My Camino Pack List & Favorites
As my one year anniversary for my Le Puy Camino approaches, it’s about time to debrief on the items that I brought. In planning any journey one must decide what to pack. And, when you’re going to carry your items for hundreds of miles, it’s extra important to keep it light!
Start by getting a sense of the range in weather you might expect. I knew I’d have temps from the high 30’s to high 90’s F, along with rain, but we got an extra surprise when it snowed one day in late May near the French Aubrac.
Try out your gear in advance. See how things weather the rain, sun, dirt, temps and terrain!
It’s a great idea to have a pack list or to take before photos and then, when you return home, to pause and notice what you used, what you loved and what you could do without next time. This is my own personal recap of my Le Puy Camino in 2017. Your preferences may vary. I am not an affiliate for any of these products.
Here’s my original pack list and below is my evaluation of the items I loved and those I could do without! At day ten of my journey, I paused to notice what I had used and what I had not and I made the decision to leave some items behind.
Items I would skip next time:
Cotton leggings. I brought at last-minute that I never mentioned. I brought them because I just barely could fit into my zip off sports pants and I wanted a second pair of pants while touring in Leon…but cotton is not good for a Camino. You need lighter items that will dry fast.
Cotton tank top. Never worn.
Headband. Never worn as my hair length worked best with a scrunchie.
Clip on sunglasses. I was too distracted by seeing the clips as I was looking through them and to be honest, I never wear sunglasses at home and I’m just not used to them. I would opt for photochromatic glasses in the future along with my beloved hat. On each Camino for comfort and ease, I’ve worn my glasses more than my contact lenses.
Ear plugs. Another item others swear by, but now, after two Caminos, I can safely say they hurt my ears more than they help. I can more easily tune out the snoring than tune out the pressure in my ears with plugs in. This is a very personal choice. Most people would want to bring these along. They weigh almost nothing.
Bucky Sleep Mask. Wasn’t worn this trip even though it was an item I swore by on my last Camino. France had smaller hostels (gites) and many rooms had shutters to close which shut out the light. Had I made it to Spain, then I’m sure I would have appreciated the Bucky Sleep Mask again.
Buff. I wore this once and I know others swear by this item. I even got a wool one that I like much better than the microfiber as it fit more comfortably (was less tight)…but wearing something once isn’t enough for a future Camino item. It’s light enough however, I may give it one more try!
Gloves. I wore them once, but that really doesn’t warrant carrying them for the entire trip for just one day. You can put your hands in your pockets. I love these lightweight fleece gloves that I bought in St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France on my first Camino! However, on a long trip you need to think what’s vital versus “just in case” items.
By far my favorite items were:
Boot brush. This came in so handy at the end of the day to wash my boots in the sink or to just dry brush them off. This brush was in my trash, so I was able to “reuse” it and it’s the perfect size and worked great…so double win!
Birkenstocks I that I had resoled. Once again I dealt with blisters. The Le Puy Camino was significantly more strenuous than the Frances Camino, causing me to sweat and have wet feet. I even stopped nearly every two hours to change socks and air my feet, but that wasn’t enough. I got big blisters on the back of each heel, making boot wearing uncomfortable. My Birkenstocks provided relief and allowed me to keep walking! I wore them about half the time in my 200 miles.
Darn Tough socks. Last Camino I tried out Smartwool vs Darn Tough and for my feet, the Darn Tough socks work best for me. I like having different colored socks to determine which ones I wore in the morning vs at the sock change. I’d use the diaper pins to hang the morning socks from my pack to dry out between sock changes.
Hiker’s wool (Not shown, but you can see here). This saved me too. It’s great for hot spots and once you have blisters for preventing more friction. So I used it daily on those heels and my feet. Some people like leukotape or Compeed for their blisters…but because mine are caused by overly wet feet, I like something that does not trap more moisture to my skin.
Anti friction cream. This item is easily bought in France and Spain at any pharmacy and perhaps I should have gotten some sooner. It works great and can easily be used with hikers wool. I began using coconut oil on my feet, but it is not as good as this cream is. Next time I will buy this once I arrive and use it daily and at sock changes.
Dress. Nice for warmer weather. Great to sleep in. Wonderful to wear while everything else is hanging up to dry. A-line design is a plus for walking. I also like feeling feminine now and then!
Flashdry items. This Northface product is amazing! It keeps you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. I’ve got two black pieces which make up a set like long john shirt and leggings. Can be mixed and matched with other clothes to provide comfort and I use the top for sun protection.
Umbrella. I really wasn’t sure about the Six Moon Umbrella. It’s big and very sturdy, but light at 8.2 ounces and it’s not hands-free, but it does protect the top of your body better than any jacket or poncho I’ve tried. I’d attach it to my pack like it was a walking pole and if rain was threatening, I’d hang it from an S hook in the front for easy access.
Pole. Another item others swear by is two walking poles. My first Camino I made the conscious choice to go without. This Camino I took one pole and that worked great for me as I love to take frequent photos and have my hands free. I could use my one pole for rough terrain, walking over rocks in a creek area and it came in handy once I was injured. Most people will want two. I like one.
Kleen Canteen. I got a slightly larger Kleen Canteen at 800 vs 500 ml for this Camino and I appreciated having slightly larger capacity. There are less frequent towns and fountains in France, but still plenty.
Daypack. I was grateful to have this in Leon while sight-seeing for three days prior to my Camino. I also used it on day trip sight-seeing days from Figeac, making it worth the weight. It was a gift from the World Domination Summit and I’ve used it lots!
No Jet Lag. This homeopathic treatment helps with jet lag and I use it all the time when changing time zones.
Deodorant. I used Schmidt’s Charcoal-Magnesium Natural Deodorant and it worked great, even with lots of sweating due to the strenuous trails and heat! At home my favorite scent is the Bergamot+Lime.
Tooth powder. I love Eco-dent tooth powder as it weighs less with no water in it. A 3-5 month supply weighs just 1 ounce.
Backpack S hook. Great for hanging your backpack from bunks!
Eagle Creek packing cubes. Great lightweight way to organize stuff in a large backpack.
Scrunchie (not pictured). Used daily to keep hair out of my face.
Dr. Bronner’s soap in a net bag. I tried many shampoo bars prior to this trip. Lush is way too artificially scented for my nose! JR Liggets didn’t seem to cut oil well enough. Dr. Bronner’s was mild, but worked well for cleaning my body, hair and clothes. It’s always nice to find a multi-function item when you’re traveling light. I did end up buying shampoo however, as my wavy hair just frizzed out. One tip I have is to put the soap into a net bag so you can hang it to easily dry overnight. I used one of my net bulk produce bags and it worked nicely.
Diaper pins. Used for drying clothing and socks by pinning them to my backpack on dry days. This ensured my clothing didn’t fall off on the trail.
Simple adapter. Used for electronics, no converter needed in France and Spain.
Essential oils. I used doTERRA On Guard beadlets when I was around others with colds or illness and I was able to not get sick. I used doTERRA Peppermint beadlets to freshen my breath as needed on the trail. A few drops of doTERRA lemon essential oil in my canteen made me more likely to drink my water and stay hydrated. Young Living Peace was mostly a scent to comfort me and cover up odor if needed.
iPhone. This serves so many functions – phone, camera, music player, light source, wifi access, maps, etc. I opted to get a Sim card with Orange and it was much cheaper than getting International AT&T coverage like I did on my first Camino. As a single woman traveling alone, I opt to stay connected during travel to reassure family of my status via Facebook. Others will opt to leave their smartphones at home and disconnect.
So mostly wins, but it’s important to pause and notice items not used and what your own unique personal preferences are! Do you have a favorite item that you’d like to share below?