Never assume that someone else has packed something important on a hike. That was the advice given to me by a seasoned hiker when I asked for beginners’ tips, so I decided to heed this for my Camino de Santiago trip and put some serious thought into my packing!
My usual weekend walks are around 3-4 hours, which means that if something goes wrong or conditions change you’re never too far from your car. Being on your feet for up to 9 hours on consecutive days when you can neither nip home to pick stuff up or pop into a big supermarket requires some very careful thought.
As I write I’ve just completed day 3 of the Camino hike, and so far I’m feeling pretty confident about my packing, so I’ll share with what I’ve been carrying in my day pack plus in my main bag to hopefully inspire your trek packing.
We’re really lucky that G Adventures transport our main bags between destinations, so we just have to carry our daypacks along the trail. They still have to be thoughtfully packed though, as not only could we be stuck without something hours from our main bag – we could also be hours away from our nearest shop, too.
Keeping the advice I was given in mind, I’m carrying a basic first aid kit, along with paracetamol, ibuprofen, blister plasters and diarrhoea relief. The ibuprofen have been used already as unfortunately our wonderful guide Lalo twisted his ankle, but hopefully we won’t be using the rest this trip! FYI, my bag is the smallest Osprey one available, and it’s ergonomically made for women.
Other than that, I’m keeping a wind proof jacket in there – the climate as similar to the UK,miso it’s can rain – plus my Camino passport, which were getting stamped along the way to get our certificates after completing 100km. I’ve found the fly repellant unnecessary so that’s staying in my main bag now.
I packed a load of stuff I thought I’d need, but haven’t really – I haven’t had much chance to read yet, for example, and I definitely haven’t done much work (just this blog post, so far!). Even in our free time I’m enjoying spending time with my fellow travellers, and there’s so much to explore in the towns were staying in also.
What has been useful, though, is the lacrosse ball – in fact, this has even been promoted to my daypack, and the whole group is sharing it on our rest stops, along with the magnesium spray. Plantar fascias, glutes, and backs, the ball’s been in them all!
The snacks from home have been worthwhile, too. There are lots of cafes on the Camino, although these are more for sandwiches and main meals. Kind bars, almonds, and peanut butter pouches have been lifesavers for me, as well as picking up some fruit from shops or the breakfast buffet each morning.
What To Wear
It’s important to wear clothes you’re comfortable in, for sure, but also keep in mind to take clothes that you don’t mind getting creased. The majority of your stuff will stay in your bag travelling from hotel to hotel, so there’s not much chance to air it out.
For me, a vest, shorts, and a sports bra were pretty perfect to wear, although on some days other girls wore leggings as it could be a little chilly in the morning. My lightweight jacket was perfect to whip on and off throughout the day, but a couple of lightweight layers would work well too.
Shoe-wise, almost anything goes on the trail, as long as it’s well-worn and comfortable. After trying out various running shoes in training, I actually found my most comfortable shoes to be my CrossFit training shoes, so I’ve been hiking in those. Both Hayley and Charlotte are wearing runners with Cat wearing high-top dance shoes, and we’re all carrying sturdy hiking sandals in our day packs to swap into when our feet need a breather.