The Camino Frances

The Camino Frances

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to stay cool and warm and dry on the Camino

Day 28, Fonfria to San Mamede 25 km

Today´s blog subject came up for me as we walked home last night in the snow. This morning there was snow along the trail, and the trees on the mountain looked frosted. So it has been cold enough to snow, and hot enough to blister my ears.
This information applies mostly to women, whose body temperature I understand. Today Paddy walked in shorts, and John in a t shirt. I needed more.

I like merino wool. It is light, dries quickly, wicks well and doesn´t leave me feeling clammy, as technical clothing does. It doesn´t hold body odor, as it has natural antibacterial qualities, and can be worn several days in a row without washing.

Let´s start at the bottom. I wear merino socks - I like Keen, as they are marked left and right, and so the fit is great.
I wear Keen shoes. They are waterproof in snow, sleet, rain mud and water, as long as it doesn´t wash over the top.
I sleep in part merino leggings, and if it is cold in the morning, I leave them on under my pants. I have 2 pair: a nylon pair that has bottoms that zip off. This is great for really hot days, and I can just wash the dusty or muddy bottoms and they dry quickly. For colder or wet weather I wear an old pair of MEC water resistant pants. I find that the waterproof ones don´t breathe. These pants work well, and if the rain lets up, they dry in the wind.
I would like some merino underwear, but meanwhile I am wearing light cotton and bamboo Elita underwear.
For tops, I have 2 short sleeved and 2 long sleeved merino. I shower and put on the one I will wear for the next 24 hours; I sleep in it, and don´t have to change in the morning.
I would like a merino tank top for very hot days, as the one I brought is cotton, and too heavy when wet.
I have a light long sleeved shirt for sun protection and a bit of warmth in the evening, but it is polyester, and I want to replace it.
My hoodie is a fleece merino. I love it, and last night it was so cold I slept in it.
On top for cold and rain, I wear a waterproof light jacket from MEC, with armpit zippers if it is hot. It is perfect.
I was wearing a baseball type cap - hence the blistered ears. I got an ugly big cotton hat which shades my neck and ears.
I have several scarves which keep my neck warm when it is cool, and buff for the cold.
So I am prepared for all weathers.

This is what the views looked like today.

Countryside on the Camino de Santiago walking trail, Spain


  1. Good morning to you. As I read this, I know you are probably finished for the day, and sitting havng your coffee con leche. 3 days ago another friend of mine started walking and is a good way behind you. His posts are not as useful as yours but he is really excited...still. His party is starting to blister as of this morning. Too bad he didn't have your experience.

    This letter reminds me of you as in, you pack light for life, have the things you need and keep warm. Take care. I am thinking of you. Vicki

    1. Hope he has the camino experience he wants. Thanks for the analogy!

  2. high fashion on the Camino :-)

  3. there was a lot more high fashion today, as many people started off from Sarria this morning. You could tell the beginners: clean clothes, still with the folds from the packaging, and clean shoes. Our have tons of dust embedded in them. But merino always looks good.