Miscellaneous, Spain

My Haphazard, Inexperienced, and Hopefully Not Completely Useless Packing List For The Camino de Santiago

April 10, 2019

I am en route to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to start the Camino, typing this from an airport gate seat as I wait for the plane to the Old World. I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Europe, and I am so excited to be back! I was packing up until the last moments before I had to leave for the airport, which had devolved into removing any possible thing from my pack before I’m stuck with it on my back for 500 miles. Like my previous posts about packing for Southeast Asia, I’ve put together a list of the things that made the cut. Now you can know exactly what’s in my bag as I struggle my way across Spain!


I have not yet walked the walk! So I can’t talk the talk and I can only hope that these things will serve me well. After all is said and done, I’ll do an update post to see what worked great and what things killed my back.

In general, I thought I was packing very light, but then ended up with more weight than I thought! It was a scramble to remove as many things as I could. My final pack weighed in around 17lbs without accounting for food and water, which is a few pounds more than the ‘10% of your body weight’ rule (I’ll let you do the math on that one). We’ll see how it turns out.


I decided to go with the REI Traverse 35 women’s pack for this hike. At 35 liters, this bag comfortably fits all the stuff inside. I went to REI and tried on some packs, and the staff measured me and put in some weights to see how it felt. I never knew that packs came in sizes! I picked this pack because of how light it felt on my back with the weight, plus it has big hip pockets and easy access for my water bottle.


Since I’m walking the Camino in April/May, I have to be prepared for all kinds of weather. There is still a risk for snow in the early parts of the walk in the mountains, and I expect it will warm up quite a bit by the time I reach Santiago de Compostela in mid-May. I basically brought 3 changes of tops and bottoms, for short, medium, and long options. I picked quick-drying fabrics due to the need to do laundry each day after the walk. Finally, I packed a couple “frivolous” (but lightweight) items to wear after the walk ends, as I will likely have some extra time in Spain before I’m due back in the US.


  • 2 short sleeve quick-dry shirts
  • 1 long sleeve thermal shirt
  • 2 pairs athletic leggings (1 long, 1 one capri length)
  • 1 pair athletic shorts
  • 2 sports bras
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of socks (I have one pair of merino wool socks, so I brought those and 2 pairs of athletic socks)
  • Warm hat
  • 1 very lightweight dress
  • 1 regular bra


Ok, so shoes are a definitely a topic to consider since the Camino is 500 miles long! However, since I think the walk won’t be on rough terrain, I decided to just bring my running shoes and figured I’d survive. The decision was partly out of budget, partly because I wouldn’t have time to wear in new shoes, and partly because my running shoes are in good shape and are under a year old (despite looking a little worse for the wear after being carried around Southeast Asia). I also brought along a pair of flip flops to wear around the albuerges and after the day’s walk.


  • 1 pair of running shoes
  • 1 pair of flip flops


Note: the grey bag on the right was NOT brought along in the end, see below

This section is a miscellaneous bunch of items that are useful for some reason or another. I decided to bring a sleeping bag (rather than just a liner as recommended in the summer) because I am walking in April, and the nights are still cold. (Generally, some kind of personal sleep gear is recommended because not all the albuerges have bedding or blankets, or they might not be clean. We’ll see how that works out in practice in 2019.) I also brought rain gear and a travel towel.

One thing I debated about for a while was whether to bring a large purse to carry my valuable items with me when I was away from my main pack. I almost brought my Travelon Anti-Theft purse (it’s even in the photos) but left it behind in the end to save weight. Instead, I brought a foldable drawstring bag to use during the Camino itself, with plans to buy a purse afterwards if I have extra time to spend in Madrid or other areas of Spain.


  • 1 down sleeping bag (rated to 4C)
  • 1 raincoat
  • 1 pair rain pants
  • 1 down jacket
  • 1 small microfiber travel towel
  • 1 pair sunglasses
  • Gorilla pod travel tripod
  • 1 combination lock
  • 1 drawstring bag (in place of the grey bag shown in the photo)
  • Collection of ziplock bags (these always come in handy)
  • 1 L Nalgene water bottle
  • Reusable spork (a couple blogs mentioned this and I already have one, plus it’s super light so I just threw it in)

Toiletries & First Aid

Toiletries are pretty straightforward, I brought travel-sized versions with plans to replace them as needed. I kept my first aid kit very basic with only 3 generic items. Blisters do seem to be a problem for many people on the Camino, and Compeed is a blister band aid that you can buy in pharmacies in Spain. After a brief unsuccessful search at home for a similar product, I resolved to just pick up a few when I got to Spain.


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap bar
  • Travel-sized shampoo
  • Contacts, contact solution, glasses
  • Lip balm
  • Hair brush
  • Tweezers
  • Hair ties
  • Brown pencil eyeliner (the only piece of makeup I brought)
  • Sunscreen
  • Laundry powder
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer

First aid:

  • Neosporin
  • Bandaids
  • Vaseline (for blister prevention)
  • Allergy medicine (for my many food allergies)


This is definitely an area I could have saved weight, but chose not to. I brought my iPad solely so I could keep up with this blog, and my camera isn’t feather-light either. Also my power bank is actually fairly heavy for its size, but I think it would be extremely useful because it can charge my phone multiple times and I will have limited access to outlets when walking all day. I hope I made the right decisions with these!


  • iPad Air
  • iPhone 6
  • Sony a6000 mirrorless camera and 18-50mm kit lens
  • Extra SD card for camera
  • SD card reader for iPad
  • Solar power bank (the jury is still out whether the solar power part actually works)
  • 2 x EU plug adapter
  • Headphones
  • Fitbit
  • USB chargers for all of the above and 2 USB wall plugs

There we have it! I’ll let you know if any of these items broke my back and I unceremoniously left them in a dusty pile somewhere along the way. Now…it’s time for the journey to begin!



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