Camino a Finisterre – A definitive packing list
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will already know that I am returning to Spain on September 1st to walk the Camino a Finisterre. This route takes me from Santiago de Compostela, where I will see plenty of pilgrims finish their own Caminos, to Finisterre, and then further north to Muxia. I have set aside 5 walking days and that will be more than enough to reach the edge of the world and the sea.
However, the point of this post is to give you a few details about what will be in my pack for this particular journey. My previous Caminos varied from 2 to 3 weeks, but as this trip is relatively shorter, you may ask will that have an effect on my packing list. The answer is no as I have always kept my kit down to a minimum, regardless of the length.
So here goes:
- Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro 35:45 Backpack – What I will be carrying each day. I have worn this pack on two previous Caminos now and love it so much that there is no point making a change. It may actually be too big as it is really a 45l pack but as long as I am not filling up this empty space I will be ok. The pack I own is blue and I have the Irish Camino Society patch sewn on the front for good measure. The straps are ideal and there is a great front zip for easy access. I would recommend this. There is actually a great review of it on YouTube here.
- Sea to Summit Cotton Sleeping Liner – One of the great advantages of walking a short Camino is you see the weather forecast for that week before you go and you can get an indication if there will be cold weather in store. This liner was bought for that. I will be using it alongside my sleeping bag or not at all. And hey! I’m going to Galicia in September; it’s not a case that it will be warm. I have tried this a few times and it’s a good buy.
- Ayacucho Lite 700 Sleeping Bag – Pictured on the left above, the Ayacucho Lite 700 has been voted one of the top 10 sleeping bags for backpackers in the Independent. So, that was enough reason to buy it. Ideal for backpacking across warm countries, it packs down to take up just 2.5 litres of space in your pack and weighs just 680 grams. As I have said above, if the weather is foul, i’ll bring along the liner!
- Brooks Cascadia 10 Trail Shoes – Another piece of kit that can make or break your Camino. I actually won these in a raffle and have loved them ever since. I am definitely bringing them along. It’s worth pointing out that no matter what shoe / boot you choose to wear, that you are comfortable with them.
- Bridgedale Men’s Coolfusion Run Speed Demon Socks x 3 – I’ve toyed around with socks since I took my first steps on the Camino back in 2011. Every year a better pair is manufactured or better material is used. I’ve worn nylon socks (never again!), wool (nope!) and last year, 1000m socks. However, I seem to have found a sock that makes my feet and me happy! I’ll bring 3 of these along.
- Under Armour Original Boxerjock 6 Inch Extended Boxer Brief x 3 – Another piece of underwear that doesn’t need any introduction. These have caused me no problems at all.
- Craghopper Mens Basecamp Convertible Zip Off Trousers – The ultimate Camino item of clothing! Most pairs of convertibles have pockets further down the leg to put money in, or, your credencial, let’s say. They are extremely handy, and I rarely wear them with the lower section on. I will also bring along a spare pair of shorts in the event of a downpour and they need to dry.
- Craghopper Kiwi Mens Long Sleeved Shirt – I wore a Craghoppers shirt on my 2015 Camino and am bringing the same one along this time. It is perfect for warm days and perfect for not-so-warm days. The collar saved my neck many a time last year. Plus if it is too cold, you can layer with a fleece or a wind breaker. And it’s lightweight, which is the main thing!
- Helly Hansen Lightweight Fleece (below) – For those cold mornings! I’m a big fan of Helly Hansen and wear their fleeces anywhere I can, the Camino included. But seriously, a good lightweight fleece is essential.
- Helly Hansen Men’s Driftline Polo Shirt – Cobalt Blue (above)- Another item that will be making a re-appearance from last May. I loved this polo. It’s superquick-dry and lightweight. And no, I don’t have a “thing” with the colour blue 🙂
- Beechfield Baseball Hat – For the sun!
- Rain gear – A lot of people choose to buy a rain jacket, but I am planning for the worst. I have an Altus Atmospheric Poncho added to my kit from last year. I am bringing a pair of waterproof Half Leg Gaiters which you can buy in most outdoor stores. The key here is keeping your feet dry and not getting blisters, or flu for that matter.
So that’s the clothing part of my kit in detail. Of course, there are a few other things that need to be mentioned.
Electronics – I try to avoid the over use of electronics and just use my Samsung phone to blog and take photos. I also intend to bring along my Fitbit Charge. Of course, this is all optional. I met people with Kindles, iPads, etc..I have no idea how they charged them all.
Blister kit & First Aid – I usually carry a small selection for ailments all in a dry bag. If you do need more, there will be a pharmacy close by. On this Camino, I am taking Blistermedic and Bodyglide Anti Chafing stick for feet, Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army Pocket Tool, a Needle and thread and 5-10 Ibuprofen tablets. If you take medication, make sure you carry a copy of your prescription in your backpack.
Toiletries – Again, keep everything to a minimum as there are plenty of stores in Spain. Travel size toothpaste and soap lasts a while. While last May, I brought All Purpose Soap by Lifeventure, I will bring Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap. It is an all-in-one soap. It is highly recommended so I thought I would try it out. A microfibre quick dry towel is essential also. So on this Camino, I will be taking: Osprey carry on washbag, Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Bar Soap, Antiseptic wipes, Trespass Antibacterial Microfibre Towel – Quick dry, Toothbrush and travel size toothpaste, Disposable razors x 2
Side Bag While Walking – A side bag comes in many different shapes and sizes. There are large bum bags with holders for water containers, over-the-shoulder bags, while some pilgrims don’t find it necessary to carry one. I prefer an over-the-shoulder bag that has room for money, my phone, my passport and credencial…the important things!
And the others that I can’t place under any category:
Sandals – when not walking
5-6 breakfast snack bars – for the morning
Safety Pins x 6 – great for hanging up clothes for drying.
Plastic bag for rubbish
4-5 Different coloured dry bags for inside your rucksack– various sizes
Flents Ear plugs x 1
Light My Fire Spork
One piece of kit that I have not mentioned, however, is left until last. It’s the humble scallop shell. You see, after the death of Denise Thiem, a memorial tree was planted outside of Astorga. I won’t pass this tree but I’ve been told that if I bring along the shell to the Pilgrim House in Santiago, they will do for me. So in a way, that is the most important piece of kit for this trip.