Wondering what to carry for a Camino? At the bottom of this post is a list of what I packed for my 500-mile trek on the Camino Frances. It was originally in a spreadsheet; I’ve used them for decades in my work, so it came naturally to weigh each item I was intending to carry (in grams) and enter it on a spreadsheet. That way I could quickly see how close I was to my target weight and know how much it would change when I added or subtracted an item.

While my list is fairly detailed, here are a few more points about what I carried:

  • I started walking in very early spring–March 29–so I had to bring along warmer clothing.
  • The books I took along were The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook, itself a hefty tome, and The Village to Village Guide to the Camino Frances
  • My electronics bag included charging cables (and spares) for an iPhone and Sony camera, extra camera batteries, a Jockey 6000mAh power charger and a wall converter for European wall outlets
  • Since I am a writer, I brought along paper and pens for letters, plus a small journal
  • I carried a lightweight pair of hiking shorts for wearing when I laundered my hiking pants, which were themselves a pair of zip-off or “convertible” pants.
  • Everything was organized in my backpack into one of five stuff-sacks
  • I bought a wide-brimmed hat along the way, and a winter jacket. They’re not on my original list and weighed an additional 700 grams
  • I had a pair of warmer fleece gloves and another pair of “touch-screen” lightweight gloves. Both came in handy when walking with my poles in the cold/cool mornings.
  • I didn’t weigh my hiking poles, since I didn’t pack them. They are Hikelites from LL Bean and I highly recommend them.

In the end, what I carried was around 16 pounds, or 10% of my bodyweight. The list has everything in detail, which included what I was wearing (or carrying around my neck, such as a camera) so the total at the bottom appears to greater than 16 pounds. I picked up some more things along the way, such as the winter jacket and broad-brimmed hat, so in the end my pack was heavier than when I started. But then I lost 7 pounds while walking, which more than made up for the additional items!

I have an entire chapter in my book, The Walk of a Lifetime, about carrying my backpack, which includes more about how I decided what to bring or not to bring.

Here is a downloadable pdf of my packing list

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