Two years ago I planned my first Camino Frances.. I had no idea what to expect, no idea what equipment I’d need and no idea if someone like me could accomplish an 800km walk. Since then I have walked the Camino Frances, the Camino Portuguese (from Porto) and the Camino Finisterra.
When researching what equipment/clothing I was shocked at how much people were spending, £180 on a backpack, £200-300 on a coat and the save again on boots.. I decided to try and find some cheaper kit and hope that the lower cost didn’t equate to lower quality. I’m by no means an expert on these things but with 3 caminos under my belt I thought I’d share my packing list for my upcoming walk in April.
Firstly my backpack. I carry a Quechua Mh500 40l from decathlon.
At £59.99 it has adequate space for my gear, was adjustable and comfortable, had a rain cover included and has a vented back mesh which holds the bag an inch or so off my back which I think is the main selling point. No one likes a sweaty back!
My jacket is the Quechua Mh400 again from decathlon £59.99.. (this year is the Mh500 but it looks exactly the same).
Light, breathable, zip-vented armpits, waterproof and good pockets. I managed to get a black one (I tend to dress as a ninja) but regardless of the slightly iffy colour pictured, the jacket performs really well.
Here’s another biggy, footwear.
Ask a hundred people for advice and you’ll get a hundred and fifty different answers.. I didn’t fancy boots so decided on Salomon speedcross Vario 2 gtx trail runners. £83.99 Amazon.
I love these shoes. Light, comfortable and waterproof. The only downside is that the sole is quite soft. This means an 800km walk pretty much wears out the tread.. is it false economy to buy a pair for each Camino? I guess that’s debatable but I’m willing to do so for the level of comfort they give.
Well that’s the expensive bits of of the way I’ll list the rest of my stuff just to give a rough guide to what you may need.
3x double layer socks £6 each
2x craghopper kiwi walking trousers £21 each
3 satin G-string things (I jest, just normal everyday underwear)
3x tech t-shirts store ownbrand £5each
Microfleece pullover £10
Craghopper softshell jacket (I prefer softshell to a fleece material.. it seems to keep the wind out better) £35
Headwear of some description, I like bandanas… Lots of people wore Tilly hats but I know for a fact I would lose it within hours. I also carried a snood which came in handy a couple of times.
And now for the other bits…
Phone battery bank £20 – I use a fair amount of battery, photos, blogging etc.. I leave battery on charge in the albergue which means I keep my phone with me.
Sleeping bag, I have a 10degree one.. nothing special but quite lightweight… £40 go outdoors UK
Hiking towel £8 a bit scary to use at first but fine once you get used to them..
Small first aid kit £10. I tape my feet to prevent blisters but they are still inevitable.. I also use toe tubes after finding out about them on my last walk..
Money belt £15. I take it everywhere with me. In the shower, in bed.. don’t scrimp on one that’s too cheap.
A few ziplock bags for keeping passport/spare cash/documents dry.
A few clothes pegs.
After buying and losing shower gel etc Randy gave me a bar of soap (I think the smell was getting to him) I used it for both body and clothes washing and kept it in a ziplock bag… Worked for me.
Obviously everyone has their own requirements but this kit works well for me.. I’ve seen people with thousands of pounds worth of kit and I’ve seen one chap in a pair of trainers, cut off jeans and a normal t-shirt carrying a plastic carrier bag with his stuff in! At less than £400 I guess it isn’t super cheap but none of the above gear has ever let me down so it seems a decent enough price.
I assume some of the gear I use won’t be available in your country so I guess you’ll have to look for something similar if any item has caught your eye. The main reason for this list was to give a rough idea of what you’ll need and to show that you don’t need to of the line kit to do a Camino.
Feel free to comment/message with any questions or suggestions and I can include them in a follow up post if necessary.
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