After a few days walking, one topic really sets hold on the Camino de Santiago: what could you send home?
A heavy backpack can slow you down, and make you feel pretty miserable. But if you don’t have the things you need… Well that will make you feel miserable too. So, if you’re thinking of heading off on the Camino, how do you strike the right balance?
I think I did a pretty good job last time, and I was pleased to learn I could live for a month with just 8kilos of stuff, but here are my thoughts as I pack for my second Camino.
For me, there are a few things I got right last time:
- My backpack: a fantastic minimalist design by Alpkit. Lightweight and 100% waterproof so no faffing with covers if it starts raining. Bonus: I borrowed my dad’s, so it was zero cost! Cons: no pockets. At all. Even for water bottles. But… they have brought out a new design with water bottle pockets this year, which I’ve bought for myself. It’s also bright blue, which is a nice cheery Camino colour. Win.
- Sleeping bag: I have a lightweight sleeping bag, it comes in at about 800g. Most hostels have blankets (mantas) but not all, and it can get cold at night. It’s nice to stay warm.
- My waterproofs: Spain is really rainy in April (there’s even an expression, “En Abril, agua mil”). Full Goretex top and bottom were my best friends in bad weather. Also it’s a good insurance policy, every walker knows that it’s bound to rain if you don’t have your waterproofs.
Things I will do without this time:
- So many clothes: I took two changes of clothes last year (so a whopping three outfits in total, decadent by Camino standards). I was actually really glad of the extra clothes over the month I was in Spain last year, it was nice to go three days without doing laundry, but it’s weight I don’t need. Especially as I’m only going for a week this time.
- My guide book: This isn’t strictly true, but I’m just taking the section for the few days I’m walking, saving weight and bulk.
- A notebook: I was really surprised, but I barely used my notebook last year. Probably because I blogged using my phone… And I plan to do that this time too. So bye bye bulky paper.
- My Kindle cover. My Kindle is still coming with me, but the cover weighs 200g. Not necessary.
Things I’m adding
- Shampoo/shower gel: I took shampoo leaves and soap leaves last year. They weighed nothing but they were ineffective and gunky. It was horrid. Shampoo all the way!!
I’d love to hear how other people approach their packing, it’s very personal and I’m sure not everyone would agree with my list!