Camino Gear Review

This is my gear video on the gear I took on the Camino Frances, June-July 2018.   This pack weighed 12.5 lbs, and I had clean clothes every day, washing clothes every 4 or 4 days. Items that I inadvertently left out of the video: hat, although with the umbrella it was not as much needed, and a pack rain cover, which is built into the Osprey pack. 

As important as what I took is what I didn't take, such as these items: 

hiking poles. I would never go on a backpack without hiking poles, but on generally level well maintained trails or pavement roads, I don't use poles. I'd rather have an umbrella for rain and hot sun. 

sandals: my shoes were comfortable enough for wearing in the evening, and sandals were not needed for blisters, since I didn't get any. 

sleeping bag: not needed in July

sleeping bag liner: not needed in hotels, where we mostly stayed. 

inflatable pillow. even alburgues provide pillows

rain pants: if you wear rain gear you get wetter from the inside than from the sprinkles. If you use an umbrella you can stay dry and cool hiking without rain gear. 

laptop, ipad: personal preference

tripod: I decided to do without a light tripod. 

warm hat: not needed in July

gloves: it never got cold enough to need them

fleece / pile: my down jacket is lighter and warmer than fleece

money belt: if you wear it outside your clothes, you are saying "steal this". If you wear it inside your clothes it gets wet from sweat. 

bug spray: we just didn't see many bugs 

wind breaker: my rain coat is a wind breaker

wallet: I put my money and cards in my pack or in a zippered pocket in my pants

Stuff Ciera would add to the list of worthwhile gear:   

Items that I'm SO glad I packed:

+ Tiger Balm. I used this cream on my feet when they were really sore after a long day of walking. It's a warming/ numbing cream, which feels SO good on tired feet or sore muscles.

+ One set of 'clean clothes'. I had one set of clothes that I'd only wear after I'd showered. It was wonderful to have one pair of light shorts, a sportsbra, and a top that I'd only wear while I was clean. I'd sleep in this outfit or I'd do laundry in it.

+ Buff. Loved having a sturdy headband to keep my hair off my face and neck, plus it doubled as a sleeping mask when needed. Here's a link to the one I used

+ Laundry Detergent Strips. I got a pack of 100 detergent strips, each one is about 2" x 2", as thick as a sheet of paper, and I brought about 12 strips on the trip. They were minuscule and added very little weight to my pack. It was nice not to have to worry about finding detergent when we did laundry in bigger cities. Here's a link to the detergent I used

+ Extra stuffsacks/ packing cubes. I brought maybe two extra stuffsacks, which were nice to have to hold snacks and dirty clothes. Having extra stuffsacks allowed me to be more organized and keep track of my things.
+ Patagonia capilene base layer long sleeve. This top was perfect for chilly mornings and was light enough to be comfortable during hot days. It is quick drying, so washing it was also easy. Here's a linkto the base layer I wore

+ Compact backpack for evenings. It was nice to have a 'purse' when we'd explore towns during the evenings. It weights very little and took up barely any space in my pack.

+ Tevas/ a back-up pair of 'hiking boots'. Once I got blisters it was nice to have a different shoe option for a couple of days, alleviating some pain with my blisters.

+ Fitbit: I used my fitbit to track how far we'd gone throughout the day. It also keeps tracks of calories burned and heart rate. 

+ Polarized sunglasses. In the hot afternoons where the sun was BRIGHT, it was nice to have really high quality sunglasses.

+ Spare phone charger. On days that we took lots of photos and used the map app, I went through my battery quickly. It was nice to have a back up so I wouldn't have to choose between taking photos and mapping out the route.

Things that I packed and didn't need to:

+ I packed way too much underwear. I wasn't sure of the laundry situation, so I packed underwear for every day. There were plenty of opportunities to do laundry throughout the trail. Depending on how comfortable you are with relying on the laundry at albergues, no need to pack tons of underwear.

+ Shower shoes. We wound up staying in nice private rooms, which didn't require the use of shower shoes. 

Things I wish I would've packed:

+ Repellent specific to bed bugs. I had a minor bed bug incident at an albergue and was wishing that I'd packed a strong bed bug repellent, if only for some peace of mind. Luckily, the next town we visited had a washer so I was able to wash everything on high heat, but it didn't help the itchy bug bites and the unsettling feeling that maybe the bed bugs got into my pack and came with me to Santiago...