What to bring when walking the Camino through the northern part of Spain to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela?
Well, actually the answer is as short as your packing list should be, because the less you bring with you on the Camino, the better your trip will be.
The thing to remember is that everything you bring you’ll have to carry on your back (unless of course you use one of the carrier services to transport your backpack from one town to the next), and the less you carry the more fun you’ll have.
A heavy backpack is no fun on a trail as long as the camino.
As little as possible on the Camino
So the simple advice is: Aim to pack as little as possible and as light as possible.
The rule of thumb is not to carry more than 10 percent of your body weight. It can be a bit difficult not to exceed that limit, but try to.
Use some time to find a backpack that really suits you – your back and shoulders will thank you.
The same goes for the hiking boots. Be sure that they fit, and break them in before leaving for Spain. With a good pair of boots and good socks you can walk all of the Camino without getting a single blister.
Don’t bring fancy clothes
Also, there’s no need to bring fancy clothes. A single pair of trousers and two t-shirts are enough. When you reach the destination of the day, you’ll take off the sweaty t-shirt you have worn all day. Put on the clean one and wash the dirty one. Let it dry until next morning. If it’s not dry, hang it on the outside of your backpack an let it dry in the sun. That way you have a dry and clean t-shirt when you reach your next destination.
If you need to wash your trousers, put on a pair of shorts.
Packing list for the Camino
Well, here’s the list that got Hobo Planet all 800+ kilometers from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela:
- Good hiking boots
- Backpack (not too big – it’s easier to put a lot of unnecessary stuff in a big bag. 40-50 liters is normally enough)
- Rain cover for the backpack
- Two pairs of underwear (one to wear, one to pack)
- Two pairs of socks (one pair to wear, one to pack. Remember, if you are walking with two pairs of socks in your boots, you’re bringing a total of four pairs)
- Two t-shirts (one to wear, one to pack)
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Warm sweater
- A pair of trousers
- A pair of shorts
- Thin gloves (for the mornings on the trail)
- Sleepingbag (you’re not sleeping outdoors so just a light one)
- Rain jacket (which you use as a jacket during your trip)
- Rain pants
- Washing liquid
- Safety pins (good for drying wet clothes on the outside of your backpack)
- First aid kit
- Bottle for water
- Guide book with good maps and directions (John Brierly’s ‘Pilgrim’s Guide To The Camino de Santiago’ is heralded by many as the Camino-bible)
- Walking sticks (you can either bring some fibreglass sticks from home or you can buy some more authentic ones made out of wood along the Camino)
- Flipflops (good for taking a shower)
- Ear plugs (really good to have when sleeping togehter with 30 other people in a dorm)
- Book (it’s possible to trade it to another one on the road when you are done with it)
- Camera and charger
- Diary and pen
- Cash and creditcard
- Shampoo and soap
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Cap or hat (the sun can be pretty fierce)
- Sun lotion
- Sun glasses
- Scallop shell (identifies you as a pilgrim – buy it at your starting point)
- Camino passport (you get a stamp every night at the albergue, so that you in the end can prove how far you have walked – you’ll get your passport at your starting point)