Janwood said:
One question I still have is this. We are travelling the first 3 weeks of May 2011 and I was looking at a lightweight sleeping bag but it still will take up room in my backpack. I was considering using a silk liner instead for protection on the beds and leaving the sleeping bag at home. Do the refugios offer blankets because if they do, I would take just the liner which is lighter and more compact.

Thanks much because I don't want to buy a lightweight expensive bag and end up ditching it there as I have read other pilgrims end up doing to free up space and lessen the load...

Jan :)
I can only tell you what I did last November on the Camino Portugues.

Not wishing to carry a sleeping bag, I took a cotton sheet bag (your silk is better) and a survival blanket (the silvery thing).* I hoped to find blankets, but if not then this was my method. On two nights there were no blankets, and I found this method really good - I was warm. I did this expecting some discomfort, but thought it would be worth it. It was.

* it was the tube version which forms into an emergency tent, so was double the normal thickness, tho' one could carry two normal ones.


Another reason for avoiding taking a slbag was that my rucsac would have been bigger than Ryanair's cabin luggage dimensions, and they charge 40 euros if it is bigger. They were ruthless in Porto airport, and infuriated many with adherence to this rule. Took their money too.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#5
For me in May, even the silk liner was too warm in crowded albergues. Every place I needed a blanket had one. "No blankets" is the exception, not the rule. Some were stored in closets or drawers. Blankets are rarely cleaned, but everyone using them is inside a bag, as you will be. So the dirt is general dust. Bedbugs may dwell in blankets, so treat your sleeping bag/sack with permethrin before leaving home, and take a little bit of DEET insect repellent to rub on exposed areas at night if bedbugs are bad. My choice is to save weight and space, and take just the silk. Not heeding my own words, I have mailed home a sleeping bag twice!
 

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Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
#6
I took a silk liner and made a fleece "lap blanket"--enough to cover most of me. The combo was smaller and lighter than a sleeping bag. Yes there were blankets in some of the alberques but I doubt they were washed too frequently and now in the time of bed bugs, I would not rush to use them. Remember too that you can wear and/or pile on top of you all your clothes. I also found that if I was cold, I could lay my poncho over me and it would trap the heat. Buen Camino!
 
#7
we brought sleeping bags, and we were glad, because not only are there few places with blankets, it's also the case that you should keep in mind that you can control the issues of bedbugs more easily by spraying your sleeping bag, it is rather hard to do that with every new facility/blanket!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#8
In May 2009 Terry took a bag and cotton liner and was glad of them in late April/early May. Last year we took just liners and it was extremely cold in May, we regretted not having bags. This year we are taking good lightweight sleeping bags, and leaving the liners behind to save space and weight.
Buen Camino
Tio Tel and Tia Valeria
 
#9
I walked the Camino Frances from end of April to beginning of June and also did two weeks in October on the Plata from Saville and I swear by my very lightweight sleeping bag (it even has a small pocket for ear plugs!) I also took a silk liner on the first walk but did not use it once.

That said, as one of my very few luxuries I also pack a cotton pillow case. I think that is really comforting to know that your recently showered head is not resting directly on to the same pillow as a few hundred other pilgrims!
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#10
falcon269 said:
Blankets are rarely cleaned, but everyone using them is inside a bag,
Actually, blankets are more often used when people don't have a sleeping bag. I've seen this time and time again. Personally I would not like to use a blanket unless very, very necessary. You can find really lightweight sleeping bags nowadays (not like my heavy weight supermarket one, bought because there was no other option here in C.R.). I have walked mid May to mid June and mid Sept to mid October. Apart from a few warm nights, I was so very grateful to have my sleeping bag, which in any case you can always un-zip if too hot. Anne
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#11
A sleeping bag of some sort is required in almost all albergues. It generally is required by local health codes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2004 - Sarria Santiago
2005 - Pamplona - Santiago (bicycle
2006 - SJPDP - Santiago
(2018) Porto-SdC
#12
So - you see - there are probably just as many good answers as there are pilgrims...
I took a silk liner and a sleeping bag. Sent my sleeping bag home from Burgos. Then it got really cold! So I had a few nights where I was freezing. Bought a fleece blanket and was ok.
This was from 15th august and 40 days ahead..
I will start 15th may from Saint Jean this year - and I will bring a down lightweight sleepingbag - that is for sure.
Bon Camino!
:D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#13
I would recommend you take both, particularly if you plan to avoid hostels and private albergues. I found municipal, parochial and fraternity albergues varied widely in the amount of heating, and on two occasions ended up sleeping in gyms/halls without heating. In mid-Apr, this would have been impossible without a sleeping bag. In both places, I was in the overflow areas, where there were mattresses or old gym mats. Blankets were provided in one albergue overflow area, but not the other.

The bag doesn't have to be huge. I carried an Australian made down bag by Paddy Pallin rated to 5 dec C, and a 'silk' liner. These packed into a waterproof compression sack and all up this weighed about 1050 gm.

The bag had a full length side zip and a separate zip along the bottom. It could be opened out to be a quilt, or the bottom zip undone to form a tube, say if one wanted to use the toilet in the middle of the night without having to give up all the warmth of being in the bag. Just kicked off the liner, poked my feet out and shuffled to the bathrooms. Not elegant. but I wasn't really that concerned about making a fashion statement!

Some people I met were walking with a very thick liner and relying on the albergue blankets. This worked most of the time, but there were nights where they admitted this was far from satsifactory. I suppose if you are young and can withstand one or two nights without good sleep, that option might work, but I know it wouldn't suit me.

DougF
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
#14
I took a sleeping bag in December 2010 along the Sarria to Santiago stretch. (My 8th Camino). The first 2 nights the heat in the albergue was on and I ended up sleeping on top of the wretched thing.

I posted it to Santiago.

The next night I was cold even though I was sleeping in my clothes with my coat on top.

I subsequently bought a silk liner and that was adequate to my needs. It cost 25€ and since I have two at home I was not pleased.

Since my 2nd Camino I have always used a liner and if necessary gone to bed in my clothes. That has included two May/June and 2 September/October trips.

In the end it depends on how much weight you can carry. As I have to take a fair bit of medical stuff I normally have to use a liner instead of a sleeping bag. It is always about compromise and personal preference.

If you take a liner make sure you know the Spanish for blanket.
 
#15
I have walked 3 camino's starting april-june-september and only ever carried a silk liner and never once wished I'd carried a sleeping bag-the blankets are there if you need them, plus silk liners provide protection against bed bugs,a very useful bit of kit.
very few aubergues are cold and even then sharing a bunk room with 10-20-30 other people creates plenty of body heat,:wink: if it is too cold just wear some clothes.I would much rather do this than carry too much bulky weight
Ian
 

Beverley

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2009, Camino Portuguese 2010, Del Norte 2011, Pamplona to Burgos and Santiago to Finnesterra 2012
#16
I was so happy NOT to carry a sleeping bag on my last Camino. I agree with the liner idea. Sleeping in your clothes is a good option if it is cold.
 

ffp13

Addicted pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Completed Caminos: 2009 SJPP, 2011 Roncessvalle , 2012 Pamploma, 2013 Roncessvalle, 2013 Porto, 2014 Burgos, 2014 Porto

Future: Roncessvalle
#18
On my last camino jul-aug I posted my sleeping bag home and used a silk liner, did not regret that choice, only one hostel (ponferada) did not have blankets (on the beds) but they were available on request. This time I travel one month earlier so it may be cooler? I also carry an emergency thermo-lite 2.0 bivvy sack, it weighs 200gm, it is something like the space blanket material used by rescue personal. That combined with the silk liner should be enough to stop hypothermia. The bivvy sack is a silver woven fabric not as noisy as the true space blanket, but still effective.
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
#21
We have a couple of snugpak syntetics at home, never used on the camino. Weighs 700 gr.

Usually on the camino I use a light- weight down sleeping bag that weighs 400 gr. Keeps me warm and feels hygienic to sleep on/ in and I use the zipper to regulate the temp.

annie
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
#22
Used a snugpack jungle bag and silk liner in September and October 2009. Nightime temperatures varied between 30+ in Valencia and 0 in Galicia. Was fine - kept me warm enough, was light, packed down small,

Andy
 
S

Sojourner47

Guest
#23
I would agree with taking a silk liner, and putting on extra clothes if necessary. I took a light down bag in April, but was plenty hot enough most nights, as said earlier, when you're in a room with lots of others, it does get pretty warm.
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
#25
April 2012 was freezing cold and I was happy in my sleeping bag. I have never been freezing so much in Spain than this April on the Frances. The albergues didn't have heating and if they did if was on a couple of hours in the evenings.

April 2011 was hot/ warm.

annie
 
#26
Hi everyone, this is very helpful.

I am thinking about a liner called Sea to Summit Insect Shield CoolMax Adaptor Liner. It is sold all over the US for $55 and can be used alone or with a bag. Reviews say it protects against bed bugs and is very light weight and cool. Mummy shape.

Anyone have experience with this liner? I wonder if it will be enough (bringing no bag) on the Norte late Aug through Sept in Albergues?
Thanks,
Giles
 
#27
Gilespenn said:
Hi everyone, this is very helpful.

I am thinking about a liner called Sea to Summit Insect Shield CoolMax Adaptor Liner. It is sold all over the US for $55 and can be used alone or with a bag. Reviews say it protects against bed bugs and is very light weight and cool. Mummy shape.

Anyone have experience with this liner? I wonder if it will be enough (bringing no bag) on the Norte late Aug through Sept in Albergues?
Thanks,
Giles
I am bringing a similar bag (withou the bug shield) for when I go in sept so IMO you should be fine with that if you're willing to sleep in extra clothes and don't get too cold in the night.
 

eku_79

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
aug/sept 2013
#28
Hello everyone,

This forum has been extreamly helpful for finding answers to my questions related to my upcoming Camino. Thank you for that! But still, I have a last minute question, before I'm off. I will start walking Camino Frances from Astorga on 29. August and should arrive to SdC around 12. September. Could anyone suggest, what is better to take - a sleeping bag OR just a silk liner? I would like to keep the weight down as much as possible, but I don't want to feel cold and have sleepless nights because of that.
I was recently Camino gathering in my country and people there suggested me to take a sleeping bag. Then again, they haven't have experiences walking the camino at that time of the year.
Please, who knows, what should I do - take a sleeping bag or liner? Thanks!

E.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#30
what should I do - take a sleeping bag or liner?
Prepared for the spring chill in April, I took a light sleeping bag and a liner. I threw away the sleeping bag after a week! In August and September you will need only the sleeping bag liner. If you are chilly at one of the higher elevations, use a blanket. Many places will have put the blankets in storage, so you may have to ask for one. Only the occasional xunta albergue does not have blankets.
 

Stellere

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2014 - con mi padre
#31
I'm planning on bringing a silk sleep sheet bag and a down throw (big enough to cover me completely, but not as big as a twin blanket). I figure it will be pretty versatile, since if it's very cold I can just use the throw inside the silk bag and turn it into a sleeping bag with down just on the top. Both pieces together weigh a little over 800 grams and the blanket packs down very small.

In the perfect world, I'd buy one of those ultralight down sleeping bags that weigh only a little over a pound. But that's out of my price range, so the down throw and sleep sheet will do!
 

irishgurrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2012
Camino Finisterre Oct 2012
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St Jean Pied de Port) April/May 2014
[Kilimanjaro Sept 2014]
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St-Chely d'Aubrac) May 2015
[Stevenson Route, France - April 2016]
The Way of St Francis (Sansepolcro to Assisi) May 2016
[The West Highland Way, Scotland - Sept 2016]
[The Kerry Way, Ireland - March 2017]
Next up:
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Lugo) end April-mid May 2017
[Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal -- October 2017]
#32
I swear by my tiny 480 gram down Macpac bag, it is superb, you can unzip the side and stick your legs out, a silk bag keeps you trapped. Blankets are not always available and can be a bit grubby or scratchy. I have agonised over this same issue many times, but every time I was really pleased to have taken my own sleeping bag, there is an element of luxury, one's own nest kind of a feel, which adds comfort to the otherwise basic experience. Cheers, Gitti
Hi Gitti - can you remember the name of that MacPac model? Been searching online for it but cannot find it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#34
I was in the sports shop yesterday, and was very tempted by the silk liners: No weight at all. but due to experience, I bought a 720 gram sleeping bag with side zip, so could be used as a blanket too. For safety, I always keep my valuables pack in the bottom of my sleeping bag, and a silk liner is not up to that IMHO. In addition:

As a former army man, I know my boots can get wet, and the best way to dry them and keep them soft (after drying them with paper inside in the evening) is to put them at the bottom of my sleeping bag. I know this may sound rude, but it is practical and it works: Arctic survival lesson. Also consider placing wet socks in your armpits during nights: They will be warm and dry in the morning.:cool: You will of course smell like sh*t, but you will be warm, happy and dry. :cool:

The silk liner is very tempting weight- and placementwize, but it is not good enough, IMHO: You will need a (summer) sleeping bag, and it has many advantages.

EDIT:I believe that in July/August, a silk liner will do the job, due to the heat. But this is by the judgement of those who have been there and experienced it, and could answer.
 
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