My wife and I will be walking from Merida in late March 2009, arriving Santiago early May. We are Australian so expect the weather will be cool by our standards. How have others found it at that time and what warmer clothing or wet weather gear do you recommend?
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For such changeable conditions wool tops such as Icebreaker are great because they can cope with good ranges of temperatures - also have a couple of tops that you can layer if needed
For me I was more concerned about the rain (I went for Goretex paclite but a poncho might be fine) than the cold so didn't bring a fleece but wore my rain jacket if needed for the first hour or two in the morning - most days the sun was up by around 9am - the disadvantage of April is that you can find some muddy patches (I wore trail shoes with Vibram soles but others might prefer boots)
I started walking this past spring from Sauveterre de Bearn in France , on April 5th. I found the April mornings in Spain to be cold, even saw frost a few mornings. That said I was comfortable with a fleece jacket and nylon wind cheater. After about an hours walking I was usually too warm and removed the cheater. I had a hat which was good for keeping the sun and rain off my head but I regretted not having brought a wool hat to pull over my ears on those cold mornings. I also had a good pair of wool gloves which were much appreciated. The only other item that I didn't have and will make sure I have next time is Gaiters: http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_...4374302733919&PRODUCT<>prd_id=845524441775473 It's a lot easier to wash the mud off gaiters than to have to wash your pants everyday. :mrgreen:
I walked in May, a month later, where you would think would be warmer. I had days I was comfortable, as long as the sun was out, which did not seem to be often. Many more days where I was soooo cold. That wind!
At the Arco de Caparra, I had long johns with pants, two pairs socks, 4 top layers and ended up putting my poncho on to break the wind. I used my sarong to wrap my head and neck. That wind was so strong it sliced that cold into me. In June I woke up to see snow on the mountains. The locals were complaining of the crazy weather Spain is having.
Now mind you, I am from a warm weather place so I have a different tolerance than northerners, but the French group that was also there were huddling to keep warm. So yeah, prepare for all climes.
I walked from Le Puy last year starting late june and had some very cold wet days. This year I walked from Granada and found similar weather with mud everywhere. This forum often has people asking 'what will the weather be like..' Weather is not predictable! I'm in Melbourne 2 weeks into summer and we've just had our wettest weekend for 3 years with cool/cold temperatures.
Like others have suggested a fleece is good-there's nothing worse than sitting in an albergue/bar at the end of the day trying to get warm. I've been the poncho route-first was $2 lasted a few days,second was $6, split down the front so now I've bought a proper 3/4 length waterproof jacket-weighs a bit but I'm not getting wet again!
I've also been converted to boots-heavier,yes, but this year I had perpetually wet feet what with the mud and rain-not to mention fording 3 large streams.