Packing your Bag for the Camino de Santiago posted: 2014-05-08 15:18:31
The items you pack for walking the Camino will vary depending on the length and difficulty of your chosen route as well as your own personal tastes and requirements. There are, however, a few golden rules you should follow when packing your bag.
Should you ask, the first piece of advice from someone who has previously walked the Camino, is usually "pack light!". What most Camino walkers find hardest is carrying their luggage on their back all day. Luckily, if you book your holiday through Follow the Camino, you can use our luggage transfer services so you don't have to carry your full bag from hotel to hotel. Our normal baggage allowance is one item, with a maximum of 20kg per person but if you need to add more bags just contact us in advance. Either way, travelling light allows you to really enjoy the adventure.
So, what should you pack? Well, when packing your bags for the Camino, always prioritise comfort over fashion. Pack a sturdy, but comfortable, pair of hiking boots. Make sure to wear the boots in and get used to them before your departure date. If you are walking the Camino during the summer, it is better to bring trekking shoes instead, as boots will be very uncomfortable in the heat.
Pack appropriate trousers for hiking. Jeans are a poor choice as they are too hot in the sun, not warm enough when it's cold and have poor water resistance. Bring pants made from waterproof, breathable materials (long pants are essential, shorts are optional but are great for the summer). Also, take a selection of light, long sleeved and short sleeved shirts with you.
Even in the height of summer you may encounter adverse conditions: a thin waterproof jacket is perfect as its light to carry and not too hot to wear. To ensure your pack stays dry, bring a rain jacket large enough to fit around both you and the bag, or choose a bag with a protective coat. A warm fleece is ideal for cool to cold evenings. If you are walking in winter you will most certainly need added protection from the elements. In which case, items such as thermal pants, hats and gloves are essential.
Bring several pairs of socks and underwear. Make sure to avoid taking cotton socks with you, as the material soaks and holds sweat, which in turn inhibits blisters. You will also need to bring a small selection of toiletries including toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap. Along with your hiking gear, you will probably also want to pack some casual clothing to wear during downtimes, for example, having dinner in your hotel. If your luggage is taken care of during the day, you only need to carry a light daypack of around 4kg and 15-20 litres capacity.
One of the most essential items to put in your daypack is sweat and water resistant sun-cream. Sunglasses and a light hat are also a smart choice, particularly in midsummer. Water fountains can be rare on certain routes so it's worth bringing a water bottle or camel bag with you, particularly when you're walking remote rural stretches. Light snacks are always great to bring as they help to keep energy levels high.
Packing some basic first aid items, such as plasters and painkillers, is a smart move but you don't need to bring a whole pharmacy with you. There are other items you can bring along on the trip, such as playing cards, small musical instrument or reading materials to pass the time. A flashlight can also prove useful, particularly if you're travelling in the shorter winter days. Above all, only bring things you'd be comfortable carrying around for the day - it's a physically challenging experience, and there's no need to make it harder!
You can check out our Equipment List article on our website. It lists more of the essential items you will need to bring with you on your Camino trip.
If you have any questions about the Camino de Santiago tours or our services, then please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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