Mar 03 2017

Packing like a Pilgrim


We tend to go in February/March – before Easter, before the heat and the crowds. The weather can be unpredictable, so we pack for all eventualities – we’ve experienced temperatures over 30 degrees in Extremadura and no shade (la Plata), to temperatures as low as -10 in Roncesvalles (Francés), and blizzards in Galicia (all!). We pack layers – full thermals, one pair of trousers, fleece top, full waterproofs .. three layers is generally enough. Gloves, buff, hat, sun hat. Plus I take ski mitts – and I’ve used them! Shorts, t-shirt, vest top. Flip flops for evening foot respite. GOOD BOOTS (worn in). GOOD SOCKS!
A light weight sleeping bag – most albergues have heating and blankets, though on the Sureste/Levante the refugios are very basic: cold rooms in sports centres and church halls, so a liner is useful too for extra warmth (without taking up much room).

Other useful pieces of kit include water hydration pack, individual dry bags, travel towel, money/passport/phone belt, a basic phrase book/phone app? Usual charging leads and continental plug/USB adapter. A guide book – the thinner the better. I’ve seen great apps available for Camino Francés, complete with maps for each stage and a location finder, plus details of albergues and contact numbers – when travelling alone, this technology may be reassuring. A 33/34l sack.
Simon loves his clacky trekking poles.. though it’s easy to cut a light weight bamboo pole en route. An army knife! A spoon for yoghurts, and a tin cup for cereal. And the usual first aid kit with Compeeds, and cream to massage feet each evening – most can be bought here – though not in all villages if on less travelled routes. A tiny pot of Sudocrem for any sores.

That’s it. Around 7-8k without food/water. Otherwise it’s miserable. And no one likes the company of a miserable peregrino!

Oh.. I needed to add.. earplugs (or a blunt instrument) particularly on the Francés when the snoring becomes unbearable (and it will), and a small pack of face wipes for when showering isn’t an option.