What you pack will vary depending on the length and difficulty of your chosen route, as well as your own personal tastes and requirements. The interactive graphic above can help you determine the best things to pack for your Camino de Santiago. It also provides suggestions based on season, weather, and gender. In the meantime, here are a few golden rules we suggest you follow when packing your bag.
The first piece of advice from someone who’s walked the Camino is usually to pack lightly. What most Camino walkers find to be the hardest aspect of their walk is carrying their luggage on their back all day. Luckily, if you book your holiday through Follow the Camino, you can use our luggage transfer services, so you don’t have to carry your full bag from hotel to hotel. Our normal baggage allowance is one item, with 20kg per person, but if you need to add more bags just contact us in advance. Whether you use the service or not, travelling light allows you more freedom to enjoy the adventure.
If you do choose to carry your own bag, this first rule is particularly applicable, because you will have to support that bag the entire trip. If you’re hiking in the summer, it’s easier to pack lighter. However, the high temperatures along the Camino de Santiago will make it harder to carry much weight. Always check our interactive weather map to decide when is the best time for you to book your Camino de Santiago.
So then the question becomes: what should you pack?
Well, when packing your bag for the Camino, always prioritise function over fashion. Packing a comfortable pair of hiking boots is essential, and it’s a good idea to invest in a reliable and durable pair. Make sure to break in whatever boots you’re taking with you and get used to them before your departure date, otherwise you will be more likely to get blisters along your walking holiday. If you’re walking the Camino during the summer, it’s better to bring trekking shoes instead, as boots can be a little uncomfortable in the heat.
Pack appropriate trousers for hiking. Jeans are a poor choice as they are too hot in the sun, not warm enough when it’s cold, and have poor water resistance. Bring trousers made from waterproof, breathable materials (long ones are a must, and shorts are optional but are great in the summer). Also, take a selection of light, long sleeved and short sleeved shirts with you. Breathable shirts are a good investment because they will allow you to feel the breeze during the hotter days, but won’t leave you shivering in the winter-time.
Even at the height of summer you may encounter adverse conditions. A thin waterproof jacket is great to have as it’s light to carry and not too hot to wear. But you’ll want to ensure your pack stays dry by bringing a rain jacket large enough to fit around both you and the bag, or choose a bag with a protective coat. A warm fleece is better for cool and cold evenings. If you’re walking in winter you’ll most certainly need added protection from the elements. In which case, items such as thermal pants, hats, and gloves are worth packing. Try not to bring too many extra jackets though since it’ll weigh down your pack.
Having several pairs of socks and underwear is one of the most important things to remember when packing your bag for your Camino de Santiago walking holiday. Cotton socks should be avoided, as the material soaks up water and holds sweat, which in turn causes blisters. You’ll also need to bring a small selection of toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. Along with your hiking gear, you probably also want to pack some casual clothing to wear during downtime, like when you’re having dinner in your hotel. Once again, we’d stress that you don’t focus too much on the more fashionable items. Pack one or two casual outfits, but most of your packing should be practical items. If your luggage is taken care of during the day, you only need to carry a light daypack of around 4kg and 15-20 litre capacity.
One of the most essential items to put in your daypack is sweat and water resistant sun-cream. Sunglasses and a light hat are also a smart choice, particularly in the summer. Water fountains can be rare on certain routes along the way, so you need to bring a water bottle or camel bag with you, particularly when you’re walking remote rural stretches. Since parts of the trail will be less inhabited, light snacks are always great to have at hand as they help to keep energy levels high. Typically, you’ll eat breakfast and dinner at your accommodations, so depending on you and your walking companions needs for food, we suggest bringing along a smaller snack for during the day.
Basic First Aid Items
Plasters and painkillers should be packed, but you don’t need to bring a whole pharmacy with you. If you take medicine daily, make sure that you have enough for the trip and a few days extra. Accidents happen, so it’s always a good idea to prepare for anything! There are other items you can bring along on the trip, such as playing cards, a small musical instrument or reading materials to pass the time. A flashlight can also prove useful, particularly if you’re travelling in the shorter winter days. Above all, only bring things you’d be comfortable carrying around for the day – it’s a physically challenging experience, there’s no need to make it any harder!
You can check out our Equipment List article on our website. It lists more of the essential items you will need to bring with you on your Camino trip. You can purchase most of these items from our outdoor gear partner Great Outdoors in Ireland – https://www.greatoutdoors.ie/
If you have any questions about the Camino de Santiago tours or our services, then please feel free to contact us at email@example.com