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Post-Camino Gear Review. 5 kilo (11 pound) pack base weight.

Jo Jo

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
I always see pre-Camino gear requests, but rarely post-Camino gear reviews. I did one years ago after my first Camino (Frances), but now, after my fourth Camino (San Salvador and Primitivo), I thought it was a good time to update the list. This list is for a recent pilgrimage, Sept. 4-14, 2019, from Leon to Oviedo (Camino de San Salvador) and then the Camino Primitivo to Fonsagrada (Galicia).

The Lighterpacks spread sheet (with slightly different categories but the same items) for this Camino is here. I find the exercise of listing and weighing each item in my pack to be a very good tool for making decision about what is and is not valuable enough that it deserves a ride on my back across Spain. A note on terminology. "Baseweight" is all gear minus worn gear and consumables (including food and water picked up and consumed along the way). On any given day, I might have a couple of kilos of food in the morning starting out (although lunch usually took care of most of it) plus another kilo of water. Because I was a few characters over the limit, this list is continued in a following comment.

This review is dedicated to all of those pilgrims I saw weighed down with 10+ kilo packs. There is another way:

PackZpack Arc Haul + 4 hipbelt pk
This pack worked great, and at below 2lbs, is a real treat. If I was buying now, or wanted to spend the money, I would replace it with a K.S. pack, which I could probably design to come in at under 1lb (or 500g).
Pack LinerLitesmith, nylofume
I don't carry a pack cover. They are too heavy and they always leak. Instead I use a pack liner bag to keep whatever I want dry. For years I'd use a trash compactor bag, but these are lighter, tougher, and clear, so you can see your gear.
Quart-sized ziplocsTo keep stuff sorted
One for soap (often wet), one for shower stuff, one for going-to-bed stuff, one for Vicks Vapor Rub (to keep it from getting on everything else)
Two-gallon sized ziplocsTwoMost of the showers do not have places where you can keep things dry while showing. Enter the huge ziplocs. One for the dry clothes I'm going to change into after the shower. One for the electronics, money, and everything else I do not want to just leave on my bunk in the albergue.
Walking Stuff
Hydration tubeBlue Desert
I like drinking little sips of water as a walk, and if I stop to grab a water bottle, my wife pulls ahead. So, to keep up with her, I use this hydration tube. I have be a little careful to drain it before disconnecting in the albergue to avoid water on the floor, but other than that this works great.
Water bagEvernew, 900ml
About the lightest reservoir I can find. Even lighter than a plastic bottle. The screw threads on this brand are the exact same as a normal soda or water bottle, so matching with the hydration tube set up is easy.
SunblockSolid Sticks (2 partially used)
I didn't completely finish these, mostly because I wear long sleeves/long pants/sungloves to avoid the horrific sunburns I have seen on my fellow pilgrims.
Worn ClothingNot in Baseweight
Cotton ShirtPatagonia Steersmans
I know the conventional wisdom is to not wear cotton. That is because cotton absorbs water, which in the mountains can result in cold, wet clothing and hypothermia. The Camino is not the mountains most of the time, and we have albergues to get dry in at the end of the day. Even in early September, and even on the Primitivo and San Salvador (which are more mountainous than other routes) most days this is the shirt I wore. I like this shirt because of its open weave, but really any loosely woven cotton shirt would do. I wear long sleeve for the sun protection.
Cotton PantsKuhl Kontra
Again, this is the pair of pants I usually wore. Very light cotton. Kuhl has changed their cut for more of a "Tom Ford" look (less room in the seat and thighs, which makes them more about style and less comfortable for walking. My pair was older, which made them comfortable for walking, but they suffered a 4" rip the one time I put them in a washing machine. Prana makes some lightweight cotton pants (not jeans--way too heavy) that I will try to replace these with.
Compression UnderwearSAXX, Strike
I like compression underwear to keep my thighs from jiggling or rubbing. These are the most breathable I have found to date. They are still the hottest part of my wardrobe when wearing cotton shirt and pants. They also take the longest to dry, which is why I carry two pairs (the pair washed the night before is usually drying during the day in the mesh on the back of my pack). Also, these are a little too anatomically correct, leaving me reluctant to wear them by themselves in an albergue (if I were from another country, I might have no issue, but I'm American).
socksInjinji Toe Socks--liner
Love these socks. Eliminates blisters caused by toes rubbing together. The liner weight is sufficient for me, but my wife found it too thin for her. I have very wide feet, so the liner weight keeps the added width to a minimum.
Ankle GaitersDirty Girl Gaiters
I'm a big fan of these. A little more trouble to put on, but they keep rocks out of your shoes and keep you shoe laces from getting untied. And they add a nice splash of color to your wardrobe.
ShoesHoka ArahiI'm new to Hoka (previously they were always too narrow, but now with the stretchy tops, that is less of a problem). These were for walking on the concrete and asphalt, and they worked well. My only complaint was that my heals took a bit too much pressure on long days on asphalt (especially on the Ingles). Other models have a bit more cushion, and I will probably try them for a future Camino.
HatSunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat
I love this hat. Lightweight. Coverage so good that it really makes sunblock on the face unnecessary unless the sun is really low in the sky. And the best part is that the brim folds, so you can easily shove it in a pocket when you walk into a bar or albergue. These run a little big. I usually would take a Large, but I can easily use my wife's Medium.
Sun GlovesCheap off from Amazon
I use trekking poles, so my hands get really burnt unless I have these. I use basic ones. My wife uses ones from OR which are more durable (I have had to resew the top seam on mine many times through the years) but also a bit thicker and therefore hotter.
SunglassesJulbo Vermont, w/ protective bag
These are old-school glacier glasses with side shields to cut the glare. I prefer the Category 3 lenses for a Camino. I have another pair with Category 4 lenses, which I use for the high mountains in America, but I find they are too dark for Caminos where I'm often in and out of shade or there are clouds.
BandanasI carry two
One for blowing my nose; one for wearing on my head when I don't want to wear my hat (usually early morning or in the albergue when my hair is a disaster).
Came with Railrider pants (below) and absolutely necessary to keep my pack's hipbelt from pulling down my pants, especially given how much weight I lose on the Camino.
Knee braceCopper Fit Pro
I am old, and most moving parts are now held together with elastic. These work good, and are lighter and cooler than the more traditional elastic knee braces.
Foot compression sleevesI use two
To avoid foot splay, which leads to all sorts of problems including blisters.
ankle braceone
Also helps with foot splay, plus keeps my ankles bit stiffer to avoid rubbing on the top of my shoes. Downside is that it not very breathable and would make using it in high summer an invitation to blisters. Would switch to the Copper Fit Pro ankle brace in those months.
Worn GearNot in Baseweight
I hate pulling out my cell phone to look at the time, so this is worth the weight for me.
Money beltEagle Creek
I think this will be the last Camino for this item. I never actually wore it, just leaving it in my pack with my back-up credit cards, driver license, house key, and extra Euros that I don't need for the day (I usually pull as much as the ATM will allow to cut down on foreign ATM fees). A ziploc bag would be lighter and waterproof (for the Euros).
Trekking PolesBlack Diamond FLZ
I really like these trekking poles. Much lighter than the telescoping style. Only real problem is that when you take them apart there is a graphite powder that gets on your hands and can be hard to get out of clothing (which I know from sad experience). For the first time on this Camino I put "Pacer Pole" tips on them (little rubber boots, not just straight tips), which are heavier, but much more durable.
Extra Clothing
Nylon ShirtColumbia Omni-Freeze
This shirt is the complement to the cotton one. Worn on either colder or wetter days or in the albergue at night while the cotton one was drying. Again long sleeves for the sun. I liked this shirt because it had a "polo" type collar that makes it a little nicer looking, but probably should have carried a Patagonia Daily wear shirt instead. Slightly lighter, faster drying, and anti-microbial silver threads woven into the fabric.
Long PantsRailrider, Eco-Mesh
Again, these pants are the complement to the cotton ones. These I really like for the full zips down the sides that reveal mesh panels. Unzipping them makes them about as cool as shorts, while still getting the sun protection of long pants. My favorite new piece of gear.
Rain JacketLightheart Gear, Sil-Poly
I have given up on "breathable" rainwear. First, it only really breaths until the surface wets out, so the key is the DWR treatment to keep water beading off the surface. No matter how much I treat the garmets, I still find they wet out after an hour or two of constant rain, a likely occurrence in Galicia or Asturias. Second, I have found they are not very durable, and I have to keep replacing them. So I've gone to this rainjacket with HUGE underarm zips. I find the zips keep me as ventilated (or more) than any "breathable" jacket, for a much lighter weight. Only downside I've noticed is that it begins to collect "pilgrim odor" after a day or two of constant use, but that washes out quite easily.
Rain SkirtULA
Another new piece of gear that I really like. Rain pants are a real problem to get on and off, and they are hot. This rain skirt wraps on and off in a second without taking off my pack or even stopping walking. It is much cooler. Sure my lower legs get wet, but rain gear is mostly to keep you from getting hypothermia, and wet lower legs is very different than a wet torso. My wife makes fun of how I look in this thing, but it works well. And she has taken to borrowing it to use as a cloak when she wants a little protection from the wind but does not want to put on her full poncho.
Down JacketMont Bell Ananork
This is about the best weight-to-warmth jacket that I know. Very useful on chilly evenings. I probably could have slept in this and avoided the weight of the quilt.
Compression UnderwearSAXX, Strike
This is the second pair to wear while the first is drying.
Extra SocksInjinji Toe Socks-- two pair
Here is my sock rotation: Worn pair gets washed at night. But it is rarely dry by morning, so it stays damp in the mesh of my pack. Sometimes it will get dry by the end of day; often not. So I want a dry pair to change into while the now-damp pair continues drying. Also, for summer Caminos, my socks get soaked with sweat and I need two pairs during the day, plus one to change into at night. So three pairs seems to be about right for me. The one area I do not worry about weight is on footwear. Any other gear is optional, but footwear is critical.
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Jo Jo

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
Here is the continuation of the list:
Albergue Gear
TowelREI micro towel
I saw some really big towels being carried by other pilgrims. They must have weighted over a pound, and took up half the clothes lines. Trust me on this, you do not need that. These little small towels will get you dry. When they become water-logged, just squeeze them out, and keep drying.
Laundry LineZpacks Z-line
This is very lightweight cord. Only used a few times in two weeks, but absolutely invaluable on those nights where you need somewhere to dry clothes and either the lines/racks are full, or they are outside and it is raining, or you have a top bunk and cannot have your wet clothing dripping on your lower bunkmate.
Safety Pinsfor hanging laundry
Usually there a clothes pins, but not always, and often they are all in use by other pilgrims. Safety pins are lighter to carry than clothes pins.
HeadlampPetzle E-lite
This is a very light headlamp and, crucially, it has a red light function to navigate in the albergue at night/early morning without waking other pilgrims.
Absolutely essential. Some albergues have windows with inadequate drapes. Sometimes your bunk will be close to an illuminated "salida" sign. Or close to a door where people entering let light shine through.
Absolutely essential. Try these at home to make sure you have the right size (I need smaller ones than normal).
Charging CableQuick Charge
One foot, which is short enough to be light, while long enough to give you some reach so that your phone is not dangling
Charging plug
This version emitted a green light when plugged in. It was not so annoying that I covered it with duct tape, but I thought about it.
Albergue SlippersNufoot
Most albergues make you leave your shoes/boots in racks at the door. And for good reason (to keep the floors cleaner). So you need something to walk around the albergue in, especially if the floors are cold. These neoprene slipper fit the bill quite nicely and are very light.
Cotton sleeping bag linerCocoon Egyptian Cotton
I went back and forth on whether to take this liner or the much light silk liner. This cotton is better for hot weather. The silk is better if the nights are reliably cool. After a test run of the silk liner on the Ingles, I went with this liner for the Salvador and Primitivo. Some of the albergues were just too closed and therefore too hot for the silk, even if the night outside was cool. Sleeping pilgrims double-stacked generate an enormous amount of body heat. So this cotton liner probed the better option. I must have kicked in my sleep one night and ripped about a 5" tear in the bottom, but I sewed it up and it worked good as new (this was not a new liner by any stretch of the imagination, and thin cotton will rip after time). Sprayed with permethrin to avoid bedbugs.
Day PackSea to Summit Nano.
I use this for carrying valuables (passports, camera, cell phone) when I'm in the albergue, out to dinner, etc. I also put it in my sleeping bag liner and night and sleep with them. Doubles as a grocery bag when we hit a grocery store. Quite useful. This is the lightest daypack I've ever seen (I've had fanny packs ("bum packs" in other parts of the world) that weighted twice this). Well worth the weight.
Pumice Stoneartificial
Quite nice for keeping the calluses down. Calluses can crack (which turns into a real foot care nightmare), and blisters under calluses are quite painful. I find that using this helps keep my feet soft, which reduces foot issues for me.
Toothbrushtravel style
Brush stores inside of handle. Works fine for me.
Stuff sack for above Albergue GearDCF
Here I'm using my backpacking gear, but a ziploc would work about as well and a lot cheaper.
Consumable Supplies
Soapin nylon bag
I use the same soap for washing my body and my clothes, which means that it disappears pretty fast. I used to take just a quarter bar--had have to start looking for resupply almost instantly. Now I take a pretty full bar, which will be largely gone in two weeks. The nylon bags are the cheap ones from China. They work as a scrubber, and I then hang the soap on the line to try to get it to dry before it goes back into the pack.
Shampoo and ConditionerLush bar in nylon bag
This could probably go in my "luxury" category. Washing my hair with bar soap leaves it really dry and horrible looking (I have longish hair for a guy). This leaves it much better. These bars disintegrate quickly (I try very hard to get them to dry overnight, which helps). After two weeks, they are largely gone. I would consider carrying a second one (you cannot find these in Spain) if I were walking a long Camino.
Face washsalisylic acid in 1oz plastic bottle
Also probably a luxury item, but a Camino is no reason to have a facial breakout. You can get the bottle, with a flip-top spout, at REI.
Coconut OilHair conditioner/body lotion
Same type of bottle as the face wash. Again a luxury item. I have found that it takes far less coconut oil to condition my hair than any other type of product, which means I can take less.
DeodorantTravel Size
Will last about two weeks. I've had trouble finding solid sticks in Spain, so if you are walking a longer route, consider taking a normal size stick. The roll-ons are heavier. And please take this. Pilgrim funk is just disrespectful.
Flossnormal size
Do not use the little sample sizes. They run out far too quickly.
foot balmVicks Vapor Rub
For foot use, I'm not sure this is any better than any other type of lotion to keep your feet soft (you do not want calluses for the reasons above). The real advantage of this stuff is that when there is some pilgrim in the albergue who stinks, a bit of this in the nostrils will allow you to sleep. Menthol is great as disguising other odors.
melatoninin carrying case
Helps me sleep, even at home.
Hand sanitizer2oz bottle
Although there is more soap in bathrooms now than when we walked out first Camino, it is still not uncommon for there to be none. Also good for cleaning hands before a roadside picnic.
Medical Supplies
ibuprophenin small plastic case
Referred to as "vitamin I" by thru-hikers. Works to reduce inflammation of feet, knees, etc. Sure you can buy this in Spain, but we consume so much that we at least start out with a hefty supply. The small plastic case (REI) allows me to carry it in my hipbelt pocket to keep it readily available.
AlkaseltzerFor stomach upset
Our biggest medical problem is usually stomach-related. This stuff really works for my wife, and is very difficult to find in Spain, so we carry a large supply. We ended needing only a couple of packets this time, but worth the weight to avoid much bigger problems.
Pepo-Bismol tabletsFor stomach upset
This is another medicine almost impossible to find in Spain, so we carry our own supply.
assorted other medsTylenol, cold stuff, imodium, band-aids
This is just enough of each to get us to the next town with a farmacia (a little rarer in sections of the Primitivo than the CF). Fortunately, never used this trip.
Medicine ziploc
For keeping all of this stuff.
Feet/Gear Repair Supplies
Nylon repair tapeTenacious Tape
Not used this trip, but has been quite useful in patching ponchos, backpacks, etc. in the past. Negligible weight
spare earplugs
Because I tend to lose earplugs.
For sewing both cloth (this trip, my sleeping bag liner and pants) and for lancing blisters (after sterilization with the hand sanitizing alcohol). Used often this trip. Bring two--we lost one on the trip.
For sewing cloth and leaving in a blister to encourage drainage.
extra batteries (3)CR2032, Watch, headlamp
Never used, but these types of batteries can be hard to find along the Way.
extra trekking pole tipstwo
We always lose a few. True this time when my wife stepped on one of my pole tips in a muddy section, thereby burying in in the mud.
Scissorstitanium sewing scissors
I bought these from Amazon and gram for gram they are the most useful piece of gear I have. For cutting paper tape, mole foam, thread, food package, and just about anything else. We no longer carry knives (too heavy for what they do), so this is the only cutting instrument we have.
Blister padsMole Foam
Much prefer over compeed.
Enzo patches
These work great if there something inside your shoe causing a blister. Fix the shoe, not the foot. Not needed this trip, but very minimal weight and well worth it.
Paper tape3M brand
This stuff really works because it breathes. Leukotape sticks better, but that is sort of the problem--it will rip the top off blisters. This tape will usually have to be replaced every day, but that again is sort of a benefit--take if off at night to let blister air dry (which is key). There is actually a published study on this stuff, which I read. When I tried it, I never went back.
Yellow Zipper pouchestwo
for foot care and gear care respectively. I got these forty years ago for my very first backpacking trip, and I cannot find anything else even close to them for the weight.
Luxury Items
Trail ShoesTopo
The ultimate luxury item: A second pair of shoes. This is by far the heaviest item in my pack, and I think worth every gram. My feet like to change shoes during long days. So the Hoka shoes are for the concrete/asphalt and hard gravel road sections, and the trail shoes are for the dirt paths. On the Primitivo, there are lots and lots of dirt paths between ancient rock walls. And these proved invaluable on the day it rained (all that dirt turning to slick mud) and the day over the hospitals section.
While not strictly necessary, I did contain my guidebooks and an app for walking the Camino. Also contained library books (which I was too tired to read until the interminable plane ride home). We never got a European sim card, so we only had connection when we got WiFi, but that was enough to keep in touch with family back home (an occasionally receive calls for colleagues at work who had no idea I was in Northern Spain--a definite drawback).
Down HatBlackrock down hat
Not necessary because my down jacket had a hood. If it had been colder, I would have wanted both, but on this trip, this was a luxury and probably unnecessary.
Albergue ShortsDutchware
These are because I'm American. Pilgrims from many countries seem to have no trouble walking around albergues in their underwear. But I find my compression shorts to be a little too anatomically correct. For one once in weight I can walk around the albergues without feeling like an exhibitionist. Worth the weight for me.
Notebook and pencil
Probably unnecessary. I forgot that I had an iphone with a note function. Next time, these will be left behind.
Pillow CaseCocoon XL
Largely unnecessary because most (but not all) albergues give you pillow cases. But if they are cloth I question the cleanliness, and if they are paper, I'm not wild about that texture on my face while I sleep. Also, I could spray mine with permethrin to avoid bedbugs. I thought worth it for the weight.
QuiltEnlightened Equipment Revelation
I probably could have gotten away with sleeping in my clothes and down jacket and been warm enough (a couple of weeks later, not so much, but that would have been fine for the first two weeks of September). But I really like this for sleeping, and I think I would take it again. This 50-degree quilt was purchased from Enlightened Equipment before they increased the amount of down in their quilts. This quilt opens up flat (for warmer weather), or can be zipped up and wrapped tight (for cooler nights). Very versatile.
Plastic Toothpicksin plastic case
When we walked our first Camino, toothpicks were hard to find. Now, they are everywhere. But I still carry a couple reusable plastic ones because they are so handy for getting the jamon serrano and blackberry seeds out of your teeth
Native American Flute in CaseHigh Spirits
I like to play in the churches and other places that call me spiritually along the way. I do not get an opportunity to play every day, but it is a really important part of my Camino and I would not leave home without it.
cameraSony Nex3n
My second heaviest luxury item. I could use the iphone, and sometimes I do. But I get so much better pictures from this camera (it has a huge photosensor). I really like my pictures, and I keep them rolling constantly on my screen saver. This camera is worth every gram.
Pilgrim cardswith names and contact info
My wife got these and gives them away all the time. I always forget to, and came home with the exact number I left with.
Tube for compostela
We were picking up a certificate from the Cathedral in Oviedo and were not sure if they had tubes, so we brought our own. Ordinarily we would not carry.
Gear That Did not Make the Cut
Long underwear topPatagonia Lightweight Top
Too hot for this time of year. A month later, I it would have made it to wear in the albergues at night. Two months later and I would have been the shirt I wear while walking during the day.
Long PantsRail Rider Cool Comfort Khaki
Good pants, but the ones with the zippers are only 10g more and are much more versatile.
Silk sleeping bag linerCocoon Ripstop Expedition
Lighter than my cotton one, but also warmer. My wife carried her version of this and it worked well for her. I thought the cotton liner with the down quilt gave me a broader temperature range at which I would be comfortable, albeit for a substantial weight penalty.
CookpotEvernew .9L Ti
I almost brought this for boiling eggs. The kitchens in Galicia are notorious for not have cookware. But in the end, I did not think this was worth the weight, and I think that judgment was correct.
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