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Weather and Preparation - HELP!!

naomik

New Member
Hi All,
I am horribly badly prepared and feeling extremely nervous about the walk. I am going to do the Camino Frances, starting from SJDPP on March 5th. Can anyone tell me what the weather is likely to be like - it seems like there has been a lot of snow this year.
Also - any advice on what to bring (in terms of clothing) would be hugely appreciated.
Will thermal top, a fleece and a windbreaker be enough on top or should I bring a heavier jacket?
Thank you,
Naomi
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Naomi

The weather is still going to present challenges at the beginning of March. I think that you need a good waterproof outer layer as well as a jacket that is wind proof - I think that the other layers you mention will work fine. Layering with good wind and woater protection is the key I think rather than the weight of a heavier jacket.

Have a look at Yahoo weather or one of the other services which gives you extended predictions and go for the cities along the route - the weather predicted for Pamplona up to the end of the month is mixed with not bad temperatures and light showers a lot of days. But there are elevations along the Camino Frances where it could get very cold.

If you have decent rain gear and a wind proof jacket and a couple of thermal layers as you said - get started - there are shops along the way!

Buen Camino

Keep us posted!

John
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Hi Naomi,
I started in SJPP last April the 6th last year. I wore technical tee shirt, medium fleece and a Sprayway Ellement II Gortex jacket, tech walking pants and Paclite Gortex over trousers and good gloves (and in very heavy wet weather a poncho) but on occasions I still found it too cold- maybe because I started off walking slowly due to lack of fitness?
I told myself then that if I was walking again at that time of year, or even earlier, I would add another layer and/or a slightly heavier jacket. Sometimes I resorted to putting on a light jerkin (which I'd normally wear with the tee shirt on fine days) over the fleece, this helped...but made me even more of a roly poly and restricted movement a tad :shock:
There are good stores in Pamplona and Legrono if you need to supplement your original gear or, alternatively, you could forward on any heavy gear you found to be surplus.
Where are you based? Is there any chance of you doing any cold wet walks before you set off as a sort of dress rehearsal?
Nell
 

ramble-on

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2010; LePuy 2011; VdlP 2013/14; CdN (to Oviedo) & Primitivo 2016
We're starting at SJPdP in mid-April, and have the same concerns as you do, Naomi. We expect to have to deal with cool temperatures (cold at elevation), wind chill and rain (hopefully, light and sporadic, and please no snow or sleet!). We splurged on our rain gear - purchasing Gore-tex, with "pro shell" technology, 3-ply jackets from Mountain Equipment Coop (a Canadian outdoor retailer). I've worn it in training walks in sub-zero weather (when it was really cold after wind chill!) and combined with a fleece and t-shirt under it, remained warm. Also found it vented well and kept me dry (i.e. perspiration vents well). Hasn't been quite warm enough, or wet enough, to test how it stands up to heavy rain, but I hope it will be good and it's had good reviews from others. It's also reported as performing well in more moderate temperatures - so by shedding the fleece, it should be comfortable to +20C.

I'd recommend gloves and a toque/watch cap as most heat is lost through the head.

This is not a plug for MEC, only a suggestion that you should get the best outer layer you can afford. We're effectively combining the rain gear and wind-cheater that John recommended above.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Most importantly, listen to the locals.
If the people in St Jean tell you not to walk on the GR - Route Napoleon then don't. Pilgrims have died after being caught in blizzards on the mountain.
If it snows, try to walk with other people and stay together as much as possible.
Take a cell phone, just in case. 112 is the world wide emergency number - it works 24/7 and will have operators speaking all languages.
Take a space (foil) blanket in case of emergency. Also take something bright like a scarf or shawl - orange is best - to mark your spot in case you get snowed in.
Be prepared to walk on the roads. Snow and mud can make the paths impassable.

A couple of weeks ago Grant Spangler posted the following report on his start:

Started from Roncesvalles today, 27 KM on the careterra N-135 since the snow made the traditional Camino trail completely unpassable. Yes, I got pictures. More snow than they have seen up there in quite some time, Id say. About a dozen of us made the start, four of us are currently in the Albergue Zaldico in Zubiri (which is a day away from Pamplona). 50 percent chance of snow all the way past Pamplona tomorrow, but Ill take that over rain any day. Feet and legs took a real beating on the pavement, but we are still functional. To make things interesting, the two Albergues are closed in Pamplona proper, but Trinidad de Arre (before Pamplona) and Cizur Menor (after Pamplona) are still open. Will see how ar we get, probably to Trinidad de Arre. I have secured a Movistar SIM card and my phone sort of works, but the touch screen is still broken and its next to impossible to use. Anyone needing my number .. Ill be happy to provide it.

And on the 12th Feb:

The weather was rather horizonal yesterday. Snow from the north and from the west. All at force ten. Rethinking the Patagonia R2 jackets sent forward to Elyn in Sahagun. We may be picking these up for use before crossing the Mointes de Leon and Cordillera Cantabrica.
Later. We will go only to Belorado today, and the Albergue Cuatro Cantones. Greetings from the Camino.
Just crossed into Castilla-Leon and theres snow, snow, snow, big wind and a bit (!) of mud. Staying with Acacio and Orietta, looking out the window at our winter wonderland. Deciding where to go today.
 

viajero

Active Member
I walked at the same time of year in 2008 (I left March 8th from Roncesvalles). When there was snow, I walked on the main road instead of on the Camino proper. I brought a fleece jacket, a thermal (wool) shirt, silk long underwear (top and bottoms), and a lightweight waterproof rain jacket. I also had one pair of goretex pants for wet/snowy weather. I had a very lightweight fleece hat and a lightweight pair of cheap gloves. Oh, and a pack cover. I brought two long sleeved quick-dry shirts, one short sleeved shirt, two pairs of very lightweight quick-dry pants. The short sleeved shirt I usually wore for sleeping a long with the silk longjohns. THe long trousers and longsleeved shirts were so lightweight that even on the warmer days I didn't find them to be too hot. I didn't bring shorts and don't think that I would have needed them although the last week they probably could have been used. I would say the majority of days I started out wearing one of the lightweight shirts and fleece jacket and later in the day, I'd take off the jacket. Colder days I'd wear the silk long underwear (top and bottom) lightweight pants, and the thermal shirt in addition to the fleece. I probably could have gone without the goretex pants. I threw them in at the last minute as the day before I left, I saw there was quite a bit of snow in roncesvalles. I only ended up wearing them about 4 or 5 times. There were cold days, and towards Santiago, quite warm days so the temperature varied quite a bit. People say that when you are walking at this time of year you need to pack more for the weather. I carried 6-7 kg. which was lighter than most others but I felt I had all the gear/clothes that I needed. I did hit snow in a few places but usually not so much. I don't mind cold weather and definitely would prefer walking in cool temperatures than hot. I though the weather was quite good. There was snow a few days (part of the day) but not very much rain. Most days were pretty pleasant.
 

gerardnm

New Member
Just be sure to stay dry, as long as the weather s above -4 to -3 you wont need to have a fleece under the waterproof layer, but do not get wet cause that will cause probs if the rain s getting in. Most of the hostels are warm, have radiators etc so wet clothes can be dried.

Layering is the key as everyone's pointed out but dont worry about things, I saw people walking in jeans and light jackets in the worst of snow and they were ok. One guy walked it with no proper walking kit at all, all he carried was a banjo and a bible lol.

There'll be other people on the route and you go through town regularly so don t you ll be fine, have a look at the weather every day and i it looks really bad and you re nervous about getting lost then walk on the highways.

My best piece of advice I think is don't walk alone on the really bad days and try to find what the spainish on the camino are doing wrt routes etc, they re the locals.

I would think, one pair of thermal leggings, 2 thermal vests, 2 light tops, a goretex jacket,wet trousers, 2 pairs of underwear, 4 pairs of socks, GOOD well worn boots, a travel towel, 2 pairs of trousers, a light sleeping bag (most hostels are roasting), a sleeping bag liner, a survival blanket , hats gloves etc and thats all you ll need.

DONT bring that heavy jacket you need everything light.... it ll also get too hot and you wont be able to take it off if raining. the 2 thermal vests and 2 hiking tops should be enough if it gets really cold.

C
 

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