Let’s go walk. Buen Camino!
Pilgrims spend a lot of time thinking about what they should pack. Even when you think you packed the right amount, you probably packed too much. Almost everyone packs too much, and usually much too much. It is not uncommon for pilgrims to mail things home or just leave items in the Albergue. One thing we noticed is that long pants, especially jeans or even cotton shorts were most likely to be left on The Way by pilgrims wishing to reduce the weight of their bags.
A good packing goal: 10% of your body weight, no more than 20 pounds.
About the way:
- Cheap restaurants and bars are everywhere. Meals are easy to find along the way. Some of our accommodations include breakfast.
- There are lots of stores and supermarkets on The Way. With our pilgrimages, you will see a supermarket in every town. So no need to stock up on snacks and food, between all the cafes and markets, you can always pick up something when needed. Even health items, pharmacies are easy to find.
- All of the water everywhere is drinkable — and is good!
- All of our accommodations are booked ahead for you. No need to worry about where you lay your head. But if you plan to do it on your own, there are plenty of places to sleep.
- The trail is safe. There are plenty of pilgrims on the trail and the trail is fairly easy terrain. But still, use common sense. For safety, you may wish to bring a cell phone (make sure you have an international plan). You can always find first aid supplies in the towns.
- Shoes are up to you. Some wear hiking boots, I prefer hiking sneakers. Just choose shoes which are comfortable for very long walks.
Some packing tips:
Clothes (suggestion: try to pack hiking clothes made out of synthetic material, easy to wash and dry)
This will come in handy when you wash and hang dry in the evenings, plus less weight.
- 2 pairs of shorts (wear one, pack one)
- 1 pair of pants (these could zip into shorts)
- 2 pairs of short-sleeve shirts (wear one)
- 3 pairs of underwear (wear one)
- 3 pairs of socks (wear one, lightweight merino wool socks are good, for when we travel)
- 1 long sleeve lightweight fleece shirt / jacket
- 1 pair of shoes (which you wear while hiking)
- Rain poncho: make sure that it can cover both you and your pack (Some people prefer rain jackets or suits)
- Sun hat
- Bandana or Buff
- Flip flops or sandals – These are good for wearing around in the evening to give your feet a break from your hiking shoes.
- Where we stay for our pilgrimages, all bedding is supplied.
- If you do this on your own and at hostels, sleeping bag liner during June-Sept. Other months, you might want a sleeping bag. I found all the hostels offered blankets. I walked one Camino during some colder months and my sleeping bag liner and a blanket were perfect. Less to carry.
- Suntan lotion
- Antiseptic cream (e.g. Neosporin or similar)
- Lip balm (e.g. Chapstick or similar)
- Cloth tape for blisters (also good to use before the blister forms, for prevention)
- Pain killers/antihistamine: Take a minimum amount, you can always buy these on the pilgrimage.
- Underarm deodorant
- Soap – Dr. Bronners is a good one. (many hikers cut a standard bar in half) – used to wash body, hair, and clothes
- Toothbrush and Floss
- Towels and washcloths are supplied where we stay on our pilgrimages. If you do this on your own and stay at hostels, we brought a small hiking towel.
- Two packs of tissues (travel-sized) – these are also used for emergency toilet paper since many bathrooms on the trail have no toilet paper. Also, if you use the toilet in nature. Please carry your tissues out with you. Leave no trace!
- Pilgrims credentials – we will get at the beginning of the pilgrimage
- Credit card/ Debit Card (please let your bank know you are traveling out of the country)
- Recommended pack size; 30 liters for women, 40 liters for men. Make sure it has good shoulder and waist straps.
- If you transport your bag, please make sure your day pack has a good shoulder and waist strap.
- Remember your total pack weight includes the pack itself
- Find one that is comfortable for you
- Water bottle
- Safety pins – For hanging things on clotheslines or your pack, for draining blisters, and for emergency clothes repairs.
- Pen, journal
- Fanny Pack – this helps when you walk around for the evening. A place to keep your valuables.
Added Luxuries to carry
- Guidebook – It is included with our pilgrimages, but definitely need one to do on your own.
- 2 or 3 plastic bags – For holding trash or protecting things from rain as necessary (I had a waterproof bag for my cell phone)
- Other muscle creams and pills (such as magnesium and vitamins) which you find helpful with muscle pain
- A small bottle of shampoo (I brought a little bottle of body wash/shampoo)
- Digital camera, lots of memory, charger, extra battery, European power plug adapter
- Cell (mobile) phone (make sure it works in Europe), and charger
- Shaving cream (travel-sized) and shaver
- Deck of cards
- One extra change of clothes – Allows you to skip a day of washing which is useful when it rains (e.g. maybe tomorrow will be sunny)
You can look all over the internet for packing and helpful tips. We do recommend the book, To walk far, carry less.
Also visit REI’s website, full of information while you are there check out their outlet store.