There’s a well-known saying among experienced pilgrims. The Camino will provide. But, how does one pack for a long trek such as walking the Camino de Santiago? I suppose when anyone takes on an adventure that most consider a bit out-of-the ordinary, the inevitable questions arise, such as how does one even begin to figure out the logistics and what’s in the pack, Jack?
From Hiking Shoes to Sandals
We’ll be traveling for a total of
13 actually 14 weeks and as such we leave in winter and return in summer, and spring will burst forth while we’re walking across Spain. From hiking shoes and cold weather gear to shorts and sandals; it all has to fit. Literally, what we’ll carry on our backs.
No Room for What If
I love a good challenge; putting all the pieces together, but for this trip I had to put aside the what if scenarios. You know… you pack an extra shirt or two or three just in case you spill your spaghetti? There is no room for what if scenarios on this trip. Even though we’ll be traveling to the Czech Republic, Germany and France, my primary focus for packing was the six weeks we’ll be in Spain walking the Camino. By the way, did you know the Route of Santiago de Compostela is a UNESCO world heritage site? Now you do. You’re welcome.
So, for those of you who are planning your own Camino walk, or for those of you who are simply interested and will be walking with us in spirit, here’s my list:
- pair of hiking pants
- lightweight denim pants
- pair of hiking shorts
- pair of relaxing shorts
- 2 short-sleeve shirts
- 2 long-sleeve shirts
- pair of pajamas
- 6 pairs of undies
- 3 sports bras
- 4 pairs of socks
- pair of cold-weather leggings
- Keen hiking shoes
- pair of sandals
- rain jacket
- pair of rain pants
- cold-weather jacket
- swim suit
Because we are
old mature, we both have prescription meds that must travel with us and because I’m allergic to so many things, I carry a small pharmacy. When we traveled from Oregon to Paris in one full swoop, in my jet-lagged stupor I fell asleep on a goose down pillow and woke up with a raging sinus infection. Had I not had my prescriptions, I would have been in serious trouble.
Okay, wait, that’s a what if scenario. What if I have an allergic reaction? That’s a gimmie.
Aside from our clothing and meds, we have the essentials such as a power converter, our Eurail passes, passports, our guidebook for the Camino, our Chromebook, my Kindle and my coloring book and my magically wonderful crayola roll-up colored pencils. I hate every aspect of flying (except that it gets me to where I need to go) so I need my fun stuff (and a couple of cocktails, but that’s another story). We have a pack of cotton hankies for sweat rags and whatever else they may prove useful for and a small clip-on canvas holder of plastic bags. Because we are flying we can’t carry our pocket knife – unfortunately – but we will purchase some kind of knife before we start walking, primarily for cutting bread, cheese, fruit, etc.
A Few Things We Won’t Pack
There are a few things we are purposely not taking, which you might find on most pilgrims packing list, such as a sleep sack, a sheet, and a towel. We are not planning to stay in the albergues so we don’t feel a need to schlep those items. We are also not going to carry cameras, we’ll use our phones. I have an Android MotoG 2nd Gen and it has a great camera, and it easily slips into my pocket.
We are two weeks out and counting. What if I forget something? No worries, the Camino will provide.
UPDATE: After walking 350 miles of the Camino Francis, we wrote a 15 page FAQ guide based on our experiences, which you can download for free.
I got some really great tips here. I pack less and less every year, but still find I’m packing things I don’t use. Can’t wait to hear about your travels in Spain — I haven’t been there yet, but going to TBEX.
Patti Morrow recently posted…My Day as a Geisha in Kyoto
I’m glad, Patti. I’m hoping we made the best choices, only one way to find out!
Oh, I love a packing list! I think you’ve done well to get down to such a small pile of stuff; packing cubes are a great idea too, we use compression packs which are similar. You’ve done especially well on the electronics front, I always find our bags are stuffed with gadgets and wires these days!
Amy recently posted…Driving (Il)legally in Vietnam
Let’s just hope we packed the right items!
You and Abi and doing fantastic, Patti! You got my old Search and Rescue brain fired up again and though there is a lot I’m not mentioning, what about – walking poles, flashlight, sun screen, first aid kit, toilet paper, gloves, hat (for sun protection) or beanie if it’s cold? I’m getting more and more excited for you two!! What an amazing adventure and I’m so proud of you guys! 🙂
Mike recently posted…Ruth’s Chris Steak House In Seattle, Washington
Good additions to the list, Mike. Since we never walk/hike with walking sticks, we’ve decided to start without them. We’ll let the walk be our guide as to whether or not they are needed. Both of our phones have a beam light (flashlight), sunscreen we’ll buy once we start walking, small first aid kit we have as well as gloves and beanies. We’ll carry packs of Kleenex in lieu of TP, for those just in case moments. 😉 Thanks for thinking this through with us!
On our last several trips, fellow travelers have been shocked that we each travel with a small suitcase (20 inches for me, 22 inches for Mr. Excitement) and 2 backpacks. Even with those size suitcases, we just returned from a one week Caribbean cruise (that included 2 formal nights) and I didn’t even wear about half the clothes I brought, including a pair of sneakers and my flip flops. Nonetheless, we are about to have to pack for a 3 week visit to Turkey and Israel and I’m obsessing about packing. Even if we won’t be carrying our belongings on long hikes, it’s crucial for me to be able to lug my suitcases up and down stairs by myself. It’s a roller bag, but it doesn’t roll up and down stairs. As you know, I’m insanely jealous about your upcoming Camino walk/hike andI can’t wait to follow along vicariously. (Why don’t you take a break and come to TBEX in Lloret del Mar so we can meet IRL?)
Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All – a Boomeresque Book Review
Completely agree. One bag per hand (or on the back) is essential for moving about and up/down; just makes life so much easier. We’ll have to meet IRL another time, we’ll be just about at the 1/2 way mark on our walk and into our pace. Glad you’ll be walking with us in spirit!
Patti, you done well, very impressive. I like the picture of you practicing to carry the backpack. I have just finished packing for 2 weeks in Tobago and I am embarrassed to say that it weighs twice as much as you 14 weeks one. I am so excited for you and can’t wait for your Camino to start.
Gilda Baxter recently posted…A Hen Do After She Said I Do
Thanks, Gilda. The more we travel the less we tend to take and fortunately, I’ve never been a clothes horse. As long as I’m comfortable, that’s my #1 concern. Two weeks in Tobago sounds wonderful, all you need is a swim suit and a sundress, okay, maybe two of each. 😉
And it even looks color coordinated. Very impressive.
Washing soap?? Linda
Washing soap for clothes or body? 🙂 Washing soap for clothing can be purchased as needed and we’ll have toiletries at our accommodations, or we’ll buy if needed.
Great work Patti!! I am so excited for you and Abi, I only wish that I had 18lbs to haul around! I currently have 32lbs plus my laptop and notebooks. I am going to keep working to lighten up, you’ve inspired me.
Tracey recently posted…House Sitting Jobs: How we Saved Over $9300 on Travel Costs!
Thanks, Tracey. The big difference is that we have an end date and you are traveling indefinitely – 32 lbs. sounds like an excellent number to me! You’re doing great!
Of course we should all pack like that all the time –
If one seriously runs into a ‘what-if’ – surprise surprise there are always shops for picking up those extras… but I don’t mean to tempt you – when you’re doing the carrying, it wouldn’t surprise me if you even decide along the way that even some of your carefully selected must haves may, just may, get ditched!
Linda ~ Journey Jottings recently posted…‘Happy New Year’ from Bonnie Scotland
Oh yes, Linda, that is a real possibility, to ditch things along the way but hopefully, I’ve thought it through well enough so that won’t happen. I guess it depends on how badly my back is aching! 😉 And yep, there are stores everywhere for purchases possibly needed.
We’re very much bare-minimum packers. Perhaps, these days, because we tend to travel around the Canary Islands.
Gran Canaria Local recently posted…Five fave Gran Canaria rural retreats
We too always try to travel as lightly as possible, but of course, it can depend on where one is traveling.
I am amazed that it all fits and looks so compact! Well done!
Holly recently posted…a place on the map
Thanks, Holly, and you’ll be just behind us, right?!
I am so pleased for your upcoming adventure. Thank you for sharing the preparations with us. Hugs!
Thank you, Miss Neva, for your unconditional friendship and support.
18 pounds, you did Very good! The only thing I’d add is a bandana which I find useful for many things. This is so exciting!
Gaelyn recently posted…Foto Friday Fun 98
Thanks, Gaelyn. I was hoping for 15 lbs, but couldn’t make it happen. A bandana is a great addition, I have a cloth headband for when my hair becomes unruly after being on the road for so long!