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The eternal sleeping bag question....

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
I know this gets asked all the time - but every time the question gets such a variety of answers that I have been left with doubt. When we cycle we always take two ancient down sleeping bags as well as sheet sleeping bags, and have only used the down ones once in an albergue (Benevent L'Abbaye on the Vezelay route - a freezing building, where we used several blankets as well.) We also take cotton or poly-cotton sheet sleeping bags which are used pretty regularly, especially in Spain (in France most of the pilgrim gites we have stayed in have been supplied with sheets, duvets and duvet covers - all very nice!) where in Irun and Santander I cannot recall any blankets , just using our sheets bags. But it was quite warm in Sept/Oct.

So - now we are going to be walking from Gernika to hopefully somewhere west of Santander in April. Staying in refugios as far as possible. Carrying as light a pack as possible. So the questions. . . ?

Can we rely on all refugios providing blankets? If so, will it be limited to one per person? If no blankets would a fleece liner be just about warm enough with most of one's clothes on as well?

Depending on the answers, this decision need to be made -
Do we take the down bags and sheet liners for both of us? or
Do we take fleece liners for both of us? or
Do we take a sheet liner and a fleece liner and one down bag - so that if not enough blankets Peter (colder blooded than Bridget) has the sheet liner and the down bag, and Bridget has the fleece one?

If the down bags return from Malaysia (where they are travelling with a daughter and boyfriend) having finally worn out (they are at least 40 years old and get thinner and thinner) the next decision will be how much to spend on replacing them - YIKES!
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Chuck out the down bags and sheet liners, the fleece liners, sheet liners, blankets etc.
What you and Peter need are SELKS.


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Brilliant!!! I love them!

Though as a hot blooded individual, they look to me to be fairly on the hot side, as well as heavy...
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

Yes, but what shall we take!!!?
You cannot rely on the weather;

You cannot rely on there being blankets;

You cannot rely on there being an albergue - the one in Gernika closed without warning a day or two before I arrived last September.

In the final analysis, you can rely on bugger all, except God and He requires that you tie your camels.
Thanks AJ (and Tia Valeria via PM)

There being no option for booking camels online on Brittany ferries (and they surely weighing even more than the SELKS) I am going with the old down bags, hoping they return in one piece from Malaysia, with the old polycotton liners. Peter froze even in these in the tent at Vezelay in 2008 even with all his clothes on but there was frost in the morning. And you have to suffer sometimes!

Yes, the refuge in Gernika was still closed at the beginning of October last year. I am going to email the nice tourist office there soon for information as Gernika will be opur starting point and it's nice to have your first night certain. If it's closed we'll have to go to the nice cheap hotel which did a pilgrim deal!
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