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Sleeping Bags On The Camino

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by John Simchuk, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. John Simchuk

    John Simchuk New Member

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    We are departing SJPP on Sept 1, 2018 and have reservations at Orisson and Roncesvalles. Both places say that sleeping bags are required. However, we do not want to carry a sleeping bag the rest of the way. Has anyone experienced staying at these two places and/or has a sleeping bag been needed at other albergues along the way.
     
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  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    John, I went over the Pyrenees one time in September and another time in May, staying in the albergue in Roncesvalles. The weather was severe both times, and had I not taken a sleeping bag, it would have been miserable. They have a little under-floor heat, or so they say, but it was undetectable in bare feet, and a cubicle-mate had no hot water in the men's bathroom, making having a sleeping bag to crawl into to get warm helpful. I haven't stayed at Orisson.

    Having said that, you'll probably experience none of that. Roncesvalles' albergue has a table for left-items should you decide to take a bag and then leave it. I carry a 40F lightweight (very INexpensive) bag, and later during the Spring trip as the weather warmed up, I left one at an albergue, as had private rooms after that. Had I not had my bag in mid-October in Galicia, I would have frozen then as well. Fall (and any other time of year) can be chilly and rainy in Galicia.

    Many (but not all) other albergues DID have blankets, making taking a sleeping bag not really necessary, but when a particular place had blankets that looked as though they hadn't been washed in awhile, I was also glad to have my own bag to unzip and use as a blanket.

    Maybe a fleece bag/liner as a compromise? Some of them are thin and soft and lightweight.
     
  3. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Orisson had blanket, not blankets, and Rochavells had none. I was in both in May. Later on it might be warner but I was glad I had my own bag in both places. I sprayed paremethheium on my bag and had no problems with bed bugs, etc.

    I will always carry a small bag as it solves the questionable blanket problems. Remember that albergies are not 5 star hotels.
     
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  4. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Another vote for carrying a Sleeping Bag with you on your Camino Frances – I always take an ultralight Sleeping Bag on Camino with me as I tend to stay in as many Municipal Refugio’s as I can, these sometimes only offer very basic facilities (Particularly on the less walked routes), so a Sleeping Bag can be very useful (Even on the more popular Camino’s, Municipal Refugio’s operate on a first come, first served basis, but when all the beds are taken, there is still sometimes floor space available, and having a Sleeping Bag can make the difference between a comfortable night, and a very uncomfortable one!!)

    So – unless you are prebooking your accommodation in Private Albergue’s / Hostels or Hotels that provide bed linen, then my own advice is also to take an ultralight Sleeping Bag on Camino with you :)

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  5. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I brought a light sleeping bag during our first camino. Many times I slept on top of the sleeping bag and used a silk liner as a top sheet. For our second camino, I left my sleeping bag at home and brought a fleece liner. This worked fine most nights, but a few nights it was pretty cold inside the albergue. My sleeping bag compressed to about the same size as the fleece liner, so I should have brought the sleeping bag with me. That said, we stayed in many private albergues with beds and private bathrooms. Clean sheets, blankets and fresh towels were always provided. So for camino 3 we'll leave the sleeping bags and liners at home and book private rooms the entire way. Bob
     
  6. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey John - Like UnkleHammy, I don’t remember Roncesvalles having blankets. As far as other albergues go, some offered blankets, others did not. I have always carried a very light, one-season bag and have used it on numerous occasions even in albergues offering blankets. As my bag only weights 1.1 pounds, it doesn’t add all that much extra weight considering my entire kit weighs under 6 kg. If you are in the situation where you need a bag, you’ll be glad you brought one with you. Buen Camino!
     
  7. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    If you had initially planned not to bring a sleeping bag and still intend not to, despite the other posts recommending to, there's an option to avoid the hassle of figuring out what to do with the sleeping bag after Orisson and Roncesvalles (shipping back/forward to Santiago). Just book at private pensions/hotels for those two locations. The benefits of the additional accommodation costs for the 2 nights will outweigh the shipping costs and/or burden of carrying them on the other legs. This presupposes the accommodation arrangements at the other municipal albergues are adequate.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
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  8. John Simchuk

    John Simchuk New Member

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    Thanks to all of you for your comments on sleeping bags. Yes, a lightweight one season bag will definately now be in our packs. We'll especially need them in Galicia when we get there in mid October and also when we venture further to finisterre.
     
  9. Brucepayne

    Brucepayne Member

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  10. Brucepayne

    Brucepayne Member

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    I walked the primitive last september,and took only a silk liner. I would go to bed warm,but during the night would wake up and have to dress in the dark! Even then I was never toasty while those with bags never got up and seemed toasty. Of course everyone can choose for themselves,but next year I will be taking a bag
     
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  11. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    When I was in the Army, the old saying was "travel light, freeze at night...". We took light weight bags, and they were well worth it. You can find some very nice bags at very low weight now-a-days!
     
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  12. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Crepes4Suzette, my wife and I are planning to leave SJPP in late August or early September 2019 on our 1st Camino--Camino Frances. We will seek private rooms in private hostels, hotels, fondas, hospedajes, hospederias, pensiones, or hostales each night. Taking that into account, will sleeping bags be necessary or do your tales of no hot water and cold floors also apply to these types of facilities?

    Also, what do you recommend regarding reservations. We will take it easy (68 & 69 years old) and are not certain what pace we will keep. Must we make reservations far in advance or are a few days ahead adequate?
     
  13. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Thanks Bob! Another pearl of wisdom for those staying in private alberques!
     
  14. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    That sounds great, Chip! No, I think you'll be fine without bags under those circumstances. There were places where I had a private room and was cold - especially in Galicia in mid-October - and I did use my bag to put over the bedding then, but I could as easily have asked the pension-keeper for another blanket. Some pensions and hostels are very basic (the casa rurales tend to be very nice but are sometimes a bit off-path), but you can check your options out online beforehand for pictures, information, and what others have said about them. I wouldn't worry about being uncomfortable in them as long as you're not someone who requires anything fancy in some of the smaller towns where the options are limited to very basic places.

    Yes, I would and many definitely make reservations for the first two or three nights, at least. Are you starting in SJPP? After you see how things go with how much is comfortable to walk, yes - I'd book a few days ahead at least, if possible, for the rest. Some people book the entire way. Not very spontaneous, but it saves worrying about having a bed. September is a great month to walk. The kids are back in school and although there are plenty walking then, it's maybe more peaceful.

    Surprisingly, I've only stayed in two albergues where there wasn't enough hot water. It does happen sometimes with so many trying to get showers in the afternoon, but you probably won't have trouble in private lodging.

    If you need suggestions for guidebooks or references or recommendations for places to stay on the Frances, just ask. Lots of people here can give you lots of suggestions for places they liked probably in any town you choose.
     
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  15. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Crepes4Suzette, Thank you for your help and timely reply!
     
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  16. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Chip - Let me support and just add on a bit to the excellent advice both Bob and C4S have already offered you. September can or may be a busy month. Reservations the first few nights will get you off the ground and you’ll be better able to then judge whether or not future reservations are necessary. When I walked the CF, I had reservations for most of my time on the Camino. On the positive side, it allowed me to go at my pace knowing that I didn’t need to get caught up in the bed race to the albergues. On the negative side, you are then tied into getting to those destinations. On another tread, Bob mentioned using Gronze.com for information and for direct links many places have to Booking.com. You will find this site very helpful. Keep in mind that although the reservations are easy to make and you only need a credit card to hold them, they can’t generally be cancelled at the last minute in case your plans change. Once you’re on the Camino, you’ll find it very easy to ask a hospitalero to call ahead for you for bed/room reservations. It’s a pretty informal system that seems to work quite well.

    I just finished the Caminos Inglés and Finisterre this past week. My wife and I stayed in private rooms in a number of albergues and hostels along both routes. Blankets and linens were provided in all of our private rooms. Therefore, if you are staying in private rooms in one type of accommodation or another, you most likely don’t need to bring a sleeping bag.

    Buen Camino!
     
  17. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    As a general rule the more expensive the place the more comforts they will have. Cash solves many problems.
     
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  18. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    I carried a lightweight nylon bag that weighed about 1 lb. 6 oz. (we did our trip in Sept/Oct). The vast majority of the time I had it unzipped all of the way and simply used it as a blanket. There were some times that I would have been chilled without it. I bought it for less than $30 on Amazon. It was rated for about 50 degrees F. and I did lay it on our deck at home at about 53 degrees, crawled in with my planned sleeping clothes, and took a nap to test it. It was fine and rolled up into a very small package. I was glad I had it. We and some others preferred to sleep with the windows open. I was also very concerned about bed bugs (yes I did see some people who were attacked). I took along a single bed bed sheet with elastic corners (US single mattress is just slightly larger than European) that had been sprayed soaking wet with permithrin and then air dried. The permithrin treatment will last about six weeks and can be washed several times before losing its power. I did not spray the sleeping bag. I also sprayed my backpack inside and out. Did not have any bed bug issues but they were there at some sites. That is why I preferred to use my own bedding.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  19. John Simchuk

    John Simchuk New Member

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    Thanks. Good information. We just bought 2 of the lightweight bags from REI that weight under 2 pounds. We're walking in Sept. this year so will be glad to have them. Also, good info. on bed bugs.
     
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  20. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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  21. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Thanks Wily! I have read with interest your many posts. All seem to be right on target. This one too!
     
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  22. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    Hi Chip, just to add, we did The CF in Sept 2015, we booked ahead for Orrison, then nothing past that. We had little problem at all with finding places, we did not bed race or rush.
    We carried light weight sleeping bags, just nice at night to lay in 'your' space and covers.
     
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