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To take a book or not

Dawn of a new Day

Active Member
Just wanted peoples opinion if they take"reading material" besides a travel guide. I am using Walking the camino de Santiago by bethan davies and ben cole. I guess a book is good for the flight but while in the hostel????? Too much weight?
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books, particularly glossy guides, are probably the heaviest thing you'll be carrying, so my recommendation is to make notes to take with you and leave the glossy photos at home. I always have piles of unread magazines at home, so I take a few of those along for the flight and chuck em away on arrival.

An alternative for en route (if you have time for such things) is audiobooks. A modern mp3 player the size of your thumb weighs next to nothing. Free downloads from e.g. Perhaps 'Pilgrims Progress' and Borrow's 'Bible in Spain' would be most appropriate. :)


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Reading on the Camino

Hello Dawn,
I took a book with me the first time I walked the camino - sure that I would have long, lazy evenings to relax and read (my favorite passtime) but after 3 days I left it in an albergue. There were so many new experiences to absorb that I couldn't concentrate on the book at all. Most evenings I was ready for bed and sleep by 8pm.
There seem to be two kinds of pilgrims in the refuges. Those that arrive in the afternoon, have a long siesta until 6 or 7pm, then get up, bathe and go out sightseeing before looking for dinner.
The others (like me) arrive, shower, wash clothes, go out to see what's on offer, get back to the albergue and crash by 7 or 8pm.
I'm sure you are going to have such a wonderful time, so many new places to see, people to chat, different languages spoken, new smells and tastes that I really don't think you will need a book to read whilst walking the camino.
Have a wonderful walk.


Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
I'm with Sil. Never without a book at home but wanted to keep the weight down so didn't pack one for the Camino. Wouldn't have had a chance anyway - early nights, new people to meet, places to see, journal to write and lots to think about. Didn't miss reading at all.


Dawn of a new Day

Active Member
taking a book

hi Sil and Julie

thanks for your input. I asked another friend who did the trail (they were a group of 3) and she read alot (guess she was waiting)
i have decided on not taking a book, except my pilgrim book and journal.
i like to converse with others from different parts of the world, sight see and of course i am usually in bed by 9. It is all a choice. For me it is better to stay up and go to bed early rather than have a nap.
thanks again
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.


Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I need a book on the camino - if I don't have one I start to read my clothes labels after a while....


Time of past OR future Camino
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
Have you thought of 'E' books?
I leave home in 1 hour to begin travelling to Seville and have 5 'E' books with me.


Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
That's a good idea. The University of Virginia e-text library has all the classics available free and on the camino I like some substance to my reading; all that exersize must be good for the brain.


New Member

Hi Dawn,

I took a book, 'Dublin' by Edward Rutherford, a historical fiction novel, as something to take me away from the walk... I also took a diary to write in. The extra weight was worth it.

By the way i used a 65 litre Eurohike pack and filled it to 10 Kilos, and that was too heavy.




Maggie Ramsay
Time of past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
Excuse my techno-ignorance. What form would an e-book take, I thought you needed a computer for that. Do you download it and print it out? Or download it onto an MP3 or iPod and listen to it?
Best Regards
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Dawn of a new Day

Active Member

hanleyman, with the 20kg. did that include the weight of water and food,

if i stood naked and put EVERYTHING into the pack i will be under 15 pounds, then add on water and food.

maggie i think the idea is to download onto an ipod or mp3 player. these are very tiny devices and light. In canada they run about $150. i have decided against this.

i am contemplating the da vinci code, the latest in these parts. i have an evening and morning in and around gatwick.


Last year, I took one of my lighter Bibles, a sketch book and a big fat novel. I read a few chapters of the latter but not enough to want to carry the same weight this year. Since I've recently got a Palm Pilot, I'm going to load it with one or twe ebooks and rely on that. I'll probably take a small New Testament and Psalms but also hope to have decided on a Palm-based Bible by then as well.

I'm not sure the battery life will do for the entire trip (especially if I end up doing more reading than last year) so I'm also going to purchase a "battery extender", allowing the Palm to be recharged from AA batteries.

As well as reading, I also plan to do some writing. As last year, I'd like to post a blog entry for each day of the walk but it would be great to get them drafted out while on the journey itself.


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