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Gear Report--What Actually Worked, What Did Not. For a Summer Camino

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
When I was preparing for my Camino, I saw lots of gear lists and advice, but not too many people reviewing their own gear choices for what worked, and what they would do differently next time.

Note: our Camino was from July 3, 2014 to August 9, 2014, and we walked from St. Jean to Finestere. Much of what I have to say is from the experience of walking in the heat of the summer. I have a friend who walked in September-October 2013 and she did not have nearly the foot problems we did with wearing hiking boots in the heat. I am not certain that my suggestions would be helpful for a Spring of Fall walk, and might even be quite harmful.

What follows is the name of the item category, sometimes followed by introductory comments, then the name of the item, its weight in grams, and my comments. At the end of every category is total weight for that category.


Packing

Osprey Stratos 26L
1075
Loved this pack. (My wife had the 24L model, which she also loved. I preferred the drawstring top rather than the zippers). The size and weight were right, and the back mesh ventilation system (“hammock”) was priceless walking across the Meseta. The other feature whose usefulness surprised me was the “stow on the go” system for trekking poles. When I came into towns with people around where using poles on the sidewalk was awkward, I’d just collapse my poles and attach them to my pack in a few moments.

fanny pack
82
Carried my camera and Kindle in this everywhere I went, including at night when I was sleeping. Put it into a gallon Ziploc when taking shower.

laundry bag/stuff sack
24
Useless. Took because was advised to help sort laundry when we shared a washing machine with other pilgrims. Because there were two of us, we usually took a whole machine, and we only had 10 pieces of clothing each. How hard could that possibly have been to sort?

security belt wallet
29
Worn under clothes with passports, credit cards, and most of the cash (in a small Ziploc—otherwise the sweat would soak then through in no time). The day’s spending cash was in a Ziploc in a zippered pocket of my pants, often together with my pilgrims credential.

Gallon size Ziplocs
Forgot to weigh
Priceless. I’m not even sure how many I took, but I used every one of them, especially after my pack cover failed and I had to keep clothing dry in the rain. Also useful for bringing all of your clothes into the shower with you (as there is often not a vestibule where you can leave dry clothes and they will remain dry).

Total Packing
1210

Clothing

I used my backpacking clothing system for hiking in the mountains. I use the short sleeve shirts under the long sleeve sunshirt and convertible pants. In my opinion, wearing short sleeves or shorts and then lots of sunblock (or not, and we saw some really bad burns) is just silly. The sun on your skin undoes any cooling effect of the shorter garments.

I would not use this system again on the Camino in the summer. Instead, I would have two sets of clothing—one for the mountains and one for the Meseta. The mountain clothes would be quick-drying nylon, as these all were. The clothes for the Meseta, however, should be like you would wear in the desert—the one place where cotton is good.

The mountain clothes would be a single layer long sleeve nylon shirt matched with long (non-convertible) pants. The desert clothing would be the same, except in cotton. Everything SPF50 or at least SPF25. I found that what I was doing was using one set of clothing for walking, then when I reached the albergue, changing into the other pair and washing the trail clothes. The summer sun was so hot that drying was not much of a challenge. And then I would put the same trail clothes on for the next day. The clothes I wore in the albergues did not get that dirty, and were usually washed about once a week when we hit a washing machine (wearing rain gear, so we could wash all of the clothes at once). When I do another summer Camino, I would start out wearing the appropriate mountain attire while walking, wearing the desert clothes at night around the albergue. Then I’d switch and wear the desert clothes during the day when it started getting hot in Riojas. Then I’d switch back when we hit Galicia.

Columbia orange nylon shirt
192
Good shirt, but not for the Meseta.

Terramar green nylon short sleeve shirt
177
Ditto.

REI long-sleeve Sahara shirt
246
Ditto.

REI sun hat
108
I’ve used it for years, and it served me well on the trip. 3.25” brim. Ventilated crown for the Meseta. Chin strap for the windy places in the mountains and by the shore. Light color to stay cool. The one piece of clothing I was very happy with.

Kuhl convertible (zip off) long pants
454
I thought I was being clever by buying two pairs of convertible pants, but only bringing one set of legs that could zip onto either set of shorts.

Kuhl shorts (well, convertible pants without the legs)
300
Convertible pants are heavy, however, because of all the zippers. I should have just brought two pairs of lightweight long pants (one cotton, only nylon, as explained above).

Terramar compression shorts (underwear)
93
I like these for walking, and they keep my thighs from getting irritated.

Liner stocking hat
37
Worth its weight in gold.

Total Clothing Weight
1607

Footwear
When you are walking 500 miles, you become little more than a life support system for your feet. This is the most serious gear error you can make. I screwed this up, and it almost cost me my Camino.

leather boots (left behind in Santo Domingo)
Did not weigh
I have been backpacking for years, so I brought my well-broken in hiking boots.

2 Smartwool socks
207
With that system went the wool hiking socks . . . (should have been left or mailed home)

2 polypro liner socks
95
and the polypro liners (that turned out to be useful, but not in their usual capacity). See below.

Asics Running Shoes (left behind in Leon)
Did not weigh
My boots got wet in the Pyrenees and stayed wet. Then we walked lower and it began getting hotter. In the boots and wool socks, I began to get heat rash for the first time ever (I’ve been backpacking since 1980). Plus, the walking surfaces were much more concrete and asphalt than I expected. Moisture + heat + friction = blisters. The balls my feet and my toes became a metropolis of blisters.


In Santo Domingo de la Calzada, my wife found a pair of Keen sandals that fit her, and we donated our boots to the nuns. I was not so lucky because I have very wide feet. I found a pair of Asics running shoes that sort of fit (in Burgos, after a bus ride), and that allowed me to walk the Meseta.

Keen Sandals
950
Finally, when we got to Leon I found a pair of Keen Sandals and pair of Merrell trail shoes. The Keens worked best for the more rugged paths and in the rain (paired with a polypro liner—the only time those socks were really useful).

Merrell Trail Shoes
550
The Merrells worked better on the concrete and asphalt. If I were to do it again, I would keep the Keen sandals, but instead of the Merrells, I’d get well-ventilated running shoes designed for running on asphalt.

Coolmax socks (three pairs)
52, 62, and 78
I also had to buy different socks, settling on three different types of coolmax, with different thicknesses. The lightest ones turned out to be best.

Sockwas
24
I brought these instead of crocs to walk around in the albergues. They are lighter and I find them very comfortable. By the time I had both Keen sandals and the Merrell shoes, however, these became superfluous. At night I just wore whichever shoes I did not wear on the trail that day. I use my Sockwas around home all the time, and will take them backpacking, but not on a Camino.

Total Footwear Weight
2018

Pockets and Hands

lighter
22
Useless. This is not backpacking. No stoves to light.

compass
31
Completely unnecessary. Just follow the yellow arrows and signs.

watch
30
You need one. My wife killed hers the second day by wearing it in the shower and regretted it every day thereafter. Just a cheap one that will not make you the target of thieves.

sunglasses
30
Priceless, especially on the Meseta. I use glacier glasses, with the side covers as goggles that go over my regular glasses.

Opinel knife
28
Loved it. Had to buy this in Spain to cut cheese, meats and breads for lunches from the grocery store. Had to give leave it in a hotel room the last night because there was no way to take it in carryon luggage.

Komperdell
trekking poles
550
I like walking with them, and I especially found the clip-locks to work much better than the twist-locks. With the clip-locks it took me about 15 seconds to break down my poles and attach them to my pack, so I was never asked to leave them by the boots in the albergue (thereby avoiding forgetting them or someone walking off with them by accident). With duct tape wrapped around them (convenient storage) and tips (wore out three of them on the Camino).

Total Hands and Pockets
691


Rain

Marmot Essence rain jacket
178
I love this jacket. It was dry and breathable in the rain, and ridiculously lightweight. It was also only warmth layer I had with me, so I often wore it at night even when it was dry outside.

rain pants
314
Too heavy and inconvenient to take on and off. I have since received as a Christmas gift much lighter rain paints (Mont Bell Torrent Flier, 179g). When I walk another summer Camino, however, I think I will follow my wife’s example instead. She had a Ferrino poncho that served as jacket, pants and pack cover (291grams, total). The coverage is better with pants and jacket, but the summer rains are not that cold and overheating is much more of a problem than in the American mountains.

Osprey pack cover (came with Osprey Pack)
71
Completely worthless. Leaked like a sieve. The ultralight backpackers just use trash compactor bags as liners on the inside of their packs, and that is what I will do in the future.

waterproof gloves
91
Utterly useless. As above, the summer rains were not cold enough to need these.

rain glasses (yellow)
28
Frivolous. I wear them for rainy, cloudy weather so I can see better for driving, and so I do not get so depressed. Would not carry them again.

Total Rainwear
682

Hydration
.75L Camelbak water bottle
167
I split the difference between a water bottle and a bladder. I used the bottle with a tube from the same company that attaches to it. And I love it. All the convenience of a hydration tube so I can sip water while walking, yet just a small, easy to clean, easy to fill bottle.

Camelbak hydration tube
43

Total Hydration
210

Sleeping
Coolmax sleeping bag liner and stuff sack
252
Sprayed with permethrin. For a summer Camino, this was just right. The only night I was cold was in Roncevalles because there are no blankets there. Every other albergue we stayed in where it got at all cold had blankets. Many nights it was even too hot to sleep in this almost weightless liner bag—slept on top instead. Snoring pilgrims stacked in bunk beds generate an amazing amount of body heat in small, confined rooms. I had bought lightweight, 1lb sleeping bags for the trip, but I’m so glad we left them home.

sleeping mask
24
Don’t leave home without one. Often windows had to be left open for ventilation, resulting in light from the street pouring in. Also useful against other pilgrims with white headlamps.

ear plugs
39
Priceless. I use the silicon putty ones, not the foam ones (more comfortable for using the whole night through). Only the snores of one pilgrim one night kept me awake with these as a defense.

Petzl headlamp (w/ batteries)
83
Great, because I could switch it to a red light. Perfect for finding the bathroom in the middle of the night, or leaving the albergue at 6am if other pilgrims were still sleeping. Also useful for finding yellow arrows if you leave the albergue early to avoid walking in the heat of the day. Petzl makes a model called the e+lite that is about a third the weight of this one, and I’m seriously considering getting it.

Total Sleeping
398

Toiletries
safety pins
13
I brought a dozen. What was I thinking? I should have brought TWO dozen for my wife and I (they are easy to lose). Used every day to hang laundry. Worth their weight in gold.

clothes line/rope
28
Only used a few times, but I would probably bring again because when there is no clothes lines (or they are all full), you still have to get your clothes dry somehow.

Netted Soap Saver
34
My wife got this from Amazon, and it worked great. It is a tough nylon scrubber that you put the soap inside. I used it both for showering and washing clothes. The drawstring doubles as a hanger to dry the soap out, minimizing the mess in your pack (you will still need a small Ziploc to carry it in).

Toothpaste
30
One very small tube was enough for my entire trip.

Toothbrush
11
Travel-style, that disassembles and the head tucks inside the body.

floss
17
Small roll lasted the entire trip.

soap
Did not weigh
We were going to buy soap once we got there, but we just kept finding bits of soap others had left behind, all of which went into the soap saver bag.

deodorant
32
Small travel size.

face wash
44
In a small 1oz bottle from REI. Should have only filled halfway because I had some left over at the end.

lip balm
8
With the highest SPF factor you can find

sunscreen
81
Because of my long clothing, only needed for face and hands. Small, 3oz bottle lasted the entire trip.

moisturizer
37
I had the wrong stuff. I needed a different footcare system. By the end, I was using Nok cream on my feet after the shower and again before bed to keep the skin moisturized and therefore more difficult for sweat to permeate.

foot powder
Did not weigh
Priceless. Bought in Spain on the advice of the angels who doctored my feet. This in the socks while walking, and changing socks frequently, turned out to be key to keeping my feet dry and less prone to blisters. Obviously, do not use at the same time you are using a moisturizer on your feet (you will get a caked-on mess). This is for while walking; moisturizer is for after you are done walking for the day.

bandanas (3)
90
I brought intending to use as both wash cloths, towels, nose rags, and buff, as I do in backpacking. Did not end up being as useful on the Camino. I think I would just bring one next time. My wife brought a small Pack Towel (49g). That turned out to be a better idea.

comb
7

Total Toiletries
462


Entertainment
Kindle Paperwhite in a hard case
296
This really was not entertainment because I had my guidebook in here. Actually, I had three guidebooks in here (Kelly, Brierley and Dinkman and Landis), plus the Bible and several books to read for leisure. All for the weight of Brierley’s guidebook. This worked great.

Kindle usb cable and electric plug
54
I did not have to recharge the Kindle but about once a week (and I probably could have gone 10 days—I rarely let it get below 50%). There were plenty of outlets in the albergues. No need for the multiple plug adapters some smart phone users recommend. If the outlet supply was spotty one night, no big deal. I could wait a couple of days to recharge.

plug converter
6
Necessary because Spanish electric plugs are different shapes. Cheap one from Ebay worked fine.

Native American flute
101
Infinitely worth it. I played at almost every church that was open along the way, and in the Cathedral at Santiago (getting permission for that one took a bit of doing. I should add that the Dean of the Cathedral turned out to be a lovely man). The sound in some of those churches was amazing.

Sony Nex-3 Camera
385
My old point-and-shoot would have worked, but I bought this camera for the Camino because I wanted pictures that would be really beautiful. And they are. The image sensor in this camera is huge, so you get very fine details. Figuring out the focusing system took some time, but after the first 2 days, I did and the pictures were wonderful. Action shots were a little blurry, but I think I now know what I needed to be doing to solve that.

polarizing filter for camera
22
A must-have for outdoor photography in the bright sunlight.

battery charger for camera
65
Camera would not charge straight from an outlet, so I had to carry this. It worked well

extra battery for camera
58
There were so many opportunities to recharge, this was a completely unnecessary rock that I hauled half way across Spain.

extra SD card for camera
5
A wise precaution, but unnecessary. I had a 16GB card, which was all kinds of space for my photos

lens shade for camera
21
Useful in some situations, but I mostly did not use this and would not carry again.

Total Entertainment
1013

Foot Repair
I had this system all wrong. My system was based on short (5 day) backpacking trips in the mountains. There, if you get a blister, you just put a moleskin donut around it and tape it all down. That way you do not risk infection in the backcountry by puncturing the blister

Molefoam
17
By day 8, however, I had a mass of moleskin on my feet that was no longer able to cushion anything and, worse yet, was trapping moisture in my boots.

folding scissors
15
The answer for me turned out to be the “nuns” method of sewing blisters, leaving a thread in them to keep the blister draining (you can take the thread out when you start walking the next day). Scissors were useful for molefoam and trimming my beard, but not really the tool I needed. I needed needle and thread.

Leukotape
8
This works much better than the old, white adhesive tape, but by the end we did not use at all. The trick was soaking feet in water fountains to cool them, and then changing socks (with Peusek footpowder) to keep them dry. Just taping over hot spots was too temporary of a fix for walking 500 miles.

Total Foot Repair
49

Gear Repairs
duct tape
(weight included in trekking pole weight)
In bright orange. Wrapped around trekking poles. Used both to mark gear as ours, and at one point to tape Superfeet insoles into sandals trying to cobble together a footwear solution that would get me to the next big city. It did not work (as you might expect) and I had to take a bus to Burgos to buy better shoes.

needle/thread
3
See above. I had to get a smaller needle because the one I had was for sewing gear, not blisters. The gear did not need sewing; the blisters did.

ripstop nylon repair tape
7
Never used, but a good precaution.

Total Gear Repairs
10

People Repair
Sack for First aid materials
8
I got these for backpacking in 1980, and they are still the best thing I’ve ever seen (zipper up the belly instead of a drawstring top).

Band-Aids
12
Never used

various medicines
15
Ran out of Ibuprofen, but bought some in Spain (600mg; Rx strength in the US, so we had to leave the extra in Spain because otherwise it is illegal to have in the U.S. without a prescription).

Neosporin
16
Never used. Bought Betadine in Spain, because it would flow into the blister better.

KT Tape
Did not weigh
A Camino angel gave some to my wife and it saved her. She was developing tendonitis from her hiking boots. Take some with you—this stuff was impossible to find in farmacias on the Camino.

Pepto-Bismal
Wished we had to weigh
Some things you cannot find for love or money on the Camino, and this is one. The Spanish food (lots of olive oil) was too rich for my wife’s stomach. Seriously wished that we had brought some tablets.

Alka Seltzer
Wished we had to weigh
Another product we just could not find in Spain and wished we had packed.

Total People Repair
51

GRAND TOTAL WEIGHT
8401

The total weight was equivalent to 18.5lbs. I weighed about 200lbs. when I left (about 175lbs. by the end), so this was within the suggestion of carrying no more than a ten percent of body weight. Actually, by the time you add in consumables (food, water, foot doctoring supplies), I exceeded that.

I’m glad I did not have any more—my feet took enough of a pounding as it was. Notable things I’m glad I did not take: a sleeping pad (I saw lots of these and they were unnecessary), and a sleeping bag.

I hope that this report helps other pilgrims to make their own gear selections. I saw far too many walking with unnecessarily heavy loads, and I wonder if they ever made it to Santiago. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to respond to this posting.

Buen Camino.
 
Last edited:

WldWil

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPDP - Halfway
2016 Fromista - The other half
Awesome report. I really like the unpacking list. I saved it in my chrome Camino favorites to read again later. I appreciate the value it brings to the forum.
 

tominrm

Hiking to Celebrate the End of Working Life.
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2014,2019)
del Norte ( 2015)
Portuguese ( 2016)
Primitivo ( 2017)
VdlP (2018)
Timely posting. I will review it just before I leave for del Norte in a few weeks. Ziplock bag is an excellent idea because I remember my passport was damp in my travel pouch when I handed over to the hospitalero upon arrival at albergues.
 

volleyjanice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
08/2013 St. Jean Pied de Port-Belorado, 08/2015 Burgos- Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, 08/18 Portugese
Fantastic! Thank you for this. We walked from St. Jean Pied de Port to Belorado in August 2013 and will be returning this year to make the Trek from Burgos to Santiago and hopefully Finisterre or Muxia. The heat of summer does indeed add challenges and we have been reviewing our own choices and deciding what needs to change. Your list will be a valuable aid in this. I am grappling with a decision on boots. I am a tall woman with the accompanying big feet so I am forced to purchase men's boots which are all too often too wide for me. I loved the fit of my Salomon comet 3D GTX as they provide a really comfortable base for my feet (I wear orthotics) but I think that their weight may have contributed to the shin problems I developed last time and they are quite hot. Then there is the matter of socks. It seems to be one long expensive experiment to find the perfect combo! My husband finally settled in lightweight sock liners inside his Wool work socks. The specialized hiking socks at 20 odd dollars a pair are quite restrictive around the ankles and led to some heat rash issues for us as well. I wonder why the switch to cotton wear for the meseta? Is it because the fabric is more breathable in the extreme heat? We're your choices still a blend that had some quick drying capabilities? Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this! Janice
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
Great!!

Ive said it before, the forum would really be richer with a review section. No comments, just reviews of our gear used.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
JoJo - that is a brilliant piece, thank you for taking the time to write it - absolutely brilliant!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
When I was preparing for my Camino, I saw lots of gear lists and advice, but not too many people reviewing their own gear choices for what worked, and what they would do differently next time.

Thanks very, very much. I've been looking for an opinion and list like you just posted. I'm headed to the Camino in Aug/Sept myself so your comments are really pertinent. Based on the comments, I've been struggling with whether to take my hiking boots or just do what you did and work more with as set of very good running shoes. Your comments are swinging me towards the running shoes option. The rest of the list is just awesome. Just printed it out so that I could take a really long look at it. Thanks again.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Timely posting. I will review it just before I leave for del Norte in a few weeks. Ziplock bag is an excellent idea because I remember my passport was damp in my travel pouch when I handed over to the hospitalero upon arrival at albergues.
My first credencial got wet and the sellos are not looking pretty. So now I carry one of these pouches: http://www.coghlans.com/products/waterproof-pouch-5-inch-x-7-inch-8415

Super thick plastic, fits passports credencial and large bills. It closes by folding the top once, then again, and then you get to a very sturdy strip of velcro.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I loved the fit of my Salomon comet 3D GTX as they provide a really comfortable base for my feet (I wear orthotics) Then there is the matter of socks.

Hi Janice, I also wear orthotics. If it wasn't for that I would suggest you try a trekking sandal with a good arch support. In summer your toes will not be cold, any sweat will evaporate, and if it rains your feet and shoes will dry in an instant. But like you I wear orthotics, and because my old shoes were crying out for retirement I just bought, and have been wearing, the running shoe version of your boot: http://www.salomon.com/us/range/hiking-footwear-women.html

For sock, this is what I am currently testing: http://ca.shop.runningroom.com/women/socks/coolmesh-ii-tab.html

Double layer, super light, with Cool Max, very very thin seam over the toes. They may a tad too short, exposing your ankle to the shoe, but I will test this combo for a few weeks and see.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
What a good report! Thank you for taking the time to get it over to us! I like your comments. Anne
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Jo Jo this is a terrific post. Really practical solid information. Your experience and conclusions about footwear mirror mine.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
Loved your honesty describing what worked and what did not. Your information was very useful. Hope you enjoyed your Camino.
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
I wonder why the switch to cotton wear for the meseta? Is it because the fabric is more breathable in the extreme heat? We're your choices still a blend that had some quick drying capabilities? Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this! Janice

Janice,
The switch to cotton is because even the most "breathable" nylon was not nearly breathable enough for July on the Meseta. Regrettably, I did not have either cotton or cotton blend clothing in the Meseta this last summer, so I cannot report whether the blend or 100% cotton would be better. Quick-drying is not much of an issue in the desert if you have THIN cotton clothing--that summer sun could have dried anything in a couple of hours. Plus, with my idea, I'd have the nylon clothes on at night when it gets cooler. One caveat: I would not switch to cotton socks; the thin coolmax were cool enough and cotton socks are just premeditated blisters (cotton traps moisture--good for shirts and pants while walking the desert; but very bad for the feet). I guess I'll have to go back (soon!) and see how this idea works.

Peace,
Jo Jo
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2021)
Camino Frances (April 17, - May, 15, 2015)
Liner stocking hat
37
Worth its weight in gold.

Jo Jo - Could you explain why this was so useful? Was it because you needed it for warmth during your summer Camino? Was it used during the day or for sleeping when cold? Was this a merino hat or a synthetic hat?

I'm trying to determine if I need a hat too, or if the hood on my fleece will be sufficient.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I did not observe that much of a weather/climate change between the portion of the Camino Frances known as the "Meseta" and the area of Galicia. Certainly not enough of a difference to warrant a second set of different type of clothing (just my humble opinion...not trying to be offensive or didactic). The Meseta is not a "desert" by any stretch of the imagination. It's just a flatter portion of northern Spain covered with a lot of agricultural fields. Don't want anybody that hasn't done a Camino Frances yet to expect to see a scene out of an old "Beau Geste" movie, with dunes of sand, mirages in the distance and a fort with Legionnaires in it when they walk across the Meseta.
Here's a photo of the dreaded "La Meseta" I took on my first CF.....as you can see, no sand, just fields of beautiful sunflowers. Never understood why people make such a fuss about that stretch of the CF.
El Camino 11 007.jpg
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
Jo Jo - Could you explain why this was so useful? Was it because you needed it for warmth during your summer Camino? Was it used during the day or for sleeping when cold? Was this a merino hat or a synthetic hat?

I'm trying to determine if I need a hat too, or if the hood on my fleece will be sufficient.

Laura,
I'm not sure when you are walking, so I'm going to assume it is the summer. It got cool at night, both in the mountains and on the Meseta (you know that from living in the desert). Not cool for sleeping (pilgrim body heat pretty much made the albergues all too warm), but for going to dinner, sitting outside talking to friends after sundown, etc. For me, a warm hat of some sort is equivalent to a warm layer, and much lighter than an jacket or vest. I did not have a fleece, but if you do, a hood on the fleece would be sufficient.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2021)
Camino Frances (April 17, - May, 15, 2015)
Laura,
I'm not sure when you are walking, so I'm going to assume it is the summer. It got cool at night, both in the mountains and on the Meseta (you know that from living in the desert). Not cool for sleeping (pilgrim body heat pretty much made the albergues all too warm), but for going to dinner, sitting outside talking to friends after sundown, etc. For me, a warm hat of some sort is equivalent to a warm layer, and much lighter than an jacket or vest. I did not have a fleece, but if you do, a hood on the fleece would be sufficient.

Buen Camino

OK thanks for your response. I will be on Camino April-May 2015 so the weather should be cooler than summer. I'll make due with the hood on my fleece. I enjoyed your post. I've adjusted my packing list a little based on your experience.

I'm not sure I agree with the cotton shirts for walking in hot weather. I've been experimenting with performance fiber shirts vs cotton shirts for my training walks in the Arizona desert when the temperature is above 90F. In cotton, my shirts becomes totally drenched and takes a along time to dry, performance tight fitting t shirts don't look wet but feel clingy, sort of like wearing a plastic bag. Maybe a loose fitting t shirt would be OK. What I really like are loose fitting shirts like the Columbia Tamiami with the enormous back vent made from polyester rip stop. Columbia isn't the only brand with this back vent feature and I like other brands also. I think they are marketed as fly fishing shirts.
http://www.columbia.com/womens-pfg-tamiami-ii-long-sleeve-shirt-FL7278.html
They come in both long and short sleeve and I plan on taking a long sleeve on the Camino. I'll pair it up with a merino base layer. They are my go to travel shirt for non-camino trips as they wash up and dry in no time and look very nice.
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
I would never wear cotton while walking in hot weather. As long as you keep sweating, your cotton shirts will stay wet from sweat.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
"Please, please, would someone tell me how to save to a CF folder. I have no idea where this is and how to use it. Thank you!"

A folder of your browser book marks ;-) SY
 

capecorps

Member
Not sure I would take rain gear on my next Camino.

On my first Camino, I had the full complement of rain gear that I carried in my backpack all the way from Pamplona to Santiago. I never encountered rain – nary a drop. So of course on my last Camino, I did not take any rain gear. It seemed a good decision until three days shy of Santiago. That’s when I felt a raindrop, and then another….. Mm, just a light drizzle I blithely thought. But then slowly but surely the rain clouds gathered, dark and ominous, the heavens opened and the deluge began. It poured – for three whole days. At first, I was mildly damp, then slightly wet then wetter and finally completely drenched. I have never been as waterlogged before or since. My backpack and all its contents were soaked, my pilgrim’s passport a sodden mess, my shoes squelched as I walked. I no longer avoided puddles: no point just walked right through them. We were in Galicia slogging through mud, long dark tunnels through the forest, dripping leaves, cow manure past our ankles. No point in lingering over my coffee to dry off because I’d be soaked as soon as I stepped out the door. My companions, a loose conglomeration of sunny, convivial spirits I had walked with off and on since Pamplona were likewise completely drenched. Even those well equipped with state of the art rain gear were soaked. The elaborate rain gear was more of a hindrance than a help. Some stripped down to shorts reasoning that skin at least was waterproof. Nothing could withstand the torrential downpour. But we felt we had to go on: just a couple of days to Santiago. No one chose to linger in the albergues for days waiting for the rain to clear when we were so close. Huge line-ups for the few struggling overworked dryers, clothing lines outside useless, no hot water in showers, wet clothes hanging from bunk beds, struggling to put on damp clothing in the early morning cold.

They say the Camino provides. But it provides in mysterious ways: No, the hot sun did not suddenly appear out of a blue, cloudless sky to dry out the land and caress our freezing skin with its warm rays. The Camino worked its magic by altering the internal landscape. With the first drizzle, I was mildly uncomfortable, then quite uncomfortable then downright miserable until I reached the point when I had to admit that I have never been as uncomfortable in my life. I had reached the very nadir of discomfort. And then a strange thing happened. I started feeling good and then better and then almost euphoric. The Camino had habituated me to the discomfort, to the extreme conditions. The Camino had given me a gift. I would never ever be bothered by rain again. The Camino had permanently lowered my comfort threshold. I began to revel in the dampness, the cold, the wet, the sheer unadulterated misery of it all. This was a completely new novel experience accompanied by an almost spiritual separation of mind and body where I hovered above observing with Godlike detachment my physical self trudging through the mud and rain. Time ceased to have meaning: it bent and twisted and compressed and stretched. A second lasted a thousand years. Three days lasted a second...

And suddenly there we were: sloshing through the streets of Santiago as its citizens sheltering under canopies and in doorways watched us as we hiked strongly along the streaming pavements heedless of the pounding rain till we pulled up smartly in the centre of the square of the great Cathedral. And you know what that feels like.

Will I take rain gear on my next Camino?

Nah. Don’t need it.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Not sure I would take rain gear on my next Camino.

I had reached the very nadir of discomfort. And then a strange thing happened. I started feeling good and then better and then almost euphoric. The Camino had habituated me to the discomfort, to the extreme conditions. The Camino had given me a gift. I would never ever be bothered by rain again. The Camino had permanently lowered my comfort threshold.

I had the same experience: realised the rain did not bother me once I accepted I would be wet. Funny how that happens. But I was still wearing my Altus, because on the 1st Camino it rained out of SJJP and I got a dreadful cold - and I kept fellow pilgrims up at night while blowing my nose non-stop, oh, and snoring ;0)
 

Walli Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances '2009',Portuguese '2015', Ingles '2015', Fin and Muxia '2015'. Camino from Granada '2017'.
Capecorps, I did a lovely walk today on the Sunshine Coast (Australia) and one of our group said , as the rain came down, 'Some people walk in the rain and some just get wet'. What a lovely post.
Jacki.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
@capecorps
Lovely post but I 'd just like to add : being drenched is one thing, as long as it isn't cold as well. Then it's downright dangerous. Sorry to put a dampener on this ...;)
 

Penner

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
Janice,
The switch to cotton is because even the most "breathable" nylon was not nearly breathable enough for July on the Meseta. Regrettably, I did not have either cotton or cotton blend clothing in the Meseta this last summer, so I cannot report whether the blend or 100% cotton would be better. Quick-drying is not much of an issue in the desert if you have THIN cotton clothing--that summer sun could have dried anything in a couple of hours. Plus, with my idea, I'd have the nylon clothes on at night when it gets cooler. One caveat: I would not switch to cotton socks; the thin coolmax were cool enough and cotton socks are just premeditated blisters (cotton traps moisture--good for shirts and pants while walking the desert; but very bad for the feet). I guess I'll have to go back (soon!) and see how this idea works.

Peace,
Jo Jo

Jo Jo's got it right. If its hot, & the humidity is low (think desert, or Arizona), cotton is best for shirts or pants. Cotton will hold moisture & evaporate pretty quick on you because the humidity is so low, giving a cooling effect. However, this only works in this type of climate - ONLY. She is also right about the Coolmax socks (don't use cotton socks). In a shoe, there is no air to get in to evaporate the wetness.

From a 23 year desert rat ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2021)
Camino Frances (April 17, - May, 15, 2015)
I would never wear cotton while walking in hot weather. As long as you keep sweating, your cotton shirts will stay wet from sweat.
I totally agree with you Dutch. With cotton your entire back stays moist under your pack, armpits, waist belt and shoulder straps all day because cotton doesn't wick the moisture away like the performance materials and wool, leaving you damp and prone to heat rash and fungal infections. Yeah cotton is soft and comfortable but it is not the best fabric for staying dry in a hot climate.

From a 37 year desert tortoise.
 
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volleyjanice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
08/2013 St. Jean Pied de Port-Belorado, 08/2015 Burgos- Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, 08/18 Portugese
Janice,
The switch to cotton is because even the most "breathable" nylon was not nearly breathable enough for July on the Meseta. Regrettably, I did not have either cotton or cotton blend clothing in the Meseta this last summer, so I cannot report whether the blend or 100% cotton would be better. Quick-drying is not much of an issue in the desert if you have THIN cotton clothing--that summer sun could have dried anything in a couple of hours. Plus, with my idea, I'd have the nylon clothes on at night when it gets cooler. One caveat: I would not switch to cotton socks; the thin coolmax were cool enough and cotton socks are just premeditated blisters (cotton traps moisture--good for shirts and pants while walking the desert; but very bad for the feet). I guess I'll have to go back (soon!) and see how this idea works.

Peace,
Jo Jo
Thanks for your reply Jo Jo. Lots of good info to consider!
 

volleyjanice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
08/2013 St. Jean Pied de Port-Belorado, 08/2015 Burgos- Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, 08/18 Portugese
Hi Janice, I also wear orthotics. If it wasn't for that I would suggest you try a trekking sandal with a good arch support. In summer your toes will not be cold, any sweat will evaporate, and if it rains your feet and shoes will dry in an instant. But like you I wear orthotics, and because my old shoes were crying out for retirement I just bought, and have been wearing, the running shoe version of your boot: http://www.salomon.com/us/range/hiking-footwear-women.html

For sock, this is what I am currently testing: http://ca.shop.runningroom.com/women/socks/coolmesh-ii-tab.html

Double layer, super light, with Cool Max, very very thin seam over the toes. They may a tad too short, exposing your ankle to the shoe, but I will test this combo for a few weeks and see.
Hi, and thanks for the suggestions. I also wore a Wright's double layer sock, slightly higher than yours but still quite low. I did like them as one of my options. I will take a look at the shorter boot as well. I did try on a lighter weight version when I purchased mine which I will reconsider as well. I just had an appointment on Friday to see about new orthotics and she has suggested that she could beef the new ones up to help with underfoot cushioning. That would allow me to perhaps choose a lighter boot. I would love to find a trekking sandal but my last attempt resulted in nothing but heavy, overly wide clumpy boxes! I will keep searching! Cheers!
 

Warren Sly

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
When I was preparing for my Camino, I saw lots of gear lists and advice, but not too many people reviewing their own gear choices for what worked, and what they would do differently next time.

Note: our Camino was from July 3, 2014 to August 9, 2014, and we walked from St. Jean to Finestere. Much of what I have to say is from the experience of walking in the heat of the summer. I have a friend who walked in September-October 2013 and she did not have nearly the foot problems we did with wearing hiking boots in the heat. I am not certain that my suggestions would be helpful for a Spring of Fall walk, and might even be quite harmful.

What follows is the name of the item category, sometimes followed b introductory comments, then the name of the item, its weight in grams, and my comments. At the end of every category is total weight for that category.


Packing

Osprey Stratos 26L
1075
Loved this pack. (My wife had the 24L model, which she also loved. I preferred the drawstring top rather than the zippers). The size and weight were right, and the back mesh ventilation system (“hammock”) was priceless walking across the Meseta. The other feature whose usefulness surprised me was the “stow on the go” system for trekking poles. When I came into towns with people around where using poles on the sidewalk was awkward, I’d just collapse my poles and attach them to my pack in a few moments.

fanny pack
82
Carried my camera and Kindle in this everywhere I went, including at night when I was sleeping. Put it into a gallon Ziploc when taking shower.

laundry bag/stuff sack
24
Useless. Took because was advised to help sort laundry when we shared a washing machine with other pilgrims. Because there were two of us, we usually took a whole machine, and we only had 10 pieces of clothing each. How hard could that possibly have been to sort?

security belt wallet
29
Worn under clothes with passports, credit cards, and most of the cash (in a small Ziploc—otherwise the sweat would soak then through in no time). The day’s spending cash was in a Ziploc in a zippered pocket of my pants, often together with my pilgrims credential.

Gallon size Ziplocs
Forgot to weigh
Priceless. I’m not even sure how many I took, but I used every one of them, especially after my pack cover failed and I had to keep clothing dry in the rain. Also useful for bringing all of your clothes into the shower with you (as there is often not a vestibule where you can leave dry clothes and they will remain dry).

Total Packing
1210

Clothing

I used my backpacking clothing system for hiking in the mountains. I use the short sleeve shirts under the long sleeve sunshirt and convertible pants. In my opinion, wearing short sleeves or shorts and then lots of sunblock (or not, and we saw some really bad burns) is just silly. The sun on your skin undoes any cooling effect of the shorter garments.

I would not use this system again on the Camino in the summer. Instead, I would have two sets of clothing—one for the mountains and one for the Meseta. The mountain clothes would be quick-drying nylon, as these all were. The clothes for the Meseta, however, should be like you would wear in the desert—the one place where cotton is good.

The mountain clothes would be a single layer long sleeve nylon shirt matched with long (non-convertible) pants. The desert clothing would be the same, except in cotton. Everything SPF50 or at least SPF25. I found that what I was doing was using one set of clothing for walking, then when I reached the albergue, changing into the other pair and washing the trail clothes. The summer sun was so hot that drying was not much of a challenge. And then I would put the same trail clothes on for the next day. The clothes I wore in the albergues did not get that dirty, and were usually washed about once a week when we hit a washing machine (wearing rain gear, so we could wash all of the clothes at once). When I do another summer Camino, I would start out wearing the appropriate mountain attire while walking, wearing the desert clothes at night around the albergue. Then I’d switch and wear the desert clothes during the day when it started getting hot in Riojas. Then I’d switch back when we hit Galicia.

Columbia orange nylon shirt
192
Good shirt, but not for the Meseta.

Terramar green nylon short sleeve shirt
177
Ditto.

REI long-sleeve Sahara shirt
246
Ditto.

REI sun hat
108
I’ve used it for years, and it served me well on the trip. 3.25” brim. Ventilated crown for the Meseta. Chin strap for the windy places in the mountains and by the shore. Light color to stay cool. The one piece of clothing I was very happy with.

Kuhl convertible (zip off) long pants
454
I thought I was being clever by buying two pairs of convertible pants, but only bringing one set of legs that could zip onto either set of shorts.

Kuhl shorts (well, convertible pants without the legs)
300
Convertible pants are heavy, however, because of all the zippers. I should have just brought two pairs of lightweight long pants (one cotton, only nylon, as explained above).

Terramar compression shorts (underwear)
93
I like these for walking, and they keep my thighs from getting irritated.

Liner stocking hat
37
Worth its weight in gold.

Total Clothing Weight
1607

Footwear
When you are walking 500 miles, you become little more than a life support system for your feet. This is the most serious gear error you can make. I screwed this up, and it almost cost me my Camino.

leather boots (left behind in Santo Domingo)
Did not weigh
I have been backpacking for years, so I brought my well-broken in hiking boots.

2 Smartwool socks
207
With that system went the wool hiking socks . . . (should have been left or mailed home)

2 polypro liner socks
95
and the polypro liners (that turned out to be useful, but not in their usual capacity). See below.

Asics Running Shoes (left behind in Leon)
Did not weigh
My boots got wet in the Pyrenees and stayed wet. Then we walked lower and it began getting hotter. In the boots and wool socks, I began to get heat rash for the first time ever (I’ve been backpacking since 1980). Plus, the walking surfaces were much more concrete and asphalt than I expected. Moisture + heat + friction = blisters. The balls my feet and my toes became a metropolis of blisters.


In Santo Domingo de la Calzada, my wife found a pair of Keen sandals that fit her, and we donated our boots to the nuns. I was not so lucky because I have very wide feet. I found a pair of Asics running shoes that sort of fit (in Burgos, after a bus ride), and that allowed me to walk the Meseta.

Keen Sandals
950
Finally, when we got to Leon I found a pair of Keen Sandals and pair of Merrell trail shoes. The Keens worked best for the more rugged paths and in the rain (paired with a polypro liner—the only time those socks were really useful).

Merrell Trail Shoes
550
The Merrells worked better on the concrete and asphalt. If I were to do it again, I would keep the Keen sandals, but instead of the Merrells, I’d get well-ventilated running shoes designed for running on asphalt.

Coolmax socks (three pairs)
52, 62, and 78
I also had to buy different socks, settling on three different types of coolmax, with different thicknesses. The lightest ones turned out to be best.

Sockwas
24
I brought these instead of crocs to walk around in the albergues. They are lighter and I find them very comfortable. By the time I had both Keen sandals and the Merrell shoes, however, these became superfluous. At night I just wore whichever shoes I did not wear on the trail that day. I use my Sockwas around home all the time, and will take them backpacking, but not on a Camino.

Total Footwear Weight
2018

Pockets and Hands

lighter
22
Useless. This is not backpacking. No stoves to light.

compass
31
Completely unnecessary. Just follow the yellow arrows and signs.

watch
30
You need one. My wife killed hers the second day by wearing it in the shower and regretted it every day thereafter. Just a cheap one that will not make you the target of thieves.

sunglasses
30
Priceless, especially on the Meseta. I use glacier glasses, with the side covers as goggles that go over my regular glasses.

Opinel knife
28
Loved it. Had to buy this in Spain to cut cheese, meats and breads for lunches from the grocery store. Had to give leave it in a hotel room the last night because there was no way to take it in carryon luggage.

Komperdell
trekking poles
550
I like walking with them, and I especially found the clip-locks to work much better than the twist-locks. With the clip-locks it took me about 15 seconds to break down my poles and attach them to my pack, so I was never asked to leave them by the boots in the albergue (thereby avoiding forgetting them or someone walking off with them by accident). With duct tape wrapped around them (convenient storage) and tips (wore out three of them on the Camino).

Total Hands and Pockets
691


Rain

Marmot Essence rain jacket
178
I love this jacket. It was dry and breathable in the rain, and ridiculously lightweight. It was also only warmth layer I had with me, so I often wore it at night even when it was dry outside.

rain pants
314
Too heavy and inconvenient to take on and off. I have since received as a Christmas gift much lighter rain paints (Mont Bell Torrent Flier, 179g). When I walk another summer Camino, however, I think I will follow my wife’s example instead. She had a Ferrino poncho that served as jacket, pants and pack cover (291grams, total). The coverage is better with pants and jacket, but the summer rains are not that cold and overheating is much more of a problem than in the American mountains.

Osprey pack cover (came with Osprey Pack)
71
Completely worthless. Leaked like a sieve. The ultralight backpackers just use trash compactor bags as liners on the inside of their packs, and that is what I will do in the future.

waterproof gloves
91
Utterly useless. As above, the summer rains were not cold enough to need these.

rain glasses (yellow)
28
Frivolous. I wear them for rainy, cloudy weather so I can see better for driving, and so I do not get so depressed. Would not carry them again.

Total Rainwear
682

Hydration
.75L Camelbak water bottle
167
I split the difference between a water bottle and a bladder. I used the bottle with a tube from the same company that attaches to it. And I love it. All the convenience of a hydration tube so I can sip water while walking, yet just a small, easy to clean, easy to fill bottle.

Camelbak hydration tube
43

Total Hydration
210

Sleeping
Coolmax sleeping bag liner and stuff sack
252
Sprayed with permethrin. For a summer Camino, this was just right. The only night I was cold was in Roncevalles because there are no blankets there. Every other albergue we stayed in where it got at all cold had blankets. Many nights it was even too hot to sleep in this almost weightless liner bag—slept on top instead. Snoring pilgrims stacked in bunk beds generate an amazing amount of body heat in small, confined rooms. I had bought lightweight, 1lb sleeping bags for the trip, but I’m so glad we left them home.

sleeping mask
24
Don’t leave home without one. Often windows had to be left open for ventilation, resulting in light from the street pouring in. Also useful against other pilgrims with white headlamps.

ear plugs
39
Priceless. I use the silicon putty ones, not the foam ones (more comfortable for using the whole night through). Only the snores of one pilgrim one night kept me awake with these as a defense.

Petzl headlamp (w/ batteries)
83
Great, because I could switch it to a red light. Perfect for finding the bathroom in the middle of the night, or leaving the albergue at 6am if other pilgrims were still sleeping. Also useful for finding yellow arrows if you leave the albergue early to avoid walking in the heat of the day. Petzl makes a model called the e+lite that is about a third the weight of this one, and I’m seriously considering getting it.

Total Sleeping
398

Toiletries
safety pins
13
I brought a dozen. What was I thinking? I should have brought TWO dozen for my wife and I (they are easy to lose). Used every day to hang laundry. Worth their weight in gold.

clothes line/rope
28
Only used a few times, but I would probably bring again because when there is no clothes lines (or they are all full), you still have to get your clothes dry somehow.

Netted Soap Saver
34
My wife got this from Amazon, and it worked great. It is a tough nylon scrubber that you put the soap inside. I used it both for showering and washing clothes. The drawstring doubles as a hanger to dry the soap out, minimizing the mess in your pack (you will still need a small Ziploc to carry it in).

Toothpaste
30
One very small tube was enough for my entire trip.

Toothbrush
11
Travel-style, that disassembles and the head tucks inside the body.

floss
17
Small roll lasted the entire trip.

soap
Did not weigh
We were going to buy soap once we got there, but we just kept finding bits of soap others had left behind, all of which went into the soap saver bag.

deodorant
32
Small travel size.

face wash
44
In a small 1oz bottle from REI. Should have only filled halfway because I had some left over at the end.

lip balm
8
With the highest SPF factor you can find

sunscreen
81
Because of my long clothing, only needed for face and hands. Small, 3oz bottle lasted the entire trip.

moisturizer
37
I had the wrong stuff. I needed a different footcare system. By the end, I was using Nok cream on my feet after the shower and again before bed to keep the skin moisturized and therefore more difficult for sweat to permeate.

foot powder
Did not weigh
Priceless. Bought in Spain on the advice of the angels who doctored my feet. This in the socks while walking, and changing socks frequently, turned out to be key to keeping my feet dry and less prone to blisters. Obviously, do not use at the same time you are using a moisturizer on your feet (you will get a caked-on mess). This is for while walking; moisturizer is for after you are done walking for the day.

bandanas (3)
90
I brought intending to use as both wash cloths, towels, nose rags, and buff, as I do in backpacking. Did not end up being as useful on the Camino. I think I would just bring one next time. My wife brought a small Pack Towel (49g). That turned out to be a better idea.

comb
7

Total Toiletries
462


Entertainment
Kindle Paperwhite in a hard case
296
This really was not entertainment because I had my guidebook in here. Actually, I had three guidebooks in here (Kelly, Brierley and Dinkman and Landis), plus the Bible and several books to read for leisure. All for the weight of Brierley’s guidebook. This worked great.

Kindle usb cable and electric plug
54
I did not have to recharge the Kindle but about once a week (and I probably could have gone 10 days—I rarely let it get below 50%). There were plenty of outlets in the albergues. No need for the multiple plug adapters some smart phone users recommend. If the outlet supply was spotty one night, no big deal. I could wait a couple of days to recharge.

plug converter
6
Necessary because Spanish electric plugs are different shapes. Cheap one from Ebay worked fine.

Native American flute
101
Infinitely worth it. I played at almost every church that was open along the way, and in the Cathedral at Santiago (getting permission for that one took a bit of doing. I should add that the Dean of the Cathedral turned out to be a lovely man). The sound in some of those churches was amazing.

Sony Nex-3 Camera
385
My old point-and-shoot would have worked, but I bought this camera for the Camino because I wanted pictures that would be really beautiful. And they are. The image sensor in this camera is huge, so you get very fine details. Figuring out the focusing system took some time, but after the first 2 days, I did and the pictures were wonderful. Action shots were a little blurry, but I think I now know what I needed to be doing to solve that.

polarizing filter for camera
22
A must-have for outdoor photography in the bright sunlight.

battery charger for camera
65
Camera would not charge straight from an outlet, so I had to carry this. It worked well

extra battery for camera
58
There were so many opportunities to recharge, this was a completely unnecessary rock that I hauled half way across Spain.

extra SD card for camera
5
A wise precaution, but unnecessary. I had a 16GB card, which was all kinds of space for my photos

lens shade for camera
21
Useful in some situations, but I mostly did not use this and would not carry again.

Total Entertainment
1013

Foot Repair
I had this system all wrong. My system was based on short (5 day) backpacking trips in the mountains. There, if you get a blister, you just put a moleskin donut around it and tape it all down. That way you do not risk infection in the backcountry by puncturing the blister

Molefoam
17
By day 8, however, I had a mass of moleskin on my feet that was no longer able to cushion anything and, worse yet, was trapping moisture in my boots.

folding scissors
15
The answer for me turned out to be the “nuns” method of sewing blisters, leaving a thread in them to keep the blister draining (you can take the thread out when you start walking the next day). Scissors were useful for molefoam and trimming my beard, but not really the tool I needed. I needed needle and thread.

Leukotape
8
This works much better than the old, white adhesive tape, but by the end we did not use at all. The trick was soaking feet in water fountains to cool them, and then changing socks (with Peusek footpowder) to keep them dry. Just taping over hot spots was too temporary of a fix for walking 500 miles.

Total Foot Repair
49

Gear Repairs
duct tape
(weight included in trekking pole weight)
In bright orange. Wrapped around trekking poles. Used both to mark gear as ours, and at one point to tape Superfeet insoles into sandals trying to cobble together a footwear solution that would get me to the next big city. It did not work (as you might expect) and I had to take a bus to Burgos to buy better shoes.

needle/thread
3
See above. I had to get a smaller needle because the one I had was for sewing gear, not blisters. The gear did not need sewing; the blisters did.

ripstop nylon repair tape
7
Never used, but a good precaution.

Total Gear Repairs
10

People Repair
Sack for First aid materials
8
I got these for backpacking in 1980, and they are still the best thing I’ve ever seen (zipper up the belly instead of a drawstring top).

Band-Aids
12
Never used

various medicines
15
Ran out of Ibuprofen, but bought some in Spain (600mg; Rx strength in the US, so we had to leave the extra in Spain because otherwise it is illegal to have in the U.S. without a prescription).

Neosporin
16
Never used. Bought Betadine in Spain, because it would flow into the blister better.

KT Tape
Did not weigh
A Camino angel gave some to my wife and it saved her. She was developing tendonitis from her hiking boots. Take some with you—this stuff was impossible to find in farmacias on the Camino.

Pepto-Bismal
Wished we had to weigh
Some things you cannot find for love or money on the Camino, and this is one. The Spanish food (lots of olive oil) was too rich for my wife’s stomach. Seriously wished that we had brought some tablets.

Alka Seltzer
Wished we had to weigh
Another product we just could not find in Spain and wished we had packed.

Total People Repair
51

GRAND TOTAL WEIGHT
8401

The total weight was equivalent to 18.5lbs. I weighed about 200lbs. when I left (about 175lbs. by the end), so this was within the suggestion of carrying no more than a ten percent of body weight. Actually, by the time you add in consumables (food, water, foot doctoring supplies), I exceeded that.

I’m glad I did not have any more—my feet took enough of a pounding as it was. Notable things I’m glad I did not take: a sleeping pad (I saw lots of these and they were unnecessary), and a sleeping bag.

I hope that this report helps other pilgrims to make their own gear selections. I saw far too many walking with unnecessarily heavy loads, and I wonder if they ever made it to Santiago. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to respond to this posting.

Buen Camino.
SHIRTS
 

Warren Sly

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
When I was preparing for my Camino, I saw lots of gear lists and advice, but not too many people reviewing their own gear choices for what worked, and what they would do differently next time.

Note: our Camino was from July 3, 2014 to August 9, 2014, and we walked from St. Jean to Finestere. Much of what I have to say is from the experience of walking in the heat of the summer. I have a friend who walked in September-October 2013 and she did not have nearly the foot problems we did with wearing hiking boots in the heat. I am not certain that my suggestions would be helpful for a Spring of Fall walk, and might even be quite harmful.

What follows is the name of the item category, sometimes followed b introductory comments, then the name of the item, its weight in grams, and my comments. At the end of every category is total weight for that category.


Packing

Osprey Stratos 26L
1075
Loved this pack. (My wife had the 24L model, which she also loved. I preferred the drawstring top rather than the zippers). The size and weight were right, and the back mesh ventilation system (“hammock”) was priceless walking across the Meseta. The other feature whose usefulness surprised me was the “stow on the go” system for trekking poles. When I came into towns with people around where using poles on the sidewalk was awkward, I’d just collapse my poles and attach them to my pack in a few moments.

fanny pack
82
Carried my camera and Kindle in this everywhere I went, including at night when I was sleeping. Put it into a gallon Ziploc when taking shower.

laundry bag/stuff sack
24
Useless. Took because was advised to help sort laundry when we shared a washing machine with other pilgrims. Because there were two of us, we usually took a whole machine, and we only had 10 pieces of clothing each. How hard could that possibly have been to sort?

security belt wallet
29
Worn under clothes with passports, credit cards, and most of the cash (in a small Ziploc—otherwise the sweat would soak then through in no time). The day’s spending cash was in a Ziploc in a zippered pocket of my pants, often together with my pilgrims credential.

Gallon size Ziplocs
Forgot to weigh
Priceless. I’m not even sure how many I took, but I used every one of them, especially after my pack cover failed and I had to keep clothing dry in the rain. Also useful for bringing all of your clothes into the shower with you (as there is often not a vestibule where you can leave dry clothes and they will remain dry).

Total Packing
1210

Clothing

I used my backpacking clothing system for hiking in the mountains. I use the short sleeve shirts under the long sleeve sunshirt and convertible pants. In my opinion, wearing short sleeves or shorts and then lots of sunblock (or not, and we saw some really bad burns) is just silly. The sun on your skin undoes any cooling effect of the shorter garments.

I would not use this system again on the Camino in the summer. Instead, I would have two sets of clothing—one for the mountains and one for the Meseta. The mountain clothes would be quick-drying nylon, as these all were. The clothes for the Meseta, however, should be like you would wear in the desert—the one place where cotton is good.

The mountain clothes would be a single layer long sleeve nylon shirt matched with long (non-convertible) pants. The desert clothing would be the same, except in cotton. Everything SPF50 or at least SPF25. I found that what I was doing was using one set of clothing for walking, then when I reached the albergue, changing into the other pair and washing the trail clothes. The summer sun was so hot that drying was not much of a challenge. And then I would put the same trail clothes on for the next day. The clothes I wore in the albergues did not get that dirty, and were usually washed about once a week when we hit a washing machine (wearing rain gear, so we could wash all of the clothes at once). When I do another summer Camino, I would start out wearing the appropriate mountain attire while walking, wearing the desert clothes at night around the albergue. Then I’d switch and wear the desert clothes during the day when it started getting hot in Riojas. Then I’d switch back when we hit Galicia.

Columbia orange nylon shirt
192
Good shirt, but not for the Meseta.

Terramar green nylon short sleeve shirt
177
Ditto.

REI long-sleeve Sahara shirt
246
Ditto.

REI sun hat
108
I’ve used it for years, and it served me well on the trip. 3.25” brim. Ventilated crown for the Meseta. Chin strap for the windy places in the mountains and by the shore. Light color to stay cool. The one piece of clothing I was very happy with.

Kuhl convertible (zip off) long pants
454
I thought I was being clever by buying two pairs of convertible pants, but only bringing one set of legs that could zip onto either set of shorts.

Kuhl shorts (well, convertible pants without the legs)
300
Convertible pants are heavy, however, because of all the zippers. I should have just brought two pairs of lightweight long pants (one cotton, only nylon, as explained above).

Terramar compression shorts (underwear)
93
I like these for walking, and they keep my thighs from getting irritated.

Liner stocking hat
37
Worth its weight in gold.

Total Clothing Weight
1607

Footwear
When you are walking 500 miles, you become little more than a life support system for your feet. This is the most serious gear error you can make. I screwed this up, and it almost cost me my Camino.

leather boots (left behind in Santo Domingo)
Did not weigh
I have been backpacking for years, so I brought my well-broken in hiking boots.

2 Smartwool socks
207
With that system went the wool hiking socks . . . (should have been left or mailed home)

2 polypro liner socks
95
and the polypro liners (that turned out to be useful, but not in their usual capacity). See below.

Asics Running Shoes (left behind in Leon)
Did not weigh
My boots got wet in the Pyrenees and stayed wet. Then we walked lower and it began getting hotter. In the boots and wool socks, I began to get heat rash for the first time ever (I’ve been backpacking since 1980). Plus, the walking surfaces were much more concrete and asphalt than I expected. Moisture + heat + friction = blisters. The balls my feet and my toes became a metropolis of blisters.


In Santo Domingo de la Calzada, my wife found a pair of Keen sandals that fit her, and we donated our boots to the nuns. I was not so lucky because I have very wide feet. I found a pair of Asics running shoes that sort of fit (in Burgos, after a bus ride), and that allowed me to walk the Meseta.

Keen Sandals
950
Finally, when we got to Leon I found a pair of Keen Sandals and pair of Merrell trail shoes. The Keens worked best for the more rugged paths and in the rain (paired with a polypro liner—the only time those socks were really useful).

Merrell Trail Shoes
550
The Merrells worked better on the concrete and asphalt. If I were to do it again, I would keep the Keen sandals, but instead of the Merrells, I’d get well-ventilated running shoes designed for running on asphalt.

Coolmax socks (three pairs)
52, 62, and 78
I also had to buy different socks, settling on three different types of coolmax, with different thicknesses. The lightest ones turned out to be best.

Sockwas
24
I brought these instead of crocs to walk around in the albergues. They are lighter and I find them very comfortable. By the time I had both Keen sandals and the Merrell shoes, however, these became superfluous. At night I just wore whichever shoes I did not wear on the trail that day. I use my Sockwas around home all the time, and will take them backpacking, but not on a Camino.

Total Footwear Weight
2018

Pockets and Hands

lighter
22
Useless. This is not backpacking. No stoves to light.

compass
31
Completely unnecessary. Just follow the yellow arrows and signs.

watch
30
You need one. My wife killed hers the second day by wearing it in the shower and regretted it every day thereafter. Just a cheap one that will not make you the target of thieves.

sunglasses
30
Priceless, especially on the Meseta. I use glacier glasses, with the side covers as goggles that go over my regular glasses.

Opinel knife
28
Loved it. Had to buy this in Spain to cut cheese, meats and breads for lunches from the grocery store. Had to give leave it in a hotel room the last night because there was no way to take it in carryon luggage.

Komperdell
trekking poles
550
I like walking with them, and I especially found the clip-locks to work much better than the twist-locks. With the clip-locks it took me about 15 seconds to break down my poles and attach them to my pack, so I was never asked to leave them by the boots in the albergue (thereby avoiding forgetting them or someone walking off with them by accident). With duct tape wrapped around them (convenient storage) and tips (wore out three of them on the Camino).

Total Hands and Pockets
691


Rain

Marmot Essence rain jacket
178
I love this jacket. It was dry and breathable in the rain, and ridiculously lightweight. It was also only warmth layer I had with me, so I often wore it at night even when it was dry outside.

rain pants
314
Too heavy and inconvenient to take on and off. I have since received as a Christmas gift much lighter rain paints (Mont Bell Torrent Flier, 179g). When I walk another summer Camino, however, I think I will follow my wife’s example instead. She had a Ferrino poncho that served as jacket, pants and pack cover (291grams, total). The coverage is better with pants and jacket, but the summer rains are not that cold and overheating is much more of a problem than in the American mountains.

Osprey pack cover (came with Osprey Pack)
71
Completely worthless. Leaked like a sieve. The ultralight backpackers just use trash compactor bags as liners on the inside of their packs, and that is what I will do in the future.

waterproof gloves
91
Utterly useless. As above, the summer rains were not cold enough to need these.

rain glasses (yellow)
28
Frivolous. I wear them for rainy, cloudy weather so I can see better for driving, and so I do not get so depressed. Would not carry them again.

Total Rainwear
682

Hydration
.75L Camelbak water bottle
167
I split the difference between a water bottle and a bladder. I used the bottle with a tube from the same company that attaches to it. And I love it. All the convenience of a hydration tube so I can sip water while walking, yet just a small, easy to clean, easy to fill bottle.

Camelbak hydration tube
43

Total Hydration
210

Sleeping
Coolmax sleeping bag liner and stuff sack
252
Sprayed with permethrin. For a summer Camino, this was just right. The only night I was cold was in Roncevalles because there are no blankets there. Every other albergue we stayed in where it got at all cold had blankets. Many nights it was even too hot to sleep in this almost weightless liner bag—slept on top instead. Snoring pilgrims stacked in bunk beds generate an amazing amount of body heat in small, confined rooms. I had bought lightweight, 1lb sleeping bags for the trip, but I’m so glad we left them home.

sleeping mask
24
Don’t leave home without one. Often windows had to be left open for ventilation, resulting in light from the street pouring in. Also useful against other pilgrims with white headlamps.

ear plugs
39
Priceless. I use the silicon putty ones, not the foam ones (more comfortable for using the whole night through). Only the snores of one pilgrim one night kept me awake with these as a defense.

Petzl headlamp (w/ batteries)
83
Great, because I could switch it to a red light. Perfect for finding the bathroom in the middle of the night, or leaving the albergue at 6am if other pilgrims were still sleeping. Also useful for finding yellow arrows if you leave the albergue early to avoid walking in the heat of the day. Petzl makes a model called the e+lite that is about a third the weight of this one, and I’m seriously considering getting it.

Total Sleeping
398

Toiletries
safety pins
13
I brought a dozen. What was I thinking? I should have brought TWO dozen for my wife and I (they are easy to lose). Used every day to hang laundry. Worth their weight in gold.

clothes line/rope
28
Only used a few times, but I would probably bring again because when there is no clothes lines (or they are all full), you still have to get your clothes dry somehow.

Netted Soap Saver
34
My wife got this from Amazon, and it worked great. It is a tough nylon scrubber that you put the soap inside. I used it both for showering and washing clothes. The drawstring doubles as a hanger to dry the soap out, minimizing the mess in your pack (you will still need a small Ziploc to carry it in).

Toothpaste
30
One very small tube was enough for my entire trip.

Toothbrush
11
Travel-style, that disassembles and the head tucks inside the body.

floss
17
Small roll lasted the entire trip.

soap
Did not weigh
We were going to buy soap once we got there, but we just kept finding bits of soap others had left behind, all of which went into the soap saver bag.

deodorant
32
Small travel size.

face wash
44
In a small 1oz bottle from REI. Should have only filled halfway because I had some left over at the end.

lip balm
8
With the highest SPF factor you can find

sunscreen
81
Because of my long clothing, only needed for face and hands. Small, 3oz bottle lasted the entire trip.

moisturizer
37
I had the wrong stuff. I needed a different footcare system. By the end, I was using Nok cream on my feet after the shower and again before bed to keep the skin moisturized and therefore more difficult for sweat to permeate.

foot powder
Did not weigh
Priceless. Bought in Spain on the advice of the angels who doctored my feet. This in the socks while walking, and changing socks frequently, turned out to be key to keeping my feet dry and less prone to blisters. Obviously, do not use at the same time you are using a moisturizer on your feet (you will get a caked-on mess). This is for while walking; moisturizer is for after you are done walking for the day.

bandanas (3)
90
I brought intending to use as both wash cloths, towels, nose rags, and buff, as I do in backpacking. Did not end up being as useful on the Camino. I think I would just bring one next time. My wife brought a small Pack Towel (49g). That turned out to be a better idea.

comb
7

Total Toiletries
462


Entertainment
Kindle Paperwhite in a hard case
296
This really was not entertainment because I had my guidebook in here. Actually, I had three guidebooks in here (Kelly, Brierley and Dinkman and Landis), plus the Bible and several books to read for leisure. All for the weight of Brierley’s guidebook. This worked great.

Kindle usb cable and electric plug
54
I did not have to recharge the Kindle but about once a week (and I probably could have gone 10 days—I rarely let it get below 50%). There were plenty of outlets in the albergues. No need for the multiple plug adapters some smart phone users recommend. If the outlet supply was spotty one night, no big deal. I could wait a couple of days to recharge.

plug converter
6
Necessary because Spanish electric plugs are different shapes. Cheap one from Ebay worked fine.

Native American flute
101
Infinitely worth it. I played at almost every church that was open along the way, and in the Cathedral at Santiago (getting permission for that one took a bit of doing. I should add that the Dean of the Cathedral turned out to be a lovely man). The sound in some of those churches was amazing.

Sony Nex-3 Camera
385
My old point-and-shoot would have worked, but I bought this camera for the Camino because I wanted pictures that would be really beautiful. And they are. The image sensor in this camera is huge, so you get very fine details. Figuring out the focusing system took some time, but after the first 2 days, I did and the pictures were wonderful. Action shots were a little blurry, but I think I now know what I needed to be doing to solve that.

polarizing filter for camera
22
A must-have for outdoor photography in the bright sunlight.

battery charger for camera
65
Camera would not charge straight from an outlet, so I had to carry this. It worked well

extra battery for camera
58
There were so many opportunities to recharge, this was a completely unnecessary rock that I hauled half way across Spain.

extra SD card for camera
5
A wise precaution, but unnecessary. I had a 16GB card, which was all kinds of space for my photos

lens shade for camera
21
Useful in some situations, but I mostly did not use this and would not carry again.

Total Entertainment
1013

Foot Repair
I had this system all wrong. My system was based on short (5 day) backpacking trips in the mountains. There, if you get a blister, you just put a moleskin donut around it and tape it all down. That way you do not risk infection in the backcountry by puncturing the blister

Molefoam
17
By day 8, however, I had a mass of moleskin on my feet that was no longer able to cushion anything and, worse yet, was trapping moisture in my boots.

folding scissors
15
The answer for me turned out to be the “nuns” method of sewing blisters, leaving a thread in them to keep the blister draining (you can take the thread out when you start walking the next day). Scissors were useful for molefoam and trimming my beard, but not really the tool I needed. I needed needle and thread.

Leukotape
8
This works much better than the old, white adhesive tape, but by the end we did not use at all. The trick was soaking feet in water fountains to cool them, and then changing socks (with Peusek footpowder) to keep them dry. Just taping over hot spots was too temporary of a fix for walking 500 miles.

Total Foot Repair
49

Gear Repairs
duct tape
(weight included in trekking pole weight)
In bright orange. Wrapped around trekking poles. Used both to mark gear as ours, and at one point to tape Superfeet insoles into sandals trying to cobble together a footwear solution that would get me to the next big city. It did not work (as you might expect) and I had to take a bus to Burgos to buy better shoes.

needle/thread
3
See above. I had to get a smaller needle because the one I had was for sewing gear, not blisters. The gear did not need sewing; the blisters did.

ripstop nylon repair tape
7
Never used, but a good precaution.

Total Gear Repairs
10

People Repair
Sack for First aid materials
8
I got these for backpacking in 1980, and they are still the best thing I’ve ever seen (zipper up the belly instead of a drawstring top).

Band-Aids
12
Never used

various medicines
15
Ran out of Ibuprofen, but bought some in Spain (600mg; Rx strength in the US, so we had to leave the extra in Spain because otherwise it is illegal to have in the U.S. without a prescription).

Neosporin
16
Never used. Bought Betadine in Spain, because it would flow into the blister better.

KT Tape
Did not weigh
A Camino angel gave some to my wife and it saved her. She was developing tendonitis from her hiking boots. Take some with you—this stuff was impossible to find in farmacias on the Camino.

Pepto-Bismal
Wished we had to weigh
Some things you cannot find for love or money on the Camino, and this is one. The Spanish food (lots of olive oil) was too rich for my wife’s stomach. Seriously wished that we had brought some tablets.

Alka Seltzer
Wished we had to weigh
Another product we just could not find in Spain and wished we had packed.

Total People Repair
51

GRAND TOTAL WEIGHT
8401

The total weight was equivalent to 18.5lbs. I weighed about 200lbs. when I left (about 175lbs. by the end), so this was within the suggestion of carrying no more than a ten percent of body weight. Actually, by the time you add in consumables (food, water, foot doctoring supplies), I exceeded that.

I’m glad I did not have any more—my feet took enough of a pounding as it was. Notable things I’m glad I did not take: a sleeping pad (I saw lots of these and they were unnecessary), and a sleeping bag.

I hope that this report helps other pilgrims to make their own gear selections. I saw far too many walking with unnecessarily heavy loads, and I wonder if they ever made it to Santiago. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to respond to this posting.

Buen Camino.
SHIRTS. Patagonia makes a long-sleeve Island Hopper shirt. A great cotton-poly blend for fishing. It's cooler than either pure cotton or nylon, dries overnight, +30 SPF and dressy enough that it's now my everyday shirt.
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
...I saved it in my chrome Camino favorites to read again later...
Is this a feature in this website, or do you mean you cut & pasted this info elsewhere, WldWil?
Suzanne :)
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
Jo Jo, thank you for this very informative unpacking review. I recall another thread in this forum that was similar.
Keeping my fingers crossed that my Camino will take place in September this year but some issues are cropping up which may postpone it --- I do hope not!!
Suzanne :)
 

xin loi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
Never used my sunglasses during May & June--you are walking west away from Sun. Never opened my 1 liter bottle of water--only used the 500 ml bottle. Used sleeping bag and pad several times and was glad to have carried them. Brought 4 pairs of underwear and had two pairs stolen from drying line. Used my own drying line and pins many times. Did not carry any electronic stuff. surprised how many people carry no First aide stuff at all.

Best thing I had that no one else had? Big "S" hooks to put on shower door to hang my clothes and shaving gear. Had lot of showers with nothing available to hang things on.


And loved the Koreans who bring EVERYTHING!
 

Annie G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
I had the same experience: realised the rain did not bother me once I accepted I would be wet. Funny how that happens. But I was still wearing my Altus, because on the 1st Camino it rained out of SJJP and I got a dreadful cold - and I kept fellow pilgrims up at night while blowing my nose non-stop, oh, and snoring ;0)
I had the same experience: realised the rain did not bother me once I accepted I would be wet. Funny how that happens. But I was still wearing my Altus, because on the 1st Camino it rained out of SJJP and I got a dreadful cold - and I kept fellow pilgrims up at night while blowing my nose non-stop, oh, and snoring ;0)

You can get the same experience by moving to Eugene, Oregon.
 

Manu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Ponferrada to Santiago April/May 2015. Will go next year to do the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles to Leon (2016)
Awesome report. I really like the unpacking list. I saved it in my chrome Camino favorites to read again later. I appreciate the value it brings to the forum.

Thanks for this most helpful post. I will follow advice on most items. Cheers from Buenos Aires!
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Not sure I would take rain gear on my next Camino.

I came across this old post when I followed Jo Jo's redirection in the current thread about water. What a great piece of writing, so evocative and inspirational. The last sentence says it all!
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
When I was preparing for my Camino, I saw lots of gear lists and advice, but not too many people reviewing their own gear choices for what worked, and what they would do differently next time.

Note: our Camino was from July 3, 2014 to August 9, 2014, and we walked from St. Jean to Finestere. Much of what I have to say is from the experience of walking in the heat of the summer. I have a friend who walked in September-October 2013 and she did not have nearly the foot problems we did with wearing hiking boots in the heat. I am not certain that my suggestions would be helpful for a Spring of Fall walk, and might even be quite harmful.

What follows is the name of the item category, sometimes followed b introductory comments, then the name of the item, its weight in grams, and my comments. At the end of every category is total weight for that category.


Packing

Osprey Stratos 26L
1075
Loved this pack. (My wife had the 24L model, which she also loved. I preferred the drawstring top rather than the zippers). The size and weight were right, and the back mesh ventilation system (“hammock”) was priceless walking across the Meseta. The other feature whose usefulness surprised me was the “stow on the go” system for trekking poles. When I came into towns with people around where using poles on the sidewalk was awkward, I’d just collapse my poles and attach them to my pack in a few moments.

fanny pack
82
Carried my camera and Kindle in this everywhere I went, including at night when I was sleeping. Put it into a gallon Ziploc when taking shower.

laundry bag/stuff sack
24
Useless. Took because was advised to help sort laundry when we shared a washing machine with other pilgrims. Because there were two of us, we usually took a whole machine, and we only had 10 pieces of clothing each. How hard could that possibly have been to sort?

security belt wallet
29
Worn under clothes with passports, credit cards, and most of the cash (in a small Ziploc—otherwise the sweat would soak then through in no time). The day’s spending cash was in a Ziploc in a zippered pocket of my pants, often together with my pilgrims credential.

Gallon size Ziplocs
Forgot to weigh
Priceless. I’m not even sure how many I took, but I used every one of them, especially after my pack cover failed and I had to keep clothing dry in the rain. Also useful for bringing all of your clothes into the shower with you (as there is often not a vestibule where you can leave dry clothes and they will remain dry).

Total Packing
1210

Clothing

I used my backpacking clothing system for hiking in the mountains. I use the short sleeve shirts under the long sleeve sunshirt and convertible pants. In my opinion, wearing short sleeves or shorts and then lots of sunblock (or not, and we saw some really bad burns) is just silly. The sun on your skin undoes any cooling effect of the shorter garments.

I would not use this system again on the Camino in the summer. Instead, I would have two sets of clothing—one for the mountains and one for the Meseta. The mountain clothes would be quick-drying nylon, as these all were. The clothes for the Meseta, however, should be like you would wear in the desert—the one place where cotton is good.

The mountain clothes would be a single layer long sleeve nylon shirt matched with long (non-convertible) pants. The desert clothing would be the same, except in cotton. Everything SPF50 or at least SPF25. I found that what I was doing was using one set of clothing for walking, then when I reached the albergue, changing into the other pair and washing the trail clothes. The summer sun was so hot that drying was not much of a challenge. And then I would put the same trail clothes on for the next day. The clothes I wore in the albergues did not get that dirty, and were usually washed about once a week when we hit a washing machine (wearing rain gear, so we could wash all of the clothes at once). When I do another summer Camino, I would start out wearing the appropriate mountain attire while walking, wearing the desert clothes at night around the albergue. Then I’d switch and wear the desert clothes during the day when it started getting hot in Riojas. Then I’d switch back when we hit Galicia.

Columbia orange nylon shirt
192
Good shirt, but not for the Meseta.

Terramar green nylon short sleeve shirt
177
Ditto.

REI long-sleeve Sahara shirt
246
Ditto.

REI sun hat
108
I’ve used it for years, and it served me well on the trip. 3.25” brim. Ventilated crown for the Meseta. Chin strap for the windy places in the mountains and by the shore. Light color to stay cool. The one piece of clothing I was very happy with.

Kuhl convertible (zip off) long pants
454
I thought I was being clever by buying two pairs of convertible pants, but only bringing one set of legs that could zip onto either set of shorts.

Kuhl shorts (well, convertible pants without the legs)
300
Convertible pants are heavy, however, because of all the zippers. I should have just brought two pairs of lightweight long pants (one cotton, only nylon, as explained above).

Terramar compression shorts (underwear)
93
I like these for walking, and they keep my thighs from getting irritated.

Liner stocking hat
37
Worth its weight in gold.

Total Clothing Weight
1607

Footwear
When you are walking 500 miles, you become little more than a life support system for your feet. This is the most serious gear error you can make. I screwed this up, and it almost cost me my Camino.

leather boots (left behind in Santo Domingo)
Did not weigh
I have been backpacking for years, so I brought my well-broken in hiking boots.

2 Smartwool socks
207
With that system went the wool hiking socks . . . (should have been left or mailed home)

2 polypro liner socks
95
and the polypro liners (that turned out to be useful, but not in their usual capacity). See below.

Asics Running Shoes (left behind in Leon)
Did not weigh
My boots got wet in the Pyrenees and stayed wet. Then we walked lower and it began getting hotter. In the boots and wool socks, I began to get heat rash for the first time ever (I’ve been backpacking since 1980). Plus, the walking surfaces were much more concrete and asphalt than I expected. Moisture + heat + friction = blisters. The balls my feet and my toes became a metropolis of blisters.


In Santo Domingo de la Calzada, my wife found a pair of Keen sandals that fit her, and we donated our boots to the nuns. I was not so lucky because I have very wide feet. I found a pair of Asics running shoes that sort of fit (in Burgos, after a bus ride), and that allowed me to walk the Meseta.

Keen Sandals
950
Finally, when we got to Leon I found a pair of Keen Sandals and pair of Merrell trail shoes. The Keens worked best for the more rugged paths and in the rain (paired with a polypro liner—the only time those socks were really useful).

Merrell Trail Shoes
550
The Merrells worked better on the concrete and asphalt. If I were to do it again, I would keep the Keen sandals, but instead of the Merrells, I’d get well-ventilated running shoes designed for running on asphalt.

Coolmax socks (three pairs)
52, 62, and 78
I also had to buy different socks, settling on three different types of coolmax, with different thicknesses. The lightest ones turned out to be best.

Sockwas
24
I brought these instead of crocs to walk around in the albergues. They are lighter and I find them very comfortable. By the time I had both Keen sandals and the Merrell shoes, however, these became superfluous. At night I just wore whichever shoes I did not wear on the trail that day. I use my Sockwas around home all the time, and will take them backpacking, but not on a Camino.

Total Footwear Weight
2018

Pockets and Hands

lighter
22
Useless. This is not backpacking. No stoves to light.

compass
31
Completely unnecessary. Just follow the yellow arrows and signs.

watch
30
You need one. My wife killed hers the second day by wearing it in the shower and regretted it every day thereafter. Just a cheap one that will not make you the target of thieves.

sunglasses
30
Priceless, especially on the Meseta. I use glacier glasses, with the side covers as goggles that go over my regular glasses.

Opinel knife
28
Loved it. Had to buy this in Spain to cut cheese, meats and breads for lunches from the grocery store. Had to give leave it in a hotel room the last night because there was no way to take it in carryon luggage.

Komperdell
trekking poles
550
I like walking with them, and I especially found the clip-locks to work much better than the twist-locks. With the clip-locks it took me about 15 seconds to break down my poles and attach them to my pack, so I was never asked to leave them by the boots in the albergue (thereby avoiding forgetting them or someone walking off with them by accident). With duct tape wrapped around them (convenient storage) and tips (wore out three of them on the Camino).

Total Hands and Pockets
691


Rain

Marmot Essence rain jacket
178
I love this jacket. It was dry and breathable in the rain, and ridiculously lightweight. It was also only warmth layer I had with me, so I often wore it at night even when it was dry outside.

rain pants
314
Too heavy and inconvenient to take on and off. I have since received as a Christmas gift much lighter rain paints (Mont Bell Torrent Flier, 179g). When I walk another summer Camino, however, I think I will follow my wife’s example instead. She had a Ferrino poncho that served as jacket, pants and pack cover (291grams, total). The coverage is better with pants and jacket, but the summer rains are not that cold and overheating is much more of a problem than in the American mountains.

Osprey pack cover (came with Osprey Pack)
71
Completely worthless. Leaked like a sieve. The ultralight backpackers just use trash compactor bags as liners on the inside of their packs, and that is what I will do in the future.

waterproof gloves
91
Utterly useless. As above, the summer rains were not cold enough to need these.

rain glasses (yellow)
28
Frivolous. I wear them for rainy, cloudy weather so I can see better for driving, and so I do not get so depressed. Would not carry them again.

Total Rainwear
682

Hydration
.75L Camelbak water bottle
167
I split the difference between a water bottle and a bladder. I used the bottle with a tube from the same company that attaches to it. And I love it. All the convenience of a hydration tube so I can sip water while walking, yet just a small, easy to clean, easy to fill bottle.

Camelbak hydration tube
43

Total Hydration
210

Sleeping
Coolmax sleeping bag liner and stuff sack
252
Sprayed with permethrin. For a summer Camino, this was just right. The only night I was cold was in Roncevalles because there are no blankets there. Every other albergue we stayed in where it got at all cold had blankets. Many nights it was even too hot to sleep in this almost weightless liner bag—slept on top instead. Snoring pilgrims stacked in bunk beds generate an amazing amount of body heat in small, confined rooms. I had bought lightweight, 1lb sleeping bags for the trip, but I’m so glad we left them home.

sleeping mask
24
Don’t leave home without one. Often windows had to be left open for ventilation, resulting in light from the street pouring in. Also useful against other pilgrims with white headlamps.

ear plugs
39
Priceless. I use the silicon putty ones, not the foam ones (more comfortable for using the whole night through). Only the snores of one pilgrim one night kept me awake with these as a defense.

Petzl headlamp (w/ batteries)
83
Great, because I could switch it to a red light. Perfect for finding the bathroom in the middle of the night, or leaving the albergue at 6am if other pilgrims were still sleeping. Also useful for finding yellow arrows if you leave the albergue early to avoid walking in the heat of the day. Petzl makes a model called the e+lite that is about a third the weight of this one, and I’m seriously considering getting it.

Total Sleeping
398

Toiletries
safety pins
13
I brought a dozen. What was I thinking? I should have brought TWO dozen for my wife and I (they are easy to lose). Used every day to hang laundry. Worth their weight in gold.

clothes line/rope
28
Only used a few times, but I would probably bring again because when there is no clothes lines (or they are all full), you still have to get your clothes dry somehow.

Netted Soap Saver
34
My wife got this from Amazon, and it worked great. It is a tough nylon scrubber that you put the soap inside. I used it both for showering and washing clothes. The drawstring doubles as a hanger to dry the soap out, minimizing the mess in your pack (you will still need a small Ziploc to carry it in).

Toothpaste
30
One very small tube was enough for my entire trip.

Toothbrush
11
Travel-style, that disassembles and the head tucks inside the body.

floss
17
Small roll lasted the entire trip.

soap
Did not weigh
We were going to buy soap once we got there, but we just kept finding bits of soap others had left behind, all of which went into the soap saver bag.

deodorant
32
Small travel size.

face wash
44
In a small 1oz bottle from REI. Should have only filled halfway because I had some left over at the end.

lip balm
8
With the highest SPF factor you can find

sunscreen
81
Because of my long clothing, only needed for face and hands. Small, 3oz bottle lasted the entire trip.

moisturizer
37
I had the wrong stuff. I needed a different footcare system. By the end, I was using Nok cream on my feet after the shower and again before bed to keep the skin moisturized and therefore more difficult for sweat to permeate.

foot powder
Did not weigh
Priceless. Bought in Spain on the advice of the angels who doctored my feet. This in the socks while walking, and changing socks frequently, turned out to be key to keeping my feet dry and less prone to blisters. Obviously, do not use at the same time you are using a moisturizer on your feet (you will get a caked-on mess). This is for while walking; moisturizer is for after you are done walking for the day.

bandanas (3)
90
I brought intending to use as both wash cloths, towels, nose rags, and buff, as I do in backpacking. Did not end up being as useful on the Camino. I think I would just bring one next time. My wife brought a small Pack Towel (49g). That turned out to be a better idea.

comb
7

Total Toiletries
462


Entertainment
Kindle Paperwhite in a hard case
296
This really was not entertainment because I had my guidebook in here. Actually, I had three guidebooks in here (Kelly, Brierley and Dinkman and Landis), plus the Bible and several books to read for leisure. All for the weight of Brierley’s guidebook. This worked great.

Kindle usb cable and electric plug
54
I did not have to recharge the Kindle but about once a week (and I probably could have gone 10 days—I rarely let it get below 50%). There were plenty of outlets in the albergues. No need for the multiple plug adapters some smart phone users recommend. If the outlet supply was spotty one night, no big deal. I could wait a couple of days to recharge.

plug converter
6
Necessary because Spanish electric plugs are different shapes. Cheap one from Ebay worked fine.

Native American flute
101
Infinitely worth it. I played at almost every church that was open along the way, and in the Cathedral at Santiago (getting permission for that one took a bit of doing. I should add that the Dean of the Cathedral turned out to be a lovely man). The sound in some of those churches was amazing.

Sony Nex-3 Camera
385
My old point-and-shoot would have worked, but I bought this camera for the Camino because I wanted pictures that would be really beautiful. And they are. The image sensor in this camera is huge, so you get very fine details. Figuring out the focusing system took some time, but after the first 2 days, I did and the pictures were wonderful. Action shots were a little blurry, but I think I now know what I needed to be doing to solve that.

polarizing filter for camera
22
A must-have for outdoor photography in the bright sunlight.

battery charger for camera
65
Camera would not charge straight from an outlet, so I had to carry this. It worked well

extra battery for camera
58
There were so many opportunities to recharge, this was a completely unnecessary rock that I hauled half way across Spain.

extra SD card for camera
5
A wise precaution, but unnecessary. I had a 16GB card, which was all kinds of space for my photos

lens shade for camera
21
Useful in some situations, but I mostly did not use this and would not carry again.

Total Entertainment
1013

Foot Repair
I had this system all wrong. My system was based on short (5 day) backpacking trips in the mountains. There, if you get a blister, you just put a moleskin donut around it and tape it all down. That way you do not risk infection in the backcountry by puncturing the blister

Molefoam
17
By day 8, however, I had a mass of moleskin on my feet that was no longer able to cushion anything and, worse yet, was trapping moisture in my boots.

folding scissors
15
The answer for me turned out to be the “nuns” method of sewing blisters, leaving a thread in them to keep the blister draining (you can take the thread out when you start walking the next day). Scissors were useful for molefoam and trimming my beard, but not really the tool I needed. I needed needle and thread.

Leukotape
8
This works much better than the old, white adhesive tape, but by the end we did not use at all. The trick was soaking feet in water fountains to cool them, and then changing socks (with Peusek footpowder) to keep them dry. Just taping over hot spots was too temporary of a fix for walking 500 miles.

Total Foot Repair
49

Gear Repairs
duct tape
(weight included in trekking pole weight)
In bright orange. Wrapped around trekking poles. Used both to mark gear as ours, and at one point to tape Superfeet insoles into sandals trying to cobble together a footwear solution that would get me to the next big city. It did not work (as you might expect) and I had to take a bus to Burgos to buy better shoes.

needle/thread
3
See above. I had to get a smaller needle because the one I had was for sewing gear, not blisters. The gear did not need sewing; the blisters did.

ripstop nylon repair tape
7
Never used, but a good precaution.

Total Gear Repairs
10

People Repair
Sack for First aid materials
8
I got these for backpacking in 1980, and they are still the best thing I’ve ever seen (zipper up the belly instead of a drawstring top).

Band-Aids
12
Never used

various medicines
15
Ran out of Ibuprofen, but bought some in Spain (600mg; Rx strength in the US, so we had to leave the extra in Spain because otherwise it is illegal to have in the U.S. without a prescription).

Neosporin
16
Never used. Bought Betadine in Spain, because it would flow into the blister better.

KT Tape
Did not weigh
A Camino angel gave some to my wife and it saved her. She was developing tendonitis from her hiking boots. Take some with you—this stuff was impossible to find in farmacias on the Camino.

Pepto-Bismal
Wished we had to weigh
Some things you cannot find for love or money on the Camino, and this is one. The Spanish food (lots of olive oil) was too rich for my wife’s stomach. Seriously wished that we had brought some tablets.

Alka Seltzer
Wished we had to weigh
Another product we just could not find in Spain and wished we had packed.

Total People Repair
51

GRAND TOTAL WEIGHT
8401

The total weight was equivalent to 18.5lbs. I weighed about 200lbs. when I left (about 175lbs. by the end), so this was within the suggestion of carrying no more than a ten percent of body weight. Actually, by the time you add in consumables (food, water, foot doctoring supplies), I exceeded that.

I’m glad I did not have any more—my feet took enough of a pounding as it was. Notable things I’m glad I did not take: a sleeping pad (I saw lots of these and they were unnecessary), and a sleeping bag.

I hope that this report helps other pilgrims to make their own gear selections. I saw far too many walking with unnecessarily heavy loads, and I wonder if they ever made it to Santiago. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to respond to this posting.

Buen Camino.
Yay! Another fantastic post on lists. I love reading them they help me soo much...THANKYOU THANKYOU!!
 

lrisvold

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
How does one use the compactor bags to line the inside of a pack? Is there a suggested method for anchoring them to the lining?
 

Manu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Ponferrada to Santiago April/May 2015. Will go next year to do the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles to Leon (2016)
How does one use the compactor bags to line the inside of a pack? Is there a suggested method for anchoring them to the lining?
Irisvold, no need to anchor the compactor bag. The whole idea of having a compactor bag, and then put clothes and stuff in smaller bags inside the compactor bag, is the prevent gear to become humid. It is standard procedure in mountain backpacks and you´ll find it helpful in keeping your stuff dry. If you´ll carry a sleeping bag, which I believe is unnecessary weight, be sure to put it inside a compactor bag also. Buen camino!
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
Irisvold,

I usually just roll the top of the compactor bag down and tuck the ends down. I do not necessarily have whatever I want to keep dry in another, smaller bag. Some of it will be, but that is for organizational sanity, not weatherproofing.

Buen Camino,
Jo Jo
 

Nick Meador

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Starting the Camino del Norte from Bilbao on Sept 4, 2015
Thanks so much for this! I hadn't even thought about foot powder, silicone ear plugs, etc... and I had forgotten to get some other important things you list. I was thinking of getting a travel alarm clock, but a cheap watch with built-in alarm would apparently be better. :)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Agreed, no alarm unless it's to be used in a private pension, on the morning you need to catch a train or flight for example. If you are concerned about sleeping too late in the albergues consider a Jawbone: it wakes you by tenbling on your wrist. No noise.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
You don't need your own alarm - why would you want one? - there is a special German alarm that works in every refugio. Goes off before dawn and sounds like bags rustling, as you wake and open your eyes and blearily look around there is a sort of head-torch effect that shines right into them - you won't sleep after that, so leave your own alarm at home.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I'm curious about these Altus and Ferrino ponchos. They look basically like ponchos with arms? The Ferrino one only costs like eight bucks in the US. Is it pretty durable? I think the Altus is something people buy in Europe, right? You loved your Marmot jacket that was lightweight and doubled as an outer layer in the cool evenings, which is why I was thinking of bringing a rain jacket. Re. the Osprey rain cover leaking, you should take it into an outdoor store to send back to them. Osprey will make things right for you and they will also get important design feedback.

I managed a mountaineering store back in the days when Goretex, polypropylene, Capilene and fleece first came out (we originally sold the precursor of fleece, called "pile," that was marketed by Yvon Chouinard for climbers before he started the Patagonia clothing line.) Anyway, I tested everything out obsessively. I like fleece, but I never did like the feeling of synthetic "technical" fabrics against my skin. I'm the only person I know still running in a cotton tee shirt.

But planning for this Camino, I want something that feels like cotton but has the properties of synthetics (lightweight, breathable, dries quickly after washing). I found some expensive cotton/poly blends like "Force" (Carhartt) and "DriRelease" (Orvis and others). Then I realized I can get a lightweight cotton/poly T-shirt with all those same properties for about ten dollars or even less at Target. They are soft, lightweight, and dry fast. That's what I'm going with.

Loved the post-trip analysis of gear! Everyone is different, but I'm learning a lot from others' experiences and feedback.
Looking forward to learning more about these poncho-with-sleeves things.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Bottoms: Brought Kathmandu very lightweight quick-dry trousers that rolled up into capris. Never wore them walking but wore them at the end of that day.
Wore my long shorts with cargo pockets which zipped. Best feature of the whole damn design. Brought my Lorna Jean running pants as an alternative. Often slept in them.

Sarong: used as a towel, a sarong, a curtain, pillow case cover.

Tops:
Loved my Montane Bionic shirt although the wear from the pack straps wrecked it.
My Adidas climacool shirt wicked sweat away beautifully but is very thin. I sometimes had to tape my shoulders when wearing this to stop friction from my pack.
Also brought 3 bras. Two I rotated for walking. The third I kept for the end of the day as it had thin straps. Together with the thin Adidas shirt was a recipe for rubbed shoulders.

Aarn pack. Loved it. Nice to be able to access stuff quickly in the front pockets. Did end up crossing the chest strap and top pocket straps otherwise the top pocket just felt tight. The black foam thing in the back kept trying to come out.

Silver Euroschirm Hiking umbrella. Great on highways when the temp hits 35 degrees. And for being a portable tree when there was no shade on stops.

Source 3 litre water bladder: biggest equipment failure which started just after we got out of Extremadura. Sprung a leak at the point where the hose attaches to the bag. Ended up putting it in a plastic bag and popping it upright inside my pack. Otherwise well designed. Would get two smaller versions.

Solar charger: didn't use it much on the Camino. Used it a lot when I finished!

Sea to summit poncho: never used. It rained on one day on the Fisterra stretch and my windjacket handled the drizzle enough.

Arcteryx wind jacket: used it in drizzle over two days on the Fisterra leg and briefly in Andalusia when it rained and got cold. Like the vertical zip and the little cap in the hood is a nice touch that is actually effective.

Pacerpoles: love them.
Garmin Vivoactive watch: tends to underestimate steps when you walk with poles as you get two steps in for every arm swing. Otherwise handy for changing the music on my phone and liked the vibrating alarm.

Feet: Injinji 2.0 socks. Prefer the higher ones with a cuff as they stop grit getting in and less likely to get scratched by plants.

Vasque Breeze hiking shoes: worked well. A couple of wear spots on the insole which triggered a small blister so I had to do a little surgery on the insole to get rid of the rough spot.
BodyGlide stick: works well as a lubricant. Lasted from Sevilla to Salamanca (large 42g size). Then I had to resort to Compeed. As effective as that product is, those teeny sticks only last 3 to 5 days. At €4-8 each time, they are jolly expensive.

Buff: swear by it. Stop neck sunburn. Often drenched it at fountains during the heatwave.

Hat: I lost the hat I started with but I find them hot. It's the shade over the eyes that is the effective bit and sunglasses ended up being essential. The umbrella was also handy.

Toiletries: Women - bring your favourite brand of tampons because there is often only one or two choices in small shops which were not that great, and God forbid that you get caught short on a weekend when nothing is open. If you don't like applicator tampons, bring your own.

I brought a Blister kit but tended to fix up other people's feet! Fixomull, Leukoplast sports tape (industrial size!) for taking up hotspots (the sports tape in the Spanish farmacias have a crappy adhesive).

S-Carabiners are great for hanging things eg socks from the brand tag which doubles as a loop.
Regular soap for everything.

Don't forget an international converter. They are cheap in Spain but you have to find them first. The Chinese bazaar shops may have them but Murphy's law says you will be walking during their opening hours. A charger with at least 2 USB ports is really handy and popular with your Camino buddies. I found one in a vending machine at the airport. Take a spare charger cord. I went through three. External battery - smartphones will die about an hour away from your destination and these will tide you through the day.

Pocketknife with a spoon and fork as well as a knife. My daughter let me borrow hers and it was brilliant. Because you can split them in half you can share with a friend.

Hard lollies. The sugar fix can save you.

Luna sandals - nice lightweight and more secure than jandals.

Peak Designs camera clip: good product but sometimes the camera would stick and sometimes the camera hadn't jammed in properly so would fall off. I had it attached to my pack strap on my chest so I just wore the camera strap around my neck as a back up.

Universal sink plug-really handy.
Portable sink. Used it once as a bucket to hold wet laundry but could have used a plastic bag.

Tablet -brought my Nexus 7 but tended to use my Motorola X 2nd gen phone for everything.
Phone - Motorola X (2nd gen) takes great panorama shots and the wrist twist that opens up the camera is a godsend. Used it for my Camino playlist and some audio books.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Going back to the original question, I have to say the tent did not work.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I was looking at this: http://www.trekkinn.com/outdoor-mountain/ferrino-poncho-green/109701/p?q=ponchos I guess that one doesn't go over the backpack and maybe different material?
I see the Trekker costs about $43.00 on that site, still $20 less than on Amazon.
REI carries a poncho by Outdoor Products that goes over the pack. Doesn't look like it has sleeves. It weighs less than a pound (lighter than the Ferrino)
 
Last edited:

kusitb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC May-June 2016
Kindle Paperwhite in a hard case
296
This really was not entertainment because I had my guidebook in here. Actually, I had three guidebooks in here (Kelly, Brierley and Dinkman and Landis), plus the Bible and several books to read for leisure. All for the weight of Brierley’s guidebook. This worked great.

Hi @Jo Jo - where did you get the Kindle version of the Brieley guidebook? I could not find it. Or, were you referring to just the "maps" version? - http://goo.gl/x6OaZQ

Thanks for the excellent post!
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
@ Kusitb. I bought the book, then used a photocopier to create digital .pdf files. I did the same with Dinkman & Landis (sic?). Not a great format for the books (you sort of have to zoom in and out), but manageable (you only need to read a few pages the night before you walk a section). To save half a pound, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Buen Camino,
Jo Jo
 

kusitb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC May-June 2016
@ Kusitb. I bought the book, then used a photocopier to create digital .pdf files. I did the same with Dinkman & Landis (sic?). Not a great format for the books (you sort of have to zoom in and out), but manageable (you only need to read a few pages the night before you walk a section). To save half a pound, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Buen Camino,
Jo Jo

Hi @Jo Jo - OK, I've been thinking of doing that myself. I'm reading the Brieley guidebook right now and I'm writing notes on the book as I go along and, if I have time, I will digitize it. What kind of machine did you use to digitize it? One of those big office scanners? I will have to try if my scanner produces decent copies because it will not be perfectly flat.

Another simpler way may be to use one of those big black clips to hold the pages in place and just take a photo of each spread. I'll try both and see how it works out.

Then again, I might just buy this - it's already in Kindle format: http://goo.gl/ImMiwJ
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
Kusitb,

Yes, I used the big copier at work (actually, I copied everything out first, then scanned the copied pages--works better that way). Broke it into 4 .pdf files to keep the files from becoming too big.

The guide I really relied on, however, was Kelly's which also comes in a Kindle format. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1475190352/?tag=casaivar02-20

I am not familiar with the Gilmoure guide, so no comment.

It's a bit more expensive, but the German guide (which the consensus seems to be is very good, maybe even the best) is also available on Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010Q1ME6U/?tag=casaivar02-20

Buen Camino,
Jo Jo
 

kusitb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC May-June 2016
Thanks @Jo Jo, I'll look into these. If I were walking alone, I probably will take the paper copy since it has no chance of "breaking down". But I'm walking with my wife, and between the two of us, we will have 2 cell phones and an iPad mini. I'm still undecided about my Kobo. In any case, we have the Kindle and Kobo apps on the 2 phones and the iPad so that should definitely lower the chance that we will be without a guide, even if 1 or 2 of our devices fail. I've been weighing our stuff and right now, my calculations show that our packs will be around 14-15 lbs each without water (but with the SmarTube hydration system) and food. If I take out the cover of the Kobo (137 g) and the iPad (148 g), then that is more than the weight of my Kobo (234 g). Then, if I digitize the Brieley guide, that's another 283 g which by itself is heavier than my Kobo. I would really like to take my Kobo because aside from the fact that I read a lot, I also have a lot of spiritual stuff in there (bible, mass reading, etc). I can access all of these from my phone, but it's just nicer to have a bigger screen.
 

Stellaluna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coast to Coast (2015)
Frances (July 2016)
Hi @jojo,
Was your hydration system rigged up like a Smartube? I wonder because I have a Platypus system but want to switch over to a bottle and tube system. I like the Platypus tube and mouthpiece but really dislike the water reservoir. I'd like an easily seen and easily-refillable bottle.
Thanks
 

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    Votes: 7 0.5%

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