So you are walking the Camino…congratulations! 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 need…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 6o litre 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 a light scarf or some fab earrings. All of that tragically practical hiking gear can make a girl feel a bit dumpy.
- Spain has stores, no kidding. So if you aren’t sure about whether to bring something, or you forgot something, just pick it up 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. I handed out Compeed blister band-aids to pilgrims in need and they thought I was Mother Theresa.
- 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.
The Ultimate Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women
Camino Packing List: Clothing
- 4 shirts: 2 sporty/moisture wicking short sleeved t-shirts, 1 long sleeve t-shirt, 1 tank (used for sleeping and in the evenings).
- 3 pants/shorts: 1 pair tragically practical travel pants, 1 pair hiking shorts, 1 pair capri pants. Alternatively, you could substitute a skirt or yoga 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. Mine was large enough to use as a seating pad, pillow case and scarf…all rolled into one.
- 1 hat.
- 1 light fleece pullover like this one from Colombia.
- 1 Gore-tex (or waterproof) wind breaker. I like this one from REI.
- 2 pair shoes (not pictured): 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: Most of these clothes I wore to death. I even threw out some stuff at the end because it was overripe. Even though I walked in August, I wore the fleece jacket for at least an hour every morning until the weather warmed up. But I wore the pants primarily on the plane and just a few times on the trail. And there can be rain, particularly in Galicia any time of the year so a rain resistant jacket is a good idea.
Camino Packing List: Toiletries
- Hair: Small bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I like using Go Toobs for my liquids– they pack well and they 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.
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 lose yours and need a refill.
- Compeed brand blister bandages. 1-pkg small, 1 pkg medium. These are a bit hard to find in US drugstores–check Walgreens. Or buy them from Amazon or 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 band-aids. Go ahead and take regular bandages as well in case you get a cut or scrape.
- First aid tape or athletic 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.
- Anti-inflammatory such as Motrin. 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 to help prevent chafing. Chafing happens. Bring supplies with you and you won’t be like me doing a comic pantomime in the farmacia because you can’t pronounce “chaffed ass” in Spanish.
- Lip goop.
- Travel size package of tissues.
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
- 2x compression stuff sacks. I like the 4 litre bags from Sea to Summit. They are water tight and they will compress your clothes down to a very small bundle.
- Silk sleeping sack, such as this one from Sea to Summit…or very light sleeping bag.
- Small totebag for carrying around incidential and 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 be protected from having the little bastards move in on you. Good for up to 6 weeks.
- Small roll of duct tape. Useful for repairs, re-sealing food packages and all kinds of stuff.
- 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 (not pictured). Both are great for hanging laundry from the drying line and dangling stuff off of the back of your pack.
- Pilgrim Credential.
- Something shell-ish to hang on your bag. I 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 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 and albergue. 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. I helped me plan how far I wanted to walk each day. They also offer a list of ‘favorite’ albuergues that are in special locations or offer some cool service. 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. 35 litres makes for a small backpack but it held everything on the above list with some room to spare. They may not be making it any longer but there are several features that I really like about it which you may want to consider for your bag:
- Water resistant top pocket (good for storing snacks).
- Small pockets on the hip padding (good for storing the phone, small camera and pages from the guidebook.
- Rain cover (if you pack doesn’t have a rain cover, then 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 and want to use that, go ahead, just 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 stuff and ship it ahead to Santiago. The luggage storage information can be found here.
You have your Camino de Santiago packing list and you are all set to go! Or are you? Perhaps, you just need a little inspiration. If so, check out my post on traveling solo on the Camino. It offers advice from other solo female pilgrims and it will give you the confidence to tackle the trail.
Please as punch with the post? Pin it!
Get regular updates from Wayfaring Views by subscribing to the newsletter
- Airplane Reading: Books Set in Scotland to Inspire & Inform Your Travels
- Top Things to Do in Bonaire If You Don’t Dive
- 11 Best Photography Spots in San Francisco: A Photo Lover’s Guide to Galleries, Museums and Shooting Locations