I completed the Camino Frances at the end of October 2018. I wanted to come back to my packing list to share the lessons I learned a long the way. Beforehand I had read so many blogs and books about the Camino that I felt prepared, but of course, there’s nothing like actually doing it. I hope these tips help someone on their adventure. I also wanted to do this update because a few months after I finished (and after my knees stopped hurting) I realized that I absolutely want to walk the Camino again someday. It was that valuable of an experience both in the things I enjoyed, the time I had to think, the friends I made, and the challenges I faced, both physical and mental.
Since I walked in the Fall (September/October) layers were a must. My backpack was the Woman’s Flash 45 from REI, and it was a great choice as it was comfortable the whole time. I bought hiking poles in St Jean Pied de Port before I start walking (and left them in Santiago as to not worry about getting them back on the plane). About two weeks in, I purged even further so much of the edits to my packing list are what I left behind in a hotel room. Of the things I left behind I only replace one thing. I bought a pair of running tights to sleep in.
2 long sleeve shirts – one was a sun shirt so could be worn on warm or cold days
1 short sleeve shirt
1 pull over – long sleeves; I bought a fleece a long the way. I still had the pull over but could have made due with just the fleece.
2 pair hiking pants (can be rolled up to Capri length)
1 pair running tights (to sleep in and if needed extra layer for warmth)
3 quick dry underwear
3 pair socks
1 rain jacket
1 pair rain pants
1 pair hiking shoes – Oboz (I’d actually something softer as much of the Camino is paved so next time I will probably wear trail runners.)
1 pair Keen Whisper Sandals – not needed as I had flip flops too. Next time I will bring slipons or even Crocs – something that can double as shower shoes and evening shoes that can be worn with socks. (I’d rather be warm than fashionable.)
Buff – This was an incredibly useful item. I bought two more along the way as useful souvenirs. I wore them during the day to keep my hair out of my face and in the evening to put my wet hair up, used them as a “sleeve” to keep the sun off my arm (the sun was on my left side much of the time as I was walking West), pillow covering, strap cushion on my backpack and eye mask a few nights.
Stocking hat I was lucky with the weather so would only take again if going later in the year. A buff worked well enough for me most days so the hat didn’t get used until the last week.
gloves – I wore them a few mornings, but they came off pretty quickly so could be left behind.
dry bag – for all clean clothes
plastic bag – I used this for dirty clothes and was also very useful to take into the shower as there was often only one hook. That way clean clothes could stay dry. It was a tip I picked up on the way. Next time I will take a reusable bag that is waterproof but a plastic shopping beg with sturdy handles works.
iPad and charger chord This is a tough call because I used the iPad often as I kept a blog but next time I would probably leave it behind because of the weight.
Camera, extra battery and charger I rarely used my camera as it was just too convenient to take photos on my iPhone instead.
iPhone and charger chord (Recommend a extra long chord)
Card reader not needed as I could post photos from my iPhone directly to my blog or Instagram etc.
Ear buds – I started with two pairs but gave one to someone who had lost her pair.
Pillow case Not needed at most places and if I didn’t want to lay my head on the pillow I used a buff.
Small mesh bag for laundry (washing bras)
lightweight collapsible purse
Rock from home to leave at the Cruz de Ferro
Pilgrim Credential and copy of passport page in a waterproof bag
Passport, credit card, bank card (+ backups), Euros / USD
Journal/Pen – I left the journal behind in the hotel because I was doing a blog but might reconsider it next time
Safety pins/ clothes pins
Spork never used it
Rain cover for backpack
1 pair earrings / necklace – plus I bought earrings along the way as souvenirs
Light sleeping bag (1 lb)
Copy of flight itinerary, reservation information and travel insurance – next time I would eliminate all paper since it could all be on my iPhone
Turkish towel – this was so worth the extra space it took as I could wear it as a sarong after a shower
Lush shampoo bar (in wax paper in small tin)
Small conditioner / small leave in conditioner
Small body lotion
Contacts / solution / case
Travel tooth brush / tooth paste / dental floss
Razor (top only, no handle)
Half bar Dr. Bonner’s soap in ziplock – could have taken the full bar
Extra ziplock bags
Bag with S hook to hag in shower
Tampons / liners
Advil / Benadryl / Zantac
Foot glide stick
Band-Aids / mole skin