The Camino: Keep Them Doggies Movin…

In other words, what will I pack to sustain me?

My overall strategy for packing is:

  1. To keep the overall weight of my pack & contents to 19-20 pounds.  That’s in the range of 10-ish percent of my body weight at the start of the Camino.
  2. To have my traveling gear, including the pack, meet the standards for airline carry-on, meaning that there are size and weight limits.
  3. And to carry gear that will be suitable for expected weather conditions and types of accommodations where I might stay.

The “carry-on” standard drove a decision to acquire certain gear when I arrive: that includes toiletries and hiking poles primarily, along with a poncho.  Fortunately, there are places at Saint Jean Pied de Port where those items can be procured – and places along the way to acquire replacement toiletries in order to minimize the amount of stuff I carry on the Camino (keeping weight down). 

I do intend to stay in small hotels/pensions/B&B with private rooms if at all possible, but will be able to stay in hostels, if necessary.  As my friend Gordon said: “If I snore it doesn’t bother me, but if others snore then I won’t sleep”.  Private rooms are not the least expensive option, but for my Camino I plan to stay in private rooms.

The List:

This is what I’m planning to take:

The clothes on my back (all “trail clothes”)

A Gore-Tex light-weight jacket

Backpack – Mystery Ranch Scree 32 (chosen for it’s carry-on size)

“Personal Item” carry-on bag (lightweight nylon) in case there’s a problem carrying the backpack on

In the backpack:

                2 pair REI hiking pants, lightweight, wicking, and fast-dry.  One pair “zip off” that can be shorts.

                2 REI hiking shirts, lightweight, wicking, fast dry, sunblock.  Sleeves can be rolled up

                2 REI T-shirt, wicking, fast dry (can be worn alone if very hot)

                2 pair briefs, wicking, fast-dry (Note, I may put a pair in my “personal item” in case of flight issues)

                2 pair merino wool socks

                1 pair lightweight canvas shoes for evening (I may get flip-flops along the way)

                I lightweight sweat pants for evening wear/lounging/sleeping

                Empty filtering water bottle (mine is Phillips and has a comprehensive filter)

                USB-C (PD) charger with cable to lightning and USB ports (for camera and iPhone)

                Extra memory card for camera

                Spare glasses

                Dry Bag (or “wet bag” if you prefer) to put damp/wet clothes in

                Backpack Cover

                Sun hat (waterproof for sun and rain)

                First aid kit with bandages, Compeed, gauze, indigestion pills, pain reliever (ibuprofen), and travel pack of tissue, mild bath soap.  And any other small, light first aid stuff I might need.

                Two small disposable razors

                Headlamp flashlight

                Sleeping bag liner

And an Ikea thin/light bag that (when unrolled) will be large enough to contain the backpack in case I get a gate agent that insists I check the pack.

In the “personal item” (which will be transferred to the backpack for the hike)

                1 pair briefs and 1 REI T-Shirt

                Medications & vitamins in labeled containers (original labels for meds)

                USB-C (PD) charger and lightning charger cable

                iPad (wifi only, for use in keeping notes at the end of each day and internet needs beyond the phone apps) & old iPhone for a local SIM

                (note that some folks would rather not use technology – I get it, but I also see it as a means of making advance reservations, having GPS to avoid getting lost/off-trail, and for emergency use.  You can get a SIM in Spain to get less expensive data/phone access.  It’s your camino, make a choice that’s right for you).

                Small point-and-shoot camera, lightweight.  Mine is a Canon G7X Mark III that can be charged from USB-C (PD).  Much as I love my DSLR, it’s simply too big and heavy for the trip.

                SD card adapter for iphone/ipad

                Toiletries to include travel-size toothpaste, deodorant, body lotion, Woolite, antibiotic & hydrocortisone cream, small toothbrush, mouthwash.

On me: the items “on me” will include the light rain jacket, iPhone, a neck pouch (for passport, money, credit cards, etc), travel wallet, and some form of belt. I also plan to wear an Apple watch that pairs with the phone.  I’ll carry a copy of the plane boarding passes, first day’s itinerary, printed copy of Covid vaccine certificate, and any vouchers that will be needed to be printed.

I expect to acquire a poncho and hiking poles in SJPP.

That’s it.  Seems like a lot, but it’s really not a lot compared to how I normally travel.  Space wise and weight wise, it should be under 20 pounds and fit a 32 liter backpack.