If the idea of walking 800 kilometres across northern Spain isn’t scary enough, the fact that you have to carry everything you might need on this journey on your back will surely give your stomach a knot or two. After months of research (and obsessing) over what to pack, the type of backpack, which shoes to wear and so on, the time has finally come where my backpack is packed and I am ready to go.
The first thing I did was to research the type of backpack I will need. I was very specific that I do not just want a backpack for the Camino, but one that i can use for future travels as well. This meant that I was looking in the 50 to 60 litre range. Many a pilgrim who have done the Camino will surely jump in here to say that such a big back is far to excessive. A man of my size and built should actually only be carrying a 40 to 45 litre pack. Apart from the size I had another very specific requirement. My pack must be able to open from the front as well as the top. This made my choice very limited. After weeks of reading online reviews, watching YouTube reviews and going from outdoor store to outdoor store to fit packs I finally decided on the Osprey Aether 60. The pack is really great and it has a lot of compression straps which will really help to reduce the volume of the pack as I most certainly will not pack it to capacity for the Camino.
Once the backpack was sorted I needed to get all my gear sorted out. My wife and I will be doing the Camino during Autumn and from what I’ve read we needed to be prepared for all kinds of weather. This made planning what gear to buy a little tricky as we did not want to over pack. After all everybody recommend that you only carry about 10% of your body weight, and that includes your water. Over the past 4 months we steadily started buyng our gear for the Camino. This was great as we did not have to buy everything at once, and it also gave us some time to really think about all the gear we needed. We’ve read of so many pilgrims who start dumping their gear along The Way as their packs are just too heavy. We most certainly do not want to do that.
So, finally, after months of planning, researching and shopping – I packed my backpack yesterday and I can gladly say that it is within the 10% limit (including my water).
So, here is my list of things i packed for the Camino:
- 2 x technical t-shirts
- 1 x technical vest shirt
- 2 x short tights (to avoid chafing)
- 1 x long tights (if it’s cold)
- 1 x pair of zipped pants (can convert to shorts)
- 1 x technical shorts
- 1 x fleece top
- 4 x pairs of wool hiking socks
- 1 x rain coat
- 1 x pyjama shorts
- 1 x Salomon Trail runners
- 1 x pair flip flops (for the shower)
- 1 x knee guard (I have weak knee)
- 1 x buff
- 1 x sun cap
- sleeping bag
- pillow case
- technical towel
- water bottle (500 ml)
- water bladder (2 litre)
- rope (to hang our washing)
- safety pins (you never know)
- money belt
- eye mask
- ear plugs
- small toothpaste
- bug repellent
- deodorant (probable pointless)
- band aid
- needle and thread (for blisters) (hopefully we never have to use it)
- pain ointment
- medication includes tablets for nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain and muscle pain.
And that’s it. Apart from the medication I am sure I will be using every item in my bag at least once every two days. If not I think I will chuck it. The biggest challenge is to accept the fact that you may forget something, but luckily as many past pilgrims remind you Spain has everything you need. And for everything else, they say The Way provides. Buen Camino!