When preparing a long hiking trip such as the Camino Frances you need to make a hiking checklist. Make a packing list for the Camino de Santiago, for pilgrims, and make sure to pack light and take only what you need.
When I started to prepare myself for the Camino I didn’t really know how it all would turn out. I wasn’t a hiker yet and just wanted to challenge myself to walk that famous Camino Trail to Santiago de Compostela. It was a hiking trail of almost 800K, the Camino Frances!! When time passed I started to hike in my surrounding, bought some good hiking essentials such as hiking boots. And I started to think about buying a good hiking backpack that would fit my back.
Soon I started to surf the net for specific Packing list for the Camino de Santiago, looking for gear and equipment everybody needed on a long hikingtrip. I stumbled upon several packing list for hiking trips and hiking checklists. Also the multiple hiking backpack lists are good for some inspiration! More and more it became clear what I really needed and what I could buy along the way.
Tips from former-pilgrims
Everything needs to be as light as possible and it should be dry quickly and easy in use.. I scrolled through different packing lists for hikers and read some really strange things. What do you say about cutting of half of your tooth brush so you only need to take half of it with you??
And so I got my things along the camino, that took me 35 days. Things I thought were easy and handy. I would love to share them with you in my own packlist (checklist) for pilgrims or for that matter, for your long hiking trip.
What to pack on your pilgrimage or hiking trip?
What backpack did I take and what size?
Your hiking backpack is one of the most important things! It needs to be on top of you packing list for the Camino de Santiago. You will hike with that every day and it needs to fit perfectly! In the end I choose the hiking backpack of Osprey. It is a Womens Hiking Backpack and it would fit me better then other backpacks. I didn’t want to take any risks with the fit on my back and I must say that it felt like it was made for me!
It was a 36lt backpack and it was big enough for me. The backpack has some different compartments and was easy in use for me. My wallet and phone/passport was hidden in the top compartment. This was also devided in two different compartments so it was beneath an extra zipper. Not to be taken in one move for that matter.
– Small ladies bag for the evenings.
Next to the hiking backpack I took a small purse, one to hang over my shoulder. It was good to have that for the evenings. And it turned out to be really good on the Camino de Santiago. At the moment I checked in at one of the albergues I could leave the hiking backpack there and take my valuables with me in the small ladies bag. My wallet, passport, smartphone and camera could fit in there. It was full but you’d never need more. I didn’t take any trousers with pockets so for me this was ideal!!
Hiking Equipment / Hiking Essentials
Everywhere I found hiking checklists and I read them all preparing for this great pilgrimage called the Camino Frances. There are a lot of things in there that were valuable for me.
– Good hiking boots – shoes
All hiking trips start with good hiking boots ofcourse! It is also really personal what you like to wear so it is hard to give advice on that. I do like to wear high hiking shoes. I do like it even with flat areas because it does give my ankles a bit support. Before you start your hiking trip you need to walk on your shoes to know if they are a fit for you. Hike at least a 100K on them to really know if they are good in the long run.
Hiking Checklist for the Pilgrim
When I practised at home I’d never hiked with them but once started on the camino I didn’t hike one day without them. This is also personal.. I did see a lot of pilgrims without but there are some benefits on walking with the trekkingpoles.
I had a small carabiner and a big one on my hiking backpack. These are really handy when you need to attach something on your backpack. The big one I used to hang my trekkingpoles on when I needed my hands while hiking for eating or drinking. I could hang them really easy behind my arm in one act. I really liked that!
– Safety pin
For multiple purposes I had this safety pin with me. When I did got 5 blisters on one day during my camino hiking trip I could puncture them with this safety pin. You do need to clean and desinfect it on forehand with some alcohol or a lighter. I used that of a fellow pilgrim 🙂
But almost every day I used it on the backside of my hiking backpack to hang my socks to dry. During every break on the trail I got out of my hiking boots to dry my feet. And when the socks were really wet and changed them and hanged the wet ones with the safety pin on my backpack.
It comes in handy such lamp. When you are in the albergue and need some light at night or early morning and you don’t want to wake up the rest of the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.
Or if you are already outside when it is still dark or twilight you can light your path when hiking on an uneven trail which the camino often is.
Make sure not to blind the fellow pilgrim walking early morning too. I liked walking without a light as soon as possible. Let your eyes adjust to the darkness and experience the path and the awakening of the early day!
– First Aid Kit
This can not miss on any trip especially hiking trips. I have to admit that I left without any blister treatment in it as I never got any blister before. But… I did got them, 5 in one day!! The day I left Burgos, where I stayed in a nice hote….and probably that was the cause of them. I showered myself in the morning feeling happy with a good and private shower… But when walking with soft callus and skin… Don’t ever do that!! And then I had to walk that day over 30K!!
So… Do carry with you the normal First Aid things (band aid, painkillers and such) and add some blister treatments as tape to prevent an upcoming blister and compeed or such. I used the compeed on a couple of them and that felt good.
Packing List for the Camino de Santiago
Hiking Clothes / Hiking Outfit
I ofcourse had as less as possible with me. The Hiking Clothes I did take with me I put in a pressurebag so the volume will be as small as possible. In the end it filled the half of my Osprey Womens Backpack. I went home with a jeans with belt… I can recommend you not to do that… It was in my bag the whole 35 days I was hiking on the Camino. So do travel in your hiking outfit!
2 long yoga leggings 1 half yoga legging 1 short volley-ball shorts
4 shirts with short sleeve 1 shirt with long sleeve 1 training jacket
3 hiking socks 3 bras / 4 strings (not everyone will recommend this but I don’t wear anything else)
Rainponcho (Disposable) Buffy and sun hat
I do hear a lot of you thinkings… I will not hike in those colourful yoga leggings 🙂 I do get that but I love to wear them. I do love the colour and the fact that they are thin, small but surprisingly warm and comfortable. Maybe you should try it once!!
But oke..You can change those for real hiking pants ofcourse. They have specificly pants for long distance hiking. So.. They are really light and no stitches where you skin will irritate on.
How much in your toiletbag?
Tooth brush and – paste Shampoo (100ml) Laundry Detergent (100ml) Bodylotion (100ml) Deodorant (100ml) Tampons/ Sanitary napkins Nail clipper en nail files Sunscreen
100 ml is not much but you can always fill them up again. If you buy a big bottle along the way you can make someone else happy or maybe you are the one to be happy and fill your small bottle some where.
There are a lot of albergues where you can leave something for another pilgrim. So you can help another pilgrim in the days to come.
Sheet bag & microvibre towel
Next to all this I did have my sheet bag with me. I love to sleep in my own sleeping bag while traveling. I don’t like to lie down an a matras where everybody has been sweating on in the past… So this silk/cotton sleeping bag is perfect for me. I have this Cocoon Travelsheet already for years and I do love it!
A towel is necessary too ofcourse. I haven’t seen a single albergue where they offer towels. I had this super quickly drying micro vibre towel. I had one towel with me, the size of a normal one, size M.
Food & Drinks
Ofcourse you need to take some food and drinks with you when you hike on the Camino Frances for hours. I always had 2 half lt bottles with me. On each side of my backpack was one. Sometimes one was switched with a coca cola bottle for some taste and sugar. Also a good thing drinking coca cola while travelling because it kills all the bacteria in your stomach and intestines. That is also why you will never see me drinking this at home! It is really bad!
I also took a bag with me with bread, fruit and some cheese or such for lunch. If you suddenly get hungry and need some food you always have that. Also it is good for your lunch, eating it at a great spot along the route. It saves you a lot of money also if you buy your food in a local store instead of sitting at a bar and ordering your food. Once in a while that is relaxed too 🙂
Practical Packlist for Pilgrims
Next to the things that can not miss on your packing list there are some luxury things you just take with you. Just because you like to, because you can’t life without… An extra K for my peace of mind was not a single problem for me. A checklist for hikers is mostly practical but we also want to make it easy for ourselves right?
What extras do you take?
I ofcourse took my smartphone and my photocamera (Panasonic Lumix). But I also had to take my small laptop (Asus). With this comes some cables and a plug. I used a plug with multiple USB openings to spare some space.
I did want to write a good and detailed report every day. If you do it on your smartphone you will slim it and shorten it. Only for that purpose I took that extra 1K in my hiking backpack and I didn’t regret that one bit!
No Camino without this!
If you start your Camino and register yourself as a pilgrim you get your pilgrimspassport or Credential. This passport means that you are hiking the camino and will give you acces to the many albergues along the trail. The albergues are not expensive and give you also the pilgrim meal in the evening time. I loved those meals, you sit mostly on a table with maybe 5 to 10 fellow pilgrims eating your dinner. This will cost you, same as the night, around 10 to 15 euro is gives you 3 courses & water or wine.
You will have to need cash money in a lot of places. Make sure to always have some euros with you. More and more you can use the ATM but there are a lot of small villages where this is not possible yet. You will get warned when there is a longer part of the trail upcoming where you need cash money.
Camino Trail Book. To walk this trail you hardly need clues for directions. But..it is nice to read upfront or to look what the spots of interests are on your next journey. Highlights and heavy parts of the trail are described in there. I did like my little Rother Hiking Guide.
What did my backpack weight?
The totall weight of my backpack was around 6 to 7 K and I carried it with pleasure. After the first day I had some painfull spots on my hips. I was afraid that it would bother me but in the next days I didn’t felt a thing anymore.
My womens hiking backpack was a perfect fit for me!!
But is there anything else? Do you bring a symbolic item with you?
Do you take a stone?
Lots of people are on the camino because they have to process something. The hiking and particularly the many days hiking has a meditative and because of that psychological and healing effect on us. Cruz de Ferro is a place on the Camino where lot of pilgrim leave there burden. This a place where since decades pilgrims leave a stone, a stone they have been carrying from home… They leave their burden symbolic underneath the cross and free themselves and go on to Santiago de Compostela.
I still miss my pilgrim life!!
I can recommend anyone to do this hiking trail. Do the whole Camino and fully experience the pilgrim life!!
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