On The Way to Santiago – What I Packed!!!

The road to Santiago was a challenging trip for me, as it is the first time in a long, long time, to be exact, over 10 years, since I had to carry everything I needed myself. Over the years I have been very spoilt, especially in Nepal, where porters are by the by, and I have only had to carry the bare minimum. I was therefore quite concerned whether I would be able to carry my own ruck sack for my week on the Camino. Reading many articles on how much to carry, the recommendation is 10% of your body weight. I put a lot of thought on what I needed for my journey. I didn’t think I was excessive and I certainly didn’t take any luxury items, but somehow even being conservative I managed a whopping 9kg – 2kg over my recommended limit. Surprisingly, I carried this weight comfortably, but many times on the way I had bag envy where folk had the tiniest rack sack and next time on the Camino I aim to reduce this weight.

So what did I pack…

Everything I packed for my Camino de Santiago

It actually looks a lot there!!!

Footwear & Clothes

Walking Shoes At the start of my journey I had a proper pair of walking boots, but these went walkabout (this is a story for another day) and I ended up buying a much lower walking shoe.
Walking Sandals It was a toss-up between my Teva walking shoes or my Australian thongs. I decided, in case I got blisters and needed to give my feet a break from the walking boots, to take my Teva’s. Thank goodness I did, otherwise my Camino may have been completely ruined by being shoeless.
2 Sturdy Plastic Bags I like to take plastic bags to separate day and night clothes in my backpack, so they are easier to find. Also an extra layer of waterproofing cannot hurt.
1 Lightweight Fleece I only needed to wear my fleece the first day; otherwise it was too hot. If I go in summer again I don’t think I will take my fleece, but I will rely on layering up with my jacket and long sleeve top.
1 Lightweight Waterproof Jacket
1 Disposable Plastic Poncho This was fantastic on the day it did rain, as it covered both me and my bag.
2 Pairs of Light Walking Trousers These were very light and fast drying. However, it was probably luxurious having 2 and next time I will limit this to just 1 pair.
1 Belt
2 T-Shirts (Day) 2 t-shirts for walking by day.
1 Long Sleeve Top Sometimes, early morning it was cold and so, I wore this top for the first hour before it got too hot.
1 Singlet I took this for layering, but in summer on the Camino this was definitely not needed.
1 Bra
4 Pairs of Undies Even though I was washing every day, this was the perfect number. I wore a pair for walking, then a clean pair after showering, and 2 pairs potentially drying.
2 Thick Pairs of Socks and 2 Thin Pairs of Socks With my walking boots, to help with blister prevention, I like to wear one thick pair and one thin pair of socks, but this was short lived when my proper boots got stolen. In the future, with my new walking shoes, I will take 3 thin pairs.

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Day Stuff

Back Pack I opted for a lightweight 45 litre bag, that could extend to another 10 litres. I think most pilgrim’s bags were around this size.
Hiking Pole I only walk with one, but I love my hiking pole, especially going downhill as I am not too stable on my feet.
Hat To protect myself from the hot Spanish sun.
Sun Glasses
Sunscreen
Camera
Mobile Phone
1 Litre Water Bottle
Plastic Water Bottle I picked this up on route. I initially thought my 1 litre water bottle would be sufficient as you can fill up in water at all villages, but I found it was handy to hold a small bottle in my hand whilst walking.
Plastic container Every evening I would go shopping for snacks to eat on route. I found it handy to store them, especially fruit, in a container.
Snacks Bought on route; for example fruit, nuts, biscuits, museli bars, french bread, chocolate, protein bars, etc.
Plastic cutlery To help eat snacks on route.
Waterproof Bag I had a proper waterproof bag for all my valuables just in case there were any down pours whilst walking.
Wallet / Money / Credit Card
Passports
Credencial (Pilgrim Passport) This is a document that identifies you as a pilgrim. I got mine at the pilgrim office at St Jean Pied de Port where my Camino started. You need this to stay at the albergues and at the end prove you have walked the road to Santiago.
Camino de Santiago Guide Book I could have potentially saved weight on my guide book by ripping out the pages I didn’t need, but to me that was blasphemy. To reduce weight you can buy just a Camino map, but I found my guide book very useful for determining the route, elevations of the day, where to stay and general info about the villages/town I visited.
Paper Tissues

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Night Stuff – Toiletries

All my toiletries

My Very Basic Toilet Bag.

Zip bag No luxurious toiletry bag, just a simple, lightweight, plastic zip bag.
Toothbrush
Toothpaste The smallest tube I could find.
Shampoo A small bottle of shampoo. I also used this as a shower gel and when hand washing my clothes. I met some people that didn’t carry any shampoo and relied on what was available at the hostels – some nights this would mean doing without, so not something I would ever consider.
Deodorant Before I went I debated whether to or not to take deodorant. Reading tips it is recommended not to take it, but I found the thought of not wearing any repulsive. Even though I showered every night and deodorised every morning, within an hour of walking I was stinking; however, even knowing its use is short lived I still could not forgo deodorant.
Toilet Paper Sheets Toilet paper was plentiful at all the hostels I stayed. However, every morning I did grab a few sheets and place in my pocket, in case I was taken short on the road.
Hair Brush
Sanitary Towels

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Night Stuff – Other

Sarong Curtain

Sarong Curtain

Plastic Bag A sturdy plastic bag to keep my sleeping bag and liner dry.
Sleeping Bag This time of year I could have probably survived without a sleeping bag, but I did use it 2 times.
Sleeping Liner I love my sleeping liner, it is perfect for hot nights or on cooler nights it help keep your sleeping bag clean.I sprayed this and my sleeping bag in permethrin before leaving to protect against bed bugs; and I am glad to say I did not come across any of the little pests.
1 T-Shirt (Night) 1 t-shirt I wore in the evening around town and then to bed.
1 Pair Cotton Trousers Trousers for evening and bedtime.
Sarong My sarong had many uses. It gave me privacy when dressing; a skirt; a curtain at night; and though not a very good one, it was also my towel – it took a lot of dabbing before I’d actually got dry.
Bag A bag to carry all my valuables whilst around town and to put my food shopping in.
Note Pad / 2 Pens To keep a diary of my trip.
Phone Charger
Adaptor

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Medical Kit

I always carry a basic medical kit in case I get sick on the road.

Waterproof Container To keep my medical kit items.
All different sizes of plasters This included Compeed blister plasters just in case.
Bandage
Compeed Stick I used my Compeed stick religiously every day to prevent blisters.
Paracetamol
Instant Hand Sanitiser This is a must. Sometimes you can’t always wash your hands, so this kills those unwanted germs; and if you cut yourself this gets wounds nice and clean.
Sore Throat Lozenges
Dehydration Tablets
Diarrhoea Relief
Antihistamine
Water Purifying Tables
Toe Nail Clippers

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What did I wish I had taken…

Hair Conditioner This trip really made me appreciate hair conditioner. Having long hair it got very knotty and on the days I did wash it, it was a huge ordeal having to brush it. When I return to complete my journey to Santiago I am definitely packing a small bottle of hair conditioner.
Tweezers Another item I um’d and ah’d about was tweezers. Embarrassingly, being an over 40 year old women hair sprouts out of unwanted places. I was very self-conscious of this. Considering the weight of a pair of tweezers I can’t believe I didn’t take them or even ask another fellow traveller.

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What I didn’t miss…

Razor I always wore long trousers, so lucky no one got to see the gorilla hiding beneath them.
Make-up Except for unwanted beards, I don’t really care what I look like whilst going on adventures like this, so I didn’t miss make-up. To be honest, as a woman, it is nice to go au-natural for awhile and have one less thing to worry about in the morning.
Moisturiser I thought I would miss my moisture, but maybe the constant application of sun cream stopped my skin drying.
Reading Books On my holidays I love reading a book and I did ponder what I would do in my free time in the evenings, but by the time I did my evening Camino routine I was far too tired to read books.
Torch My mobile phone was sufficient replacement to a torch.

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