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Camino de Santiago
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Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Camino de Santiago on 04/05/2010 12:32:59 MDT Print View

Okay so since deciding to hike the PCT this year things took a turn. Long story short, I will be hiking the Camino de Santiago and some California sections of the PCT instead this summer.

I have been trying to find different gear lists online for the Camino and they vary greatly since many who walk it have never backpacked before, or do not practice ultralight.

My gear list is also complicated by the fact that I will do a short 1 month tour of Europe after the Camino and Id like to not look like a homeless tramp and maybe even attract the opposite sex so I am not sure about my clothing options.
Anyways, here it goes.

Big 3:
Pack- SMD Swift '10
Sleeping- Golite Ultra, Reg Ridgerest cut in half and used as pack frame, REI LW MTS top and bottom
Shelter- SMD Gatewood Cape
Comments: Swift will be plenty big. Ultra is compact and plenty warm for indoor use. Ridgerest is unlikely to come out of pack by necessary if I need to sleep on the floor or outdoors. The Gatewood will be primarily my rain gear, just happens to be a shelter if needed as well, perfect.

synthetic tee
running shorts/Exofficio pants (can pass for khakis)
Patty R1 flash pullover
Patty Houdini
MH Windstopper Beanie (overkill)
Exofficio boxer-briefs (2)
Wrightsock Doublelayer socks (3 total)
Montrail Mountain Masochists
Vibram FF KSO (for evening to give my feet a break from shoes, yes heavier than sandals)
Comments: I could probably take less clothes, but this is a very comfortable set-up.

SP Trek 700 (mug will come in handy right?)
Ti Spoon (just in case?)
Usual stuff such as headlamp, first aid, etc.
Canon Digital Elph, Ipod Mini and chargers+plug converter

Anything important missing?

Any advice in any regard will be greatly appreciated. Thousands do this each summer with little to no experience so I am not worried at all but and optimized gear list allows for greater enjoyment of the trip. Thank you in advance for your input, especially those of you who have travelled internationally, since I have no experience in this regard.

Edited by dharmabumpkin on 04/05/2010 12:33:38 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Camino de Santiago on 04/05/2010 12:38:21 MDT Print View


I've been to Santiago de Compostela. Wonderful town with a lot of medieval atmosphere! I flew in though -- didn't hike -- I wasn't a hiker back then. Would love to do the hike someday...

Back to your gear list. Some random thoughts:

1. No trekking poles? May be hard to set up your SMD Cape as a shelter.

2. Seems a mis-match with the Patagonia R1 pullover and a beanie. If it's cold enough to warrant a beanie, the R1 will probably be insufficient. But if you think the combo of base layer, R1 and shell will suffice -- then it's likely to warm to need a beanie...

3. Seems to me you will be relying on shelters (good choice) -- so lose the titanium mug and spork. Get plastic ones when you arrive. Why? Less things to carry with you for the month after your hike. Do carry a 20oz. lexan water bottle. Great for both hiking and hosteling.

4. SMD Swift -- If I were you, I would do everything possible to avoid checking in this pack. Carry it on when flying. That means either check your blade and hiking poles separately (using a cardboard postal tube) -- or maybe just get a cheap blade and walking pole locally.

Edited by ben2world on 04/05/2010 12:58:58 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Camino de Santiago on 04/05/2010 12:46:09 MDT Print View

Sorry I can't help too much, but I was wondering what you think of the SMD Swift. I've got one and had a thread going on it, but I'm just curious as to what others think of it.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Camino de Santiago on 04/05/2010 13:00:29 MDT Print View

Not taking trekking poles simply because of the hassle of flying with them. Ive seen your post about the poster-tube checked bag and maybe I'll have to reconsider. I thought a hiking staff purchased along the way would suffice. It also comes back to the fact that I will be visiting other touristy places and dont really want to be lugging the poles.

Also, I really like the Swift. WAY better than an older Jam2 in my opinion just because of the pad sleeve, hipbelt pockets, and the outside mesh. It is very comfortable with all my gear plus food, but I am one of those heathens that doesnt own a scale so I dont know what I have loaded it with yet. Admittedly I havent taken it on any overnights but I will soon enough. With my gear it is too small for the BV500, but I imagine a Garcia would be fine. I will be taking it on the JMT in late August/early September as well so I will get to know this pack very well. I thought it would be neat if someone recognizes the SMD logo on the pack on the Camino but I am just hoping someone recognizes English!

Edited by dharmabumpkin on 04/05/2010 13:01:09 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Camino de Santiago on 04/05/2010 13:14:36 MDT Print View


El Camino is geared to housing and caring for thousands of pilgrims (and hikers). I think you can travel the lightest if you view this hike as "hosteling on foot" and pack accordingly -- and thereby minimizing pieces that are only good for hiking.

That part of Spain is known for its rain. Assuming you are going in the summer, you might even think about ditching the cape altogether (bad for town wear) and just bring an umbrella! That and your windshirt should suffice -- for both hiking and hosteling afterward.

I also recommend getting a pair of trail runners -- simply styled in black or dark brown -- so you can wear them in town as well -- for all except the most formal occasions. Then, all you need is a very light pair of flip flops for shower or beach use. Old Navy carries the lightest flip flops that I know.

Methinks you will soon find your Swift too big of a pack. My travel pack for an upcoming 5-month hosteling trip is 28L and it will be barely half full.

Edited by ben2world on 04/05/2010 17:29:46 MDT.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
re: Camino on 04/05/2010 17:12:09 MDT Print View

Methinks you are right Benji! An umbrella is a perfect idea. This advice is worth the advice alone. Got a suggestion on an umbrella, perhaps the one you use?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: re: Camino on 04/05/2010 17:36:33 MDT Print View


On my travels, I carry an ultra compact umbrella to use in conjunction with my Houdini windshirt. I don't really care when the bottom half of my supplex pants get wet.

But in your case, winds will be a factor in the more open areas. Maybe a slightly less compact but much more wind resistant option will be better for you. While heavier than the cape, this option is much more airy and good for town use as well.

Edited by ben2world on 04/05/2010 17:41:41 MDT.

Jay Bonzani
(UltraBound) - F

Locale: NE Oregon
Nothing to Add but Jealousy on 04/05/2010 17:43:51 MDT Print View

Man i am envious of your trip. This is a trip I have been wanting to do for years. Really hope that you enjoy yourself and have a grand time!! A trip report with pictures would be greatly appreciated.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
"Camino de Santiago" on 04/05/2010 18:18:51 MDT Print View

Just some thoughts:

+1 on buying a knife and trekking poles once in Spain. It would simplify packing.

Depending on your travel plans, (arrival + departure city, how long you are traveling, etc.) you could carry all your gear in a cheap duffel with some extra travel clothes. Leave the duffel at a hostel/airport/train station in your arrival city (especially Barcelona or Madrid which would be "easy" to get back to) for the duration of the camino trek. Swing by and pick it up after. Change clothes, sit back and let the ladies come!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/05/2010 18:47:57 MDT Print View

At the risk of sounding contrarian...

This day and age, few "left luggage" area will let you keep your stuff for that long. A better way is to let every piece of clothing and gear to double duty for both hiking and travel. What works for one is easily transferable to the other. This is my "do it all" clothing for temps 30F and up:

1. two 80/20 poly/cotton s/s tees
2. two Ex Officio synthetic travel undies
3. two supplex pants (NO ugly convertibles)
4. two pairs synthetic travel socks

So basically, one set of clothes on you and one set in the pack. Then add:

1. one insulation layer (MontBell Thermawrap or UL Down Inner)
2. one shell jacket (Patagonia Houdini)
3. one cap or hat
4. one pair of shorts (doubles as swimming trunk)

As for shoes, this may sound radical but I would just bring one pair of comfy walking shoes that you can wear on trail and in town and even to fancy restaurants and opera houses. You likely won't need heavy duty traction for El Camino. Mine are a pair of Ecco Cross shoes. I wore mine long hours every day for 7 months around the world last year and they're still just fine! All they ever need is a few wipes with a wet cloth every now and then to keep looking new. To that, I would add a pair of flip flops (mine are Old Navy - just 6oz / pair).

Edited by ben2world on 04/05/2010 18:50:48 MDT.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 05:08:31 MDT Print View

I did the Camino in 2008. I wore Inov8 320's the entire way, not one blister, hot spot, nothing. I faithfully used Body Glide eachmorning before hiking out. The last 100 km are killers on your feet due to the fact it's mostly pavement.

I used my Gregory G pack the entire way, never was full. Carried weight was 12 lbs with bread and cheese, some snacks.

I had only 1 change of clothes for around town. Washed everything nightly. The albertgues are set up to do this. Some have washing machines and dryers. All have clothes lines. Just had flipflops for showers and town.

never camped, never wanted to, never needed to. Not too many places to do so anyway. Depending when you go, more crowds this year as it is Holy Year and the Pope will be in Santiago in July, so the places will be packed.

It does get cold in the mountains, especially when it rains/snows in June. You'll need some sort of rain gear. I don't care for ponchos, so I just used a TNF wind jacket I sprayed with DWR and that worked fine. I also had my rain pants just to keep me warm.

You'll need sunglasses and a hat, lots of sunscreen. trust me on this. The Mesa is bright and hot.

Water is plentiful, so I just carried 2 1 liter bottles.

I carried everything in my pack, brought it with me on the plane, and crusied thru customs, and never had any problems.

Treat your clothes with pemetrin!!!! Lots of bed bugs by mid summer. I used a Deuter hostel bag (can't remember the name) that goes to 40 degrees. Lucky if it went to 60, but it worked perfectly. Spain is hot. Hot. Hot.

Other than'll run into enough towns to replenish for lunches, nibbles, that sort of thing. It is truly a great experience.

Yes, you'll need a knife for cutting bread, cheese, just about anything. And, you don't need poles. One section going downhill might help, but I never had any with me and just took my time. Otherwise, it's pretty easy without them.'ll need a Pilgrim Credential to get into the albergues.

Edited by leadfoot on 04/06/2010 05:56:40 MDT.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Re: Re: Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 09:16:14 MDT Print View

Donna C: "never camped, never wanted to, never needed to. Not too many places to do so anyway."
I looked into doing part of the Camino a few years ago. This matches my recollection. It's not set up for camping and it might be hard to find places to camp.

Donna, did you find that there was much smoking in the albergues? That'd be a killer for me because I have asthma. Spain (Valencia) has been the place with the most smokers that I've been to recently.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 12:29:24 MDT Print View

OK....smokers went outside. I hate to say it but Spain is pretty air polluted. I ended up with a horrible cough from allergies from musty old churches,old incense and some old albergues. (by old I mean Roman times old).Head was swollen and I don't have allergies, really. So, it wasn't smokers that got me, but the air and mold. If I decided to do it again, I'd get Flomax (or similar product, or even a Neti pot)and cough med with codeine in it, just to have in case.

There are more newer places to stay now and are privately owned...more expensive. Food there is terrific, people great, and just, well...Spain.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 13:07:36 MDT Print View

Yes, smokers galore!

One suggestion: at the end of your hike -- spoil yourself by checking into the very historic and atmospheric Parador de Santiago de Compostela!!

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 13:15:41 MDT Print View

Ben----talk about high dollar! Hey, I found a great hotel in Santiago that had a patio out back! I think the place was for business folks. It had a wet bar, some fancy shower, TV. I stood in the shower for ages. Then took another one later. : ) I threw away my tattered shirt and bra and went outside of the Santiago circus and bought some new tops for the plane trip home. didn't go topless to buy the clothes...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 13:44:20 MDT Print View

Just a shower? Bah! Kidding!!! I'm sure that shower was heavenly!!

The parador is worth it. Most every trip, I stay in budget accommodations, but will pamper myself once in a while...

Of course, it was cheaper when I went -- 20,000 pasetas -- somewhere in the low $100 U.S. :)

Edited by ben2world on 04/06/2010 13:51:24 MDT.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 15:28:52 MDT Print View

Try $300 a night now. They use Euros. But you can get a tour of the place.

James Ayres
(traveler) - F

Locale: SoCal
packing list on 04/06/2010 18:03:49 MDT Print View


I like your packing list very much; reflects my own approach, except in tropics I go to natural fabrics.


Which 28L pack are you going to use?
Do you can bivy gear, "just in case?"



Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: packing list on 04/06/2010 19:07:07 MDT Print View

Hi Jim:

Thanks! Click here for my travel gear list.

Edited by ben2world on 01/01/2011 08:39:22 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: "Camino de Santiago" on 04/06/2010 19:14:08 MDT Print View

> never camped, never wanted to, never needed to. Not too many places to do so anyway.
Um ... well, not quite true really. You just have to be in the 'camping' frame of mind.

We were camped high above the Roncevalles Abbey one evening when a group of (about) 2 teenage males and 2 teenage females came past. It was close to dusk and they looked a bit tired. They stopped to ask whether it was far to the Abbey, and were very relieved when we told them they should be there in half an hour.