Sleeping Bag or just Silk Liner?

The question was:

We are travelling the first 3 weeks of May 2011 and I was looking at a lightweight sleeping bag but it still will take up room in my backpack. I was considering using a silk liner instead for protection on the beds and leaving the sleeping bag at home.

Read all the good Silk Liner and Sleeping bag advice in the forum here

  • Two years ago on the Camino Frances I was able to acquire a blanket (manta) each night. I traveled the last week of April through May. This year I am going again on the Camino Frances during the same time period. I am debating if my sleeping bag or not. When I carried a sleeping bag on the Camino Via de la Plata last year, my backpack was a problem. Most people on the Camino Frances two years ago just had silk liners. I guess it depends on how you are packing, your weight, how strong you are etc.

    • Aileen

      DId you take it? If not did you need it? I am going now and wondering if to take one Thanks!

  • ncr2509

    Great question – I have exactly the same dilemma. Have purchased a silk liner and was happy to go with that in May, but been told by a camino veteran that I would be mad not to take a lightweight <500g bag rated to 0-5c. Problem – all bags I've seeing weighing $500AUD. One exception (Roman Palm) met weight and cost limits but only rated to 12c. Any advice on affordable lightweight bags? Cheers.

    • Ninasando

      They have lightweight(trekking) spleeping bags at Decathlon.  They weigh around 400-600 grams and cost around 40 €.  I did 10 days on the camino at the end of June this year with a cotton liner, slept with my clothes on when it was cooler.  Didn’t have any problems at all.  You really have to try and keep the weight down in your pack.  It makes all the difference.  But those special lightweight sleeping bags are pretty good.  Next time I go I may take one (if it isn’t summer)

  • carol

    I’m walking first or 2nd week of June through July. I believe most of the walk at night the temps will go down. Having never spent a night in one of the refugios, I have no idea if they are heated or cooled (suspect not cooled at least). I cannot afford a high price bag and don’t want to carry something heavy. I have purchased a sleep sac that is totally enclosed and have tried it out on my bed. I’m thinking if it is cool, I can sleep in clothing.
    Would like to hear from someone who knows what to do for sure.
    Also, I tend to be warm as opposed to cold when I’m sleeping.

    • Debbie

      My first time on the camino, I brought a 1lb sleeping bag which was perfect! My last time on the camino, almost three years ago now, I brought a silk liner and it was a mistake. It was suppose to protect me against bed bugs but it did not. Had I had a sleeping bag, I probably would not have had an issue. Friends I met along the the way, whome I walked with, did not have this problem so I think its safe to say that it was the fault of the liner.

  • Bea

    I did the walk in June/July 2007 with a pack weighing just 6kg. My Egyptian cotton liner was wonderful, and I am sure I was far better off with it than with a sleeping bag. However, I don’t like being too warm when I sleep–although I am sensitive to the cold when I’m not in bed! Almost all albergues had blankets and pillows so I was fine, always cozy and clean (another benefit is that you can wash it every couple of days, whenever you come across a place that has a clothes dryer!)
    I did also carry a small, light, fleece blanket as a back-up. It folded up into a handy pillow and was also fantastic as a “picnic blanket” when I stopped in a field for lunch or a siesta!
    I hope to go back one day soon and I will definitely take these two items again rather than a sleeping bag.

  • Anna Garcia

    If I were you, I should carry my sleeping bag… of course a light one. I carried it on my Camino and I used my Polar Fleece Jacket as a pillow. Early mornings are still cold in May…

  • Dana Baggett

    I did the Camino Frances May 1, 2008, am going again April 26, 2011…I took & loved my lightweight sleeping bag before & will again.

  • Debbie

    The lightest sleeping bags I have been able to find are the Roman Palm 1 and a Deuter bag that I cant remember the name of. Both bags have 500g as the manufacturers specifications but both weigh 600g. I took accurate scales into the shops and weighed them without their covers. Not a lot of weight but still annoying. Im doing the sleeping bag versus liner dilemma also …. for June..

    For anyone interested I found a 300g fleece blanket in Ikea for $4.

  • Mike Miller

    03/29/2011 – In May you can probably live without a sleeping bag. However I would take one – they can be expensive {the lighter the bag, the more expensive}. At the end of a long day a good bag is great for a cool evening. When shopping for Bags I recommend “Good Will” & Salvation Army Stores & if you live on the West Coast of the USA shop “Value Village”. I took an very good REI Synthic bag on the Camino Sept & Oct of 2006. I purchased the bag at a Value Villege for $8.75 USA – & recently A REI Down Bag for $6.12 {OK, I benefit from the 15% senior discount} – great buys. If like most folks you are a year or more out from your feet hitting the Camino – Shop the discount stores intensively.

    • Noflattire

      I am planning to go end of June thru July 2012 and begin at Roncevalles. Do you know what city one would fly in to begin the camino there? Also, was the trail safe to Santiago for a single small person?  Thank you for your answer. Susan

  • During my camino in october and november 2010 I used my very light summer-sleepingbag and a silkiner and it was perfect. When I came home, I threw the sleeping bag away because of bedbugs but I will buy a similar, cheap and very light one and will take my silk line with me when I’ll be back on the camino in june this year. If it’s too cold, I use both; if it’s to warm, I just use the silkliner and will have the sleeping bag as a ‘bedsheet’.

  • 28moonbeam

    During the first three weeks in May I would definitely recommend a sleeping bag. I have the Laser 600 sleeping bag from Terra Nova. It’s +/-0 rated down bag, only 600gram, the lightest in the world in this class. Not cheap but worth every penny in my opinion. I was delighted that I chose this bag as I had snow during the first week in May! It still was very cold during the 2nd & 3rd week. When it got warmer I opened the bag more when sleeping. To protect against bedbugs I carried a bedbug sheet, available in every outdoor store, which looks like a very fine net, is treated against various bugs and can be fixed over every mattress; weighs next to nothing. I was extremely happy with both the sleeping bag and the bedbug sheet and will definitely use it again.

    • Aenne

      To clarify: the Laser 600 is a +/-0 degree rated Down bag. Only 600g, the lightest in it’s class in the world. From Terra Nova.

      • GarethJ

        Actually Mountain Equipment, another UK company, with a load more experience with sleeping bags than Terra Nova, has a bag the same weight and, I believe, is available cheaper! Both companies make excellent gear but ME have been making down sleeping bags and jackets since 1961 whilst Terra Nova, formerly Wild Country Tents, are known for their tents. Whilst on sleeping bags make sure you know the Comfort, Comfort Limit and Extreme ratings of the bag.- the first is when you’ll sleep like a baby, the second a baby that is getting slightly cold and the third is a baby who probably will not survive the night! Some US companies are known for not being totaly truthful where temperatures are concerned. Also, women tend to feel colder at night and should, perhaps, seek a female specific bag. Enjoy your walking.

    • Catsmom

      Hi, thanks for the useful info.  Will be going late May/early June.  Do you know if the bug sheet is available in Spain (or Australia)?  If not I guess I’d better get ahead and order.  Thanks

  • It depends when are you going I just came back from the Camino about 2 weeks ago and didn’t need a sleeping bag at all I had silk liner with me and it was all I needed! But if you are planning to walk between Oct – Jun I would bring a sleeping bag it can get pretty cold specially on Galicia. Buen Camino

  • Bill

    I’m doing the French Way, starting in St. Jean Pied-de- Port, last week in May. I note the average lows through the early part of the walk tend to be in the 45-50 F range. Can anyone tell me whether the refugios are heated? If it’s 50 F outside, are the refugios 50 F inside?