What’s in the bag?

Short answer: probably too much. Camino veterans recommend a light pack, somewhere around 10% of your body weight. Since I’m choosing to carry my camera and a few lenses, along with this tablet for blogging and photo backup, my pack is up to around 22 or 23 pounds, which is closer to 15% of my weight. So if you’re a future pilgrim scouring the internet to see what others are carrying, you’ll want to bear that in mind as you read the list.


The Gear List

Pack and Containers:
– REI “Lookout 40” internal frame pack, 40 liter capacity
– 15 liter REI ditty sack, water resistant. I’ll keep most of my clothing in it for organization and water protection.
– 3  REI dry ditty bags, assorted sizes, to keep small electronics and chargers, socks and sock liners, and my guidebook organized and safe from water.
– 1 cinch bag (not pictured), to carry the camera and tablet around in the evenings and make plane travel easier
– Water bottle, insulated, 24oz. I was going to bring a camelback, but it occupies too much space inside the pack.
– Rain cover for the backpack
– 2 plastic trash bags
– A few plastic ziploc bags
– “Space bag” vacuum bag to compress a fitted sheet to the smallest size possible.
– Toiletry bag
– Money/document belt

– Merrell Chameleon 5 mid height boots. Waterproof, lightweight. Mid height boots are probably not necessary, but I like the extra support around the ankles and I hope it’ll keep pebbles out
– Teva Tanza sandals for walking around town after the daily hike is done, and to wear in the shower

– 1 short-sleeved wicking t-shirt
– 2 long-sleeved wicking shirts. I’ll roll the sleeves up on warmer days.
– 1 pair convertible pants (wicking)
– 1 pair shorts (wicking)
– 2 pair Exofficio underpants (wicking)
– 1 medium weight fleece with hood and built-in face mask
– 1 pair rain pants
– 1 rain jacket. Will also act as a windbreaker layered over the fleece on colder days.
– 1 sun hat. REI Safari Outback Cape hat.
– 2 pair Injinji sock liners
– 2 pair Smartwool hiking socks
– Gloves
– Knit cap

– Camp Suds concentrated liquid soap. For showering and laundry, and dishes if necessary.
– REI MultiTowel microfiber towel, large
– Small bottle of Sea to Summit shaving cream
– Razor handle and cartridges, because electric razors cower in fear of my mighty stubble.
– Toothpaste
– Folding toothbrush
– Listerine strips
– Travel-sized deodorant stick
– A compact travel roll of toilet paper
– Hand sanitizer
– Sanitizing wipes

First aid and Medicine:
– Assorted bandages, gauze, and tape
– Antibiotic ointment
– Hydrocortisone cream for bug bites
– Cetirizine HCL (Zyrtec) because allergies are my constant companion
– Ibuprofen
– Tums (I get heartburn)
– Imodium
– Needle and thread. A sanitized needle can be passed through a blister, thread attached. Leave the thread in with edges exposed to drain the blister without exposing the skin beneath.
– Compeed blister treatment, not available in the US so I’ll buy it in Europe

– Snugpak Travelpak 2 sleeping bag, treated with permethrin for bedbug protection
– Fitted sheet (permethrin)
– Pillowcase (permethrin)

– 6 clothespins
– A few safety pins
– 2 straps with plastic clasps for attaching the sleeping bag to the top of the pack rather than the using the built-in straps on the bottom. With the bag at the top, its weight will be better transferred to my hips instead of my shoulders.
– 2 luggage locks
– 2 caribiners
– 1 suction cup hook
– Walking stick (I’ll buy one in Spain or France. They can’t be brought on a plane and I don’t want to check anything)

– Passport
– Credencial (Pilgrim’s passport)
– Guide book
– Model release sheets that conform to Spanish law. Without a Spaniard’s written consent I can’t properly use any photos of him or her, not even on a blog.
– Train tickets, and hostel confirmations for Madrid and Saint Jean

– Unlocked quad-band GSM cell phone
– Smartphone
– Camera, lenses, SD cards, spare battery. No tripod, unfortunately. Too much weight.
– Tablet with keyboard case
– Various chargers for the above
– Voice recorder for interviewing
– LED flashlight and spare batteries

So, a whole lot. Most of it meets the bare necessities standards recommended on forums and other blogs, but since the photography project is so important to me I have to accept the higher gear weight to body weight ratio.

Writing to you now from New York. My flight to Madrid is next week!



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