Last Updated on November 25, 2021 by Nellie Huang
Not sure what to pack for the Camino? Here’s a look at my detailed packing list for the Camino de Santiago.
So you’ve done all your research and you’re ready to hit the trail. Your Camino adventure is about to start — but wait, what should you pack?
For the Camino de Santiago, packing light is essential and it’ll make your life much more enjoyable and pain-free. As you’ll be carrying your pack for more than six hours/day, it’s important to carry as little as possible. Excessive weight will add pressure to your knees and heels and increase the chances of getting injured. All the guides I’ve found say that the optimal weight is 10% of your body weight.
I started out with a pack that weighed 7kg but the added snacks and medical supplies made it slightly heavier along the way. To lighten my load, I threw away my fleece, sunscreen and cap since I wasn’t using them. It took me about three days to find the perfect weight, which was probably around 6kg.
To help you prepare for your trip, here is my full packing list as well as the type of gear I’m carrying. Take note that this Camino de Santiago packing list is for female hikers doing the Camino in summer. Check out my Shop for the full list of gear I recommend.
Table of Contents
My Packing List for the Camino
A Comfortable Backpack
Your backpack should have a well-fitted hip belt that transfers all the weight to your hips rather than your shoulders. It’s wise to choose one with a Camelbak water bladder compartment for easy access to your water. I always opt for front-loading backpacks (with a zip across the entire length of the pack) rather than top-loading as it’s much easier to find your belongings.
My pack of choice was the Quechua Forclaz 40 Air from Decathlon, a European outdoor sports brand. The 40L back has an adjustable, ventilated back, practical storage (many pockets, hydration bag compartment) and rain cover. I honestly don’t have any complains about it. It was very comfortable to carry and everything fit in perfectly into the pack.
Hiking Shoes with Ankle Support
Your walking shoes are the most important item on your packing list for the Camino de Santiago. Not getting the right footwear can lead to a painful journey due to blisters and a lack of support for your feet. There is some debate on what type of footwear is most suitable for the Camino. Some prefer proper hiking boots that have ankle support (good for uneven terrain), while others think that lightweight running shoes are perfect.
I used my old, trusty hiking boots, Hi-tec’s Altitude V WP boots. These boots have been with me for the past four years and they’ve been great for hiking and other outdoor activities. Sadly, they were a bit of an overkill on the Camino as they were too heavy and bulky at times. I also ended up buying some massaging gel in-soles as I pulled the tendons in my achilles heels. Your best bet would be something in between light running shoes and heavy-duty hiking boots.
Besides the hiking shoes that I wore everyday, I also carried a pair of Teva Tirra sandals which provided great relief in the evenings. There is no need to bring slippers if you’re carrying sandals. On days when I didn’t feel like wearing my hiking boots (which made my feet hot), I would even walk in my sandals.
Some people also debate the importance of trekking poles — I found them extremely useful mysekf, especially on days when I was limping due to my tendinitis. When I didn’t need them, I would just attach them to the outside of my backpack.
I recommend bringing a sleeping bag even in summer as it gets cold at night. An ultra-compact and lightweight one that keeps you warm up to 8degC is good enough. There’s no need for a multi-season one as you just need it for summer. Albergues don’t provide sheets and there are cases of bed bugs so sleeping bags are essential. Some carry silk liners but those won’t keep you warm at night.
Quick Dry Clothing
Keep in mind that summer in northern Spain is rather warm (average daytime temperature is 25-28 degrees Celsius), so you can just pack quick-dry t-shirts and shorts. It does get chilly at night and in the early morning, but leggings and a lightweight rain jacket will do the trick.
Most people recommend bringing long trekking pants with zips that can be used to remove the bottom, but I think they are too heavy and only essential for winter. I also brought my swimwear but I didn’t use it at all so I don’t recommend bringing unless you’re walking along the coast (on Camino Norte). Refer to my shop for the specific clothing that I carried.
2 pairs of shorts – one for night other for day
1 pair of leggings – for cold nights
1 light dress – not essential
2 pairs of anti-blister socks
2 sets of sports bra and underwear
1 quick-dry towel
These are items that will be very important to you on the Camino — everyone I knew got either blisters, headache, tendinitis or some sort of injury. If you don’t want to bring all that, you can easily find most of them in pharmacies along the way.
Needle and thread – To pop your blister, thread the needle and run through the blister, leave a bit of thread inside to drain the blister.
Betadyne and gauze pads – to disinfect your blisters
Compeed – highly recommended to use after popping blisters
Ibuprofen and paracetamol
Hydration salt – to rehydrate
Small bottles of shampoo and body wash
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Contacts and solution
Books & Guides
Most people on the trail used the paperback book, “A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago” by John Brierley. The book didn’t have an electronic version, so I downloaded “Camino de Santiago: A Guide to Walking the Camino Francés” by Robert Hamilton on my Kindle instead. While it provided quite a bit of background info on the Camino, it didn’t offer enough practical details on each stage of the walk (there wasn’t even info on the distance from one village to the next). I would recommend it for some pre-trip reading but not to use it on the road.
I depended on my Camino apps most of the time. The most useful one I found was the Eroski’s Camino de Santiago app, which is only in Spanish. It provided details on each stage of the walk and information on albergues in each town. The only useful and free app available in English was the Way of St James tourist guide by SEGITTUR. It’s quite brief and general though.
Because of the work I do, I tend to bring quite a few devices with me when I travel. But this time, as I really need to pack very light (and I’m not on assignment), I left my big SLR camera and laptop at home and depended on my iPhone for photography and blogging purposes.
These items ensure your comfort on the Camino.
Silicone earplugs – too many people snore
2L Camelbak water bladder – to drink easily
Wide-rimmed hat – rather than a cap as you’ll need it for the powerful sun
- Rain cover for your backpack if it doesn’t already have one
I hope you’ve found this packing list for the Camino de Santiago useful. Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions about the Camino! I’ll be more than happy to help.