Lately I have been asked twice about what to pack when going to walk el Camino de Santiago. First of all I would like to say that I am extremely happy to have pushed and encouraged people to walk el Camino. This trip has significantly changed my life, and I am happy to have inspired others to take the first step and go walk it!
To cut it short, the Camino is one of those trips that you will literally carry all your belongings on your back, which was the first lesson I learned from walking it: pack as light as possible!! So keep it simple, and trust me, everyone will be doing like you on the Camino, so don’t worry about how you look like!
Before I move to the packing list, you must know that I walked the Camino in September, and that is the weather I am talking about. Other months could be hotter or colder accordingly.
Now to the list…
- 2 t-shirts (plus 1 I was wearing)
- 1 shorts for walking (make sure they are extremely comfortable)
- 1 Swimming suit (for me, I used those pair of shorts as a backup for my walking shorts)
- 1 Pants (it gets chilly in the evenings, you’ll need those!)
- 2 Pairs of socks (plus 1 I was wearing)
- 2 Pairs of underwear (plus 1 I was wearing – don’t get too excited and take so many underwear, you’ll end up doing laundry almost every day anyway so there is no point in taking so much with you in the first place.)
- 1 Light weight jacket or fleece
- 1 Rain poncho
- 1 Pair of walking/hiking boots (make sure you break them in well before the Camino to avoid blisters.)
- 1 Pair of sandals or flip-flops to rest your feet in the evenings.
- 1 Fast drying towel
- 1 Small bottle of shampoo (don’t take large ones; you can always buy a new small one when yours is finished. It is heavy.)
- 1 Tooth brush
- 1 small tube of tooth paste and floss
- 1 small comb or hairbrush
- 1 roll of toilet paper or some tissues in general
- 1 Nail clipper
- 1 Sleeping bag (a warm one, preferably, it gets cold at night, and many albergues don’t offer any sleeping sheets or blankets, so sleeping inside your bag is important for warmth and hygiene.)
- Anti Diarrheal
- Anti Allergic
- STRONG – very STRONG – pain killers
- Disinfectant cream
- Anti Inflammatory cream
- Compeed plasters – Band-aids
- Sun block
- Ear plugs (Useful if you are a light sleeper – lots of snorers in the albergues!)
Check out this list of what travel Medicine you need while traveling, compiled by several travelers.
- Needle and thread (you’ll need those to fix your blisters. Other pilgrims will be your best teacher on how to do this.)
- Clothes pins (useful when hanging your clothes to dry on windy nights, don’t take money, maximum 10 is all you’ll need.)
- Notebook and pen
- Light torch (you’ll need that to walk early before sunrise – best in meseta because it gets so hot during the day.)
- Water bottle (Keep in mind that you will add 1 liter of water to your backpack’s weight, you can your own bottle or just use a plastic bottle, water sources to re-fill the bottle are usually numerous, except in certain places.)
- Small pack of clothes washing powder (because sometimes laundry won’t use washing powder, and in certain places you will hand wash your clothes.)
- Camera and charger
- Mobile phone and charger
You’ll easily find computers to use in albergues, so you don’t need to carry a laptop with you. Keep in mind that a laptop will weigh a lot!
Needless to say, don’t forget your passport, ATM card or credit card, and your pilgrim’s credential (which you will get from wherever you will start your walk.)
My whole backpack weighed 7 Kg, 8 Kg with the water bottle. I literally didn’t wish I had anything more, I had enough of all I needed given I washed laundry on time. Average backpack weights were 8 to 10 Kg. Keep it simple!
Did I miss anything? Let me know and I could always edit this list!