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This thing about equipment for the Camino .....

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
Hey all - I was going through various posts about equipment .. puffa jackets, boots or trainers, sleeping bags or liners, ponchos or jackets .... which rucksack and why - now, don't get me wrong, I also like reading about gear, all that choice out there and one can be drawn in, most of us are - and it can be fun making those choices ... but I have also noticed a certain nervousness, even fear, in some novice pilgrims; the concern that they may not 'get it right' .. and that is a shame as the truth is that absolutely none of it is important - it just doesn't matter what you wear, which footwear, which pack - the bottom line is that it should be simple and it should be comfortable ... as well as, well, it just isn't necessary to spend huge amounts of money on kit - one could just as easily go through what one already owns and take some of that - and to check on this, to see if I was right (or just making things up in my head) I looked at earlier hikers, back fifty or more years ago ..

I found this rather amazing woman, Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - she walked the whole of the Appalachian trail at 67 years old - on her feet she wore soft sneakers, what we in the uk call plimsolls (which reminded me that in 1973 I climbed the mountain St Victoire in Provence, on the black path, the 'death' path, without ropes or any other kit, wearing plimsolls), and her 'hiking kit' - well!

"When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname "Grandma Gatewood." Upon completion of the epic trail, she told Sports Illustrated, "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and wouldn't quit." Gatewood is also known as a pioneer of ultra-light hiking — she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and often carried just an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain that she used as a bag. "Grandma Gatewood" hiked the AT two more times, in 1960 and in 1963, completing her final hike in sections. She was the first person to hike the trail three times, and she was the oldest woman to thru-hike the trail until Nancy Gowler did so at the age of 71 in 2007.

So, my point is, don't be afraid, don't spend money you don't need to spend, don't worry about it - just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

Grandma Gatewood.jpg
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
On my second Camino Frances I stopped at a bench where a younger man was patching up badly blistered feet. He had very expensive state-of-the-art clothing and equipment. He looked at me in my old cheap shabby gear and began to explain why each and every item he carried or wore was superior in every way to mine. The implication was that I was lucky to still be alive, never mind walking. Instead of clouting the haemorrhoid with my old-fashioned stick I contented myself by pointing out that I was walking 10km+ further each day than he was and my feet didn't look like the bottom of a butcher's waste bin. Just because an item is new, shiny and expensive does not make it the right choice. On my last Camino Frances I saw several almost new pairs of expensive (£100+) boots abandoned at the side of the track. Fit and function matter far more than price. Just be sure to test your gear well in advance.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Boy do I agree with this thread! People are always asking me about shoes - what shoes should they buy, and they are interested that I wear sandals. My response is always the same; "What to you wear at home to walk in? Do you sometimes walk 8km or more?" and if the answer is "Yes"; "Why not take those?"

I recently had an interesting conversation with a fellow who repairs hiking gear for a living. He still uses a pack that is 40 years old. It works fine.

The other thing to remember is that no-one makes perfect choices. We are all learners on this trail. I am constantly revising, reviewing, tweaking, my choices. So don't sweat because you won't get it perfect anyway. But it will be good enough.
 
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linkster

¡Nunca dejes de creer!
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
@David nicely said. I have been playing with an Excel spreadsheet with the inventory of my kit. Quantity, weight, hyperlinks, etc. What if analysis about what if. My kit is being accumulated in my office. Part excitement, boredom, gear junky. My wife thinks I have OCD. She is probably right:). Eventually I will just throw stuff into my pack and go, but for now I am going to keep ruminating over my kit. By the way, my desk is a mess, but my kit is neatly organized. I am like a kid with his legos.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
A wonderful reality check and reminder, David. Thank you.
Totally agree--walking is so simple. Can the preparation (and stuff we drag along) be too?
One of the greatest blessings of the Camino is fining out how little we actually need.

Shoes are essential, and a pair of socks or two.
A toothbrush, soap and towel, and change of clothes.
Something to keep us warm if it's cold, something to keep us dry if its wet.
Whatever medicine and blister kit we need...
A sleeping bag maybe.
The rest...a lot of it is optional.
 
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C

Camino Chris

Guest
Hey all - I was going through various posts about equipment .. puffa jackets, boots or trainers, sleeping bags or liners, ponchos or jackets .... which rucksack and why - now, don't get me wrong, I also like reading about gear, all that choice out there and one can be drawn in, most of us are - and it can be fun making those choices ... but I have also noticed a certain nervousness, even fear, in some novice pilgrims; the concern that they may not 'get it right' .. and that is a shame as the truth is that absolutely none of it is important - it just doesn't matter what you wear, which footwear, which pack - the bottom line is that it should be simple and it should be comfortable ... as well as, well, it just isn't necessary to spend huge amounts of money on kit - one could just as easily go through what one already owns and take some of that - and to check on this, to see if I was right (or just making things up in my head) I looked at earlier hikers, back fifty or more years ago ..

I found this rather amazing woman, Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - she walked the whole of the Appalachian trail at 67 years old - on her feet she wore soft sneakers, what we in the uk call plimsolls (which reminded me that in 1973 I climbed the mountain St Victoire in Provence, on the black path, the 'death' path, without ropes or any other kit, wearing plimsolls), and her 'hiking kit' - well!

"When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname "Grandma Gatewood." Upon completion of the epic trail, she told Sports Illustrated, "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and wouldn't quit." Gatewood is also known as a pioneer of ultra-light hiking — she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and often carried just an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain that she used as a bag. "Grandma Gatewood" hiked the AT two more times, in 1960 and in 1963, completing her final hike in sections. She was the first person to hike the trail three times, and she was the oldest woman to thru-hike the trail until Nancy Gowler did so at the age of 71 in 2007.

So, my point is, don't be afraid, don't spend money you don't need to spend, don't worry about it - just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

View attachment 31831
Thank you, David, for taking the time to share with us a little about such an inspiring woman! I don't just "like" your post, I love it!...Where is the "love" button? :)
 

backpack45

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
I agree with you, but...
I've, too, have read quite a lot about Grandma Gatewood and agree that she was quite amazing, however, she lived in a different time and a different way than most hikers do nowadays; she had very little money and today's lightweight equipment was not available. She did not work in an office or sit at a desk all day; she lived on a farm and had worked on it from dawn to dusk most of her life. And as you said, she did not find it easy.
My point is not to argue with you, I basically agree with you--most "newbies", do worry a lot about equipment. However, I think it is worth spending some time to make good choices (synthetics or wool rather than cotton); carrying less rather than more; trying to select items that can serve more than one use (a bandana); leaving home hair dryers; wearing trail runners rather than boots if you can. I think "newbies" sometimes forget that Spain is not a third world country--if you forget your hiking poles (or they get lost by the airlines as ours once did), you can buy them it Spain. Buen Camino
 

wcsjms

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2016) ; 1st Camino Frances September 2016-November 2016 ; Camino Frances August 2017-October 2017
I think we should not be to cavalier about clothes and equipment, saying throw any old thing on. We saw both extremes on the Way, inexpensive and expensive equipment and people suffered regardless . Keep your load light (seasons permitting) your clothing comfortable ( we found out that hype about technical wicking clothing was just that ....hype) and choose your footwear well. Do what is right for you and test it out before you go.
 

Sue M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP-Burgos(2012)Leon-Santiago(2013)Sarria- Santiago(Sept 2013),Frances (coach,2013),Le Puy-Conques(May 2014), parish pilgrimage organised for June 2015.
Walked in good hiking boots: terrible blisters (sweaty feet). Walked in sandals: no blisters. Walked with one pole:awful sciatica. Walked with two poles: no problems. Stayed in municiple albergues: clean beds. Stayed in a good hotel: swarming with bedbugs. If only we knew what suited us best IN ADVANCE !!
 
C

Camino Chris

Guest
I agree with you, but...
I've, too, have read quite a lot about Grandma Gatewood and agree that she was quite amazing, however, she lived in a different time and a different way than most hikers do nowadays; she had very little money and today's lightweight equipment was not available. She did not work in an office or sit at a desk all day; she lived on a farm and had worked on it from dawn to dusk most of her life. And as you said, she did not find it easy.
My point is not to argue with you, I basically agree with you--most "newbies", do worry a lot about equipment. However, I think it is worth spending some time to make good choices (synthetics or wool rather than cotton); carrying less rather than more; trying to select items that can serve more than one use (a bandana); leaving home hair dryers; wearing trail runners rather than boots if you can. I think "newbies" sometimes forget that Spain is not a third world country--if you forget your hiking poles (or they get lost by the airlines as ours once did), you can buy them it Spain. Buen Camino
You make some very good points as you are right, the world we live in today is very different than Grandma Gatewood's. Thanks for sharing.
 
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NOLA Cajun

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Via Francigena (Lucca to Siena, 2017), Frances/San Olav/Invierno (planned 2021)
I understand that you are trying to paint this sentimental picture of the Camino and of long distance treks in general but this may in some ways hurt inexperienced walkers. I may be a newcomer to the Camino, having walked the Frances only once, but I have a lot of experience hiking, backpacking, camping. And my experience says: equipment matters. Having the right equipment may save you a lot of pain and trouble. I've read here comments about brand new, expensive hiking boots being discarded on the Camino. I've seen people actually buying hiking boots on the Camino because their feet got bruised in soft-soled sneakers and they couldn't walk anymore. So, my advice would be: don't get too worried about equipment, to a point that the worry takes something away from the joy of walking, but do your homework! Research equipment, find the best boots/shoes that fit your needs and walking style, find hiking poles and a backpack that feel comfortable, and clothing that is non-chafing, lightweight and fast-drying. When I was getting ready for my first Camino, it took me half a year to get my equipment right but it was actually fun researching all that, visiting REI and other stores, and testing all the equipment. For instance, I settled only for my third pair of hiking boots. And in the end it all worked for me. I finished the Camino from SJPdP to SdC without any issues, not even a blister. Just my $0.02.
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
You make some very good points as you are right, the world we live in today is very different than Grandma Gatewood's. Thanks for sharing.

My point, Chris, is that no, the world has not changed. We are the same creatures we were two million years ago .... it is the toys that have changed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing what you want on Camino and, it is not necessary to be nervous or afraid.

I am not against people buying what they want, I am not saying that it is wrong in any way - not at all - what I am saying is that absolutely none of it is necessary ...
look - along the way you will see countless peasants and shepherds .. they go out every day in old two piece black suits and old shoes, sometimes old army boots ... they walk miles every day - now, were you to point them westwards and get them to do the same that they do every day then eventually, with no problems, they will arrive in Santiago.
Think of Laurie lee, the writer. One day he picked up his old violin, stuffed a few things into an old knapsack and in his suit and street shoes went off to Spain and walked right across it - in his book, As I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning, he never mentions the need for specialist clothing - though his violin did fall apart in the heat.
Think of the average postman/woman .. who walks miles and miles every day with a heavy bag slung over one shoulder ..... they just wear ordinary clothes. Again - drop them off at St Jean in their same clothes and with the same bag (but with some clothes and a toothbrush in it) and tell them to deliver a letter to Santiago and they will just walk there and deliver it - in the same clothes.

It is ok to buy specialist clothing and it is ok to wear it - of course it is - it just isn't necessary.

I know that the modern wealthy consumer fetishist first world says that you need specific costumes for each type of event - for that is what they are you know, costumes, but it is untrue, totally untrue. If you have good walking footwear you wear a lot - wear those. If you have a favourite raincoat or jacket, take that, nice old lightweight sweater? take that along, the box in the attic with your old Scout uniform? take the shorts if they still fit, and the shirt and hat, even the scarf and woggle .....

to my mind the problem on Camino - and it is the only problem, or rather source of physical problems - is that pilgrims try to keep up to someone else's idea of what a day stage is instead of just strolling along and stopping when tired. Because of this, turning it into an exhausting marathon event instead of a walking pilgrimage, those with specialist costumes may get along a little easier - but, it is not necessary - that was my point - all is well you know, it is alright, all is well ;)

but don't get me wrong, I have a lovely Osprey Kestrel rucksack and Keen Newport sandals - proper designer stuff, though all the rest are old cotton t shirts and so on. I'm not against specialist items, just saying that they aren't necessary :)
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
I used to do some backpacking with friends back when I was in college. We were always strapped for funds and would buy cheap gear, or just borrow whatever we could. We never weighed our stuff, and just shoved it in the packs and off we went. We had a blast.
In 2015 when I walked the CF I saw a young man walking it wearing a polo shirt, cargo shorts and Van's type deck shoes and his pack was small, and the kind you'd see a student hauling around campus. He seemed to trek happily along and I saw him on and off the Way all the way to SDC.
The whole gear selection bit for walking the Camino is way too thought out for what it is, but if one enjoys doing that, what the heck.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Uh-oh, now y'all have done it! Here come two of my favorite sayings:

Fortune favors the prepared mind. -- Louis Pasteur

'Better' is the enemy of 'good enough.' -- Russian Proverb

The first tells us that asking questions, thinking things through, running "what-if" scenarios, etc., help us to be prepared so that we can enjoy things just a wee bit more. (It also suggests that what's in our heads is generally more important than what's in our backpacks.)

The second tells us not get all crazy and obsessive about having all the bestest/newest things.
 
C

Camino Chris

Guest
Hey all - I was going through various posts about equipment .. puffa jackets, boots or trainers, sleeping bags or liners, ponchos or jackets .... which rucksack and why - now, don't get me wrong, I also like reading about gear, all that choice out there and one can be drawn in, most of us are - and it can be fun making those choices ... but I have also noticed a certain nervousness, even fear, in some novice pilgrims; the concern that they may not 'get it right' .. and that is a shame as the truth is that absolutely none of it is important - it just doesn't matter what you wear, which footwear, which pack - the bottom line is that it should be simple and it should be comfortable ... as well as, well, it just isn't necessary to spend huge amounts of money on kit - one could just as easily go through what one already owns and take some of that - and to check on this, to see if I was right (or just making things up in my head) I looked at earlier hikers, back fifty or more years ago ..

I found this rather amazing woman, Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - she walked the whole of the Appalachian trail at 67 years old - on her feet she wore soft sneakers, what we in the uk call plimsolls (which reminded me that in 1973 I climbed the mountain St Victoire in Provence, on the black path, the 'death' path, without ropes or any other kit, wearing plimsolls), and her 'hiking kit' - well!

"When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname "Grandma Gatewood." Upon completion of the epic trail, she told Sports Illustrated, "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and wouldn't quit." Gatewood is also known as a pioneer of ultra-light hiking — she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and often carried just an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain that she used as a bag. "Grandma Gatewood" hiked the AT two more times, in 1960 and in 1963, completing her final hike in sections. She was the first person to hike the trail three times, and she was the oldest woman to thru-hike the trail until Nancy Gowler did so at the age of 71 in 2007.

So, my point is, don't be afraid, don't spend money you don't need to spend, don't worry about it - just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

View attachment 31831
I've loved reading all the comments here and although some are differing from each other...they are all true and have good merit!
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
Hey all - I was going through various posts about equipment .. puffa jackets, boots or trainers, sleeping bags or liners, ponchos or jackets .... which rucksack and why - now, don't get me wrong, I also like reading about gear, all that choice out there and one can be drawn in, most of us are - and it can be fun making those choices ... but I have also noticed a certain nervousness, even fear, in some novice pilgrims; the concern that they may not 'get it right' .. and that is a shame as the truth is that absolutely none of it is important - it just doesn't matter what you wear, which footwear, which pack - the bottom line is that it should be simple and it should be comfortable ... as well as, well, it just isn't necessary to spend huge amounts of money on kit - one could just as easily go through what one already owns and take some of that - and to check on this, to see if I was right (or just making things up in my head) I looked at earlier hikers, back fifty or more years ago ..

I found this rather amazing woman, Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - she walked the whole of the Appalachian trail at 67 years old - on her feet she wore soft sneakers, what we in the uk call plimsolls (which reminded me that in 1973 I climbed the mountain St Victoire in Provence, on the black path, the 'death' path, without ropes or any other kit, wearing plimsolls), and her 'hiking kit' - well!

"When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname "Grandma Gatewood." Upon completion of the epic trail, she told Sports Illustrated, "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and wouldn't quit." Gatewood is also known as a pioneer of ultra-light hiking — she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and often carried just an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain that she used as a bag. "Grandma Gatewood" hiked the AT two more times, in 1960 and in 1963, completing her final hike in sections. She was the first person to hike the trail three times, and she was the oldest woman to thru-hike the trail until Nancy Gowler did so at the age of 71 in 2007.

So, my point is, don't be afraid, don't spend money you don't need to spend, don't worry about it - just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

View attachment 31831
An acquaintance of mine thru-hiked the AT northbound last year. The way he described it (or parts of it), grandma there has been replaced with a much younger version with a joint in her mouth, and doing shrooms at a shelter, ha ha. He described parts of it as a moving Woodstock festival.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Luckily for me living "out in nature", camino gear and hikingshoes/boots /mountainboots is my dailylife wear most of the year except when winter demands more wool and warmer items.
My lightweight expensive poles I use every day at home too. So for me the packinglist is more complicated for a trip to a city like Tromsø, Oslo, Berlin etc. than to the camino where I can walk as I usually do.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
I've walked a few Caminos, with and without a donkey. Cycled a couple, as well. Only own two pairs of shoes and some tired Crocs. Found shoes that I liked, buy one new pair every year and throw out the dead pair. The not quite dead ones get used for gardening. Bought some new gaiters this year. Because I lost one of the old ones. Walking the Ingles right now. In an old riding mac, which is about a thousand times better than a poncho. With a big bandana which doubles as a towel. And some nice new gloves that will let me use the phone camera while keeping my hands cosy. The rest is just stuff I already had. As it always is. Don't over think it. It's about putting one foot in front of the other. Repeat as required.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
A riding mac is a water proof coat, long, down to mid calf but split at the back at thigh level. With a cape to stop the rain getting in through the shoulder seams. Various pockets and straps, and usually made from waxed cotton with a plain cotton lining. Intended for sitting on a horse but will work for walking. Especially in Galicia. Add gaiters to stop the rain running into your shoes, as you probably won't be walking in riding boots.
 
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Bogong

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
First, March 2014
I'm really enjoying this thread, and the many differing views expressed. All have valid points but I must say I tend toward the minimalist camp. And I did buy a pair of new boots for my Camino, after I decided that the Norwegian army boots I bought for $4 at a garage sale might be a bit too far gone. Wore the boots out by Ponferrada and bought a new pair which I again wore out by Muxia (very hard on boots). No trouble with my feet even when sopping wet.

But it reminds me of something a bit relevant but scarcely relevant at all. When my son was 8 years old (he's now 44) he came home from school one day and levelled with his mum. One of his classmates (also 8) had been regaling him with stories about the many girls he had seduced. At the end of my son's discourse he paused for a while, then looked at his mum and said:
"Of course it's all b…sh.t but it's fun to listen to".

It's the second bit for me, and I'm learning something too.

De Colores

Bogong
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
A riding mac is a water proof coat, long, down to mid calf but split at the back at thigh level. With a cape to stop the rain getting in through the shoulder seams. Various pockets and straps, and usually made from waxed cotton with a plain cotton lining. Intended for sitting on a horse but will work for walking. Especially in Galicia. Add gaiters to stop the rain running into your shoes, as you probably won't be walking in riding boots.

Okay, thanks. I'm familiar with the garment, but not by that name. I even owned one for a time.
 

sadaigh

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (July 2017), Via Francigena (May 2019)
@David nicely said. I have been playing with an Excel spreadsheet with the inventory of my kit. Quantity, weight, hyperlinks, etc. What if analysis about what if. My kit is being accumulated in my office. Part excitement, boredom, gear junky. My wife thinks I have OCD. She is probably right:). Eventually I will just throw stuff into my pack and go, but for now I am going to keep ruminating over my kit. By the way, my desk is a mess, but my kit is neatly organized. I am like a kid with his legos.

I also enjoy the ruminating. planning, and reorganizing. It's part of the fun of getting ready for a trip!
 
C

Camino Chris

Guest
An acquaintance of mine thru-hiked the AT northbound last year. The way he described it (or parts of it), grandma there has been replaced with a much younger version with a joint in her mouth, and doing shrooms at a shelter, ha ha. He described parts of it as a moving Woodstock festival.
My son hiked 1000 miles of the AT three years ago and felt the same way. "A moving Woodstock festival" sounds similar to his description as well. I suppose not having the opportunity for vino tinto day in and day out like the Camino (lol), taking all those joints in your pack weighs almost nothing...and honestly, I wouldn't know!
 

jo webber

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sept 9th 2017
As I have never hiked before, never used a backpack .... the equipment choices can get overwhelming. All I want is what will be comfortable and light weight. I weigh 108lbs, with a bad back. I also want to use what I will take and wear at home to make sure it will work for me.

I appreciate all the choices presented, information about what worked / didn't work for others. In the last few months of gathering what I will take, tossing what didn't work for me, it has been a fun learning experience.

And thank you to all who answered my questions and helped me along in the first step of the adventure.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
My point, Chris, is that no, the world has not changed. We are the same creatures we were two million years ago .... it is the toys that have changed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing what you want on Camino and, it is not necessary to be nervous or afraid.

Couldn't agree more with you, David. And with your OP of course.

I experienced some weird looks at my gear (at myself actually after 1000 kms, hahaha) and I can understand that. But something I can't understand is why progress in, let's say fabric, is for the best. For example, because I sweat a lot I really dislike cold weather when I'm not able to dry myself. Therefore I walk in the hotest months but with 100% cotton T-shirts which (when soaked with my sweat) cool me down. Quite on the contrary when cold though. And I noticed I was kind of special with my ordinary cotton shirts when everybody were equipped with tech stuff. Funny. For me. And very strange for them.
Not to mention throwing away completely useful stuff and spending whole a lot of money on new items that are sewn somewhere in Bangladesh or similar by young kids for pennies...

Don't want to go further and especially not into politics, because that's really what that is, just wanted to bow to you!!!!!!!!!
 

camino-david

RIP 2020
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
Hey all - I was going through various posts about equipment .. puffa jackets, boots or trainers, sleeping bags or liners, ponchos or jackets .... which rucksack and why - now, don't get me wrong, I also like reading about gear, all that choice out there and one can be drawn in, most of us are - and it can be fun making those choices ... but I have also noticed a certain nervousness, even fear, in some novice pilgrims; the concern that they may not 'get it right' .. and that is a shame as the truth is that absolutely none of it is important - it just doesn't matter what you wear, which footwear, which pack - the bottom line is that it should be simple and it should be comfortable ... as well as, well, it just isn't necessary to spend huge amounts of money on kit - one could just as easily go through what one already owns and take some of that - and to check on this, to see if I was right (or just making things up in my head) I looked at earlier hikers, back fifty or more years ago ..

I found this rather amazing woman, Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - she walked the whole of the Appalachian trail at 67 years old - on her feet she wore soft sneakers, what we in the uk call plimsolls (which reminded me that in 1973 I climbed the mountain St Victoire in Provence, on the black path, the 'death' path, without ropes or any other kit, wearing plimsolls), and her 'hiking kit' - well!

"When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname "Grandma Gatewood." Upon completion of the epic trail, she told Sports Illustrated, "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and wouldn't quit." Gatewood is also known as a pioneer of ultra-light hiking — she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and often carried just an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain that she used as a bag. "Grandma Gatewood" hiked the AT two more times, in 1960 and in 1963, completing her final hike in sections. She was the first person to hike the trail three times, and she was the oldest woman to thru-hike the trail until Nancy Gowler did so at the age of 71 in 2007.

So, my point is, don't be afraid, don't spend money you don't need to spend, don't worry about it - just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

View attachment 31831
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Once after I walked the CF the first time, I was shopping in the local super Wal-Mart. I wondered if I could find all the equipment I needed to walk the Camino there. I did. Of course they had the travel sized toiletries, but I also found a decent backpack, a sleeping bag liner, stuff sacks, tech shirts, shorts, pants and socks and underwear and rain gear. I also found a fleece pullover, headlamp and trekking poles. I even found hiking/walking shoes that would have probably got me to SDC. and they had a spork looking thing!
Had I bought all that stuff, I'm sure I wouldn't have spent over around 200 bucks and I'm sure using it I would have fared well enough on the bleak, barren and hostile wilderness trail known as the Camino Frances...:D
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
Uh-oh, now y'all have done it! Here come two of my favorite sayings:

Fortune favors the prepared mind. -- Louis Pasteur

'Better' is the enemy of 'good enough.' -- Russian Proverb

The first tells us that asking questions, thinking things through, running "what-if" scenarios, etc., help us to be prepared so that we can enjoy things just a wee bit more. (It also suggests that what's in our heads is generally more important than what's in our backpacks.)

The second tells us not get all crazy and obsessive about having all the bestest/newest things.

It probably depends on one's personality, which reminder they most need. :) Me? I'm loving the Russian proverb.
 
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Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Roncesvalles to Sahagun Oct 2016
Sahagun to SDC April 2017 Burgos to SDC April 2018
Once after I walked the CF the first time, I was shopping in the local super Wal-Mart. I wondered if I could find all the equipment I needed to walk the Camino there. I did. Of course they had the travel sized toiletries, but I also found a decent backpack, a sleeping bag liner, stuff sacks, tech shirts, shorts, pants and socks and underwear and rain gear. I also found a fleece pullover, headlamp and trekking poles. I even found hiking/walking shoes that would have probably got me to SDC. and they had a spork looking thing!
Had I bought all that stuff, I'm sure I wouldn't have spent over around 200 bucks and I'm sure using it I would have fared well enough on the bleak, barren and hostile wilderness trail known as the Camino Frances...:D

As a wise man once said on an Appalachian trail blog: "It's just
walkin"
 

Thing1_Thing2

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 3 2017 to July 2017
Boy do I agree with this thread! People are always asking me about shoes - what shoes should they buy, and they are interested that I wear sandals. My response is always the same; "What to you wear at home to walk in? Do you sometimes walk 8km or more?" and if the answer is "Yes"; "Why not take those?"

I recently had an interesting conversation with a fellow who repairs hiking gear for a living. He still uses a pack that is 40 years old. It works fine.

The other thing to remember is that no-one makes perfect choices. We are all learners on this trail. I am constantly revising, reviewing, tweaking, my choices. So don't sweat because you won't get it perfect anyway. But it will be good enough.

Good response.

I'm buying new shoes for my hike because 1. My regular running shoes are about gone, and will be torn to shreds if I take them offroad. 2. My hiking boots don't fit me very well, and I've already lost two toenails on a one week backpacking trip last spring. The hiking boots still have a function though because they are waterproof and are fine to wear for outdoor work.

This thread makes me feel a little guilty. I want to buy less stuff, so it's good to think long and hard about purchases.
 

Ahhhs

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago, May 2015
Porto to Santiago, April 2016
Muxia-Finisterre-Santiago, April 2016
Camino Del Norte, April 2017
I agree that reading everything about packing and planning can be part of the fun. But It's all just interesting research. YMMV.

I smile at those who insist that what they used and swear by is the ONLY way to go. There is no "one size fits all".

All you need is a comfortable backpack, broken in shoes, a change of clothes, something for rain protection, and minimal toiletries. Try to keep things reasonably lightweight. That's it. Whatever you like and whatever works for you.

It's easy to make things much more complicated than necessary. We all do. But try not to. ;)

Buen Camino.
 
C

Camino Chris

Guest
Once after I walked the CF the first time, I was shopping in the local super Wal-Mart. I wondered if I could find all the equipment I needed to walk the Camino there. I did. Of course they had the travel sized toiletries, but I also found a decent backpack, a sleeping bag liner, stuff sacks, tech shirts, shorts, pants and socks and underwear and rain gear. I also found a fleece pullover, headlamp and trekking poles. I even found hiking/walking shoes that would have probably got me to SDC. and they had a spork looking thing!
Had I bought all that stuff, I'm sure I wouldn't have spent over around 200 bucks and I'm sure using it I would have fared well enough on the bleak, barren and hostile wilderness trail known as the Camino Frances...:D
Did you say SPORK? Let's get a new thread started on that!
 
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T

Tigger

Guest
A riding mac is a water proof coat, long, down to mid calf but split at the back at thigh level. With a cape to stop the rain getting in through the shoulder seams. Various pockets and straps, and usually made from waxed cotton with a plain cotton lining. Intended for sitting on a horse but will work for walking. Especially in Galicia. Add gaiters to stop the rain running into your shoes, as you probably won't be walking in riding boots.
In Australia these are called oilskins, or by their brandname 'Driza-bone' They are amazing and pioneered by stockmen however they are REALLY heavy.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
all is well you know, it is alright, all is well ;)
Couldn't agree more--that's it in a nutshell.
When there's any anxiety, it's very easy to overthink things, around and around and around.
If that's what's fueling looking for the 'right' gear, kind reassurance that all really will be well can save a lot of money and time. After all, we put one foot in front of the other every day.
"It's just walkin"
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
On our first camino we wore clothes from home and sandals we hike in at home. We carried this non-technical gear in 50-70l backpacks because that's what we had. Seriously - everything fit in the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom!! Our version of lightweight was to bring teaspoons and cake forks instead off full-sized implements (and for the record, we used them every day)
On our subsequent Caminos we have had the luxury of smaller packs and some thrifted quickdry clothing. After breaking a number of plastic sporks we purchased titanium ones. Those along with Pacerpoles, an Opinel number eight and a Packa jacket, leave me feeling quite high tech these days - but I know it can be done without the gadgets! We managed to with an octogenarian Grandpa who insisted on taking two pairs of PJs and eight kids, the youngest being six years old.
We've been back three more times!
 
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Purple Backpack

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2012
England C2C 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Le Puy ... someday.
Love the post, David, and the point you make. AT Grandma is legendary but she actually looks pretty well prepared with wool gear and a lot of stuff in her bag over her shoulder. Are those cans of beer making the bumps in the bag?! The AT has open lean-to shelters so her blanket/shower curtain may have worked ok, as long as it wasn't winter, when the cold seeps up through the floor boards and wet snow blows into the lean-to. Don't think I'd want to tote a cloth bag over the mountains, either.
wpid-IMG_20130714_123713_521.jpg Photo of AT Grandma Gatewood's gear.

With a bunch of college friends, I hiked the southern AT several times, both summer and winter. We had no money or experience, rented gear from the university, wore jeans/flannels/cotton long johns and carried canned food (and beer). We probably had 10% of our body weight in canned goods alone! I went barefoot more than once because I couldn't put shoes on my bloody heels from cheap, plastic boots. My pack was known as "The Beast" and 8-10 miles was a good day because we were all so loaded down. How we loved those trips! I miss hiking with my old friends but not the cheap, heavy gear.

Many years later, I enjoy reading the forum on a cold winter's night and getting tips from others as I wait for the next trip to begin. It's fun to find the lightest weight doodad and ponder the merits of soap containers or plastic bags with sliders or without. This week, I even learned about different ways to deal with delicate female issues and, ahem, why it's a good idea to wear flip flops in the showers. The forum is a never ending source of international information, entertainment and gear controversy.

So sure, it's best to "simplify, simplify" but I envy the "newbie" Camino-ites. How much fun to be excited and anxious and stressing over the little things, worry about each piece of equipment. Then they get there and start unloading, not just gear but all the other unnecessary stuff from everyday life.

After all, isn't that why so many of us are attracted to pilgrimages?
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
Absolutely, Purple Backpack. I have gone through three or four rucksacks, using them for a bit and then selling them on on Ebay .. searching for the pack that would fit me. I have devoured just about all the forum threads on packs, online reviews .. have been into shops, loaded packs with items off the shelves and adjusted them and walked around in the shop, and eventually came to the Osprey brand - via the forum - and now have the Osprey Kestrel 32 and have to say that for me it is the finest pack I have ever owned, it fits so well, and light too - not expensive either (I waited for a sale) - and looking back I have to say that I enjoyed every moment of that search - it was the nervousness and worry that sometimes comes across on the forum from virgin pilgrims that led me to writing the post - I wanted those who were worried by the process to know that it was ok, equipment search should be a fun thing, and in the end, what one takes and what one wears isn't that important (as long as one has comfortable footwear) ... I have really enjoyed reading the posts on this thread ... such brilliant comments!
I don't 'do' the Camino anymore, what I do is base myself somewhere, load up my first aid kit, walk 'upstream' for some miles and then walk back 'downstream', looking out for injured pilgrims and then visit refugios in the evening .. and here is the thing .. do I wear my Osprey? no - I wear my badly fitting green first-aid labelled backpack instead!! haahahahaha!!

2015-10-24 13.00.41.jpg

So - gear hunting can be fun but I really do think that none of it is necessary - we just need to get out there and walk west :)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
We are the same creatures we were two million years ago .... it is the toys that have changed.
Really, David, I am much more handsome than homo habilis!!
Homo_habilis-2.JPG

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David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
Hahahaahhaa! Good point Doug! and brilliantly funny too! - think I may have wildly exaggerated there - shall we make it 30,000 years instead of 2 million? :)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Hahahaahhaa! Good point Doug! and brilliantly funny too! - think I may have wildly exaggerated there - shall we make it 30,000 years instead of 2 million? :)
I think about 200,000 years, give or take a few days, would be safer for homo sapiens!!
 
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Camino Chris

Guest
Love the post, David, and the point you make. AT Grandma is legendary but she actually looks pretty well prepared with wool gear and a lot of stuff in her bag over her shoulder. Are those cans of beer making the bumps in the bag?! The AT has open lean-to shelters so her blanket/shower curtain may have worked ok, as long as it wasn't winter, when the cold seeps up through the floor boards and wet snow blows into the lean-to. Don't think I'd want to tote a cloth bag over the mountains, either.
View attachment 31846 Photo of AT Grandma Gatewood's gear.

With a bunch of college friends, I hiked the southern AT several times, both summer and winter. We had no money or experience, rented gear from the university, wore jeans/flannels/cotton long johns and carried canned food (and beer). We probably had 10% of our body weight in canned goods alone! I went barefoot more than once because I couldn't put shoes on my bloody heels from cheap, plastic boots. My pack was known as "The Beast" and 8-10 miles was a good day because we were all so loaded down. How we loved those trips! I miss hiking with my old friends but not the cheap, heavy gear.

Many years later, I enjoy reading the forum on a cold winter's night and getting tips from others as I wait for the next trip to begin. It's fun to find the lightest weight doodad and ponder the merits of soap containers or plastic bags with sliders or without. This week, I even learned about different ways to deal with delicate female issues and, ahem, why it's a good idea to wear flip flops in the showers. The forum is a never ending source of international information, entertainment and gear controversy.

So sure, it's best to "simplify, simplify" but I envy the "newbie" Camino-ites. How much fun to be excited and anxious and stressing over the little things, worry about each piece of equipment. Then they get there and start unloading, not just gear but all the other unnecessary stuff from everyday life.

After all, isn't that why so many of us are attracted to pilgrimages?
Awesome post! Love it, love it, love it!...Ivar, where is the "love" button. I can't seem to find it! ;-)
 
C

Camino Chris

Guest
David
Absolutely, Purple Backpack. I have gone through three or four rucksacks, using them for a bit and then selling them on on Ebay .. searching for the pack that would fit me. I have devoured just about all the forum threads on packs, online reviews .. have been into shops, loaded packs with items off the shelves and adjusted them and walked around in the shop, and eventually came to the Osprey brand - via the forum - and now have the Osprey Kestrel 32 and have to say that for me it is the finest pack I have ever owned, it fits so well, and light too - not expensive either (I waited for a sale) - and looking back I have to say that I enjoyed every moment of that search - it was the nervousness and worry that sometimes comes across on the forum from virgin pilgrims that led me to writing the post - I wanted those who were worried by the process to know that it was ok, equipment search should be a fun thing, and in the end, what one takes and what one wears isn't that important (as long as one has comfortable footwear) ... I have really enjoyed reading the posts on this thread ... such brilliant comments!
I don't 'do' the Camino anymore, what I do is base myself somewhere, load up my first aid kit, walk 'upstream' for some miles and then walk back 'downstream', looking out for injured pilgrims and then visit refugios in the evening .. and here is the thing .. do I wear my Osprey? no - I wear my badly fitting green first-aid labelled backpack instead!! haahahahaha!!

View attachment 31847

So - gear hunting can be fun but I really do think that none of it is necessary - we just need to get out there and walk west :)
David, such a wonderful comment! What a helpful pilgrim you are! I will be watching for your green first aid kit backpack on the Camino, so I can meet such a kind soul. :)
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
to my mind the problem on Camino - and it is the only problem, or rather source of physical problems - is that pilgrims try to keep up to someone else's idea of what a day stage is instead of just strolling along and stopping when tired
ve, and
IMHO people obsess over the equipment preparation because it is tangible, concrete, quantifiable and knowable. Spiritual preparation, which one might think would be more necessary, is by contrast intangible, qualitative and largely unknowable. So we do the easier work.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
My point, Chris, is that no, the world has not changed. We are the same creatures we were two million years ago .... it is the toys that have changed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing what you want on Camino and, it is not necessary to be nervous or afraid.

I am not against people buying what they want, I am not saying that it is wrong in any way - not at all - what I am saying is that absolutely none of it is necessary ...
look - along the way you will see countless peasants and shepherds .. they go out every day in old two piece black suits and old shoes, sometimes old army boots ... they walk miles every day - now, were you to point them westwards and get them to do the same that they do every day then eventually, with no problems, they will arrive in Santiago.
Think of Laurie lee, the writer. One day he picked up his old violin, stuffed a few things into an old knapsack and in his suit and street shoes went off to Spain and walked right across it - in his book, As I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning, he never mentions the need for specialist clothing - though his violin did fall apart in the heat.
Think of the average postman/woman .. who walks miles and miles every day with a heavy bag slung over one shoulder ..... they just wear ordinary clothes. Again - drop them off at St Jean in their same clothes and with the same bag (but with some clothes and a toothbrush in it) and tell them to deliver a letter to Santiago and they will just walk there and deliver it - in the same clothes.

It is ok to buy specialist clothing and it is ok to wear it - of course it is - it just isn't necessary.

I know that the modern wealthy consumer fetishist first world says that you need specific costumes for each type of event - for that is what they are you know, costumes, but it is untrue, totally untrue. If you have good walking footwear you wear a lot - wear those. If you have a favourite raincoat or jacket, take that, nice old lightweight sweater? take that along, the box in the attic with your old Scout uniform? take the shorts if they still fit, and the shirt and hat, even the scarf and woggle .....

to my mind the problem on Camino - and it is the only problem, or rather source of physical problems - is that pilgrims try to keep up to someone else's idea of what a day stage is instead of just strolling along and stopping when tired. Because of this, turning it into an exhausting marathon event instead of a walking pilgrimage, those with specialist costumes may get along a little easier - but, it is not necessary - that was my point - all is well you know, it is alright, all is well ;)

but don't get me wrong, I have a lovely Osprey Kestrel rucksack and Keen Newport sandals - proper designer stuff, though all the rest are old cotton t shirts and so on. I'm not against specialist items, just saying that they aren't necessary :)

Your comments are all very reasonable. Unfortunately, most folks do not have good walking shoes. And even postmen don't walk in many places. They drive the spiffy right-hand drive little Jeep and just shove (badly sorted) mail into the rural mailbox that is along the edge of the road. These days those mailboxes are all in a clump that's a block from your house, too.

The non-chafing pants need to be tested in *really sweaty* weather for about 8 miles, too, as I learned to my misery. It is possible to chafe enough to bleed, just because the manufacturer used cotton blend thread on the crotch seam. Try explaining the personal-chafing problem to the nice lady pharmacist in Portugal who doesn't speak English or Spanish really...we did get it figured, and the tube of cream was very good. (I kept saying "la tela" and "calor". And looking embarrassed. She got it.)

For the newbie, if you discover while preparing, a few weeks before leaving, that walking 10 miles on the flat gives you a mauve toe, even if you haven't made it all the way to a fully-black toe, it is reasonable to get a new, larger shoe/boot right away. Though when we declared our prior botes dead and went for new ones, my spouse and I both went up again in size.

Things we don't know until we walk...

Buen camino, all.
 
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Barbara

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Riding Mac is heavy. Ok, but I is one DRY pilgrim.
And actually, when it is on my back it doesn't FEEL heavy. And as this is Galicia, in February, it is on my back a LOT.
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
In Australia these are called oilskins, or by their brandname 'Driza-bone' They are amazing and pioneered by stockmen however they are REALLY heavy.

In the American West they're called by several names including slickers, dusters, etc. Yep, they can weigh a ton, and they don't "breathe" very well. Plus, unless you're wearing a full-brimmed hat (Akubra, Stetson, Filson, etc.), you're gonna get water down your back.
 

Devon Mike

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 & 2019), Primitivo & Ingles (2017)
Some interesting thoughts about the benefits of keeping things very simple. My personal approach is to just take what I need. Nothing expensive, no phone or other electronics. No bookings just go with the flow and never had any problems finding a bed or anything else. My pack weight is always about 5Kgs.

I have read some inspirational books including a couple by John Hillaby. One very inspirational book was by A H Reed who at the age of 85 walked the entire length of both New Zealand islands in the Summer of 1960/61, around 2,600kms. He just wore his usual everyday clothes, carried a raincoat and a small attache case. He stayed with friends and also slept out in railway stations.

There is now an official long distance path down both islands, Te Araroa. One day I hope to do some of it, if not all of it.


Imagee.jpg
 
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William Garza

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
A riding mac is a water proof coat, long, down to mid calf but split at the back at thigh level. With a cape to stop the rain getting in through the shoulder seams. Various pockets and straps, and usually made from waxed cotton with a plain cotton lining. Intended for sitting on a horse but will work for walking. Especially in Galicia. Add gaiters to stop the rain running into your shoes, as you probably won't be walking in riding boots.
Well dang..I was debating adding a comment about walking with what gear I got..which includes a Duster..I,e sure an analog of your riding mac..oil cloth and warm and dry as needed..but must weigh a ton...but pictured myself striding across hill amd dale in wet weather in my oilskins..sigh..heavy stuff.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
Such a fun post and because I'm currently packing for my second Camino Frances it has made me seriously think about what I am doing.
Right now, my favourite phrase is, 'It's only two months.' [Yeah yeah yeah I know that's a long time but I'm a slow walker and I hate deadlines and there are lots of options after Santiago.]
For those eight weeks what I'm asking is:
a) Will my gear last that long?
b) Do I care what I look like, especially as I know no one at the start and after the end the chances are I'll never see anyone again?
On reflection I've decided I have three priorities, which are:
1. Buying the absolute best shoes for me because blisters and plantar fasciitis hurt. [Not a single blister on the first camino and I do so hope to do that again.]
2. Keeping pack weight down, especially for the first couple of weeks while I am getting my walking legs because shin splints, back strain, knee problems, and other weight related injuries hurt. [I weigh less than 60 kgs, have severe osteoporosis in my spine, and perfer to walk in cool weather so THE only way I can keep pack weight down is with meticulous planning.]
3. Getting good rain gear. This does not necessarily mean being dry 100% of the time but keeping the gear in my pack dry, staying mostly dry myself, and if wet then drying quickly.
So I am prepared to spend money on the big ticket items like shoes, backpack, sleeping bag and rain gear. And even those can be got for very little money if you can sew or find them on sale or get them second hand, etc.
All the rest can be got from what you have or charity shops or Esty or eBay, etc. The absolute best gear I got for my first camino was from Daiso, the 100 yen or in Australia, the $2.80 shop. And I'll be using it all again the second time around.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

View attachment 31831


Granny Emma found the trip to be very hard. I imagine she would have found it more comfortable and more fun with better gear.

David's points are very good however...... be realistic about what constitutes "better". The best shoes are the ones which work for you etc.
 
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2019
Some walk for fun, some walk for other reasons.
For some, equipment is entertainment, for some it's an afterthought.
Some want to intentionally cultivate simplicity, others prefer to gather experiences.
Some of us revel in the social aspect of the walk, others rest in the silence.
And where we are in all that determines how we relate to equipment.
So I guess the bottom line is 'whatever'.

Off topic a bit, but I have to say it (begging your indulgence, mods.....?)~
The wonderful and refreshing thing is that no matter what we think, no-one is pushing their view on anyone and no-one is claiming to be 'right.' Thank you, everyone. A refreshing change from the tribalism that seems to be taking over everywhere else.
This Forum is such a blessed relief from all that.
 

sadaigh

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (July 2017), Via Francigena (May 2019)
Some walk for fun, some walk for other reasons.
For some, equipment is entertainment, for some it's an afterthought.
Some want to intentionally cultivate simplicity, others prefer to gather experiences.
Some of us revel in the social aspect of the walk, others rest in the silence.
And where we are in all that determines how we relate to equipment.
So I guess the bottom line is 'whatever'.

Off topic a bit, but I have to say it (begging your indulgence, mods.....?)~
The wonderful and refreshing thing is that no matter what we think, no-one is pushing their view on anyone and no-one is claiming to be 'right.' Thank you, everyone. A refreshing change from the tribalism that seems to be taking over everywhere else.
This Forum is such a blessed relief from all that.

Well said.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
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On my first Camino, I had just a tiny little Adidas sports bag plus ultra light military sleeping bag -- smaller than this :

S99715_01_standard.jpg


Actually, is what I took on my second LONG Camino from Paris too ... (except it was BLACK)

Small volume = low weight.

---

One's needs grow heavier with experience ....
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Emerson of course .....
David's post with the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote on walking and equipment was right on topic. This is a little less so. There exists an almost 3km path in Concord, Massachusetts that leads from Emerson's home (kept as a museum) to the site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond. It is called the Emerson-Thoreau Amble.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Some day I would love to pilgrimage to the Emerson/Thoreau Amble. One of Thoreau' quotes has been my constant companion while preparing. <3

Eve,
May I ask which is your favorite Thoreau quote?

Mine from Emerson is

"Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much...."
Country Life, 1858
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Some day I would love to pilgrimage to the Emerson/Thoreau Amble. One of Thoreau' quotes has been my constant companion while preparing. <3
I've assembled a number of local trails, a few rural roads and some suburban streets into a 20+ mile walk from one train station to another with Thoreau sites all along it. An unfinished project is publishing this to the web. It goes though state forests, state reservations, a wildlife refuge, a national park, the cemetery where Thoreau and Emerson are buried, town forests, town conservation land, town parks, land trusts and forest owned by Harvard University. Too bad the train stations aren't on the same railroad line but they connect in Boston so this could be a great country walk for the city dwellers. It could also be used as a training walk for the camino. It uses the Emerson-Thoreau Amble so it goes by Walden Pond too.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2017
The 20+ mile hike sounds amazing!

My two constant companion quotes for all my planning:

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
~Thoreau

and this one, which I cut and pasted so it looks huge and Idk how to make it smaller. lol

The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.
~Thomas Merton

 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Eve and Margaret and Rick, I know they're off topic, but I cannot like your posts enough!
I've assembled a number of local trails, a few rural roads and some suburban streets into a 20+ mile walk from one train station to another with Thoreau sites all along it. . .It could also be used as a training walk for the camino. It uses the Emerson-Thoreau Amble so it goes by Walden Pond too.
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
~Thoreau
"Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much...."
Country Life, 1858

As for my favorite, this jumps to mind--crowded out by some others, but it was first and easily applies to the Camino:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived"
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I had forgotten about this one, which brings Thoreau and the OP together:
"“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”

(It is the second half of that quote that really resonates with me as far as the Camino is concerned...it definitely has the potential to make us new...and then the clothes? Pfft. High-tech, or not, new or old? It doesn't matter so much, so long as they fit and we can walk with ease.)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
I had forgotten about this one, which brings Thoreau and the OP together:
"“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”

(It is the second half of that quote that really resonates with me as far as the Camino is concerned...it definitely has the potential to make us new...and then the clothes? Pfft. High-tech, or not, new or old? It doesn't matter so much, so long as they fit and we can walk with ease.)

I'd love to see the whole quote if you have it.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
It is the second half of that quote that really resonates with me as far as the Camino is concerned...it definitely has the potential to make us new...and then the clothes?
I'd love to see the whole quote if you have it.
I actually meant the second part of the sentence I quoted, but wasn't clear--sorry, Eve.
But here it is anyway, form Walden, in the chapter about economy:
"I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles."
 
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David

David, such a wonderful comment! What a helpful pilgrim you are! I will be watching for your green first aid kit backpack on the Camino, so I can meet such a kind soul. :)
ve, and
IMHO people obsess over the equipment preparation because it is tangible, concrete, quantifiable and knowable. Spiritual preparation, which one might think would be more necessary, is by contrast intangible, qualitative and largely unknowable. So we do the easier work.
So true, even in all areas beyond the Camino as we walk the road of life. The constant battle between the physical and the spiritual They war against each other.
 
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Deleted member 12253

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Boots or shoes or none.. Your choice but remember the difference of going for walk at home maybe 8/10km and trekking 25/35 km a day with backpack for 30/40 days. Keep it simple well broken in footwear !!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances: September - October 2016
Porto > Santiago - April 2018
Move to Astorga (2019)
I wonder..
Who has ever just walked out the front door, flew or boated to Spain and just bought their kit there ?

I walked with two pilgrims that stopped in Paris, went to Decathlon, bought the necessary stuff, continued on to SJPdP and walked the 800 km. They did fine.
I succumbed to a flirtatious impulse to buy expensive Hoka hiking shoes after reading accolades on this forum, wore them for a month of daily walking before departure and they were terrible for me on the trail. I completed the Way from Burgos wearing Birkenstock EVAs that I also was introduced to on this forum, and I am wearing them now as I type this response. My point is that as others have said, no-one can tell you what your feet will enjoy and that in the end, it is not that important to have the best shoes or whatever. It is important to be there moving forward. And that saying "The Camino Provides" is so gratifying to test. I found it true and I was both a recipient and a provider. A wonderful part of the lessons learned.

Sandals on rocky path - cropped.jpg
 

Gareth Griffith

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago de Compestela in May(2016)
On my Camino Frances last year I met a Canadian guy in his late 20s that had met up with a girl in Pamplona that was doing the Camino and having nothing better to do thought he'd give it a go too! I know he suffered a bit with his legs but was going great guns for someone totally unprepared.
I let him have a try with my trekking poles and said he should try to get a pair to ease the strain on his legs.
I caught up with him a couple of days later and he'd got himself a wooden staff which he said had saved him from serious harm from two sheep dogs.
Here's a picture of the man himself. Totally unprepared for the walk, but enjoying himself none the less. Every time I caught up with him he was in a bar chatting up the women!
 

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David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
nice post Gareth - hey, the image thing .. when you see it as a thumbnail if you look just to the right and below it there is a click "full image" - click that before posting the reply and your photo will appear full size!!
 
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Sunriver OR USA

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(May 2017)
Uh-oh, now y'all have done it! Here come two of my favorite sayings:

Fortune favors the prepared mind. -- Louis Pasteur

'Better' is the enemy of 'good enough.' -- Russian Proverb

The first tells us that asking questions, thinking things through, running "what-if" scenarios, etc., help us to be prepared so that we can enjoy things just a wee bit more. (It also suggests that what's in our heads is generally more important than what's in our backpacks.)

The second tells us not get all crazy and obsessive about having all the bestest/newest things.


May I add another favorite? "Good enough is perfect."
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Hey all - I was going through various posts about equipment .. puffa jackets, boots or trainers, sleeping bags or liners, ponchos or jackets .... which rucksack and why - now, don't get me wrong, I also like reading about gear, all that choice out there and one can be drawn in, most of us are - and it can be fun making those choices ... but I have also noticed a certain nervousness, even fear, in some novice pilgrims; the concern that they may not 'get it right' .. and that is a shame as the truth is that absolutely none of it is important - it just doesn't matter what you wear, which footwear, which pack - the bottom line is that it should be simple and it should be comfortable ... as well as, well, it just isn't necessary to spend huge amounts of money on kit - one could just as easily go through what one already owns and take some of that - and to check on this, to see if I was right (or just making things up in my head) I looked at earlier hikers, back fifty or more years ago ..

I found this rather amazing woman, Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - she walked the whole of the Appalachian trail at 67 years old - on her feet she wore soft sneakers, what we in the uk call plimsolls (which reminded me that in 1973 I climbed the mountain St Victoire in Provence, on the black path, the 'death' path, without ropes or any other kit, wearing plimsolls), and her 'hiking kit' - well!

"When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname "Grandma Gatewood." Upon completion of the epic trail, she told Sports Illustrated, "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and wouldn't quit." Gatewood is also known as a pioneer of ultra-light hiking — she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and often carried just an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain that she used as a bag. "Grandma Gatewood" hiked the AT two more times, in 1960 and in 1963, completing her final hike in sections. She was the first person to hike the trail three times, and she was the oldest woman to thru-hike the trail until Nancy Gowler did so at the age of 71 in 2007.

So, my point is, don't be afraid, don't spend money you don't need to spend, don't worry about it - just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

View attachment 31831

Thank you David for that, as a 1st timer (will hopefully be resting at the Valcarlos Albergue at this time in exactly 4 weeks time).... I'm starting slower, I stopped reading about what piece of equipment was best, no one can tell me that Salomón XXXX trail trainers are best if they walked the Via de la Plata in the Fall and have 30 year old feet (vs my 59 yr feet walking the CF in March April),.....I did spend money I now sort of regret as I later found old stuff at home that was actually better (plus less guilt about ditching it if not needed). But now I'm almost all kitted, pack feels right, I'm under 10% of my body weight by 1 kg so have room for food, walking daily with the pack and now enjoying just reading, looking at the map and trying to not get over excited. Thanks to all who replied to my questions. I will post 1 more for feedback. Buen Camino, eternally grateful, Colette
 

kmrice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
I have to admit that I spend a lot of time researching equipment; I read just about all the gear threads in this forum. I call it planning, but it is really just a way of enjoying my Caminos year round! Right now, I'm obsessing over Arn packs. Doubt I'll buy one in the near future, but it sure is fun to think about having such light gear.

Until last year, I would have agreed that "no new shoes" was good advice. But, my nicely worn in but pretty new boots failed me about 250 miles out of Le Puy. I made it to SJPdP where I bought a brand new pair. They got me to Santiago without any issues at all. So, I guess even the soundest of advice can sometimes be gone against without penalty.
 
+1 for Grandma Gatewood. I have spent several months on the Appalachian Trail. Her book is a great read. Grandma became a legend as she walked and afterwards. As she walked her fame spread and was regularly intercepted by newspaper reporters keen for a story for their State. Gatewood was often taken in and fed and watered along the way by interested folk- she was seen on the trail and received hospitality-bit like the Camino I guess. Lived on a farm and worked hard. She was physically abused by her husband and ran away at times; successfully divorcing him; which was not easy in those times or where she lived. Raised eleven children.
Grandma was one of the first lightweight hikers managing food an water well.
 
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Bernard Armhouse

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
Hey all - I was going through various posts about equipment .. puffa jackets, boots or trainers, sleeping bags or liners, ponchos or jackets .... which rucksack and why - now, don't get me wrong, I also like reading about gear, all that choice out there and one can be drawn in, most of us are - and it can be fun making those choices ... but I have also noticed a certain nervousness, even fear, in some novice pilgrims; the concern that they may not 'get it right' .. and that is a shame as the truth is that absolutely none of it is important - it just doesn't matter what you wear, which footwear, which pack - the bottom line is that it should be simple and it should be comfortable ... as well as, well, it just isn't necessary to spend huge amounts of money on kit - one could just as easily go through what one already owns and take some of that - and to check on this, to see if I was right (or just making things up in my head) I looked at earlier hikers, back fifty or more years ago ..

I found this rather amazing woman, Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - she walked the whole of the Appalachian trail at 67 years old - on her feet she wore soft sneakers, what we in the uk call plimsolls (which reminded me that in 1973 I climbed the mountain St Victoire in Provence, on the black path, the 'death' path, without ropes or any other kit, wearing plimsolls), and her 'hiking kit' - well!

"When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname "Grandma Gatewood." Upon completion of the epic trail, she told Sports Illustrated, "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and wouldn't quit." Gatewood is also known as a pioneer of ultra-light hiking — she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and often carried just an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain that she used as a bag. "Grandma Gatewood" hiked the AT two more times, in 1960 and in 1963, completing her final hike in sections. She was the first person to hike the trail three times, and she was the oldest woman to thru-hike the trail until Nancy Gowler did so at the age of 71 in 2007.

So, my point is, don't be afraid, don't spend money you don't need to spend, don't worry about it - just wear what is comfortable - this is Emma as she hiked -

View attachment 31831
http://www.herald-dispatch.com/feat...cle_033d866f-667e-58fc-bb3d-e2b082e33232.html
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
If you want to see what Grandma Gatewood saw read on.

Just a little before posting this I was browsing Youtube and came across an hour long video taken by a man named
Will Wood. He has a series of "Following Redbeard" videos taken along the Appalachian Trail divided by state. (Redbeard is the trail name of his hiking companion.)

I'm not going to embed the videos here but you can link to them.

First here's that hour long video I saw for the state of New Hampshire and the area in the White Mountains that Peg and I backpack in:

This link brings you to a playlist that has each of the states from Georgia to Maine:

And this is Will Wood's channel:

Enjoy. (Or not, it's up to you. :))
 
Year of past OR future Camino
1341
On my second Camino Frances I stopped at a bench where a younger man was patching up badly blistered feet. He had very expensive state-of-the-art clothing and equipment. He looked at me in my old cheap shabby gear and began to explain why each and every item he carried or wore was superior in every way to mine. The implication was that I was lucky to still be alive, never mind walking. Instead of clouting the haemorrhoid with my old-fashioned stick I contented myself by pointing out that I was walking 10km+ further each day than he was and my feet didn't look like the bottom of a butcher's waste bin. Just because an item is new, shiny and expensive does not make it the right choice. On my last Camino Frances I saw several almost new pairs of expensive (£100+) boots abandoned at the side of the track. Fit and function matter far more than price. Just be sure to test your gear well in advance.
Oh, this has given me the best laugh, and will sustain me on my daily health walk along the quays! I found this wonderful post while looking for somewhere to post this: My Osprey daypack had the misfortune to have beetroot in every crevice inside yesterday when I got home from my walk, having bought a few items and not packed them carefully enough. Into the washing machine, and out like new. So, a plug for the materials in Osprey and a huge thank you to the poster above, thank you for offering the best laugh in a long time!
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Year of past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Oh, this has given me the best laugh, and will sustain me on my daily health walk along the quays! I found this wonderful post while looking for somewhere to post this: My Osprey daypack had the misfortune to have beetroot in every crevice inside yesterday when I got home from my walk, having bought a few items and not packed them carefully enough. Into the washing machine, and out like new. So, a plug for the materials in Osprey and a huge thank you to the poster above, thank you for offering the best laugh in a long time!
And @kirkie - what about a plug (please excuse the laundry-related pun!) for the washing powder/pod you used! I do love a heads-up on a great laundry product!
Buen Camino from Oz -
Jenny
 
Year of past OR future Camino
1341
And @kirkie - what about a plug (please excuse the laundry-related pun!) for the washing powder/pod you used! I do love a heads-up on a great laundry product!
Buen Camino from Oz -
Jenny
Fairy powder, not a lot. No softener, ever. Occasionally a squirt of cheap white vinegar in the rinse drawer. Lucky to have a small yard with a washing line. For hand washing I use a bar of soap from North of Spain - the brand is Chimbo, known by locals as jabon de lagarto. So glad to be able to imagine going into Eroski in Pamplona to buy a stock for future... when the green light is sure and steady!
 
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JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Year of past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Fairy powder, not a lot. No softener, ever. Occasionally a squirt of cheap white vinegar in the rinse drawer. Lucky to have a small yard with a washing line. For hand washing I use a bar of soap from North of Spain - the brand is Chimbo, known by locals as jabon de lagarto. So glad to be able to imagine going into Eroski in Pamplona to buy a stock for future... when the green light is sure and steady!
Thanks for the information about the Fairy washing powder Kirkie. We have Fairy dishwashing products here in Oz but not the laundry powder unfortunately - they’re great products. Thanks too for the terrific tip about the Chimbo soap - it’s now on my list for a future Pamplona shop ... longing sigh! I’m with you on the green light ... such happy days when the world opens up again and for us all to be safe, wherever we may be.
Buen future camino from Oz -
Jenny
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I have enjoyed reading this resurrected thread, particularly as I am getting my gear together for my next camino. A couple of weeks ago, I had a bad flood in my apartment, resulting in the necessity of going through all the wet contents of many closets. To my amazement, I found an old pair of the type of boots that I wear on my caminos. In fact, I found two old pairs, dry and with good treads. Either could replace the boots from my last camino, whose treads are quite worn out. But one pair is in better shape and fits better: so there are my boots for my next camino. I had forgotten all about them and spent considerable time shopping in my usual outdoor stores for that exact brand and size: to no luck. So don't forget that the best possible store for gear for your next camino is the back of a neglected closet.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
I have enjoyed reading this resurrected thread, particularly as I am getting my gear together for my next camino. A couple of weeks ago, I had a bad flood in my apartment, resulting in the necessity of going through all the wet contents of many closets. To my amazement, I found an old pair of the type of boots that I wear on my caminos. In fact, I found two old pairs, dry and with good treads. Either could replace the boots from my last camino, whose treads are quite worn out. But one pair is in better shape and fits better: so there are my boots for my next camino. I had forgotten all about them and spent considerable time shopping in my usual outdoor stores for that exact brand and size: to no luck. So don't forget that the best possible store for gear for your next camino is the back of a neglected closet.
Theatregal,
Glad that you "found" those boots. Since another camino is improbable for me, I wear much old gear gardening; thus even weeding recalls those happier days.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
1341
My local walks have been repetitive. Not at all boring. Now, it is possible to go beyond the 5km, and then, county boundary. If I could, I would be free to walk the length and breadth of Ireland. Needs must, and daily commitments decree what is possible. As the bus driver told me this morning on my way home from shopping: yes, we are the right side of the daisies...
The other day I had two perfect images, but I couldn't snap them with my camera. Both, young women, and so typical in Dublin the minute the sun shines. Dressed as if we were in Greece, or somewhere else exotic. I thanked God for my mask, as I laughed and laughed at the wonderful exuberance of youth, laughing at the elements!
Sorry! wrong thread! I will leave it, if it gets moved that's fine, even deleted, that's ok too!
 
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