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Sleeping bag or Liner with thermal underwear

jngminer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April (2019)
As my start date of March 20, 2019 is approaching, I'm questioning my choice of sleeping gear. Before I had settled on a start date I had purchased a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Fleece Liner as several of the videos I had seen recommended a liner in combination of thermal underwear instead of a sleeping bag due to weight. Now that I am getting closer to leaving I have seen several posts about albuerges being minimally heated or unheated and I'm wondering if a sleeping bag would be a better choice. Any input regarding expected sleeping temperatures in albuerges and use of a the aforementioned liner would be appreciated.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
There is no norm in the fittings of albergues; some have heat, others heat partially and some no heat at all. Such is life and you take it as it comes.
.
Thus In cold weather never choose a bunk placed against an exterior wall since old walls are often uninsulated and thus frigid. Since all night heating is not a standard make a cozy 'sandwich' for sleeping by folding a blanket in half the long way, place your sleeping bag on top of the bottom half and pull the top half over all. If there are no blankets put your poncho beneath the bag to block the cold air from rising.

Runner's winter tights, a long sleeve runner's shirt and loose socks and a warm hat are great to wear to bunk/bed when it is really cold. Over past caminos the coldest I have ever slept was late February 2006 in the THEN unheated Hornillos del Camino municipal albergue. Breath hung white in the frigid interior air and ice formed in the toilet bowl. Nevertheless dressed as above I was snug in my lightweight sleeping bag ecumenically named Little Buddha and separate polyester liner.

For more tips re sleeping in cold weather see this earlier forum thread.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/sleeping-system-for-cold-weather.40968/

Stay snug and Buen camino!
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
We started the CF in Pamplona on April 10, 2013. Weather was variable but it was cold many mornings. If I were to walk this route again at that time of year I would bring a sleeping bag. I had a lightweight summer bag plus a silk liner. To gain even more warmth I slept a few times with tights on my lower body and wearing my Primaloft sweater. (Not mentioning my wife here because she had a fairly warm sleeping bag.)

You will probably also need gloves and some kind of fleece beanie on cold mornings.

Remember the weather will be variable and you may be walking in a light top or tee shirt some afternoons.

I know a sleeping bag as a single piece of equipment adds quite a bit of weight, but I would carry one. Just my opinion.

And it was cold and snowing about three weeks into our hike when we reached O'Cebreiro.

Buen camino.
 
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howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
I walked from April 6 - May 14th and used a lightweight down sleeping bag, often complementing that with sleeping in my long underwear. A couple nights early on I wore everything I had, it was so cold - raincoat included! Then later on there were nights where a liner would have sufficed fine. I should point out that I do tend to sleep a little colder than some folks, though on those two nights I wasn't the only one wearing everything. ;)

The nice thing about walking in spring is that as you walk, the Camino gets warmer, and if you get lucky and the weather cooperates to where you no longer need some of your warmer/heavier items, you can simply send them ahead to yourself in Santiago (I did this once; very helpful).
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
I walked the Primitivo in September of 2017,and thinking it wood be hot only brought a silk liner. It never got more than 65,and I was cold many nights. Only one alberque had blankets. I am walking the Argonne and Salvador this fall and will be taking a sleeping bag. I would recommend taking one.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
I vote: Sleeping Bag. Burrrr comes to mind that time of year. Cha cha cha chilly. It may only be an extra pound between you and your comfort. Take the pound.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
I walked Feb. to early Apr.

In O’Cebreiro the heat was on full blast. In many an albergue, no heat, nothing. Nights can be quite, quite cold.

I am a germaphobe, so those sometimes appearing blankets were unappealing.

Take a bag unless you sleep hot.

Buen cold and wonderful camino.
 

jony jony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino Frances ( 2007) Via de la Plata 2016/2017 . Final pilgrimage Sept 2018...Via de la Plata
jngminer.........As the old saying goes........better to have and not need than to need and not have .

A bad nights sleep makes a very bad next days walking .

Regards....John
 

SydneyUSA

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 jan-feb (current)
As my start date of March 20, 2019 is approaching, I'm questioning my choice of sleeping gear. Before I had settled on a start date I had purchased a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Fleece Liner as several of the videos I had seen recommended a liner in combination of thermal underwear instead of a sleeping bag due to weight. Now that I am getting closer to leaving I have seen several posts about albuerges being minimally heated or unheated and I'm wondering if a sleeping bag would be a better choice. Any input regarding expected sleeping temperatures in albuerges and use of a the aforementioned liner would be appreciated.
I’m currently doing the camino (Jan 20-feb 28) and all I brought was a sleeping bag liner and I have been okay. I have just been keeping my thermals on in colder albergues. I will say if you’re used to having a heavy duvet cover on you while you sleep, you might have a hard time with just the liner. Its taken some getting used to sleeping without a heavy top sheet. But in terms of warmth, I have been just fine.
 

jngminer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April (2019)
I’m currently doing the camino (Jan 20-feb 28) and all I brought was a sleeping bag liner and I have been okay. I have just been keeping my thermals on in colder albergues. I will say if you’re used to having a heavy duvet cover on you while you sleep, you might have a hard time with just the liner. Its taken some getting used to sleeping without a heavy top sheet. But in terms of warmth, I have been just fine.
That is very encouraging to hear as I've become concerned by some of the information I had been reading prior to starting this thread. Are you doing the Camino Frances? And if so, are you following the Brierley stages and are you finding the albuerges in between the Brierley stages open, heated etc.?
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
I’m currently doing the camino (Jan 20-feb 28) and all I brought was a sleeping bag liner and I have been okay. I have just been keeping my thermals on in colder albergues. I will say if you’re used to having a heavy duvet cover on you while you sleep, you might have a hard time with just the liner. Its taken some getting used to sleeping without a heavy top sheet. But in terms of warmth, I have been just fine.
Wow, that's impressive! May I ask what your outdoor temperatures have been? I've been thinking about trying an earlier Camino but my April walk was cold enough for me. Maybe they just stopped bothering trying to heat anything when April hit...? I definitely stayed in some Albergues that were around freezing indoors.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
Wow, that's impressive! May I ask what your outdoor temperatures have been? I've been thinking about trying an earlier Camino but my April walk was cold enough for me. Maybe they just stopped bothering trying to heat anything when April hit...? I definitely stayed in some Albergues that were around freezing indoors.
If the Albergues are heated is it common practice to leave the heating on at night? At home home I never heat the bedroom at night and have the windows fully open regardless of the temperature, I suspect a lack of ventilation would be my problem.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Check response #2 above re the absence of any norm or standard in albergue heat.
 

SydneyUSA

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 jan-feb (current)
That is very encouraging to hear as I've become concerned by some of the information I had been reading prior to starting this thread. Are you doing the Camino Frances? And if so, are you following the Brierley stages and are you finding the albuerges in between the Brierley stages open, heated etc.?
We are indeed doing the camino frances. As far as the Brierley stages we are doing them when we find that there are open Refuges there. We have made a few adjustments by walking slightly farther or shorter depending on what towns have open Refuges. For the most part, we just do 20km a day and then see how close the next town with an open place to stay is.
 

SydneyUSA

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 jan-feb (current)
Wow, that's impressive! May I ask what your outdoor temperatures have been? I've been thinking about trying an earlier Camino but my April walk was cold enough for me. Maybe they just stopped bothering trying to heat anything when April hit...? I definitely stayed in some Albergues that were around freezing indoors.
The temperatures have stayed between 40-50°F for the most part. In towns with higher altitudes (like Ronchesvalles) it was snowing and around 30°F. I haven’t had a problem with being cold indoors, but I also pretty much always have 2 layers on just because I like being extra toasty.
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
If the Albergues are heated is it common practice to leave the heating on at night? At home home I never heat the bedroom at night and have the windows fully open regardless of the temperature, I suspect a lack of ventilation would be my problem.
Check response #2 above re the absence of any norm or standard in albergue heat.
Like mspath said, there's no standard in Albergue heating. I stayed in a few where the only heat came from a wood stove that pilgrims could huddle around in the common room but the dorm/bunk rooms received no heat. Some places the heating systems simply made no impact on the cold. In Villamayor de Monjardín I stayed at Albergue Hogar Monjardín Oasis Trails; they had a little woodstove and they tried desperately to get some heat into the rest of the albergue but the best they could do was give everyone an extra blanket. It may have dropped below freezing that night; it was 3°C when we left that morning.

On the flip-side, when I stayed at the Benedictine monestary, the bunks were full, the heat was on, and it was SO stuffy but some pilgrims got incredibly upset if anyone opened or suggested opening a window. By comparison, I will take an unheated albergue any day - but then, I was prepared for it, too.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Yes, even the last week of March requires a sleeping bag. I was in Valcarlos May 9/18 and fortunately the Municipal Albergue has been renovated and resupplied with very warm bedding, including the thickest wool blankets I have ever seen. In the morning, it was aout 12C inside and 7C outside yet the day was about 22C.

Not all albergues provide bedding or extra blankets. Anticipate colder, wetter weather in late March / April.
 

Tina B

Member
Camino(s) past & future
walked Camino Frances 23 April- 23 May (2018), Camino Portuguese 2018/19
I wouldn't go without my little 480gm sleeping bag used CF April May, when there was still some hail/snow. I used runners leggings to sleep in.
 

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