What was in my pack

When you follow enough pilgrims around all day, you start wondering what’s IN that pack they’re carrying. Want to know?

Here’s what I packed for the Camino de Santiago


  • Deuter Women’s Futura Vario 45L+10

Sleeping gear:

  • Sea2Summit pyrethrin-treated sleeping bag liner (I know)
  • Homemade blanket of silk fabric and Primaloft


  • 1 quick-dry sports bra
  • 4 pair quick-dry underwear
  • 1 pair silk leggings
  • 1 pair very thick Lorpen wool socks
  • 2 pair medium weight REI wool socks
  • 1 pair Injinji liner toe socks
  • 2 lightweight quick-dry running t-shirts
  • 1 black cotton t-shirt for evenings and bedtime
  • 2 REI running pants
  • 1 REI teal zip fleece
  • 1 Rick Steves rain poncho with hood
  • 1 Patagonia Nano-Puff jacket
  • 1 wool hat
  • 1 REI sun hat
  • 1 fleece gator (mostly used as an eyemask, but good for warmth)
  • 1 pair micro gloves
  • 1 pr Brooks Cascadia trail runners
  • 1 pr black Crocks


  • Printed email confirmation (arrival and departure) for RyanAir and AerLingus
  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport, ID, and bank cards
  • Driver’s license
  • Compostella (pilgrim passport)
  • Scallop shell
  • Camino de Santiago book
  • Cash
  • 2 credit/bank cards

Handy stuff/first aid

  • Utility tool with awesome scissors (lost this – sad!)
  • Keychain REI temperature gauge (in F and C) with mini compass
  • Keychain LED squeeze light (didn’t need anything brighter)
  • 1 16oz Nalgene bottle
  • 1 32oz collapsible Platypus bottle
  • Reusable fabric sack for groceries, laundry, and my carry on
  • 1 gallon Ziploc bag for first aid supplies
  • Antiseptic cream (small)
  • 3 sewing needles and case
  • Bandaids
  • Mefix blister wrap (awesome!!)
  • Ibuprofen (50ct)
  • Immodium (3ct)
  • Allergy pills (for sleeping) (30ct)
  • Calms Forte (100ct)
  • Cranberry pills (30ct)
  • Acidophilus pills (50ct)
  • Wellness formula (20ct)
  • Night guard and case
  • 10 pairs of earplugs
  • 6 feminine pads (bought more on the way)
  • Bandana (I wore this a lot, used as a towel, and almost cried when I lost it)
  • 15ft of line & 4 clothespins and 10 safety pins

Shower bag

  • 1 gal baggie for shower stuff
  • Washcloth-sized chamois for washing and drying my bod
  • Mini hair brush
  • 3 ponytail holders
  • Small shampoo/soap (picked up more at hotels)
  • Tiny “rock” deodorant
  • Small toothpaste
  • Toothbrush and flosser
  • Pink scrubbie (lost this en route — so sad!!)
  • 2 disposable razors

For the Spirit

  • 100-page art journal with:
    • List of emergency contact numbers
    • Friends’ addresses for post cards
    • 1 Pilot V5 black pen (THE BEST!)
    • Pentel ICY .7mm mechanical pencil
  • St. Christopher’s medal
  • Scallop shell necklace from Mom

What I chucked en route or sent home

I did discover that I didn’t need everything I thought I did. Humbling. The list below is what I gave away, tossed, or sent home:

  • long sleeve cotton t-shirt (too heavy and took too long to dry)
  • 1 pair thin wicking socks (didn’t use them as much as the toe socks)
  • 1 pr of thick wool socks (they were too thick for my swollen feet)
  • Fabric money belt (too awkward to use and it got all sweaty and gross)
  • Disposable camera (too heavy and didn’t use)
  • Sunglasses (the sunhat was cuter and worked fine keeping the sun out)
  • Powdered sunblock (a good idea that didn’t work)
  • Night guard case (my night guard got crushed on the way home – $400)
  • Silk long underwear top (too hot and too see-through)
  • Sucky, pain-inducing shoe inserts (my arches needed WAY more support)

What I wish I’d brought

Hindsight. 20/20. Hope this list helps future pilgrims. I wish I’d brought…

  • An Altus poncho/rainjacket. They’re sold in the pilgrim shop in Saint Jean. It’s like they’re made for the Camino
  • Crocks *with* holes (the no-holed variety Ibought made for sweaty feet – yuck)
  • Quick-dry sarong as a shower wrap/towel/skirt (I bought one in St Jean)
  • A small tube of decent 45+spf sunblock (bought some at the farmacia)
  • A few chewable antacids (some of those spaghetti dinners stayed with me too long)
  • A few more plastic clothespins
  • More Wellness Formula (I wish I’d taken one every day while walking. I might not have gotten so sick)
  • A lighter-weight wool sock (I found a great Lorpen pair in Carrion de los Condes and wore them the rest of the trip)
  • A second pair of Injinji toe socks (I think they’re why I had so little trouble with toe blisters)
  • Better shoe inserts (I thankfully found a winning solution at a farmacia in Burgos made by Dr Scholls. I might have had to stop walking otherwise).

It weighed HOW much?!

Since the contents varied from day to day depending on water and snacks (and what I’d recently lost), I never had an official weight. On average, it came in roughly around 15lbs without water or the clothes I was wearing. Not bad!

Want to see my updated list for my 2016 return pilgrimage?


14 thoughts on “What was in my pack

  1. I love how you continue to harvest and bring all of your experiences, insights and reflections into your life now.
    Your connection to the songs you shared beforehand are awesome.
    Thanks so much Jen for being in my life and for all the clarity you bring to my world.

  2. I’m impressed you could pack that much and not go crazy re-packing every day. I’m not a very strategic packer, but a stuffer. Maybe you can give me a packing lesson sometime πŸ™‚

    1. I’m not sure that I *didn’t* go crazy repacking every day. πŸ™‚

      Actually, the Deuter pack was really the best fit for me for two reasons: 1 because I used the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom for my toiletries, first aid kit, and snacks – making them easy to access. 2. This pack ALSO has one of the coolest features: it zips open from the front like a duffel bag. This prevents having to access everything from the top (which IMHO is a HUGE hassle).

      Not surprisingly, I saw a LOT of these packs on the Camino. To the point that I commented they should be the official sponsor of the Camino. Funny side note: It’s a German company which meant that occasionally someone would look at the make of my pack from behind address me in German. Ich spreche kein Deutsch!

  3. How did you like the Brooks shoes? I am leaving June 9, and am all over the board with my shoes. I typically hike in a lighter shoe, but wondering if it will be enough for the Camino? Get so many conflicting reports on shoes. Thanks for any input you might have on your shoes. Also, would you have wished for a hiking sandal? Have a pair of Chaco’s, but so heavy.

    1. Hi! So nice to meet you (I love your About page!). Like you, I was all over the map with a lot of things before I left — and shoes were among them. πŸ™‚

      I loved my trail runners. Here’s why: They dry quickly overnight (with newspaper inside) if they get wet, they are bouncy on pavement (about 50% of the Camino is paved), and they are flexible. Boots seemed too clunky and heavy, not to mention tough on joints and shins on pavement, but you’ll see everything on the Camino. Trust your instincts. For instance, if you know you have weak ankles or are prone to twisting them, get a shoe that will protect them.

      A couple of other shoe tips:

      You many need a different insert than the stock one that’s included. I had trouble with my tendons getting tired and very sore, so I purchased something better in Spain at a pharmacy.

      Whatever you do, choose your shoes soon so that you can wear them in and work up good callouses well before you go. You don’t want to be doing that *on* the Camino and discover they’re not right for your feet.

      Purchase shoes a few sizes larger than you normally wear to account for the swelling that happens after days of walking (you just can’t simulate that by walking a few times a week). I never imagined I’d fill a man’s size 11 shoe, but I did!

      I’m not a hiking sandal girl, but I did meet many people who wore them. Personally, I’m in favor of one pair of shoes for walking and flipflops or Crocs for the evening. Any more than that is excess weight (imo).

      Helpful, I hope?

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