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camino gear thoughts - what worked

Pawel

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF+Muxia, Sep/Oct 2015
CF+Fin Sep/Oct 2017
I would like to share my thoughts about gear/equipment that I took with me on my Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago and then to Finisterre, Muxia and back to Santiago. I walked mostly in October (well, from Sept 26th to Oct 31st) so this is the timeframe it refers to. During these 36 days I walked about 1050km.

NB: it is ‘my way’ which in many things differs from Yours. Since then I’ve changed or removed some items, which is stated in the list.

First the summary:

I loved it.

I haven’t missed anything. Got all I need for warm, sunny, wet, windy, rainy, cold or combination of any of those days. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, I have made some changes (noted in [] brackets).

Getting down to numbers (being physicist :) ): FSO was 6,9kg + 1kg of water (see comments below concerning food and water) and usually around 0,3kg of food (18,1lb). That meant 4,3kg+1,3kg (12,3lb) in backpack and rest on me. At about 63kg it meant 13% and 9% respectively.

I am a strong advocate/supporter of preparation (but not over preparation) to every undertaking and also of Lord Vetinari ;). Not of overpreparation. By preparation I mean: mental, physical, equipment, backup, planning, reading about history and culture. Preparation was part of the Camino and gave me so much fun.

I kept and keep spreadsheet with equipment divided into three categories: carried/worn, in backpack and food&water. It has sums, colours, place in the backpack. Almost all items that were once in the game, stay on the list. For comparison. I attach .pdf of one of my spreadsheets to help You understand what I mean. Also I ate dinners outside, never cooked by my own. In the morning or evening (when needed) main food were almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, hazel-nuts, yoghurts, tuna, salmon, occasionally some chocolate, tons of apples and bananas. I usually went shopping after walk to not to carry food from one place to another. And I never left an Albergue without a breakfast.


OK, the list and comments:

1. Packing (1,086kg)

1.1. Backpack – Osprey Talon 33 M/L (0,89kg). Light, comfortable, with many pockets and plenty of space. External water bladder space is just one awesome pocket. Side stretch pockets are within my reach so I used (removed from the pocket and put back in) half a litre bottles without taking off the backpack. Hip belt pockets carried camera (as pointed out on some other forum, that camera that is hard to reach, discourages You from taking pictures) in one and various stuff according to the weather in the other. It has one top lid access – very comfortable, I packed my things always the same way. Front mesh pocket kept rain gear. [for 2016 I have already switched to Talon 22, as this was 1/3 empty]

1.2. Raincover – Osprey Ultra Light S-size raincover (0,084kg). It is not integrated. Might be smaller, but next one, XS is too small. Just be aware that after long, heavy precipitation hip belt and harness will soak water and some parts under rain cover can be a little bit damp.

1.3. Day bag – Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Bag (0,042). Used almost daily for groceries. Didn’t use plastic bags when not needed.

1.4. Water container - two half litre water bottles (0,02kg). Used for many days. Refilled frequently and refilled only half full 90% of time. There are plenty of water sources along the way. And there are no bonus points for carrying water from start to finish.

1.5. Plastic bags – ziplock (6pcs, two sizes) and trash plastic bags (7pcs, too many) (all 0,05kg). Used when actual ziplock bags developed holes. Trash bag as an ultimate backpack liner and always for rain jacket, so there was no friction between it and other stuff.

2. Sleeping (0,295kg)

2.1. Sleeping bag – Cumulus Magic Zip 125 (0,295kg) – down, light and small sleeping bag. Used as a bag or quilt according to temperature. Great.

3. Raingear (0,380kg)

3.1. Rain jacket – Marmot Supermica M (0,293kg) – light, small, waterproof :). Useful pockets, adjustable hood (sometimes it was windy), pitzips for ventilation. Great one.

3.2. Gaiters – Quechua Forclaz 50 Mini (0,087kg) – used several times in windy and rainy weather. Light without any fancy stuff. Worked well. [won’t take gaiters another time, will switch for rain pants TNF Venture 1/2 zip that cover shoes]

4. Clothes (1,716kg)

4.1. Underwear – Quechua Boxer Shorts (0,054kg each) – 3 pairs – there were three or four situations when hand washing clothes didn’t make sense due to rain, lack of washer, dryer and no chances for drying. So dirty went socks and underwear went to the next stop where I washed it. Other than those extraordinary situations I hand washed or machine wash used clothes every day.

4.2. Socks – Quechua Forclaz 700 Strap (0,056kg each) – 3 pairs – two layer low (ankle high) trekking socks. Comfortable and worked well. Due to some injury (insect bite?) I had to buy pair of high trekking socks in outdoor shop in Astorga to relieve pressure a little bit over ankles. One pair worked as gloves for several days after Leon. [Next time I’m going to take two low and one high pairs]

4.3. Long sleeve shirt – Quechua Techwool 155 S (0,165kg) – Merino wool shirt, light, ideal for layering. Cheap and expendable – outer layer.

4.4. Long sleeve shirt – Kwark Merino Wool 060901 S (0,099kg) – very lightweight shirt, used as one of the layers or as a scarf :).

4.5. Short sleeve shirt – Kwark Merino Wool 060902 S (0,075kg) – as above, very light, one of the layers on cold days.

4.6. Warm long sleeve blouse – Kwark Power Stretch Pro 080101 M (0,25kg) – warm layer, simple great blouse that I use under dry suit for white water kayaking, trail running and other activities. Second role was a pillow.

Layering: on warm or hot days I used long sleeve techwool or Kwark short sleeve merino wool shirts respectively. On other, colder any combination of short/long sleeve merino wool as a base layer, power stretch and again long sleeve Techwool merino wool shirt as an outer layer. On windy and/or rainy days I added rain jacket to those combinations.

4.7. Hat – TNF Hiker HyVent Hat (0,09kg) – wide brimmed, waterproof hat with drawcord and velcros to fold sides.

4.8. Buff – simple buff from Fjord Nansen (0,035kg) – used as a cap on cold days or as a scarf.

4.9. Pants – Milo Velan S (0,322kg) – all pockets with zippers, some stronger material here and there (not really necessary) and drawcords at the bottom of the legs – very, very useful to quickly transform those into shorts on the way.

4.10. Convertible pants – Jack Wolfskin Activate Zip Off M (0,319kg) – used as shorts, never actually used legs. Zippered back pocket (important) and two huge leg pockets that could hold kindle and notebook. [Next time legs will stay home]

4.11. Belt – Belt from Milo Nevada pants (0,031kg) – lightest I have, of course one for used interchangeably in both pants. In that one You do not have to remove whole belt from the buckle to open it.

5. Shoes (1,770kg)

5.1. Walking shoes – Keen Ketchum (1,49kg) – well heavy but… extremely comfortable and I have walked more than 1300km in those before the Camino. Leather, waterproof (and proved it), high boots. On the other hand on CF I didn’t need such boots. Just not necessary. Terrain is easy. [changed to Zamberlan’s SH 130 Crosser GTX]

5.2. Sandals – Tribord S100 (0,28kg) – light, quick drying sandals that I used for showers and after walking. Decided to take those over Tevas’ Hurricane xlt (0,52kg!) and it was good decision. I didn’t need such grip and sole that have Tevas. Wherever/whenever possible I quit sandals and let feet breathe more easily.

6. Hygiene (0,457kg)

6.1. Wash bag – Deuter Wash Bag Lite (0,038kg) – wasn’t sure if it is superfluous, but was great for all stuff and allowed me to keep it in order. well, light. The strap was useful.

6.2. Toothbrush (0,022g)

6.3. Toothpaste – small container 25ml (0,04kg) – there is no need to carry 75-100ml ones. If it is going to end soon, just buy another one. Used 3 or 4 of similar size during the Way.

6.4. Mini deodorant in spray (0,04kg) – something like small oldspice or nivea (around 35ml?) which are very common along the Way. Used 3-4 of those. There is no need to carry bigger ones.

6.5. Soap in mesh bag (0,105kg) – I didn’t bother with smaller soaps. Used standard 100g block for showers, as a shampoo and for washing clothes. During the day soap in mesh bag hanged outside backpack (but restrained by some loops not to dangle too much) to dry.

6.6. Cream – in small nivea box 30ml (0,035kg) – various creams that I put into that box during the Way.

6.7. Towel – Fjord Nansen Tramp Light L (0,088kg) – thin, quick drying in mesh bag (unnecessary). During the day interleaved through backpack loops to dry.

6.8. Shaving – Mach3 with two blades (0,038kg) – used soap instead of shaving foam/gel. Every four days.

6.9. Toilet paper (0,065kg) and hankerchiefs (0,025kg) – for those occasions when paper in Albergue is gone. Used only two or three times. Priceless. I didn’t carry spare packs of handkerchiefs, just one or two. If I ran out of those, just folded toilet paper and put in the pocket.

7. First aid (0,030kg)

7.1. Compeed, some plasters (0,03kg this includes needles and threads) – not much. I only developed one painless blister on right leg’s little toe. And then just bought betadine in pharmacy.

7.2. Needles, threads (thin and stronger thicker).

8. Papers, documents (0,068kg)

8.1. Photocopy of ID, EHIC, insurance card with important (family and friends) phone numbers and addresses (0,01kg).

8.2. ID (0,005kg), ATM/debit card (0,006kg), EHIC (0,006), insurance card (0,006kg), code card (0,005kg).

8.3. Credential (0,015kg) – I took two. Not necessary. I have run out of spaces for stamps, so had to combine two with adhesive tape. [for the next time I have printed it another way with more stamp spaces].

9. Washing (0,040kg)

9.1. Clothes line – small amount of line (0,02kg). I hadn’t had any problems with space on clothes’ lines in Albergues. Probably unnecessary [and won’t take it again].

9.2. Safety pins – 10pcs (0,02kg). Used several times when socks were still wet in the morning to hang them on the backpack.

10. Other stuff (0,245kg)

10.1. Sunglasses – Arroyo with two removable lenses in soft cloth packing (0,067kg) – I took category 2 and 3 lenses and only used one of them - category 2 (for sun and… rain!). IMO very useful even if almost whole time I walked west [will leave one pair of lenses home next time].

10.2. Knife – Victorinox SAK rambler (0,03kg) – accepted in cabin baggage. Had small knife, scissors, tweezers. Useful. Mostly scissors

10.3. Nailclipper – from Victorinox (0,019kg).

10.4. Notebook – standard around 20 pages/cards A5 size paper notebook without covers (0,034kg) – essential for my Spanish learning. Noted words from one side and grammar from the other. Fits into shorts’ leg pockets.

10.5. Pen (0,004kg) and Pencil (0,01kg) – for postcards and Spanish learning.

10.6. Gaffer tape (0,02kg) – just in case. Just in case? Not used. [won’t take again].

10.7. Carabiners – two small s-biners (0,004kg) – very useful for hanging some stuff here and there (like soap mesh bag) or binging all together (towel, soap, wash bag).

10.8. Camino forum badge (0,005kg) – actually two badges (red and blue) sewn together with hanging loop by me to hang outside the backpack.

10.9. Cutlery – Light my fire Spork (0,01kg) – essential for breakfasts, small suppers. For yoghurts, tuna cans, salmon packs, nuts.

10.10. Wallet – Deuter Security Wallet I (0,03kg) – kept in a zippered pocket. Never actually put it around neck. Got all what was needed to keep cards, credential in ziplock bag and paper money.

11. Electronics (0,815kg)

11.1. Phone – LG G2 in cover (0,184kg) – smart phone with large capacity battery. Used to jot down all expenses in googlesheets. Also for distances. Had Gerald Kelly’s and CaminoPilgrim programmes – great! Also had offline google translate with several languages downloaded. It sometimes worked as a camera (when the latter was left in the Albergue). There was no shortage of power outlets and I had no problems with recharging the phone (this means that there was no need for power banks). So I used endomondo, gps every day and always recharged phone in the evening (well single charge was enough for sth like 4 days with the tracker on). I used my SIM card, cause in EU prices are reasonably low. Bought internet plan which I used mostly for weather forecasts.

I had a saying: no e-mails, no facebook, no selfies. Worked.

11.2. Watch – Timex expedition t49950 (0,079kg) – nice watch with several features including vibration alarm which starts to ‘ring’ before normal acoustic alarm, so I don’t make noise in the (not so early) mornings. Hydration alarm etc.

11.3. Compact camera – Sony DSC-HX5V (0,202kg) – compact camera with lot of features, gps stamp. I didn’t take spare battery, ditched it shortly before departure. It was not necessary, I just recharged battery when needed. I took many nice pictures with it, so it stays for another Camino (yes, it is a luxury item). Carried in cloth pack (same type as for sunglasses).

11.4. Chargers – for camera (0,08kg) and phone/kindle (0,053kg) – IMO it was useful to take high current charger for the phone, so I could quickly charge it in parallel to other activities.

11.5. Pendrive (0,01kg) – used for friend to download and print plane ticket. Otherwise it carried all data, spreadsheets, scans of documents that I also put on my e-mail account as a backup.

11.6. E-reader – Kindle Paperwhite II (0,207kg) - with Gerald Kelly’s guides, Sylvia Yates’ and others. I read remaining 5 or 6 Pratchett Discworld novels and few others once again during the Way. Also purchased e-books for Spanish and used them along the way to learn Spanish again.

12. Food and water (up to ~1,300kg)

12.1. Food (0,3kg) – nuts, apples and bananas. I quickly resigned from carrying much e.g. two bananas and just bought them along the way. There were so many villages, shops etc. that there was really no need to carry substantial amount of food. Rather a snack.

12.2. Water (0,5-1kg) – at the beginning I carried two full half litre bottles but it quickly turned out that it is not necessary and continued with bottles half full. There are lot of water sources along the way and stretches without one for long distance (e.g. 17km after Carrion de los Condes) can be handled easily by taking full litre, walking that part in the morning, or taking another bottle. AFAIR there were only few more long stretches (up to 13km) without water sources. I usually drank at the source and refilled bottles.

So the summary number II (equipment):

Equipment changed: backpack (talon 33 to talon 22); shoes (boots to speed hiking shoes); one pair of socks (ankle high to calf high);

Equipment removed: gaiters, second sunglasses lenses, gaffer tape, pencil, second credential, legs for convertible pants, towel mesh bag.

Equipment added: rain pants.

And that removed another 1kg from carried and worn equipment.
 

camster

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2019
Thanks for the detailed list and especially your appreciation of each item!
I have a few questions.
Why will you be using calf-high socks next time instead of ankle-high ones? (I'm guessing bc of gravel getting into them or chaffing behind the foot?)
No poncho? Weren't you afraid of getting things wet inside your pack, even with the ziplocs/trash bag?
How about your pack straps staying wet after the rain? :/
From what I see you did not have a waist pack, only the wallet, which you didn't use. Did you keep all your valuables in your backpack? What did you do with your important papers when you went out into town shopping or visiting?
Thank you for your insights!
ETA: haha that's a lot of questions. Sounds like an interrogation! ...
 

Stuart Lennon

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances over 5 years - beginning in October 2016
Great detailed post. I have the Talon. In your opinion, no need for the water bladder then?
Why did you find sunglasses so useful?
I was looking to leave these at home (I will almost certainly lose them otherwise)
Did you get a lot of rain? I am considering a pack cover and a jacket. My shoes are not waterproof anyway, so I am going to stick to shorts regardless of weather.
 

Pawel

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF+Muxia, Sep/Oct 2015
CF+Fin Sep/Oct 2017
Thanks for the detailed list and especially your appreciation of each item!
I have a few questions.
Why will you be using calf-high socks next time instead of ankle-high ones? (I'm guessing bc of gravel getting into them or chaffing behind the foot?)
No poncho? Weren't you afraid of getting things wet inside your pack, even with the ziplocs/trash bag?
How about your pack straps staying wet after the rain? :/
From what I see you did not have a waist pack, only the wallet, which you didn't use. Did you keep all your valuables in your backpack? What did you do with your important papers when you went out into town shopping or visiting?
Thank you for your insights!
ETA: haha that's a lot of questions. Sounds like an interrogation! ...


Hi,
Concerning socks: I developed some pain in my right shinbone during short orange juice break. No bump, impact, anything (insect bite?) It just started in Villacazar de Sirga end ended 200km later in Ponferrada. I found that my short socks had to be lowered to move pressure lower so I bought calf-high in Astorgas main square Camino store. With different pressure distribution from socks it was much better.

I had no poncho. For rainy days everything was put in two trash bags (ultimate waterproofing :) ), one for sleeping bag and one for the rest. Other stuff in ziplock bags and backpack was protected by raincover. Of course pack straps got wet, hip belt also. More important thing IMO was to keep raincover in place i.e. high with loose part over the top of the pack - it was a little bit bigger that backpack, so it tended to hang in the bottom and slowly collect water. Even then all is OK until I put backpack on the floor.
I had three rainy days (tons, tons of water): from Pereje to O Cebreiro, Negreira to Olveiroa and Muxia to Olveiroa, and several others with small rains.

Wallet - I should have written that I never wore it hanging around my neck. Both long and short pants have zippered back pocket in which it stayed. I always kept it with me (shower, washing, eating, ok always). Other valuables were: phone and kindle. Phone always went with me. Kindle usually (shorts have large leg pockets).

Happy to help.

--
pawel
 

Pawel

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF+Muxia, Sep/Oct 2015
CF+Fin Sep/Oct 2017
Great detailed post. I have the Talon. In your opinion, no need for the water bladder then?
Why did you find sunglasses so useful?
I was looking to leave these at home (I will almost certainly lose them otherwise)
Did you get a lot of rain? I am considering a pack cover and a jacket. My shoes are not waterproof anyway, so I am going to stick to shorts regardless of weather.

Hi,

I used water bladder compartment for some equipment (chargers, first aid kit, threads and needles, some minor things). I considered bladder during preparation, but resigned due to weight, cost and refilling - two small bottles are light, cheap and expendable, easy to refill. Water bladder can also be, with some more effort.
On CF we walk west, but still on many days sun was very strong and I usually look around and back during walk. On the other occasions they served great as a shield from wind and rain.
As written above: I had three torrential rain days. And several other with minor precipitation. On those three days, and especially during way back from Muxia to Olveiroa, my waterproof shoes (leather, membrane) gave up, cause water came down the pants and anyway almost all paths, roads etc turned into streams.
For backpack and raincover please see post above.

--
pawel
 

Pawel

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF+Muxia, Sep/Oct 2015
CF+Fin Sep/Oct 2017
and the list mentioned in the post

--
pawel
 

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Amy1989

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2016)
Great list, thank you! As a first timer planning my trip, it was very helpful. Also, the fact that you mention Lord Vetinari makes me so happy. Been Camino!
 

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