packing list camino de santiago

Ultimate Camino de Santiago Packing List



Written by Umberto

Have you decided to walk the Camino de Santiago? Well done! You’re on your way to experiencing a life-changing journey. Now you must be wondering, “what should I pack for the Camino??”, and that is what this post is about; a Camino de Santiago packing list!

I’m going to share with you essential tips and advice from our Camino specialists, based on more than ten years of experience walking the Camino. This Camino packing list will help you ease your load so you can fully focus on experiencing the journey.

Ready? Buen Camino!

What Should I Pack For The Camino

Well, the answer can vary depending on:

what to pack for the camino
  1. The season of the year that you decide to travel. For example, if you decide to walk the Camino between late November and early March, temperatures can be cold with some rains from time to time, so you’ll need more layers of clothes and proper rain gear and waterproof shoes.

I recommend you to visit our Camino Weather Map to know more about the weather on the Camino.

  • Your trip duration. The longer your trip, the more items you’ll need. 
  • The type of accommodation you’re staying. If you decide to stay in albergues (hostels) you’ll need some specific items that you won’t need if you decide to book accommodation in advance. A private room and bathroom always facilitate a good rest at the end of your day and are more convenient, so you won’t need some toiletries, towels, etc.

I also want to highlight here how crucial packing light is if you decide not to hire a luggage transfer service. Yes, you read right, you can get your luggage transferred from point to point so you don’t have to worry about the weight of your backpack and your back, knees and feet would really appreciate it.

If you decide to stay in albergues and carry your own load, then you have to condense your wants and needs down to a core number of items. This is tactical packing at its finest. So to help you make the right choice on what to pack for your Camino, I have created an ultralight Camino packing gear list to get you started!

It is a general Camino packing list that can apply to both men and women.

Clothing Packing List For Your Camino



Consider factors like quick-dry material and thin lightweight clothing when choosing what to bring for your Camino. Avoid cotton material at all costs, it holds moisture next to the skin causing chaffing and blisters and takes longer to dry after washing. 

  • 2 short sleeves shirt
  • 1 long sleeves shirt
  • Fleece for cooler weather
  • 2 pairs of gym leggings 
  • 3 changes of underwear. Choosing the best hiking underwear can make a huge difference on your Camino Experience. For both men and women, find underwear that fits tight around your skin, but not too tight, that dries fast, and is breathable. It will allow you to walk for hours or days without ever causing discomfort.
  • Women: 1 hiking bra. For extra comfort and support.
  • 4 changes of socks. This is a very important item on the list. Preference would be for synthetic or merino wool as they do not store moisture like cotton.

Rain Gear

Yes, it can rain. It’s usually a good idea to carry some sort of lightweight rain gear for most Caminos in most seasons. This can include a poncho, rain trousers, a raincoat, or some combination of the above. 

  • 1 pair of waterproof convertible hiking trousers with zip-off legs are handy due to their versatility. 
  • Poncho during the summer months a light poncho can be more than enough
  • Waterproof jacket /Raincoat if you’re travelling in other season different to summer it can be the best choice for you.

Tips: go for a walk on a rainy day at home to test out your choice before leaving. To test under full-on torrential conditions, hop in the shower wearing your gear. Any deficiencies will quickly become apparent.



Extra Equipment Needed For The Camino in Winter

winter clothes for the camino
  1. Lightweight thermal base layers. Depending on the season, lightweight thermal base layers may be advisable. These also are handy to wear as pyjamas on cold nights.
  2. Fleece. Regardless of the season, take a fleece top as evenings can get cool even in the summer if you’re in mountainous areas. You can also add layer shirts, trousers, base layers, fleeces, and rain gear to create the necessary amount of warmth. Travelling light means packing little and wearing it all at once if necessary!
  3. Walking shoes/boots (More heavyweight than summer)
  4. Extra  pairs of socks (wool for warmth)
  5. Extra clothing (Warmer/heavier layers than summer)
  6. Heavy Fleece or Jacket
  7. Wool hat for warmth
  8. Sleeping bag (Not if staying in hotels)
  9. Gloves and Mittens

Light Backpack

When choosing a hiking backpack for your Camino you have to keep in mind how important it is to consider comfort above all.

You’ll be carrying your own load (again, if you decide to not hire luggage transfer) for the duration of your Camino, walking between 15-30 km every day. So keep this in mind every time you think that you need an extra item.

Choose a good quality lightweight backpack with ventilated back. An adjustable hip strap is highly recommended to help you keep balanced and take the load off your shoulders.

Don’t forget to bring a rain cover in case of heavy rain!

Tips: Switch your backpack from back to front from time to time. It helps to relieve your load.


Hiking Shoes

hiking shoes for the Camino

Choosing the right footwear for your Camino is one of the most important decisions that you have to make. I have seen people ending their Camino earlier than expected because of the blisters caused by their shoes. It’s vital to find shoes that fit well and are suited to the weather and terrain of the trip you’re planning. 

  • Choose comfortable hiking boots, trek shoes, trail runners, sneakers or trainers. 
  • Sandals/lightweight shoes for the evening 

Tips: Before starting your Camino, make sure you’ve broken them in over at least several long walks. Also, take a spare pair of shoes for the evening – preferably waterproof if using hostel showers – to give the feet a rest after a day’s walking.

Further info on choosing footwear is discussed in our article “What is the best walking Footwear for the Camino”.

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Download Packing List


Accessories, First Aid Kit and Foot Care

Accesories

  • Cap or flexible hat (cover those ears)
  • Sunglasses to protect the eyes from both sun and snow glare
  • Walking poles (help maintain a good posture throughout the day – whether you are carrying your bag or not)

First Aid Kit

  • Small scissors
  • Painkillers (Aspirin, Tylenol, Paracetamol etc.)
  • Elastic bandage
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Tape
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tweezers
  • Hayfever tablets
  • Bug spray (for summer)
  • Multivitamin tablets
  • Any prescription medication you may need

Footcare

  • Compeed
  • Moleskin tape
  • Needles and thread
  • Plasters
  • Small bottle of talcum powder
  • Vaseline

Toiletries

Keep it to a minimum and bring everything in travel sizes to avoid extra weight.

toiletries for the camino
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Soap – we recommend a small bar – it is lighter than body wash and doesn’t leak!
  • Small sunscreen / sun cream. Sunscreen can be your best ally to reduce skin damage. Use it every day, 30 minutes prior to going on the Camino and then re-apply every 2 hours. SPF 30 or higher.
  • Sun lip balm (SPF 30)
  • Moisturiser – it gets hot and dry during the summer! Check out the weather here.
  • Shampoo – you can get great bars of shampoo that are compact and lighter than a bottle of liquid shampoo!
  • Small comb
  • Small shaving cream (or just use soap) and razor (or skip these and embrace the fuzz!)

Electronics

  • Phone. Bringing a smartphone can be a very useful tool for your Camino. You can use it as a camera, as a book reader, music player, GPS, Camino App, and as a torch.
  • 1x EU adaptor
  • Battery pack – You might struggle to find a charging point if you are staying in an albergue.
  • Small earphones so you can listen to what you want at any time without disturbing others.

Documentation

  • Passport /  National Identity Card (EU Citizens Only). If you’re travelling from outside the EU, a valid National Passport is required to enter any of the countries from where your Camino could start (France, Spain, Portugal, etc.).
  • Credit Card / Debit card / Cash. Most of the restaurants and shops along the Camino accept credit or debit cards, but we recommend carrying some cash. In some small villages small shops may just accept cash. You can withdraw cash in most larger towns in Spain, or at the airport when you arrive. Spain uses Euros.

Tips: If you’re travelling from outside the EU make sure to call your bank first to inform that you’ll use your card abroad, sometimes it is necessary to activate it to be able to use it outside your country.

  • Driver Licence – if you decide that you want to hire a car to explore more of Spain before or after your Camino 
  • International Medical Insurance or European Health Insurance Card. When you travel you’re not thinking about getting sick but when it happens it happens so better to be covered. For people outside the EU remember to bring your international medical insurance. Europeans can apply for a free European Health Insurance Card.

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Other useful items

  • Scallop Shell and Camino Passport this is part of the pilgrim’s pack that our customer receives before their journey
  • Ear plugs to help you sleep if staying in albergues. The snoring noises can be very annoying!
  • Small ziplock document bag for Camino papers and passport
  • Lightweight dry bag  to protect clothes or electronics
  • Clothes pegs (or safety pins) for hanging up laundry on your bag or when washing at your accommodation
  • Small folding knife for cutting cheese or fruit on picnic lunch days
  • Quick dry towel (Not needed if staying in hotels)
  • Lightweight water container or bladder pack

Even though there are free drinking water fountains in most of the towns along the Camino de Santiago, it is important to bring some water to keep you hydrated. We recommend a light water bottle or two with a volume of at least 1 Litre (2 pints).

If you are walking past the Cruz de Fierro (located between Leon and Ponferrada on the Camino Frances stage 6) then bring a small stone from your home. It is a tradition to carry a stone from your hometown with you on the Camino to the Cruz de Fierro. When you arrive, throw it over your shoulder, with your back facing the Cruz. It signifies laying down burdens before receiving a blessing in Santiago de Compostela.

Tips: Avoid using disposable plastic bottles and aluminium ones, so you can contribute to the environment and your health.

  • Hiking headlamp for use in hostels or walking in the dark
  • Walking sticks
  • Energy Bars so you make sure you’ve got backups and will never be stuck for food
  • Toilet paper or Kleenex when you have to go you have to go!
  • Luggage packing organiser to separate clothes, medicines, shoes, etc.
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How much weight should you carry on the Camino?

This is a question that can generate remarkable consensus but as a guide, I’d recommend to not carry more than 10% of your body weight, excluding water and food. Hence, the wry observation that when someone tells you ‘10%’, this is not an opening bid:  they’re trying to save your life.


Extra Packing List With Luggage Transfer

Essential and non-essential equipment can be transported using a luggage transfer. With our luggage transfer service, you can have an extra 20kg bag that we can transport from point to point.

Here is a list of some other extras that you can bring:

  • Extra clothing (shirts, leggings, underwear, etc.)
  • Nice evening clothes
  • Extra energy bars and snacks
  • Smaller backpack for your daily walk
  • Make up
  • Book
  • Diary/Journal
  • Guidebook
  • Playing cards
  • Small instrument
  • Camera Equipment
  • Binoculars
  • Collapsible plastic bucket or bowl for laundry
  • Needle, thread and safety pins
  • Powdered drink mix
  • Dental Floss
  • Rip-stop nylon tape
  • Ace Bandage

The number of extra items that you bring will depend on how long your trip is and your specific needs. Remember, you really don’t need much! If there is something that you need you can always buy it in Spain when you need it.

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Conclusion

walking french way with backpack
Waking the French Way

Most first time pilgrims can feel anxious when they are organising their trip, which means that they often carry some unnecessary items “just in case”. Items that after a few days walking, carrying their own load, they find out they’re needless and end up getting rid of them along the way.

So I recommend you to sit down, breathe, think about what is really essential for you and what just “extra luggage”. Check out all of the items on our Camino packing list as a guide to what to bring on the Camino.

It can be difficult to remember everything when you are packing for your pilgrimage on the Camino. That’s why we compiled a list of 9 little things you might not have considered. You’ll be glad we told you about them!

Remember that you can hire our luggage transfer service so you just have to worry about enjoying your Camino experience.

Feel free to contact us at info@followthecamino.com for any information on the Camino de Santiago tours or to know more about our services.

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Originally published on 19th November 2019

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