I had several comments on my previous Camino packing video, asking for a review once I had completed the Camino as to what worked and what didn’t work – and what would I take with me next time. So I have made a new video with this review in mind. My original pack was way too heavy – starting out at around 10kg. My new packing regime in light of my experience on the Camino has brought that weight down to just 6.35kg, which is far more manageable.
I’ll include my packing list below. But in the meantime, here is the video.
Lighten the clothes
I found that I had packed too many clothes last time, and didn’t account for the clothes I was wearing – I think it’s important to be able to go one full day without a clothes wash, as sometimes the weather won’t allow it to dry, or in some cases there aren’t the washing facilities to enable a full clothes wash.
Lighten the tech
I carried way too much tech on the Camino – the iPad, the travel hard drive and the camera all needed charging along with my phone. In the end, I found it was sufficient just to use the phone – oh and my camera. Next time I will leave the iPad and the travel hard drive at home, for a saving of 1.5kg. There are some who want to leave the phone behind too, but I like to have it for emergencies, and to book accommodation ahead where necessary. It is also a good way to stay in touch with family back home, who would worry about us on the road. The key thing is not be enslaved to the technology, but rather to have it available for use when needed. You can have peace of mind through having contact with others, as long as you are not glued to the screen when there are fellow pilgrims to meet and relate to.
Lighten the medical pack
I over-packed on blister care. You only need enough to last for a couple of days on the Camino as most larger towns have Farmacias (pharmacies or chemist shops), and many of the smaller places have automatic vending machines for blister care products, such as tape, band-aids, antiseptics, ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Lighten the ablutions
I found a solid bar shampoo – which washed my hair, my body and my clothes. Similarly, a pack of solid toothpaste tablets was much lighter than a tube of toothpaste – and lasted the whole Camino. You can be minimalist and still be hygienic 🙂
Little things that help
Safety pins – for hanging washing. The clothes won’t blow off the line, and if they’re still damp in the morning you can pin them to your pack to dry while you walk. And safety pins are lighter and less bulky than clothes pegs.
Fly-net – It was hard enough walking up the hills without choking on a fly determined to get some of your moisture. A fly-net over your hat can make walking much more comfortable!
Reflective tape – wrap it around your poles and on your pack to make yourself more visible to traffic in the dark – especially those early mornings. Several pilgrims have been killed because traffic did not see them.
elastic bands – keep your charging cables tidy, use them to keep bags rolled and clothes rolled within them. There are many uses for elastic bands!
spare zip-loc bags – to keep things waterproof (especially your credential and passport).
Your mileage may differ, but here is what I have settled on for my (revised) packing list. I’m happy for you to leave you constructive comments on anything I might have missed, or anything that you think was particularly worthwhile.
Backpack – Osprey 40-50 ltr, plus rain cover (medium)
Bum-bag – Active Leisure with two bottle pouches
- padded sleeping bag liner (500g)
- silk sleeping bag liner
- blow up travel pillow (optional)
- one pair long trekking pants (and one to wear)
- two merino base layers – long sleeve (and one to wear)
- two pairs of hiking socks (and one to wear)
- two pairs of sock liners (and one to wear)
- one fleecy top long sleeve
- one Goretex rain jacket
- one pair waterproof overtrousers (optional)
- one rain poncho (optional)
- two pairs of mesh boxer shorts/underwear (and one to wear)
- one sun hat
- one merino beanie hat
- one pair of gloves/cyclist fingerless gloves – for use with poles and/or for cold weather
- one pair of ‘crocs’ sandals for evening wear
- one pair of boots or trail runners – two sizes larger than your normal shoes
- one pair of poles – with rubber tips (NB: they are very cheap in most major towns along the Camino)
- your choice of water bottle, bladder or bottled water (the fountains are safe to drink from unless marked ‘agua non-potable’.)
- one micro-fibre towel
- one cake of solid shampoo (Lush Shampoo bars)
- one bottle of toothpaste tablets (Lush Toothy Tabs)
- lightweight hair brush
- tape and/or band-aids for blister care
- antiseptic buds
- sewing kit – needle and thread (for draining blisters)
- ibuprofen (one card) painkillers
- Imodium (one card) for upset stomach
- nail clippers
- tweezers (in case of splinters or bee stings)
- pocket pack of tissues
- small sunblock lotion
- hand sanitizer/wipes
- one lightweight trowel (to bury one’s business)
- some toilet tissue (in case of being caught short, or where toilet paper may be absent)
- plastic bag – to dispose of used toilet tissue if used between formal toilets (don’t just leave it to blow around – bury it or carry it)
Tech (a personal choice)
- phone with charging cable and plug (with Trek-Rite and Wise Pilgrim apps) and local SIM card or good roaming plan.
- camera with charger and spare battery and SD cards
- plug adapter
- Headlamp (recommend 200 lumens)
- Pilgrim credential
- national passport
- list of albergues with contact details and route/elevation chart (available at SJPdP)
- visa card/wallet with some cash (ATMS not always available)
- lightweight knife and spork
- 12 safety pins
- Rock from home (for Cruz de Ferro)
- notebook and pen (to exchange emails, make notes, record ideas etc)
And that’s about it! Buen Camino 🙂
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