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Nailclippers? Deodorant? Floss?

Hello fellow pilgrims!

A question for the initiates of the Camino:

How do you tak ecare of bodily hygene along the way? I suppose nails grow unseemingly over a month's time if you dont clip them...and there isnt much you can rely on in nature to help you do this. Of course, I could just bite them off :) Do you carry nailclippers?

What about deodorant? Is everyone generally smelly?

Every item is added weight...

Big sigh. I keep thinking of the mendicant monks...how did they cut their nails? I know they didnt floss...or use deodorant...

How little can you get away with? I don't mind looking like an animal at the end of the trip; in fact, I think that's the "look" I'm going for. I just want to make sure I will have like company... :lol:

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New Member
Hello Amaris,

A pair of small scissors is always useful, sunglasses and a light hairbrush yes, but in my opinion you don't need deodorant, a good shower in the afternoon and the smell of nature are sufficient. And don't forget earplugs!
Buen Camino,

Deleted member 397

Bear in mind that you won't be able to take nail clippers on the plane.I would suggset the smallest swiss army knife. as for deodorant,hairbrush,floss-forget it. I took a very small bar of soap for washing me, my hair and clothes. One woman in an albergue was dragging along a hairdryer! It all adds up.


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
I took nail scissors, a small lightweight hairbrush, and deodorant. I just can't imagine what the refugios would smell like if we didn't use deodorant.

Also I took a bottle of shampoo which I used to wash hair, body, and clothes. A bar of soap might be lighter, but I'm a bit squeamish and worry about dropping the soap in a shower many other people have used - ugh.

What you take is very personal choice. I had mascara, eyshadow and lipstick at the bottom of my pack! And last year I saw an elderly female pilgrim tending to her feet with lots of cotton wool etc. Thinking she might have bad blisters or an injury I went over to talk to her - and found she was actually painting her toenails bright red! Her feet were fine. As I said, it's personal.


Veteran Member
Whilst knives and scissors are not allowed in hand luggage, nail clippers are fine (our local Boots the Chemist does fold-up clippers for finger nails and toe nails)

I brought liquid soap - though you would need to divide a 200ml bottle into 2 100ml bottles to take as carry-on lugage

Deoderant seems a step too far, though I did wear a Merino wool shirt (no need to wash and not too smelly even after 3 weeks)
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Many thanks for your interesting replies :) Omar...how exactly do you cut your nails with a knife? That might be a sight to see!

I wonder what will happen to my hair after a month of not combing it...

Deleted member 397

redpomegranates-I didn't cut my nails for 2 months. Just cut them short before I went,same with hair so I didn't need a hair brush either.The swiss army knife usually has scissors which is why I suggested them.
ah, someone is already rolling their eyes at me i see :) Am I real? Yes, my ignorance is reality indeed!

I would think that even cutting nails to the flesh before leaving,they would still grow considerably in 4-6 weeks and would become a hygene health hazard with all the dirt that accumulates on the road. And long hair becomes matted and insalubrious... They might not let me into the cathedral when I get there :)

So far, with your help, I've decided against sunglasses and deodorant. Still wondering about people's personal hygene experiences though.
I was SURE some women carry make-up. ha ha!
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Active Member
You know my dear pomegranate that the roads to Santiago were crowded with thieves, brigands, wolves, mad dogs, rats etc in the Middle Ages. Things have changed a bit since.

You can have a hot shower, wash your hair, cut your nails, paint your toenails, shave your legs, spray deodorant, etc... either in refuges, albergues or hostals all over the Camino Francès, on a daily basis. There is no lack of facilities for personal hygiène. A vast majority of pilgrims wash daily ! :p

You can put a small nail clipper and all that you require in your bag and put it in your unacompanied bagage. Failing that when you get to your starting point, stop in a pharmacy or other shop to buy your products in SMALL containers. You will find stores all over the place to replenish those along the way. Buy sunglasses because if it is as hot and shiny as last year they are a good thing to have.

If I were you I would be more concerned about snoring than smelly feet. You will meet both but one is more painful than the other... :wink:


Active Member
No Sunglasses?


I found that I didn't actually need sunglasses - walking westwards the sun is always behind you.

Unless there is something REALLY strange about the Camimo that I don't know about, the sun will only be behind you until noon. Since it will be setting in the west - the direction you are presumably still going - it will be in your face in the afternoon. Bring the sunglasses.
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Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
I found that I didn't actually need sunglasses - walking westwards the sun is always behind you.

Unless there is something REALLY strange about the Camimo that I don't know about, the sun will only be behind you until noon. Since it will be setting in the west - the direction you are presumably still going - it will be in your face in the afternoon. Bring the sunglasses.

It depends on what time of year you're walking - go in the summer and all the beds are taken by 2pm.

Some people aren't able to walk all day.

Liv Marit

DO bring sunglasses! As necessary as a hat for the sun!

I brought mascara ( a human right ), hairbrush and moisturizer for my face with solar screen. When I came to Leon I felt so much as a smellegrino compared to regular people, that I even bought a little bottle of perfumish spraybottle-thing. I loved to get a little spray in the evening. Just to feel human.

Andt there is a long way from not bringing anything for hygiene and smelling good, to bring a hair-dryer !!!

Bring what you like, but rememer as small and light as possible. Bodyshop has some wonderful small bottles. I brought both shampoo and shower-gel. Use a small spunge, and your little bottle will last forever.

I carried all my stuff, and never felt I brought too much.

Buen camino !!!!!

Liv :D
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nah i'm still here :)

i brought a small bar of soap, toothbrush & paste on my caminos. For shaving i just had my shaving knife (the real sharp flip-out kind) so i didn't need cream or anything. Instead of a towel I brought a sarong, which is very very light and dries in 5 minutes in the sun.
toenails weren't a problem because after a day of walking in hot boots your nails are very soft. so when they grow to long you can easily take them off with ur fingernails.


swiss army knife - the 'camper' I think, has the scissors but also a tiny tin-opener and a cork-screw!

I have really short hair (on half the head) - tended to use any washing-up liquid around to wash it (yes, I know, I know). Shaving - wash face then use a smear of olive oil instead of carrying shaving soap/foam. (I always carried olive oil, salt, pepper, bread, cheese, sausage, water - never go hungry and you can share with those who haven't - and bribe dogs).

Soothe those feet in streams along the way - relish the showers - forget the deoderant as you will smell wonderful, clean and healthy sweat washed off that night - your skin will glow.

For me, a hat and sunglasses - oh, Redpomegranates, do remember to look back often .. you will become tired, then you look back and are AMAZED and empowered.

Anyone else notice that 70+% of shower heads/cables/brackets were broken in some way?

Oh, God, I really miss it ....
priceless replies. thank you Ulysses, for a dose of reality. As for stripping off your softened nails after a day of walking in boots...I dunno if I have the heart for it...

Plus, in going in sandals myself.

You see, the Camino for me will be an exercise in minimalism and austerity. I want to have almost nothing. I want the joy of the heart, of the fields and starry skies, of silence with God. Too much of our contentment and satisfaction ("happiness") in life comes from what we have around us (things, people, even health), and if it were all taken away, would we be miserable? How many of us would continue to live deep happiness?

Hence my seemingly medieval questions about accoutrements. Sure, sunglasses, perfume, mascara, umbrellas, raincoats, music...all these would make the road more comfortable. But to be uncomfortable and and still be happy, that for me, is a lesson worth learning.

I continue to curiously inquire about your experiences of deprivation and plights :)


redpomegranates. There are very few who write openly about their deepest heart - you are brave. and now my computer translator! -
roşupomegranates. Acolo eşti foarte puţini cine a scrie deschidere despre lor adînc inimă tu eşti brave.

Experiences of deprivation and plights ... Rosu ... ages ago I had a 56 seater coach that I had converted to a living van. I was parked up outside the house of friends and was in the local town using the launderette. In the book I was reading the main character had just lost everything he owned. I sat there, with the tumble dryer going round, wondering what that would really be like. I mean, really - what would it really be like? A fire engine went past, sirens wailing, then another one. Ten minutes later a crying woman (one of the friends) arrived to tell me that my coach was on fire. I had hidden all my money in the roof and everything that I owned, except for the items in the dryer were in the coach. All was lost. I'm.. mmm 58 so, was ... 28 and owned nothing, had - nothing, in my bank - nothing.
Friends, sure, but no family to call upon and no 'wordly' resources to call upon - nothing (nice clean sheets and some clothing though!).

But - and this is why I write this Rosu, austerity is a stunning thing and all became well in the most amazing series of ways (as it always will on the Camino) - so I agree with you wholeheartedly Rosu, minimalise, get out there, get tired, dirty, lonely?, maybe scared, and then - it all clicks into place! because you really are not alone - and actually you are designed for this.
Rosu - not meant to be a God botherer here but If you have a moment try getting The Imitation of Christ, by the 15 century monk Thomas A Kempis, to take with you. He doesn't go wildly ino any theolgical ideas that are hard to accept, only how to live a life that is 'true' and not 'vanity'. Enough of that - you will have a wonderful time - enjoy.
Brother David, my heartfelt gratefulness for your kind reply, and such a valiant and appreciated attempt at Romanian!

Your story could well be the foundation for a wonderful and meaningful book. Such an experience. What a way to be torn away from the baubles of life (vanitas vanitatis! :) and thrust into the arms of God. And how I cling to many of mine as well....perhaps I should indeed, one day, set fire to my own house and have it done with!

Bringing along Thomas a Kempis is most certainly good advice. To read a bit, and walk for hours, reflecting. Its been such a long time since I have read it; I was only a child.

This may be the silliest question I have asked yet, (and you should see my other posts...) but why the choice of name (Br David)...sentiments of universal fraternity, or a monastic brother?

yours truly
a great lover of ripe pomegranates, malum punicum!
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Sweet. I did look through your posts and you don't post silly questions.
And your name seems to mean 'promised by God' so your parents I think are devout?

Omnia Vanitas! (I don't have Latin, I did French and German before my school burned down).

Why? Because? Independent, Christened Catholic ... a lifetime of searching overlaid with a lifetime of wildness (not horrid). A late degree in religions and theology, my dissertation 'Reincarnation & Christianity'. A single man now, unhappily and shocked at first but .. time moves. We learn through all things if we choose to learn. A path I seem to be on, not so much personally chosen but more because the others seem to have finally dropped away ... or, that in me Narziss and Goldmund have slowly become a peaceful amalgum of the two? Yet not too peaceful! Now a Unitarian Christian (not Unitarian Universalist, there is a big difference) and in the throes of founding something .. a synthesis ... eventually a refuge, a community. From the age of 5 (earliest I can remember thinking of this) I have had this nagging, persistent recurring desire to found a place where people of like faith stay and live and learn and earn - self-supporting, not mendicant. When ready they go out into the world and just 'be' and give and help and share. When tired they return to rest and re-charge. Is this silly? Is this foolish? A refuge on the Camino Frances would be perfect I think. A community of PilgrimFriars. Male/Female unimportant .... My favourite St. Francis quote "Go, and teach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words."
St. Francis, Padre Pio, Thomas a Kempis ...

hhmm .. my website page 4 - http://www.pilgrimsupplies.org/page4.html

I shall be on the Camino Frances all summer with my camper, dispensing tea, food - a mini Camino Cafe. Evening Chrisitan films maybe, after-walking wine and talk - eucharist service if needed, free 1st aid (you can do your own I think - Doc!). Supporting the summer (scouting for a building as well) by selling my jewellery and my walking sticks and so on (I am free to do all this now, single, children grown and independent ... life is good Rosu). Shorts and shirt during the day, my robe early and late - laughter always.

And Truly, also to you Amaris/Rosu/RedPomegrantes

(seeded apple indeed - they destroyed Carthage and kept the pomegranate - what were the Romans like!)
Brother David, things seem to burn down all around you! :)

Fascinating story, and I suspect you of many an inner revelation,...as must be after a lifetime of wandering and struggling. Hesse is on the list of "authors of my heart," right after Mann; the contrast of N-Goldmund is an old theme. I think in the heart of Christianity lies transcendance of the Dyonisian part of our nature...acceptance? yes, but an acceptance that does not mean we simply agree to plop down into the conditioning of our carbon atoms (as is the new age fad of feel-good religion, the pick and choose what you like conglomerate...the "accept yourself" crowd :) You know what I mean. There is an "accept yourself," and then there is an accept yourself...that occurs in a very different place of the soul...

As for us being miserable wretches, I agree with what you said...it is indeed, not pathological nor a fake piety, we simply raise the bar. In an old Orthodox book I read:

"In the Monastery where the famous Avva Dorotheus lived, a pilgrim heard it said that the closer a man becomes to God, the more he feels a sinner, and he expressed his doubt about this: 'How can a holy man consider himself a sinner?'
Avva Dorotheus asked him: 'What are you in your city?'
'I am among the great leaders,' the man answered.
'But if you go to the great city of Cesareea,' Avva continued, 'how will you be seen there?'
'Among the last of the leaders.'
'And if you go to the even greater city of Antioch?'
'There I shall be only a common citizen.'
'But what if you go to Constantinople itself, and present yourself in front of the holy Emperor, how will you be looked upon?'
'There I shall be truly no one!" answered the pilgrim.

'You see, so it is with the saints,' Avva continued, 'the closer they become to the Lord, the more insignificant they feel.'

Many blessings for your community. A true endeavor in our times (and so many people who long for such a refuge). With St Francis and Padre Pio watching over you, you can't go wrong!

I will scurry away now before Ivar catches me blabbering on about non-Camino things :)


ps. I think my parents had no idea as to the alternate meaning of my name, but simply went on the Latin basis for it (amor = love. amaris = loved). Just goes to show you....



With every word -

Yes, the New Agers - I have chatted about this to many. The beliefs begin with "oh, I believe that ..." and their beliefs curiously tend to fit into exactly what they want to do and carry on doing ... I try to explain that what is True is important, not what they have chosen to believe ...
Psychologically sanity is seeing the world as it is rather than as we want it to be - and it would seem that Christianity does that very well indeed.

Hhmmm, yes, everyone seems to have dropped out of this topic thread ...

So.. nail clippers - not if you have scissors on your Swiss Army knife

Be good


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