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Snakes? Contact Lenses? :)

Two birds with one stone, so as not to take up too much space :idea:

1. I'm doing my walk very contemplatively and don't really want to bother about the refugios very much. So, its me and my sleeping bag. From experience, can anyone tell me if I should be worried about strange bugs or creatures attacking me at night, if I sleep outside? I mean, I'd try to sleep somewhere safe, obviously, but still...I can just imagine millipedes and slithery things finding me...It's just that I'd rather not carry a tent, no matter how lightweight. I think of all the monks who used to walk across Europe on various missions...they didnt even have sleeping bags. It must be doable!

2. I wear contacts. alas. That means I have to take them out every night and put them back in every morning. This means I have to carry contact lens solution, there's no way around it. It'll add so much more to my pack! Any other myopic done the Camino? :) Have they invented contacts that you dont have to take out for a month yet?

Any advice?

much appreciated!

peace and goodness to all
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Snakes etc.

Depending on what time of the year you walk you could sleep outside some of the refuges, or in a church doorway or cloister. I want to sleep outside the Eunate church near Pamplona this time.
What about a Bivvybag? It is much lighter than a tent but at least you have some protection in case it rains or mozzies and other creepy crawlies come at you?
Can't you use disposable contacts for a month?
Bivy Bags? Never heard of them. I looked them up looks sort of like a body bag doesnt it? :) What about my head? Will it not need to stick out (for air...) and if it does...than I will be exposed to centipedes! Haaaa ha :) How are they different from sleeping bags (I'm assuming I can just throw my sleeping bag down anywhere).

I do use monthly disposable lenses, but still have to take them out at least every night and clean them (let them soak in CL solution)...


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Snakes etc

A Bivy bag is short for "bivouac bag." The shape usually allows for head room and a traditional bivy bag is intended primarily for mountaineers, committed minimalists or as a backup shelter.

Here is a description from a camping website:

"It originated as an invention to serve the needs of climbers who wanted lightweight emergency weather protection for sleeping bags during multi-day ascents, particularly on big walls. A basic bivy performs two basic functions, it keeps a persons sleeping bag dry and increases its warming capacity by approximately 10 degrees.
Bivy bags are designed specifically for:
*Frequently traveling solo in the bush.
*People on long-distance trails or bike trips.
*Hikers who seriously desire to shed every possible ounce from their loads.
They cost about $350 and are lightweight.

You can get daily disposable contact lenses.

Johnson & Johnson make the 1 Day Acuvue or 1 Day Acuvue Moist.
Check out other manufacturers here:

Good luck!
bivibags are waterproof (these days generally goretex or similar), which your sleeping bag isn't - and I can tell you from experience there is nothing worse than a wet sleeping bag. :-( You stick your sleeping bag in them, get in and close the zip (over your head) - tho if it's hot, you may not want to do that. The main disadvantage is there's not room for much else in them, so you will need waterproof material for the rest of your kit. You can get bivi tents which are a bit larger and have more room - and also weigh more.

As for snakes, you shouldn't be troubled by them - they come out in the sunshine, and it's one of the features of nighttime that there isn't much sun.
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ah, oh, ah, the Bivy Bags sound nifty! But if you zip your head in, how are you able to breathe? At 350$ I might be tempted at upgrade my camera or invest in fine wine along the road :) Sleeping comfortably isnt something I'm very particular about anyway... (wine on the other hand...) :lol:
what to do, what to do. Well, if there arent any snakes out at night (good point), then maybe I could wing it, and pray that if it rains I'll have a covered place to crawl under.


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Yes of course there are. And here is a post from another Forum about a snake by the name of Alejandro. Look out for him along the way.

"I walked the Camino starting in Pamplona and ending in Fisterra.
Along the way I met some fantastic people, but a group I ended up
walking with from Astorga on and I were really screwed over by a con
artist along the way.
His name is Alejandro, and he walked with us for a couple weeks. He
told us he had walked from Belgium and that he had been walking for a
little over a year; this is about all he told us that we think is
true. The rest of the story was that he had been in a car accident
and in it lost his wife and two kids. In the end when we arrived in
Santiago all together he ended up stealing 150 Euro from me, my iPod,
and another hundred Euros from another in our group, then
disappearing. When other Pilgrims heard our story they said they had
met him as well and that he had a similar story and got 20 Euro from
We should have been more careful, and I think we learned a valuable
lesson. The next day we caught up with him in the pilgrim office and
I did get my iPod back. The money wasn't an issue and I honestly
didn't care about it. Anyways, I am only afraid that he may continue
walking other routes and duping other pilgrims. Since he walked with
us for so long I have plenty of pictures of him and if you would like
I could forward some to you. I do think it may be a good idea to post
something about this on the web site because I would hate for his
scams to continue. We did do our best to spread the word on our end,
and to send Emails out etc.
Four Photos of Alejandro: ... dro_01.jpg ... dro_02.jpg ... dro_03.jpg ... dro_04.jpg

Thus, kind readers, we see there is little changed since Chaucer
penned The Canterbury Tales. Thieves and con men are still plying
their trade. The 'wolf in sheep's clothing' as exemplified by
Alejandro is as effective as ever."

This con man has been reported to the pilgrim office so hopefully he will be caught and removed.
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
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disposable contacts versus far as space in concerned, you might be better off taking a bottle of solution rather than daily contacts.

Deleted member 397

Im planning to walk from Le Puy in late June and will reluctantly, be taking a tent. I did a lot of searching and researching on the net. I ended buying a Eureka spitfire ultralite fro $140 us. It's a domed shape so you can sit up in it. The biyy's look very claustrophobic and the one or two I've seen here are heavy canvas but I presume there are others. My tent weighs about 1.4kgs
won't you feel conspicuous in a tent? I think I'd feel more cozy in a sleeping bag on some church steps...

As for the snakes...yikes! vipers seem to be rampant in Spain. I hope they are not a problem...I suppose one must be careful when one squats to perform daily basic needs :)

Deleted member 397

The tent is small-about 8 foot long and only between waist/chest high. The weather can be harsh so I will feel much more comfortable with protection from the elements. I anticipate pitching it next to refugios (if they are full) As for sleeping alfresco-there may not be situations with shelter and stone steps will not be 'cozy'-you may be moved on too.


Active Member
Bug-free Sleeping Bags and Tents

I haven't actually bought this yet but I thought this sleeping bag looked good - it's expensive, BUT it is relatively lightweight AND has a built-in mosquito net (I am very sensitive to bugs of all kinds and get bitten by fleas, bedbugs, mosquitoes and everything imaginable in France, Spain etc.)

I also looked at tents for a time and thought this one looked interesting ( but really too expensive. Then I also decided that even a lightweight tent was too heavy, so I won't bother. I have a poncho which I could rig up into a shelter in extremis.
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I'm really quite terrified of snakes. I suppose they're not rampant...
But then again, there are many fears to be conquered on the Camino, and that's part of the meaning of the journey.

Ave Caesar I shall not be put to shame by a mere viper or two. :)


Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2006)
When I walked May 2006 SJPP-Santiago, I only saw two snakes, both less than 8 inches long, both dead (killed by pilgrims' sticks?) right on the path. Snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them. I used to be dead scared of them until I faced my phobia and took care of not one, but three.

The vibrations of your approaching feet are sure to make them flee, unless you have them cornered.

Mark Mulingbayan


Active Member
snakes and co

I've holidayed in France and even lived in Spain for a couple of years a long time ago, but I've never seen a snake in either country. I've only ever seen a snake once in the former Yugoslavia and once in Austria and each time they didn't seem much interested in me.

I'm much more terrified of cattle (especially bulls) and barking dogs. And I reckon I will probably see plenty of both so I those are the fears that I will need to conquer. ... eltz_vacas
I'd strongly suggest glasses instead of contacts for the Camino, particularly if you're planning to camp out. You won't always be able to find a good place to clean your lenses, and a month's worth of daily disposable lenses will take up a lot of space. Glasses are easier.

Depending on the time of year, you're much more likely to have trouble with mosquitoes than snakes. Pick a windy spot to keep the mosquitoes away. I slept outside a few times and never saw a snake. I had some close encounters with wasps and grasshoppers, but that's about it.
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I too would favour glasses rather than contacts, particularly if you are planning on sleeping outdoors.

You will want to bring sunglasses anyways, so why not just use normal glasses with one of the clip on things designed to turn your glasses into shades. You could bring a couple of pairs of disposables just for a change which wouldn't take up too much room.

I am with you on the snake thing, they are not my favourite creatures. I don't mind them if they are not moving, however if I see even a harmless garter snake moving fast my heart almost stops. My intention is too leave this fear behind me on the camino.

Buen Camino,


If you want to protect yourself from the rain when sleeping outdoors you can use your poncho tied to four short sticks. I think that's how they do it in the army


I think you'll find that snakes aren't a problem (unless there's a special piece of fruit like an apple involved and you are naked at the time, and don't know it, and someone else has told you not to eat it and so on...) as they are more scared of you than you of them ... they only usually attack if startled so the idea is to make methodical warning noises and don't go suddenly leaping when off road. At sleepy time they might slither into your sleeping bag and curl up with you as you are warm and they aren't but most unlikely (last bit was a joke).

Lenses versus glasses - I say, if you are female, take a pair or two of contact lenses with you for those 'just in case' moments/evenings/reasons but buy glasses and prescription sunglasses online where they are REALLY cheap - such as (I bought a pair of each, delivered, for £37.50!) so it doesn't matter if you sit on them.

Agree about the tent thing - for me there's a sort of feeling of not knowing what is outside but any hombre with a bad idea can see you quite clearly, bit like a staked out scapegoat waiting for the lion. - I prefer a bag and porch sleeping myself - can always take a waterproof sleeve for the bag.

Knew a colleague once, was a missionary. Before he took the collar he was out in a safari park in Africa in a tent with his girlfriend. He dreamt that a lion had quietly put its head inside the tent, grabbed his girlfriends sleeping bag and was slowly pulling it out of the tent with her still asleep inside. It was such a terrible dream that it woke him up - to find that it was actually happening!

I've just bought one of those new anti-mosquito devices. Based on the knowledge that it is only the female that bites and sucks blood (why aren't I surprised) and that she only does this when her sexual cycle makes her avoid males, this little machine produces the sound of the male mosquito and she hears it and goes elsewhere. Battery op of course and you can just hear the high pitch coming out but they say it is good for 2 metres. Haven't tried it yet, too early in the season.

I'll be testing it soon as I'm now down on the Meseta with my camper van camino cafe first aid station jewellery shop sort of thing, a few kilometres west of Carrion de los Condes, halfway along that long long long straight straight straight Roman (Via Trajan) road with no shade at all - apart from my blue awning of course - come and have a cup of tea/beer/wine.

Last bit of useless knowledge. If you piss a small amount in a circle around your sleeping area mammals won't cross that line (you can do it in a container and then dribble that around) - was found out with wolves up in alaska ...

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