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The Coolest Secret Item

#1
Okay, I've got all my gear together... or at least I think I do. Veterans of the Camino, I ask you this question... what is the secret coolest item to have with you... the one that no newbie would ever think to bring...

I've already got a section of thread and safety pins for stringing up a clothesline...

Anything else that's a "secret" must have?

Thanks,
Brad Chatellier


Less than two weeks and I'll be on the Camino!!
 

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#2
walkman and tapes

why?

there are two tapes which will be glad you brought
one to get you moving when you're flagging and another to relax you and block out the sound of snoring when you're trying to get to sleep

spanish radio is terrific
it's not balkanized like american radio
you never know what you're going to hear next--it all depends on the taste of the host

you can buy spanish tapes along the way
how can you understand a culture if you don't know the music?
 
#3
ps

things i'm taking this time that i didn't take the last time...
a sigg bottle so that i'm not drinking out of plastic

xanax for those nights i just can't get to sleep

emergen-c

and furthermore....
a rayon sarong
it makes the best towel cuz it's large, light, and dries quickly, and it can be used as a ground cloth, a sheet, a sunshade, a privacy screen, a shawl, a bathrobe, a skirt, a dhoti

lavilin deodorant
it's tiny, weightless, lasts for days, i transfer it to a round plastic pill box with a pop top, you can get it at the whole foods in santa rosa

a picnic knife
(those french or japanese knives that come with a sheath that the blade slips into)

zippered plastic bags or packing cubes
organizing your stuff in bags makes it much easier to get up and get going in the morning but please please please don't use grocery bags

an inflatable pillow
get a u-shaped one and take it on the plane with you

business cards

a sense of humor


misc advice:
put sunscreen on the backs of your legs--you'll be walking west all morning and your calves will be facing east

leave your razor at home--you won't use it

watch your urine--if it's yellow or gold you're dehydrated

on the other hand, snack frequently so you don't piss away all your electrolytes (sodium and potassium) peanuts and raisins are good

okay okay okay, i'll shut up now
 
#4
Thanks Leslie, as always. I'm very happy to report that I had almost all of those items covered already... now I'm feeling very confident.

My extra items include:

* An iPod (with Spanish language instruction in addition to music)
* Sleeping pills
* Emergen-C
* Eagle Creek zippered organizer bags
* No sarong but a small velvety pack towel
* Business cards

Funny that I had forgotten a knife. I think when I decided my Leatherman was too much weight I scrapped everything. Yes, a small knife will be added.

Cheers :)
 
#5
Beginning to walk on May11th

I am already packed and just doublechecking everything. FORGOT the deodorant which I have carried in the past AND the inflatable pillow (ditto). I like the idea of sarong.I packed a bathing suit and the sarong is perfect.Especially for the privacy issue...something I like!
I've carried music in the past for the reason you stated, but I ended up hardly using on route. I would hear music in the bars and restuarants along the way. By with IPOD's....the world is changing!!
Anyway, thanks for the timely reminders!!!!! I begin from Roncesvalles. Glad to be going back!!
Mabel
 

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#6
P.S.

forgot although I dont' know if it is secret...

EAR PLUGS. seriously.

Even if you snore, you will want them. One time I forgot them....won't do THAT again!

I also carried foot powder. I Don't regret the extra 6 or 8 oz!

I have also always used zipper plastic bags of all sizes and carried a few extra. When you wash your clothes and they don't dry overnight (which can happen when it rains!!), you can pack them in the plastic bags until the suncomes out and you can dry them on the back of your backpack. It is amazing how no one even notices you are drying your laundry on your back. They look at your hat or something else to "recognize" you.

Also, I have noticed that it isn't unusual for people to end up with nicknames as a means of iding. That's fun.

I have also put in a few oz of trail mix. Just in case I am climbing or walking a stretch when I really do need it. I can always replace it at the next opportunity. But I have started out mornings expecting to breakfast at X and discovered it was closed. Had to go without breakfast for several hours...NOT a good way to START the day!!
I'm like Leslie...okay, okay..I'll stop already!
M.
 
#7
oh yeah and when i was packing for my second camino i distinctly remember standing in front of my underwear drawer and thinking do i take my brand new dark blue underpants or some old white ones?

when i saw a picture of myself with my wet underpants hanging off the back of my pack i was really glad i had chosen the ones that looked less like underwear, ie the blue ones
 
#8
laundry off the pack

Thanks for the laugh, Leslie. yes, I am carrying grey. didn't anticipate this problem the first time!

Mabel
 
#9
(stop reading right here if you are easily grossed out)

if you use your underwear as a wash rag when you shower
you won't have to stand in line at the laundry tub
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#11
- A "sit-upon" (term from childhood Scouting days) made from a small sheet of Tyvek 1443 (kite-making fabric, available from crafting sources). Invaluable for keeping clothes and gear clean while stretching out for that post-lunch snooze. Weighs about 50 g.

- Several packets of good quality (ie, drinkable) instant coffee and an extra nut bar (for breakfast when you want it, when it's not available otherwise)
 
#12
Mini Moo cards (http://us.moo.com/products/minicards.html) with my contact info on one side and small pics of home on the other. I can use them to show people from across the planet what the Sonoran Desert looks like and give people I meet along the way my contact info (including my Skype ID and e-mail for trying to arrange re-meeting along the way).

Oh..... Yeah.... Corkscrew. Although if you use it too much you must hope that those great people you were with last night also had moo cards. Otherwise, you might not even remember them!
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#13
Hipflask. (I didn't carry one but wished I had to liven up the cafe con leches.) :D

If you can get hold of that game (is it called Pass the Pigs?) with 2 little pigs that you throw like dice and get a score depending on how they land you'll have hours of fun. There's an alternative version with cows, which is equally good.

Buen Camino!
 

k-fun

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2011), Camino Portugués (2013), Camino St. Jaume (2013)
#14
Desert Rain, I like the mini cards...thanks for the pointer.

I appreciated a large bandana...very practical. You can sit on it, wash, swab sweat, or cover your head with it. I used it most as blinders for sleeping in lighted rooms.
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#15
Small salt and pepper mills, loaded with sea salt and black peppercorns - I really do not like the rubbish table salt and that weird powdery stuff they called ground pepper that you find everywhere - I prefer my own, freshly ground (they don't weigh much, honest). :wink:

Add those to some pasta with a little olive oil and pared cheese - fantastic simple tasty meal!
 

na2than

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2012)(2013)
#17
i took a pack of cards ...and purchased a pack of poker chips for 2 euro in an asian bazaar....great fun.
pack of 4 d rings(carabiers)...made hanging clothes /flipflops off my pack easy....one used to secure walking pole shotgun style over my shoulder
3 atomisers of scent...day time treat...nighttime treat and one of my wifes perfume so when i missed her a small spray on the pillow case
spare earplugs for my MP3....i needed them...
 
#18
Duck tape for the Feet..... The so called Compee is a joke that cost 5 euros while a small roll of duck tape cost 1/2 euro and last much better and tougher.

WordPress Translater for iPhone.... Translate using your camera by pointing at Spanish and reading in english on phone.
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#19
True - Duck Tape (gaffer tape) is quite brilliant - also for lining feet against hotspots before blisters arrive - when protecting blisters use a non-stick pad (even a small flat fold of toilet paper) over the drained and flattened blister before putting on the gaffer - that way you can remove it to replace without tearing skin!!! :wink:
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#20
1) For food shopping, transfer of washed laundry to the hanging line, sending heavy supplies on ahead for long-stage days, a city purse, and as a "personal item" for your flight to carry the newspaper, food, and water: http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/86 It stuffs down to the size of an egg!

2) A small tin of Altoid mints, carried in the hip belt pocket. We referred to them as "morale pills" -- perfect when slogging up those endless afternoon hills. Always gratefully received when you offer them to other fellow-travelers!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#21
Yes, the Sil-sac is brilliant, and waterproof too.
We carry Polos, the mint with a hole :)
A (very) small tin of peaches is great too, so long as it has a ring pull.
 
#22
My mp3 player and my kindle were two frivolous items that I really appreciated.

Music really helped me to go to sleep in loud albergues, and get through some difficult stretches of walking in the afternoons.

And during the lazy afternoons after arriving, sometimes it was really nice to be able to sit and read.

Besides my hiking clothes, I also brought a sundress (I walked the Camino in June/July) - it rolled up very small, and was a good one-item outfit for the afternoons, and was a relief after getting out of my sweaty walking clothes.

Bring a small notebook to write down contact information of new friends along the way. Mine was also full of addresses for family and friends back home, to send postcards.

(I love the idea of bringing cards with contact information, too.)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (11-12/2009)
#23
On my winter camino I carried a foldable hip pack in my rucksack that can be expanded to a small daypack. Google for "Deuter Hokus Pokus". This is a perfect bag to put all your valuable stuff in like camera, passport, money... You can wear it like a hip pack and take it into the bathroom in the albergues, you can also unfold it and wear on your back and go shopping or sight-seeing while the big rucksack stays in the albergue. This was my secret item and I would never walk again without it.
 

FatmaG

Active Member
#24
The "coolest secret item" I ever saw: an Italian pilgrim wearing with him a packet of Italian expresso Lavazza AND an Italian stove top Expresso maker (like Bialetti).

My coolest secret item: mascara which my friend smuggled into my backpack when she returned home... because I had made fun of her make-up on the way. (I used it only after having finished my camino, but laughed a lot when I discovered her gift...)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (11-12/2009)
#25
Here's an other secret item I bought on the way in a supermarket: a light-weight three-fold connector plug, see example:



With this I was able to load my phone together with 2 other pilgrims if the albergue was short on wall connectors (which is usually the case).
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#26
We carry a home made sink plug/stopper, made from a piece of old rubber inner tube. (Circle about 3" diameter). Used on many days when there was no plug for the wash basins, laundry bowls. Easy to make and so much lighter than the shop bought ones
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#27
Would quite like to see a photo of that - so many different sizes out there and so many missing plugs!!
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
#28
It will be 6 months before I walk the Camino, but I have made a little addition to my backpack.

I picked up of tiny, keychain flashlights. I hooked one to the top and bottom of my pack to make it easier to see inside. (My pack is an Osprey Kestral 48 and has top and botton access.) They weigh virtually nothing and the cost about 2 dollars a piece.
 

fortview

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances Sept/oct 2012 , Salvador, Primitivo 2013
Cotswold Way July 2014
European Peace Walk August 2014 (John)
#29
An eye mask ! That and earplugs . Blocks out all those annoying head torches , and really helped me sleep. I would never leave home without it now .
Also a small bottle of p10, just put it on in the morning, and forget about it , no sunburn, no messing around with sun cream.
Helen
 

aeveling

Active Member
#30
I have a few items that spring to mind:

Mini trekking poles that are nearly half the size, when packed, of standard poles and can be stored out of sight in your pack when alburgue rules say leave them outside.

A travel toothbrush with a refillable tube of toothpaste hidden in the handle.

As mentioned previously, a hip pack/fanny pack/bum bag with a light 'backpack' that unfolds from the lid.

A pair of bin bags/garbage sacks that can be worn over your boots in order to cross streams (Not necessary in Summer).

Here's a link to pictures of some of these items on my blog:

http://spanishfootsteps.blogspot.co.uk/ ... pment.html


Andrew.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#31
David said:
Would quite like to see a photo of that - so many different sizes out there and so many missing plugs!!
Hi David,
Simply a 3 inch / 80 mm. circle cut from an old Morris Minor inner tube! Costs nothing, weighs nothing! The water pressure keeps it flat and it can be used in wash basin or bath.

Blessings
Terry
 

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David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#32
Hi Terry - Ahhh .. I assumed that you had put a small bolt through it with penny washers .. so it is just the disc and it stays in place? Way to go!!
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
#33
1. ear plugs
2. tape for the feet
3. Inflatable pillow
4. A fanny pack with a 500 ml bottle (for suncream, small guide, credentials, iPhone and even muesli bar or two). Keep the most important things accessible right in front.

For the next camino:

In addition to the fanny pack, a grocery bag with very long handle loop that is able to go around my shoulder. I've seen a German pilgrim carry one, and during a quick break without putting our backpacks down, I've only manage to whip out my water bottle and a muesli bar while he even manage to pull out a banana and and an apple from his. A good way also to ensure that the food you buy from the supermarket are not squashed (if you pack them in your backpack).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept Oct 2011, de Astorga 2015
Primitivo Oct 2013
Lebaniego & Ingles Sept (2017)
#34
Wrap your trekking poles with several yards of duct tape. Takes up no space in your pack - and who doesn't need duct tape?
 
#35
PadreQ- they've got duct tape in all sorts of colors an patterns these days so the tape around the poles could also be used to id your poles. :idea:
 

Biccy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
ingles (2013)
#36
Crikey - a lot of technology and music!!

The only technology I used was a GPS mapping app (viewranger) so I could retrace my route and see how long I walked, how far and the elevation/climbs.

Really wanted to leave the music, podcasts, radio, emails, texts and calls behind and listen and hear nothing - things I don't do enough of at home (and the music is always available at home - for me the beauty of the camino is that you do the extraordinary, not the routine), but took the iphone purely for the app, which works without online connectivity so no nasty bills.

Have fun!!
 

Vincentayd

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept.-Oct. 2011 SJPdP-SDC
#38
Two come to mind:
First:
A rechargeable battery for cell phone, etc. This can be charged at night at the Refugio, so you do not have to leave your phone exposed to loss. During the day you can recharge your phone, etc. while walking.

Second:
A clip on visor LED flashlight, will be very useful during the early morning starts both in and out of the Refugio.

Third:
Just saw this on a post, a three way outlet adapter. Many nights I searched in vain for a free outlet at the Refugio.

Buen Camino you are about to change your life.
 
Camino(s) past & future
started in 2007 back 09 and 12 and 13
#39
A couple of plastic heavy garbage bags to use as liners for your back pack. When it rains every pack gets wet inside, a plastic bag or two will help you keep your stuff dry.
 

backpack45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
#40
Re: The Coolest Secret Item-Trash compactor bag

You can use a black garbage bag to line your backpack, but we use trash compactor bags because they are sturdier (and I think a bit lighter). And if you wear the Packa instead of using a pack cover, there is much less chance your backpack will get wet inside because the backpack's straps are inside the garment rather than outside.
Backpack45
 

HalfDomeOrBust

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis
(2014) SJPDP-SDC
(2015) SJPDP-Burgos
(2016)) Burgos-V-Franca -(2017) SDC
(2017) Fin-Mux-SDC
#41
It will be 6 months before I walk the Camino, but I have made a little addition to my backpack.

I picked up of tiny, keychain flashlights. I hooked one to the top and bottom of my pack to make it easier to see inside. (My pack is an Osprey Kestral 48 and has top and botton access.) They weigh virtually nothing and the cost about 2 dollars a piece.
Hi Jeff. Just reading this old post of yours now. I have a Kestral 48 as well. How did it work for you on the Camino?

Thank you. Ed
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#42
Arm warmers - the kind cyclists use. I pulled them on when I needed my arms covered, and pulled them off, or down, when I didn't. They eliminated the extra layer and didn't require the removal of my pack to get off and on.
 

HalfDomeOrBust

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis
(2014) SJPDP-SDC
(2015) SJPDP-Burgos
(2016)) Burgos-V-Franca -(2017) SDC
(2017) Fin-Mux-SDC
#43
Duck tape for the Feet..... The so called Compee is a joke that cost 5 euros while a small roll of duck tape cost 1/2 euro and last much better and tougher.

WordPress Translater for iPhone.... Translate using your camera by pointing at Spanish and reading in english on phone.
Morning. I tried to find the Wordpress translator to download it but could not find it. Can you please share the exact name for us? Thank you. I like the idea of a take pic then translate feature you mentioned. Ec
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#44
This may not be as much an issue for people walking the Camino Frances, because of the abundance of bars and cafes, but if you insist on a hot, caffeinated drink in the morning, the electric coil and a cup are a godsend. lots of opinions on that topic here: http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...nged-my-life-on-the-camino.19167/#post-152041

As far as the foot ailment bag, the only thing I bring over from the US is moleskin and/or molefoam. I have not found anything similar in Spain, so if this is something you have in your hiking kit, bring it with you. The rest is easily found in the well-stocked Spanish farmacias.
 

pmw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 & 2005 Camino Frances and Finisterre. 2013 via de la plata
2014 del Norte, Ingles, Finisterre
#45
A roll of Dental Floss! So strong & weighs nothing - washing line, tying tape....
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#46
Arm warmers - the kind cyclists use. I pulled them on when I needed my arms covered, and pulled them off, or down, when I didn't. They eliminated the extra layer and didn't require the removal of my pack to get off and on.
I also used this system, although I didn't know there was an item specifically made for this use. I cut the sleeves from a fleece that I decided not to use. I wore them every morning until I warmed up and then just pulled them off and stuffed them into my pack side pockets. I tucked them inside my t-shirt sleeves and under my bra straps to stay in place and found it a very efficient way to control my temperature because I find the temperature of my arms is vital to my comfort level. Now I know there is a purpose-made item, I will look out for it for my next camino.
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese 2009 Estellas, 2014 Aurelia, 2016 St Davids, 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P
#48
Dry bags for clothes etc in panniers - you can take them in the albergue but they don't 'rustle' like those awful plastic bag users! Also great to use as pillow. Like the Italian man I had an espresso pot and lavazza (but I was on a bike...) Crocs (bright orange!) for evenings, for swimming, for doubling up as 'be safe be seen' on rear of bike. Dog biscuits - for throwing at Iberian guard dogs as they rush out to bite you - usually they are so surprised at being fed they just slink away. Earplugs, and extra earplugs...
 


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