I once heard an accomplished backpacker say that the the only thing he wished he’d taken on his last trip was less. I’ve learned over the years that the less I carry on my back, the more I enjoy the journey, so my goal was to keep my Camino de Santiago packing list to a minimum.
A light backpack, and my questionable commitment to endurance challenges, helped me cover the 537 miles (865 kilometers) of The French Way from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, through Santiago de Compostela, to Cape Finisterre, in just 18 days. This isn’t a packing list just for people hiking 30 miles per day, and I don’t really even recommend that, but if you’re preparing for your own hike along the Camino de Santiago this packing list might be a starting point to carry less, and enjoy more.
Video: Camino de Santiago Packing List 2018
Camino de Santiago Packing List Overview
I carried a small backpack with a built in rain cover and put everything in dry bags for water protection. During the day I wore a pair of swim trunks, dry-fit t-shirt, and trail running shoes. I had brown zip-off hiking pants and a nice button up short sleeve shirt for the evenings and the long pants are a must if you want to visit churches along the way. I also had an extra pair of shorts and t-shirt for sleeping and a pair of sandals to change into after hiking all day.
For layers I had a very lightweight wind breaker, synthetic thermal jacket, and rain coat. My personal items included a silk sleeping bag liner, towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and toiletries. The technology items I carried were my laptop (I work as I travel), a digital camera, cell phone, external battery charger, headlamp, and plugs and adapters for everything.
I didn’t carry much food or water since the trail passes through several towns each day. I had around 2 liters of water capacity, and typically had a few energy bars, a Snickers, and some trail mix.
Backpack & Storage
- Backpack: Quechua 30 Liter Backpack
- Dry Bags: Sea to Summit Dry Sacks
- Heavy Duty Ziplocs: aLOKSAK Resealable Bags
- Shorts: swim trunks with a liner and pockets
- Shirt: dry-fit running t-shirt
- Socks: Injinji socks (2 pair)
- Extra Shorts: swim trunks with a liner
- Extra cotton t-shirt
- Underwear (2 pair)
- Long Pants: REI zip off pants
- Nice Shirt: Lightweight short sleeve button up shirt
- Wind Jacket: Patagonia Houdini wind jacket
- Thermal Jacket: Montbell U.L. Thermawrap jacket
- Rain Jacket: North Face (knock-off) from Vietnam
- Buff multi-functional head-wear (2)
- Fleece Gloves
- Ball Cap
- Trail Running Shoes: Brooks Cascadia
- Adventure Sandals: Luna Oso 2.0
- Sleeping Bag Liner: Sea to Summit Silk Mummy Liner
- Towel: Fox Outdoors Small Microfiber Towel
- Beard Trimmer
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
- Q-tips, nail clippers, tweezers
- Beer Koozie
- Cheap plastic water bottles (I used the same 2 the entire hike)
Laptop & Electronics
- Laptop & Charger
- Cell Phone & Charger
- Digital camera, charger, spare batteries, JOBY tripod
- External battery charger
- Headlamp: Petzl Tikka
- Plug adapters (2)
What I Didn’t Need
I found that I didn’t need the second pair of underwear or cotton t-shirt, though I did use both on the nights I slept in municipal albergues with no blankets. It was cold enough that I ended up sleeping in every layer I had and still shivered through the night.
What I Wish I’d Brought With Me
Sleeping Bag: Everything I read said that a sleeping bag liner would be sufficient, and it was for the private albergues, but in a few small towns my only option was the municipal albergues that offered disposable sheets but not blankets. Since I was hiking in October the nights were fairly cold and if I’d brought my summerlight sleeping bag (rated to 45°F or 7°C) I would have been more comfortable. I also could have saved a few euros each night and stayed in more municipal albergues rather than private albergues.
Running Gaiters: Much of the Camino was dirt and gravel tracks and after a few hours my shoes would be full of stones and pebbles and I had to stop to empty them. If I’d brought my lightweight pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters I could have avoided most of the rocks in my shoes.
Fleece Hat & Gloves: I keep doing adventures and leaving my hat and gloves at home, only to buy them again. After one cold and rainy day I stopped in town and fumbled for my wallet with frozen fingers to buy a pair of Quechua fleece gloves a size too large. They didn’t really fit, but I was happy to have warm hands again!
I do freelance marketing work for a living and I didn’t want to put it on hold while hiking the Camino, so I brought my laptop with me. It isn’t a big heavy machine, but it did take up a surprisingly large volume of space in my 30 liter backpack. Without a laptop I may have been able to use a 25 liter pack, or, I could have opted to take my summerlight sleeping bag instead. Ultimately, everything I carried had a purpose and there wasn’t much that I took that I didn’t need.
I hiked the trail fairly fast (averaging 30 miles per day) and I absolutely loved it. My favorite part was waking up early and hiking out alone in the dark to experience the quite solitude of each sunrise. I walked all day, only sat for lunch, and arrived in albergues late in the afternoon, just in time for dinner and bed.
That being said, most people wouldn’t find enjoyment in my style of hiking, and it wasn’t a great way to meet other pilgrims, but I personally got a lot out of my time alone. Regardless of your anticipated hiking pace, thinking critically about your gear list and packing as light as you’re comfortable with will help you enjoy your days on the trail, as well as your nights in albergues!
If you have any questions about my Camino de Santiago packing list, feel free to ask me. Buen Camino!