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Spring Sleep Systems

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
Hi,

Looking for advice from those that have walked the VdlP during the Spring months.

My wife and I will be walking next year from early April through June. At this time I'm just starting to look at what might be required for comfortable sleeping. I was just going to take our down bags (brilliant for the Frances in Nov/Dec), but suspect they are not optimal for this walk. Therefore, I'm looking at liners as the likely best way forward. I think this is the way to go, but happy to hear other arguments/suggestions.

If anyone has walked in the Spring and is able to offer advice in terms of liners - it would be appreciated. I've not used a liner before, and expect one liner is much the same as another (although YouTube has educated me to the various materials/shapes/thermal properties on offer). I'm leaning to something out of the Thermolite Reactor series from Sea to Summit.

Overall, I am looking to stay comfortable at night and, hopefully, gain a bit of useful volume/weight from switching out the bags for liners. I'm looking at the Kestral 38's sleeping bag storage compartment and thinking its great space other provisions needed on this particular pilgrimage!

Any advice/discussion on topic - much appreciated.
 
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Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi,

Looking for advice from those that have walked the VdlP during the Spring months.

My wife and I will be walking next year from early April through June. At this time I'm just starting to look at what might be required for comfortable sleeping. I was just going to take our down bags (brilliant for the Frances in Nov/Dec), but suspect they are not optimal for this walk. Therefore, I'm looking at liners as the likely best way forward. I think this is the way to go, but happy to hear other arguments/suggestions.

If anyone has walked in the Spring and is able to offer advice in terms of liners - it would be appreciated. I've not used a liner before, and expect one liner is much the same as another (although YouTube has educated me to the various materials/shapes/thermal properties on offer). I'm leaning to something out of the Thermolite Reactor series from Sea to Summit.

Overall, I am looking to stay comfortable at night and, hopefully, gain a bit of useful volume/weight from switching out the bags for liners. I'm looking at the Kestral 38's sleeping bag storage compartment and thinking its great space other provisions needed on this particular pilgrimage!

Any advice/discussion on topic - much appreciated.
Hi guys, I did the VDLP in mid-April in 2019 by bike. I carried my 1-season sleeping bag (weighs just over 1 pound) and was very glad to have had it in the albergues. That spring, it turned out to be unseasonable cold in the southern part of Spain. As I got further north, although the weather improved and the temperatures were on the rise, having a sleeping bag, albeit a light one, was a good choice. I was surprised by the chilliness of Spain that spring. So hard to predict. But, even when I walked the CF in May one year, I never regretted having that light sleeping bag with me. I’d err in that direction rather than risk being cold.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I tend to get chilly at night and I hate to be cold, but my sleep system consists of a silk liner plus a small down blanket. I chose silk because it is light, and warm for its weight. I sewed the liner almost all the way up the side, so I need to climb in from the top, but that was a personal choice, to provide good closure without the added weight of a zipper. Together they weigh less than 500g and are very compact. My clothing layers provide anything more that is needed (and it IS needed).

I have a sleeveless down vest for chilly evenings and often wear it to bed in addition to the down blanket inside the liner. Or, I lay the down vest over my torso, and wear a second merino shirt for my top area.

When I walked the VDLP in April, I carried a light sleeping bag instead of the liner + quilt. Even then, I used the down vest and merino layers.
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
Hi guys, I did the VDLP in mid-April in 2019 by bike. I carried my 1-season sleeping bag (weighs just over 1 pound) and was very glad to have had it in the albergues. That spring, it turned out to be unseasonable cold in the southern part of Spain. As I got further north, although the weather improved and the temperatures were on the rise, having a sleeping bag, albeit a light one, was a good choice. I was surprised by the chilliness of Spain that spring. So hard to predict. But, even when I walked the CF in May one year, I never regretted having that light sleeping bag with me. I’d err in that direction rather than risk being cold.
Grousedoctor,

Yep, I note your advice. Maybe April/May is just too early to ditch the sleeping bag. Oh how I was looking forward to utilising that little bit of space the liner would have offered in lieu of the bag. That said, likely better park the thinking on storage savings - and focus on the optimal sleep aspect.

Thanks for the advice!
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
I tend to get chilly at night and I hate to be cold, but my sleep system consists of a silk liner plus a small down blanket. I chose silk because it is light, and warm for its weight. I sewed the liner almost all the way up the side, so I need to climb in from the top, but that was a personal choice, to provide good closure without the added weight of a zipper. Together they weigh less than 500g and are very compact. My clothing layers provide anything more that is needed (and it IS needed).

I have a sleeveless down vest for chilly evenings and often wear it to bed in addition to the down blanket inside the liner. Or, I lay the down vest over my torso, and wear a second merino shirt for my top area.

When I walked the VDLP in April, I carried a light sleeping bag instead of the liner + quilt. Even then, I used the down vest and merino layers.
C clearly,

Thank you for the feedback. It definitely mirrors Grousedoctor's detailed above. I'm clearly overestimating how warm it might be. I just think of May as...yeah....temperatures are on the rise, but I really have no concept of evening temperatures at that time of year. Off to Google to have a look at that aspect of Spain's weather.

Appreciate your good advice!
 
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Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
Not really. You are generalizing it too much, and thinking about averages and trends! It will be hot and it will likely be chilly as well. You need to go prepared for both.
Thanks C clearly. Yep...that's it in a nutshell. The 'swing seasons' are a little more challenging in the packing department.
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
I've walked the Via three times starting middle of April and wouldn't go without my sleeping bag.
This year I took a slightly lighter down bag and was glad of it . I do stay in private rooms on more occasions now.
Thank you camino07. I think the consensus from those that have walked in the Spring is, clearly, take the bags! Will now do the same. Appreciate the response 👍
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Hi,

Looking for advice from those that have walked the VdlP during the Spring months.

My wife and I will be walking next year from early April through June. At this time I'm just starting to look at what might be required for comfortable sleeping. I was just going to take our down bags (brilliant for the Frances in Nov/Dec), but suspect they are not optimal for this walk. Therefore, I'm looking at liners as the likely best way forward. I think this is the way to go, but happy to hear other arguments/suggestions.

If anyone has walked in the Spring and is able to offer advice in terms of liners - it would be appreciated. I've not used a liner before, and expect one liner is much the same as another (although YouTube has educated me to the various materials/shapes/thermal properties on offer). I'm leaning to something out of the Thermolite Reactor series from Sea to Summit.

Overall, I am looking to stay comfortable at night and, hopefully, gain a bit of useful volume/weight from switching out the bags for liners. I'm looking at the Kestral 38's sleeping bag storage compartment and thinking its great space other provisions needed on this particular pilgrimage!

Any advice/discussion on topic - much appreciated.
I would never take my very nice, very expensive down sleeping bag. If I happened to pick up bed bugs along the way then it is almost impossible to kill the bed bugs with out wrecking the down. At home I can put my down bag in the freezer but that is almost impossible when on Camino.

I take a cheap ($11-$15), nylon sleeping bag that is light, rolls up small and doesn't have much warmth. If the worst happens then I am happy to throw away the sleeping bag and buy another cheap one.
 
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mla1

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2000); St. Giles (2013); Le Puy-SJPP (2015); VDLP (2016); Mozárabe, Almeria to Granada (2018)
I walked from the end of March to early May. It was both very hot and quite cool. Some of the VDLP goes up to higher elevations. So while it seemed like full on summer in the early stages (high 20s) -- then the leaves were not out in the stages before Salamanca and it was seriously rainy and cold and then it was HOT at the end. I carried a very small down bag meant for travel or summer camping. It squishes down to just a bit bigger than a water bottle. It is Sea to Summit but I don't think they make it any more. Even with that I was sometimes chilly at night.

Edit: I just looked it up - they do still make it. Sea to Summit TR1 - traveller 1.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
it is almost impossible to kill the bed bugs with out wrecking the down.
While I agree that I would hesitate to take an expensive down sleeping bag on the Camino, people should be aware that putting a DRY down bag into a modestly hot dryer for 30 minutes will do much less damage than it would to a wet sleeping bag. In hot weather, the trick of putting it into a black garbage bag in the sun for a few hours might do the trick without damage.
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
I walked from the end of March to early May. It was both very hot and quite cool. Some of the VDLP goes up to higher elevations. So while it seemed like full on summer in the early stages (high 20s) -- then the leaves were not out in the stages before Salamanca and it was seriously rainy and cold and then it was HOT at the end. I carried a very small down bag meant for travel or summer camping. It squishes down to just a bit bigger than a water bottle. It is Sea to Summit but I don't think they make it any more. Even with that I was sometimes chilly at night.
Thanks Mia. I’m glad I posed the question on sleep systems because the clear consensus from those that have walked is the need for something reasonably warm at night. Now I’m pretty sure a bag liner might be risking a comfortable nights sleep. Appreciate the advice 👍
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
I would never take my very nice, very expensive down sleeping bag. If I happened to pick up bed bugs along the way then it is almost impossible to kill the bed bugs with out wrecking the down. At home I can put my down bag in the freezer but that is almost impossible when on Camino.

I take a cheap ($11-$15), nylon sleeping bag that is light, rolls up small and doesn't have much warmth. If the worst happens then I am happy to throw away the sleeping bag and buy another cheap one.
DoughnutANZ…thanks. Lol…if I’m carrying something…it has to be fit for purpose. I’m fast learning that a liner might not cut it in early April/May…so…going to stick with the bag that I know is functional. Thanks for getting back to me…appreciated.
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
I walked from the end of March to early May. It was both very hot and quite cool. Some of the VDLP goes up to higher elevations. So while it seemed like full on summer in the early stages (high 20s) -- then the leaves were not out in the stages before Salamanca and it was seriously rainy and cold and then it was HOT at the end. I carried a very small down bag meant for travel or summer camping. It squishes down to just a bit bigger than a water bottle. It is Sea to Summit but I don't think they make it any more. Even with that I was sometimes chilly at night.

Edit: I just looked it up - they do still make it. Sea to Summit TR1 - traveller 1.
Just had a look myself Mia. Impressive bag. I like the weight, and in particular, stuffed size. Thanks!

Stuff Size[regular] 4 x 8in [long] 5 x 7in
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
We walked in April/May in and stayed in private rooms. We always take the spreads and blankets off the beds and use our sleeping bags (three seasons). I like to sleep only in my base layer for the next morning so I needed my 3 season sleeping bag every night.
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
WTH is a "sleep system?"
LOL...I've just always used the term to describe stuff needed for a good nights sleep while camping. I actually Googled the term and find its:

A backpacking sleep system refers to the collection of gear and clothing used for sleeping in camp. It’s called a system because the items have to work together and complement one another to perform a common function. For example, a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and a pillow are all common components of a sleep system.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2018)
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon (2019)
Hi guys, this is one of those questions that is dependent on you. I notice the cold these days but sleep hot. I walked this year from Cadiz starting 31/3. There was a really cold snap at the start and fresh snow in the mountains when I hit Banos. I only took a silk liner takes no space. Didn't encounter any alberque without blankets. I figured if I needed more I'd grab a sleeping bag from a decathlon but didn't need to. I also carry a puffer jacket so could always sleep with clothes on if caught out but again never did. So depends on you 😀
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
While I agree that I would hesitate to take an expensive down sleeping bag on the Camino, people should be aware that putting a DRY down bag into a modestly hot dryer for 30 minutes will do much less damage than it would to a wet sleeping bag. In hot weather, the trick of putting it into a black garbage bag in the sun for a few hours might do the trick without damage.
"Might" doesn't work for me.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I walked the VDLP in April and definitely needed my down sleeping quilt and silk liner. I also got bedbugs but got rid of them without ruining the down or the silk - put everything dry into a commercial dryer for 30 minutes. As @C clearly says.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Time of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I have two sleeping bag options
a Deuter summer bag, synth fiber, 650 gr appr
and a Sea to Summit TR1, down, zip up to a blanket, appr same weight.

I had some cold nights on the Francés in May and ditto on the VdlP in April.
The thing is that you get to some awfully cold monasteries once in a while, or old schools converted into Albergues and insulation is not a feature here...so cold and dampness is a ferature to be reckoned with..

In these cold nights, I found the synthetic fiber option was no good..
As a Northener I will not go in the summer period in Spain, so I usuaslly go for the down option.

Bring some woollen meriono products that can double as night garments, is my experience..
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I walked the VDLP in April and definitely needed my down sleeping quilt and silk liner. I also got bedbugs but got rid of them without ruining the down or the silk - put everything dry into a commercial dryer for 30 minutes. As @C clearly says.
My expensive down sleeping bag melted in the dryer. I am pleased that your one was okay.
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Time of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
why tumle dry when freeze therapy works as well
- four days at 18 dgr Centigrade or 0 Fahrenheit.


Okey Okey, mebbee you are on a trip and you do not want to stay 4 days!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
My expensive down sleeping bag melted in the dryer. I am pleased that your one was okay.
Wow. Perhaps a bit tooo hot. Bedbugs and their eggs will die immediately when exposed to temperatures of 60C. The melting point of polyester is 230C and nylon is 268C (my down sleeping quilt has a nylon cover).
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Wow. Perhaps a bit tooo hot. Bedbugs and their eggs will die immediately when exposed to temperatures of 60C. The melting point of polyester is 230C and nylon is 268C (my down sleeping quilt has a nylon cover).
Unfortunately commercial dryers don't show the temperatures associated with each setting and even if they did individual owners probably tweek them anyway.

In my case where the bag melted, the dryer was set to hot. I did note afterwards that the manufacturer recommends not drying their down sleeping bags in commercial dryers.

Using black plastic bags in the sun is too hit and miss.

In the absence of access to a deep freeze for four days that leaves me to suggest not risking down sleeping bags and instead taking a cheap, potentially throw away sleeping bag instead.
 

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