Refuge dormitory vs rented tent vs staying at bergeries

Argonaut

Posted: Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 1:04

Hello, I would love to hear from you GR20 veterans as to what is better. I guess the tent gives more space than dormitory but maybe bergeries are most comfortable of all? ... I have no idea... All comments welcome. Thanks in advance.

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"

Norman McCaig



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 4:31

Hello.... You don't always have that kind of choice at each of the overnight stopping places.
At those where there is Road... Dead end or passing from at col..
Usually plenty of choice. At most others refuge bed or tent hire or carry your own tent and pitch up. Most bergeries are in between refuges.... Some have hire tents.
Two refuges have been burned down so I guess rudimentary accommodation available at them.
The only secure and hassle free way is to carry your own tent..no booking no crowded space in the buildings etc. And of course cook your own food with the occasional meal at the restaurants that have Road access.

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Gaffr



SwissMountainLeader

Posted: Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 4:28

The other reason to carry your own tent is to avoid bedbug outbreaks.

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SwissMountainLeader - Leysin, CH



Argonaut

Posted: Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 7:54

Many thanks for the advice Gaffr and SwissMountainLeader. If I go refuge, I will reserve. I'm struggling to get my pack weight down, so I'm dreading taking a tent. :)

I can't find a bergerie reservation site like for the refuges... hmmm...

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig



SQFP

Posted: Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 10:54

Unlike refuges which are operated by a single entity (the Regional Natural Park of Corsica), "bergeries", gîtes, hotels, guestrooms and other accommodation do not have a single central website - they belong to many different private owners, or municipalities. A few of them might be on AirBnB or BookingDotCom, though. Just contact them directly by e-mail or phone.

--

Geology in Corsica



Argonaut

Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 6:41

Thank you. If I do take a tent, what is a reasonable pack weight including tent and matress?

Now, I'm at 12.3kg without water, food or tent. I have a tent and mattress that will add 2.5kg. I plan on carrying 4kg water and 1kg food. 19.8kg at the start, which will be 15.4 kg by the end of day 1. 19.4 kg start of day 2. Does that sound reasonable? Many thanks in advance.

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig



SQFP

Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 8:42

Depends on your physical condition and training (and body weight). The lighter it is, the safer you'll be. In case of excessive weight, it's probably better to carry no food and no tent (having dinners at refuges, renting a tent there) than carrying everything then giving up on the 2nd day because of joint pain or a twisted ankle. Also 4 liters of water is probably overkill, this is no Sahara.

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Geology in Corsica



Argonaut

Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 12:33

Thanks for the comnents. I'm 92kg in my late 40s and would probably meet most basic military fitness requirements for my age group.

On the other hand, I haven't carried loads this heavy for years and several decades have passed since I did a multi-day hike. I think my joints are robust but I simply don't know for sure, nor do I know what my recovery rate will be like.

Thanks for the tip about water. I may drop by a little )

For food, I plan to eat at refuges but also to carry high calorie foods like saucisson and some pain d'epice. I may rethink this too :)

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig



SQFP

Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 14:33

A rule of thumb around here is that the average guy (or girl) with no specific training can long-term carry on their back about 1/7th of their own body weight, without increase in the risk of injury (loss of balance, joints fatigue etc.).

According to this rough guideline that would be about 13kg in your case -- everything added on top of that will slowly increase discomfort while decreasing physical safety. Packing a rucksack properly matters too, so as to avoid unusual pressure or tension on joints and muscles, as well as for those tricky places where a large, poorly-balanced bag could make you fall.

I'd aim for that (hard to attain?) 13kg target as much as possible if I were in your shoes; keep in mind how many items and tools are optional or make little sense on the GR - you can buy extra food here and there, you can use gas burners at no extra cost in each refuge where you'll spend the night, snow/winter gear is no longer needed, and so on. Carrying less may imply less comfort sometimes, but means more comfort most of the time. ;)
(Oh and usually water is not taken into account because its weight varies greatly throughout each day; most people seem happy with a max capacity of 2~3 liters, or even less if refilling frequently along the way)

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Geology in Corsica



GRRR 20

Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 14:04

I aim for less than 10kg for all my backpacking kit, but not including food or water.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 21:48

Personally I found my "ideal" backpack total weight at 14 kg (I'm 62, fit and trained). In the past I did the GR20 with 18 kg on my back and that was hell.

On a different note, Argonaut I read in your latest post "I haven't carried loads this heavy for years and several decades have passed since I did a multi-day hike" which raises a red flag from my point of view. I think it's a risk to start this adventure without proper training and previous test of your kit. Like you also said you also don't know what your recovery rate will be like.
I don't mean to discourage you but it's crucial that you should know in advance how your body will react to the difficulties of this trail. Just my 2 cents.

--Michele



Argonaut

Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 23:21

Thanks all for this fabulous input folks. It's greatly appreciated.

And thanks Michele, I possibly overstated my uncertainty. I frequently hike and scramble over alpine terrain on single day treks with up to 10kg of gear and recently I did a few trial scrambles with 25kg over 3-4 hours just to see if it killed me, which it didn't. I run 5-8k steep hills a few times per week and do 5-6 hours of bodyweight fitness sessions per week. I've had this active lifestyle for years, so I'm not just building suddenly.

I've planned electrolyte supplements, fish oil to help joints ward off inflammation and I will set off at a pace I can sustain.

If after a few days I'm done, I will bail. I have planned for that outcome.

If everything goes perfectly, the furthest I can go is Vizzavona.

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig



Argonaut

Posted: Wed, Jul 17, 2019, 10:57

Thanks again guys. I just finished the Northern section with no pain and only slight fatigue. I don't yet have the words to describe the beauty of what I saw and felt.

The GR20 made almost everyone good. I mean that it may be self-selecting in that only certain types of people do it, but also that it brings out our better selves.

It's amazing how quickly we recover from such stress on the body, to allow us to go day after day. I kept thinking "This must be what my hunter-gatherer ancestors evolved to do."

I will post a few thoughts later, but now I want to thank those who gave me advice. You helped me to prepare at very short notice and I am grateful!

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig