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Sleeping Bag Needed?

Discussion in 'Albergues - Hostels' started by Kateos, May 13, 2008.

  1. Kateos

    Kateos Guest

    I know on the main website it says to pack a sleeping bag, but do the hostels generally provide linen, ie is it really necessary to pack one?

    Also, my flight means that I won't get to St Jean until the evening on my first day, is there anyway to book into a hostel in St Jean, and would this be necessary or will there be space (it will be mid June).

    And will it be easy for me to pick up a pilgrim passport from St Jean in the evening when I arrive?

    Thanks
     
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    You will be able to get the Pilgrims Passport in the evening in St Jean.

    There is a private hostels on the main site listed for St Jean - personally I would book a bed with them - they are 30 - 40 metres away from the pilgrims office in the old town of St Jean. The official albergue in St Jean keep their bed free for the pilgrims that have been walking that day, so many people turn up there to start the Camino and they are very aware of looking after the pilgrims who have been walking already.

    Yes, you will need a sleeping bag of some sort. Sometimes the albergues have extra blankets - but they have seen their best - in general the albergues do not supply any sleeping gear.
     
  3. spanishlancer

    spanishlancer New Member

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    In Galicia at the municipal albergues for your 3 euros fee you get a small packet containing a sheet/mattress cover and a pillow case which you discard after use.There was only a limited supply of blankets. I used a silk sleeping bag liner and was not cold,although I did have with me some thermal underwear if needed.
    Also the private aubergue in Arca(Pedrouzo) is now open, 10 euros per night, with a blanket.It is at the top of the town and I think is better than the municipal one behind the post office on the way into town.
     
  4. Sheens

    Sheens New Member

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    Kateos- shop around for a really light one- i got one that weighs only 1 lb- it's bulky but really really light.. i wouldnt arrive without one, no way!! i'd say the blankets in the hostels are riddled with mites!
     
  5. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    Sleeping Bag

    During the colder or cooler months a sleeping bag would be a required asset, though I suppose, during the summer months, just a silk liner would suffice.

    Every alberque where i slept 3 years ago had bunks with bare mattress and bare pillow, sans any linens so a sleeping bag is a necessity, for yourself as well as for the multitudes who will follow you.
     
  6. martinstuart

    martinstuart New Member

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    I walked the main Camino last year from St. Jean to Santiago in July and August, and yes, you need a sleeping bag. Even during the summer it can get cold at night in those (many) places that do not provide linen. AND when the route gets crazily busy in Galicia and you are not guaranteed to find a place and you may be sleeping like hundreds of others in municapal car parks or the local town's basketball court, you need a sleeping bag.

    Like others say, buy the lightest one you can afford. The difference a half kilo makes is amazing.
     
  7. murphydog201

    murphydog201 New Member

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    How heavy of a sleeping bag?

    I will be doing the Camino from late February to the end of March. I have a sleeping bag that is fine for indoor, heated places but not warm enough for camping outside. The benefit of taking this bag is that it is very light. I'm wondering if I need to buy a heavier, warmer down sleeping bag or if I could get away with just adding a silk liner to my light sleeping bag.
     
  8. martinstuart

    martinstuart New Member

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    How heavy a sleeping bag for Feb/March?

    MurphyDog, I doubt you will be needing to sleep outside on the Camino. Especially if you are walking the most popular route, the Camino Frances (the one from St. Jean)--surely (although I don't KNOW and you need to check) there are enough hostels open at that time of year. They only fill up during the summer, at least that is the way it has been.

    I would say to take the bag that you have. If it's fine for indoors, it's fine. Now, I doubt all the places will be heated so just wear an extra t-shirt/whatever when you need to.

    Good luck. Enjoy. May God guide you.
     
  9. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    Adding a silk liner to your sleeping bag increases the temperature rating, depending on liner, just somewhere around 5-7 additional degrees F. Do you know the "degree" rating of the bag you have? What is the bag's fill and what is it's weight?

    It is cold in February & March in Spain so it is best to err on the side of caution.

    My bag weighed slightly less that 2 pounds, was down filled, rated at ~35 or so degrees F and I needed it at times in October and November and really needed it on the last in November December. I used no liner.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  10. murphydog201

    murphydog201 New Member

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    The fill on my light bag is 100% polyester fiber. If I understand the tag correctly, it is less than 2 lbs and rated at +40 degrees.

    The fill on my heavy bag is also polyester. The tag doesn't give any other information, but I'm guessing it's about 3 lbs, and I know it's warm. This is the one I'd use if I were camping. I'm willing to buy a new bag with down fill if there are benefits to it.
     
  11. murphydog201

    murphydog201 New Member

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    If I decide to buy a sleeping bag online, what rating would I need in Feb/March in Spain: 35 degrees or 20 or other?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2009
  12. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    The municipal albergues are in theory open all year round although some I suspect may close for maintenance when it is quiet. In Feb/March you may find that a lot of the private albergues are not yet open, but there are now so many albergues both private and municipal on the Camino Frances, the chances of you not finding a bed are nil.

    You only ever face having to sleep on floors in July/Aug and that is usually on the Sarria to Santiago leg where all the tourists join to do their Camino.

    If you are under cover and out of the wind, almost any sleeping bag will be OK. The bag liners are a good idea and silk is the best because because of its insulating property.

    In July to October when I have walked my Camino's, I never carry a sleeping bag and just use a bag liner. My liner comes pre-treated with some bug killer which ensures that the bed bugs give me no trouble.

    I have never been unable to find a bed on four Camino's, but then I look to finish walking around 3pm and find my bed for the night. The municipal albergues tend to fill up first because they are cheaper, but there is usually space in one of the private ones.
     
  13. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    In a strict comparison between down and synthetic fill for sleeping bags, down wins. They are lighter, they pack down smaller, last far longer(by maintaining their loft). But they are more costly. Some do bring up the disadvantage of not supplying much warmth when wet but if the bag is packed well inside a lightweight waterproof bag like sylnylon, they do stay dry so it is not much of an issue.

    Your synthetic bags have other advantages-they are yours and they are paid for. So, if this upcoming trip is to be a single adventure and you will seldom require a sleeping bag again, go with what you already have, especially since you will always be sleeping inside.

    I suspect that a 40 degree F bag would be more than sufficient but if you are a cold sleeper then a lessor expensive compromise might be to purchase a liner for your bag so as to add a few degrees of added warmth. But, get it in silk. It is much lighter, feels better, is easily washed and dries quite quickly. I am familiar (and have used) two: 'Design Salt'

    http://www.designsalt.com/index.asp

    from Germany and 'Jagbag'

    http://www.jagbags.co.nz/

    from New Zealand. Both are good.

    Silk dries so quickly, in fact, that instead of bringing along a heavy towel, consider a large silk scarf (square meter minimum) instead to dry yourself off after the nightly shower. Wring it out after drying yourself, then hang it on the foot of your bunk and it is dry in 30 minutes or less. And it is multi-purpose too, serving as a warm neck scarf when it is cool or as a face wrap and head covering if it is really cold, balaclava style, or as a hat, or as hat and neck protection from sun if tied correctly, ad infinitum.... A very inexpensive place to order these made from raw silk on the 'net is http://www.dharmatrading.com/silk_scarves.html
    In these I'd suggest the heavier weight ones though for these.

    Good luck
     
  14. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    You will be inside. 35-40 degrees or so F should be fine.

    Not all bags are equal, though and you must do some homework before buying online. For one, the better manufacturers offer countless size combinations in length and girth and zipper placement in each model as well as completely different designs for the different sexes. It is as complicated purchasing the correct sleeping bag for your body shape as it is purchasing the correctly sized back pack for your body shape. And, then there are the different coverings, inner and outer linings to consider. If you decide toi buy, research some of the better bag manufacturers like Feathered Friends or Marmot (there are many more) before making your decision.

    The Feathered Friends http://www.featheredfriends.com/

    is hand made, is costly, but lasts and lasts. I have used a Wren model now for thousands of miles and just send it back to the factory when it begins to smell badly and they wash it correctly for $35.00 US, repair any tears, stuff more down if any is lost and send it back to me looking as new and fresh smelling as it was when I bought it ten years ago. It has arm holes and is pull string closed at foot so you can leave it open if it is hot or hike it up higher and wear it like a heavy down coat if it is cold and you are outside. POlus it has the zipper down the center where they really all should be anyway..
     
  15. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    If you are worried about keeping warm at night then choosing what clothing to carry can make your life easier. Try to choose clothing which can be multi purpose!

    I carry a lightweight long sleeve "microfleece" from Craghopper, which is ideal for evenings when it can feel a little chilly, and if I am cold at night, then I can sleep in it. If it is cold first thing in the morning, then wear the fleece for the first 30 minutes of walking until your body has warmed up.

    http://www.craghoppers.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product2_12052_-1_13836_32655_11051_13834

    I carry a pair of cotton longjohns just like your Grandfather might have used!! Modern materials, warm, and less frightening for the ladies than wandering around at night in your underpants!! If it is really cold up in the hills, then wear them under your trousers to keep warm.

    http://www.outdoorgear.co.uk/eshop.asp?wci=product&wce=31200701&desc=LUXURY+THERMAL+LONG+JOHNS

    Try to avoid walking in warm weather in cotton T-shirts They absorb the sweat (Ladies perspire!) but hold the moisture and you will spend the day walking in a soggy top!!. Buy a couple of "hi-wick" walking shirts and have one short sleeve and one long sleeve.

    http://www.craghoppers.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product2_12052_-1_13838_32610_11051_13837

    They are expensive compared to a T-shirt, but worth the expense. They also dry very quickly after being washed. Check that the shirt does not have a raised seam across the top of the shoulder!! That is where the pack straps rub!!

    On a full Camino I carry 2 short sleeve and 2 long sleeve tops. They are very light and it saves having to worry about laundry every evening. I keep one long sleeve top for sleeping in, with my sexy longjohn bottoms.

    That way I only have to worry about doing laundry every three days and the other evenings I can drink beer!:D
     
  16. Dan Elliott

    Dan Elliott New Member

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    sleeping bags

    I did my first camino from mid-February to mid-March 2006. Had no trouble finding open albergues though some were 30km apart. Definitely a down sleeping bag--try to get one that zips all the way down or your feet may get too warm. I took along and appreciated various polypropylene running gear (tights, long sleeve t shirts, hat tubes) they are incredibly warm, you can layer, they dry fast. Did 2nd from Le Puy April 1 to June 3 2007 with many side trips. Did not need bag in France so I mailed it back. In Spain I used silk liner and in the mountains my poncho (feet in hood) but am a non-tossing sleeper and generally not cold when many others are.
     
  17. murphydog201

    murphydog201 New Member

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    What rating was your sleeping bag for your '06 Camino? I'm planning to bring a 35 degree one. And what was the weather like then? I'm planning to bring a poncho instead of a rain jacket to save some weight. But I'm concerned that my forearms will get wet.

    How long did it take you to do the entire Camino?
     
  18. Dan Elliott

    Dan Elliott New Member

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    Sleeping bag

    I cannot remember rating of sleeping bag but it was the lightest at EMS Sports and quite warm ( a little too warm for Spring weather). From St. Jean to Santiago it was 27 and 26 days of walking. I took a few rest days to see things in bigger cities and highly recommend that course. Use poncho by all means--you can use it for ground cover too. They are much easier to put on quickly without taking off pack. And trap a little bit less body heat. On the winter trip I brought Gore Tex parka.
     
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