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Tent in December

Tagmonkee

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
December 2023
Hi gang, I’m planning to walk the Frances this month. I am considering using a high quality, one man tent that will afford me shelter if weather gets too miserable but also, a place to sleep, if on any given night, I struggle to find anywhere open at this time of year. Does this sound like a viable idea, or am I romanticising, what might be a bit of a harsh and misery inducing experience in winter conditions?
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Sooner you than me. A lot of places are closed along the Francés but a lot are open and there should be at least one albergue or cheap hotel for every stage. Check Gronze to see who´s open and who´s closed and plan not to be caught out in the open whatever happens. If you get desperate, ask the local police, or ask in the local bars. And keep checking the weather forecast.
 
I walked from SJPDP in January this year. Found a bed every night though some of the stages might be longer than you feel comfortable with. There is an excellent website devoted to winter accommodation open on the Frances. Updated frequently. Scroll down the list - the page design isn't the most intuitive!

 
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An emergency bivvy bag might be an option but I am more of the school of thought that you watch the weather and don't take chances in poor weather. The tent seems too much as an emergency option.
Equally the tent as accomodation option in winter I probably wouldn't bother -the CF is used to winter walkers- but the distances between open albergues may not always suit - sometimes too long, others too short. I would have some emergency funds for a private room or taxi if you struggle to find somewhere to stay. Most albergues know where is open next - and aprinca winter list, gronze, wise pilgrim are a good starting point. Though you may need to contact in advance to ensure somewhere is open that night. (Some may close for a few days off, or to do some maintenance work etc that don't always show up on online lists). Also just be aware of Christmas closures.
 
An emergency bivvy bag might be an option but I am more of the school of thought that you watch the weather and don't take chances in poor weather. The tent seems too much as an emergency option.
I agree. I always carry a breathable bivvy bag with me. An ultralight thermal one from SOL in warmer weather and a more substantial one from Alpkit in winter to use with my down sleeping bag if necessary. Used a few times on the Via de la Plata but not so far on the Frances.
 
Thanks for the input everyone. I suspected the tent option was a non starter😂
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
It can be done with the right gear, I've camped down to -5°C on the CF in COVID when there was nothing open. But it's not necessary, there are enough albergues open in winter. You can afford to leave the tent behind and walk the lighter for it. Winter Caminos are the best imo. ☘️
 
Tenting isn't really encouraged on any Camino route. I've never actually seen any kind of campground on any Camino route.
I do come across people tenting, but they are in most cases pitching their tent without permission in most cases and camping rough.
Kind of a grim way to save on accommodation cost.
I'd certainly miss a shower at the days end!
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
The non-tent brigade are insidious! I have a sub kilo which will take anything. TERRA NOVA LASER COMPETITION 1. DOUBLE SKINNER. 1 TANSVERSE POLE. Room to sit up in and porch big enough to cook in. Carry a decent mat and adequate sleeping bag. If you are fit enough and experienced, what's the problem? As always, check the weather and never be afraid to turn back. BTW the tent is out of production :)

Have fun and Buen Camino

Samarkand.
 
Tenting isn't really encouraged on any Camino route. I've never actually seen any kind of campground on any Camino route.
I do come across people tenting, but they are in most cases pitching their tent without permission in most cases and camping rough.
Kind of a grim way to save on accommodation cost.
I'd certainly miss a shower at the days end!
There are campgrounds on several routes. We stayed at a campground in Burgos on the Frances in 2016. (We stayed in a cabin in the campground for pilgrims, but there were plenty of rents.) I've also heard of a campground at Labruge on the Portugues and I'm sure there are more. Not that I'd be inclined to tent myself on a Camino, especially in winter.
 
Thanks for the input everyone. I suspected the tent option was a non starter😂
Don´t mention it. I think that is what a lot of us were kind of hinting. The camino isn´t a hike. It´s a walk. A brilliant walk. but a walk all the same. Although it can be physically challenging at times, it isn´t the hard rugged, or remote terrain that attracts us, it´s the people you meet, the history, tradition and culture, and the internal journey a lot of us experience. Buen camino.
 
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
Tenting isn't really encouraged on any Camino route. I've never actually seen any kind of campground on any Camino route.
I do come across people tenting, but they are in most cases pitching their tent without permission in most cases and camping rough.
Kind of a grim way to save on accommodation cost.
I'd certainly miss a shower at the days end!
On a few more "remote" camino routes in Spain I would certainly carry my tent. But the CF is so developed for pilgrims that unless you are really financially stretched or have a dog with you it makes less sense - or you are a really avid wild camper (though knowing the CF is not a wilderness hike).
However on camino routes down through France, camping is much more common, I camped plenty over the last 2 summers heading down from Mont St Michel - mainly campsites, though others wild camped. And on the VF I camped regularly too - campsites, gardens and bivouac too.
The non-tent brigade are insidious! I have a sub kilo which will take anything. TERRA NOVA LASER COMPETITION 1. DOUBLE SKINNER. 1 TANSVERSE POLE. Room to sit up in and porch big enough to cook in. Carry a decent mat and adequate sleeping bag. If you are fit enough and experienced, what's the problem? As always, check the weather and never be afraid to turn back. BTW the tent is out of production :)

Have fun and Buen Camino

Samarkand.
In fact that's the same tent as me! Great little tent! (Just not sure I would carry it on the CF as an emergency just in case option as OP seemed to suggest in his post)
 
I was 65 back in 2003 when I first started Camino. Previous to that I had tottered all over the Iberian Peninsula courtesy of Rough Guides and Lonely Planet guide books. I used paper maps and handheld compass. Mobile phones were in their infancy and GPS was a foreign language to me even tho I was ex British Army , Royal Navy and a shoestring Mountain Rescue Unit ! I absolutely LOATHED bivvy bags! I still do ! I was always confident of my tent irrespective of situation, emergency or otherwise. That was then and this is now. The severe balance disorder has had me in hospital twice this year because of falls and I have just had the worst in years! I am now on a 4 wheeled walker. I gave away to a friend, my beloved Pacer Poles as I can no longer use them and he can. It was quite a wrench. Giving away my tent would be like a Romany giving away his caravan :) And as for emergencies, it would have to be Paradors! :) :)

Buen Camino

Walk soft and stay safe

and as ever

Vaya

con Dios

Samarkand.
 
I was 65 back in 2003 when I first started Camino. Previous to that I had tottered all over the Iberian Peninsula courtesy of Rough Guides and Lonely Planet guide books. I used paper maps and handheld compass. Mobile phones were in their infancy and GPS was a foreign language to me even tho I was ex British Army , Royal Navy and a shoestring Mountain Rescue Unit ! I absolutely LOATHED bivvy bags! I still do ! I was always confident of my tent irrespective of situation, emergency or otherwise. That was then and this is now. The severe balance disorder has had me in hospital twice this year because of falls and I have just had the worst in years! I am now on a 4 wheeled walker. I gave away to a friend, my beloved Pacer Poles as I can no longer use them and he can. It was quite a wrench. Giving away my tent would be like a Romany giving away his caravan :) And as for emergencies, it would have to be Paradors! :) :)

Buen Camino

Walk soft and stay safe

and as ever

Vaya

con Dios

Samarkand.
A wrench. But you might lend? Take care, thanks for everything, although I have stopped following your poetry, I know your poetic heart.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Tenting isn't really encouraged on any Camino route. I've never actually seen any kind of campground on any Camino route.
I do come across people tenting, but they are in most cases pitching their tent without permission in most cases and camping rough.
Kind of a grim way to save on accommodation cost.
I'd certainly miss a shower at the days end!

On the Camino Francés or not that far off route are ~ 20 official campsites. Cost is roughly the same as albergues and include shower ect. Plus some albergues that allow camping in their gardens, at same cost as a bed or slightly less, with access to shower and kitchen.

When you don't camp, it is easy to overlook that of course.

For me on the Francés it wasn't about saving money, but because I love sleeping in my tent (in France and Germany it does save a lot of money, though, since cost for accommodation is much higher there).

Anyway, I camped on many occasions on the Camino (Francés, podiensis, Germany, Cluny way...) and certainly would bring the tent again.

On the via podiensis, during camping season, you can camp every single night, legally, on an official campground or in gite gardens, if you want to (=with shower ect).

Camping legally like that is not "rough" at all. Sleep in your own little home listening to crickets and birds, have a good meal in the gite or a restaurant from time to time, have a nice shower, then go swimming in the campground's pool (the bigger ones often had a pool and/or a restaurant). I found that quite luxurious.

But in winter most official campsites will be closed, in Spain as well as in France, and probably also many albergues/gites that allow camping.

So it makes more sense to bring a tent in summer, and even then only if you really love camping, not as a "just in case".
 
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