Congratulations on your decision to walk the Camino! You will have a great experience. I certainly did. To help you prepare for your adventure, I’m offering this Camino de Santiago packing list for women. It will tell you what you need….and what you don’t…in order to have a successful pilgrimage.
Top 5 Tips for Your Camino de Santiago Packing List
- Go light. Saint Francis managed to do it over 800 years ago and you can be sure that he wasn’t loaded down with a heavy pack. The advice on the packing list below will help you determine your bare essentials.
- Try to pack at least one cute thing. Even if it’s just some fab earrings. All of that tragically practical hiking gear can make a girl feel a bit dumpy.
- Spain has stores, so don’t stress. If you forgot something, just buy it in one of the larger towns along the way.
- Bring (or buy) something to share. The kindness of strangers is alive and well on the Camino. You can help others by sharing snacks, first aid supplies or giving out a fun little item.
- Bring a token from home. My family sent me with a bundle of letters and notes of encouragement. They were very comforting on the more difficult days.
I did the Camino solo and so can you! Get inspiration from me and four other women who tackled the Camino solo.
The Ultimate Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women
Camino Packing List: Clothing
- 4 shirts: 1 long sleeve shirt and three others in a mix of tanks and/or short sleeves. Get all of them in a moisture wicking, easy dry fabric, like these from Under Armour or Columbia.
- 3 pants/shorts: 1 pair travel pants, 2 pair hiking shorts, yoga or capri pants.
- 3 sets of underwear: 3 bras, 3 pairs underwear, 3 pairs walking/hiking socks. I like the Fox River padded crew socks or the Thorlo padded walking socks.
- Light scarf or wrap to use as a seating pad, pillow case and scarf.
- 1 hat.
- 1 light fleece pullover.
- 1 Gore-tex wind breaker.
- 2 pair shoes: 1 pair Gore-tex hiking boots. 1 pair sport sandals, like Tevas or flop flops. Flip flops are better for showering. Tevas are better for walking around in the evening if you need a break from your hiking boots. You don’t need both.
Clothing tips: This list works best for hiking May-September. Substitute more long pants and long sleeves for cooler weather Even though I walked in August, I wore the fleece pullover for at least an hour every morning until the weather warmed up. There can be rain, particularly in Galicia any time of the year, so a rain resistant jacket is a must.
Camino Packing List: Toiletries
- Hair: Small bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I like using Go Toobs for my liquids– they pack well and don’t leak. Small comb.
- Body: 1x small body lotion, 1x small SPF face lotion, 15 (or higher) SPF sunscreen, small bar of soap (in a small ziploc bag).
- Teeth: travel size toothpaste, toothbrush.
- Clothes: small container of Trek & Travel liquid laundry soap.
If you are flying into or out of Madrid, check out this guide to disobeying Rick Steves while you are there.
Camino Packing List: First Aid and Medical Supplies
- Personal medications. It would be wise to have a scanned copy of your prescriptions in case you need a refill.
- Compeed brand blister bandages. 1-pkg small, 1 pkg medium. Buy them now from Amazon or at any local farmacia when you arrive. They are the best blister bandages…hands DOWN. They work differently than band-aids and they stay on your feet for days as the blisters heal.
- 4-6 regular band-aids.
- First aid tape. I use this to prevent blisters by taping my trouble spots and protecting them before blisters take hold. Nextcare has a new kind out that is flexible and waterproof.
- Small bottle of Motril/Advil. I took 2 every day after walking to keep the soreness down.
- Anti-bacterial such as Neosporin. The small individual use packages are handy and don’t take up much room.
- Hemorrhoid cream, Vaseline or glide. Chafing happens.
- Lip goop/Chapstick.
- Travel size package of tissues.
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Camino Packing List: Electronics
- Unlocked smart phone. Wireless is easy to find on the Camino. But I found it handy to get a local SIM card for those times when I wanted more security or privacy.
- iPad (optional). I was blogging on the trail and used my iPad and a wireless keyboard like a laptop. Also handy for reading books in the evening.
- Camera (optional). You can use your phone for pics. But if you are a more serious photographer, you should make room in your bag for a good point & shoot or mirrorless camera. I have a Canon Powershot and an Olympus OM-D E-M10.
- Card reader.
- Chargers for the above.
- Ear buds.
Camino Packing List: Misc Essentials
- Compression stuff sacks or packing cubes. The 4 litre watertight bags from Sea to Summit will compress your clothes down to a very small bundle. If you prefer packing cubes, check out the ProPacking brand, they are inexpensive and the material is very light.
- Silk sleeping sack, such as this one from Sea to Summit…or a very light sleeping bag.
- Small totebag for carrying around valuables in the evening.
- Permethrin insect repellent spray for clothing. Bed bugs are a real thing. If you use this to spray the inside of your pack, you’ll prevent the little bastards move in on you. Good for up to 6 weeks.
- Small roll of duct tape. Useful for repairs and re-sealing food packages.
- Small Swiss Army knife or the TSA-friendly Gerber Dime multi-tool which has scissors, pliers and other useful tools but doesn’t have a knife blade.
- Pack towel.
- A few gallon and quart sized ziploc bags. Good for holding snacks and wet items.
- Gear ties and/or a carabiner. Both are great for hanging laundry from the drying line and dangling stuff from the back of your pack.
- Pilgrim Credential.
- Something shell-ish to hang on your bag. It identifies you as a pilgrim.
- A small rock or other token from home to leave at the Cruz de Ferro. I took along sea glass from the California coastline.
- Printed list of all albuergues and favorite albuergues from the Camino Forum. This list is more complete than the guidebooks and also has information on distances between stages and the services offered in each town. I had an electronic copy of this stored on my iPad but each day I would grab a few of the physical pages to cover the next few days. It helped me plan how far I wanted to walk each day. Definitely check out their community pages, I found them to be very useful.
- Camino guide book by Brierley. Per my previous bullet, you don’t need this for albuergue advice. But the guidebooks are great for providing information on the historical and cultural sites that you will see along the way.
Camino Packing List: Choosing Your Pack
A Camino de Santiago packing list wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of backpacks. I have the Gregory Sage 35 litre women’s bag. A 35 litre pack sounds small but it held everything on the above list with room for snacks. Here are some things to consider when you purchase your own pack:
- Small pockets on the hip padding (good for storing the phone, small camera and pages from the guidebook.
- Rain cover (ior pack a cheap rain poncho).
- Sized for a woman’s body.
- Secret interior pocket good for holding the iPad.
- Easy to reach water bottle holder.
Whichever bag you use be sure to try it on first and do training walks with a fully loaded bag. If you already have a larger (60L) bag go ahead and use that but don’t overfill it. You really only need what is in this Camino packing list. If you are already backpacking around Europe with a larger bag and want to do the Camino, then I suggest that you offload some of your unnecessary gear and ship it ahead to Santiago. The luggage storage information can be found here.
I hope that you find this packing list useful. Please contact me or comment below if you have any questions.
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