Packing-List for the Camino
Here are the essentials that you should bring with you on the Camino. Despite the luxury of luggage transfer, it pays off to take the essential pilgrim’s advice to heart: less is more! A light suitcase not only makes you and your travel guide happy, it also follows the idea of practicing how to live with less.
This list is not exhaustive and you might want to add personal belongings to it. All items that are not described as optional should be brought by all participants.
If you are based in Europe, you can order many of the items in our pilgrims online-shop (www.PilginoShop.com).
Backpack – When it comes to your backpack, quality is essential! Size should be between 10+ and 25+ liters. Bigger backpacks are not necessary and often more hindrance than help. The backpack must fit your body size and be comfortable. It is best to go to a sports shop and try a few on – best with some weight in them. Choose a backpack that fits, is adjustable, has chest and hip straps, and enough pockets, which are easy to reach.
Footwear – Your feet are best protected by hiking boots that cover the ankle. Lighter models have become very popular, as they mostly come with a breathable but waterproof membrane. If you do not already own suitable shoes, visit a sports shop which provides good counselling and try on different models. It is recommended to wear your hiking boots as often as possible before your trip, i.e. to ‘wear them in’. This allows your feet to get used to the shoe and build callus where needed. You should wear your shoes with the hiking socks that you will bring with you.
Especially on the easier and less hilly stages of the Camino, hiking sandals have become more and more popular. They allow for great ventilation and can prevent blisters. Try them out to find out if they are the right choice for you.
Hiking Socks –It is recommended to take at least two pairs of hiking socks. Quality is important and it is advised to buy them at a store of your trust. While hiking socks are not particularly cheap, they provide useful protection against blisters and injuries. Socks should be made from synthetic fibre and not from cotton.
Raincoat or Poncho – Option 1: Waterproof jacket and rain protection for legs and backpack. As water could still enter your backpack, it might be necessary to additionally protect electronic devices. Some pilgrims carry an umbrella, but this makes walking harder and might not be sufficient when windy.
Option 2: A rain poncho covers both the upper body and the backpack. This guarantees protection of all valuables and allows for good ventilation from underneath. One disadvantage of a poncho is that it is quite bulky and makes hiking harder when it is windy. Short pants will usually be protected by the poncho. If there is heavier rain or you are wearing long trousers, it pays off to wear rain-trousers in combination with the poncho.
Jacket – Next to a raincoat or a poncho you should bring a light jacket. Windbreakers are very popular and can be combined with a fleece jacket during the colder months. Fleece jackets have proven very useful due to their light weight. If you can, purchase one that is windproof.
T-Shirts and Shirts – It is best to bring T-shirts and shirts without cotton (functional clothing). Special outdoor wear is usually made from synthetic fibres and has the advantage of drying faster, being breathable and light.
Trousers – It is best to bring one or two pairs of walking trousers, also made from synthetic fibres. Zip-off trousers are popular with many pilgrims, as they allow to quickly adapt to changing temperatures.
Hat or Cap – Especially in the hot months, a hat or cap is essential to be protected from the sun.
Trekking-Poles/Walking Stick – Simple walking sticks made from wood can be purchased almost anywhere on the Camino and are very useful. For anybody who experiences problems with their knees or feet, trekking poles are a great relief. They should be adjustable in length.
First-Aid-Kit – Most importantly, bring your personal medicine if you require any. Patches and disinfectant spray are the also important items. It further makes sense to bring painkillers, ointment against cramps and pain, magnesium for muscle pain and something against bowel complaints. Balm for sore feet can be useful and deer tallow has proven to be especially effective against blisters.
Mobile Phone – Don’t forget your charger!
Documents – Don’t forget to bring the most important documents: photo-ID/passport, driver’s license, credit cards and insurance documents. It is advised to bring essential medical information with you on the trip. This includes your blood-type, telephone numbers of your treating doctor and relevant conditions. It’s also useful to have the most important addresses from friends and family with you, if you want to write postcards.
Sports Underwear – Special sport underwear, not containing cotton, can prevent rashes.
Sweat Pants – Comfortable pair of pants to relax in after the day’s hike.
Pair of Comfy Shoes or Flip-Flops – to relax in the evening.
Travel Guide – A travel guide can give you detailed information about each stage and historical background on the Camino de Santiago.
Bottle or Hydration Pack – Many pilgrims prefer a hydration pack to bottles, as it allows them to drink without stopping to take out the bottle. There are many different options for these packs as well as a variety of bottles, some of which can be folded to save space or be attached to your belt. Find out what suits you best. Alternatively, bottled water can be bought along the Camino.
Sunglasses – Especially when sensitive to sun exposure and in the summer months.
Sun Cream – Especially important in the sunny months of summer (June to September).
Swimsuit – Especially in the warm months and when hiking in Portugal.
Scarf, Beanie, Gloves – If you travel during the colder months, a scarf, beanie hat and gloves can be a relief. Especially in the morning or up in the mountains, temperatures can be quite low.
Pocket Knife – A pocket knife can be very handy on the Camino. A bottle opener is always a useful gimmick.
Protective Cover – For your Pilgrim’s Passport.
Food Container – To carry and protect your provisions during the day.
Camera – Preferably a light one.
Stone – If you would like to partake in the old pilgrims’ tradition to leave a stone along the way, you can bring a special one from home.
Pilgrim’s scallop – The traditional pilgrim’s identification mark. You can bring one or buy it along the Camino.
Cup – High quality plastic cups can come in handy along the way.
Glasses – If you wear glasses, you should bring a second pair, just in case.
Towel – It can be useful to have a small towel with you on the way .
Nylon stockings – Wearing nylon stocking underneath your socks might be useful to prevent blisters. In case you are prone to blisters, consider bringing some with you.
Compression Stockings – Especially after a long flight, some pilgrims experience a swelling of the legs due to the concentration of lymph in their legs. If you have had similar issues before, bring some compression stockings that reach the knee.
Journal – Many enjoy writing a journal along the way, so you might want to pack one.
Books – Any book you would like to have with you, novels or some reading on the Camino de Santiago.
Dictionary – Spanish dictionary and possibly a book with the most important Spanish phrases.
Travel-Detergent – To wash your laundry by hand if needed.
Clothesline – A string of approx. 4 metres length can be useful for hanging up laundry and in other situations as well.
Baby Pin/Clothes Pin– Can be convenient in many circumstances.
Flashlight – A small flashlight or headlamp can come in handy.
Earplugs – Useful when accommodation is in a busy city or guesthouse has thin walls.