I promised awhile back to add a video for packing for the Camino. I did the video the day I finally took my backpack out of quarentine but forgot to ‘publish’ it. So here it is. Sorry it’s late for those who asked. (Yes two people asked…here you go.) This is only worth reading if you are actually thinking about going on the walk.
You can scroll to the bottom if you only want to see a video. I actually did that as I pulled items out of the bag so if I missed something here it would be on the video. Here’s the list of what I’d pack if ever I walked the camino again (which I have no plans of doing…but if I did I would allow 50-55 days so I could take my time and enjoy it more):
CLOTHES: 2 pairs fast dry pants (make sure they don’t rub any where. I couldn’t wear the zip off kind as the zipper irritated my skin, 1 pair leggings (I put these on after the walk and slept in there…nothing appealing about my butt showing at night…), 3 undies (TEST THEM…sounds silly for underwear and the clothes but you want to make sure nothing rides up and they dry fast…it took me a few tries to get the right ones), 2 sports bras, 2 long sleeve fast dry shirts, 1 short sleeve shirt. (Obviously in summer shorts would be the norm…but even then my legs are past the ‘short’ years.)
OUTER WEAR: Keep in mind we walked the Camino from late September into November so we had a wide variety of weather. Downpours in the cold, downpours in the hot, thirty degrees as a low and into the eightys as a high. So it was all about layering.
Vest: A North shore vest of something like down (but not down) VERY compressible and light. Wore it EVERY day and those few days I didn’t wear it I put it over the front of my shoulders as a cushion for the backpack. I had another
Jacket: North shore jacket (no hood) that was again very light to pack and easily squished.
Rain Jacket/pants: The rain jacket actually became my GO TO jacket since when combined with my vest it was a great combo for the majority of days when it was 40-50s. The rain pants I wore when it was in the downpour. Not sure I’d buy them again but since I had them I wore them over my pants on the rainy days AND on the cold days as an additional layer.
PONCHO…didn’t pack one BUT almost every pilgrim that walked around our time and got hit by the downpour bought one. There was a little cafe/shop just beyond O’Cebreira that sold some with sleeves and hoods that went over Backpacks for 6 Euros/about 7 US dollars. Adriana bought a poncho in O’Cebreira because she didn’t have a rain jacket but it didn’t have sleeves. She gave that one away and bought the one for 6 Euro with sleeves. They really helped keep our stuff dry. NOTE: Our backpack had a rain cover but the kind of rain we had was no match for it and the cushions on the shoulders acted like sponges and took a long time to dry.
Sock hat and gloves: These both came out on the cold mornings. The gloves also came out on the cold rainy days but wish they were waterproof.
Brim Hat: I had a baseball hat but next time (though I don’t plan a next time) I’d bring a wide rim hat. The sun was to the left a lot of the way so the baseball brim didn’t help.
Socks: 3 pair of smart wool socks, and silk liners. Two pair of the socks were double layer, Wright socks. I would have brought more socks because while I didn’t mind wearing the pants and shirts again, the socks took longer to dry and with wet weather sometimes I couldn’t wash them for fear they wouldn’t dry over night. (Every few days we made a point to find an albergue with a washer and dryer so we could catch up on laundry.)
SHOES: I brought a pair of Merrils that I already had. They weren’t the high tops (those bothered my ankles) but they weren’t the sneaker height either. They were partially waterproof. Worked well for puddles but when the rain was coming down my feet were floating in water. I started using a pair of grocery bags based on one pilgrim’s recommendation and though my feet were still cold, they were dry. I also brought along a pair of sketchers for the evening. I knew it would be cold so wanted some lightweight closed toe shoes. I thought they would be enough but in Leon I finally brokedown and bought a pair of plastic/rubber slip on sandals for less than 10 Euros.
MISC: Oster backpack 36 liter. Would recommend that you pack like you are carrying a 36 liter but take a 46 liter. They have more outer pockets and daily packing was easier. Mine was also a woman’s I think the Kester/Kyte series. Very comfortable. I’m 110 pounds, 5’2″ height and surprisingly I took a medium when they measured me at REI. I packed 17 pounds and could have easily added a few more things. (Like my supplements/vitamins/protein shakes that I left behind.)
MINI-Head lamp (Amazon 8 bucks or so). Used to pack up in the morning when I wanted my hands free.
Electric adapter and charger for my cell phone BUT I’d recommend you bring one that has splitter so you can attach multi items to charge since many albergues had VERY few outlets.
Walking sticks MUST MUST MUST have if you are not in the top physical shape. Saved me a jillion times from going in mud and twisting ankles on rocks. And when I did pull my tendons I used as a crutch. MUST HAVE.
Camera I brought my cell and a GO PRO camera.
Small items: extra pen, Safety pins/various size plastic freezer bags/clothes pins/rubber bands/band-aids (though didn’t use), antibiotic cream
MAP MUST HAVE …it was very nice to have the maps from one of the guide books. For the weight I’d bring the whole book. We had Brierly version.
Pen and little note pad (very little)
Money belt for the waist. I didn’t always wear it but I had it with me at all times and could wear it when we went out at night.
Backpack Organizers (VERY HELPFUL): There are a number of types but you want bags of various sizes (and colors if you can find them) So you can grab your item: toiletries, larger one for clean clothes, one for dirty clothes, one for electronic cords/chargers etc, one for medicine items. I also didn’t take my compressible bag that the sleeping bag came in. Figured out the large size organizer bag was plenty big for my liner/sleeping bag/pillow.
Duffle bag for transporting backpack/boots/walking sticks while you fly. Get one with wheels!!!!!! We were glad we bought the duffle but could likely have easily slipped the backpack into one of our big suitcases with wheels. Check it out as that was a real pain to carry at airport/train. Once we got to St Jean we put our ‘traveling clothes/items/books/boots etc’ into the duffle (There were two of us traveling together but we only shipped one duffle to Santiago since the other one collapsed into it.) So anyway consider something with wheels.
LUEKO tape (THIS BECAME A MUST HAVE FOR ME!!!!) I only brought one roll and by the end I was wearing plastic bags into the shower so I didn’t have to rewrap my feet. I might have been overkill but we saw so many people with blisters and infections that I didn’t want to chance it. I put it on the bottom of my feet (balls and heels) around my big toes and around the back of my heels to start. When I got a blister on my second (to the baby) toe I started wrapping that as well. People made fun of me but I didn’t have any problem with blisters!!! So I’d bring at least 2 next time if not more.
NIKKEN MUSCLE DUK TAPE: This came out a few weeks before our trip so I took it along. It’s the kind of tape athletes use PLUS it has infra-red technology. I saw a few people with knee issues using something similar. I used it on calves, back and then ankles. (need scissor to cut)
IBUPROFEN I brought some but you can buy it cheap over there at any pharmacy up to 600MG (took off the edge when I hurt my ankle and had sore muscles). The only reason I’d bring a bottle is so you have some on the first day so you didn’t have to worry about buying it.
Sewing kit: I did use the needle and thread once on the blister I got on the toe. It didn’t take up much room so I’d take it.
Sunblock, you need to use it a lot! Even on cloudy days.
Little scissor: (mine was a small Swiss knife with a scissor and a couple of other things but very small. Didn’t need a big one. Needed the scissor to cut the tape. (you can use this to cut your nails as well.)
Nail file came in handy and didn’t take up much room.
Toothbrush/toothpaste/hair brush/moisterizer/soap for body/hair/clothes and something to put the wet soap in.
Rubber band or clips for hair if needed
Ear plugs: make sure you know how to use them. It took me a few days to figure it out.
Chapstick: my lips got very dry so this was critcal.
Tissue/toilet tissue: You can buy it there but might want some to start with. The first part of the trip has many places without tissue…be sure if you go out in nature that you have a plan for disposing of your waste. I had baggies and a pocket on the legs of my pants solely for that purpose. It was sad to see so much tissue laying around.
OPTIONAL??? I had a vaseline type cream can’t remember the name…something feet. It was recommended online. Don’t know if I needed it since I wrapped with tape but by week three I started putting it on the bare skin since I had it.
Benedryl: I didn’t use it but we gave it to some folks who were bitten by bed bugs to help the itching.
Sleeping bag: I brought a light weight sleeping bag (35.00 on Amazon) since I knew we weren’t going to sleep outside. We sprayed it and our backpack with the bug repellent. We didn’t have any trouble with bed bugs but some of our fellow travelers weren’t so lucky so would definitely recommend treating everything.
Sleeping bag Liner/sack: I brought one very soft/light liner that was treated with Permethrin insect repellent) I cut it down the side so it wasn’t a sack any more. I used it around my shoulders as a pillow case, covered my eyes with part of it when lights were on etc.
Blow up pillow: I brought one. again it was pre-treated with the bug spray. I didn’t treat it myself as I didn’t want to inhale it. I hated the pillows across the board. I like gooshy ones. The provided ones were always on the hard, flat side.
Day Bag WITH WATER POCKETS: The day bag I bought didn’t have water bottle pockets. I didn’t realize it at the time so I had to make sure my bottles were tightly shut and hope they didn’t leak. If you have no intention to shipping your bag forward you might not need this but it was less than 10 dollars and you could use it as a ‘purse’ at night or sight seeing (I only went on one or two evening excursions (to Templar Church was one) but we did ship our bag 3-4 times. After Leon it only cost 3 Euros to ship and we thought it was money well spent. My ankle was hurting towards the end and Adriana’s shoulder was hurting so we opted to do it a few times.
RE WATER: Both Adriana and I carried two water bottles each and had no trouble finding a place to fill them along the way. The water tasted great so no problems there either. We usually filled them at the albergues vs the water fountains along the camino.
Well I think that’s it. Below is the video that I did when I was unpacking. (I left everything in the garage a couple of weeks in case I brought home something unwanted. Again we didn’t have any trouble with bedbugs but others did so we didn’t want to take any chances. If I missed anything on this list that’s on the video give a yell and I’ll add it.
And of course some cash and credit card(s). Make sure you check with your bank and know you can use them in Spain and that you know your pin. A few people struggled the first few days because their cards weren’t workable. The vast majority of transactions will be cash so have some to start with (I think 500 Euros but some folks don’t think that much was necessary. I didn’t want to panic when I was running low since some villages do not have ATMs and even when the city does, often you need to to out and find it and trust me when I got to a place the last thing I wanted to do was go out to hunt down an ATM. So I would stop when we saw one along the Camino itself and stock up…just like you do with toilet paper and tissue!!!)
I’ll write how I’m doing since the walk in the next day or so. This post was longer than I expected.