Preparing for our Pilgrimage

Osprey backpack with Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil View Dry Sacks

Coming up this Fall, my husband Rich and I will go on a pilgrimage in Spain for 5 weeks. We’ll be walking the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. As preparation for the trip I have read a number of books and explored as many forum posts as possible to come up with a packing list. The ideal goal is to keep the weight of your backpack to 10% or less of your body weight. For me, that means I should be aiming a 13lb pack when fully loaded.  To that end I have been gathering and acquiring items for several months, so now I am going to share what I think I’m going to end up packing.



The main goal for the clothes is to not take more than is needed, to dress in layers and for everything to be wicking and quick-dry.

  • 1 sun hat
  • 3 wool socks
  • 3 sock liners
  • 2 sports bras
  • 3 ExOfficio underwear
  • 2 wicking short-sleeve shirts
  • 2 pairs of long hiking pants
  • 1 mid-weight wool long sleeve shirt
  • 1 pareo
  • 1 fleece pullover
  • 1 wind-proof, water-resistant jacket
  • 1 silk long underwear (shirt and tights, for layering)
  • something cotton to sleep in? *
  • belt *

*Not pictured



  • Osprey Women’s 46L Kyte backpack
  • Western Mountaineering Megalite sleeping bag ($$$)
  • silk sleeping bag liner
  • rain pants
  • flip flops (didn’t make the final cut)
  • Chaco Z/Volv sandals (open toe so can be worn with socks too)
  • Brooks Caldera trail running shoes
  • day pack (didn’t make the final cut)
  • Bluefield backpacking rain poncho *
  • 20L dry sack (in image at top of page)
  • 13L dry sack (in image at top of page)

*Not pictured


  • travel size bottle of of shampoo
  • deodorant
  • baby wash cloth
  • travel size bottle of liquid face/body soap
  • disposable shaver
  • 2 travel toothpaste
  • travel tooth brush
  • travel-size floss
  • tweezers
  • nail clippers
  • foot glide
  • travel size sunscreen
  • intense moisturizer
  • small hairbrush
  • head wrap/band
  • bandana
  • sleep mask*
  • ear plugs*

*Not pictured


First Aid Kit

  • self-adhesive ace bandage*
  • assorted band-aids
  • individual triple antibiotic packets
  • tube of Advil caplets
  • 2 safety pins
  • lip balm
  • 2 sudafed
  • 2 anti-diarrhea tablets
  • Q-tips
  • Pepto Bismol tablets
  • glasses cleaning cloth
  • Compeed blister treatment (available in the US at Walgreens)

*Not pictured


Laundry Kit

  • elastic twisted clothes line
  • sink stopper
  • fingernail brush (for scrubbing clothes/shoes)
  • Trek and Travel laundry wash
  • large quilters safety pins (for pinning clothes to a line or a backpack)
  • 5 wooden clothespins (apparently there is frequently a shortage)


  • iphone *
  • super light day pack/shopping bag *
  • lightweight glove liners
  • baby wash cloth
  • core-less toilet paper
  • small microfiber travel towel
  • money pouch (for credit cards/passport)
  • super lightweight journal
  • whistle
  • binder clips
  • sewing kit
  • hand sanitizer
  • hand wipes
  • spork
  • pen
  • carabiners (including “S” type)
  • head lamp
  • 2 port USB charger
  • 10 ft charging cord
  • duct tape*
  • prescription eye glasses*
  • prescription sunglasses*
  • guide book*
  • very small zippered change purse (for daily cash)*
  • gear tie (for tying backpack to chairs as a theft-deterrent)*
  • a stone from home to leave at Cruz de Ferro*

*Not pictured

**Orange massage ball didn’t make the cut. Too heavy.


  • hiking poles
  • cross-body purse (for guide book, money, glasses, grocery bag, and phone when not carrying backpack)
  • printed name and address labels to share with folks we meet

Items to acquire there

  • bug spray
  • pilgrim scallop shell

Items I had to eliminate

  • hiking capri pants
  • heavier fleece (swapped it out for a lighter one)
  • a 4th pair of wool socks
  • ear warmers
  • massage ball (supposedly great to prevent plantar fasciitis, but too heavy)
  • flip flops for the shower
  • a self-packing day pack (was just too heavy — replaced with a very lightweight string bag)
  • built-in pack cover (removed it since I’ll have the backpacker’s poncho)
  • extra straps on the bottom of the backpack

In conclusion — my pack is weighing in at 18 lbs, including the clothes and shoes I will be wearing on my body. It feels quite manageable but I may be able to have my husband carry a few of the items that are for the both of us. Most of the weight is in the backpack, liquids, toiletries, some of which will lighten as we walk along. Things I could still eliminate — rain pants, sleeping bag liner, some toiletries, clothespins, gloves? To be continued…


  1. Pilgrim Passports Have Arrived! – Downshift Musings | 18th Aug 17

    […] my packing pretty well wrapped up (See Preparing for our Pilgrimage) I’ve been doing some more practice walking, which has taught me a thing or […]

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