Yesterday I went to the local Camping/Hiking Store here in Tucson (Summit Hut) after my training walk with the intention of purchasing a pair of hiking boots. I was wearing my trail runners (Salomon XA3D Ultra2). After I explained to the sales associate Ben, why I wanted the hiking boots, he asked how the trail runners felt. I told him they feel fine, he suggested I continue to train in the Salomons and just purchase a new pair of trail runners before the Camino. He said if I don’t need ankle support, trail runners are sturdy enough – in fact that is all his brother ever uses on hikes. That made me happy, an avoided expense for me.
A concern of mine, actually the only one, is the possibility of bed bugs in the Refugios. I explained this to Ben and he showed me a netting type enclosure for me and my sleeping bag that is specifically used for protection from bugs. We looked at sleeping bags, back packs, trekking poles and he even showed me a product that he uses for everything from washing his hair and body, washing his clothes to even brushing his teeth (Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap).
This soap is highly concentrated and 100% organic so it will not harm the environment at all. He suggested the peppermint variety because he liked the taste for brushing his teeth. It comes in peppermint, lavender and almond. He questioned if I would need to purify the water. This is a question I will put out on the forum. He even told me when the next two big sales are taking place so I could save some money on my purchases. All in all I think Ben spent about an hour or more with me.
I left Summit Hut with a small purchase of wool socks for the Camino and instructions to bring back a list of what is suggested to carry on the Camino and the temperatures for the time of year I will be walking. Knowing the average temps is the most important part of choosing the proper sleeping bag.
August and September are very hot in Spain and in the hostels, there is no air conditioning. Check into sleeping bag liners instead of sleeping bags. They are much lighter. You basically need something to cover over you as opposed to keeping you warm. I find a lot of good stuff on amazon.com and most of the time, the shipping is free. Remember, you have to carry all of this stuff on your back, so the lighter you can go,the better!
Anorther thing to look into is walking sticks or hiking poles. Most Camino hikers swear by them.
Apparently you buy Spanish hard soap bar called : La Toja Magno … the best .. a lot of people mentioned the name on the forum.. good luck or shall I say Buen Camino