Packing for the camino

I complete packing for our camino trip this morning. We’re doing the last 110km of the Camino Frances (or French way) from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela.

I think I’ve got everything I need, but if I don’t then I’m sure I’ll cope. After all there are shops in Spain, so I can buy anything extra I require.

Most of my gear comes from Mountain Warehouse, which has the benefit of being relatively inexpensive and also offering the large sizes I need.

Here’s all my gear laid out:

  • Phoenix Extreme Backpack from Mountain Warehouse. People say you should invest in a good backpack and have it properly fitted to your body type in a shop, but this cheapish one I got online is fine. I’ve used it a fair bit already, and it’s good and comfortable. It has as 35 litre capacity, well padded shoulder straps, a waist strap, outside compartments to store water bottles, and a waterproof cover.
  • Stride walking shorts and zip-off walking trousers from Mountain Warehouse – both of which are stretchy, lightweight, and quick drying
  • Under Armour wicking underwear – expensive but I got them half price at an outlet mall. They have a six-inch long leg that doesn’t ride up, and helps me avoid any chub-rub at the top of my thighs!
  • 3 x Deuce IsoCool Polo shirts from Mountain Warehouse – lightweight, wicking and with UV protection
  • First aid kit – cheap all-in-one Amazon kit, with added Compeed plasters for any blisters
  • T-shirt and shorts for sleeping from Mountain Warehouse
  • 3 X Merino wool hiking socks by Danish Endurance purchased from Amazon
  • Lightweight rain jacket from Mountain Warehouse
  • Buff
  • Microfibre towel
  • Baseball cap
  • Phone charger with adapter for Spain, and a small powerbank
  • Water bottle and collapsible water container
  • Toiletries in a zip-lock bag – containing miniature-sized sunscreen, deodorant, shave gel, toothpaste, hand sanitiser and vaseline
  • Toothbrush, earplugs and drugs in a zip-lock bag
  • Camino passport from the Camino Society Ireland, and comes with its own protective sleeve
  • Passport – in a plastic bag to protect it from getting wet
  • Walking shoes – Merrell MOAB 2 Ventilator from Great Outdoors
  • Rubber soled sandals – for wearing in the evening after walking to give my feet a rest

Preparation for the Camino

It’s just over 3 weeks until we head off to Spain to walk the last 115km of the ‘French Way’ of the Camino.

As the date approaches fast, I’m getting a bit worried about my physical ability to do this walking. We’re not planning on pushing it too hard on the walk, but we are hoping to do 15-20km a day, but it’s something I’m not used to doing.

Two things have got me obsessed in the last few weeks:

  1. Do I have all the right kit? I’ve been reading loads of ‘Camino Packing Lists’ on the web to make sure I have all the right ‘stuff’ to take with me. And with all of this helpful (if not always consistent) advice online it means that I’ve been obsessing about whether I have the right shoes, the right backpack, and right socks, the right underwear, and so on. My obsession has also manifested itself in large spending sprees buying ‘technical’ sports clothing that I’ve never worn before, including wicking and lightweight t-shirts and shorts!
  2. Can I walk that far? In preparation for going away, I’ve been trying to do a lot more walking than normal. I’m a fairly active person, but my main form of transport every day is cycling rather than walking. As such I’ve been forcing myself to get out and walk a bit more in preparation. For the last couple of weeks I’ve taken to walking in to work twice a week wearing all the gear: the socks, shoes, clothes, and backpack that I plan to use for the Camino. It’s about 7km from my home to the office, which is maybe 40-50% of the distance we’ll be doing each day on the Camino.

The ‘right kit’ obsession manifested itself again today as I spent a good 20 minutes on Amazon checking out all the blister treatment and prevention options. Which then led me to looking at walking socks – even though I already have good ones.

If I’m not careful I’ll bankrupt myself buying walking stuff before I even make it to Spain!

I also need to convince myself to think past the Camino about the rest of the holiday we’ve planned after the walk. So far I haven’t given it a moment’s thought. But the idea is that we’re travelling on to a beach resort near to Barcelona, presumably to lie on the beach and compare our blisters!

Maybe I should also consider this ‘apres walk’ part of the holiday, because no doubt by then I’ll be sick of all the technical walking gear, and I’ll just need a pair of swimming shorts and a couple of t-shirts!

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