Thursday, 18 July 2013

Packing for the Camino

On what fun this is! How do I get from Rorschach to Finisterre walking 24 kilometres a day over a 100 days with everything I need in my backpack? Yikes!

Camino veterans, world travellers and anyone else with good ideas...your comments and suggestions for stuff that can be left behind or missing items (please no!) are welcome!

First it's clear carry the lowest weight possible. The rule of thumb seems to be about 10% of body weight or in my case about 9kgs. Seems to me 10kg is a nicer if I gained about 22 lbs. in this last week the formula works! Nah...probably not a good idea..Will try to keep my weight where it is and carry less.

Another key decision is whether to try and take my backpack as carryon luggage or not. After reading many comments on this I have very reluctantly concluded, due to size restrictions, that I must check my backpack in a box or canvass bag (for protection) and take my chances. All key documents, medicines, electronic equipment are going on the plane of course. 

Worst comes to worst I will go extremely light on my Camino i.e. no change in clothes should my bag go AWOL in transit!

Here's my way of trying to meet the magic 10%:

1) Research, research and more research - reading many packing lists from Camino veterans

2) Made the critical first choice on footwear and decided to go with a lightweight trail shoe from Patagonia which is a cross between a hiking boot and a running shoe. I will be covering a lot of varied terrain including long stretches of road walking so this seems like the way to go.

3) Cannibalize the various packing lists and coming up with a plan to ship two restocking boxes at key points in the journey. My Camino is 3 times the normal length...what are you thinking Guy? Thankfully two hostel owners have agreed to hold my stuff prior to my arrival...they will get a small box of Canadian maple cream cookies...a little treat for their help!

4) Buying ultralight quick drying (read very expensive) clothing, and other recommended stuff wherever possible i.e.:

 - world's best underwear direct from New Zealand - honest truth!  
 - world's best foot and anti chaffing cream from New Zealand (small country quality)
 - world's best socks (1,000 mile guarantee without blisters - sure!) from England
 - world's best hat and zip off pants with lifetime guarantee from Tilley in Canada)
 - top rated backpack, rain gear etc. etc. -$$$$$$$$

5) Weighing everything on a postal scale - never thought I would ever do something like this...feels silly but necessary! My normal approach is to simply stuff everything in a bag and go!

Now that I have the perfect packing list let's add up the numbers...hmm...let's try that again "ce n'est pas possible!!!" - 11.4 kgs!!!

Back to the list and hack and slash as I can. Net weight is 9.5 kgs which is a compromise between the 9 and 10kgs...I like that.

My packing list is shown below including my boxes for Le Puy en Velay and Saint Jean Pied de Port both in France. A few pictures...

All my stuff unpacked

Boxes destined for Le Puy en Velay, St. Jean Pied de Port

Packed and ready to go!     

Final (?) Camino Packing List

Box for Le Puy en Velay
    * Silic 15 cream 75 g x 2
    * Set of rubber feet for trekking poles 
    * Canadian pilgrim credential
    * 2013 Miam Miam Dodo guide
    * Permethrin bed bug spray (initial spraying good for 6 weeks or so)
    * Dental floss x 2
    * Sunscreen Neutrogena 55 SPF 88 ml x 2
    * Canadian small plastic lapel pins
    * Ligett's soap bar
    * Band aid blister cushion
    * Goob tubes 2oz x 2 with CampSuds
    * Toothpaste - 22 ml
    * Maple Leaf Cookies - gift for safekeeping box

Box for St. Jean Pied de Port
    * Silic 15 cream 75 g x 2
    * Set of rubber feet for trekking poles
    * Credential del Peregrine
    * 2013 A village to village guide to hiking the Camino to Finisterre 
    *  Dental floss x 2   
    * Sunscreen Neutrogena 55 SPF 88 ml x 2
    * Canadian small plastic lapel pins
    *  Ligett's soap bar
    *  Bandaid blister cushion
    * Toothpaste - 22 ml
    * Toothbrush
    * Goob tubes 2oz x 2 with CampSuds
    * Gloves
    * Light weight long underwear - REI
    * Mountain HardWear Toque
    * Maple Leaf Cookies - gift for safekeeping box

Backpack Pac king List - Grand Total without Medication - 9,495 grams

Major equipment - 1,776 grams
   * Backpack -Osprey Kestrel 48 litres - 1,580 grams
   * Black Diamond collapsible trekking poles - no weight included as not in pack
   * Water bladder 3 litre - 196 grams

Sleeping equipment - 913 grams
   * Ultralight dry sack - 10 litres (Outdoor Research) - 44 grams
   * Mountain Hardware thermic micro sleeping bag  - 723 grams
   * Silk sleeping sack - 146 grams (can you believe it purple why not blue !!!)

Clothing in backpack - 1,668 grams
    * Double dry bag - 10 litres  - 101 grams
    * Silk weight underwear Earth Sea Sky - 2 pairs -145 grams
    * Long sleeve micro fibre shirt -Asics - 201 grams
    * Patagonia shorts - 243 grams
    * Adidas lightweight sandals - 295 grams
    * Socks - 1000 mile fusion x 1 - 120 grams
    * Socks - Icebreaker Merino wool short socks x 2 - 56 grams
    * Tilley short sleeve shirt - 210 grams
    * Lightweight Fleece - 297 grams

Clothing on plane - no weight counted
   * Tilley long pants zip off 
   * Socks - Icebreaker Merino wool short socks 
   * Patagonia walking shoes
   * Tilley short sleeve shirt
   * Silk weight underwear Earth Sea Sky    
   * Tilley hat
   * Belt

Rain wear  - 659 grams 
   * Gore tex ultra light Arc'Teryx jacket - 404 grams
   * Gore tex ultra light Arc'Teryx rain pants - 255 grams
Other  - 921 grams
   * Ultralight dry sack - 5 litres (Outdoor Research) - 39 grams
   * Light day pack - 261 grams
   * Canadian Company of Pilgrims badge - on backpack
   * Camino de Santiago forum badge - on backpack
   * Spare shoe laces x 2 - 35 grams
   * Ear plugs in small case - 16 grams
   * Canadian luggage tag for backpack - 32 grams
   * Spare glasses and case - 92 grams
   * Sunglass fit overs - 27 grams
   * Head lamp - 91 grams
   * Quick dry towel - 62 grams 
   * Small foot rub ball - 62 grams
   * Set of rubber feet for trekking poles - 22 grams
   * Pen - 7 grams
   * Small paper notebook - 47 grams
   * Camino shell (on backpack) - 48 grams
   * Carabiners small x 3 - 21 grams
   * Knife, fork, spoon set - 43 grams
   * Gear Tie - reusable 12 inch x 2 - 11 grams
   * Gear Tie - reusable 6 inch x 2 - 5 grams
   * Small Gimli lucky stone - no weight to leave at designed pilgrim traditional place
   * Small lock with key

Medical supplies - 613 grams
   * Mesh bag - 61 grams
   * Dental Floss - 16 grams
   * Toothpaste - 22ml - 38 grams
   * Toothbrush, plastic case - 53 grams
   * Band Aid blister cushion x 2 packs of 8, other Bandaids - 33 grams
   * Silic 15 cream (footcare, anti chaffing) 75 g x 2 - 161 grams
   * Sunscreen Neutrogena 55 SPF 88 ml x 1 - 108 grams
   * Polysporin 15 g - 18 grams
   * Iodine tincture 25 ml - 32 grams
   * Elastic tensor bandage - 25 grams
   * Waterproof adhesive tape- 32 grams
   * Needle in first aid paper - 5 grams
   * Moleskin (2 small sheets) - 6 grams
   * After Bite itch eraser - 20 grams
   * Alcohol tampons - 5 grams 

Medication and prescriptions - 200 grams

Quick fix - 200 grams
   * Safety pins - 1 gram
   * Eyeglass repair kit - 8 grams
   * Fingernail clippers - 19 grams
   * Toenail clippers - 35 grams
   * Small fold up scissors - 27 grams  
   * Norwex eye cloth - 8 grams
   * Kleenex - 3 small packs - 23 grams
   * Swiss Army Knife - 79 grams

Washing - 270 grams
   * Eagle Creek waterproof bag - 40 grams
   * Goob tubes 2oz x 2 with CampSuds - 104 grams
   * JR Liggetts soap x 2, soap holder - 126 grams

Electronics - 1,595 grams
    * Eagle Creek waterproof bag - 56 grams
    * Bad Elf Pro,adaptor and user guide - 131 grams
    * JT telephone, adaptor, User guide and User manual - 177 grams
    * Grounded Europe Adapter plug - 42 grams 
    * Apple mini adaptor - 41 grams
    * Apple Mini iPad with Otter box - 630 grams
    * Ear buds and case - 51 grams
    * Camera Canon Powershot, case, charger, SD card reader - 306 grams
    * Travel power bar 3 outlets - 161 grams

 Important papers - 680 grams
    * Innate document pouch - 43 grams
    * Via Gebennensis yellow guide book - 90 grams
    * Via Gebennensis Topo FF Randonnee guide book - 174 grams
    * Via Jacobi Rossolis guide book - 244 grams
    * Canadian Company of Pilgrims credential x 2   - 96 grams
    * Passport laminated copies - 8 grams
    * Air Canada flight information copy
    * Copy front and back do debit and credit cards
    * Telestial phone card with information
    * Accommodation (laminated) - booked and top 3 in Spain -25 grams

Money belt - no weight counted 
    * Start up Swiss Francs
    * Start up Euros
    * Two debit cards (in case one get's eaten up by machine)
    * Credit card
    * Passport

Did not make the cut and banished to the sidelines - Total 1,850 grams
    * REI long pants lightweight zip off pants - 408 grams
    * T shirts Under Armour micro fibre x 1 - 144 grams
    * Insult a Day daughter Claire's Xmas gift - 108 grams(will enter on iPad notes)
    * Canadian small plastic lapel pins - 313 grams (Note this may return)
    * Clothes line - 37 grams     
    * Travel pillow inflatable - 67 grams  
    * Small clip on night lite for backpack - 17 grams   
    * Sunscreen Neutrogena 55 SPF 88 ml x 1 - 108 grams   
    * Toilet paper roll in ziplock - 211 grams     
    * Voltaren emulgen ache reliever- 57 grams    
    * Goob tubes 2oz x 1 with CampSuds - 1 04 grams
    * JR Liggetts soap x 1 - 90 grams    
    * Socks - 1000 mile fusion x 1  - 120grams   
    * Dental Floss x 1 - 16 grams   
    * Small flashlight - 50 grams


  1. Hey Guy,

    Nowhere near how light you need to be on your trip, our motorcycle trips are also constrained by space. Your packing inventory is impressive.

    I am not familar with the Eagle creek bag for washing but last trip we reduced the amount of clothing we had to carry by 50% with the addition of this portable washing machine "The Scrubba" ( MEC has them in stock usually. We found it to be the most compact, durable, and lightweight option.

    1. Hi Claudio,

      Hope the list holds up however I will adjust as I learn! Thanks for the tip on " The Scrubba". Will have a look at it for sure.


  2. Guy:
    This sounds like a great trip and I will be following along with your blog.
    I did the Camino Frances in 2008, so I am not as gutsy as you. Your list looks well thought out. I have a couple of suggestions that you may want to consider.
    1- copies of IDs, passports, cedit card etc.- I would suggest scanning all this information and putting it all in pdf format in an encrypted file and email it to yourself. This way you can get a copy at any computer, but do not risk someone finding it in your gear and stealing it. Plus it reduces your weight.
    2- consider replacing your spare shoes strings with a 20ft length of cord. I found this very valuable as a wash line on our Camino. It can always be a makeshift shoelace.

    Best of luck to you and I will be following the blog. Enjoy the experience.

    1. Rambler,

      Great to hear from someone who has some real experience...appreciate your comments. Great suggestions on the ID...will do this for sure and on the cord which serves multi purposes.


  3. Hi Guy,
    I meant to respond earlier, but it took me a few days to read the entire blog post on my iPhone ... I am on a PC now and it is much easier to read. Although still a pretty impressive list.

    Unfortunately, I cannot give you any advice on what to pack ... I usually pack much more on a weekend trip than what you have for 100 days.

    I did however notice that you do not have Snickers bars, Doritos chips, Cans of cashews, Granola Bars or for that matter anything to eat! Yikes ... I can barely survive with the stuff I have at my desk!

    BTW, not sure if you have planned for it, but normally for me, running shoes last for about 500-800 Miles. I assume that you are expecting the hiking shoes to last the entire journey?

    You might also see if you can get PDF versions of the various user guides to save your self some weight (for the Snickers bars) ... you might store a copy on the iPAD or email a copy to yourself. Do you have enough space on the iPad?

    Oh one more serious thing ... hopefully your Passport holder and Credit Card holders have RF blockers. Sneaky people will use RF readers to get this information. My son had his Visa card number stolen on his trip and ended up without a Visa Card. He also had so early issues when trying to use his debit card and had to try to phone long distance (collect) to clear things up. So make sure that Dawn (or someone at home) can talk to the Credit Card and Bank people in case (and hopefully can check for fraudulent use).

    This "Way Long Walk" is going to be exciting to follow along.

    Greg A.

  4. Oh and whatever happened to the Basmati Rice?

    1. Greg,

      Thanks for your comments...always good for a laugh!

      As for the snickers etc. I would really like to follow your lead however am concerned about the weight...figure 25% of what you have at your desk equals about a 1 kg.

      I have been told that one pair of Patagonia trail shoes should be good enough...if not I have my Adidas shower sandals or could go barefoot.

      I have followed your suggestion to PDF user guides and extended this to Camino route guides....going to trust the technology. Hope it's been system architected to your standards!

      Overall I have reduced the weight to 9 kg's or a 500 gram reduction on...exactly on target!

      All personal information I.e passport, banking has been encrypted as well.

      On the basmati was sealed in ziplock bags and is being slowly consumed for supper.

      Thanks for the comments and don't be shy making new ones...I know this may be hard for you.


    2. 500 grams ... you can take 10 snickers bars ... that might be good for about 2Km (or till the next store)!

      Maybe you should consume the rice faster, so that you weigh more and thus can pack more!