Training for the Camino was peanuts compared to what I’ve put myself through with the packing list. The thing is, all the forums and posts say we should aim for 10% of our weight. Since I don’t weigh very much, each item added to my pack has caused me no end of worry.
Pairing It Down
Let’s not forget, this is a pilgrimage. So I tried to do with what I had and to buy only if I absolutely had to. The first problem was the backpack. I spent a few weeks trying to narrow down the items I figured I couldn’t live without. I was determined to put these in my MEC daypack but finally realized, there was no way it was going to work. First of all, it didn’t fit, no matter how I many times I rearranged it. I also have back problems. The bag pulled on my neck and shoulders so badly, I had severe headaches after wearing it for 30 minutes. In the house!
I also have a 28 L Arcteryx bag that’s about 20 years old. It’s really good quality and a nice blue color. I’ve used it to hike in the winter when I need more clothing than my daypack will hold. Unfortunately, it’s heavy, and it turned out it held little more than the daypack. And when I wore it, for 30 minutes? It made my hips ache. I couldn’t imagine wearing either one for 6 – 8 hours a day.
The Right Pack
So I spent the money. I bought a bigger backpack – a 36 L Osprey – properly fitted and full of amazing pockets. All my belongings fit loosely inside. I can cinch it right up so it’s a nice sleek shape along my back. It even holds my small day pack – as seen in featured photo. Lord in heaven, it’s a ghastly pink/purple colour, but I tell myself I’ll be easier to spot if I get lost.
There’s also room for a lot of food, water, and should I need it on a future trip, tent, warmer clothes, bigger sleeping bag, etc. All in all, win-win. Except for my bank account. Cost? C$250, including taxes.
Here’s the list, as of two and half weeks before I leave. I’ve noted the items I had to buy and their price.
In bold italics are the changes I made, right before I left.
1 red Columbia button-down shirt (to use alone or over other shirts as light coat) (C$25) (I left this at home)
1 Merino SS shirt
1 Merino LS shirt
1 Merino undershirt
3 Merino hiking socks (bought one pair C$30 – had the others)
2 sports bras (one was C$60, the other C$20)
1 pair pants
1 pair shorts (C$45)
1 lightweight padded vest (C$115)
1 pashmina (to use as blanket, skirt or scarf)
1 MEC rain poncho (C$105)
1 wide-brimmed hat
1 pair flip-flops
1 pair hiking boots
1 Merino beanie (mostly to be used later, but if it’s cold at night, I’ll wear it to bed) (left it at home)
On the road, I had to buy a pair of running pants and a fleece sweater.
1 pack of soap leaves – I had to try them! (C$5)(brought bottled shampoo instead)
1 pack shampoo leaves – I had to try them, too! (C$5) (left at home)
1 silk scarf to use as towel/face cloth, head band or neck protector (C$2 from thrift store) (left this in Villamajor as an attempt to lighten my load)
1 folding toothbrush
1 tiny face cream
First Aid Kit
Swedish Bitters – tiny bottle (left this at home)
cut pieces of Moleskin
muscle cream with mint and eucalyptus (left this at home though wished I had it)
tensor bandage (didn’t bring this, didn’t need it)
needle and thread
repair patch for bag or poncho
1 Vit-C packet
1 lip balm
4 safety pins
1 small sunscreen
hydrogen peroxide – tiny bottle
some vitamin pills
4 pain killers
2 extra cards
card reader for iPad
Other Necessary Stuff
fleece sleeping bag (fleece on one side only)
tiny writing pad (cover, back and wire removed) and pen
guidebook (C$35) (too heavy – left it at home)
small light (C$15) (this was a tiny red light that was totally useless. I left it somewhere.)
chunk of toilet paper
2 packs of tissues
.75 L water bottle w/duct tape on it
2 – 250 ml plastic bottles (to hang off front of pack)
1 mesh bag for washing clothes
2 ear plugs
1 – 34 L backpack and rain cover (C$250)
1 Swiss Gear daypack (C$45)
2 hair ties
Money and Documents
Travel insurance, cash, credit and debit cards, Pilgrim credentials, plane ticket, passport and anything else I may feel is necessary when it’s time to leave.
Although the pilgrimage itself will be relatively inexpensive – I’ve given myself a budget of C$1500 for the 35 days walking – the equipment bought has quickly added up. Total cost of the price equipment/sundries purchased = C$752.
But, now that I have the equipment, can you tell where my thoughts are heading? Will this mean more Caminos or long hikes in my future?
The likely answer is, yes!
Any thoughts on this? Have I forgotten anything important?
Next post: Camino Begins
Here is the main Camino page for all the other posts on the subject.