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Eight hundred kilometers, six weeks, and a multitude of memories: for many people, walking the length of the Camino de Santiago is the journey of a lifetime. And the way you pack for the Camino is of the utmost importance.
Since you’re responsible for carrying everything on your back, you’ll quickly realize that every ounce matters. Read our Camino de Santiago packing list to help you plan for your big trip!
Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women
Written By: Flora Baker
After walking half of the famous Camino Frances route in September 2015 (from Leon to Santiago, then onwards to the coast at Finisterre), I know firsthand what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully the following will help with your Camino preparation!
What constitutes smart packing for the Camino changes dramatically according to the seasons, so I’ve listed the basics that I can guarantee were necessary in late summer/early autumn. I was lucky enough to only encounter three days of rain in thirty days of walking, but you should always be prepared for every type of weather.
Boots and a Pack
The two fundamental aspects of your Camino de Santiago packing list are your hiking boots and your backpack. Both should be purchased a few months ahead of the trek and used as much as possible on practice walks.
Your shoes should fit comfortably even when wearing thick hiking socks and after your feet have swollen from hours of walking. Your pack should strap at the hip and put most of the weight there, instead of pulling at your shoulders.
I used the Osprey Tempest 30 liter pack and lightweight, waterproof boots with a bit of ankle support. Although much of the Camino routes are on flat terrain, there are occasional hills and some scrambling rocky sections.
Learn how to choose hiking boots!
Basic Tee I Tank Top I Basic Tee I Woolies Top I Skinny Pants I Shorts I Leggings I Fleece Jacket I Sports Bra I Crop Top Sports Bra I Waterproof Pants I Rain Jacket I Dry Liner Socks I Hike Light Crew Socks I Waterproof Hiking Shoe I Flip-Flop
Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women: Clothing
Fashionable clothing goes out the window when walking the Camino. Breathable layers are key. Over thirty days, and depending on the predicted weather, I wore a combination of the following:
- Tops: two breathable t-shirts and one tank top (all moisture-wicking)
- Bottoms: one pair zip-off hiking trousers, one pair shorts, one pair leggings
- Underwear: two quick-drying sports bras, and two or three pairs of quick-dry travel underwear
- Socks: two pairs sock liners, two pairs merino wool hiking socks, and an optional pair for hostel use
- Layers: one micro fleece and one zip-up fleece
- Waterproofs: oversized waterproof trousers and waterproof jacket (both lightweight and stored in stuff sacks)
It’s sensible to pack clothes that dry quickly, wick moisture away from your skin, and protect you from unexpected sunburn. I love clothes with pockets, too!
Choose quick-dry travel underwear so you can wash as you go!
Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women: Essentials
Throughout a day of walking, you’re also likely to need a few essential items – a fanny pack (aka bumbag) is ideal for easy access. Inside, I kept the following:
- A little coin wallet for money and cards
- My regular passport and Camino passport (both in a ziplock bag)
- Diary and pen
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Lip balm
- A hair band and hair clips/slides
In easily accessible pockets of my pack I also kept a water bottle, a toilet roll inside a ziplock bag, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a bandana (for hotter weather), plus thin gloves and a hat (for the cold).
After a few days of walking, I bought a wooden walking pole for a few euros, but many pilgrims bring high-tech walking poles with them. It’s a personal choice, but worth remembering that once you’ve brought expensive gear you may find it harder to abandon it on route!
Comfortable & Sound-Reducing
Once you arrive at your accommodation for the night, the first thing you’ll want is a shower and change of clothes. I usually wore leggings and the next day’s shirt, but a second pair of comfy lightweight shoes is a must.
Common choices among pilgrims are flip-flops, Keens, or Teva sandals. The last thing you want are enclosed shoes after a long day of walking in your boots. Let your feet breathe!
These are our favorite women’s flip flops!
When I clambered onto my bunkbed, it was inside a lightweight sleeping bag. Other pilgrims used silk sleep liners or took the risk that the albergue would have bed linens they could use (which I didn’t encounter often!)
Inside the zippered pocket of my sleeping bag, I kept a pair of earplugs and an eye mask: both absolute essentials for a good night’s sleep on the Camino, as dorms are usually full of snorers and people who forget to switch the lights off!
Take a look at other hostel essentials!
Travel-Size & Simple
Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women: Toiletries
It’s hard to downsize on this part of your packing, but attempting the simplest list of toiletries is totally worth it. Go for travel-size containers when possible and double up shampoo and body wash if you can manage it.
Don’t forget these items:
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Combination shampoo & conditioner
- Fold-up toothbrush
- Face moisturizer
- Diva Cup / Mooncup
Read these tips on how to downsize your toiletries!
FIRST AID KIT
Feet are your priority
Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women: First Aid Kit
The Camino is all about foot care, and you’ll want a bevvy of pharmaceuticals:
- Blister bandages & normal bandages
- Medical tape for taping over potential blisters
- Small tin of Vaseline, for hotspots on your feet
- Voltarol Pain-Eze gel
- Antiseptic cream
- Sewing kit
Going tech-free on the Camino is a fantastic feeling, but some pilgrims (myself included) bring a smartphone to act as their camera, music player, e-reader, alarm clock, and flashlight.
If you don’t want to carry a Camino guidebook, there are plenty of Camino apps–and a Spanish learning app like Duolingo is also useful when walking through the more rural parts of Spain.
A FINAL CAMINO WORD:
Although this Camino de Santiago packing list might seem a bit formidable, bear in mind that Spain is not the Wild West! The majority of any Camino gear you’ve forgotten to pack is easily obtainable in local shops and pharmacies–and lots of fellow pilgrims will leave unwanted possessions in albergues.
The golden Camino packing rule is “less is more”. Aim to carry a maximum of ten percent of your body weight, and relax into the experience of walking with strangers along The Way.
What else would you add to our Camino de Santiago packing list? Please comment below!
For more packing tips, please visit these Europe Packing Lists:
- The Ultimate Packing Guide for Europe
- How to Choose the Best Walking Shoes in Europe
- What to Pack for Spain
- Packing for Barcelona in Summer
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Author Bio: Flora Baker is a freelance writer and traveler who blogs at Flora The Explorer about her global adventures in volunteering, cultural storytelling, and her undying love for Latin America. To see more of Flora’s travels, follow along on Facebook and Instagram.