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Equipment that worked for me

jmmavro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2018
#1
A year ago I made the decision to walk the full Camino Francés, and largely because of this forum I made some good decisions which allowed me to complete the walk this autumn with no injuries, blisters or pain. Needless to say, the journey was an experience of a lifetime because it pushed me physically and mentally to the brink of exhaustion. I had never done anything remotely like this before, but I knew that I had to shake things up in my life and the Camino certainly delivered that and more. In retrospect, I feel very fortunate that I did not face the physical hardships which I saw almost daily because it allowed my senses to sharpen on everything and everyone around me instead of on myself. I suppose that my attitude played a role but my equipment did free me up, and in the spirit of sharing tips and ideas, here is an abbreviated list of what really worked well for me, as a 69 year old man.

Boots: Mid calf boots were essential for the long and treacherous down hill segments ( Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Alto del Perdón and Triacastella) . The slight support around the ankles saved me several times from potentially twisting them, even with the help from poles. My boots were the Keene Grand Targhee III ( waterproof) 1/2 size larger. which I had broken in ( and stretched to eliminate one hot spot) over several months of short walks. I found that the wide toe box allowed my feet to swell comfortably, and the thick rubber toe protected the extremities from the ( not so) occasional stumble over a root or a rock.
Insert: Get the Superfeet deep heel insert ( the green one). Rigid at first, but with time they conform perfectly to your feet.

Socks: In my obsessive research I stumbled upon an article by a British landscape photographer where he credited his socks(!) for surviving the elements he faced. They are called 1000 Mile socks, and are standard issue for the British SAS. I had three pair and they were remarkable. Completely seamless, with thick wool on the outside and a very smooth liner on the inside. Although a bit hot, I never once got even a hint of a blister.

Backpack: My son who was an Army Ranger, provided me with three essentials for a good pack: be as light as possible, have a substantial hip belt, and have load lifters. I found that the great majority of high quality packs met only 2 of the 3 criteria, because most were too heavy ( ie at least 2kg for a 40/50 l pack). Again my son found a pack made in Utah which fit the bill. It was the ULA Ohm 2.0. It weighed a mere 1Kg, held more than 40l, had a wide hip belt with two very handy pouches and had a myriad of straps that once you understood what they all did, the pack fit like a glove. Once fitted, the pack stood vertically and distributed most of the weight to the hips through an ingenious carbon fiber inverted U-shaped rod. My shoulders never took the brunt of the walk. The final high note was an optional pouch which attached to the shoulder strap and in which I carried a 500cc water bottle. This simple little pouch was the envy of many friends I made. For reference, I carried about 6/7 kg including water.

Clothing: Like most first time pilgrims I had too much stuff, but there were a few items which made all the difference.
- A half-zip all wool long sleeve base layer shirt. For some reason it kept me at comfortable in all climates, and did not stink after a single day.
- a Primaloft "down" vest. Cheaper than goose down and just as warm. Furthermore you can throw it into a washer and dryer with confidence.
- Sketchers super light slip-ons. A delight to wear after a day's walk.
- A good pair of stretch hiking pants, which frankly I wore mostly at night for dinner.
- A pair of shorts

- Two performance ( Under Armour) T-shirt

- And the most controversial item, my GoreTex golf jacket and rain pants. Because I already owned them and reasoned that I needed bad weather gear, I packed them despite their bulk and weight ( 1.3kg) For weeks I grumbled over these two items, until
a freak hurricane named Leslie slammed into Portugal and then slammed into me for two days as I walked up the Valcarce valley.
All I can say is that Gore Tex worked. It stopped car spray, torrential rains and horizontal winds. My point is be prepared for nasty weather and quality materials do make a difference. Those who wore ponchos were soaked to the bone because any gust of wind would lift the nylon over their heads and packs.
Other : 2 sets of Iphone chargers and cords, because I knew beforehand that I would forget one set somewhere ( I did....)
A pouch with two belt loops to carry my passport and credit cards. A simple and effective way of keeping valuables.
Safety pins
Extra large silk liner ( sprayed with permethin)
Extra set of rubber tips for the poles
Carbon fiber poles from Amazon. Super light and affordable

As you can tell, this is not intended to be a comprehensive packing list but instead a primer of what you may want to investigate taking. Nothing on this list was cheap, but if you are going to commit weeks of your life doing something truly meaningful why cut corners on the essentials.
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
#3
They are called 1000 Mile socks, and are standard issue for the British SAS. I had three pair and they were remarkable.
I discovered these many years ago and haven't had a blister since. Very comfortable, and come in a range of
thicknesses. Didn't realise they were British. Haven't worn the same pair for 1000 miles though!
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
#4
A year ago I made the decision to walk the full Camino Francés, and largely because of this forum I made some good decisions which allowed me to complete the walk this autumn with no injuries, blisters or pain. Needless to say, the journey was an experience of a lifetime because it pushed me physically and mentally to the brink of exhaustion. I had never done anything remotely like this before, but I knew that I had to shake things up in my life and the Camino certainly delivered that and more. In retrospect, I feel very fortunate that I did not face the physical hardships which I saw almost daily because it allowed my senses to sharpen on everything and everyone around me instead of on myself. I suppose that my attitude played a role but my equipment did free me up, and in the spirit of sharing tips and ideas, here is an abbreviated list of what really worked well for me, as a 69 year old man.

Boots: Mid calf boots were essential for the long and treacherous down hill segments ( Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Alto del Perdón and Triacastella) . The slight support around the ankles saved me several times from potentially twisting them, even with the help from poles. My boots were the Keene Grand Targhee III ( waterproof) 1/2 size larger. which I had broken in ( and stretched to eliminate one hot spot) over several months of short walks. I found that the wide toe box allowed my feet to swell comfortably, and the thick rubber toe protected the extremities from the ( not so) occasional stumble over a root or a rock.
Insert: Get the Superfeet deep heel insert ( the green one). Rigid at first, but with time they conform perfectly to your feet.

Socks: In my obsessive research I stumbled upon an article by a British landscape photographer where he credited his socks(!) for surviving the elements he faced. They are called 1000 Mile socks, and are standard issue for the British SAS. I had three pair and they were remarkable. Completely seamless, with thick wool on the outside and a very smooth liner on the inside. Although a bit hot, I never once got even a hint of a blister.

Backpack: My son who was an Army Ranger, provided me with three essentials for a good pack: be as light as possible, have a substantial hip belt, and have load lifters. I found that the great majority of high quality packs met only 2 of the 3 criteria, because most were too heavy ( ie at least 2kg for a 40/50 l pack). Again my son found a pack made in Utah which fit the bill. It was the ULA Ohm 2.0. It weighed a mere 1Kg, held more than 40l, had a wide hip belt with two very handy pouches and had a myriad of straps that once you understood what they all did, the pack fit like a glove. Once fitted, the pack stood vertically and distributed most of the weight to the hips through an ingenious carbon fiber inverted U-shaped rod. My shoulders never took the brunt of the walk. The final high note was an optional pouch which attached to the shoulder strap and in which I carried a 500cc water bottle. This simple little pouch was the envy of many friends I made. For reference, I carried about 6/7 kg including water.

Clothing: Like most first time pilgrims I had too much stuff, but there were a few items which made all the difference.
- A half-zip all wool long sleeve base layer shirt. For some reason it kept me at comfortable in all climates, and did not stink after a single day.
- a Primaloft "down" vest. Cheaper than goose down and just as warm. Furthermore you can throw it into a washer and dryer with confidence.
- Sketchers super light slip-ons. A delight to wear after a day's walk.
- A good pair of stretch hiking pants, which frankly I wore mostly at night for dinner.
- A pair of shorts

- Two performance ( Under Armour) T-shirt

- And the most controversial item, my GoreTex golf jacket and rain pants. Because I already owned them and reasoned that I needed bad weather gear, I packed them despite their bulk and weight ( 1.3kg) For weeks I grumbled over these two items, until
a freak hurricane named Leslie slammed into Portugal and then slammed into me for two days as I walked up the Valcarce valley.
All I can say is that Gore Tex worked. It stopped car spray, torrential rains and horizontal winds. My point is be prepared for nasty weather and quality materials do make a difference. Those who wore ponchos were soaked to the bone because any gust of wind would lift the nylon over their heads and packs.
Other : 2 sets of Iphone chargers and cords, because I knew beforehand that I would forget one set somewhere ( I did....)
A pouch with two belt loops to carry my passport and credit cards. A simple and effective way of keeping valuables.
Safety pins
Extra large silk liner ( sprayed with permethin)
Extra set of rubber tips for the poles
Carbon fiber poles from Amazon. Super light and affordable

As you can tell, this is not intended to be a comprehensive packing list but instead a primer of what you may want to investigate taking. Nothing on this list was cheap, but if you are going to commit weeks of your life doing something truly meaningful why cut corners on the essentials.
I wore those socks on 2 CF. The downside is the drying time
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
VdlP Sevilla/Salamanca 2018
#6
Good equipment, good preparation and a good attitude are essentials if you want to minimize negative or painful aspects of the Camino. Better to feel good and focus on all the wonderful positive aspects of the Way rather than contend with pain and injury.

So now that you have all this great kit, when are you returning to Spain?
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
#8
My gear nearly but Meindel boots. Works for me and no blisters oved 15000 km. Well done
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
#9
I wore those socks on 2 CF. The downside is the drying time
They have quite a high wool content, so slower to dry than polyester.

That's why I carry safety pins - to attach a pair of damp socks to my rucksack every morning and dry them while I walk. It's the true sign of a peregrino!
 
Last edited:

eggi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
My sister and I are planning to walk the camino in April 2019
#11
A year ago I made the decision to walk the full Camino Francés, and largely because of this forum I made some good decisions which allowed me to complete the walk this autumn with no injuries, blisters or pain. Needless to say, the journey was an experience of a lifetime because it pushed me physically and mentally to the brink of exhaustion. I had never done anything remotely like this before, but I knew that I had to shake things up in my life and the Camino certainly delivered that and more. In retrospect, I feel very fortunate that I did not face the physical hardships which I saw almost daily because it allowed my senses to sharpen on everything and everyone around me instead of on myself. I suppose that my attitude played a role but my equipment did free me up, and in the spirit of sharing tips and ideas, here is an abbreviated list of what really worked well for me, as a 69 year old man.

Boots: Mid calf boots were essential for the long and treacherous down hill segments ( Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Alto del Perdón and Triacastella) . The slight support around the ankles saved me several times from potentially twisting them, even with the help from poles. My boots were the Keene Grand Targhee III ( waterproof) 1/2 size larger. which I had broken in ( and stretched to eliminate one hot spot) over several months of short walks. I found that the wide toe box allowed my feet to swell comfortably, and the thick rubber toe protected the extremities from the ( not so) occasional stumble over a root or a rock.
Insert: Get the Superfeet deep heel insert ( the green one). Rigid at first, but with time they conform perfectly to your feet.

Socks: In my obsessive research I stumbled upon an article by a British landscape photographer where he credited his socks(!) for surviving the elements he faced. They are called 1000 Mile socks, and are standard issue for the British SAS. I had three pair and they were remarkable. Completely seamless, with thick wool on the outside and a very smooth liner on the inside. Although a bit hot, I never once got even a hint of a blister.

Backpack: My son who was an Army Ranger, provided me with three essentials for a good pack: be as light as possible, have a substantial hip belt, and have load lifters. I found that the great majority of high quality packs met only 2 of the 3 criteria, because most were too heavy ( ie at least 2kg for a 40/50 l pack). Again my son found a pack made in Utah which fit the bill. It was the ULA Ohm 2.0. It weighed a mere 1Kg, held more than 40l, had a wide hip belt with two very handy pouches and had a myriad of straps that once you understood what they all did, the pack fit like a glove. Once fitted, the pack stood vertically and distributed most of the weight to the hips through an ingenious carbon fiber inverted U-shaped rod. My shoulders never took the brunt of the walk. The final high note was an optional pouch which attached to the shoulder strap and in which I carried a 500cc water bottle. This simple little pouch was the envy of many friends I made. For reference, I carried about 6/7 kg including water.

Clothing: Like most first time pilgrims I had too much stuff, but there were a few items which made all the difference.
- A half-zip all wool long sleeve base layer shirt. For some reason it kept me at comfortable in all climates, and did not stink after a single day.
- a Primaloft "down" vest. Cheaper than goose down and just as warm. Furthermore you can throw it into a washer and dryer with confidence.
- Sketchers super light slip-ons. A delight to wear after a day's walk.
- A good pair of stretch hiking pants, which frankly I wore mostly at night for dinner.
- A pair of shorts

- Two performance ( Under Armour) T-shirt

- And the most controversial item, my GoreTex golf jacket and rain pants. Because I already owned them and reasoned that I needed bad weather gear, I packed them despite their bulk and weight ( 1.3kg) For weeks I grumbled over these two items, until
a freak hurricane named Leslie slammed into Portugal and then slammed into me for two days as I walked up the Valcarce valley.
All I can say is that Gore Tex worked. It stopped car spray, torrential rains and horizontal winds. My point is be prepared for nasty weather and quality materials do make a difference. Those who wore ponchos were soaked to the bone because any gust of wind would lift the nylon over their heads and packs.
Other : 2 sets of Iphone chargers and cords, because I knew beforehand that I would forget one set somewhere ( I did....)
A pouch with two belt loops to carry my passport and credit cards. A simple and effective way of keeping valuables.
Safety pins
Extra large silk liner ( sprayed with permethin)
Extra set of rubber tips for the poles
Carbon fiber poles from Amazon. Super light and affordable

As you can tell, this is not intended to be a comprehensive packing list but instead a primer of what you may want to investigate taking. Nothing on this list was cheap, but if you are going to commit weeks of your life doing something truly meaningful why cut corners on the essentials.
This is super helpful. My sister and I are walking the Camino for the first time in April so this helps a lot. Question for you: you said you brought chargers with you so I assume you took your phone along. I also assume you are from the states (I am from canada). Did you get a European chip to insert in your phone while there or did you buy a European phone? Thanks
 

jmmavro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2018
#12
I carried my GSM iPhone and subscribed to a $10/day unlimited voice and data plan. It was expensive but worth every penny because there were times when I was confused or lost and an app called TrailSmart bailed me out. I also used an app from meteoblue ( Swiss) for very accurate weather forecasting. A cheaper option is to buy an unlocked( inexpensive) GSM phone in Canada ( do not get a CDMA phone!) and go to the first Vodafone store to buy a chip. The cell coverage on the whole Camino is excellent.
 

Joodle

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF May 10th- June 21st 2016
VDLP March-April 2017
CF coming up April-May
#13
One thing that I did with my phone charger was to tape the charger cord to my adapter, so I didn't accidentally leave the adapter in the wall. It worked well.
 

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
#15
A year ago I made the decision to walk the full Camino Francés, and largely because of this forum I made some good decisions which allowed me to complete the walk this autumn with no injuries, blisters or pain. Needless to say, the journey was an experience of a lifetime because it pushed me physically and mentally to the brink of exhaustion. I had never done anything remotely like this before, but I knew that I had to shake things up in my life and the Camino certainly delivered that and more. In retrospect, I feel very fortunate that I did not face the physical hardships which I saw almost daily because it allowed my senses to sharpen on everything and everyone around me instead of on myself. I suppose that my attitude played a role but my equipment did free me up, and in the spirit of sharing tips and ideas, here is an abbreviated list of what really worked well for me, as a 69 year old man.

Boots: Mid calf boots were essential for the long and treacherous down hill segments ( Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Alto del Perdón and Triacastella) . The slight support around the ankles saved me several times from potentially twisting them, even with the help from poles. My boots were the Keene Grand Targhee III ( waterproof) 1/2 size larger. which I had broken in ( and stretched to eliminate one hot spot) over several months of short walks. I found that the wide toe box allowed my feet to swell comfortably, and the thick rubber toe protected the extremities from the ( not so) occasional stumble over a root or a rock.
Insert: Get the Superfeet deep heel insert ( the green one). Rigid at first, but with time they conform perfectly to your feet.

Socks: In my obsessive research I stumbled upon an article by a British landscape photographer where he credited his socks(!) for surviving the elements he faced. They are called 1000 Mile socks, and are standard issue for the British SAS. I had three pair and they were remarkable. Completely seamless, with thick wool on the outside and a very smooth liner on the inside. Although a bit hot, I never once got even a hint of a blister.

Backpack: My son who was an Army Ranger, provided me with three essentials for a good pack: be as light as possible, have a substantial hip belt, and have load lifters. I found that the great majority of high quality packs met only 2 of the 3 criteria, because most were too heavy ( ie at least 2kg for a 40/50 l pack). Again my son found a pack made in Utah which fit the bill. It was the ULA Ohm 2.0. It weighed a mere 1Kg, held more than 40l, had a wide hip belt with two very handy pouches and had a myriad of straps that once you understood what they all did, the pack fit like a glove. Once fitted, the pack stood vertically and distributed most of the weight to the hips through an ingenious carbon fiber inverted U-shaped rod. My shoulders never took the brunt of the walk. The final high note was an optional pouch which attached to the shoulder strap and in which I carried a 500cc water bottle. This simple little pouch was the envy of many friends I made. For reference, I carried about 6/7 kg including water.

Clothing: Like most first time pilgrims I had too much stuff, but there were a few items which made all the difference.
- A half-zip all wool long sleeve base layer shirt. For some reason it kept me at comfortable in all climates, and did not stink after a single day.
- a Primaloft "down" vest. Cheaper than goose down and just as warm. Furthermore you can throw it into a washer and dryer with confidence.
- Sketchers super light slip-ons. A delight to wear after a day's walk.
- A good pair of stretch hiking pants, which frankly I wore mostly at night for dinner.
- A pair of shorts

- Two performance ( Under Armour) T-shirt

- And the most controversial item, my GoreTex golf jacket and rain pants. Because I already owned them and reasoned that I needed bad weather gear, I packed them despite their bulk and weight ( 1.3kg) For weeks I grumbled over these two items, until
a freak hurricane named Leslie slammed into Portugal and then slammed into me for two days as I walked up the Valcarce valley.
All I can say is that Gore Tex worked. It stopped car spray, torrential rains and horizontal winds. My point is be prepared for nasty weather and quality materials do make a difference. Those who wore ponchos were soaked to the bone because any gust of wind would lift the nylon over their heads and packs.
Other : 2 sets of Iphone chargers and cords, because I knew beforehand that I would forget one set somewhere ( I did....)
A pouch with two belt loops to carry my passport and credit cards. A simple and effective way of keeping valuables.
Safety pins
Extra large silk liner ( sprayed with permethin)
Extra set of rubber tips for the poles
Carbon fiber poles from Amazon. Super light and affordable

As you can tell, this is not intended to be a comprehensive packing list but instead a primer of what you may want to investigate taking. Nothing on this list was cheap, but if you are going to commit weeks of your life doing something truly meaningful why cut corners on the essentials.
Finally someone who knows what they are doing, this equipment article is the best I have read on this forum and is required reading, throw in a little compass on top of your walking pile and it is perfect. As a 30 year Australian Infantry digger I can vouch for this brilliant post. Well done mate and thanks for sharing. You are the type of person I would have loved to have walked with Buen Camino and at 69 years olds Much Respect ✊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2018
#16
Many thanks, mate, for your endorsement. I suppose that my key message is to pay attention to details, because they will matter and if ignored, they will distract one from the extraordinary experience that only the Camino can provide.
 

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