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Winter walking questions

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Hi all,

Just wondering if I can get some input on a few questions:

1. What temp sleeping bag would you recommend for a feb start on the Camino?? Being Canadian I have a few different winter sleeping bags - my -25 C goes with me hiking in Nepal in winter (and camping here in winter) as there is no heat in the basic Nepali lodges either for sleeping. I’m wondering if that is overkill and a -10 C would suffice however.

2. Do people usually bring sleeping pads on or do almost all albuerges include a mat to sleep on? I tended to bring a thermal mat with me in winter just because I Sleep cold even with a thin mattress provided but I’m also certain Nepal is much more rustic than the Camino.

3. Towards the end of the Camino do I need to bring clothes for warmer weather? I’m inclined not to carry any short sleeved tops or shorts because I am usually cold anyway and long sleeve just seems more versatile.

4. Due to an unfortunate frostbite incident I need to be quite careful with my feet in particular - how cold would you say the walking temps are usually? I’m looking at the waterproof socks and a fully Gore-Tex boot as my regular hikers aren’t really for cold wet weather and my winter boots wouldn’t be suitable for such a long distance. I never hike in shoes but I guess the challenge is the mud and the rain and trying to keep my feet as warm and dry a possible. I’m just not sure if a polar waterproof is overkill or if I can just get a Gore-Tex hiker with warm socks and gators.

5. What is the best app for waypoints etc to ensure that you’re on the right path (walking solo I think this is a necessary safety precaution). I downloaded a great one for the JMT in the sierras this summer. I can also read a map a and compass and will bus or detour if any paths are closed.

6. What do you think the likelihood of me being able to bike from Burgos to Leon is during feb? I see that some companies rent bikes for only this stretch, and I thought it could be a nice change of pace for this section weather permitting.

7. I will also have a SPOT GPS that I take with me on all trips (peace of mind for my family mostly) but I think I’d like to get a Spanish SIM card for my phone - I’m assuming these are readily
Available from the bigger towns ie Pamplona?

I’m sure there will be more questions but these are the specific ones that I have after doing quite a lot of research already.

Thanks all!

EDIT: don’t know why it says live and obviously made some sort of mistake in posting this ...
 
Last edited:
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ViOS

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
1. It's overkill in Spain, probably -10 too, since there should be some kind of heating in most open albergues, and -10 temperatures are rare outside, even on February.

2. Albergues have mattresses. Unless you sleep outside (ie. tent), not needed. You might want some kind of sheets.

3. Personally I prefer long sleeves always. I doubt you will have really warm weather at that time of the year.

4. Water is usually the problem in winter, temperatures should be 0-14 Celsius mostly, - something early in the morning and toping to 18-20 if its sunny. The weather is behaving "weird" lately so I can't promise you anything.

5. The yellow arrows are everywhere nowadays, specially heavy on the french. There are lots of resources but even google maps will work. I've used wikiloc for paths around France and Spain, but I am sure some experienced user will point you to some interesting app.

6. Yes and yes. I know of several, not sure if they can be posted here.

7. Yes, you can easily get a SIM in Pamplona, it might be harder in the small towns and pueblos.

Hope it helps.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi and welcome to the forum!

1. I've stayed in many albergues without heating and nearly frozen my *** off! It can get to sub-zero temps at night, especially in the higher altitudes, although rarely below -10C (or even -5C for that matter). By the way, here's a helpful list of albergues open in winter:
http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/

2. There will hardly be anyone in February, so you shouldn't have trouble finding a bunk.

3 and 4. For clothing the key is layers, as the temp can fluctuate from sub-zero (C) up into the mid-teens (C) during the day, and obviously you'll get hotter as you exert yourself. The wind can be perishingly cold and biting on the Meseta, and you'll probably also have to deal with rain, sleet, and snow. There's lots of information on this forum on gear needed for a winter camino, just type "winter camino" into the search box and you'll be spoiled for choice! As for a change of clothes: it stays cold in northern Spain well into April and May; here's a thread where some pilgrims discuss the camino "spring" temperatures: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coldest-section-of-camino-frances.30755/

5. Lots of people use maps.me. The Wise Pilgrim app has also been getting a lot of praise on this forum.

6. I'd personally be a little concerned about cycling on icy surfaces, but then again I'm not a hardy Canadian ;)

7. Shouldn't be a problem in Pamplona. If you do a search for "sim cards" on this forum you'll get a lot of information about how to go about it.
 
Last edited:

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Good answers above. I have not walked in mid-winter, but here are my comments.

1. I’m wondering if that is overkill and a -10 C would suffice however. Yes, -10 C should more than suffice.

2. Do... all albergues include a mat to sleep on? Yes they do. Almost all are proper mattresses and beds.

3. I’m inclined not to carry any short sleeved tops or shorts because I am usually cold anyway and long sleeve just seems more versatile. I agree - I wouldn't take short-sleeves.

4. I’m looking at the waterproof socks and a fully Gore-Tex boot as my regular hikers aren’t really for cold wet weather and my winter boots wouldn’t be suitable for such a long distance. I would just do the Gore-Tex hiker boots, and accept the risk of occasionally wet feet, but maybe waterproof socks would be a good idea for you.

5. What is the best app for waypoints etc to ensure that you’re on the right path...I can also read a map a and compass and will bus or detour if any paths are closed. No need for map and compass. I recommend just maps.me with the kml tracks loaded on your phone.

6. What do you think the likelihood of me being able to bike from Burgos to Leon is during feb? I see that some companies rent bikes for only this stretch, and I thought it could be a nice change of pace for this section weather permitting. Don't know. (Don't see a problem with people posting links here either.)

7. I will also have a SPOT GPS that I take with me on all trips (peace of mind for my family mostly) but I think I’d like to get a Spanish SIM card for my phone - I’m assuming these are readily
Available from the bigger towns ie Pamplona? Yes, good idea, as you may want to check accommodation ahead from day-to-day, to be sure which ones are open. Readiy available in Pamplona.
 
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Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Thanks everyone for the answers so far. As for the sleeping pad, I meant whether it is useful or necessary in addition to the beds in the Albuerges. I guess I’m probably anticipating colder nights than what they will be.

Hmmm .... now do I take my 0 degree (“summer”) sleeping bag? I think I’d rather be too hot than too cold so no.

Sounds like the footwear may be the biggest issue so I will try a waterproof sock and Gore-Tex boot combo.

Had not considered biking on icy roads - that truthfully doesn’t sound too great! I will prob have to wait and see how the weather is before I make that decision!

Appreciate everyone’s helpful input.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Had not considered biking on icy roads
That may be a bit of a long shot. Spain has snow plows. It has road chemicals. It has sunshine that warms the pavement. Ice is pretty rare; much rarer than snow, which is not common between Burgos and Leon. Unless you are in a bind for time, arranging for a bicycle between Burgos and Leon may be more trouble than it is worth. A backpack on a bicycle can be very tiring; panniers are more common for bicycle pilgrims. They keep the weight off your shoulders and waist as you lean on the handlebars.

I have been cold inside albergues in winter, but never so cold that layered clothing inside my 25 degree sleeping bad has not been sufficient. It is not a trek through mountains. It is a bed-to-bed jaunt where someone else makes your meals! Unless you self-cater, of course.
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
25 F or C??? I think we are speaking different languages hahaha.

Agreed on the backpack on a bike. I would prob pay for luggage to be transferred ahead or get a bike with panniers. I heard it was a fun section to bike and thought it may be a nice change of pace but I’m not wedded to the idea.

Thanks!


That may be a bit of a long shot. Spain has snow plows. It has road chemicals. It has sunshine that warms the pavement. Ice is pretty rare; much rarer than snow, which is not common between Burgos and Leon. Unless you are in a bind for time, arranging for a bicycle between Burgos and Leon may be more trouble than it is worth. A backpack on a bicycle can be very tiring; panniers are more common for bicycle pilgrims. They keep the weight off your shoulders and waist as you lean on the handlebars.

I have been cold inside albergues in winter, but never so cold that layered clothing inside my 25 degree sleeping bad has not been sufficient. It is not a trek through mountains. It is a bed-to-bed jaunt where someone else makes your meals! Unless you self-cater, of course.
 
D

Deleted member 43985

Guest
I've enjoyed one winter Camino and hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. For your questions:
1) I went with a -7c down sleeping bag the first time but this January I'm only taking a +2 down quilt. Weighs about 1.5lbs less and will be fine for temp. Can always wear my base layers to bed if it's really cold at night.
2) For me a pad is def not worth the weight. The beds in the Albergues are fine.
3) I'd recommend a variety of layers for all parts of your Camino. I carry/wear a icebreaker wool t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt and long underwear for base layers and sleeping kit. I also carry a long-sleeved button-up and a lightweight down thermal layer as well as my gortex rain shell and rain pants. As the weather warms you can just wear the lighter pieces as you need based on the temp. I'm a pretty warm person in general but shorts don't make the packing list for me.
4) The snow and mud can be very significant this time of the year so I'm firmly in the gortex hiking boot camp. I wear smartwool hiking socks in them. I've used Lowas and Salomon boots and neither has allowed any wetness inside and it's cool enough that there has been no sweating from the inside. I do wear gortex rain pants too so that help mitigate any wetness from deeper snow or splashing mud or water.
5) I use Motion-X GPS on my iPhone and have been very pleased with it. Does well enough with the GPS side but also very easy to share the day's summary and track with family back home either be Facebook or direct email. I will chew through the battery life so I use an battery bank to supplement through the day. Never run out of battery yet.
6) There was so much mud on the Meseta when I walked in the winter a bike would be a non-starter. Mud caked to my boots so badly that walking was almost a non-starter!
7) A SPOT is probably just unnecessary weight. This isn't a wilderness trek without wifi or cellular coverage. Just buy a Spanish sim card and send a quick email or text. Virtually every bar and Albergue has wifi now so you'll likely not even need much in the way of data services anyway. I buy mine from: www.simcardspain.es/en/ and they deliver the activated card with the service/data loaded and ready to go right to my house in BC. In Spain I top it up online as needed with my Canadian Visa card, very convenient and easy to do plus you arrive in country with a functioning phone service.
Good luck and Buen Camino!!
Jordon
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Thank you Joe! The SPOT is non-negotiable for me (well, mostly my mother lol). I walk with it attached to my shoulder strap and the SOS button Is readily accessible. As a single female, it’s an easy solution to give my family the peace of mind when I’m on my own.

Hasn’t considered rain paints but I will. I’ve never liked walking in them much but probably a good idea here. Plus gators. I may abandon the bike idea!

I've enjoyed one winter Camino and hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. For your questions:
1) I went with a -7c down sleeping bag the first time but this January I'm only taking a +2 down quilt. Weighs about 1.5lbs less and will be fine for temp. Can always wear my base layers to bed if it's really cold at night.
2) For me a pad is def not worth the weight. The beds in the Albergues are fine.
3) I'd recommend a variety of layers for all parts of your Camino. I carry/wear a icebreaker wool t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt and long underwear for base layers and sleeping kit. I also carry a long-sleeved button-up and a lightweight down thermal layer as well as my gortex rain shell and rain pants. As the weather warms you can just wear the lighter pieces as you need based on the temp. I'm a pretty warm person in general but shorts don't make the packing list for me.
4) The snow and mud can be very significant this time of the year so I'm firmly in the gortex hiking boot camp. I wear smartwool hiking socks in them. I've used Lowas and Salomon boots and neither has allowed any wetness inside and it's cool enough that there has been no sweating from the inside. I do wear gortex rain pants too so that help mitigate any wetness from deeper snow or splashing mud or water.
5) I use Motion-X GPS on my iPhone and have been very pleased with it. Does well enough with the GPS side but also very easy to share the day's summary and track with family back home either be Facebook or direct email. I will chew through the battery life so I use an battery bank to supplement through the day. Never run out of battery yet.
6) There was so much mud on the Meseta when I walked in the winter a bike would be a non-starter. Mud caked to my boots so badly that walking was almost a non-starter!
7) A SPOT is probably just unnecessary weight. This isn't a wilderness trek without wifi or cellular coverage. Just buy a Spanish sim card and send a quick email or text. Virtually every bar and Albergue has wifi now so you'll likely not even need much in the way of data services anyway. I buy mine from: www.simcardspain.es/en/ and they deliver the activated card with the service/data loaded and ready to go right to my house in BC. In Spain I top it up online as needed with my Canadian Visa card, very convenient and easy to do plus you arrive in country with a functioning phone service.
Good luck and Buen Camino!!
Jordon
 
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Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Hi,

I have quite a good rain jacket and pack cover, plus I usually keep my stuff in garbage bags. That Plus quick dry hiking pants I found to be my wet weather clothing - but I agree that rain pants maybe the one thing I don’t have and need. No I abhore walking with those rain ponchos - the wind picks them up and they blow all over including your head and face!

Do you plan to take a poncho? I wouldn't go without rain pants - they are good insulation from the cold, good for the inevitable rain, and you can even wear them while your laundry is drying.
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Do you plan to take a poncho? I wouldn't go without rain pants - they are good insulation from the cold, good for the inevitable rain, and you can even wear them while your laundry is drying.

Good grammar there as well

*** hadn’t - darn autocorrect!
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Jo, looks like you’re a fellow Canuck! Forgot to mention about the spot, the great thing is that you press one button and it sends all of your contacts an update saying you’re ok and where you are. My family and friends typically like following along with my progress.

Re the button up shirt - is it necessary to have a set of “nice” clothes or top? I hadn’t considered that.

I've enjoyed one winter Camino and hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. For your questions:
1) I went with a -7c down sleeping bag the first time but this January I'm only taking a +2 down quilt. Weighs about 1.5lbs less and will be fine for temp. Can always wear my base layers to bed if it's really cold at night.
2) For me a pad is def not worth the weight. The beds in the Albergues are fine.
3) I'd recommend a variety of layers for all parts of your Camino. I carry/wear a icebreaker wool t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt and long underwear for base layers and sleeping kit. I also carry a long-sleeved button-up and a lightweight down thermal layer as well as my gortex rain shell and rain pants. As the weather warms you can just wear the lighter pieces as you need based on the temp. I'm a pretty warm person in general but shorts don't make the packing list for me.
4) The snow and mud can be very significant this time of the year so I'm firmly in the gortex hiking boot camp. I wear smartwool hiking socks in them. I've used Lowas and Salomon boots and neither has allowed any wetness inside and it's cool enough that there has been no sweating from the inside. I do wear gortex rain pants too so that help mitigate any wetness from deeper snow or splashing mud or water.
5) I use Motion-X GPS on my iPhone and have been very pleased with it. Does well enough with the GPS side but also very easy to share the day's summary and track with family back home either be Facebook or direct email. I will chew through the battery life so I use an battery bank to supplement through the day. Never run out of battery yet.
6) There was so much mud on the Meseta when I walked in the winter a bike would be a non-starter. Mud caked to my boots so badly that walking was almost a non-starter!
7) A SPOT is probably just unnecessary weight. This isn't a wilderness trek without wifi or cellular coverage. Just buy a Spanish sim card and send a quick email or text. Virtually every bar and Albergue has wifi now so you'll likely not even need much in the way of data services anyway. I buy mine from: www.simcardspain.es/en/ and they deliver the activated card with the service/data loaded and ready to go right to my house in BC. In Spain I top it up online as needed with my Canadian Visa card, very convenient and easy to do plus you arrive in country with a functioning phone service.
Good luck and Buen Camino!!
Jordon
 

GreatDane

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF to Burgos Sept/Oct 2014, Burgos to Astorga April 2016, Astorga to SdC 2017
Re the button up shirt - is it necessary to have a set of “nice” clothes or top? I hadn’t considered that.
My husband has been working on the National Trails of the UK and always carries one button up hiking shirt, one long sleeved Icebreaker and one short sleeved. He wears the button shirt as his evening in town shirt. On the CF I don't think it is necessary except maybe if you spend time in Madrid.
 
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D

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Jo, looks like you’re a fellow Canuck! Forgot to mention about the spot, the great thing is that you press one button and it sends all of your contacts an update saying you’re ok and where you are. My family and friends typically like following along with my progress.

Re the button up shirt - is it necessary to have a set of “nice” clothes or top? I hadn’t considered that.
We use the SPOTs in the back country when we don't have cell signals but when you walk the Camino you'll have coverage the whole way and a text can say a couple of nice words and include a photo of you in front of yet another 1,000 year old bridge :D. I send my MotionX-GPS track via Facebook and email at the end of everyday to the family back home with a few photos. With MotionX my wife can also see where I am in live time too. Can't decide if she is worried if I'm dead on the side of the trail or in the bar with the mates :p:p

My button-up is a Mountain Hardware hiking shirt but 'Nice' clothes (aka city clothes) aren't necessary at all. Your fellow Pilgrims will be dressed in their walking kit whether walking, eating or at a church service. It is our uniform and is very accepted by locals. As an aside, I do travel in other clothes/shoes and before I start walking in Spain I mail them to Ivar with my backpack airporter bag. He has a great bag storage service and has interesting things to share when you meet him in SDC.

Some rain gear, be it pants, the oft talked about Altus poncho (really a long rain coat as I see it) or some other covering would be well worth considering. There were numerous days when the wind was driving the snow so hard that not only did it keep me dry but warm as well. Over the Pyrenees the snow was over knee deep so without my pants I'd have been pretty miserable by Roncesvalles!!
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Ok, I will look into getting some rain pants. No poncho! ‍♀️ just not a fan.

You are probably much more technologically inclined than I am, but the spot sends a pre-programmed message home so I don’t have to send individual messages! I need a bit of a social media detox so I don’t mind not texting nonstop with friends and family. Just need to keep everyone assured I’m alive. Or at a bar! They can decide.

Thank you for the great advice btw - very helpful.

I had considered a luggage delivery as I’m visting a friend in Europe first - but I will have to figure out a way to send my suitcase from SJDP.

And my “nice” shirt will be a lululemon quick dry. They don’t smell when you don’t wash them

We use the SPOTs in the back country when we don't have cell signals but when you walk the Camino you'll have coverage the whole way and a text can say a couple of nice words and include a photo of you in front of yet another 1,000 year old bridge :D. I send my MotionX-GPS track via Facebook and email at the end of everyday to the family back home with a few photos. With MotionX my wife can also see where I am in live time too. Can't decide if she is worried if I'm dead on the side of the trail or in the bar with the mates :p:p

My button-up is a Mountain Hardware hiking shirt but 'Nice' clothes (aka city clothes) aren't necessary at all. Your fellow Pilgrims will be dressed in their walking kit whether walking, eating or at a church service. It is our uniform and is very accepted by locals. As an aside, I do travel in other clothes/shoes and before I start walking in Spain I mail them to Ivar with my backpack airporter bag. He has a great bag storage service and has interesting things to share when you meet him in SDC.

Some rain gear, be it pants, the oft talked about Altus poncho (really a long rain coat as I see it) or some other covering would be well worth considering. There were numerous days when the wind was driving the snow so hard that not only did it keep me dry but warm as well. Over the Pyrenees the snow was over knee deep so without my pants I'd have been pretty miserable by Roncesvalles!!
 
D

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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
I agree with jazero about the Spot. We also have one for the back woods of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. It is just one more thing to keep track of as you are getting ready to leave the albergue in the dark. The Camino Frances is really nothing like back country hiking. We have T-mobile and get free data and discounted phone calls on our regular phone in Spain without buying the Sim Card. Be sure to check with your current provider to see what they offer first and make sure you phone will accept a Spanish Sim Card. Not all US providers have phones which will operate on the European system and I am not familiar with the Canadian systems. Lots of pilgrims use WhatsApp to avoid paying phone charges.
 
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I'm not going to try talking you out of the SPOT but I will tell you about an app that you might consider as a replacement. Below is a copy of another post I made on this forum.

This post doesn't really discuss a safety application but the app may be useful to ease your mind or your loved ones' minds while you are on your travels. There are other apps that do more, like allowing you to have others track you in real time but this one is simple and cheap.

The free app is called My GPS Coordinates. I have it on my android smartphone but it is also available for iPhones.

Turn on your device's GPS (and optionally take a few pictures.) Start the My GPS Coordinates app and the screen will tell you your latitude and longitude coordinates. Click one button to send the coordinates via email (and optionally you can attach those pictures and know in the future where you took them.) Another button allows you to share the coordinates through other methods (including a copy of the coordinates that you can then paste into your journal, etc.)

If you leave your GPS receiver on you get faster access to the coordinates but using GPS severely depletes your battery so remember to turn GPS off when you aren't really using it. If you are out in the middle of nowhere you may not have wifi or cellular service to immediately send your email but it should be sent once service is found again. For that reason I would add the time of day to the text of your message before sending it or attempting to send it. If hiking with someone maybe have a selfie taken with your partner as one of those optional pictures that you will attach to the email. Then, if things go bad, your email recipients can send authorities a current picture of you, what you were wearing, who you were with, at what time and what place.

While on a hike I tried the app out by emailing my location to myself by three of the ways that the app provides. See the results below, each message within dashed lines. Note that two of the text messages provide a link to Google Maps so your recipient can see where you were (and maybe be able to use Streetview for the location.)

---------

Latitude : 42.53107 (42° 31′ 51.85″ N)
Longitude : -71.31921 (71° 19′ 9.17″ W)
accuracy of signal : 3 m
show on google maps

https://maps.google.com?q=42.53107,-71.319215

This message was sent with My GPS Coordinates , a free Android application

---------

http://maps.google.com/?q=42.5311,-71.31923

---------

42.532475,-71.315295

---------

Links are:
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gpscoordinatesandlocation&hl=en
iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-gps-coordinates/id945482414?mt=8

Also available as My GPS Coordinates No Ads ($0.99) and My GPS Coordinates Pro ($4.99)
 
D

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You may want to consider a pair of gaiters. They are made for slogging around in snow and sleet, while the condensation in rain pants will make you wet from within. In February, I'd happily take the weight penalty from a light pair of gaiters ;)

The CF is heavily marked, but wintery conditions can be somewhat of a game changer. Quite a few markers are embedded in or painted on the road, and thus easily covered by snow. Higher placed markers can be obscured by sleet or frost. Plus there's the risk of foggy and/or low-light conditions, where some of the markers can be easy to overlook. I know from personal experience, that you only need to overlook one single marker. Usually the locals are a great help, but they have this strange strange tendency to stay indoors in the aforementioned wintery conditions. Easily handled with a good app on a smartphone, or even with something as old fashioned as a map. I always bring a compass.

As for the sleeping bag, any decent three season bag should be a good choice. Personally, I'd bring a 0*C/30*F quilt, plus the silk liner I always bring.
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Thanks! I definitely have gators.

You may want to consider a pair of gaiters. They are made for slogging around in snow and sleet, while the condensation in rain pants will make you wet from within. In February, I'd happily take the weight penalty from a light pair of gaiters ;)

The CF is heavily marked, but wintery conditions can be somewhat of a game changer. Quite a few markers are embedded in or painted on the road, and thus easily covered by snow. Higher placed markers can be obscured by sleet or frost. Plus there's the risk of foggy and/or low-light conditions, where some of the markers can be easy to overlook. I know from personal experience, that you only need to overlook one single marker. Usually the locals are a great help, but they have this strange strange tendency to stay indoors in the aforementioned wintery conditions. Easily handled with a good app on a smartphone, or even with something as old fashioned as a map. I always bring a compass.

As for the sleeping bag, any decent three season bag should be a good choice. Personally, I'd bring a 0*C/30*F quilt, plus the silk liner I always bring.
 

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Maggie Ramsay
Past OR future Camino
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Thanks everyone for the answers so far. As for the sleeping pad, I meant whether it is useful or necessary in addition to the beds in the Albuerges. I guess I’m probably anticipating colder nights than what they will be.

Hmmm .... now do I take my 0 degree (“summer”) sleeping bag? I think I’d rather be too hot than too cold so no.

Sounds like the footwear may be the biggest issue so I will try a waterproof sock and Gore-Tex boot combo.

Had not considered biking on icy roads - that truthfully doesn’t sound too great! I will prob have to wait and see how the weather is before I make that decision!

Appreciate everyone’s helpful input.

We walked January and Feb, and it was very cold and often slushy underfoot - we had leather boots with a goretex lining, so no wet feet. I think drying wet boots would be difficult, the heat only goes on for a couple of hours in the evening anywhere we stayed. I must admit that my idea of perishingly cold may be different than yours, as I'm from Sydney where we have a very mild climate with no snow ever. But there was often crunchy thick frost on the ground in the morning, and the wind was often biting. I agree with all the replies above, all good advice. I (and many others ) have put packing lists in other threads, and mine was from the winter camino, so it could be helpful. You will be alone a lot, for long periods, in isolated places, so I'm pleased you have given thought to that aspect of safety. What I'm saying all sounds a bit daunting but we really did love our winter camino!
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Thanks! I have a packing list cobbled together from a few different lists I’ve seen. I always carry a compass no matter what. But central heating makes a big difference with the cold in Canada.

I actually stopped hiking in full leather boots after a hike walking through quite a bit of snow and wet nonstop. Ended up having to walk with plastic bags around my socks for a week. Fun fact - did you know that soaking wet leather shrinks when you try to warm it near the fire? I ended up with boots a size too small. Won’t be doing that again!



We walked January and Feb, and it was very cold and often slushy underfoot - we had leather boots with a goretex lining, so no wet feet. I think drying wet boots would be difficult, the heat only goes on for a couple of hours in the evening anywhere we stayed. I must admit that my idea of perishingly cold may be different than yours, as I'm from Sydney where we have a very mild climate with no snow ever. But there was often crunchy thick frost on the ground in the morning, and the wind was often biting. I agree with all the replies above, all good advice. I (and many others ) have put packing lists in other threads, and mine was from the winter camino, so it could be helpful. You will be alone a lot, for long periods, in isolated places, so I'm pleased you have given thought to that aspect of safety. What I'm saying all sounds a bit daunting but we really did love our winter camino!
 
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HeidiL

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
The weather in Spain can be changeable - I've done whole days in Madrid in late February in a short-sleeved t-shirt, but I'm a hardy Norwegian...

I'll be on the Portuguese in February this time, and know that most of the time I'll be wearing a t-shirt with a thin button-up shirt on top - starting the day with a scarf and the shirt buttoned, ending with just the t-shirt.
 
D

Deleted member 29041

Guest
I think drying wet boots would be difficult

Curled up newspaper works surprisingly well. Most albergues have newspapers. You need to take out the insoles and dry those separately. You should also take out the shoe laces. Avoid warm rooms, as cool rooms are better for the boots.

I know a few trekkers who carry extra insoles and change to dry insoles when they get to camp. That would translate just fine to a wet Camino. As with just about everything else, there's a slight weight penalty to be considered.
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
Thanks everyone for the answers so far. As for the sleeping pad, I meant whether it is useful or necessary in addition to the beds in the Albuerges. I guess I’m probably anticipating colder nights than what they will be.

Hmmm .... now do I take my 0 degree (“summer”) sleeping bag? I think I’d rather be too hot than too cold so no.


Appreciate everyone’s helpful input.

Writing from Ithaca, NY-- Not Canada, but it gets pretty cold here and I winter camp with the boy scouts. Its 2 degrees F (-17C) right now.

If you're planning on sleeping in the albergues, I would take the Summer sleeping bag. It fits better into a pack and a warmer sleeping bag would be an overkill. If you are worried about being cold, you might try your summer sleeping bag and bring a liner you can use either alone or with the bag to increase it's warmth. Bring a good base layer you can wear when hiking or sleeping. Also bring a warm hat. You can always wear layers to bed if need be. But really, if you're in an albergue it will be pretty warm. The Spanish aren't used to cold and they turn on the heat before I would. -- There are also blankets you can use in many albergues.

I wouldn't bother with the Spot in Spain. The Frances is never really wilderness, and I had phone coverage through out. --Get a sim card after you arrive.

As for feet-- take warm socks and throw in a few foot warmers to be used if you need them.
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Also bring a warm hat.
I've taken hikes where a down jacket isn't called for but I take the detachable hood off a very warm down jacket that I have. If the wind starts blowing I can cover my head and my ears and, if caught out for the night, I've got a lot of warmth for carrying just a little weight. I've also slept in sleeping bags using the jacket hood instead of the bag hood as it allows freer motion.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
To 3. long sleeved or short sleeved:
Bring a merino shortsleeved to use as an inner layer! It will be much easier to wash and dry than the thicker longsleeved.
 
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MaartjedeMeer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
I plan to walk the Frances in Dec 2017/Jan 2018
Hi all,

Just wondering if I can get some input on a few questions:

1. What temp sleeping bag would you recommend for a feb start on the Camino?? Being Canadian I have a few different winter sleeping bags - my -25 C goes with me hiking in Nepal in winter (and camping here in winter) as there is no heat in the basic Nepali lodges either for sleeping. I’m wondering if that is overkill and a -10 C would suffice however.

2. Do people usually bring sleeping pads on or do almost all albuerges include a mat to sleep on? I tended to bring a thermal mat with me in winter just because I Sleep cold even with a thin mattress provided but I’m also certain Nepal is much more rustic than the Camino.

3. Towards the end of the Camino do I need to bring clothes for warmer weather? I’m inclined not to carry any short sleeved tops or shorts because I am usually cold anyway and long sleeve just seems more versatile.

4. Due to an unfortunate frostbite incident I need to be quite careful with my feet in particular - how cold would you say the walking temps are usually? I’m looking at the waterproof socks and a fully Gore-Tex boot as my regular hikers aren’t really for cold wet weather and my winter boots wouldn’t be suitable for such a long distance. I never hike in shoes but I guess the challenge is the mud and the rain and trying to keep my feet as warm and dry a possible. I’m just not sure if a polar waterproof is overkill or if I can just get a Gore-Tex hiker with warm socks and gators.

5. What is the best app for waypoints etc to ensure that you’re on the right path (walking solo I think this is a necessary safety precaution). I downloaded a great one for the JMT in the sierras this summer. I can also read a map a and compass and will bus or detour if any paths are closed.

6. What do you think the likelihood of me being able to bike from Burgos to Leon is during feb? I see that some companies rent bikes for only this stretch, and I thought it could be a nice change of pace for this section weather permitting.

7. I will also have a SPOT GPS that I take with me on all trips (peace of mind for my family mostly) but I think I’d like to get a Spanish SIM card for my phone - I’m assuming these are readily
Available from the bigger towns ie Pamplona?

I’m sure there will be more questions but these are the specific ones that I have after doing quite a lot of research already.

Thanks all!

EDIT: don’t know why it says live and obviously made some sort of mistake in posting this ...
A quick message from the Camino: I am walking now and am carrying a -20 c sleeping bag. I am very often way too hot at night, even when sleeping in just underwear. Bring a -5 one or something. Also mine weighs 2 kilos (borrowed it), just: no! (Have experienced snow and also 13C like today)
Also a vote for rain pants here: so happy I bought and brought them. Not used too often yet, but useful. Wet legs can get cold, some other peregrinos told me.

Enjoy enjoy!
 
Past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Thanks everyone for the answers so far. As for the sleeping pad, I meant whether it is useful or necessary in addition to the beds in the Albuerges. I guess I’m probably anticipating colder nights than what they will be.

Hmmm .... now do I take my 0 degree (“summer”) sleeping bag? I think I’d rather be too hot than too cold so no.

Sounds like the footwear may be the biggest issue so I will try a waterproof sock and Gore-Tex boot combo.

Had not considered biking on icy roads - that truthfully doesn’t sound too great! I will prob have to wait and see how the weather is before I make that decision!

Appreciate everyone’s helpful input.

Hi I’m from Ottawa so understand cold. I took a LaFuma (730gm) summer sleeping bag plus a silk liner on the Camino Frances started mid March 2017 from SJPP. I used it most nights plus blankets available at albergues. You don’t need a sleeping mat, the albergues all have mattresses. 2017 was warm, I slept in a short sleeve bamboo top and walked mostly in 100gm merino long sleeve top. I’m walking the Northern route March 1st 2018, taking my same summer bag and liner.
 

SoyGalego

Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Primo/Fisterra 17
Ingles/Muxia/Fisterra 18.
Hi all,

Just wondering if I can get some input on a few questions:

1. What temp sleeping bag would you recommend for a feb start on the Camino?? Being Canadian I have a few different winter sleeping bags - my -25 C goes with me hiking in Nepal in winter (and camping here in winter) as there is no heat in the basic Nepali lodges either for sleeping. I’m wondering if that is overkill and a -10 C would suffice however.

2. Do people usually bring sleeping pads on or do almost all albuerges include a mat to sleep on? I tended to bring a thermal mat with me in winter just because I Sleep cold even with a thin mattress provided but I’m also certain Nepal is much more rustic than the Camino.

3. Towards the end of the Camino do I need to bring clothes for warmer weather? I’m inclined not to carry any short sleeved tops or shorts because I am usually cold anyway and long sleeve just seems more versatile.

4. Due to an unfortunate frostbite incident I need to be quite careful with my feet in particular - how cold would you say the walking temps are usually? I’m looking at the waterproof socks and a fully Gore-Tex boot as my regular hikers aren’t really for cold wet weather and my winter boots wouldn’t be suitable for such a long distance. I never hike in shoes but I guess the challenge is the mud and the rain and trying to keep my feet as warm and dry a possible. I’m just not sure if a polar waterproof is overkill or if I can just get a Gore-Tex hiker with warm socks and gators.

5. What is the best app for waypoints etc to ensure that you’re on the right path (walking solo I think this is a necessary safety precaution). I downloaded a great one for the JMT in the sierras this summer. I can also read a map a and compass and will bus or detour if any paths are closed.

6. What do you think the likelihood of me being able to bike from Burgos to Leon is during feb? I see that some companies rent bikes for only this stretch, and I thought it could be a nice change of pace for this section weather permitting.

7. I will also have a SPOT GPS that I take with me on all trips (peace of mind for my family mostly) but I think I’d like to get a Spanish SIM card for my phone - I’m assuming these are readily
Available from the bigger towns ie Pamplona?

I’m sure there will be more questions but these are the specific ones that I have after doing quite a lot of research already.

Thanks all!

EDIT: don’t know why it says live and obviously made some sort of mistake in posting this ...

Hi,

I did the Northern route in Feb this year (2017) and took with me a -10 degree sleeping bag. I wish I didn't. I'm doing the Ingles route this coming Jan/Feb and I'm taking a jungle sleeping bag and liner. If I need to sleep outside I've got a emergency bivi bag which is the size of a coffee mug and reflects 80% body heat. I don't expect that to happen, but you never know. I planned for a winter trip as it would have been in the UK but I should have planed for a spring trip instead. Mine you I don't mind the cold!! I came across a few Albergues without heating and others in which I just cooked.

I got wet a lot and used over trousers and just a hiking coat. Although I did get soaked you're not left soaked all day and the kit dry's out in the Albergues by the following day. The one thing I wish I took was gators but you can do without them. I used Saloman mid GTX boots and found them excellent, so much so I'm using them again. With the boots I'm an advocate of double socks, I use merino wool and a liner sock, usually very thin silk ones, for me this is a great combination. I only got one blister in 1000kms and that was my fault for not drying out and changing my socks when everything got really wet.

The app I used and found it really useful was the Buen Camino one and it has off line maps. Although you pay for it I thought it was worth it. They do one for the French route as well.

That's my experiences and it sounds like you're not new to hiking so just trust you instincts. Have a great time and enjoy it. I thought I'd never do another one and here I'm am planning more. Buen Camino.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
SoyGalego is right. Some albergues are ice cold with no heat at all; others are sweltering.

Also, if it rains there will be mud and lots of it. A good trekking pole helps navigate it.

Buen camino.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Hi,

I did the Northern route in Feb this year (2017) and took with me a -10 degree sleeping bag. I wish I didn't. I'm doing the Ingles route this coming Jan/Feb and I'm taking a jungle sleeping bag and liner. If I need to sleep outside I've got a emergency bivi bag which is the size of a coffee mug and reflects 80% body heat. I don't expect that to happen, but you never know. I planned for a winter trip as it would have been in the UK but I should have planed for a spring trip instead. Mine you I don't mind the cold!! I came across a few Albergues without heating and others in which I just cooked.

I got wet a lot and used over trousers and just a hiking coat. Although I did get soaked you're not left soaked all day and the kit dry's out in the Albergues by the following day. The one thing I wish I took was gators but you can do without them. I used Saloman mid GTX boots and found them excellent, so much so I'm using them again. With the boots I'm an advocate of double socks, I use merino wool and a liner sock, usually very thin silk ones, for me this is a great combination. I only got one blister in 1000kms and that was my fault for not drying out and changing my socks when everything got really wet.

The app I used and found it really useful was the Buen Camino one and it has off line maps. Although you pay for it I thought it was worth it. They do one for the French route as well.

That's my experiences and it sounds like you're not new to hiking so just trust you instincts. Have a great time and enjoy it. I thought I'd never do another one and here I'm am planning more. Buen Camino.

SoyGalego thank you for the informative post. I’ve been hoping to hear from a winter/early spring El Norte pilgrim. I’m planning a late Feb/early March start from Irun.

Re the sleeping bag, do you mean a less “warm” bag would do? Did most albergues have blankets (as on the C Frances)? I used a silk liner + sleeping bag rated -3 to +12C last March on the Frances and it was enough or even too warm (but it was a very warm spring in 2017). How was it to find open albergues - I have the newest Wise Pilgrim Guide / App and Gronze lists of what's open. I understand it’s necessary to look ahead 2-3 days to plan stops given albergues are not as common as on the C Frances.

Re rain gear - so an Altus or Ferrino Trekkers rain coat/poncho are unnecessary? I have light rain jacket 20,000 mm, light rain trousers and gaiters (I wear merino tops, ultralight down jacket and toque LOL I’m from Ottawa) but I’m debating about an Altus (450 gm so heavy).

Re footwear- I too wear salomon GTX shoe and hiking sandals but considering a more cushioned shoe as I’ve heard El Norte is 80% pavement - given walking condition do you think 1) a boot is better vs shoe? 2) is El Norte more asphalt vs CF (I took the CF green routes whenever possible)?

Lastly, how ALONE were you? I met a young German girl on my way to Finisterre and she’d just finished El Norte in March-April and said she was alone many nights.

THANK YOU in advance for sharing any advice/suggestions/recommendations re gear/routes/albergues/stage planning. Happy new year !
 
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Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Re footwear- I too wear salomon GTX shoe and hiking sandals but considering a more cushioned shoe as I’ve heard El Norte is 80% pavement - given walking condition do you think 1) a boot is better vs shoe? 2) is El Norte more asphalt vs CF (I took the CF green routes whenever possible)?
See post https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/serious-metatarsal-issues.52104/#post-574477 and the following one which were answering a similar question I had.
 

dqduncan

Director, Canadian Company of Pilgrims
Past OR future Camino
2015:Francés
2016:Hospitalero training
2017:Hospitalero @Arrés.
2018:Joined CCoP
2019:el Norte
Hi all,

Just wondering if I can get some input on a few questions:

1. What temp sleeping bag would you recommend for a feb start on the Camino?? Being Canadian I have a few different winter sleeping bags - my -25 C goes with me hiking in Nepal in winter (and camping here in winter) as there is no heat in the basic Nepali lodges either for sleeping. I’m wondering if that is overkill and a -10 C would suffice however.

Hey fellow Canuck, looks like you got some great answers already so let me ask you to send me a direct/private message as I have Nepal questions. Am on verge of a sleeping bag purchase of my own . Sounds like you’d have some good insights! Thx in advance :)
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Cheers! Thanks for the info! Very helpful!

A quick message from the Camino: I am walking now and am carrying a -20 c sleeping bag. I am very often way too hot at night, even when sleeping in just underwear. Bring a -5 one or something. Also mine weighs 2 kilos (borrowed it), just: no! (Have experienced snow and also 13C like today)
Also a vote for rain pants here: so happy I bought and brought them. Not used too often yet, but useful. Wet legs can get cold, some other peregrinos told me.

Enjoy enjoy!
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Thank you! I just ordered a pair of the GTX actually. I typically hike in a heavier duty boot but I don’t think it’s necessary for this and I already like the feel of the Solomon.

I’m being swayed towards my “summer” (Canadian) 0 degree bag with a liner. And I will definitely have gators.

I ALWAYS hike with an emergency bivvy. So light and if anything goes wrong it’s the best thing to have.

Hi,

I did the Northern route in Feb this year (2017) and took with me a -10 degree sleeping bag. I wish I didn't. I'm doing the Ingles route this coming Jan/Feb and I'm taking a jungle sleeping bag and liner. If I need to sleep outside I've got a emergency bivi bag which is the size of a coffee mug and reflects 80% body heat. I don't expect that to happen, but you never know. I planned for a winter trip as it would have been in the UK but I should have planed for a spring trip instead. Mine you I don't mind the cold!! I came across a few Albergues without heating and others in which I just cooked.

I got wet a lot and used over trousers and just a hiking coat. Although I did get soaked you're not left soaked all day and the kit dry's out in the Albergues by the following day. The one thing I wish I took was gators but you can do without them. I used Saloman mid GTX boots and found them excellent, so much so I'm using them again. With the boots I'm an advocate of double socks, I use merino wool and a liner sock, usually very thin silk ones, for me this is a great combination. I only got one blister in 1000kms and that was my fault for not drying out and changing my socks when everything got really wet.

The app I used and found it really useful was the Buen Camino one and it has off line maps. Although you pay for it I thought it was worth it. They do one for the French route as well.

That's my experiences and it sounds like you're not new to hiking so just trust you instincts. Have a great time and enjoy it. I thought I'd never do another one and here I'm am planning more. Buen Camino.
 

Cndnwalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
February 2018
Yes newspaper is a lot better than holding your boots/socks/frozen feet to a fire or heater! I burned a hole in my socks in Nepal!

Curled up newspaper works surprisingly well. Most albergues have newspapers. You need to take out the insoles and dry those separately. You should also take out the shoe laces. Avoid warm rooms, as cool rooms are better for the boots.

I know a few trekkers who carry extra insoles and change to dry insoles when they get to camp. That would translate just fine to a wet Camino. As with just about everything else, there's a slight weight penalty to be considered.
 
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Magnara

Maggie Ramsay
Past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
Thanks! I have a packing list cobbled together from a few different lists I’ve seen. I always carry a compass no matter what. But central heating makes a big difference with the cold in Canada.

I actually stopped hiking in full leather boots after a hike walking through quite a bit of snow and wet nonstop. Ended up having to walk with plastic bags around my socks for a week. Fun fact - did you know that soaking wet leather shrinks when you try to warm it near the fire? I ended up with boots a size too small. Won’t be doing that again!
Ouch!
 
Past OR future Camino
February (2018)
Thanks everyone for the great information! Relevant winter walking question - what should the expectations be given there won't be the heat of the sun? Thanks in advance!
 

SoyGalego

Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Primo/Fisterra 17
Ingles/Muxia/Fisterra 18.
SoyGalego thank you for the informative post. I’ve been hoping to hear from a winter/early spring El Norte pilgrim. I’m planning a late Feb/early March start from Irun.

Re the sleeping bag, do you mean a less “warm” bag would do? Did most albergues have blankets (as on the C Frances)? I used a silk liner + sleeping bag rated -3 to +12C last March on the Frances and it was enough or even too warm (but it was a very warm spring in 2017). How was it to find open albergues - I have the newest Wise Pilgrim Guide / App and Gronze lists of what's open. I understand it’s necessary to look ahead 2-3 days to plan stops given albergues are not as common as on the C Frances.

Re rain gear - so an Altus or Ferrino Trekkers rain coat/poncho are unnecessary? I have light rain jacket 20,000 mm, light rain trousers and gaiters (I wear merino tops, ultralight down jacket and toque LOL I’m from Ottawa) but I’m debating about an Altus (450 gm so heavy).

Re footwear- I too wear salomon GTX shoe and hiking sandals but considering a more cushioned shoe as I’ve heard El Norte is 80% pavement - given walking condition do you think 1) a boot is better vs shoe? 2) is El Norte more asphalt vs CF (I took the CF green routes whenever possible)?

Lastly, how ALONE were you? I met a young German girl on my way to Finisterre and she’d just finished El Norte in March-April and said she was alone many nights.

THANK YOU in advance for sharing any advice/suggestions/recommendations re gear/routes/albergues/stage planning. Happy new year !

Hi again,

I started the Northern route from Irun in early Feb and it rained a lot and I was constantly wet for the first 5 days. Although it was wet it wasn't really cold and didn't drop below 3 degrees but remember while walking you're generating heat. This section of the Camino and on the Original Way is where I would have used a set of gaiters especially as there is a lot of mountains to climb. I used an ordinary hiking jacket without a liner and just wore a long sleeved shirt and a suitable wick away t-shirt. I was never cold. I had summer gloves, which I used twice and not all the time in the whole trip. Had a hood on my jacket which I used when it rain and nothing else. This time around I've discarded the hood, it's detachable and will use a hat instead. I had over trousers which I used over my hiking trousers when needed. So for my torso I mainly used Jack Wolfskin and for my bottom half Montane. I've no reason to changed that combination, it works for me! I did have the option of a lightweight puffer type jacket which I used in the evenings but could have zipped in the jacket if I needed too.

The sleeping bag I took was a 3 season one with a comfort rating of -10 degrees but without a liner. Most of the time it was too hot and instead I used a couple of blankets from the Albergues, which saved me unpacking and packing etc. I always began my day by 06:30 to 06:40hrs. In the future, whatever the weather is doing, I'll only take a jungle sleeping bag and liner. That has a rating of +2 degree low and +7 degree comfort, with the liner it'll add a season to the heat level and if I'm really cold I've got an emergency bivi bag. However, I think that combination and heat rating is more than enough for me.

Everything you've read is correct there is a lot of concrete/asphalt walking on a lot of the stages but I found the GTX's a good compromise and were a good choice as an all round boot. I certainly wouldn't take a heavy boot and would walk in boots (mids) to support my ankles. There so light it's not restrictive or noticeable and I prefer to be safe than sorry. On occasions when it was quite warm during my Camino I wished I had a set of hiking shoes etc but not enough to change my mind if I was doing it again. I think someone mentioned hiking poles and I loved mine, but I do have 12 screws in my hip so they helped! Plus it gives a bit of exercise and a rhythm for your torso as well. That's my view. The only footwear I had was my boots and a set of crocs. Not changing that combo either!

I was alone all the time walking and nearly always alone in the Albergues as well. I used the Buen Camino app and a Northern Camino book to plan my stages and found that useful. I had to use Pensions and on occasions Hotels (usually 1 star) so it's more expense. Remember it's really out of season for a lot of the Albergues and some are closed or closed for refurbishments or using that time to get ready for the summer/peak months. The apps don't usually cover that detail! Wherever I stopped I made sure there was more than one option of accommodation, usually three. Only once did I ask in the town hall if an Albergue was open were I intended to stay. That was only because it was remote and the only accommodation there. I didn't book accommodation ahead, ever, you don't need to on this route.

When the three routes, French, Primitivo and Northern eventually met up in Arzua it was a different experience for me as there were about 20 to 30 people in the Albergue that night!!

Sorry for the lengthy reply but I wanted to cover everything.

Buen Camino Peregrino
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Hi again,

I started the Northern route from Irun in early Feb and it rained a lot and I was constantly wet for the first 5 days. Although it was wet it wasn't really cold and didn't drop below 3 degrees but remember while walking you're generating heat. This section of the Camino and on the Original Way is where I would have used a set of gaiters especially as there is a lot of mountains to climb. I used an ordinary hiking jacket without a liner and just wore a long sleeved shirt and a suitable wick away t-shirt. I was never cold. I had summer gloves, which I used twice and not all the time in the whole trip. Had a hood on my jacket which I used when it rain and nothing else. This time around I've discarded the hood, it's detachable and will use a hat instead. I had over trousers which I used over my hiking trousers when needed. So for my torso I mainly used Jack Wolfskin and for my bottom half Montane. I've no reason to changed that combination, it works for me! I did have the option of a lightweight puffer type jacket which I used in the evenings but could have zipped in the jacket if I needed too.

The sleeping bag I took was a 3 season one with a comfort rating of -10 degrees but without a liner. Most of the time it was too hot and instead I used a couple of blankets from the Albergues, which saved me unpacking and packing etc. I was always began my day by 06:30 to 06:40hrs. In the future, whatever the weather is doing, I'll only take a jungle sleeping bag and liner. That has a rating of +2 degree low and +7 degree comfort, with the liner it'll add a season to the heat level and if I'm really cold I've got an emergency bivi bag. However, I think that combination and heat rating is more than enough for me.

Everything you've read is correct there is a lot of concrete/asphalt walking on a lot of the stages but I found the GTX's a good compromise and were a good choice as a all round boot. I certainly wouldn't take a heavy boot and would walk in boots (mids) to support my ankles. There so light it's not restrictive or noticeable and I prefer to be safe than sorry. On occasion when it was quite warm during my Camino I wished I had a set of hiking shoes etc but not enough to change my mind if I was doing it again. I think someone mentioned hiking poles and I loved mine, but I do have 12 screws in my hip so they helped! Plus it gives a bit of exercise and a rhythm for your torso as well. That's my view. The only footwear I had was my boots and a set of crocs. Not changing that combo either!

I was alone all the time walking and nearly always alone in the Albergues as well. I used the Buen Camino app and a Northern Camino book to plan my stages and found that useful. I had to use Pensions and on occasions Hotels (usually 1 star) so it's more expense. Remember it's really out of season for a lot of the Albergues and some are closed or closed for refurbishments or using that time to get ready for the summer/peak month. The apps don't usually cover that detail! Wherever I stopped I made sure there was more than one option of accommodation, usually three. Only once did I ask in the town hall if an Albergue was open were I intended to stay. That was only because it was remote and the only accommodation there. I didn't book accommodation ahead, ever, you don't need to on this route.

When the three routes, French, Primitivo and Northern eventually meet up in Arzua it was a different experience for me as there were about 20 to 30 people in the Albergue that night!!

Sorry for the lengthy reply but I wanted to cover everything.

Buen Camino Peregrino

Thank you so very much. All you say is consistent with my planning and preparation so far.....my sleeping bag would be equivalent to your jungle bag. I am still picking my footwear as I’m in Slovakia currently and not a wide selection. I’ll go GTX and light. I use poles all the time. The newest Wise Pilgrim Guide indicates albergues and pension, hotels) that are open all year and those opening March 1st. I plan to take the alrtnstive coastal routes whenever possible, I have excellent addition guidance from Peregrina2000 here who shared here 2017 El Norte alternative coastal routes. Hopefully by March 1st there will be a few more pilgrims. Thanks again, I really appreciate you taking time Forbes answering m6 questions.
 

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