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What Is The Most Useful & Usless Item You Packed


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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Mid-March (2018)
#5
Most Useful: Zip Ties. Rack slipped & pivoted 90 degrees. Zips worked great. Note the blue zip routed around the cable guide, hence keeping the clamp from slipping back. View attachment 40127
Most Useless: UE Boom Portable Speaker. Never used it. Visions of a party on the road?

I was glad to see your post. I am frantically packing and repacking my backpack. I leave tomorrow from Canada making my journey to SJPdP. I just got up and packed some zip ties! Great idea!
 

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CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
#6
Useless: a knife - bought in SJPdP and I never took it out of the package.

Useful: safety pins - to dry clothing off the back of my pack, to hang up clothes to dry when all the clothespins were being used, to help hold pants up for the lucky people who lose weight on the camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (5), Portuguese, Norte, Primitivo(2), Aragones, Finisterre/Muxia (3), Camino del Rey
#7
Useful - old pillow case. Your albergue pillow may have seen 100's of drooling, sneezing pilgrims. Also gets used for dirty clothes bag.
Useless - heavy paper or book based guides. There are so many free Camino guides for the phone these days. Or if you must have, scan the paper to pdf.
 

Jacobus

Pilgrim since 2008
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2008 09 14
Del Norte 2011. Portuguese 2015, 2017Ingles 2015 Fisterre 2015.
#9
I have to agree with zip ties as the most useful. Some variations cannot be undone so check carefully when you purchase
Also safety pins for laundry and backpack drying. Multi tool was handy for cutting, gripping and tying first aid, shoes, backpack repairs etc.
Most useless...headlamp. My iphone light was sufficient. And those just in case items that inevitably end up in albergue “take or leave” boxes. Usually clothing.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#12
Wayne, with all that mud it looks like seriously hard going!

Most Useful: 1m of duct tape (Not a camino but I cracked my saddle bolt just after Penzance and tape held everything together for the final part of my JOGLE)

Most Useless: cheap tyre irons that snapped :-(
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#16
Most useful: Without a doubt, the most multi-purpose item I took was my mobile phone.
Least useful: Down vest. Left it in an unwanted items box in an albergue in the first week. Don’t regret taking it. Being unused to snow, it was one of the things I packed to make me feel more confident about walking the Pyrenees at the beginning of April.
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#17
Most Useful: 1.5" straight blade knife with hard plastic sheath...cut...open...eat...and almost an attacking dog

Most Useless: Emergency weather cover...or...first aid kit...never used...but just in case...about 1-pound weight

Actually Tossed: I left about six-rolls of camping toilet paper on a mileage marker in the Meseta...I just suddenly realized that I would never use it...but I am sure it was found and put to good use.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Completed: Camino Frances - Spring'16
Preparing: Camino Frances - Fall ‘23
#20
Useless: a knife - bought in SJPdP and I never took it out of the package.

Useful: safety pins - to dry clothing off the back of my pack, to hang up clothes to dry when all the clothespins were being used, to help hold pants up for the lucky people who lose weight on the camino
Did you not buy food from supermarcados along the way? I found my knife invaluable for cutting bread, fruit and a variety of other things.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Completed: Camino Frances - Spring'16
Preparing: Camino Frances - Fall ‘23
#21
Most useful: Zip off pants that could be turned into shorts easily. Hugely valuable when the temps were +2C in Roncesvalles and +22C in the days leading into Santiago.

Most useless: binoculars. Never took them out of my bag.
 

Nekodemus

Certified insane
Camino(s) past & future
Been there, done that. Keep coming back.
Most likely addicted.
#23
Useful: Fiskars tomato knife. For cooking, slicing bread, tamates and cheese, etc., plus for cooking at knife-less albergues. Prevents having to eat too many pilgrim menus, plus saves a great deal of money. 37 gram
Useless: Head lamp. If the albergue is too dark, I can use the light from my phone, which doesn't wake others up. 80 gram, plus any extra batteries.

Useful: Small compass. Pretty damn nifty after missing an arrow or in a fog or at night. <10 gram
Useless: Guide book. Dead weight. About 240 gram
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP – SdC (2017)
Waiting for an opportunity to walk again...
#24
I brought but never used:
* Power pack for my iPhone – I had never trouble finding an outlet for charging.
* Carabiners number 3 and 4 (although number 1 and 2 were frequently used)
* Spork (only ever needed my pocket knife)
* Sunglasses
* Sewing kit
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Coast - March 2019
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
March 2019 the Portugal Coastal Route
#25
Useful: jack knife bought in SJPP.
Not Useful: Head lamp (torch)-- never used it.
Actually most of our meals were purchased out of grocery store, meat, cheese, fruits and vegetables so we purchased a small pocket knife for about 3 Euros to cut our food and also for medical tape.
 

Shaun-Castaneda-Rio

Shaun@Feebird-Castaneda
Camino(s) past & future
Francais 2014
#26
Most Usless - a compartmented box of various vitamins and pills given to me by a nurse friend for which I lost the contents label in somewhere like Burgos, and after which I had no idea which tablet was for what !!.
All went down the WC at this point and I let my body decide what it wanted to do.
Please dont let Ela know she thinks I carried them to the end :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#27
I’m writing this from the perspective of the biggest surprise useful or useless item.

Useful: Bandana
Useless: Compass
I just remembered another surprise super useful item: safety pins! They were essential for drying socks from the back of my pack between sock changes. I would change socks and reapply vaseline every few hours to keep the blisters at bay.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
#28
Did you not buy food from supermarcados along the way? I found my knife invaluable for cutting bread, fruit and a variety of other things.
I only bought apples, bananas, granola bars and chocolate bars. I ate at the albergues when they had breakfast and then stopped for 2nd breakfast, tea, lunch, tea again, and then ate the pilgrim meal either at the albergue or in a restaurant. On the one or two days where there were less restaurants I bought an already made sandwich that I ate for lunch.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#29
Useless: a knife - bought in SJPdP and I never took it out of the package.

Useful: safety pins - to dry clothing off the back of my pack, to hang up clothes to dry when all the clothespins were being used, to help hold pants up for the lucky people who lose weight on the camino
Wow, I used my knife a several times a day! Of course, I'm a huge fan of Spanish cheeses, so I'd buy a wedge and then slice off chunks for snacks. I also used my knife to cut the wonderful Spanish breads and sausages.

I have to agree with you on the safety pins. They were definitely an essential item.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#30
Useful: jack knife bought in SJPP.
Not Useful: Head lamp (torch)-- never used it.
A knife is a must. I decided to bring a little key ring LED light rather than a head lamp. I'm glad I did, although there were a few mornings right before we went off Summer time when it was pretty dark in the morning. I do have a lightweight head lamp that I'm debating bringing next time. We shall see.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#31
Most useful item I didn't take but acquired along the way: the Tape That Saved My Shoes!! I'd read many recommendations here on the Forum to take some duct tape or similar - and didn't. Then a couple of days before Burgos I discovered that unnoticed gentle friction had rubbed a hole clean through the lining at the back of both my shoes (Asics running shoes, otherwise super comfortable). My first thought was that the shoes were done for, and I started looking up shoe shop locations in Burgos. Then I thought of duct tape, so after rigging up a temporary "dressing" for the shoes from my first aid kit (also useful!) which got me to Burgos, I went shopping and found some strong tape, similar to duct tape, in one of those "everything" stores. Score!! Fixed it carefully to each shoe, a longish piece starting outside the heel and going up and over and onto the inner sole. I expected to have to change it regularly, even that it might worsen the damage, but it stuck like concrete, never wrinkled, and saw me to the finish line! (Well, as far as Sarria where everything ground to a halt but that's a whooole other story!) So next time I'm taking the tape!
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#32
Two champagne corks!
- put one in either damp sock as you change ( as you should) every 1- 2 hours, turned inside out and placed in the elastic hooks on my Osprey Kestrel.
They (socks) will not risk slipping out due to these stoppers.
Can use 2 stones, but they weigh more !!
 
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JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
The Frances from Pamplona and part VF, first-aid helper and hospitalera
#33
Most useful: My rubber gloves! :D They weigh practically nothing and protect my hands when hand-washing my hiking gear each day. They're also useful in albergue kitchens of course.
My preferred brand is an English one - Marigolds - they're the Rolls Royce of rubber gloves - 'love them!
Most useless: one of my two new Platypus water containers - it burst before the start of my camino. Note to self: thoroughly test water container before leaving Oz next time!
 

Debora

Beautiful Burgos
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago May (2016)
#36
Useful - old pillow case. Your albergue pillow may have seen 100's of drooling, sneezing pilgrims. Also gets used for dirty clothes bag.
Useless - heavy paper or book based guides. There are so many free Camino guides for the phone these days. Or if you must have, scan the paper to pdf.
AGREE!! I brought my own pillowcase from home and used it over whatever pillow I was given and then folded it up in the morning and put it back in my zip lock bag. It was so comforting when I laid my head down at night.
 
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Ian L

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Plan on returning in 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
#38
Most useful: Its a tie between the earplugs and a small massage ball for my feet

Most useless- insect repellent for mosquitoes
 

BetzNH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: May/June (2013), April 2014
#40
Most useful - my Macabi skirt - used as a sarong after the shower - kept me cool, water resistant.. lots of pockets for items you need while walking - oh and safety pins - big ones. AND Leukotape.
Most useless.. the ceremonial spork - but I carry it anyway.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Potuguese from Valenca (2015)
#41
Most useful:
A4 grip lock high density freezer bags. Keeps everything neat in your rucksack. Change of clothes in each one; squeeze all the air out and seal. All your bits stay nice and dry.
Most useless:
Headphones, never used once as I like all the sounds around me.
 

JRO

Member
Camino(s) past & future
santiago to muxia
#42
I was glad to see your post. I am frantically packing and repacking my backpack. I leave tomorrow from Canada making my journey to SJPdP. I just got up and packed some zip ties! Great idea!
Useful: a small packet of lambs wool from drugstore - padded any and everything!
Useless: makeup
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015) this year Portugal (2017)
#43
Useful: light bags that separate my clothing, I used them like a drawer, Elastic washing line, sun cream, soap that could wash body and cloths, my Miam Miam dodo and Nok creamto keep your feet hydrated.
Useless: head lamp,ductape,rain pants (you get wet anyway) camelback you never know how much water left in it.
Keep in mind pilgrims will carry their unsecurity.
 
#47
Most useful item for me would be any multi-use item and my favorite is one that combines my towel, my bandana, my neck scarf, my neck shield from searing sun, my head band, my head and ear cover from the cold, my buff, and, likely, other uses for which I may have forgotten.

That item would be just a simple large silk scarf. I bought it online from a silk supplier (Dharma) and it came a natural cream color so I dyed it to a more sedate combination of OD green and dark brown. I have used it on my last three or four Caminos and I wouldn't leave home for another without it. After drying my body it hangs on whatever I use for drying my just washed briefs and socks. It's dry in minutes. It's weight is minuscule and it crumples up into almost no space at all.
 

stinmd

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - May 2015; Camino del Norte/Primitivo - July/August 2016; Camino Portugues - Sept 2017
#48
Most useful item for me would be any multi-use item and my favorite is one that combines my towel, my bandana, my neck scarf, my neck shield from searing sun, my head band, my head and ear cover from the cold, my buff, and, likely, other uses for which I may have forgotten.

That item would be just a simple large silk scarf. I bought it online from a silk supplier (Dharma) and it came a natural cream color so I dyed it to a more sedate combination of OD green and dark brown. I have used it on my last three or four Caminos and I wouldn't leave home for another without it. After drying my body it hangs on whatever I use for drying my just washed briefs and socks. It's dry in minutes. It's weight is minuscule and it crumples up into almost no space at all.
How well did that silk scarf work as a towel? Just wondering... Maybe you are onto something!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(May 2018!)
#49
Useful?
Me, preparing for my first Camino, I’m wondering what I’ll bring as devotional/ prayer/ musical enrichments... that weigh little and nourish my spirit. On the path, in evening recovery, and pre-sleeps. Printed? Saved on phone or iPod? As well, what format for my journal?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances again
2015 The Rheinsteig
#50
Useful - Multi-tool swiss army type thing
Useless - Needle and thread.

Problem with the mulit-tool was I had to check in my rucksack because of it. Not sure if it was worth the additional cost.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#51
..... little key ring LED light rather than a head lamp. I'm glad I did, although there were a few mornings right before we went off Summer time when it was pretty dark in the morning. I do have a lightweight head lamp that I'm debating bringing next time. We shall see.
Ah - bloody Spanish Summer time - I actually had to wait about 10-15 mins (after I was "thrown" out - most politely by Tom at Rabanal at 8.15 am) until I could actually see the trail or road. I ended up on the road until Foncebadon. I too for-went the head torch and used a small pocket flash light, and I rarely rode before 8.15 am. The small knife I took was also very useful at lunch time - for bread/cheese/fruit etc!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
#52
Useful - If I think of what I used everyday - Kathmandu gortex shell rain jacket - good against the rain, cold and wind. Small valuables bag to put your wallet and passport in at night and take to bed rather than leaving them in your bag or losing them in your bed.

Useless - laptop computer - too tired to use it at night and weighed too much during the day.
 

BoH

Never more than 7-8 kg on the back!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2011, -13, Norte -15 and again sept -18.
#53
Most Usless - a compartmented box of various vitamins and pills given to me by a nurse friend for which I lost the contents label in somewhere like Burgos, and after which I had no idea which tablet was for what !!.
All went down the WC at this point and I let my body decide what it wanted to do.
Please dont let Ela know she thinks I carried them to the end :)
Why do you think fishes in the sea needed the medical better than yourself??
 

BoH

Never more than 7-8 kg on the back!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2011, -13, Norte -15 and again sept -18.
#54
Useful - Multi-tool swiss army type thing
Useless - Needle and thread.

Problem with the mulit-tool was I had to check in my rucksack because of it. Not sure if it was worth the additional cost.
A folded knife is not ok. And the blade must not be more than 60 mm.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 18,2015 - June 23,2015 El Camino Frances
May 25, 2017 - June 30th, 2017 Le Puy to Moissac
#55
Most useful - bandanna (which can become your towel if you lose yours!)
Least useful - second book with maps and albergues. For Spain Caminos take a John Brierley guide, in France take a MiamMiamDodo (and learn enough French to book a room over the phone)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from León to Santiago (2017)
#56
Useful?
Me, preparing for my first Camino, I’m wondering what I’ll bring as devotional/ prayer/ musical enrichments... that weigh little and nourish my spirit. On the path, in evening recovery, and pre-sleeps. Printed? Saved on phone or iPod? As well, what format for my journal?
Dear Jo Ann, I would suggest you bring noting but a very light and simple journal. The Camino is about nothingness so the more you bring the more you bring (if you get my meaning). Listen to the silence, listen to the sun rise and the darkness. You will hear your own soul and that will speak volumes. Your prayer is the sound of your own feet and the rhythm of each step. Do nothing -- that is the way of the Camino.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#58
Most useful - elasticated washing line, used daily

Most useless - first aid kit. Never used it (Now, there's tempting fate.............)
Yes, but you still shouldn't go without it! Never know when it can come in useful :cool:
I should know, I packed the most minimalist first aid kit when walking the Via Francigena last year, ended spending more per day in chemists than I did in accommodation AND meals :D Spain is cheaper fortunately!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 500 miles. 2016 Via Francigena, 200 miles. 2018 Frances Burgos to Sarria.
#59
I do
Useful?
Me, preparing for my first Camino, I’m wondering what I’ll bring as devotional/ prayer/ musical enrichments... that weigh little and nourish my spirit. On the path, in evening recovery, and pre-sleeps. Printed? Saved on phone or iPod? As well, what format for my journal?
I downloaded an audio Rosary n my phone...also listened to Podcast homilies from my Church back home.

Made a special music list downoaded from Spotify - one inspirational and energetic (think Mandisa!) and another meditative...Chant.

We kept a blog - used a laptop - but a small diary would work, too.

Our second Camino is Burgos to Sarria starting April 16. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
#60
Useless: smartphone, dropped it on day 3 and broke the screen. Decided to walk the CF without it and therefore without guidebook, gps etc. Great decision, easy enough just to follow the arrows.

Usefull. Quality earplugs, essential to increase the chances of a good nights sleep.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
#64
Most useful - elasticated washing line, used daily
I accidentally left mine hanging up outside at the municipal albergue in Fromista. If anyone sees it, feel free to claim it as yours with a clear conscience! :D

A very useful item.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018 summer/fall
#65
I just remembered another surprise super useful item: safety pins! They were essential for drying socks from the back of my pack between sock changes. I would change socks and reapply vaseline every few hours to keep the blisters at bay.
I notice a lot of people mention safety pins. One of our mentors for the trip recommends baby safety pins, the ones with the big plastic tops. those sound ideal for hanging clothes to dry
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#66
I notice a lot of people mention safety pins. One of our mentors for the trip recommends baby safety pins, the ones with the big plastic tops. those sound ideal for hanging clothes to dry
Yes, those would be ideal. That’s what I’m bringing next time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#67
I notice a lot of people mention safety pins. One of our mentors for the trip recommends baby safety pins, the ones with the big plastic tops f. those sound ideal for hanging clothes to dry
I used those big diaper pins on my first Camino, and only found them useful on clotheslines that were perfectly straight. On most clotheslines gravity caused all of my clothes to slide down the line. Now I use miniature clothespins (pegs) from the craft store. They are strong enough to hold my lightweight clothing. I still bring some diaper pins to hand clothing from my backpack.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#68
Most useful item I didn't take but acquired along the way: the Tape That Saved My Shoes!! I'd read many recommendations here on the Forum to take some duct tape or similar - and didn't
For the record, duct tape is called "Cinta Americana" in Spain.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#69
Without a doubt THE most useful item is a simple "s" hook ...over the shower door to hold clothes/towel, over the bunk rail to hold backpack off of wet floor or items that need drying. More substantial than plastic, better than a suction hook...comes on every camino. can be found in hardware stores in different sections ie: shower curtain hooks, pots and pan hooks, tool hooks,,,can also be found on amazon. I bring several and give them away :)
 

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