Guest writer: Olga Arribas
Dear Future Pilgrims,
Maybe it is a matter of experience in travelling, or that it was a last minute decision, but I would like to share with you what I packed for the Camino de Santiago, because in my (not so) humble opinion, it worked!
This list may be useful if you are walking from May to September (yes, walking, not riding a bike or a horse…nobody said it was going to be easy).
The first thing to be considered: take a light and comfortable backpack; it must rest on your hips, not on your back, and must have suitable size. You will be carrying it more than six hours a day!
It is very useful to use transparent plastic zip bags, in different sizes, to put you stuff in. I am addicted to them. In that way you can organize your backpack easily and take/keep what you need in seconds.
As you will see most of the things you require are common items if you are a regular hiker or runner.
Take your time and find more than one use to the things you are bringing…I explain you some but you can imagine others.
I highly recommend you to limit your Camino backpack to 10% of your body weight, so make your calculations…I got mine, but I prefer to remain those figures anonymous…
It is not listed but do not forget to pack your best mood and your adventurous spirit.
Here we go with the list.
- Comfortable boots: please, avoid buying them the day before! Be sure you are well suited each other (wear them).
- A lightweight sleeping bag (and very valuable in the mornings: easy to put it in its carry bag).
- 3 pairs of trousers: one of them long (wear one).
- 3 quick-drying short sleeves T-shirts (wear one).
- 3 sets of underwear (wear one).
- 3 pairs of cotton socks (wear one). Avoid light coloured; after the first walk, they will never be white again.
Three outfits may seem the ultimate in luxury, but, an extra change of clothe can allow you to skip a day of washing, which is useful when it rains.
- 1 pair of flip flops or similar: to shower, and to rest your feet after the daily walk.
- 1 thermal long sleeve sweatshirt or jacket.
- 1 poncho rain: if your backpack is not waterproof or does not have waterproof casing, be sure the poncho can cover both of you.
- 1 microfiber towel
- A hat
Toilet bag (all travel size)
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Soap bar: you can split it into two parts, one for showering and the other to wash clothes.
- Shampoo and conditioner (a must, for me)
- Two packs of tissues : can be used as emergency toilet paper
- Vaseline balm: it is a MUST and without doubt the best thing I brought. Use twice a day to prevent blisters, also as a lip balm and as potential aftersun.
- Suntan cream (you can also use it as body lotion)
- Needle and cotton thread (to drain potential blisters and for emergency clothing repairs)
- Sticking or (even better) Compeed plasters
- Painkiller and anti-inflammatory pills
- Your regular medicines (if any)
Do not bring them in bulk, if you require more, you can buy them all along the Camino.
- Mobile phone or better, a smartphone: you can use it to take photos, to keep your Camino guides, maps, like a potential torch, to write a blog about your Camino (like I did) … and … it is said you can even use it also to make/receive phone calls.
- Mobile phone/smartphone charger
- Walking stick (one at least): highly recommended; to alleviate the impact of walking on your knees, to help you climbing and going down; also to intimidate potential dangerous dogs which may appear. You can bring your telescopic one(s) or buy wooden sticks all along the Camino.
- Safety pins: to hang garments on clotheslines or on your pack if they did not get dry the day before. They are smaller than clothes pegs and also can be useful for other “emergencies”.
- Earplugs: just in case you came across with snoring pilgrims…or to give them, if it is you who snores.
- A tiny swiss knife, if you are this kind of hiker that cannot imagine a world without such a tool.
- A money belt: to put money, ID card, pilgrim credential to have on hand. While showering you can put all in a plastic bag and take it with you instead of leaving your valuable stuff alone in your backpack.