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Luggage Transfer Correos

Weight/equipment, winter caminos and medical issues

2020 Camino Guides

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
Let me start by thanking everyone who has already generously contributed such a wealth of knowledge and experience to this forum - I have been reading avidly for the past couple of months, and learned so much thank you!

Exciting times - we're now well on with our preparation for the Caminho Portuguese in January! We went for our first training walk on Sunday carrying 7.5kg packs, 10km/6.2 miles along a flat canal tow path in good conditions, so not too exacting, but we were both encouraged that we had made the right rucksack choices for our winter camino. I had guesstimated my pack weight at c8kg, but have now started neurotically weighing everything......and yes at the moment looking close to 10kg! This figure includes my jacket and walking poles incidentally, on the grounds that while I will be wearing/using them some of the time, I may also be carrying them some of the time, wasn't sure if this is what others do?

As a T1 diabetic, I have to carry quite a lot of kit. My preliminary guesstimate was this would come in c500g.....turns out that a 28day supply, making generous allowances for additional testing etc weighs 1100g, allowing for emergency food supplies, the additional weight will be more like 1500g. On the plus side, I reckon this will reduce to 5-600g by the end of our camino:)

Footcare is very important and I am planning to take sandals which are good enough to walk in (if need be) and use whenever not on the Camino to give my feet a break. As it is a winter Camino, I feel I need something more than flip-flops, sadly my internet bargain sandals weigh a mighty 800g and my lightest alternative trainers are still 500g and offer less flexibility if I I am hobbling, blistered or need to pop to the loo in the night etc.

My rucksack is an Osprey Kestrel 48, which weighs in at 1650g empty. I didn't plan to get such a large rucksack, but it was by far the best fit on me when I went to Cotswold to test things out. I am a reasonably tall woman, 172cm, but much of my height is in my back (stumpy little legs sadly!), and this model just fit like a glove plus has the capacity to swallow all my additional kit which takes up volume as well as weight.

I eat a fairly low carbohydrate diet to manage my blood sugar, and would have liked to bring a few catering items as the pilgrim menus sound to be total carb-fests, but am not going to bother now. Having read descriptions of how cold it can be in the very lightly populated (deserted?!) Portuguese albergues at night I am not wanting to compromise my bedding (merino liner 500g and down sleeping bag 840g). Being on the coast in January, I feel confident of rain, quite likely most days, as well as strong winds, so am taking rain trousers (370g). Everything else, is as modest and light as I think I can get.

So I am coming to the realisation that I will be carrying 9-10kg for most of my camino, I think the strategy has got to be to take it slowly, so aiming for 12miles a day on average, and hope this is less of an issue in winter than it would be in searing summer heat. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions around coping with this sort of weight, I'd love to hear from you!
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
While it is usually a humbling undertaking, if you post your full list of items you intend to take, you can often get good suggestions to shave weight as 10kg is a pretty big amount to carry. I know winter walking usually includes more weight than other times of the year but even if good suggestions help you shave 1-2 kgs it will be a blessing by the time you reach SdC.

As an example, I've walked 3 winter caminos in the snow, rain, mud and bright sun and never had the need of an extra set of footwear. This could save you 500-800 gms alone. :)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Portuguese(2020)
Do not include the weight of things you will not be carrying in your backpack as you walk. For instance, your poles and the clothes you wear.

The issue of backpack weight is one of budget and discipline and experience. At the stated pack weight, minus the absolute minimum medical necessaries, there is certainly room to decrease and shed the pounds that you carry.

I do a lot of backpacking, so my gear choices are driven by that factor. By comparison to your stated weight, for a 10 day wilderness backpacking trip, carrying all food, fuel, cooking gear, tent, sleeping gear, etc, my pack weight would be a bit less than you will be carrying. Essentially, you are walking from town to town on what are a series of day hikes, where you can purchase consumables (yes, there are grocers which have mostly the same foods as at home) along the way, and have lodging at night.

So, what are you willing to change, to do, to spend, in exchange for a lighter backpack weight? Post your entire inventory of what is in your backpack and no doubt there will be a lot of assistance to help you along. :)

It may be that there is very little that you wish to change, for whatever reason. That's OK. If you run into issues, you can decide to hire transport for your backpack should the need arise. If I can be of direct help, feel free to send me a PM, and I will be happy to review your gear choices and assist in any way I can.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
Many thanks Jozero and Dave. The second pair of shoes is obviously the thing that jumps out a country mile! My only previous experience of long distance walking was in a freak British heatwave when we all got appalling blisters and I know I am projecting that experience on to what will be a very different challenge. I am also anticipating a lot of horizontal rain and at least some damp unheated deserted albergues along the way - I also have a long history of worrying about the wrong things :)

I'll go do a bit of thinking, shuffling and re-weighing and post my list!
 

ginniek

Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
Many thanks Jozero and Dave. The second pair of shoes is obviously the thing that jumps out a country mile! My only previous experience of long distance walking was in a freak British heatwave when we all got appalling blisters and I know I am projecting that experience on to what will be a very different challenge. I am also anticipating a lot of horizontal rain and at least some damp unheated deserted albergues along the way - I also have a long history of worrying about the wrong things :)

I'll go do a bit of thinking, shuffling and re-weighing and post my list!
Do look into having your bag carried--it doesn't make you less of a pilgrim (1000 years ago some pilgrims even had themselves carried). Then you can carry only a daypack, with your meds in it for safety sake.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
That is a good suggestion ginniek. I think if I was against a time constraint and/or up against hot weather, I would definitely look into this. As it is I like the idea of spontaneity, just seeing what happens along the way and accepting no land speed records will be broken:)
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
Having walked the section of the CP from Vila do Conde to SdeC in Janaury last year - the warm sleeping bag is a good plan! Much of the time I was the only pilgrim in the albergue at night - but most did have blankets and heaters (The only one I was advised to avoid was in Caminha and so planned an alternative) I did take a second pair of footwear - a very light pair of slippers (I hate cold feet!) at 200g - it meant I had something easy and warm to put on at night in the albergue. But I have never planned to walk in a second pair of shoes/sandals as if my feet where that bad then its time to rest them and figure out what the causing issue is.
Unfortuntely many pilgrim services like baggage transfer don't happen in the winter months.
As for food- the route is close enough to towns and villages to find shops for groceries. I cooked many nights on winter caminos as it is something to do on a long dark evening:) Yes bread, rice, potatoes are big part of the local diet - however pilgrim menus are less common on the CP and so you may have greater flexibility when ordering in a restaurant than on the Camino Frances.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
Many thanks roving_rufus, it is really helpful to hear your experience on this route; I wasn't sure if heating would be routinely available given there are so few pilgrims on this route at this time. I think there is likely to be a degree of randomness as to where we pitch up each night, as well as what is available. There seem to be a number of campsites as well as albergues, do you have any particular recommendations?

I see what you mean about the long winter evenings! I have just looked up daylight hours in Porto: 8.00 to 17.19 when we stride forth. We tend to forget that although much further south than the UK, Portugal is very far west - so daylight hours will be only marginally longer than at home. Must admit I am looking forward to a lot of sardines and seafood alongside any opportunistic self-catering.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
Many thanks roving_rufus, it is really helpful to hear your experience on this route; I wasn't sure if heating would be routinely available given there are so few pilgrims on this route at this time. I think there is likely to be a degree of randomness as to where we pitch up each night, as well as what is available. There seem to be a number of campsites as well as albergues, do you have any particular recommendations?

I see what you mean about the long winter evenings! I have just looked up daylight hours in Porto: 8.00 to 17.19 when we stride forth. We tend to forget that although much further south than the UK, Portugal is very far west - so daylight hours will be only marginally longer than at home. Must admit I am looking forward to a lot of sardines and seafood alongside any opportunistic self-catering.
I never stayed in any of the campsite type options so I can't comment. But my favourite albergue was a private one in Careco - Casa do Sardao- there was a grocery shop in the village (1km before the albergue) and it had a great kitchen & warm fire!
And at 8am in the morning it can be very cold in the morning! Most days I walked probably 25km-30km and never had any issue of getting there before dark. I did however take a fluorescent vest as there was some walking on roads - not too much on busy main rds but back roads -and it can be useful in poor visibility due to rain or fog.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
So I have decided to ditch the giant spare walking sandals, and it already feels like a no-brainer:)

I have also been engineering out bits of weight here and there where I can. On the emergency food front, I need to have sources of both fast-acting and slow-release sugar. I usually carry jelly babies for the former (200g) but realise if I take glucotabs they only weigh 50g (shame, not nearly as nice - but needs must!). For the latter I usually carry oatcakes, my experience of Spain and Portugal is that they don't really go in for much in the way of fibre in baked goods, but they are excellent at nuts. So I'll set out with 100g oatcakes and as these get eaten (which unlike the glucotabs they definitely will!) I will replace with equivalent in nuts. I have also realised that my other half and I can share deodorant and toothpaste so lose 150g there.

This leaves me with:

Meds inc glucotabs etc: 1250g
Rain trousers: 370g
Clothes (1): 1360g
Flip-flops: 200g
Toiletries (2): 550g
Sleeping bag: 840g
Merino liner: 500g
Travel hair dryer: 460g
Electricals (3): 600g
Towel and wash cloths: 160g
Backpack: 1630g
Misc (passport, credencial, money notebook and pen): 300g

Current total: 8.22kg

(1) 1pr leggings, 1pr merino leggings, 1 short sleeve running shirt, 2x long merino tops, 1x medium socks, 1x lightweight socks, 2x knickers, 1x bra, 1x ear warmers
(2) hairbrush, Lush solid shampoo, 2 x sachets conditioner, deodorant, facial serum & moisturiser (teeny amount decanted - needs must:)), foot cream, toothbrush, toothpaste
(3) adapter, charging leads, kindle, phone

So much better than it was.....am vacillating about the hairdryer, it was actually this forum that put me onto the idea for drying laundry, boots etc as well as hair, so it strikes me as potentially having more utility than a second long-sleeve jumper as both my husband and anyone else who is around could potentially benefit, on the other hand, maybe it simply isn't needed 90% of the time?! Sleeping kit also looks a bit weighty, but it's what I've got and I hate being cold and also there seems something perverse in buying more and more stuff in order to revert to a simpler way of life.....this is now starting to hurt my brain!
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
I never stayed in any of the campsite type options so I can't comment. But my favourite albergue was a private one in Careco - Casa do Sardao- there was a grocery shop in the village (1km before the albergue) and it had a great kitchen & warm fire!
And at 8am in the morning it can be very cold in the morning! Most days I walked probably 25km-30km and never had any issue of getting there before dark. I did however take a fluorescent vest as there was some walking on roads - not too much on busy main rds but back roads -and it can be useful in poor visibility due to rain or fog.
Fabulous!!! that is really helpful. I had been wondering about a hi-vis vest. I doubt we will be walking in the dark, but low cloud and rain seem highly probable. We do have some very lightweight ones for driving, so I'll add that to the list.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
@Swillbos , kia ora (greetings, good health)

With a start in January there is not time for the stuff that I might suggest to become fully effective.

The suggestions above, and some others, for consideration:
1) list what you are carrying and their weights - critically review;
2) check out daily pack forwarding for your route;
3) check out whether Portugese pharamcies can supply your meds;
4) carry on with your training, with your stuff on your back;
5) celebrate achievements before you go. And when underway.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

Susu60

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, La via plata, Aragon,
Let me start by thanking everyone who has already generously contributed such a wealth of knowledge and experience to this forum - I have been reading avidly for the past couple of months, and learned so much thank you!

Exciting times - we're now well on with our preparation for the Caminho Portuguese in January! We went for our first training walk on Sunday carrying 7.5kg packs, 10km/6.2 miles along a flat canal tow path in good conditions, so not too exacting, but we were both encouraged that we had made the right rucksack choices for our winter camino. I had guesstimated my pack weight at c8kg, but have now started neurotically weighing everything......and yes at the moment looking close to 10kg! This figure includes my jacket and walking poles incidentally, on the grounds that while I will be wearing/using them some of the time, I may also be carrying them some of the time, wasn't sure if this is what others do?

As a T1 diabetic, I have to carry quite a lot of kit. My preliminary guesstimate was this would come in c500g.....turns out that a 28day supply, making generous allowances for additional testing etc weighs 1100g, allowing for emergency food supplies, the additional weight will be more like 1500g. On the plus side, I reckon this will reduce to 5-600g by the end of our camino:)

Footcare is very important and I am planning to take sandals which are good enough to walk in (if need be) and use whenever not on the Camino to give my feet a break. As it is a winter Camino, I feel I need something more than flip-flops, sadly my internet bargain sandals weigh a mighty 800g and my lightest alternative trainers are still 500g and offer less flexibility if I I am hobbling, blistered or need to pop to the loo in the night etc.

My rucksack is an Osprey Kestrel 48, which weighs in at 1650g empty. I didn't plan to get such a large rucksack, but it was by far the best fit on me when I went to Cotswold to test things out. I am a reasonably tall woman, 172cm, but much of my height is in my back (stumpy little legs sadly!), and this model just fit like a glove plus has the capacity to swallow all my additional kit which takes up volume as well as weight.

I eat a fairly low carbohydrate diet to manage my blood sugar, and would have liked to bring a few catering items as the pilgrim menus sound to be total carb-fests, but am not going to bother now. Having read descriptions of how cold it can be in the very lightly populated (deserted?!) Portuguese albergues at night I am not wanting to compromise my bedding (merino liner 500g and down sleeping bag 840g). Being on the coast in January, I feel confident of rain, quite likely most days, as well as strong winds, so am taking rain trousers (370g). Everything else, is as modest and light as I think I can get.

So I am coming to the realisation that I will be carrying 9-10kg for most of my camino, I think the strategy has got to be to take it slowly, so aiming for 12miles a day on average, and hope this is less of an issue in winter than it would be in searing summer heat. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions around coping with this sort of weight, I'd love to hear from you!
I have walked in keens, and although heavy, no blisters and very comfortable. Also, sockwell compression knee socks have been my favorite for a no blister walk as improved circulation prevents pooling of interstitial fluid.
 

benny aumala

Member
Camino(s) past & future
may-june 2016
may-june (2019)
Minimize by double use?
Merino liner may be replaced by your merino underware,
if sleeping bag is not enough. Saves 500g.
In extreme case put your sleeping bag footbox into your Osprey Kestrel
and use your coat to cover upper part.
Beanie is a good in winter day and night.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
I usually carry jelly babies for the former (200g) but realise if I take glucotabs they only weigh 50g (shame, not nearly as nice - but needs must!).
Would Haribo gummy bears be an adequate replacement for jelly babies? My daughter is addicted to them but only eats them as an energy boost on the long days, and I have seen them for sale everywhere in Spain and Portugal. 🐻 😋
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Hopefully Via de Bayona/Burgos to Ponferrada/Camino de Invierno
I am also anticipating a lot of horizontal rain and at least some damp unheated deserted albergues along the way -
You’re right about unheated albergues and you’ll definitely need to keep warm once you stop walking but that doesn’t necessarily mean carrying lots more clothes. As you probably know already, layers do the trick and you may have to sleep in them 😁
Just for information, the layers I pack are: a merino vest (or some technical silky fabric), merino short-sleeve T-shirt and merino long sleeve jumper. A fleece and a waterproof jacket. For after-walking and in cold albergues, I added a sleeveless ‘puff’ jacket (Mine was from Decathlon and not real down, cheaper but not as light
- but it did the trick!).
Bottom half: merino leggings, trousers (and/or skirt), waterproof over- trousers and short, light-weight gaiters.
Most important: gloves and a woolly hat (I use a merino buff). I often had to sleep with that hat on 😀
You also need a reasonably warm sleeping-bag but you will be sleeping indoors so no need to go OTT.
I also had to carry quite a lot of medicine, unfortunately but I compensated by not taking extra stuff like a sarong or a light sundress for ‘after walking’ wear.
Do post your equipment list (if you can face it!) and I am sure we’ll find ways to go under 6kgs 😉
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Hopefully Via de Bayona/Burgos to Ponferrada/Camino de Invierno
Sorry, just seen you had posted your list. Deffo NO hairdryer! 😁
What are ‘electricals’, 600g?
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
Many thanks for all your advice. I agree the hairdryer stands out as a bit bonkers! I would never have even thought to include one had I not read that a number of fellow travellers either bought one on the way, or wished they had; and their reasoning was nothing to do with the avoidance of bad hair days, much more to do with inability to dry boots and laundry in cold damp conditions. Still nobody is currently leaping to its defence, so that looks number one likely to go

Husband is doing the kindle app on phone thing, and it is a good point but I am on a fairly ancient small screen (iPhone 5), so that is only a maybe. The meds are non-negotiable, and will reduce in both weight and volume by around two thirds over the course of travels. I am confident to go into Spanish and Portuguese pharmacies and ask for emergency insulin and related supplies, but highly reluctant to put myself in to the position of needing to do so

Hat, gloves and gillet (sleeveless down jacket) were originally all in my list until I realised just how much other weight I had already accumulated. I don't think the Portuguese coastal route will be as cold as some of the Spanish and French interior routes due to the proximity of the sea, but strikes me as potentially both wetter and windier and certainly cold enough - am envisioning early Yorkshire "spring":)

Haven't really got my head round gaiters as I will be wearing leather hiking boots (Meindl) and at times waterproof over-trousers. I am interested that no-one seems to be suggesting ponchos, which confirms my feeling they do better for rain in otherwise moderate and warm conditions (?)

I used to work in the wool textile trade and am a great fan of merino, was planning to sleep in merino underwear in the merino lining with my (rather heavy, but not very good) sleeping bag - possibly overkill, especially if hat and gillet enter the equation, though I do hate being cold

I will look at compression socks, no experience on that front, but I can confirm that Gummy Bears do deliver an incredibly fast sugar rush:)

Thanks again for all your help!
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
As for the hairdryer - all of us have luxuries that we like to bring! But given the extra weight of kit for diabetes it may be something to consider leaving behind. Drying boots newspaper works better than trying to do so with hairdryer (too much heat can damage the boots)
And even on the coastal it can get frosty and cold overnight - a hat and gloves are wise for cold or windy conditions!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Hi @Swillbos

I love your serious yet tranquil attitude towards your camino. Your list is quite good.
As suggested, make the phone double up as the kindle and you save some weight.

As for the hair dryer thing, how is your budget for the trip? Are you travelling with your partner? Some albergues have dryers for clothes, and there are many private accommodation places that will have hair driers. if you share the room with another person, the prices drop significantly.

Also, if you are travelling together, remember that you only need to carry one shampoo, one soap, one toothpaste and you both share. If it ends, just buy a new one.

The hi-vis vest is a good idea, but out of curiosity, what colour are your walking clothes? To save weight while I'm on camino, I wear fluoro walking t-shirts (one yellow, one pink), and I'm sure that people can see me all the way from santiago :p

I agree you don´t need a gillet, but the gloves may be a good idea.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
As for the hairdryer - all of us have luxuries that we like to bring! But given the extra weight of kit for diabetes it may be something to consider leaving behind. Drying boots newspaper works better than trying to do so with hairdryer (too much heat can damage the boots)
And even on the coastal it can get frosty and cold overnight - a hat and gloves are wise for cold or windy conditions!
Sometimes, our personal circumstances and medical situation dictate what our luxury choices will be. I too, share the medical issues, though a different type.

But, my weight penalty for having to remain sane and vertical is about a kilogram for two weeks. I have to carry protein powder nutritional supplements, and a bunch of prescribed medications, none of which I can just pop down to the local mercado or farmacia to replace.

So, as I plan the rest of my packing and make choices, I must either carry an extra kilogram overall, or choose to carry less of the other stuff. Mass and volume are absolutes. At present, the laws of physics are immutable.

I meet many folks who have to bring CPAP breathing machines to sleep wearing. One year, I even encountered a man wearing a portable, battery powered oxygen generator, complete with an under nose cannula. It made it possible for him the breathe. He carried a spare, removable battery and recharged both each night. As carrying dead weight goes, THAT was a doozie.

So, I totally understand pilgrims who are compelled to carry more. I still have a problem wrapping my head around pilgrims who choose to carry some very heavy, but still considered necessary items. The hair dryer is only one such item. There are many others. But, what extra weight you choose to carry is not as important as the reason for doing so.

Also, and in the end, only each individual can make that determination and choice. All we, other veterans can ever do is offer our honest opinions based on experience.

Personally, I never had time for much technology beyond, taking photos, and keeping current on some e-mail or test messages with family members and close friends. Reading books is something I do at home in my spare time. Books on the Camino are tools, like guide books. So carrying a e-reader like a Kindle is a non-starter for me.

My data messaging management technique is to create a special "While Away" folder and move all messages I want to reply to eventually there. I do not leave them in my inbox.

All of my closest friends and family know I am away and I impose a MINIMIZE REQUESTED condition from the day I leave until the day after I return. I send this request the day before I leave. This is similar to an automatic 'vacation' message from an e-mail account. But, rather than announce to anyone in the world who emails me that I am away from my home, This method, from my working days, works far better with regular correspondents.

Hope this helps.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Test out reading a kindle book on your iphone 5. That’s the same phone I had and I found it okay enough and it was convenient that when I was laying in my bed reading, I could just slip the phone down into my bag and be done. Yes, you turn a lot of pages but not a biggie.

Consider a down quilt/throw instead of a sleeping bag. Costco has them, although they may now be filled with primaloft. Much lighter than a bag. Combined with your liner you may be set.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Ok. . I'll strongly suggest it. :)

Yup, I see the rain trousers on your list, but how are you protecting the top part of your body, if rain is such a concern?
I carry a very light plastic poncho. Not a super protection, but i'm not that worried on being water proof :)
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
I don't think the Portuguese coastal route will be as cold as some of the Spanish and French interior routes due to the proximity of the sea,
One challenge of walking by the ocean is that the cold, damp air gets in everywhere. I live on a Canadian coast and our winters may only drop to -3C to -5C but that damp, cold can feel much colder than the dry interior of Canada which gets regularly hits -20C and worse. Waterproofs outerwear plus very solid insulating layers could be very important, especially to someone who is concerned about being cold.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I’m a poncho fan too, as it covers everything and the harness of the backpack stays dry.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Reading books is something I do at home in my spare time. Books on the Camino are tools, like guide books. So carrying a e-reader like a Kindle is a non-starter for me.
I agree - I have found that my time is well-filled and I don't have much urge to read on the Camino. That's why a phone is enough.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
Reading books is something I do at home in my spare time. Books on the Camino are tools, like guide books. So carrying a e-reader like a Kindle is a non-starter for me.
So a kindle is very definitely in my bag for the camino. If it was a busier time of year on a busier route I don't take it. In winter or on quiet routes I do as there can be long hours alone especially on a dark winter's night in an albergue as the only pilgrim. But books are more a necessity to me than a luxury in general, there are books in my handbag, car, bed, bathroom,....so there is always one to hand.
Again this is one of those items people have different viewpoints on. Yes it would save weight to leave it out but it saved my mind walking solo last winter to have one with me. Only you can decide how much reading is likely or necessary, if reading on your phone is easy and would be sufficient or if a kindle is a luxury or not
 
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FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
Your Osprey rucksack will serve you well. I suggest you and walking partners buy a packable holdall. Wear your rucksack every day but between you pack items you don't require during the day (sleeping bag, wash bag etc) into one holdall and send this ahead.

Spread the load, share the cost.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I woke up thinking about your packing list ... it’s a winter camino, getting your stuff to dry can be an issue sometimes. A third pair of socks is necessary, imho.

If you are on the fence about a poncho, consider one of those see through ultra light, ‘emergency’ plastic ponchos. Sometimes they come in neon colours which is good for visibilty. They slide over everything. I’ve used them on a few month-long caminos without issue; some say they are too flimsy and rip, but I’ve not had that problem. They keep the core of me and my bag dry. They cost a buck or three so not a big investment.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
So many great ideas vs the "immutable laws of physics"🤓

Latest thinking, the hairdryer goes nowhere, but the Kindle stays. I have done a bit of reading on my iPhone, and indeed it is absolutely fine for a bit of reading, but roving_rufus's descriptions of long dark nights in deserted albergues moves the Kindle up into essential territory! It sounds like there will be a lot of time for reading.....

So my pack loses 460g in weight, but gains: gloves, hat, hi-vis jacket and probably a third pair of socks. I think I may also need to take a running peaked cap as during recent test walking into horizontal rain with my rain jacket hood tightly knotted I found I was only able to look down at the ground, and started to get a crick in the neck in the process., and I really would like be able to see something of the camino in all weathers!

I will have a rainproof jacket, from which I have removed the inner fleece but I haven't included this in my calculations as I think I will be wearing it most of the time and all my worldly belongings will be in dry sacks, which I have included in the weight calculations.

Josero, you are absolutely right about the difference between dry cold and wet cold. I am just back from 9miles on the moorland near us in blustery wet conditions. The Met Office had the temperature at 7 degrees, but it felt a lot colder much of the time, until the wind dropped and I found I was going up a steep bit and suddenly I was over-heating....funny thing that! I am starting to wonder why on earth I thought a January Portuguese coastal camino was a good idea, surely the summer would be easier, more sociable and involve a much lighter pack😅
 

Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santo Domingo (2017)
Santo Domingo to Fromista (2018)
SJPdP to Burgos (2019)
I haven't seen your plan for carrying water. Some people love a water bladder, but I use 20 oz. gatorade bottles (X2). They weigh nothing when empty and are very durable. You may only need to have one full depending on the distance to your next source.
I always put my sleeping bag in a light-weight dry bag (especially if I am expecting a wet Camino). Nothing worse than finding you bag is wet at the end of the day.
I agree with a previous post, never really had the desire to read in the evenings. With your daily "chores", dinner, and fellowship with other pilgrims; I was fast asleep when I went to bed.
I recently returned from a short 10 day walk on the Frances. It was cold and driving rain every day, but I had a great time with my 20 y/o son!!
Buen Camino!!
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
I am starting to wonder why on earth I thought a January Portuguese coastal camino was a good idea, surely the summer would be easier, more sociable and involve a much lighter pack
I love winter caminos! (I'm heading off in Janaury to walk more of the Via Francigena in Italy) But having walked the CP from Lisbon to Coimbra in September in a heatwave I definitely more enjoyed the winter from Vila do Conde. Walking in winter meant I didn't need to start walking well before dawn to avoid the heat, or obsess about how much water I needed to carry to avoid dehydration, or wonder how longer ago I put on suncream. But you do need to put alot more thought into clothing, footwear, sleeping etc than in the summer when a couple of t-shirts and shorts are nearly sufficient! It is swings and roundabouts! There are pros and cons to every season for walking caminos!
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
I'm definitely tongue in cheek, I love winter walking. The choice of route and timing fit in with other things going on in life. I think it's more that because it's our first camino, we haven't got a frame of reference, and it's becoming more and more clear just how different every camino is. Vive la difference!
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
I haven't seen your plan for carrying water. Some people love a water bladder, but I use 20 oz. gatorade bottles (X2). They weigh nothing when empty and are very durable. You may only need to have one full depending on the distance to your next source.
I always put my sleeping bag in a light-weight dry bag (especially if I am expecting a wet Camino). Nothing worse than finding you bag is wet at the end of the day.
I agree with a previous post, never really had the desire to read in the evenings. With your daily "chores", dinner, and fellowship with other pilgrims; I was fast asleep when I went to bed.
I recently returned from a short 10 day walk on the Frances. It was cold and driving rain every day, but I had a great time with my 20 y/o son!!
Buen Camino!!
I'm with you on the water carrying front Dave, a couple of light-weight reusable plastic bottles. Your trip with your son sounds wonderful despite the weather (or maybe even because of it!) you'll both have memories for a lifetime!
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I agree with the peaked cap (with visor), especially as you are wearing glasses in your photo. I always take one for sun or for rain. Also agree with the 3rd pair of socks.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I would take the merino liner, ditch the sleeping bag and get something like this 198 gram down blanket. (I actually have this one, and have used it on 4 Caminos) You can tuck it inside your merino liner, and you will be snug as a bug in a rug. 😊
Costco has a much cheaper down blanket. I have cut them in half to save weight for my friends, and it ends up about the same size as the Montbell blanket, but about about 25 grams heavier. I don't know if it's available at Costco in the UK, though I think it probably is because I an English pilgrim that I met this year had one.

And definitely 3 pair of socks.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
Costco has a much cheaper down blanket. I have cut them in half to save weight for my friends, and it ends up about the same size as the Montbell blanket, but about about 25 grams heavier. I don't know if it's available at Costco in the UK, though I think it probably is because I an English pilgrim that I met this year had one.
I do have one of the Costco Black Diamond quilt/throws - and it was what I took with my warm liner last winter on the Portugues. It was cheap and I loved it! Occasionally they were listed on amazon or ebay - were I got mine. There are Costcos in Great Britain but not here in Ireland - though I have no idea if they ever carry those down throws. And as they are not a regularly stocked item even in the US stores but seasonal - trying to get one can be difficult even online with ebay or amazon
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central and Coastal 2017 & 2019; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia 2018
So I am coming to the realisation that I will be carrying 9-10kg for most of my camino, I think the strategy has got to be to take it slowly, so aiming for 12miles a day on average, and hope this is less of an issue in winter than it would be in searing summer heat. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions around coping with this sort of weight, I'd love to hear from you!
I walked the Coastal in Jan, posted about it here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/flowers-on-a-winter-camino-good-news-for-those-who-consider-walking-in-winter.65099/
Not so bad with weather as you might expect, I'd leave the gaiters at home as almost no mud on the route, mostly sand there. 3 pairs of socks is a must (2 for walking, 1 thick wool for sleeping/emergency walking), gloves and hat (with a wide brim/visor is perfect) made it for me as well as lightweight woolen scarf that I used for multiple purposes. Had home carpet sleepers for albergues, the combo with woolen socks worked fine indoors so no need for second pair of shoes. High viz vest might be a waste as if you planning to walk short and easy stages you won't walk in the dark. We once walked 35km there on day and even then managed to get to our albergue before it really got dark. Re the heating in the albergues and the sleeping arrangements: one sleeping bag could be enough as all the albergues, even municipal ones have blankets, sometimes you need to ask for them, anyway there few people on the way, so you could take 2 or 3 blankets if you need. I slept in merino trousers and I am a person who gets cold easily but I only found one albergue relativelly chilly on the way - that was the monastery/church related in Viana do Castello, and even there there were heaters. All the municipal albergues had heating, some less, some more and were felt comfortable most of the time, all of them head heaters on which to dry clothes on, many had washing and drying machines. Important: you'll need warm clothes to change into in the albergues, I used another pair of fleece-lined leggings for that, the walking pair was left for airing/drying then. I was the one who had a hairdrier with me - used it mostly for my hair this time, as I found out there were enough facilities on the route to dry my things without it, so next time no hairdrier for me on a popuar route like that :) Most of the albergues have equipped kitches so we cooked most of the days there. You can find anything in the shops on the way, so being vegetarian never bothered me on the way. Finding pilgrim menues could be a bit harder in winter but there are menus del dia that is a better option. I see you toiletries weigh quite a lot, but you know better there. On my winter Camino had a light backpack as I wore most of the things on me. I am also a merino and angora fan, so layers worked perfect for me there. No need to carry plenty of water as bars are frequent, so you could refill your bottle any time, tap water is safe to drink anywhere, I had 0.5l bottle on me. There are people on the way, even out of season, so we even managed to form a Camino family for a while then! Bom Camin to you! :)
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
I'm with you on the water carrying front Dave, a couple of light-weight reusable plastic bottles.
I wait till I arrive and buy some small bottles of sparkling mineral water (the cheap supermarket brand ones) as they are more sturdy than the still water type bottles. That way you can start with 2 and ditch one if it isn’t being utilised. Cost effective, convenient and light weight 👍
 

Faye Walker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Let me start by thanking everyone who has already generously contributed such a wealth of knowledge and experience to this forum - I have been reading avidly for the past couple of months, and learned so much thank you!

......


I just finished the CP Nov 28th. I am very sad to say that Tuitrans and all the others like it in Portugal are closed for the winter. Therefore, transporting your luggage will have to be arranged by taxi.

Wishing you all the best.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
I walked the Coastal in Jan, posted about it here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/flowers-on-a-winter-camino-good-news-for-those-who-consider-walking-in-winter.65099/
Not so bad with weather as you might expect, I'd leave the gaiters at home as almost no mud on the route, mostly sand there. 3 pairs of socks is a must (2 for walking, 1 thick wool for sleeping/emergency walking), gloves and hat (with a wide brim/visor is perfect) made it for me as well as lightweight woolen scarf that I used for multiple purposes. Had home carpet sleepers for albergues, the combo with woolen socks worked fine indoors so no need for second pair of shoes. High viz vest might be a waste as if you planning to walk short and easy stages you won't walk in the dark. We once walked 35km there on day and even then managed to get to our albergue before it really got dark. Re the heating in the albergues and the sleeping arrangements: one sleeping bag could be enough as all the albergues, even municipal ones have blankets, sometimes you need to ask for them, anyway there few people on the way, so you could take 2 or 3 blankets if you need. I slept in merino trousers and I am a person who gets cold easily but I only found one albergue relativelly chilly on the way - that was the monastery/church related in Viana do Castello, and even there there were heaters. All the municipal albergues had heating, some less, some more and were felt comfortable most of the time, all of them head heaters on which to dry clothes on, many had washing and drying machines. Important: you'll need warm clothes to change into in the albergues, I used another pair of fleece-lined leggings for that, the walking pair was left for airing/drying then. I was the one who had a hairdrier with me - used it mostly for my hair this time, as I found out there were enough facilities on the route to dry my things without it, so next time no hairdrier for me on a popuar route like that :) Most of the albergues have equipped kitches so we cooked most of the days there. You can find anything in the shops on the way, so being vegetarian never bothered me on the way. Finding pilgrim menues could be a bit harder in winter but there are menus del dia that is a better option. I see you toiletries weigh quite a lot, but you know better there. On my winter Camino had a light backpack as I wore most of the things on me. I am also a merino and angora fan, so layers worked perfect for me there. No need to carry plenty of water as bars are frequent, so you could refill your bottle any time, tap water is safe to drink anywhere, I had 0.5l bottle on me. There are people on the way, even out of season, so we even managed to form a Camino family for a while then! Bom Camin to you! :)
Thank you so much for your very detailed reply surya8 - it is great to hear your personal experience, and very encouraging on the heating/drying front - already so not missing that hairdryer:). Reports on the self-catering front are also positive. I would normally take some of my own equipment with me, but simply can't afford to carry the extra weight. From both your experience, and that of roving_rufus, I can feel the excitement of potential menus forming!

The weather you encountered sounds more like I was expecting, ie generally better than the North of England in January! On the other hand we have been to northern Portugal and Galicia a number of times over the years and know to expect the unexpected: we have experienced rain of Biblical proportions for days on end in May and wall-to-wall sunshine and heatwave in October. Obviously hoping for exceptionally, mild dry weather, comfortable warm albergues, and congenial company along the way, but am beginning to realise that whatever happens will inevitably confound expectations and present unique challenges. Possibly after the event we'll wish it no other way.....
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
Now the quilt/bag/liner/blanket options suggested raise intriguing new possibilities! If the albergues (grrrh auto-spell keeps suggesting allergies for that word - sooner or later it is going to slip through:)) are for the most part reasonably warm, I could re-instate my down gillet (a mere 250g of proven multi-functional worth) and sleep in that inside the merino liner and either forego the sleeping bag, or take my scissors to the bag and create a bespoke down blanket. Tempted by the latter as (i) I love a sewing project and (ii) I am experiencing post-purchase dissonance re the sleeping bag - it was an impulse half-price bargain, but after buying it I went home and looked up the on-line reviews and they were generally pretty poor (think 2.5 stars): good points - packs down small; poor points - not actually very warm

So many trade-offs! I'm going to go for an 8 mile (13km) training walk tomorrow carrying 8km and see what that does for my thought processes
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... I went home and looked up the on-line reviews and they were generally pretty poor (think 2.5 stars): good points - packs down small; poor points - not actually very warm

...
As for how warm it actually is, why not trying it out at home to give you a better, personalized idea?

BC SY
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Another point... Can/will you wear socks with your flip flops? If not, I suggest that you replace them with plastic slip-on footwear similar to the photo I've attached (but it is just a sample photo). It is important to keep your feet warm in the evenings. Mine are very comfortable and when I go out in the evenings, I always wear them, with socks. I have walked many kilometers in them, but wouldn't suggest them as a substitute for normal walking shoes.
 

Attachments

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
If you love a sewing project ... keep an eye out for those down vests (I had to look up gillet) at charity shops or Costco and re-configure it to a tiny blanket. I’d go more rectangular than square and it becomes a blanket for the bottom half while you wear the gillet, and can be repurposed as a scarf.

Some of us have sewn snaps or ribbons onto our down throws to either attach it to the liner or to allow the bottom to wrap around and be fixed around the knees/calves area (if used outside the liner, they are slippery things that can slide off in the night if we don’t take action).
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
Great suggestions, many thanks!

We went for a ten mile training walk carrying 8kg today, along a very blustery canal towpath - may not look too much like a camino, but felt like a reasonable proxy for a rain-lashed coastal route at times!. I felt fine with the weight. Appreciate it will be different doing this, plus a bit more every day for 2+ weeks. The rucksack itself contributes 20% of the weight, but it does do a great job of re-distributing the weight to my hips
 

Attachments

Faye Walker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Great suggestions, many thanks!

We went for a ten mile training walk carrying 8kg today, along a very blustery canal towpath - may not look too much like a camino, but felt like a reasonable proxy for a rain-lashed coastal route at times!. I felt fine with the weight. Appreciate it will be different doing this, plus a bit more every day for 2+ weeks. The rucksack itself contributes 20% of the weight, but it does do a great job of re-distributing the weight to my hips
Yes... it's the "every day" thing that you really have to bear (literally). I found my 7.8 kg pack easy to carry as a winter weight for my recent camino. My summer weight pack is usually about 6kg. But 5 days in I developed a nasty blister because whether I felt the weight or not, my baby toe did. Now... a blister like that is not a big deal. I bandaged it and continued. But on day 7 I accidentally tore it open on a metal shower door ledge. And then I had to take 4 days off, and nursed that puppy all the way to the end. It was my first camino blister in a total of 2000 km out there.

So if there is *anything* you can ditch, do give it a try and think of your baby toes as being the ones on whom all the burden ultimately rests.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
You have just burst my ever so slightly smug post training bubble - ouch😧 Maybe the luxury foot cream needs to go.....on the positive side, the lack of fellow pilgrims means I may be able to economise on ear plugs:)
 

Faye Walker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
You have just burst my ever so slightly smug post training bubble - ouch😧 Maybe the luxury foot cream needs to go.....on the positive side, the lack of fellow pilgrims means I may be able to economise on ear plugs:)
I wish you a very grand camino, and no blisters. I also hope you will have a remarkably dry February as they've just had the rainiest and coldest November in years. The dear Portuguese people kept apologizing to me about the rain....

In spite of the rain and the cold (and that I came down with tonsillitis and needed emergency treatment for 2 days in hospital prior to being cleared to fly back home), I really, really enjoyed the CP and treasured its relative quiet. It was "just right" for ebbing able to meet a few people, and for having the solo walking I wanted.

Buen camino.
 

David from Freo

"These are the best years of our lives"
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2008; SJPP-Santiago 2014; Lisbon-Santiago-Muxia 2016; LePuy-Santiago 2018; SWCP 2019
re: Hi-visability vest for walking beside busy roads. I usually wear a bright 'safety orange' or red T-shirt on my Camino walks to increase visibility beside roads, but on my Portuguese Camino I decided to also take a pair of hi-viz/reflective straps with velcro ends which I bought from a cycling shop. Their original purpose was, I think, to go around a cyclist's ankles/thighs, but I would attach one to my forearm closest to the road and the other to the back of my rucksack. This seemed lighter to carry than a vest and could be worn with any base clothing. Mine weighed 16gms.
 

Swillbos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Jan 2020
Great suggestion, thank you David. I have some fluorescent running tabards which may help somewhat, but otherwise our clothing is overwhelmingly black, with the occasional splay of grey and brown :)
 

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