Good walking gear gives you a better walking outcome – PART ONE

21st century walking gear on the left, including gaiters & traditional walking gear on the right

In this new century, there really is no excuse not to have at least proper walking gear when undertaking very heavy-duty walking (25 to 35 km per day) over more than 30 days.  Heavy duty walking over 30 days means walking from the Pyrenees all the way to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.

Appropriate walking gear dictates that denim or jeans must never be used.

It is the author’s considered opinion that all cotton products should be banned too.  For a more detailed explanation about never using cotton products when undertaking heavy-duty walking you should refer to the author’s practical guidebook: The guide for the SPANISH CAMINO – Walking the Camino Francés as a 21st century pilgrim  ISBN 978-0-646-51466-6

The fact that it is your feet which actually does the walking requires you to deeply respect them as a walking machine and your legs too, thereby requiring you at one at the same time to pamper and protect them.  It is not right to walk in sandshoes or sneakers.  Three-four season waterproof Gore-tex  boots are really needed: they give you support, protection and comfort all at the same time.  It is not good to have all woollen socks or for the socks not to be specialized hi-tech trekking socks.  Spending serious money on your hi-tech gear is not an expense, it is simply a wise investment for when you are on the track.  On the Camino track when you are walking well, pain-free and happy you will certainly not be regretting your wise spending on walking gear, which makes a difference.  Wisely buy the best gear which you can afford to spend.  Don’t go for the cheap or heavily discounted gear.  Have your list thought through on paper first.  Don’t just go into your local outdoor store without a well thought out list.

The author believes that walking in gaiters whether it is hot, cold, windy or raining; to be a gear item that definitely improves your walking outcome.  Walking with knee-high gaiters (just below the knees) alleviates the need to have long pants.  You save on weight.  It is much easier to walk in shorts.  If it is cold to very cold, walking in gaiters maintains an ideal temperature and keeps you toasty warm.  If it is extremely cold, then wear leggings first and put on your gaiters over them.  When it heats up, as long as your gaiters are Gore-tex, you will not overheat and they actually wick out moisture.  You will never have dirty socks or mud encrusted on the upper parts of your boots.  Therefore, your maintenance of your boots at the end of the day is minimal and fast.  In addition, you will never suffer having any micro pebbles,  pebbles, dirt, mud or dust getting into your socks or boots.  And therefore, significantly fewer blisters!!  You should be able to cross all water courses in complete safety without fear of getting wet because of air pressure resisting water getting inside the boot.  And when it is raining even heavily, you will never suffer the soaked boot and sock syndrome that others all suffer.

You will be able to always walk a very straight path on the Camino track, and not constantly dodge deep muddy (barro as they say in Spanish) patches which are inevitably always in the middle.  If you are a male and you wear gaiters, fellow female walkers (especially the French, German and Italians) will find you sexy with your gaiters – thereby standing out and an object of interest.  The author and his wife can attest to this phenomenon.  The author believes more New Zealanders walk in gaiters than any other nationality in their back country regions or wilderness areas.  It is in New Zealand and in Tasmania where the author first appreciated how useful and practical walking in gaiters can be.

These waterproof boots are made for walking very long distances

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Comments

  1. I never thought of it that way, well put!

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