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Equipment list for the first Camino

Umiaki

New Member
Hi!
I've been planning the Camino for some time now and gradually buying the stuff needed. As I normally do trekking I have a bag sized 65+10l. It is much larger than the ones usually recommended for Camino but it also has a very sturdy waist belt than can carry almost all the weight. The pack itself weighs about 2.3 kilos.
I am going to walk from Le Puy to Santiago (hopefully Finisterre) - August and September (possibly 60 - 65 days) and sleep in Albergues.

I plan to wear:

shorts (and underwear of course :p )
short-sleeved t-shirt
hat
trekking socks
light gore-tex Scarpa boots

And the bag will hold:

2nd pair of shorts
2nd short-sleeved t-shirt
2 pairs of socks
2 pairs of underwear
jacket (hooded pertex+fleece jacket)
pertex trousers
rain poncho
crocs sandals
a large "Arabian" scarf
small towel
light gloves
necessary first-aid (pain-killers, sunscreen...)
toothbrush and paste, soap and shampoo
small scissors
sleeping bag
sleeping pad (EVA foam Therm-a-Rest)
small gas bomb and a cooker (a bit of luxury)
lightweight cup and pot

and somewhere hanging my waist or neck :) :
passport, documents, wallet, knife and spoon

The weight of the bag is 8 kilos without water and food which makes about 12 -13 kilos total.
I know the "10% rule" which in my case says 7 kilos... which seems sheer sci-fi :) Do you think it's waaaay too much?
And also what do you think about light merino (130 or 140) as a base layer? I have atopic skin and merino seems the most comfortable and anti-bacterial...
 
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You've got way too much. :) Trust me, you want as light a pack as possible. Otherwise, you will be miserable & cause yourself a lot of problems & possibly injuries. I'm sure Sil will respond to your post; she's the queen of all pilgrimages & can help you whittle down your equipment list in no time flat.

For starters, I'd lose the sleeping mat, gas bomb & cooker. I'd also look at the weight of the sleeping bag. As for first aid & toiletries, just take enough for a couple of days; every town has a pharmacy & you can always re-stock.

Kelly
 
Personally I'd always have some sort of long sleeve shirt and a pair of lightweight trousers and loose a short sleeve and pair of shorts. But that's just me.

Your list does not look too bad to me though I agree on leaving the gas behind with the cup and pot and if the large Arabian scarf is what I think it is they can weigh quite a bit. Am I reading correctly, you have waterproofs and a poncho?
 
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William Marques said:
Personally I'd always have some sort of long sleeve shirt and a pair of lightweight trousers and loose a short sleeve and pair of shorts. But that's just me.

Your list does not look too bad to me though I agree on leaving the gas behind with the cup and pot and if the large Arabian scarf is what I think it is they can weigh quite a bit. Am I reading correctly, you have waterproofs and a poncho?
Well, the gas bomb, cooker, pot and cup (100+200+150g) are a recommendation from my girlfriend who did the Camino Frances two ys ago and she said they're worth the extra weight. She made the way with 55l bag approx 15 kilos.
I have the lightweight trousers - the pertex ones to put on the shorts.
The arabian scarf or any large scarf is a bit bulky and heavy but very multifunctional... can serve as a blanket, towel, scarf...

The sleeping bag has 1.2kg and the sleeping pad 500g. I'd rather not risk sleeping on the floor in case of full albergues. :(
 
The sleeping bag has 1.2kg and the sleeping pad 500g

I travel with a down sleeping bag that weighs only 500 grams. It would withstand heavy frosts, but combined with a silk inner sheet I have yet to be cold in my bag (One Planet brand). You will be travelling at the same time as I did (from le Puy) in 2007. I had no need for a sleeping mat in either France or Spain at that time, although that said, they are expecting more crowds this year.

Like William, I always wear a long sleeved shirt. Not only does it protect my arms from sunburn, but because there is a collar it also protects the neck too. Crossing the Aubrac Plateau will be cooler due to the altitude, but when you move further south you will find that it could be quite hot. We Australians are paranoid about sunburn, and are constantly surprised at the blaise way that many from colder climes get severely burnt.

When I go in July it is my intention to walk in a longsleeved shirt and shorts and carry an additional shortsleeved shirt and trousers (plus a skirt for coolness in the heat of July and August) I will (and have always) carried a light, silk weight T shirt for sleeping in, which serves as an emergency shirt should I need it.

You may be met with frosts when you get to Galicia, but there is a very good camping store in Saria should you need to get any warmer things.

Don't forget that you will probably have double the guide books which adds weight for those who travel through the 2 countries.

Cheers, Janet
 
way, way too much - buy a smaller pack (35-40L, search for osprey on this site as users think they're great) and yes try to get down to 7kg - I'd be ditching the sleeping mat, sleeping bag (silk sleeping bag liner should be ok), fleece jacket, cooker; but maybe only 2 pairs of trousers and 2 shirts but maybe 4 pair of socks - I think merino wool shirts are great because they keep you warm or cool over a wide range of temperatures and best of all don't need washing (ps they do underwear as well) (icebreaker but other brands from camping stores) and I'd add some Helly Hansen longjohns - then you don't need to worry about the cold but just about the possible rain - and the rain jacket will also serve against the wind - (and best to have a hat that covers your ears and your neck - think french foreign legion - that will also do well in light rain)
 
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All I can say is listen to the excellent advice that all of these experienced people are giving you. The mistake that you are about to make is classic and one that is made by the majority of pilgrims, myself included. I walked my first Camino,from Sauveterre de Bearn, last spring and even though I had a much smaller backpack then yours and only a very light sleeping bag and no sleeping mat, gas or cooking utensils my pack was still way over weight and I was constantly shedding items to try and make it lighter. You will find several areas of the Camino where it is necessary to carry enough food to last for a day or two because the stretch up-ahead has no bars,restaurants or shops. I plan to walk again in 2010 this time from Le Puy-en-Velay and my backpack will be about 3/4 full with lots of room left for food etc. If something wears out from constant use and washing treat yourself to some Spanish clothing along the way, all of the larger towns and cities have lots of shops and anything that you might need is readily available. Unfortunately most first timers don't follow the advice that they are given, I know I didn't, and regret it later on. Something else for you to think about, I was amazed at the number of young fit men and women that I encountered along the way that were laid-up for days with tendinitis in their legs so bad that they could hardly walk. Even though they were athletic , young and fit their bodies just couldn't cope with the extra weight that they were carrying. Everyone of them were astonished and humbled to see the old duffers like me still plodding along. It isn't a race and it isn't a test of endurance. Relax stop and smell the roses and lighten-up that pack, so you will be able to enjoy yourself and have a truly Buen Camino. :arrow:
 
Ok :D Thanks everybody for your suggestions!
Must admit I kind of expected them. I did read quite a few equipment lists but I still am so stubborn :)

If you say that 60 days of carrying this beast would cripple me I have to believe... :)
So, now I would change my bag for one of Ospreys and definitely change the sleeping bag for some ultralight (500g maximum).
With the gas bomb, pot, cooker and sleeping pad omitted it would be 5.5 kilos without water and food... which seems much better.

I did consider the long sleeved t-shirt against sun (my skin is quite pale) but in case of merino it would be too hot, I think.
 
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Umiaki, I think your pack at 8kg is a miracle considering the backpack itself weighs 2.3kg!
I agree with Spursfan about the pack - a heavy duty pack is great for mountaineering or wild camping but not necessary for walking the camino where all you really carry is clothing and toiletries. You could get by with a 213kg Gossamer Gear Murmur bag. (I would have one but I can't afford it!)

Why have you added on 3 - 4kg for water and food? I usually carry a litre of water - in two 500ml bottles - and never more than some nuts, perhaps a fruit or biscuits - but never 3kg worth of food!

Remember that August is blisteringly hot in Europe and it is still warm in September. A lightweight sleeping bag will be more than enough. I haven't taken my 600g Colibri sleeping bag on the camino since I walked in May 2002 because I've walked in June, July and September and a silk sleep liner has been sufficient.

Buy, borrow or steal a digital kitchen scale and weigh every item of clothing - put the weight next to the item on your list. Try to take lighter shorts, lighter shirts: you'll be surprised at the difference in weight between a normal t-shirt and a lightweight, wicking, sports shirt.

In my opinion, you can do without the stove, scarf, gloves, heavy sleeping bag and even the mat. Someone will always lend you one if you have to sleep on the floor.

buen suerte!
 

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Madly too much!

You didn't say how big you were but assume you weigh 70 kilos? what is that in imperial .. ermmm ... 11 stone so you are about 5 foot 10 inches high?

thing is, rucksacks are like bookshelves (well, not really) .. put up a bookshelf and you will fill it, take a large rucksack and you will fill it ... supermarkets increased the size of their chariots a few years ago and sales went up!

All the extras people take are - unless they are experienced - about fear .. once you trust yourself - that you can actually cope with anything - you will carry less ...

(veterans take extra things because they have made their camino into their living room :wink: )

Gas bomb? :shock: pretty hard to get an early coffee in Spain as cafes tend to open late .. but ... you could wean yourself off caffeine then it wouldn't matter and you wouldn't need a cooker.

But if you long to be high up somewhere, sitting in a windbreak, making beautiful coffee whilst cutting local sausage with a pocket knife and chewing slightly stale bread as you wriggle your toes and you look out over countless miles of breathtaking beauty - then take the cooker!
 
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The shirt debate:- just wanted to reassure you that the secret with the merino wool shirts is that they are both warm and cool and also very light. My experience with heavy duty woolen tramping shirts on mid summer bike rides in both NZ and Aust is that they protected me from the sun but I never suffered from the heat while wearing them. Having said that, I never took a woolen shirt with me from Le Puy instead I wore a special moisture wicking (quick drying) light weight long sleeved hiking shirt and it was more than adequate for the 2 month journey. I walked from the 4 August until the 6th October and in the last week or so encountered heavy frosts in the mountains. On both occasions that I have walked on the Camino frances I have encountered frosts from about the last week in September, but after a cold start the days are wonderful and no extra clothing was needed until the evening. Cheers, Janet
 
jl: so, you in fact recommend something synthetic fast wicking instead of merino for Le Puy route?
Originally I considered taking both HH long sleeved t-shirt and short sleeved merino and some other reserve t-shirt as well. Merino for hot and long sleeves for windy weather...
I was also looking at Parámo travelling clothes (especially shirts) - they seem super lightweight and comfortable to wear - loose, fast wicking and slightly windproof as well...
 
Umiaki, I wouldn't dare reccomend you use something. Rather, I have told you what I wore, what worked for me (and by the sound of it you will be there at roughly the same time as me) and also what I intend to repeat when I walk in 5 months time. Indeed the brand I used was an Australian one - Paddy Palin (you could check out their websites). I found this shirt always looked reasonable (although it had started to fade by the time I got to Santiago), was quick to dry (only put it on damp once - because i had washed it late) and didn't "pill" - that funny knobbling of the fabric where straps rub and therefore starts to look "tired" and tatty. I used another brand for a shirt sleeved shirt and found that the fabric did rub badly and looked the worse for wear.

There are many people saying "do this", "do that" - I have told you what worked for me, indeed so well that it is my intention to buy another shirt the same for my departure in July because I can be confident that it will meet the requirements of heavy duty wear for 90 days, look reasonable after that time and be comfortable. My advice is to think about all that you have been told in all these posts and decide on what will work for you - you will be the one to have to carry it!

You might like to look at the NZ web site for Earth Sea and Sky - I use their "first layer silk weight" T shirt for sleeping (or a spare if necessary) This is also a T shirt you could use under a shirt if it turned cold.

If your dollar is going the right way, some of these things might be quite cheap for you to buy (it is now to dear for us to buy from overseas because of how our dollar is)

On another note, I did find my sleeping bag useful by the time I got to the end of September - but that was mainly because I didn't fancy using the blankets (fear of bed bugs). I will also make the comment that I do carry a large bag, but I do have the strength / willpower to leave it half empty! There are some comments made that if you carry a large bag you will fill it. There is such a thing as self discipline/control, and if you have a good dose of that you are unlikely to feel the compulsion to fill your bag. Only you will know the answer to that one. As a Scout leader I am nervous about carrying small bags that will not fit anything else in. Too many times I have had to help out a scout who is carrying too much, is sick, injured etc and I would rather have the option of putting extra gear inside my pack for a few kilometres than have to make unstisfactory arrangements with two packs. As yet I have never had to help out a fellow pilgrim, but I would like to be free to do so should I meet one needing help along the way - hence my large but half emty (and light) pack!
 
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jl: Thank you very much :) You had the first comment compatible with what I thought :) In fact each of the Czech websites by pilgrims and each Czech pilgrim I know say they had a bag around 50l and that over 14 is too much.
Strong reason for taking the large bag is the massive waist belt. In case of the smaller bags you have only one possibility how to wear it - on your back. But the larger bag can be adjusted in many ways - to carry the weight on your hips, back or shoulder if some muscles hurt... I know many people that buy the heavier bags with more sofisticated back system on purpose - for example Deuter bags are super heavy but super comfortable as well...
The other reason for a bag this large will really be my fellow pilgrim girlfriend who wants to carry an SLR camera which would almost fill the bag around 30l... So in the end we would have to consider it together and both of us would take maybe the 50l bags...
But the advices given were really helpful in deciding to buy a lighter sleeping bag and to remove the sleeping pad (I would change it for an aluminium sleeping pad weighing about 50 grams - good for sitting etc.), cooker and a gas bomb...
 
Umiaki, My pack is an Aarn (a NZ brand) and has a special harness that is moulded to the back, and moves as I move, following the rolling action that each of us uses when walking. Yes, it weighs 1kg, 800grams more than the example of the one above, but the harness, for me, far outweighs the weight consideration. I had an even heavier pack on my first Camino, a One Planet brand, famous here in Australia for its harness, and when wearing it I hardly felt it on my back.

I took a Panasonic Lumix camera (10X optical zoom). A photographer friend advised me to take smaller cards (if you accidently wipe the photos it is only a small portion of the photos that you loose) and I carried this in a small camera bag over my shoulder. This meant that I had access to it without having to take my pack off, and like an earlier post, it meant that the camera didn't rule my life on the Camino. It also meant that I always had my camera with me (for security) as I just left it on over my shoulder even when I took my pack off. This camera has a wider angle lens, and I took 4 1gig cards and a 2gig card of photos last tiem. From that I was able to select many very lovely photos. I intend to repeat this on my next Camino, as it works for me, although I will probably take about 6 or 7 1 gig cards and a couple of 2 or 4 gig cards which I will use to take movies with.

Continue to enjoy your planning and preparation, Janet
 
The other reason for a bag this large will really be my fellow pilgrim girlfriend who wants to carry an SLR camera which would almost fill the bag around 30l..

Umiaki - wow an old-fashioned sort of man I see, who is willing to be a beast of burden for a woman ...
so you aren't tempted to allow her to carry her own stuff then .... :roll:

things is about sacks and what you take - in the end we all take what we want and if we get it wrong we buy more or shed more ... but a forum is about discussions and discussions are about opinions ...

so all is well ... and if you want to carry things your girlfriend owns but doesn't want to carry , well, you go ahead ........ :shock:
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Br. David said:
Umiaki - wow an old-fashioned sort of man I see, who is willing to be a beast of burden for a woman ...
so you aren't tempted to allow her to carry her own stuff then .... :roll:
Would you tell her: "no" and let her take three kilos more? :D
It's a matter of making both the bags lighter... In the end I expect to carry her sleeping bag and more food or water than her and thus making the bag weigh the same (maybe mine will weigh a tiny bit more :) )
 
Very heavy Br. David...I can feel the squirming all the way across the pond.

We may be marginally beyond the initial sentiment/direction of this topic.

regards,

Arn
 
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My usual advice to prospective pilgrims on this topic is to pack so lightly as to cause scandal among their friends and family.
 
oursonpolaire said:
My usual advice to prospective pilgrims on this topic is to pack so lightly as to cause scandal among their friends and family.

I like that and it just might work. :idea:
 
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Rebekah Scott said:
They´re not naked! They´re wearing backpacks, aren´t they? :shock:

A closer examination of the photo also reveals they are wearing socks, boots and gaiters. I wonder if this is an official information photograph showing is the minimum level of clothing allowed by Swiss law?
 
I note the naked swiss hikers are carrying a solar panel.

What is the forum's advice for those who wish to advertise their green credentials or limit their carbon footprint?
 
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Q: "What is the forum's advice for those who wish to advertise their green credentials or limit their carbon footprint?"


A: Don't use an aeroplane :roll:
 
Br. David said:
Q: "What is the forum's advice for those who wish to advertise their green credentials or limit their carbon footprint?"


A: Don't use an aeroplane :roll:


Those with faith enough can walk on the water. :twisted:
 
Men could shorten the lines at the airport by wearing only a speedo and flip-flops. Passing the metal detectors would be a breeze.
 
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My answer was 'jokey' but it is quite true.

I'm not banging the drum for any of this, but the question came up ... and the answer, surely, is if you want green credentials then don't go on the Camino to Santiago if you live some distance away?

If someone really wants to be green then they should do a pilgrimage locally to them - or at least somewhere on the same land-mass as where they live - I mean, you can't fly halfway across the world but think that wearing recyclable sandals or charging your alarm clock with a solar panel somehow makes you 'green' and you are low-impact and eco friendly ... the equation doesn't work does it?
:shock: :?:
(answers on a postcard)
 
Actually - if you want to engage in this - which I realise is off-thread, I've started a new thread "can you be an eco-friendly pilrim" should be interesting....
 
This is one of the attractions of the Chemins de Sanctuaires, pilgrimage routes in Québec and eastern Ontario. Until they make hybrid aeroplane engines, or get back to Zeppelins, then any North American or Antipodean going to Spain....

However, i have found that the experience of travelling distances on foot, at a human pace, has changed how I move about, and has significantly eaten into my vehicular travelling. As well, I learned to enjoy more readily the food (and wine!) which is available locally, rather than that which is schlepped from far corners.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
To come back to the issue of equipment, am I gathering from this that I'll be ok with just a silk sleeping bag liner? I'm starting the camino from Le Puy around 22nd April. I'll be walking in light weight trousers which go just below the knee. will I need waterproof trousers or just a jacket? Also does it matter too much that my walking boots, though comfortable, are not waterproof?
 
I think it is going to be too cold in April for a silk liner. Especially as you head into higher altitudes. Not sure that all the places you stay will offer blankets.
There may even be snow at that time.
Brrrrr
Lillian
 
JaneofNorwich said:
To come back to the issue of equipment, am I gathering from this that I'll be ok with just a silk sleeping bag liner? I'm starting the camino from Le Puy around 22nd April. I'll be walking in light weight trousers which go just below the knee. will I need waterproof trousers or just a jacket? Also does it matter too much that my walking boots, though comfortable, are not waterproof?


You will definitely want a light weight sleeping bag to go with the liner a lot of the Albergues are either not heated or they turn the heat off after they have warmed things up in the evening and it gets cold in the night. I walked April and May last year and I felt that I needed the sleeping bag every night. Just my personal opinion but I also had a silk liner with me and I only used it a few nights, I didn't like the way it got wound around me in the night.

You will need a water proof of some sort poncho, rain jacket or pants etc. I used a poncho but that is a matter of personal preference. Something that I saw other walkers using was gaiters http://www.flickr.com/photos/bennuttall/1042132857/ they are a lot easier to wash the days mud off of then having to wash your pants nightly. I hope to walk from Le Puy in 2010 and I will have some then.

There is a lot of mud and even small streams to cross after a storm so water proof boots are a real treat, dry feet means less chance of blisters.

Hope you have a wonderful Camino. Ultreia !! :arrow:
 
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You might regret not having waterproof boots - I know I did when my heavy, sodden boots dragged the skin off the back of my heels!
 

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