How to pack for the Camino?
What do I really need for this experience?
If it's your first time going for a couple weeks on a trail with just your backpack, you may found it difficult to know what to bring with you.
One rule is only the strict necessary ! As light as possible.
We often bring things that we believe will be of use but once we spend the entire day walking, we figure out that even if we arrive early at the refuge for the night, we are often too tired to do anything else than eating, resting, and journaling.
But don't worry if you packed a few stuff that appears to be unnecessary in your journey, it's a classic. After one or two of walking, a lot of pilgrims -including myself- are stopping at a post office to send back home those unnecessary things that make the bag heavier.
The golden rule is that your backpack should stay around 10% of your weight and can't in any case exceed 15% of your weight.
Keep in mind that you're going to walk a couple weeks, and that even if you're use to 2-3 trails in the mountains, the long time effect of your equipment on your knees and ankles can make a all difference on how your trip can turn into a painful mission or a fun adventure that will most likely want to extend.
So my recommendation is :
- 1 pair of trail shoes (Best Trail Shoes for 2021)
- 1 pair of flip flop for the evening (light ones! Birkenstock are comfy but they're heavy, prefer some Havaianas style)
- 1 rain poncho
- 1 hiking hat (if you walk in the summer, prefer a large one that covers well your neck)
- 1 pair of Sunglasses (LVB can do the work)
- 1 water gourd (no more than 1L capacity, there's water in almost every village)
- The Miam Miam Dodo guide (the best one, no discussions)
- 3 t-shirts
- 3 pairs of hiking socks (I recommend Smartwool ones)
- 2 underwear
- 1 warm sweater
- 1 warm technical Thermoball jacket
- 1 trail pant (if you want to save some weight the best one will be one that can transform into a short)
- 1 short
- 1 silk liner
- 1 large quick-dry towel
- 1 notebook and a few pens
- 1 book
- 1 solid soap in a plastic box (ideally one who cover both body and hair)
- Your tooth brush and some tooth paste
- 2 boxes of Compeed Extreme (wear them the first day before the walk)
- 1 Nok cream (you can massage your feet a week before the start every evening it will radically help to avoid foot blisters)
- 1 Red Tiger Balm cream (recommended to massage your feet everyday after the walk)
- 1 Arnica cream (recommended to massage your feet with it after the Tiger Balm massage)
- 1 mosquito repellent
- 1 tick clamp (if you get bite by a tick, what's most likely to happen, mark the place on your skin with a pen and monitor if the skin doesn't get infected or red for at least 10 days after the bite. If it looks suspicious, do not hesitate to consult a doctor)
Keep in mind that when you think that one element won't make the difference, it's the total amount of those elements who will start to make your backpack feels heavy. In one month I have walked over 1.2 million steps, so a difference of 2kg would be a total of 2.500 tons less on your knees and ankles.