What NOT to bring with you on the Camino de Santiago

The question was:

It seems we all speak about how great MY backpack / MY shoes / MY sleeping bag etc was….
Very seldom do we admit to bad equipment or making bad equipment choices. So heres your chance……

Read a list of all the things NOT to bring with you on the Camino de Santiago.

24 Replies to “What NOT to bring with you on the Camino de Santiago”

  1. I brought waaaaaaay too much – backpack should never be more than 10% of your bodyweight, if that – and ended up making 5 trips to the Spanish post office to send thigs home, plus donating along the way. First to go was my powder compact (what WAS I thinking!!); swimsuit (no need); and cotton turtleneck (not quick for washing/drying – lightweight long pashimina-type scarf worked wonderfully instead). Brought 5 pairs of great wool socks but sent home 3 pair. Ended up with only one set of day clothes and one set of clothes for relaxing/evening meal/sleeping. Washed day clothes at the Albergue and they were usually dry enough by morning (as long as the sun was out for awhile in the late afternoon before). Bought a thermal underwear top along the way in Leon and it saved me at night when the weather turned colder Oct/Nov.

    1. i fallowed the list on things needed and it ended up to be 25% of my body weight…when it was suppose to be max 10% :S this coast me my trip after 2 days of walking..id like to THANK YOU TO the ppl who gave me that list ill know better next time..to lisent to myself! have the minimum 1 t-shrit…1 of everything just wash over night in them auberges ….

    2. The whole 10% rule should ONLY be a guide to try and make you take less… I’m 56kg, 10% being 5.6kg – my pack being 5.6kg is NOT going to happen, us lighter people have to think about it in a relative perspective – for myself I’m aiming my pack to be around 8kg – had my first practice ‘weigh-in’ last night and am 7.5kg with NO water – still playing with it all. I havent walked the camino (going this September) but have done many other expedition walks where I am used to carrying all my own food and cooking equipment – people need to be realistic bout what they are used to as well – all you can do is try your best to keep things to a absolute minimum – BUT whats important to some and worth taking may not be for others….. to each their own – remember the stress of it will not help you mentally either! – the ‘10% rule’ should make you stop and REALLY think bout what your taking but dont beat yourself up if your not hitting it – nothing you cant rethink whilst walking…. which I read most people do 🙂 As far as communication devices, I’m going to take a ipod only – does all wifi internet stuff, light as a feather but most importantly for me I can have some nice tunes!

  2. I too brought too much, because we were traveling for an additional 3 months after the camino in Europe. When I take this journey a 2nd time in June 2012, I will bring a very minimul amount of items, I had a heavy sleeping bag that I ditched in Castrojeriz, then was cold at times especially in Galicia. I brought too many books and music. We learn from our mistakes.

  3. Netbook with charger (I had got a big thing to complete) … totally crappy, heavy and overall useless. I used it once to check e-mails and post some pics. As I walked on the computer ended at the bottom of my backpack as a  dead weight.

  4. Do not bring a bad attitude or a suspicious tendency or a lot of expectations about how things should be or what a “real” pilgrim is like. Leave home a sense of self-satisfaction and a critical or judgmental tongue. Don’t bring a competitive mindset. -> I did not want to be encumbered or bothered with having stuff. I wanted to feel light and free. I carried a day pack and took very little – not even a guide book, not even a watch and no phone. I also cut out the tags and extraneous zipper pulls, etc from my stuff (I put it all in a plastic bag and weighed it – shaved almost 16 ounces off my load). Every clothing item served multiple purposes (socks were used as mittens on cold mornings; silk thermal shirt was a lovely outer post-walk garment that kept me warm as an under-layer and served as a sleep shirt too (it washes and dries like a dream and holds up better than other options). I did not bring anything that I couldn’t walk away without. I wanted to be in the moment and not spend time maintaining stuff and I did not want to ache from toting stuff or to worry about stuff gone missing. I also wanted to make do and improvise at times. I wanted to feel self-sufficient, but I also wanted to be able to need other people at times and by having less, sometimes I was forced to reach out and interact with others (having stuff can isolate a pilgrim – make them believe the illusion that any of us can make a pilgrimage and be a pilgrim by our own efforts…we really do need one another.) OK, just a few rambling thoughts…

    – Ginn
    In Sunny SC

    1. Hi Ginn . Loved your post. I might be doing the treck in sept oct this year
      ( 2013) . Looking forward to it and totally identified what you were saying in your post. Love Hiking for that reason.

    2. Hi Ginn – I will be doing my first Camino in Sept this year (2013) and will remember your post when I do my packing/planning. Thanks.

  5. This post seriously made my day! Thanks for that, I needed a laugh … just reading your post alone helps give me permission to pack light … Thanks!

  6. Thanks for making me smile! I hope I can remember your lessons when I prep for my first Camino in May.(thinking of taking my iPad. Too much???)

    1. i took mine, and to be honest if you have an iphone that is so much smaller and lighter and it does everything anyway. i really resented taking it. though i was looking at the ipad mini with love because of its lightness and smallness …..

    2. I put everything on my iPhone and I never missed my iPad. one of my best decisions.

        1. no. I plugged in and charged when I would stop in cafes and overnight in auberges. no problem…buon Camino

  7. I brought my ipad, only used it for showing people photos. useless. will bring only my phone next time.

  8. Hilarious! I particularly liked the part about the Ventolin; I have never had asthma, either.

  9. Loved the post….I, for one, DO use Ventolin at home….and I had forgotten to include it in my packing list for this fall. LOL

  10. I had 7.5k all up. It was a breeze. I loved my backpack and wanted for nothing. My daughter struggled with her 4k’s until we bought a new backpack in Burgos. Then she skipped and hopped and danced like I was hoping she would and could. It was the backpack that sucked, not her weight. We shipped stuff ahead when our capitalist demands won over our spiritual weightlessness, and bought a HUGE bag in Santiago that we filled almost immediately, but the pilgrimage was about living with what we had, and we did, along with everyone else stuck in the same clothes for 6 weeks.
    PS. I caved in and bought a separate face moisturizer in Burgos too.

  11. Loved the post 🙂

    I had a backpack + content 6kg ( I am 59 years old) and still was some things that I did not use!

  12. I sent home my sleeping bag, trail runners, bigger camera and a pair of shorts in Pamploma, and I won’t make that mistake again Last month I bought a thermal sleep sheet, 8 oz, and I’ll take that next year. Lost my rain gear over the Pyrenees, so I just bought a very lightweight pack poncho, which I WILL take next time. I brought a MacAir and was grateful because I never would have been able to write the details later, and that was important to me. http://www.woodswomanwalking.com. Just finished a creative writing thesis from that material. Bought a pair of TEVA hiking sandals in Logroño, and will take those again, along with a lightweight pair of boots. I did have too much weight, but sent that 8 lbs home from Pamploma, and I wouldn’t take my Camelback next time. . Nor would I take a headlamp and some of the first aid stuff I had. I
    used my iPhone flashlight if I really needed to see something. Two or three small waterbottles purchased from any store, refilled over and over again . . . those worked fine. I would take a lighter weight journal next time. But all in all, I was pretty happy with the clothing I took, very lightweight, dried easily, etc.

    I can’t wait to go again, though I’m trying to decide between the Norte, the Frances (again) and the Portugues. Any suggestions?

    1. I carried a pair of running shoes 320 Km thinking I would wear them at night. Nonsense. Next Camino I took a pair of fishing/deck sandles as light as I could find and they worked for street and around the hostel. At age 68 I cut back all I could the second trip. My pack alone weighs 5 lbs empty, so I may look for a lighter European style. They impressed me.

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