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What to carry in your backpack for the Camino? A personal perspective

One of the most frequently asked questions among would-be pilgrims is: “what do I pack?” There are practically as many different answers as people travelling along the Camino, since each person’s needs and tastes are different, specially when it comes to more “personal” equipment, such as boots or backpacks.

Neverthless, we can always look towards the experience of veteran pilgrims, since, after walking the Camino a few times, patterns start to emerge and we start finding ourselves facing the same situations, while other problems never end up taking place, despite us packing for them “just in case”.

This is why today we have asked Joaquín Luján from the “Club Caminante de Badajoz”, a nine-Camino veteran, for his packing list.

 

Joaquín insists us that he doesn’t want to tell anyone what to carry (since each person’s needs are different), but just to share his experiences. Thus, the first thing he tells us is that, when it comes to trekking equipment (boots, backpacks, walking sticks…), the best thing to do is to go to our local sports store and ask for advice there. After this caveat, Joaquín tells us about the things that he has found useful along his many Caminos:

  • A light guidebook with towns and hostels.
  • Shoes. Whatever they are (boots, sandals…), they should be one size bigger than your usual size, and ideally you should wear them for a couple of months before beginning the Camino. “In the beginning I used boots and two pairs of socks“, Joaquín tells us, “but now, after nine Caminos, I just wear sandals with no socks. A group of basque pilgrims saw me and called me ‘the sandals guy'”.
  • First aid kit. A female hygiene pad might be useful, to treat foot blisters.
  • Safety pins.
  • Needle and thread for sewing.
  • Even during the summer, it’s advisable to carry a rain jacket, as well as warm clothing, in case you decide to start your walk early in the day.
  • The walking stick. As we have mentioned here before, it must be tall enough to carry it at “heart height”, so that your upper body takes part in the exercise.

 

Aside of this, the australian author Doug Ericson also has his own list, in which we find some other pieces of equipment that might be interesting:

  • A LED lamp.
  • Sunglasses.
  • A hat or cap to protect yourself from the sun.
  • A water bottle.

 

Anyway, since each person has his/her own tastes, our advice is again to ask in our local trekking store for the most specialized equipment, as well as exchanging advice with other pilgrims. And of course, remember that if you got it wrong and packed more than you need, you can always use our services to carry your luggage day by day along the Camino.