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Camino de Santiago Packing List: Everything You Need to Keep It Light

This Camino de Santiago packing list will give the adventurous pilgrim everything you need to pack for the Camino. Use this post and the FREE printable packing list to help you find the right clothing, hiking boots, first aid gear and backpack along with useful links to Camino planning resources.

El Camino de Santiago packing list- hiker with pack in forest
A full Camino pack doesn’t need to be a large Camino pack. This 35 liter pack holds everything on the packing list below.

Congratulations on your decision to walk the Camino! You will have a great experience– I certainly did (twice)! To help you prepare for your adventure, I’m offering this Camino de Santiago packing list. It will tell you what you need….and what you don’t…in order to have a successful pilgrimage. This list is updated regularly with feedback from recent pilgrims.

Top 4 Tips for Your Camino de Santiago Packing List

  1. 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. Using this advice on what to pack for the Camino de Santiago to help you determine your bare essentials.
  2. Spain has stores, so don’t stress. If you forgot something, just buy it in one of the larger towns along the way.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Read More: Gear isn’t the only thing you’ll spend money on. Do a complete Camino budget with this cost calculator that includes a FREE spreadsheet tool.

Camino de Santiago portrait. Red jacket and backpack
Here I am, sporting the full ensemble. I’m smiling because the sun just came out after 6 hours of body surfing through the rain. My hair is a disaster but the Kuhl pants, Hoka shoes, REI jacket and pack are still intact.

(Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase, I’ll get a small commission.) 

Where Do You Buy Camino Gear?

Most of my hard core Camino gear came from REI. They have knowledgeable staff and a ridiculously generous return policy. I’ve also purchased clothing from Columbia, because I’m old and tubby and their clothing has a generous cut. Kuhl has some totally genius hiking pants. I also used Amazon to source some of my quirky things like gear ties.

The Ultimate Camino de Santiago Pack List

Camino de Santiago packing list- clothes and pack
This pile + the clothes on your back are everything that you’ll need.

The 4 Most Popular Items on this Packing List

These four items are the most popular things on this packing list. I’m putting them right here up top so that you can think about whether you need them too.

  • Permethrin: If you coat your backpack and bedding with this insect repellent, it should keep any bed bugs at bay for up to six weeks. Some people have no trouble with bed bugs, yet people like me get eaten alive. Wouldn’t you rather not risk it?
  • Water Resistant Toiletry Bags: You can keep your toiletries, charger cords, first aid kit and misc items organized and dry with these bags.
  • Go Toob Travel Bottles: Great for storing your travel liquids. I’ve used these bottles on six continents. They hold just the right amount of shampoo/conditioner, last forever and they never leak.
  • Compeed Blister Bandages: Don’t let your blisters get out of hand! If you apply these bandages right when you get a blister, it will cushion it, giving it time to heal. Read the instructions carefully because they don’t work like normal Band-Aids. If you buy a “starter supply” in advance, you’ll be covered in case you have issues on the first few days. If you don’t need them, share them with another pilgrims.

Camino Packing List: Clothing

3 Tops | 3 Bottoms | Hat | Warm Layer | Gore-Tex Wind Breaker | 2 Pair Shoes

  • Tops: At least one long sleeve shirt and two 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.
  • Bottoms: Trail pants, hiking shorts, yoga or capri pants.
  • Underwear: 2 bras, 3 pairs underwear, 3 pairs walking/hiking socks. I like the Fox River padded crew socks or the Thorlo padded walking socks.
  • Outer wear: Fleece pullover or some warm under-layer. Gore-Tex wind breaker.
  • Footwear: Gore-tex hiking boots and 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.
  • Head Gear: Hat and/or a Buff.

Camino Clothing Tips

What to pack for the El Camino de Santiago is dependent upon season. This warmer weather list works best for May to September. Substitute more long pants and long sleeves for cooler weather. Even though I walked in during the warmer months, it can still be chilly in the morning and I wore my fleece pullover frequently. There can be rain, particularly in Galicia, any time of the year, so a rain resistant jacket is a must.

Don’t be cheap about your performance wear. Buy shirts and shorts from a trusted brand, like REI. I learned the hard way when my discount shirt took on a funky smell that wouldn’t wash out and which dogged me across northern Spain. I insist upon hiking pants with ZIPPERED POCKETS, they are more secure and breathable than cheaper yoga tights.

Choose your footwear very carefully. I’m currently a fan of the Hoka One Trail Runner. It’s light enough not to weigh you down but offers a lot of heel support. That said, every foot is a snowflake and you have to make your own choice about what works for your feet. Purchase from a reliable provider who offers a generous return policy and then put at least 50 miles (80/k) on them before hitting the Camino.

Read More: I did the Camino solo and so can you! Get inspiration from me and four others who tackled the Camino solo.

Camino Packing List: Toiletries

Shampoo/Conditioner | Lotion | Sunscreen | Deodorant | Small Soap | Toothbrush | Toothpaste | Liquid Laundry Soap | Toiletry Bag

  • Hair: Small bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Small comb.
  • Body: Small body lotion, small SPF face lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, small bar of soap (in a small ziploc bag).
  • Teeth: travel size toothpaste, toothbrush.
  • Clothes: small container of Trek & Travel liquid laundry soap.
  • Toiletry bag: I like using Go Toobs for my liquids– they pack well and don’t leak. I also like a clear plastic, waterproof toiletry bag, like this one, which also comes with several smaller bags that you can use for first aid items or whatnot. They weigh hardly anything and the clear plastic makes it easy to find your stuff.

Tips for Toiletries

Take as much as you truly need but consolidate where you can. My hair requires a conditioner or it goes all Medusa. But you may be able to get away with less, like using a bar of solid shampoo for head and body. When I requested feedback on this list, one person suggested that I eliminate the laundry wash because many albuerge wash basins have soap. I’ve opted to leave it in because not ALL wash basins have soap and I shared mine with others.

Read More: If you are flying into or out of Madrid, check out this guide for a three day itinerary while you are there.

Spain Camino Sansol foot fountain
Foot care is so critical. I recommend finding an albuerge (like this one in Sansol), that provides a cooling fountain and red wine.

Camino Packing List: First Aid and Medical Supplies

Personal Medications | Blister Care | First Aid Tape | Anti-inflamatory | Anti-Bac | Glide | Lip Goop | Tissues

  • Personal medications.
  • Blister care: Compeed brand blister bandages. 1-pkg small, 1 pkg medium. Buy them now from Amazon or at any local farmacia when you arrive.
  • First aid tape. I use this to prevent blisters by taping my trouble spots and protecting them before blisters take hold. Metolius brand is used for rock climbing and it stays on, regardless of sweat.
  • 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.

Medical Supplies Tips

It is a wise idea to scan your prescriptions in case you need a refill on the road. Some people advise against Compeed and you do indeed need to read the label carefully and use them as directed. Keeping your feet clean and lubricated is the best way to avoid blisters in the first place, but I have very sensitive feet and despite my best efforts, they always pop up.

Have you considered travel insurance? It’s useful not only for trip cancellation but also has options for medical emergencies and injuries. Check out travel insurance plans with Allianz.

Camino Packing List: Electronics

Unlocked Smart Phone | Chargers | Ear Buds | Plug Adapter | iPad or Camera Optional

  • Unlocked smart phone. Wireless is easy to find on the Camino. If your carrier doesn’t offer international service, you may find it handy to get a local SIM card.
  • iPad (optional). It’s handy for reading books in the evening and can serve as a quasi laptop.
  • Chargers for the above. A plug adapter that works in Europe, like this compact one from Flight001. A 2-plug USB charger is useful for charging multiple devices at once, or for sharing a plug with a fellow pilgrim.
  • Ear buds.

Electronics Tips

If you are from the US, T-Mobile offers decent global data with all their plans. If not, then get a SIM at the Madrid airport or nearest large town that you transit. Protect yourself from data theft when you are on the road by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). You can find out more about VPNs here.

Read More: Read about why, despite my difficulties on the trail, why I went back for another round on the Camino.

Camino Packing List: Misc Essentials

Stuff Sacks | Sleeping Sack | Small Tote | Permethrin | Duct Tape | Small Knife | Pack Towel | Pillow Case/Wrap | Ziploc Bags | Gear Ties | Pilgrim Credential | Passport | Shell | Tokens From Home | Albuerge List | Camino Guide Book

  • 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 and they are waterproof.
  • Silk sleeping sack, such as this one from Sea to Summit…or a very light sleeping bag.
  • Pillow Case (or small wrap/scarf). This performs the multi purpose of a pillow case and something to sit on while eating on the fly.
  • 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 before you leave, you’ll prevent the little buggars from moving 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 Leatherman PS 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.
  • Passport.
  • Something with a shell emblem 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. 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. You can also pick up a copy at the SJPdP pilgrim office.
  • 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. In fact, load up on great reads with my Camino book list.
Spain Camino de Santiago backpacks
Find a pack that fits!

Read More: Find the right Camino app or Camino guidebook or app that’s right for you.

Camino Packing List: Choosing Your Pack

A Camino de Santiago packing list wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of backpacks. I took a 35 litre Gregory bag (which is the pink one in the picture above). A 35 litre pack sounds small but it held everything on this packing list with room for snacks, or rather, large wedges of Spanish cheese. I would have died on the Camino without the cheese. 

Here are some things to consider when you purchase your own pack:

  • Small pockets on the hip padding (good for storing the phone, an energy bar and pages from the guidebook.
  • Rain cover (or pack a cheap rain poncho).
  • Sized for your gender.
  • Secret interior pocket good for holding the iPad.
  • Easy to reach water bottle holder.

Tips for Managing Your Pack & Keeping it Light

Whichever bag you use, be sure to try it on first and do training walks with a fully loaded bag. You don’t want to find out on the Camino that it rubs you in the wrong spot. You can use our Camino training guide to get training tips and a 12-week planner.

Be committed to keeping your bag light. I took all of the above stuff and still managed to keep my pack around 14 lbs (6.4 kilos), before snacks and water. Pack it several times before you leave and each time, make a point of removing something.

If you already have 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.

Camino de Santiago pilgrim sculptures
I needed every BIT of my rain gear the day I walked past these pilgrim sculptures.

Resources for Camino Planning & Inspiration

El Camino de Santiago hiker Frances trail

Please let me know if you find other useful resources and I’ll add them.

I hope that you find this Camino de Santiago packing list useful. Please contact me or comment below if you have any questions.

Buen Camino!

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