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Using a blanket as a jacket on a cold day

ChrissyandElise

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to Santiago May 2024
Hello all! My daughter and I are heading out on the Frances SJPP to SDC on May 19. I'm trying to minimize pack weight & not pack my fears. One of my fears is being cold. Right now our hooded fleece jackets are one of the heaviest items in our packs at 14.2oz / 403g. I'm thinking of replacing that with pullover hooded windbreaker jackets that we have from another trip - only 2.8oz / 80g but much lighter. Probably be more functional all the way through June though.

We are each bringing a lightweight throw blanket for sleeping. I'm thinking maybe if it's a particularly cold day, we can just wrap up in the blanket while hiking. Have any of you done this and what are your thoughts? Thank you!
 
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I guess it is possible but i would advise against it unless in an emergency. Just try walking with your blanket for a few minutes and think what it would be like if you had to do that for a full day.

I started walking on similar times in May. Last time the forecast predicted a heat wave for at least the first week. I switched to a thinner jacket because of this, knowing that if the weather would change to colder temperatures i could just buy another piece for warmth. Which i eventually did in Burgos. (For 9€ at Decathlon...)
So maybe thats an approach that can work for you aswell.
 
Thank you @Anhalter. I was thinking that the first day hike over the Pyrenees was going to be the coldest section, and didn't want an extra 14oz just for one day - but based on your reply I see it was chilly for a couple weeks at least. In your experience, are there other generally cold/windy stretches along the CF to anticipate in this timeframe? (I recognize the weather will be different every year, just curious if there are more typical cold/windy parts.)
 
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You're certainly better off not taking the big heavy jacket, as you will have very minimal use for this versus the pain of carrying it. Instead just take layers, so your lightweight windbreaker and then maybe a fleece top which tend to be very light and can be used as an extra layer, and also an outer layer on its own at times. Under that if need be you have your other tops you can add.
 
Thank you @Anhalter. I was thinking that the first day hike over the Pyrenees was going to be the coldest section, and didn't want an extra 14oz just for one day - but based on your reply I see it was chilly for a couple weeks at least. In your experience, are there other generally cold/windy stretches along the CF to anticipate in this timeframe? (I recognize the weather will be different every year, just curious if there are more typical cold/windy parts.)
Walked the Frances twice mid May to mid June, very different weather both times. Generally, i found the early mornings in the meseta rather fresh. Second time the pyrenees been extremely windy, but well above 20°C. The mountains after Leon can be cold too. Even seen some snow falling in June 2019... but as i said, none of these changes came unexpectedly.

Feel free to look at my packing list in my signature. From the clothing side i work with layers that combined will keep me warm enough even around 0°C but are still rather light. (Warm enough while moving! The fleece i bought was for sitting outside more comfortably in the evenings)
 
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In an emergency, sure. As a plan? No. Layers are your friend, my friend. Even on cold Spring days, the heat of your body while hiking is generally enough except for when you first start in the morning and that takes only a jacket over a fleece to keep your heat in. Address your fears, don’t avoid them, but do so in a practical way.
 
Well, female humans feel the cold more than males, I don't know why, but good quality sleeping bags give two temp ranges and they are very different for males and females.

Plenty of ethnic history of using blankets to keep warm - cultures all over the world did/do that. Though if your sleeping bag is actually a throw just use that?

Though - have you thought of packing top and bottom thermals? Light, soft against the skin and give a superb base layer warmth - and sleep in them too if cold at night - just a thought.

Oh! and don't forget the benefits of a woolly hat.

Though - May/June? You could be toasty all the way and really resent carrying all the cold weather kit - just keep an eye on the forecasts closer to (Accuweather is good) .. I have been on Camino in April when it was consistently really hot and in April when it was so so so cold that I became ill - and I wore every single thing I took with me - guess my point is that you will know a couple/few weeks before you go.
 
It is very hard to know if you will need the heavy jacket or blanket without knowing all the other layers you will have. What top layers do you have?

On the coldest day, plan to wear almost everything you have - two pairs covering your legs, several long sleeved tops, rain/wind jacket, hat, buff and gloves.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Thank you @Anhalter. I was thinking that the first day hike over the Pyrenees was going to be the coldest section, and didn't want an extra 14oz just for one day - but based on your reply I see it was chilly for a couple weeks at least. In your experience, are there other generally cold/windy stretches along the CF to anticipate in this timeframe? (I recognize the weather will be different every year, just curious if there are more typical cold/windy parts.)
Hi Chrissy,
What a great adventure to share with your daughter!
The expected temperatures from mid May onwards will be warm, certainly from mid-morning onwards. However, that first day out of Saint Jean PdP, the hilltops later on, and the first hour of each day throughout your Camino may be a bit chilly until the sun cuts through. But once you are walking, you'll be generating some heat, particularly when you're gaining altitude. Apart from first thing, the other time you may want extra insulation is in the evening, after your shower, when perhaps you'll sit outside with a cold beer, soda or glass of wine in your hand, admiring the view and chatting to fellow pilgrims.
As @Anhalter and @davejsy have suggested, in the morning it is best to put on several layers, so that you can remove them as you warm up. For instance, if you have two short sleeved T-shirt and a long sleeve T-shirt, wear them all! Then those you remove during the first couple of hours will still be clean enough to wear as your first layer tomorrow.
I tend to take a cheap down-filled gilet/vest to wear in the evening, which is light, small when packed, and warm, especially when worn under a waterproof jacket. I rarely wear it while walking though.
There are shops in towns and villages along the way, so even if you haven't brought enough warmth with you, you can buy something more. Better that way around than carrying an extra kilogram or couple of pounds of unnecessary weight.
Happy planning and Buen Camino!
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

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Instead of your fleece I can recommend this down jacket. I have one in medium and it weighs about 9 ounces, packs down small, plus it's a great buy!

 
Hello all! My daughter and I are heading out on the Frances SJPP to SDC on May 19. I'm trying to minimize pack weight & not pack my fears. One of my fears is being cold. Right now our hooded fleece jackets are one of the heaviest items in our packs at 14.2oz / 403g. I'm thinking of replacing that with pullover hooded windbreaker jackets that we have from another trip - only 2.8oz / 80g but much lighter. Probably be more functional all the way through June though.

We are each bringing a lightweight throw blanket for sleeping. I'm thinking maybe if it's a particularly cold day, we can just wrap up in the blanket while hiking. Have any of you done this and what are your thoughts? Thank you!
Our first Camino we started end of April. Still had chilly weather. We packed some warm layers we wouldn't mind getting rid of after biggest threat of colder weather was gone. Left them in a donation box an albergue about 3 weeks in. Ultreia!
 
We are each bringing a lightweight throw blanket for sleeping. I'm thinking maybe if it's a particularly cold day, we can just wrap up in the blanket while hiking. Have any of you done this and what are your thoughts? Thank you!
I use a great big black woollen pilgrim cape for cold and rainy days (with a nice hood), and use that as a blanket when I need one.

So quite the opposite, but still the same.

I guess a more recently fashionable woollen poncho would do the trick too !!
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
Instead of your fleece I can recommend this down jacket. I have one in medium and it weighs about 9 ounces, packs down small, plus it's a great buy!

This is the jacket I have taken every year and find it perfect.
Maybe not this exact one, but a featherweight puff jacket like this one.
It folds into it's own pocket to pack. Love it! And plenty warm.
 
Instead of your fleece I can recommend this down jacket. I have one in medium and it weighs about 9 ounces, packs down small, plus it's a great buy!

I just bought this too in Costco last weekend as a potential option! Although got the synthetic version because we are vegan so don't do down - that one is around 14.8oz. Agree it's a steal!
 
the other time you may want extra insulation is in the evening, after your shower, when perhaps you'll sit outside with a cold beer, soda or glass of wine in your hand, admiring the view and chatting to fellow pilgrims.
Thank you for this! YES something I hadn't thought of. Maybe this plus extra layers to donate after a week or two is the way to go.....

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies - you are all giving me great options to consider.
 
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Thank you @Anhalter. I was thinking that the first day hike over the Pyrenees was going to be the coldest section, and didn't want an extra 14oz just for one day - but based on your reply I see it was chilly for a couple weeks at least. In your experience, are there other generally cold/windy stretches along the CF to anticipate in this timeframe? (I recognize the weather will be different every year, just curious if there are more typical cold/windy parts.)
You would be surprised just how fast you generate plenty of heat while walking up and over the Pyrenees. If you keep your head and hands covered, and wear a fleece garment with sleeves, you will be plenty warm in all but the coldest temperatures. This presumes you are already wearing two layers of socks in your shoes or boots.

I have walked the Napoleon Pass several times in April, when there was still ankle-deep snow on the ground, and was fine with this configuration.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
What a great adventure to share with your daughter!
Thank you @Tandem Graham. I truly feel so blessed. She is 20, will be going into her senior year of college (for nursing) and this will probably be the last time we can bail out for 6 weeks together. I know that this time together will be absolutely priceless. My heart is full.
 
The blanket idea is unlikely to work. The size will be wrong, it will be difficult to keep from sliding or blowing off, will probably get filthy.

Better to just wear layers of clothes, a raincoat as a windbreaker, hat, gloves, warm socks and shoes
 
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Thank you for this! YES something I hadn't thought of. Maybe this plus extra layers to donate after a week or two is the way to go.....

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies - you are all giving me great options to consider.

If you have chosen your layers well, and minimally, I don't know what layers you would want to abandon after a week or two!

Exactly. The inner layers will be so thin, they won't take up space and you'll have them forever.

But it's a case of buy cheap, buy twice.

Merino wool all the way- I've a merino/synthetic blend beanie, merino buff and merino mitts..also I'm lucky to have a baby alpaca wool cardigan.
Perfect for high single digits, and even better about wool but it doesn't feel hot when the temp rises or it's sunny, it absorbs a fair bit of water without feeling wet, and merino and alpaca wool is as soft as cotton. And it doesn't absorb sweat/odors like synthetic stuff so less washing (which is fortunate - wool can't be machine washed)

I also have a light merino base layer which i haven't needed yet.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
If you’re from New Jersey you’re unlikely to find Spain cold in May; other than -possibly - days 1 and 2 of the Frances from St Jean and even then the exercise should compensate.
 
This may seem odd but, as a short term solution, wearing a fleece next to the skin and under a t-shirt is a much warmer option than wearing the fleece over the t-shirt (tip from a ski instructor to one of my daughters).
The downside is that, if you start to overheat, you then have to strip off to rearrange the layers - not a problem for some of the more extrovert European nations but finding a suitable bush to change behind say on the Meseta might anguish the coy.
 
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Hello all! My daughter and I are heading out on the Frances SJPP to SDC on May 19. I'm trying to minimize pack weight & not pack my fears. One of my fears is being cold. Right now our hooded fleece jackets are one of the heaviest items in our packs at 14.2oz / 403g. I'm thinking of replacing that with pullover hooded windbreaker jackets that we have from another trip - only 2.8oz / 80g but much lighter. Probably be more functional all the way through June though.

We are each bringing a lightweight throw blanket for sleeping. I'm thinking maybe if it's a particularly cold day, we can just wrap up in the blanket while hiking. Have any of you done this and what are your thoughts? Thank you!
Travelling in mid March from SJPP I am kind of doing the opposite- no sleeping bag but carrying a sufficiently heavy fleece (plus layers) that I can sleep in them and keep warm if I need to. The net weight of no sleeping bag + heavier fleece ended up being the minimum weight for me. Even with a rather heavy 4 pound pack I am weighing in around 17 pounds which given I am a 240 pound human is quite manageable.
 
I just bought this too in Costco last weekend as a potential option! Although got the synthetic version because we are vegan so don't do down - that one is around 14.8oz. Agree it's a steal!
Uniqlo has a stripped down puffer jacket that's not down. I bought the down version a few years ago, and it weighs 6.2 ounces in size large. I don't have any information on what the non-down jacket weighs, but I find my little Uniqlo jacket to be perfect for Spring weather.

 
I have both a down puffer jacket and a synthetic one. I've used them on different Caminos and like them equally. They stuff scrunch up really well without wrinkling when I pull them back out of my pack when needed.
I prefer now to always bring the synthetic puffer because I worry too much about the down jacket possibly getting wet when I've had rain starting to spit a few times. I use an umbrella first and only bring out my rain jacket when necessary. I have no worries and mote peace of mind with the synthetic fill.
 
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