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This Camino de Santiago packing list may just be the best one around. Bold statement, I know. But when you get really familiar with what you should not pack on a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain, you can speak with confidence about what you should pack.
And let me tell you, I made some serious mistakes when I first packed my backpack!
Let’s just say that I learned the hard way so that you don’t have to!
When I set out to walk across Spain, I was completely unprepared. Comically so. But my walking partner, Lizz, was very prepared, and then we joined up with another woman who was, perhaps, overly prepared (if that’s possible), and yet another woman who was less prepared than even me (if that’s possible).
The end result of our combined experiences is one seriously awesome Camino de Santiago packing list.
Let’s dive in!
Camino de Santiago backpacks: the do’s and don’ts
Let’s start with one of the most important packing decisions you can make on the Camino: your choice of backpack.
do’s and don’ts
The best Camino de Santiago backpack…
We saw all kinds of bags on the Camino and Lizz and I both absolutely love the bags that we each lived out of for 35 days. But, hands down, we are awarding, Lizz’s bag the blue ribbon when walking the Camino de Santiago. She walked with the Deuter Futura 28-liter backpack.
More on her bag below, but first here’s what I loved and hated about my bag.
I walked with the CamelBak H.A.W.G Hydration Pack with 100oz (3.0L) Mil-Spec Crux Reservoir.
Pros and cons
to the Camelbak H.A.W.G
Lizz walked with the Deuter Futura 28-liter backpack.
Lizz swears by this bag and, after walking 500 miles with Lizz and that backpack, I completely agree. Here’s what she loved:
Again: It’s super important to get fitted for the right backpack! Bring in a printed copy of my Camino de Santiago packing list when you go to look at bags. The packing list includes the key elements to look for when choosing a backpack.
Do the same when choosing your shoes! Which brings me to…
What kind of shoes should make your Camino de Santiago packing list?
Oh, the great shoe debate!
Many meals are spent on the Camino de Santiago debating shoe and foot-care strategies with other pilgrims. By the time we walked into Santiago, we had definite ideas of what shoes would make our Camino de Santiago packing list for our next pilgrimage. (Spoiler alert: They were not the shoes we packed.)
My feet were a particular issue for me. I spend hundreds of dollars at pharmacies along the route:
Also, I plan to write up an entire foot-care post soon (I bet you can’t wait to hear about that needle and thread, yikes!), but the easiest way to avoid needing that foot-care post is to get the right shoes for you.
The shoes we packed on our first Camino pilgrimage (the don’ts):
Lizz did her research and purchased trail runners because the Camino de Santiago often winds through wooded areas, which are perfect conditions for trail shoes. As per usual, I did no research at all but felt pretty confident in my trusty, old waterproof hiking boots.
Here’s why we were wrong:
The don’ts when
The shoes we will pack on our next Camino pilgrimage (the do’s)
When I set out on the Camino again (in August 2022!!), these are the shoes that will make my Camino de Santiago packing list.
The do’s for shoes:
Note: Every foot has a different need. It’s super important to test your shoes!
I skipped the important “step” of testing my shoes and I really regretted it. Check it out:
Now let’s dive into the reason behind the do’s for our Camino shoes!
Do pack one pair of waterproof boots:
I left my old boots in Santiago and immediately went in search of new kicks when I got home. At REI, I tested a number of different shoes before deciding on the Oboz Sapphire Mid BDry Hiking Boots.
I want to reiterate that the shoes you choose might be different than what worked for me. Every foot has a different need.
With that said: I. LOVE. These. Boots.
The insoles provide great arch support and they aren’t SO waterproof that ALL moisture (read: sweat) is trapped in your boots and on your feet. They are beautifully breathable but still waterproof. I’ve waded through small streams and my feet stayed dry.
I’ve hiked countless times in these boots with no blisters at all!
But walking in them for 500 miles is a whole other story. That’s why I would alternate my boots with another more lightweight pair of shoes if I were to walk the Camino again.
Do pack one pair of lightweight trail runners
Over dinner at the end of your day on the Camino, you will read ahead about the next day’s Camino stage. That’s when you’ll find out whether you’re in for a day of pavement or trails. If you’ve got a trail day ahead of you, a pair of Altra Trail Running shoes like the ones Lizz wore is the way to go. Here they are at Amazon.
Here’s the men’s version of the Altra Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoes at REI. And at Amazon.
Lizz loved her Altras on the Camino but she needed something more sturdy for pavement days.
On the other hand, while my boots protected my feet on pavement, I needed a pair of lighter-weight, breathable shoes for trail days and for hot days when my feet were throbbing from their numerous sweat-induced blisters.
Remember you can always switch your shoes in the middle of your stage, too. If you’re walking on pavement, wear your boots. When the trail loops back into the trees, sit down and swap out the boots for your trail runners.
Do pack one pair of shower shoes
I realize that carrying three pairs of shoes might seem like an indulgence, but I really think it’s necessary. The shower shoes can be old flip-flops that you have kicking around your closet. If they can fold up inside your other shoes that’s a bonus.
I ended up tying my $5 shower shoes sole-to-sole to whatever pair of shoes I wasn’t wearing and strapping both to my backpack.
When selecting your shower shoes, remember that you might end up wearing these at night. Your feet will want a break from any kind of “real” shoes and they’ll love the time spent without socks while you’re relaxing with a glass of wine after a day of walking.
Lizz wore the Skechers sandals below both at night and in the shower. They dried quickly and gave her feet both the break they needed and the arch support they required. (Skechers sandals for women/Skechers sandals for men.)
These shoes are a little heavier and require more space than a throwaway pair of flip-flops, so keep that in mind if you are going with my three-shoe approach. For me, the flip-flops were enough at night. But go with the Skechers shower + night sandals if you need more support.
SOCKS! A crucial item on your Camino de Santiago packing list
Yes, socks are getting their very own section in this blog post just like backpacks and shoes. I believe socks belong right at the top of your Camino de Santiago packing list.
To avoid blisters, it’s crucial to have dry socks on your feet. This is one of those lessons that I learned the hard way. By the end of our pilgrimage, I would swap my socks nearly every time we took a rest, putting them on the back of my bag to dry while I walked.
Seriously, socks were so important to me on the Camino that I started hoarding them! When we would go into a big town, I would stop at the outdoor store and stock up, sticking them into every available inch of space in my bag and pockets.
How many pairs of socks and what kind to pack?
The do’s for shoes:
Yep, you’re going to want socks for under your socks! I didn’t have these until our over-prepared hiking buddy showed up with extras and gave me two pairs. This is the only thing that finally allowed the blisters on my toes to begin to heal because – once the liners were in place – my hiking socks were rubbing against the silk liners instead of against my skin.
I paid it forward and gave one of my pairs of precious silk liners to another pilgrim who was also suffering from blisters.
You need two sets of liners so you can swap them out for dry liners when you change your socks. You might wear your liners out (I did), but you can stop at a Decathlon (or another outdoor store) in one of the larger cities along your route to stock up.
Two pairs of Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking socks (short) for warmer walking days and one pair of Merino Wool Hiking Socks (long) for colder walking days and nighttime.
Because I changed my socks more than most pilgrims due to my blister issues, I also carried three extra pairs of hiking socks that I picked up along the way. But if you start with three pairs of merino wool socks and two pairs of liners and get the right shoes for your feet, you won’t turn into a sock hoarder like me:
The Camino clothing do’s and don’ts
First things first, throw fashion right out the window. One day Lizz took a picture of me so we could laugh later at how I went from fashionista to, well, not even close. This is what she got:
In my defense, all of my clothes were in the wash, and that glow-in-the-dark hip bag was one of the most important things I packed since it served as my wallet. I needed to keep my feet dry at all times, hence the socks and sandals.
But, yeah. Fashion. Out. The. Window.
DO’S AND DON’TS
The essential clothing items for your Camino de Santiago packing list
One lightweight rain shell with hood
You want this to be lightweight so that it will roll up really small, and you want it to have zips in the armpits (pit zips!) because it’s super warm in that shell even when it’s raining.
Here’s that rain shell in action:
As I prepare for my next Camino, I’ve opted to take a cooler rain shell, since I’ll be walking a warmer route (rather than the cooler coastal route), and I’ll be walking in August. Here’s the rain shell that I’m taking. Here it is available directly from the North Face. I’ll update the list upon return to let you know how it goes!
One warm, packable fleece or puffy jacket for cool days & nights
We walked the Camino in August and September and we were prepared for extreme heat. But on the coastal route, most of the time, we needed our jackets in the mornings and the evenings.
The puffy polyester jacket I wore is no longer in production, but that’s because there are way better jackets on the market now. Like Patagonia’s Nano Puff® line of jackets. Warm, windproof, and water-resistant, this jacket is made from post-consumer recycled polyester, it’s fair-trade certified AND it packs into a tiny pouch. Here is the Nano Puff from REI.
Here is the men’s version of the Nano Puff® jacket from Patagonia. And the Nano Puff from REI.
One long-sleeved, lightweight pullover or zip-up hoodie
Most mornings, I wore a super lightweight pullover that dried really fast. Much like this moisture-wicking, sun-shielding hoodie.
There are some advantages to a zip-up hoodie like the Deviator Hoody by Outdoor Research. It dries fast and the insulated front pairs with breathable material on the arms and back. It’s perfect for keeping warm while standing still, but it doesn’t turn into a sweatbox when you’re moving.
The advantage to the zip-up is that it’s easier to slip out of it when you have a backpack strapped on. But if you think you will have any trouble with chafing, consider a pullover to avoid the zipper. (I’m sticking with my pullover.)
Two pairs of quick-dry pants (and possibly one pair of shorts)
I packed one pair of calf-length, quick-drying hiking pants and one pair of long yoga pants. I basically lived in the hiking pants because the yoga pants took too long to dry after washing. I preferred walking in lightweight long pants for sun protection and for branch/thorn protection on wooded trails. I wouldn’t pack the yoga pants again. I would pack two pairs of pants and one pair of shorts (if you can fit them). Here’s the plan next time:
Pants for your Camino Packing List (ladies)
One pair of calf-length pants
One pair of quick-drying, light-weight, calf-length pants with pockets. I am trying the prAna Halle Jogger II pants because they are loose enough to avoid chafing but stretchy enough to allow for both hiking and yoga. (It’s always good to stretch in the morning and the evening on the Camino!) Also, the pants roll-up pretty small for packing. The links above are for REI, but here the pants are directly from prAna and from Amazon.
One pair of long hiking pants
I’m also taking the same pair of lightweight pants that I brought the last time. They are no longer in production, but they are similar to the above jogger pants. Another option is Kuhl’s Horizn Skinny Pants. I like a tighter fit (like yoga pants) without lots of seams that could cause chafing. The seams in these pants are nylon and abrasion-resistant. Plus you get the yoga-like fit but with POCKETS! Bonus: these babies roll up very small for packing.
You might also want to check out Kuhl’s Kliffside Convertible Pants. The ability to switch to shorts is really great for anyone who prefers hiking in shorts. Just beware of any extra seams or zippers if you are a chafer.
I’m also really digging the Coalatree Trailhead Pants. Waterproof, breathable, anti-microbial, tear-resistant, stretchy without being tight, big pockets, long but with the ability to cinch into capris, and made from recycled materials. That’s a long list of awesome, but I’m not even done yet. The best part? They roll and stuff into the pocket for packing! (There are Trailhead Shorts as well and I am bringing the shorts to set off the two pairs of pants.)
Pants for your Camino Packing List (men)
One pair of convertible pants
The men on the Camino really liked convertible pants (they switch from pants to shorts with a quick unzip), pockets, and loose-fitting hiking pants. The Kuhl Renegade Kargo RECCO Convertible Pants meet all of these requirements, plus they are quick drying.
One pair of long hiking pants
If you like an even looser fit, the Kuhl’s Liberator Convertible Pants are also quick-drying with stretchy fabric in high-mobility areas (think crotch and knees). Plus the fabric is soft nylon next to the skin, but moisture-wicking cotton on the outside. The idea is that the cotton will pull sweat to the surface and away from your skin while the nylon will stop any chafing.
I’m also really digging the Coalatree Trailhead Pants. Waterproof, breathable, anti-microbial, tear-resistant, stretchy without being tight, big pockets, long but with the ability to cinch into capris, and made from recycled materials. That’s a long list of awesome, but I’m not even done yet. The best part? They roll and stuff into the pocket for packing!
The Trailhead shorts feature all of the same awesomeness but in shorts (obviously)!
Two quick-dry, moisture-wicking shirts for hiking
I brought two tank tops for hiking and I wish I would have brought one tank top and one t-shirt. (I ended up wearing my nighttime t-shirt quite a bit out on the trail.)
The base layer is pretty important. You want it to be moisture-wicking and soft. The Capilene Cool Trail shirts are made to feel like cotton, but they are made with moisture-wicking, odor-controlling polyester. There are no itchy tags at the neck and they have a locker loop for easy drying. (This is actually key because it can be hard to find places to hang your drying clothes at some of the albergues (pilgrim hostels) where you will stay on the trail.
I would bring two different colors of the Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt.
This moisture-wicking base layer is odor-controlling with underarm gussets that allow for breathability. The soft fabric reduces chafing and there are no itchy tags inside the shirt. The locker loop allows you to easily hang the shirt when it’s drying. This will come in handy in the albergues and pilgrim hostels where drying space can be hard to find.
One pair of nighttime shorts/pants
If you’re hiking in warmer months, consider shorts for sleeping and lounging in dormitory-style albergues. If you’re hiking in cooler months, bring long pants that will keep you warm but will roll up small for packing.
Just keep in mind that you will probably end up wearing your sleeping clothes more than you expect. You will often wear them to dinner both in the albergues and out in restaurants. And there will be days when everything is dirty, so you wear your nighttime pants and t-shirt on the trail. For this reason, I recommend quick-dry clothes even for bedtime. That being said, comfort is the number one priority in this particular item on your Camino do Santiago packing list.
One nighttime/sleeping shirt
The same advice applies here for your evening tee. Think comfort but also quick drying. Consider something fun that reminds you of home. I brought my “Wander with Love” shirt, which is my signature sign-off on all emails. I ended up wearing it quite a bit out on the trail, too.
Because it wasn’t quick-dry, I won’t bring it on the next pilgrimage. This time I have three, quick-dry shirts for hiking and I’ll simply wear whichever one is clean for sleeping.
Underwear for your Camino de Santiago packing list
The key is to find quick-drying, moisture-wicking underwear that is also close in style to what you are used to wearing. If you are comfortable hiking in boxer briefs, don’t suddenly switch to briefs for the Camino.
Here are a few pairs of men’s underwear with the right quick-drying, moisture-wicking, chafe-resisting qualities that you want. You’ll want to pack two to three pairs:
Two to three pairs of quick-dry, hiking underwear. I brought two pairs and this worked just fine because we did laundry nearly every day. On a day when we didn’t do laundry, I hand-washed my underwear.
In your daily life, if you usually wear thongs, then I recommend bringing thongs for the Camino, too. I usually wear thongs and switched to a bikini-style on the Camino and this drove me insane.
The Smartwool Merino 140 lace thong underwear is what I would walk in (also here from Amazon). Soft, lightweight, and built to manage moisture and odor. Plus with less fabric, the thong is going to dry faster and be a bit less obvious hanging from the back of your backpack!
On the flip side, if you usually wear bikini-style underwear then don’t switch to a thong for the Camino. The Smartwool Merino Bikini Underwear will still dry fast and this underwear is made with smooth stitching to reduce the risk of chafing.
The same logic holds true for the two sports bras you should put on your Camino de Santiago packing list. If you usually wear a certain kind of sports bra, this isn’t the time to switch it up.
I brought two sports bras, one with thin straps, one with thick straps, and one tank-top with a built-in bra. The tank with a built-in bra took too long to dry. The bra with the thick straps competed for space on my shoulders with my backpack straps. The winner was the thin-strapped sports bra.
I recommend the Janji Groundwork Pace Sports Bra. There are no adjusting clips on the straps that will promote chafing and it’s a moisture-wicking fabric with breathable mesh lining.
A hat or buff are a must for your Camino de Santiago packing list
I say they are a must, but I admit that I didn’t wear either. A hat is a really good way to protect yourself from the sun and, if I wore one, I may have been able to skip the extra face lotion with sunblock that I had to carry. Hats just drive me nuts. But most people do wear one.
Lizz likes the REI packable cap. You can pack it up small, it’s moisture-wicking with ventilation and a sweatband.
I also did not walk with a buff and I do regret that. Lizz wore hers almost every day either around her neck or on her head to protect against sun and dripping sweat.
I like the Buff Original Multifunctional Headwear, made with a quick-drying polyester that shields against sun rays. (It’s also made out of single-use plastic bottles, which helps me with my crusade against plastic water bottles!)
Should you add a swimsuit to your Camino de Santiago packing list?
If you are walking a route that traces the coastline as I did (the Camino del Norte route), then absolutely yes. We loved jumping into the water after a long day of hiking, especially after day one on the Camino:
Just grab a swimsuit that folds up really small. Guys, you might be able to double your board shorts as your evening wear. This brings me to:
Should you bring something special to wear in the evenings on the Camino?
It’s a luxury and definitely optional. You can always just wear whatever is clean in your backpack. But I loved the sporty dress that I brought for dinners and for walking around town. For the next pilgrimage, I’m bringing this nighttime dress from Beyond Yoga. And Lizz loved her sporty skirt (she was devastated when someone stole it while it was drying on a clothesline at a public campground).
It was so nice to get out of hiking clothes sometimes.
Just make sure that whatever you bring for evenings will roll up really small for packing at the bottom of your bag.
Essential documents for your Camino de Santiago packing list
- You must have Camino de Santiago credentials – also called Camino passport – to stay in the albergues (pilgrim hostels) along the route. Only pilgrims can stay in these hostels and the credential is your proof that you are a pilgrim. You collect stamps in your credentials at the albergues (or at cafes, hotels, and churches) along the route. The stamped passport is what you present in Santiago to earn your Compostella, which is the certificate that proclaims that you walked all the way to Santiago de Compostella.
- Purchase your credentials at a pilgrims’ office when you get to Spain. Sometimes they are also available at the tourist office and even at some albergues. You can order in advance from your country’s Camino association as well. But it’s not really necessary. (Americans visit here to order in advance.)
Essential items for your Camino de Santiago packing list
- Hiking sticks/trekking poles:
- Some people don’t like walking with hiking sticks, but this was not an option for Lizz or for me. We walked the first day without sticks and then immediately visited an outdoor store that very evening to buy sticks. This took so much pressure off our backs and legs and allowed us to walk much faster. In fact, there was almost an international incident on the Camino when someone stole our sticks!
- Fast-drying towel:
- You will use your own towel in the albergues (pilgrim hostels) on the Camino, so you must have one that folds up small and drys fast.
- Water purification tablets
- Super light and perfect for cleaning tap water. We put these in our backpack water filtration system every time we filled them up in the sink (which was most days).
- Packing Cubes
- It’s super important to keep everything organized in your bag. Packing cubes will do that while maximizing space.
- Anti Monkey Butt Powder (for men) & Anti Monkey Butt Power (for women)
- Chafing didn’t end up being a problem for Lizz or for me, but maybe that’s because we started our Camino completely covered in anti-chafing powder!
- The link above is lightweight sun cream in recyclable, renewable sugarcane packaging. The reality is that you’ll probably buy your sunscreen after you travel to your first stage. Keep an eye out for sustainable sunscreen, but the priority on the Camino is that your sunscreen will fit in an accessible pocket for easy grabbing.
- Sunglasses (or prescription sunglasses, perhaps?)
- The link above is for bamboo sunglasses so that if (when) you lose them, no plastic will end up in Spanish landfills.
- I carried prescription sunglasses (don’t lose those!) and glasses for the evening. I did not carry contacts on the Camino. Too much hassle and too much space in my backpack since I wear daily disposable lenses.
- Silk Sleep Sack
- I didn’t have this when I first set out and that was a huge mistake. Especially since we ended up in a freezing-cold hostel on our second night on the Camino. I wore every item of clothing in my bag and snagged a table cloth for a blanket! The sleep liner is a must at hostels and albergues where blankets and sheets are not guaranteed. It protects against bed bugs as well as dirty sheets, blankets, and pillowcases. (Choose “traveller with pillow insert” for the pillow protection.)
- This is always good to have in your backpack. On the Camino, you will mostly use it to see inside when all the lights are out at the albergue and you need to get into your bag or bunk without waking everyone up.
- Trek and Travel Laundry Wash
- This tiny bottle of biodegradable cleaner goes a long way. Two caps for a full load. For my next pilgrimage, I’m bringing this tiny, lightweight trek-and-travel laundry wash.
- Travel cable and lock
- There will be times when you need to lock your bag to your bed in an albergue. Pilgrims don’t usually steal, but better safe than sorry when you’re traveling anywhere.
- I used earplugs more for the constant parties that seem to throb all night throughout Spain than for the snoring in the communal sleeping spaces of albergues, but both can get loud!
- Nail Clippers
- Fork and knife multi-tool device (fork, knife, spoon, bottle opener, can opener, wrench)
- We used this all of the time. It was lightweight and came in a bag that attached to the outside of our backpacks. I was so sad when I had to leave it behind in Spain because I couldn’t carry it on the airplane.
- Emergency whistle
- Keep this on a carabiner in a very easy-to-reach place on your backpack strap. I started out with one of those emergency alert alarms with a button, but I switched to a whistle after I accidentally set it off in a crowded train car on our way to our Camino starting point. You’ll actually hear those wearable alarms going off all the time on the Camino and, unfortunately, they get ignored because my experience on the train is pretty common. Carry a whistle instead.
- You can’t have enough of these! Hook them onto your bag before you go. You’ll be amazed at how many different items hang off of them by the end of your pilgrimage.
- Hip bag/waist pack
- Or, as they say in America, a fanny pack. We wore these every day to store our passport, Camino credentials, ATM card, and cash. It was our wallet. We also stored a credit card in our backpacks with a small amount of cash.
- Guide book
- Carry one specific to your route. Tear out just the pages you will need or download it to your Kindle/e-reader. Also, make sure to download the Buen Camino App to help plan your next stage and find accommodations. I am taking this guide for the Camino Frances in 2022.
- Wine opener
- OK, fine, maybe this isn’t essential for you. But it sure was for Lizz and me!
Essentials for women
- Diva Cup
- Super lightweight and sustainable solution for your menstrual cycle.
- Kula Cloth (for anyone who squats when they pee)
- This is an antimicrobial, absorbent, anti-odor pee cloth. Think of it like your sustainable toilet paper so that you can leave no trace out there on the trail. You will be popping a squat out there. You may as well do it sustainably. This means that you don’t have to carry toilet paper. And since the Kula Cloth snaps to the outside of your bag (don’t worry, it folds up for privacy reasons and sanitary concerns), it takes up no space in your bag. Throw it in the washing machine or hand wash. Good for multiple uses. This is a game-changer.
Essential foot care items on the Camino de Santiago
I detail my blister kit in the video below. Watching this makes my feet hurt all over again!
- Hike Goo
- This is an essential item to avoid blisters. Rub it all over your feet to reduce friction. See above video.
- This really helps when you have a hot spot forming. Put the Moleskin around the blister, cutting a hole in the middle so that it isn’t covering the actual hot spot. If you do this you may avoid needing the next item to cover an active blister.
- Compeed blister mixed pack (or Second Skin) and Compeed anti-blister stick
- This covers your active blisters. Use the same technique as above with the moleskin, but now press Compeed over the top of the area.
- Mini rolls of duct tape
- I used duct tape to hold the Compeed and Moleskin in place.
- Sports tape
- Sometimes used on my feet to protect large areas of skin that were at risk of forming blisters. Mostly used on our hands to protect against blisters forming from our walking sticks. I also used sports tape to cover an itchy area after I ran into stinging nettle on the trail.
- Small foldable scissors
- Used for cutting sports tape and duct tape as well as Moleskin.
- Foot powder
- I put on foot powder before walking, when I changed my socks while walking, and before bed at night. I really needed to keep my feet dry to prevent blisters. On the other hand, Lizz rarely needed to use foot powder.
- I rarely used bandaids on my feet, preferring Compeed and Moleskin. But we did use bandaids when we ran into sticker bushes and thorns on the trail. Always good to have.
- Needle and thread
- Used for threading blisters. Clean the needle, thread it through the blister, leave the thread in the blister. This way the blister won’t refill. This is a last-resort technique if your feet are in agony. It is gross, I know. But it’s also very effective.
Toiletries for your Camino de Santiago packing list
Keep your essential toiletries super simple. As you can see with all of the above necessities, your backpack is filling up quickly. I have some optional items considered “luxury” items that I also brought along with me, but if you can get away with just this minimalist list, then you are winning the Camino!
- Face lotion with SPF
- If you can use the sunscreen you are already carrying to double as your face lotion, then that’s ideal. Personally, a separate, softer face lotion was necessary for me. I carried a small bottle of Kiehl’s. Link included above.
- Chapstick with SPF
- Shampoo bar and tin container
- There are better shampoo bars than the Lush one that I link to here, but it’s the smallest shampoo bar that I’ve found (it perfectly packs in the tiny tin container built for it), and it will last a really long time.
- Bar of soap with a soap-saver bag
- The soap-saver bag doubles as your washcloth. I kept the soap in this bag and hung it up to dry when I had the chance.
- Cotton swabs + dental floss
- Bring small amounts of each and consider sharing if you have a walking partner. The links above are sustainable swabs and floss with no plastic.
- Toothpaste tablets
- Of course, a mini toothpaste tube is an option as well. But the tablets are a more sustainable option.
- Bamboo toothbrush
- Break off the handle to conserve space
- Natural deodorant cream
- Use the link above for 10 percent off. Consider pairing with a bamboo applicator.
- Small, waterproof toiletry bag with a hanging loop
- Hanging all your shower needs in the stall with you helps you to take quick showers in a shared bathroom at the pilgrim hostel.
Electronics for your Camino de Santiago packing list
- European Travel Plug Adaptor
- Pro Tip: Bring one with multiple USB ports since there is a fight at every overnight stay for outlets! Look for a lightweight adaptor. (The link above is an adaptor for Americans.)
- Portable battery charger
- It seems like something always needs charging on the Camino! Your phone, your kindle, your GoPro, etc. Check out the CHAMP Portable Charger from Nimble. It’s smaller than a deck of cards and gives you up to three days of power. Bonus: it’s made from post-consumer plastic, ships with no plastic, and Nimble will recycle your old battery for free.
- Tip: Use the link above for $10 off your portable battery charger. Then search for the CHAMP.
- I love my Bose wireless earbuds, but on the Camino, I wore headphones with a cord. I just didn’t need anything else that required charging. Admittedly, I did get tangled up in cords occasionally. For my next pilgrimage, I’m bringing my Airpods Pro, hoping the charging case will help me keep them charged.
- I got all of my footage using a GoPro. Even most of my photos.
- Foldable Bluetooth keyboard
- If you intend to write blog posts or emails from the road, the foldable Bluetooth keyboard will save you so much time. Of course, it’s best to unplug when you are out there but, if you can’t unplug, carry this traveler’s companion.
- I didn’t do as much reading as I thought I would on the Camino, but I did carry my Camino guide book on my Kindle. If you don’t intend to read, you can carry just the ripped-out pages from the relevant route guides or bookmark a blog that details your route stage-by-stage. (Like this blog for the Camino del Norte!)
Optional items for your Camino de Santiago packing list
Just consider weight and space carefully when weighing whether you need these items. We did carry all of these items in our backpacks, though we split them up between us to distribute weight. The last item was especially crucial for our pilgrimage.
- Conditioner bar and tin container
- Scrubbie shower bar from Lush + tin container
- Once you try this lotion that is applied like soap in the shower, you will never go back to regular lotion. (I’ve even started making my own lotion and shower bars!) The bar allows you to travel without carrying additional body lotion. Especially when paired with:
- Vitality Extracts Skin Envy oil
- This served as our lotion. We just rolled it on dry spots and it saved us a ton of space!
- Face serum
- Applied at night, this oil took care of the dry skin I was dealing with from so much sun exposure.
- Butterstick lip treatment
- This is definitely a luxury. But you’ll see there is no makeup on this list. This is the one touch of color we enjoyed. Plus the butterstick offers sun protection.
- Razor and backup blades
- I did shave my legs and armpits on the Camino because that just made me feel more comfortable. But many women did not shave and most men did not shave.
- Journal and pen
- Massage roller
- I was torn on where to put this. I almost put it in essential items. Lizz and I used our roller every day. Me for my sore back and Lizz for her sore feet. One time, I misplaced the roller and there was this horrible five-minute period when we couldn’t find it. Oh, the look on Lizz’s face. I thought we were going to have a murder on the Camino!
- Wilderness Wipes
- When a shower isn’t possible, wilderness wipes will do the trick. Plus they are compostable.
- Collapsible plate and collapsible cup
- I try not to use any single-use plates or cups and my foldable plate and cup helped me to reduce my impact in Spain. I paired it with the knife, spoon, and fork on my multi-tool (listed in essential items) for all on-the-go meals.
- Sleeping bag
- The great sleeping bag debate! I have had a number of comments and emails stating that every Camino packing list should include a sleeping bag. I didn’t bring one on my first pilgrimage, but that’s because I knew that I would splurge on a hotel if albergues were too full. Also, I walked in the summertime. The silk sleep sack on the above must-have list kept me warm and clean. If you are walking in cooler months and/or if a hotel is out of budget if the albergues are full, then a sleeping bag might be necessary for you.
- A rock
- There is a Camino tradition to leave a carry a rock from home and then leave it on the trail. It is symbolic of carrying a burden and then leaving that burden behind.
- When our friend joined us halfway through our pilgrimage, she brought stickers that read: “no vino…no Camino”. We gave these stickers to people we met. It was fun. And we were sharing a part of our pilgrimage with others. I recommend bringing stickers or something to give out that will share a piece of you with your fellow pilgrims.
- I thought Lizz was crazy to bring mustard with her, but I was so wrong. SO wrong. You will eat many, many dry sandwiches on the Camino and mustard really jazzes them up! In fact, right after socks, I might call this my most important Camino item! We even ran out and had to get more mustard about halfway through our pilgrimage.
Camino costs and how to save
If you are thinking: “My goodness! I need to buy a whole lot of gear!” I sympathize. Your gear is the most expensive part of the Camino except, perhaps, any international travel to get to Spain.
Consider browsing used-gear sites. This could save you some cash and it’s a sustainable way to shop, too.
REI also has a used gear catalog and members can trade in gently used gear for REI gift cards!
I’ve also created a Camino Cost Calculator so that you can determine your costs depending on your route and walking style.
All of the above resources are included in these printable Camino de Santiago packing lists:
Additional Camino Resources
Did I forget something? Was there a crucial item that you couldn’t live without on the Camino or another trekking adventure? Did something on my list surprise you? Comment below and let me know!
About the Author
Hi! I’m Jen!
I’m a freelance writer and travel blogger who quit my nine-to-five after my fiancé, Jeff, died of cancer at the age of 40. When he died, I realized that life is just too short to delay our dreams. Since my dream was to travel and write, I now travel and write full-time. Today I wear hiking boots instead of heels and collect experiences instead of things.