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My Packing List - with reasons why I took or left stuff out


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPDP - Santiago); Via Podensis (Le Puy en Velay - SJPDP); Via Francigena (Canterbury - Rome); Via Portugues (Tui - Santiago); Via Francigena del Sud (Rome - Bari).
To Do Via Egnatia (Durres - Thessaloniki); INT & Jerusalem Trail (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem)
I am a minimalist with regard to packing, forsaking all luxuries and most “nice to haves” so this strongly colours the choices I made.

My general impression was that people carried too much stuff.

I opted to put my stuff in plastic bags for quick packing. This was a mistake, because cold plastic bags make a very irritating rustling noise when packing for early starts. I overcame this by packing as much as possible the night before and then taking the rest out of the sleeping area to, say, the kitchen and finishing my packing there (where there also was light). A better option would have been to take nylon “stuff bags.”

So FWIW, here is my list of stuff and comments. A list by itself is of little value, but my reasoning may be helpful.

The total load came to 7 kg (about the 10% limit for my size).

PACK: 35 litres, weighing about 1.3kg. My pack had only one main zip with a small fold-over flap to keep water out. The more zips and external pockets the more seams and zips there are to leak.

Most people used conventional packs, but I did see one “pack saddle” style with the load borne on the shoulders but distributed between back and chest.

I also saw two towed packs attached to the body with thin poles which were obviously made for walkers to pull along. Another lady pulled along by hand what was basically one of those small suitcase carriers you see in airports.

CLOTHES: Two changes only, rolled up and packed in sets (shirt, short pants, underwear, socks) in plastic bags. Rolling was more efficient in terms of pack space and packing speed than laying stuff flat as in a suitcase. Putting items in complete sets made it easy to find and reduced packing time (and hence disturbance to others) in early starts. It is easier to keep track of two sets rather than scattered individual items of pants, socks, undershirt, undershorts. Two full sets are all that are actually necessary, but then only if you want fresh clothes each day. Obviously it is not “necessary” to change clothes every day – this is a purely cultural practice. In fact, I changed/washed pants only every 10 days.

FOOTWEAR: Light slip-on sandals for use after the day’s walk is over.

RAINWEAR: Knee-length plastic poncho with hood. R rain-pants. Pack cover. Most people I saw used this combination, with only a few opting for a rain-jacket in place of a poncho. A poncho is quick to put on and take off, is lighter than a jacket, and allows air to circulate around the body to evaporate sweat. The pack cover was just for insurance, since the downside of a wet pack was too miserable to contemplate.

I chose not to take gaiters because the rain pants were a more useful item. In heavy rain, gaiters may not have been effective anyway after a couple of hours. However, I did see some people using gaiters and others may want to comment on their usefulness.

WARM WEAR: A fleece jacket, and a very light nylon jacket with hood to serve as a windproof layer when required (as it often was!). In cold, windy conditions a fleece alone is not all that efficient. We lose up to 25% of our body heat from the head, so a hood or hat is also very effective in such conditions.

SLEEPING STUFF: Lightweight sleeping bag and silk liner, ear plugs, airline eyeshade. I was surprised by how hot dorms became even on cold nights with all those bodies packed in and the windows closed. Any attempt to keep windows or doors open was greeted with firm resistance! We no longer need fear wolves snatching us from our beds. I mostly used just the liner to cover me. Ear plugs are necessary for snorers. The eyeshade was helpful against the lights of early risers.

MEDICAL, FOOTCARE*: Ibuprofen pills and gel for tendon injuries and pain relief, broad-spectrum antibiotic for infections, antihistamine for hayfever (my camino was in late spring). Needle/thread for blisters. I chose not to take iodine to sterilise the needle/thread, but this was a risk. Compeed and plaster. Sun block. Small scissors to cut plaster. There are farmacias everwhere, so you can buy replacement stocks easily.

As an aside, I was struck by the cavalier way ibuprofen was being sold and used, often in doses of 800mg. This stuff is not candy. It is worth checking one of the medical websites for more details of this drug.

LIGHTING*: Torch. A few people used headlamps and I was struck by how disruptive they were when used for packing in early starts. I would strongly discourage people from taking them. Headlamps are obviously very convenient for the user, but irritating for others trying to sleep. I think the interests of sleepers should take precedence.

WASHING STUFF*: Soap, towel, clothes pegs, clothes line, suction hook for bathrooms. Large safety pins for hanging socks on pack to dry during the day.

PERSONAL CARE*: Dental stuff, nail clippers, paper handkerchiefs. No shaving gear. I had a very short haircut, so a comb/brush were not required.

* Most of the above small items marked with an asterisk I packed in two plastic bags to facilitate finding stuff and to reduce packing time, disruption to others and losses. It is easier to keep track of two bags of 12 items rather than 12 small separate items. As a principle, my pack contained a few “packages” of items (eg a sleeping package, a clothes package, a documents package), rather than a jumble of many separate items.

BROAD-BRIM HAT. There is no real need to take a separate wool hat if you have a hood on your nylon jacket.

POCKET KNIFE. I took just a one-blade knife, but a small Swiss Army knife would have been better since I could have left the scissors at home and reduced my items by one.


GUIDEBOOKS. The UK CSJ booklet and Brierley’s guidebook. I will post separately on the pros/cons of these two guides.

DOCUMENTS: Passport, tickets, insurance details, credit card, credencial, emergency addresses, phone numbers.




CAMERA: Compact Canon, 2Gb memory, battery charger but no spare battery. I burnt pics to DVD halfway through the camino and mailed the DVD home as insurance against loss. I regretted not being able to justify the weight and hassle of taking my digital SLR camera.

FOOD, WATER: Water (I litre) added 1kg and food about 0.5 kg to my load. In summer I would advise carrying more water (2 litres). Food depends on your approach to meals and on-road snacks. I preferred to carry lunch and snacks so I could eat when it suited me (every 2 – 3 hrs) rather than stopping at bars. Lunch for me was generally a few small ham and cheese rolls and a piece of fruit. As for snacks, I bought dates, other dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars opportunistically. Eating during the day was just a practical exercise of calorie intake for me.


I chose not to take a phone or music player, but many people did. These are individual preferences. I will talk about the pros/cons of music players in another posting. Phones can be helpful for keeping in contact with camino friends ahead or behind you on the road, but their use in dorms requires respect for others or they can be a disruptive irritant.

A small immersion heater and cup for soup, tea etc at albergues would have been a nice luxury after a cold, rainy day that I will consider for future caminos.

Some people take gloves, but socks will do just as well.

I hope this long post is useful.


Bob M



Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPDP - Santiago); Via Podensis (Le Puy en Velay - SJPDP); Via Francigena (Canterbury - Rome); Via Portugues (Tui - Santiago); Via Francigena del Sud (Rome - Bari).
To Do Via Egnatia (Durres - Thessaloniki); INT & Jerusalem Trail (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem)
More info on my packing list

My camino was in a wet spring, with rain on quite a few days, including heavy rain on 3 days. Not sure if this is typical for every spring or not, although rainfall data shows that Santiago gets rain for 14 days in May and 8 days in June.

The problem in Galicia was just getting stuff to dry, especially wool socks. So if you are buying clothes, try to get modern, very light fabrics.

I used only one walking pole, but two poles were common and possibly a better option.

I wore good quality walking shoes rather than boots. Shoes were probably somewhat more common than boots from my observations, but not sufficiently so to draw dogmatic conclusions.

Finally, I arrived at my final load after training walks at home and progressively discarding items. My very first load was just over 9kg (excluding food and water).

Bob M

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