Packing list (HuskyNerd)  


                       One Pilgrim's Sure Fire Cure All Bullet Proof Camino Packing List

                          HuskyNerd - Seattle, Washington, United States - 30-04-2012


  Here I am, a month out from Camino #4, beginning once again to identify what I do and don't want to carry, what's on my shopping list (edited from pre-Camino #3), and what I'm going to leave behind this time. In my previous three Caminos (2008, 2010, 2011) I realized the most annoying and difficult part of the walking is the weight of my pack. As with most pilgrims, I began to jettison unnecessary items at each stop -- books, etc. -- and now I think I have a pretty good idea of what should be included. Here's what I am and am not taking this time around:


  What I'm taking (fyi, this is for a May/June camino):


- Backpack – lightest weight, best fit possible. 40L +/- size. Prefer a pack with outside mesh pocket for drying clothes while walking. My pack is an Osprey Atmos 50, a little large (35L would be fine);

- Backpack rain cover – kept in an outside pocket. Keeps pack plenty dry

- Emergency mylar foil blanket -- A person can argue this is superfluous, but it's basic survival gear that never leaves my pack. Here's a sample: Space Emergency Bag - Free Shipping at

- Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner (I'll have both), treated with Permethrin to discourage bedbugs

- Inflatable pillow – very light and slips inside the hood of my sleeping bag. Not that comfortable with resting my head on the occasional albergue-provided pillow (do they ever wash these?), and can’t really sleep without one;

- Hiking shorts (poly material, light and quick-dry, with zip pocket for money and large pocket for credencial) – 2 pair

- Long pants (lightweight) – 1 pair (for restaurants and church)

- Shirts (technical t-shirts) – 2. Very lightweight and quick drying

- Shirt (with collar) – 1 (for dinner and/or church)

- Undershorts (stretch poly material for quick dry) – 3 pair (Why 3? I’m wearing one, I’m drying the other, and the third is ready to go after my afternoon shower.) These are boxers - never had a chafing problem with them;

- Socks (wool trekking socks, light for summer, heavier for cool weather) – 3 pair (the drying, again)

- Sock liners – 3 pair -- these are the best blister prevention strategy I've ever seen

- Hiking boots – 1 pair (prefer heavy, tall boot with thickest possible sole, while some prefer hiking shoe or sandal)

- "Camp shoe" – 1 pair (for evenings and walking about town. Lightest weight possible, some use Crocs or Teva sandals)

- Rain jacket – 1 (breathable material e.g. GoreTex, with sealed seams)

- Warm layer fleece – On cold days here are the layers: 1) technical t-shirt close to the body, 2) fleece jacket layer (lightweight fleece is fine), 3) rain jacket layer. These three layers make a pretty warm combo and also prepare you for rain.

- Sun hat – (wide brim to protect face, ears and neck from sun exposure

- Baseball cap – (for warmth in cool mornings and windy days) It is a luxury to have 2 hats, but I don't look that hot in a sun hat according to my wife. And she knows best.

- Toothbrush

- Toothpaste – I purchase a small tube when I arrive in SJPP (or at airport or train station) so I don’t have to worry about it in airport security

- Shaving cream and razor -- a tiny can and 1-2 disposable razors. Very light and my afternoon shave protects me from growing a beard and having a 1/2 tan face when I get home

- Deodorant – small roll-on, also purchased in SJPP or at airport or train station

- Soap – I now bring a small bar of mild, all-purpose soap for my body and hair. I carry it in a mesh bag so it can dry out overnight and not make a wet, soapy mess in my pack.

- Camera, camera pouch and charger – a small, digital camera kept in its own bag on my backpack’s chest strap. Cameras that live in the backpack are seldom used because each picture means taking off one’s pack. A small bag hooked onto the chest strap takes care of that problem. All chargers are not created equal -- I chose a camera years ago that has a super light charger and no cord -- it plugs directly into the wall and save me carrying a cord;

- Camelbak or similar water bladder or other water storage – 2L (spring) or 3L (summer) Camelbaks work for me. I fill it once each day and don’t worry until the next day. I’m also not fumbling in pack pockets for flimsy plastic water bottles. If you never touch the inside of a CamelBak and never put anything other than clean water inside it will never require cleaning, only drying between uses.

- Clothes pins – 4-6 for hanging up laundry each night. When I don't have these my t-shirts invariably end up blown on the ground. So, 1 for each sock, two for each shirt. I wash my hiking shorts every other day or since they take longer to dry.

- Hiking towel – quick dry and lightweight so it dries overnight hung over my bunk rail after my evening shower;

- Passport, airline ticket, waterproof bag for documents – Got my passport wet in Tahiti once and will never let that happen again

- Sunblock lotion – I tan quickly and use a low SPF lotion until my skin has caught up and is able to be outside all day

- Inflatable sleeping pad for emergency overnights (it happened once on the Via de la Plata in 2010) but mostly for afternoon naps when laying in the dirt doesn't seem that attractive. Mine is .25 kg in weight. This is also a luxury item.

- Toiletry bag – to keep my toiletries together for the bathroom. I use a mesh bag so these items dry out before they go back in my pack.

- Pen and paper and/or journal – to write pilgrim e-mail addresses for future use and to make notes as necessary, the journal to record thoughts and remember names and people and prayers.

- Blister kit – blisters need prompt attention. Americans don’t yet know about Compeed, so when we get to Europe we should throw away our old-fashioned Moleskins and purchase a small pack of these, preferably with a tiny scissors. These are helpful for "hot spots" but are not a complete blister remedy. Also a needle and thread are helpful – pilgrims will explain how to use them. I now also recommend a small bottle of betadyne, some adhesive tape, and gauze pads.

- Toilet paper roll – just put it in a plastic bag in your pack and forget about it. You may never need it, but if you’re like me, you’ll be happy you had it for those few times when nature’s call had to be answered, but no toilet was available.

- Debit card and credit card -- The debit/ATM card is for occasional stops at cash machines. I usually get out 200€ that last me for several days.

- Family photos -- pilgrims are always interested to see what others' homes and families look like. I've forgotten these in the past, but won't this time.

- Telephone -- this is purely for SMS messages to other pilgrims. I never call home given the 9 hour time difference (they're usually asleep when I'm awake, etc) and entrust myself to Internet kiosks to keep in touch with my beloveds. I have a cheap European phone that I just recharge with Euros when it runs out. I leave my expensive iPhone at home.


  What I'm leaving at home this time (but you might want to have with you)


- Flip flops for the shower – I leave these at home due to the extra weight and trust my feet to nature. I'm in the shower at the gym almost every day with no issues. For me, the weight of flip flops is the big thing. I don't get blisters, don't have open sores, and I'm pretty sure my feet will continue to be fine, so I save the weight by leaving these at home.

- Sunglasses – On the Camino Frances the sun is at your back all morning (when most walking happens) and seldom in your face. A baseball cap keeps it out of your eyes after noon. I've brought sunglasses on two caminos and never used them, so they're staying at home.

- Medicine kit – If I need meds I purchase them there rather than carry the extra weight all the time.

- Ear plugs – I’m plenty tired when I hit the sack at night and long ago stopped worrying about the snoring and night sounds of other pilgrims, though they may have to worry about mine ;-)

- Rain poncho – the extra weight of a good rain poncho is too much – a GoreTex rain jacket and pack cover do the trick just fine and the rain jacket doubles as a windbreaker

- Flashlight (aka "torch") – I can find my way to the bathroom at night ok, and I don’t want to be one of those pilgrims who get up at 4:00 a.m. to beat others to the next albergue or who shine flashlights into the eyes of unsuspecting sleeping pilgrims.

- Knife – It’s hard to get these through airport security, and I seldom cook at albergue kitchens, preferring to eat the menu del peregrino each night. If you are cooking, though, a little knife might be nice.

- Guidebook -- The Brierley guidebook is a fabulous resource, but now that I've done a couple of caminos I'm ready to leave it behind. I'll trust instead in the one-page albergue/distance listing the nice folks at the SJPP camino office hand out. That'll save some serious weight in my pack.

- Walking sticks – some swear by these. I’m strong and fit enough at this point in life that they’re a bother to me, but if a person has balance issues or a leg or foot injury they can be a lifesaver. I've only once wished I had a stick to fend off a dog.

- Anything that might mean my pack would have to be checked in for my flight. (note that according to UK regulations Restricted Items Onboard walking sticks/poles are specifically not allowed in the passenger cabin. See this article for US regs Walking stick won't be flying in carry-on baggage: Travel Spot - Los Angeles Times)


  I hope this list is helpful for one and all and look forward to others' ideas to make it better. ˇBuen camino mi amigos!



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