Packing For The Camino de Santiago – The Essentials

If you are tired of the same old routine of lying on the beach and catching the rays, or if you have run out of capitals to visit and hidden coves to explore, you might want to look into a walking holiday, especially if you are in the mood for some physical activity on your holiday.

The Camino de Santiago might just be the perfect choice, as it offers a choice of route, length, and accommodation, and you can walk through some of the most scenic countries in Europe. Whether you choose to walk through Portugal, France or even come from the UK, you should pack carefully, as you will be lugging all your stuff on your back. Here is a list of essentials:

The backpack

The pack you choose to take with you should be able to house everything you are packing, but don’t make the mistake of choosing the pack based on the amount of things you wish to carry. Choose the pack first, and that way limit yourself to a certain amount and weight. You are aiming for no more than 10% of your own bodyweight. The pack should be sturdy enough to withstand a month or so on the road, and survive the rain.

Packing For The Camino de Santiago – The Essentials

The shoes

This is arguably the most important part of your gear – as the shoes you choose will make or break your experience. They need to be waterproof, and they need to be made for hiking. You also need to walk in them before you set out on the Camino, as you don’t want to be breaking them in somewhere out on the trail. Blisters can be your worst nightmare, so make sure the shoes are reliable, and don’t try to save on them. If you are trying to find recommendations, you can browse Camino de Santiago forums, and learn from the experience of others.

The clothes

While you may be tempted to bring a lot of things to change into, you should actually not. What you will need is a pair of pants and some quick-drying shirts, some quality shorts and t-shirts, and socks. Many many socks. They are very important, as they can, like the shoes, prevent or cause blisters. Throw in a jacket with a hood, and you are mostly covered. All of your items should be comfortable, rather than fashionable. No one on the road will care what you look like, and neither will you.

The tech

If you are a keen photographer, pack your best camera, but do make sure you don’t need to lug any additional equipment around, as it may get heavy several days in. You can also just bring your phone, a pair of headphones, and a charger. You can also pack a multi USB charger, which will come in very handy once you run into a hostel with not enough outlets.

The miscellaneous

One of the items you will often see on the road to Santiago de Compostela is a walking stick. You can choose to bring your own, or you can make it out of a suitable branch along the road. You won’t truly need it, not for most of the walk, and you can traverse even the more rough patches without help.

You should also pack a small medicine bag: including Ban-Aids and painkillers, both in tubes and in pills. This is especially true if you are not used to the amount of exertion you will be facing. The Camino is by no means very difficult, but if you are more used to sitting than walking, your body will need some time to adjust.

You will also need some sunscreen and insect repellent, but don’t overpack the toiletries, as you can buy most of the things you need on the road.

You should also bring some toilet paper and a towel, a pair of scissors and a cup, some safety pins, a wide-brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses. A sewing kit can also come in handy, as can safety pins and a notebook and a few pens. I also recommend a sleeping mask and earplugs, as you will be sleeping in common rooms, and you have no idea how badly the person next to you can snore.

Choose your Camino de Santiago route carefully, and pack wisely for your trip. Remember that the point is to enjoy yourself, not to force yourself to walk at an unhealthy pace, or to get there first. It’s all in the journey, not the destination, after all.

Categories: Travel