what if scenario

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.

What If

The way of St. James

My List

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
  • sweater
  • swim suit
pack camino de santiago

I’m super visual so I laid it all out and then cross checked my side with Abi’s side.

Must Haves

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.

pack camino de santiago

We decided to use packing cubes so that we don’t have to sift through everything to find a pair of socks. Rain gear will be packed in outside pack pockets for easy access.


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.

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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.



Taking the packs out for a test walk.

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