Here are some thoughts and lesson’s learned for packing to walk the Camino de Santiago…

Valuables – you need some sort of small bag for your valuables and items you want to keep on you at all times. This means while sleeping, showering, and walking.  It can be a butt/fanny pack, a travel pouch around your neck, or I used a cross body purse.  Below is what I kept in mine.  I had more room, so my list is a little longer than necessary.  But at a minimum I recommend keeping your passport, money and phone on you at all times.

Passport, Driver’s license, money, debit card,  health insurance 8 oz
Pen & Notebook 3 oz
Chapstick 0.01 oz
TP, hand Sanitizer 3 oz
Camino book (cut in half) and map 8.3 oz
Phone and ear buds 14 oz
Battery Charger 4.5 oz
52.81 oz (3.25 lbs)

 

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Backpack – make sure your pack fits your body.  Even if you decide to take advantage of a transfer service for your pack, I highly recommend you still bring a backpack instead of a suitcase.  A backpack gives you options as it is easier to climb stairs, if you decide to move to different lodgings for the night it is easier to self transport over cobblestone, it fits easier in tight quarters, and allows some flexibility if you decide to walk with it for part of a day (i.e have your bag transferred for the first 20km but then walk another 5 km to another town for the night).

Backpack 51 oz
Toiletries:  Shampoo bar, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, razor, dental floss 16 oz
Laundry sheets and safety pins 2.7 oz
Towel 7.3 oz
Nalgene* 5.8 oz
RX bag:  nail clippers, emery board, antihistamine, motrin, medical tape, neosporin, anti-diarrhea, baby aspirin* 4.4 oz
Socks x 2; underwear x 4; bras x 2 (wear 1 of each) 10 oz
Kindle* 15.6 oz
Feminine Hygiene items 1.8 oz
Sandals 12.6 oz
Shower shoes 4.5 oz
Phone cords and euro USB plug 2.6 oz
Mesh bag x 2, carabiner 0.1 oz
Rain jacket 5 oz
Coat 4.5 oz
Long sleeve shirt 8 oz
Sleeping bag 28 oz
Sleeping liner 9.6 oz
Dress 7.4 oz
1x hiking pants & 1 shorts (wear one) 7.8 oz
2 shirts (wear 1) 5 oz
Sleeping shorts and shirt 10.8 oz
Hat 1.7 oz
Airplane pants, t shirt and socks 12 oz
234.4 oz (14.65 lbs)

Day Pack: If you plan to take advantage of a transfer service, you will need a small day pack.  Emphasis on the word SMALL.  This should be for water, maybe a snack, medical kit, any layers you might need that day, sunscreen, your map/guidebook, and maybe a book.  The items from my backpack that I put in my day pack have a *.  

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Lessons Learned / Changes:  Here are my changes to the above list that I will consider for my next trip:

*I had torrential rain one day and my rain jacket was insufficient.  Next time I might bring a rain poncho and gaiters to keep the inside of my boots dry.

*I used both my sleeping bag and sleep sack but I didn’t really need both of them. If I go any later than May, I will only bring my sleep sack.

*Even in May, the sun was fierce.  Along the way I almost bought a long sleeve SPF sun shirt and next time I will pack one.

*A couple of clothes pins would have been nice for hanging laundry.

*I am undecided about hiking poles but will probably invest in one next trip.  I needed up finding an excellent walking stick early in my trip and used it for the remaining time.  However, I think this was a lucky exception and the extra help was nice going up and down hills.

*MP3 player.  I really appreciated the silence of my pilgrimage and most of the time I was glad I had no distractions.  However, there were several 30km days where music those last 5kms would have made all of the difference.  When I return, I will bring a MP3 player but have some rules that I can only use it at the end of the day, when it is raining or when going uphill etc…

Of note, I read a lot of debate about walking in boots or sandals.  Even on the easiest days, I can not imagine wearing anything except my boots to protect my feet, ankles, knees and hips from the rocks and strain of walking.  

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