Decisions, decisions, decisions. Erik and I have spent many hours discussing, reading blogs and purchasing clothing and gear for our Camino, then packing and weighing, repacking and weighing again. And still we are uncertain. So much depends on personal preference and the weather. There is no single one-size-fits-all packing list for a pilgrim and the debates are many.
Boots or trail shoes? Rain coat or poncho? 1 pair of pants or two? Rain pants or not?
And for every question, there is a seasoned or newbie pilgrim, ready to dole out advice.
Ultimately, you must decide what is right for you – what is most comfortable, what can you afford, what you can carry – and then live with that decision. (And even then, you can always buy things along the way, donate things you wish you hadn’t brought, or mail things off to Santiago if you decide want them back at the end of your journey.)
You also need to consider the weather for the month you are walking. Do your research. Look for common themes when reading the blogs of other pilgrims. Find people who are similar to you in age/fitness/weight etc, who are walking at the same time of year, and see if their suggestions make sense to you.
So – here is my list. And it is MY list. I’m not suggesting my list is right for others. I’m just saying it is what I think is right for me, at this point in my life. And after our trip, I have absolutely NO doubt, that I will revise this list.
But first, I’m going to explain why I have made some of the decisions I did.
Shoes – 2 pairs of Saucony Peregrine 5 trail shoes (yes two pairs) and flip flops
I have hard-to-fit feet. I struggle to find any kind of shoe that is comfortable for me. I have tried several kinds of hiking boots but can’t stand them. I waffled back and forth on Gortex shoes but finally decided against them primarily because the waterproof version of my shoes were not comfortable, plus I don’t like the idea of sweaty feet in Gortex when it is warm out. I have worn this brand and style of trail shoes for at least 3 years. I have worn the current 2 pairs just enough to ensure they are comfy, but not enough to start wearing them out. I have tested them on all terrains, in all weather, and know I can walk long distances in these shoes.
Many pilgrims, except the true minimalists, suggest having a back up pair of shoes or sandals to wear once you arrive at your destination. This gives your regular shoes a chance to dry out and your feet a chance to rest. I have a pair of excellent Ecco sandals that I’ve done a lot of walking in and I seriously considered taking them along. However, they weigh over 600 grams, heavier than my trail shoes. Therefore, I have decided to take a second identical pair of trail shoes instead of the sandals. Also, since my trail shoes are not waterproof, it might be nice to be able to switch shoes mid day. Added bonus – Erik has offered to carry my extra shoes, saving me a little over a pound of weight. Thanks honey!
I’m also taking a pair of lightweight flip flops for wearing around the hostels and/or in the shower.
Socks – I tried many kinds of socks over the past year – some expensive, some cheap. Ultimately, I am going with a Merino wool blend sock that I got for a great deal at Costco. I’ve worn them all winter and they are super comfy. I tried doing the double sock thing but it just feels uncomfortable to me.
Rain gear – I’m going with a Marmot Precip Jacket but no rain pants or poncho. The rain pants seem like they would only be needed if it was really hard, sideways driving rain, day after day and I don’t like the idea of being sweaty under them. My RAB Helix pants are ‘weather resistant’ and when I’ve walked in the rain, the water seems to just roll off. I figured if they do get wet, I can always switch out and put on my other pair. And if it’s warm enough, I might just wear my capris and let my legs get wet. I’ve also decided that if I can always buy a pair of rain pants or a poncho along the way if I find I’m really missing them.
And for those of you who think I don’t need to be carrying two pairs of pants AND my capris, I plan to mail the extra pair to Santiago if I find I’m just not using them. However, since I’m saving weight by not carrying rain pants and a poncho, I don’t think the extra 245 grams for the 2nd pair of pants is all that much to carry.
Finally – I’ve made a personal decision to carry my vitamins, toothpaste, conditioner and face wash. It is more weight than I really need and I know I can pick up similar kinds of products along the way, but I don’t want to. I want my own stuff – and I need a special brand of toothpaste that I may not be able to find on the Camino. The good news, my back pack will get lighter as I use them up, right? 😉
So here is the list, and at below that is a photo of everything.
My loaded backpack with 500 ml of water, less the clothes I am wearing and my 2nd pair of shoes that Erik is carrying for me, will weigh about 13.3 lbs when I start. My goal was 13 lbs so overall I’m pretty happy.
Camino Packing Weight in pdf form for download.
Finally, if you are interested in looking more closely at my clothing choices, you can find most of them on my Kelownagurl Pinterest board called My Camino Gear. This link should take you there.
Erik is taking much the same gear, but different brands etc. If he even gets his list typed up and a photo taken, I will write up a blog post for him too.
ETA: My fleece is actually and R1, not an R2.
ETA: The POST-CAMINO Packing List Post can be found here.