You can carry whatever you want on the Camino but your feet and shoulders will pay a price for taking too much. Also, we all like to smell nice but there’s a difference between good hygiene and carrying an entire bathroom cabinet of toiletries on your back.
Anyway, here are just a few quick tips for walking the Camino de Santiago:
7 Tips for Walking the Camino de Santiago
1. Take Trail Shoes Instead of Hiking Boots
Take trail shoes, not hiking boots. Think of these like a hybrid between boots and trainers. Hiking boots are heavy and unnecessary for the road/tread you will be walking on for the Camino. As far as Camino tips go, your choice of shoes is probably the most important.
2. Choose a Proper Backpack
After using cheap backpacks on previous trips, I know the importance of having a purpose built backpack. More specifically, the fit is always a million times better and the padded straps on a good backpack will save you lots of unnecessary pain.
3. Bring Ear Plugs and Get Some Sleep
Ear plugs are essential for getting a good nights sleep. When you hear people complain about not being able to sleep in the busy Albergues, you should also find that they have no ear plugs. While I use “Macks”, I’m sure any brand or type will help block out the noise.
4. Buy Compede (Second Skin) Online Before Your Trip
Compede is very expensive all along the Camino. If you get blisters, there is nothing better for taking away the pain. Buy them on Amazon before your trip and carry as many as you want – they weigh nothing.
5. Know the Value and Importance of Hiking Poles
When you take a long distance walk with hiking poles, you will wonder why you never used them in the past. While they make the walk easier, they are also essential for avoiding injuries. For example, I hiked the first one thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail without hiking poles and incurred many persistent injuries. For the reminding 1,500 miles, I used hiking poles and the injuries went away.
6. Don’t Take Books and Guides for the Camino
Don’t carry any hardback books and this includes the Camino Guide. Download Kindle for your phone and the FREE Buen Camino App for your smartphone. Books are heavy.
7. Save the Toiletries for After the Camino
I’m all for hygiene but carrying a massive bag of toiletries is a mistake. As a rule, I think a travel-sized shampoo, toothpaste/brush and small stick of deodorant is enough to stay clean and lightweight.
Are you thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago? Check out my Camino de Santiago Vlog which has a video for every day on the journey between St Jean and Santiago de Compostela.