Discussion in 'General Chat' started by John Simchuk, Apr 10, 2018.
I have heard various opinions on the benefit of wearing gaiters on the Camino Frances. Any thoughts.
Hey John - I’ve worn gaiters on my last two Caminos and was glad to have them with me particularly for these last two weeks in rainy Galicia. Although I like mine by OR (Outdoor Research), I’m going to switch out my low gaiters for taller ones. Mine do work great keeping the water out of my shoes. But, a taller gaiter would also help keep the lower legs dry if your not wearing rain pants. I remember on the CF walking the last few kilometers into Hontanas in deep mud. Boy, would gaiters have helped with that messy situations! My OR gaiters weigh next to nothing. Even the taller ones would not add for than a few more ounces to your load. For very wet days or muddy terrain, they’re nice to have along with you. Buen Camino!
I have taken a pair of gaiters with me on all of my Camino’s and, to me, these are an essential part of my kit.
As Spain is usually quite warm when I am walking Camino’s, when it rains I tend to wear a single shell Gortex rain jacket, shorts and gaiters, so the rainwater runs off the bottom of my jacket, down my bare leg and then over my gaiters and boots – If you don’t wear gaiters then rainwater wicks down your socks and your feet soon become soaked and when this happens’ blister inevitably follow.
I wouldn’t get hung up on a particular brand, I have probably used about 5 different pairs in my “Camino Career” and they all served their purpose and kept my fee reasonably dry
Good Luck and Buen Camino
Gaiters are a single use item and are not really needed. Perhaps as a convenience on short excursions but not so much a long hike. Personally, I have never had much use for them. I have hiked four Caminos five times and never felt they were worth their weight upon my lower legs. Every pound I layer onto my feet equates to about five upon my back. Thats my opinion. Yours may vary some.
I ordered some DIRTY GIRL GAITERS as a recommendation from Laurie Ferris. They are lighter than a pair of lacy underwear! It's pretty cool how they attach to your shoe. They are low, but I think they will do the trick as far as keeping water out of my shoes. "Let it rain!"
I wanted to get some of those! I keep looking on their site hoping to find some nice, dull, quiet, drab colors - they have all those exuberant Neon Glow-in-the-Dark colors, leopard prints and psychedelic prints. Let me know how you like them, Hindsy. I might have to take a walk on the wild side and get some if you like them.
Your time is almost here!! Are you excited? Nervous?
Laurie seems to be on Wordpress. Her site turned up on my feed the other day and I'm following now. I don't think that's telling stories out of school - she's posted her blog if I remember. Yep, it's posted on here.
Hey C4S - I just checked our Dirty Girl Gaiters. I know my wife would love some of the wild prints. If you click on the “solid colors” link, I think you’ll find two that that might work for you. Olive drab green or what they call Trail Envy might be what you’re looking for. We will all wait for Hindsfeet’s review of them.
Ha! Thanks, Wily! That's a new color and I ordered a pair. It was black or Olive drab, so the olive will probably show trail dirt less. These will be nice.
Unless they've added some waterproofing material to their inventory, they are designed to keep pebbles and dirt and sand and thorny stuff out of the shoe, but not water. They will help some with mud and muck, but the Dirty Girls will still get wet as will the shoes. I've used them for about the last ten years, and they are great at helping to keep stuff out of the shoe.
SOMETIMES Crepesy......it is fun to walk on the wild side. Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who exuberantly stated " Do one thing everyday that scares you"? Hmmm....maybe it is those wild Dirty Girl Gaitors! I know, a few of them were a bit over the top. I did order the purple and black leopard print ones though. And my daughter solemnly said, "wow Mom". She probably means they are cool, right? I am pretty sure that I will get rained on at some point. I will let you know how they protect me from rain.
Um, excited beyond belief, maybe a bit nervous.....but only because I have never been to Europe. I want to make sure that I get on the right, bus/train/plane. I just can hardly wait to start climbing over the Pyrenees! Do you know if the Albergues have a fridge/freezer available? I have this small ice bubble that I would love to freeze at night so that if I needed to ice a body part, I could. No big deal really though.
Crepesy, you are leaving at the end of June, right? And unchartered territory for you? I will be in Paris at the end of my journey from June 15th-22nd. I cannot remember if our paths would cross? That would be awesome! I am sure that you are enjoying your planning! And thank you so much for all of your input! I am so grateful for you. You are such a refreshing addition to this forum. I have gleaned so much from ALL of you. Thank you, Gracias, Merci, Go raibh maith agat!!
Wow, are you speaking Gaelic, Hindsy? I'm so impressed! I got a huge laugh out of your post. Yep, those Dirty Girl gaiters are my walk on the wild side for today, even if I only LOOKED at the really wild ones. Their site was a blast. Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL and DANG! Yep, your daughter meant Wow, Mom, very very cool. Not OMG Mom, don't wear those when you and I go anywhere together (like MY daughter would mean).
My plan for preventing rain from getting into my shoes is the Ellie Clampett method. I'm not taking my trusty rain pants this time and if the poncho isn't sheltering the feet well, I'm taking 2 plastic bags and tying them around my ankles under the Dirty Girls and forgetting about it. I'll stuff newspapers in my shoes overnight to absorb damp if the Moabs get soaked.
Take pictures of your new gaiters and post them if you think of it! Unless you think they'll blind everybody.
No, I'm leaving May 28 on the train for D.C. and staying with my sister and her family for a day or so. Just to be sure I don't get totally screwed up with getting to the flight on time at Dulles.
I'm starting in Aumont-Aubrac on June 1 and going through to Cahors, probably taking the train to Bordeaux on the 16th of June. If I'm done, I'm flying out RyanAir from Bordeaux to London and if not, going down to the Norte for a couple of days walking the coast only, and then heading down to the Primitivo and across. I'm going to plan the last part on the fly since the discount airlines have good rates even at the last minute. That is, if they have seats left. If not, I'll just fly home some circuitous route on a discounter. Nahhh, this will be my 8th trip to France, so that part of things won't be new territory, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the Massif Central/Aubrac Plateau and all those little medieval towns that the Le Puy goes through. And the food, of course!
I think they have a refrigerator in the vending machine/"lunchroom" area off the main hall in the albergue in Roncesvalles, but I'm not sure. SOME other albergues do have them. I'm counting on hearing all about your whole Camino and your time in Paris.
I'm really excited for you!!
Haaaaaaaaa.....hmmm, our daughters meet? lol! No, Crepesy, don't get too impressed by the Gaelic. Haaaaaaa, I know all about the Clampett method. Growing up in Wisconsin, lunches and feet in the rainy weather both blanketed in used bread bags. If I can figure out how to post the pic of my gaitors, I will warn everyone to don their sunglasses.
Your journey sure sounds like an interesting, fun Camino! I will definitely be checking out your blog! I will be there!
One thing that I aren’t going to do is to question the female logic of the aesthetics outweighing the practicality when it comes to the choice of gaiters and their waterproof qualities – Or lack of them ;-)
If hindsfeet or C4S (With her plastic bags) do end up with wet feet, then I am sure they will be able to source replacement gaiters en- route
Have a Great Camino
Y'all are too funny.
Ladies, time is getting close, I wish you a fantastic Camino (though that is easy, since it will be awesome!).
Loved that sense of excitement and nervous energy leading up to your first step out the door the first morning, which quickly becomes a seasoned veterans perspective.
I can't wait for Sept, to start the Portual route... Wily and Laurie have really whetted my appetite!
Thanks, Rob. If things get desperate, I'll wear the plastic bags on the outside of the gaiters. The French will find me very elegant, I'm sure!
Thank you Canadian Wander! I can't stop thinking about it! I am trying to focus on things I need to do before I go but.....the next thing I know, I am either on the forum (where people really understand) or re-packing, or trying to find someone who wants to listen to me talk Camino! Ha...........September will be here before you know it, and you'll be off!!!
Thanks, Rob. If things get desperate, I'll wear the plastic bags on the outside of the gaiters. The French will find me very elegant, I'm sure![/QUOTE]
Crepesy, make sure you use a croissant bag when in France!! (Just looking out for you!)
Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass, or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.
There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is effective. First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.
Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.
“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Leather boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.
When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.
Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—moisture does not pass through the fabric as is claimed. So on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet.
That’s why serious trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.
I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.
A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.
This post is meant to help inform and give a different line of thought and reasoning.
I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:
1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.
2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.
3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.
4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.
Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.
What are the bad things?
1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore, really soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.
2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.
So, what does work? For me, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:
1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.
2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.
3. Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.
4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.
5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.
6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.
7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.
8. I found that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores. Then, when I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.
9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.
10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
Wow, thanks DaveBugg. I feel like I just finished going to a seminar on keeping your feet dry. What the heck, I just thought that I would try those Dirty Girl Gaitors for fun. Everything will be ok whether my feet get wet or stay dry. I am IN for the long haul.
@davebugg Thanks for a great reasoned review of advanced foot care.
Like Dave said, dry the boots at night, shove newspaper in, works great, one of my old army tricks.
I agree as well about foot care. Myself, I fell in love with sportslick, works great as a lubricant and doesn't sweat or rain water off, so if your boots do get wet, you are good to go. Also us anti fungal, anti bacterial, and can work on areas that chafe, like pack/hip areas, buttocks, what ever rubs.
Treat hot spots as soon as you note them, and do not ignore! Saw some terrible feet on our Camino, but the wife and I were blister free. I also love my 1000mile Wright socks.
And I work for no companies that sell these products!
If you think you have it bad now...just wait! You will spend more time telling people, and I hope sharing your new experience with the next, new crowd coming behind us on their first!
And I have packed and repacked way more times than I care to admit, even though I am going with my exact pack out list as 2015! Just part of 'the process'.
You've got an abundance of common sense, and that goes a long, long way toward success!!!
And the Dirty Girls are terrific for keeping debris out of shoes, which can create skin abrasions to your feet. They are a good investment, weigh about as much as a balloon filled with air, and are simple to put on and take off..... Plus, they make good conversation starters
Truer words never spoken.
I think you'll find that accommodation will vary quite a bit but even in better private albergues we didn't come across too many fridges and definitely no freezers in rooms so the ice bubble might not be so useful.
Can I suggest that you consider the Mission Enduracool Towel. We bought our first one in Bed Bath and Beyond a couple of years ago. To use you simply wet the towel with water (warm or cold) wring it out and snap three times for instant aircon around your neck or head. I have to say on those really warm days it was a lifesaver. We now have three, a second one bought in Bed Bath and Beyond and one bought on Amazon. It's one of the best things we've used on Camino (I really should become an agent for them).
I see you speak Gaelic so "Go n'eirigh an bothar leat"....may the road rise with you (especially on the way to Orisson).
Not long now!!!!
Thanks Greg, I will check it out at Bed, Bath and beyond. I think that I remember you mentioning about that towel a while back, and I forgot about it.
Ok, true confessions here.....I don't want anyone to think that I speak fluent Gaelic! Since you are from Dublin, I just wanted to include my thanks to you in my last post! But I really appreciate the Gaelic blessing! Yikes, it is getting closer now! Am I really going? Ha.....I watched THE WAY again last night for fun. It is funny, my family has supported me this whole past year, encouraging me, excited for me, now ALL OF A SUDDEN that it is less than a week away, they are seriously concerned and freaking out! Oddly, I came down with a pretty bad cold and they think I should stay home! So now, I am in the midst of calming everyone down, supporting how they feel, but reassuring them that everything will be fine! Sheesh!! I need to walk!
Hey Hindsfeet - I think that I can reasonably say that we are ALL excited that your Camino is now just a week away! Yes, it’s almost time! It is exciting and believe me, it’ll be even more exciting when you reach SJPP and then get to take your first steps on Your Way. As for reassuring others, I’m pretty sure that most of us find ourselves doing the very same thing. My 87 year old mother wonders why her gypsy son is always off to one crazy place or another. I remind her that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree since in my mind, she and dad were the original gypsies who gave me this wanderlust in the first place. But, as concerned as she is when I travel, she’d love to pack her stuff and head to Spain with me if she could. Maybe I’ll still be able to talk her into it one of these years. Your loved ones are nervous, but also envious of this great journey you have in front of you. Buen Camino Peregrina!
Wily, you are RIGHT ON my gypsy brother! And thank you so much for joining me in my excitement. Gotta go now, time to unpack and repack my pack.......hmmmmmmmmmm
Once again, Wily has the right thought, and so well expressed. The man has a way with words.
Trust me Hinds...you will be hooked, and if you are like me...Portugal will be next on your list!
But...one Camino at a time. Love your walk, and enjoy yourself.
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