An in-depth list of all the equipment and gear I brought with me for my 350 mile hike across Spain on the Camino. Everything I brought, wish I had brought, and stuff I would leave at home for future backpacking trips.
Now that I am only a few weeks away from my second backpacking trip of the year, I thought it would be helpful to share my list of ESSENTIAL equipment and gear that I brought with me on the Camino. I am calling this list “My Camino Essentials” but really this is all stuff I would bring on ANY backpacking trip and WILL be bringing with me to Yosemite next month.
Although I am not covering the very basics (every trip is unique in terms of length, climate, and geography), but instead including some lesser thought of things that I am glad I had with me, wish I had, or wouldn’t bring next time! Hopefully this list helps you plan for your own backpacking trip in the future.
Walking Stick | Despite doing a lot of hiking in my day, I had never used proper hiking sticks before. I ordered some for this trip on a whim and I am SO happy I did. They came in clutch in the more treacherous areas and helped me keep my balance in slippery sections on rainy or wet days.
Sweat wicking/quick dry socks | My feet were SOAKED by the end of the day even with sweat wicking socks, so these were a DEFINITE must for keeping them cool and comfortable in the heat.
Electrolytes – Ultima | I filled my water bottle with Ultima electrolyte powder every morning and drank at least a gallon of the mix everyday. This definitely helped keep my hydrated, energized, and helped prevent heat exhaustion. Plus, it tastes amazing and was a nice pick me up between meals!
Quick Dry Towel | This came in handy for wiping off sweat during the day, drying my utensils and bowls, covering the pillows at the hostels I stayed in, or putting down to sit on the ground during my daily hikes.
Bowl and utensils | I ate breakfast at the hostel I stayed at the night previous night in the mornings and typically ate dinner at local restaurant or hostel at my next destination in the evenings…but for lunches and snacks during the day, having a bowl and utensils with me made eating on the go super easy!
Vaseline | One word: chafing.
Aftershokz Titanium Wireless Headphones | These are my go-to headphones for everyday use and they will continue to be because they are AWESOME. The battery life is SO long and they lasted all day long while on the trail.
Packing Cubes | Even though I overpacked, these were a lifesaver. They allow you to pack a ton and then SMUSH it down to basically nothing. Great space saver….especially if you’re going to be away for a while. I pretty much use these for ANY trip I take…backpacking or not.
What I Wish I Brought
Hiking sneakers (NOT Hiking BOOTS!) | I’ve ALWAYS hiked in boots and even though the pair I brought with me were broken in, I got TERRIBLE blisters after the first 3 days of hiking in them. We’re talking socks SATURATED with blood by the end of the day. It was so bad that I questioned my ability to walk the next day. Luckily, I had a pair of regular sneakers with me that I switched into for the rest of the trip. In the future, I’ll be wearing THESE hiking sneakers…no boots. This was just my experience however, and everyone’s feet are different.
Gauze + Medical Tape | Had I known I would have gotten such awful blisters I would have come prepared with rolls of gauze and medical tape. I ended up buying so much of this stuff at local pharmacies to wrap my toes and heels each day before I set out. I developed a special technique that kept my toes from touching and causing more blisters or making the ones I had already worse. I have actually considered making a video on this for people to refer to if they get severe blisters while hiking! It literally SAVED me and allowed me to keep walking despite the pain and severity of the wounds. Would anyone be interested in that?
Sandals (not flip-flops!) | I brought a pair of flip-flops to wear in the shower or in the evenings to air out my feet but the blisters made them impossible to wear without pain. So I ended up having to a buy a pair of (WAY overpriced) supportive slip on sandals. Since being home, I bought a pair of proper walking sandals (these Teva’s) to bring on my next trip…and for everyday use because they are just that comfy!!
Surgery bandages | See medical tape and gauze reasoning above. These were great for covering my heels and blisters that couldn’t easily be wrapped.
More warm clothing | Even though Spain is a warm(er) country, I shouldn’t have assumed that the elevation wouldn’t make the temps extremely low sometimes. There were definitely a few 30 degree mornings that made me wish I had brought more longer leggings/hiking pants and long sleeve shirts. Less shorts and tanks, more pants and shirts.
Napkins | So simple, yet so handy. I ended up buying a pack for when I ate meals on the trail or in my rooms at the hostel, for blowing my nose, and anything else that needed to be wiped up.
What I Wouldn’t Bring Next Time
Rain pants | Even though it did rain a few days, it wasn’t worth having the extra weight in my pack to bring these. It would have been too hot to wear them anyways and my light rain coat and pack rain cover were more than enough to keep me and my stuff dry.
Portable chargers | I wasn’t sure if my phone battery would last for my daily hikes, but since I was only using it for audiobooks and music I have almost a full charge when I arrived to my destination each day. So the portable chargers were pretty much a waste of space!
So many tank tops/pairs of shorts | I WAAAAAAY overpacked. I wasn’t sure how often laundry facilities would be available so I packed more than a week’s worth of clothes. In actuality I ended wearing the same things most days and washing those clothes every 3-4 days.
My DSLR camera | As nice as it was to get some REALLY nice pics the first week on the trail, as my days got longer, I found having my huge camera out for picture-taking was too cumbersome…and frankly a PITA. I resorted to using my iPhone the last two weeks and got just as good of pics. Plus, I had my phone handy anyways since I was listening to music and audiobooks.
Did I miss anything?
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What a great adventure!!! Definitely a helpful list of items to bring and to leave behind!
Thanks Sandra! Hope this list helps you on your next adventure. 🙂
These are really good tips. Thank you for letting us learn from your experience. Sounds like the adventure of a lifetime.
Thanks for stopping by Karen!! It really was a life changing trip. 🙂