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The Albergue Sleeping Bag in Winter



Hi, could someone give me the down low on the appropriate sleeping bag. I tend to sleep hot so have purchased a 32 degree lightweight bag for my 10 days on the Camino the end of January. I have read several places that you should carry a 3 season bag for Camino in winter because some of the Albergues are not heated at night. I have a 20 degree bag which is great when it's cold but not sure how the Albergues are getting much below 40 degrees without the pipes freezing. HELP.


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Camino(s) past & future
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Last: Camino Inglés 2018

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The 32 degree Fahrenheit bag should do nicely ;-) Buen Camino, SY

Anemone del Camino

Keep in mind that you will have been walking all day, possibly in quite a bit of snow, spending an evening in an albergue with little heat and will not have had a long hot shower or bath. So while technically albeegues are kept at a temp that will not allow the pipes to freeze, you could feel the chill a lot more. There is only so much tea one can drink to try to keep warm.

I was cold enough in May of 2013 that I would not want to walk from November to late April. I vote for the 3 seasons bag.


Oh... That's what the shell is for...
Camino(s) past & future
CF January 2013
CF April 2016
CF January 2018
CP Coastal September 2018
I agree, 32F bag should be fine. If it does dip you can always wear some extra clothes on those rare nights. That said, I took a -7C down bag and was thankful to have it ;)
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
32F should be fine. Feb/Mar 2014 I was fine with a basic bag even on cold nights in albergues without heat. And, nearly all refugios have blankets.

Buen camino.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
In cold weather never choose a bunk placed against an exterior wall since old walls are often uninsulated and thus frigid. All night heating is not the norm hence 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 as well as a warm hat are great to wear to bunk/bed when it is really cold. Over the past years the coldest I have ever slept on the camino 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 sleeping bag and liner.
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J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
Last winter I used a 40 degree bag and a silk travel cacoon and was very comfortable in cooler albergues. In some the silk liner was enough.

Here are some advices regarding sleeping bags:

• Use an inner silk or fleece liner/bag.
A silk liner adds about 5° degree celsius to the bag and a fleece 8°.
On winter camping/trekking two liners are often used as the effect adds up and the liners are light weight.

• The sleeping bag does not make you warm.
It function as a thermo and isolate you.
This mean that it contains the warmth/heat you put in, so make some gymnastic before you enter and you will sleep warmer.
Think of the difference of pouring cold or hot water into a thermo.

• Wear a beanie, scarf, long johns, gloves, cloth while sleeping.

• Unpack your sleeping bag early before going to sleep as the down/synthetic needs to unfold to provide maximum insulation.

• Ventilate you sleeping bag in the morning to get rid of sweat before packing it up.

• Do use a sleeping bag that matches your size. A to large result in to much air that needs to be heated and a to small result in to little air to provide best insulation.

• Put some hot water in your 0.5 liter water bottle and bring it into the sleeping bag.

• Never go hungry to bed. Energy equals heat.

• Remember to go to bathroom and pee off before going to bed.
The body uses a huge amount of energy if you are in a state that needs to go to the bathroom.

Buen Camino
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