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WARNING: THE DESERT GETS COLD AT NIGHT

Anyone who is interested in ditching their fleece or warm clothing for the sake of creating a lighter pack should THINK AGAIN! I just finished walking El Camino Frances during August (Spain's *hottest* month) without a good, warm fleece and I found myself very cold very often. The nights are chilly when the sun is not out and the mornings as well before the sun has warmed the earth. I HIGHLY recommend warm clothes, long sleeves and at least one pair of long pants. I would hate for someone to make the same mistake as I..... but I did survive afterall....! I guess its up to you, but you've been warned!! BUEN CAMINO a todos! con amor y carino a todos los peregrinos....-vanessa peregrina :arrow:
 
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spursfan

Veteran Member
Since I'm one that wouldn't carry a fleece, let me just explain a little more

I walked in Icebreaker merino wool tops that protect against the warmth and cold - I walked in April and when I was cold first thing some mornings I would wear my rain jacket - but the sun soon shone brightly; and I'd probably recommend that HH thermals are lighter, more flexible and less bulky than a fleece; not forgetting the silk balaclava and fleece gloves that I had against extreme cold - I also walked in long pants and long sleeves

Maybe I was lucky that I didn't find it cold in the albergues at night - more often, with a sleeping bag and blanket, I felt too warm
 

John Hussey

Active Member
spursfan said:
Since I'm one that wouldn't carry a fleece, let me just explain a little more

I walked in Icebreaker merino wool tops that protect against the warmth and cold - I walked in April and when I was cold first thing some mornings I would wear my rain jacket - but the sun soon shone brightly; and I'd probably recommend that HH thermals are lighter, more flexible and less bulky than a fleece; not forgetting the silk balaclava and fleece gloves that I had against extreme cold - I also walked in long pants and long sleeves

Maybe I was lucky that I didn't find it cold in the albergues at night - more often, with a sleeping bag and blanket, I felt too warm

The problem with thermals is that they require a modicum of privacy as well as a little time to shed in the morning when the sun (and temperature) rises. A good lightweight, thin, fleece pullover though, with a warm hood, requires neither and works, at least for me, quite well enough.
 
I would agree that a microfleece is a worthy investment....more so than the thermal base layers, for precisely the reason John outlined.

My fleece took up very very little space and in Galicia I just had it strapped to the outside of the pack - as for weight...I think its possible to get far too concerned about that. Humans adapt to the stresses placed on their bodies after all - i'm sure most people agree that the pack feels heavier after a day or two - but after a week it becomes part of you so the weight isn't as huge an issue as it sometimes seems (but I would still advise you not to carry things you dont NEED just purely because they get in the way!)

When the day is extremely hot - as in august - the ground heats up equally...but if there's no cloud cover at night that heat is also lost very quickly. If you're unfortunate enough to end up on the floor at some point you need all the insulation you can get to stop the ground leecing your body heat away.

Just my tuppence...
 

fiddletree

Active Member
I didn't bring a fleece in August/May and it was a really big mistake. I was lucky that a friend had too many warm clothes and gave me an extra warm shirt, because it was very cold sometimes! A fleece is good any time of the year.
 
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vinotinto

Active Member
I brought an REI fleece vest during my July/August 2007 trek on the Camino. There were many times I didn't need it (except to use it for a pillow here and there), but right around the point where I got close to Galicia I began to use it more and more during the evening hours.

Without sleeves, it packed down smaller than a jacket (and weighed less in my pack). The extra pockets were handy for keeping my hands warm or holding stuff. It was heavy enough to take the edge off of the chill, while being light enough so I didn't break into a sweat if I exerted myself (like when I danced with the crowd at a nighttime festival in Rabanal). It was also just right for keeping warm on the flight to and from Europe.

In one or two areas (including Santiago) I had some chilly, rainy evenings. For nights like that, I had a nice zip-up rain poncho that was big enough to cover my pack. But it was good enough to wear around town during rainy/windy nights, and I could still comfortably wear the vest under it - I think a full-sleeved fleece would've been too hot in that case.
 

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