Getting the luggage ready is one of the toughest tasks a pilgrim will face. The Camino has taught us several things throughout the years regarding this important matter; we would like to share them with you to make your journey much smoother.
If you pack light, you will go light. Most experts advise not to exceed 10% of your body weight on your backpack. Our experience tells us to go even lighter.
Keep it down to the basics, get rid of unnecessary stuff. Those things you are sure you will need, a lot of things, you will not need any of them. And if you happen to need something, do not worry will find plenty of stores along the way.
Regarding what garments to pack, it will depend on what time of year you are going to do the Camino. The weather and temperatures along the Camino fluctuate depending on the season you walk. You will find temperatures from below 0ºC (32ºF) during the winter time, to more than 40ºC (104ºF) during the summer time, with all the intermediate ranges in between.
In our opinion, with two changes of clothe you will be covered for the Camino. It should include t-shirts or sweatshirts if you plan on doing the Camino in the winter time, comfortable pants, shorts or a sweat suit. A pair of underwear and two pairs of sport socks are also needed. In addition, you will need two pairs of lightweight boots or shoes, one hat or cap and a raincoat.
To better pack the garments in your backpack, you can use a few transparent plastic bags (Ziplock bags), the ones normally used to store food in the freezer, put each piece of clothe in a plastic bag, you will be able to use these same bags to store your dirty garments.
A small first aid kit will be of great help. Keep in mind that you will not have to take all the medication from your home; you can buy anything you might need in pharmacies in the villages along the Camino. Thus, it will be enough to carry on some aspirin or paracetamol, bandages and band aid, tweezers, hypodermic needles, thread, sterilizer such as Betadine, scissors, insect repellent and sunscreen. In the toiletry bag you should pack a hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel and Vaseline for the feet.
If you are not using hotels and are carrying a towel, it is important to get a microfiber one, these are sold in sports and adventure stores. These types of towels dry very quickly and are quite economical. You can also bring flip flops for when you shower and of course do not forget your sleeping bag.
In addition, you can also get one or two hiking sticks, a small flashlight to move at night, a canteen, tissues and of course, some cash and a credit card.