Camino de Santiago packing list Backpack with trekking poles and water bottle for el Camino pilgrimage
Camino de Santiago Gear

Complete Camino de Santiago Packing List for All Seasons

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If you’ve decided to embark on the Camino, start here with our Camino de Santiago packing list. On the Camino de Santiago, or Way in English, you’ll carry a backpack full of all the gear you need for your journey. That’s the way of the pilgrim.

You may also find our Essential Camino de Santiago Guide helpful.

How much stuff should I bring?

When backpacking, a rough guideline is to carry no more than 10% of your body weight. For example, a 150-pound female should carry roughly 15 pounds of weight. This includes the pack, water, and snacks. Seem a little daunting? There’s no need to worry, you can easily pack a bag with everything you need and stay under the recommended weight.

There’s the key though. Did you catch it? Everything you need. No more no less.

Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide what you need to bring. Our packing guide, below, can help. What’s more, you can download and print this FREE Camino de Santiago packing list. That way, you can check off items as you compile them!

You may need to pack and re-pack many times. You may even discard or donate items as you go. A good measure of whether you need something or not is to ask yourself, “Is this a ‘What if?’ item?” If you’re taking something along if you might need it, leave it at home.

Trust the Camino will provide for you everything you need.

What do I need to add to my Camino de Santiago packing list?

Read below for advice on how to carefully select the items to bring with you so that your bag doesn’t weigh you down.

Clothing

Clothes for your journey – make sure everything is interchangeable and can be layered

Every piece of clothing you bring should be of high quality, moisture-wicking material. You will be hiking all day plus washing laundry each night. Therefore, you want fabrics that draw moisture away from the body to keep you cool and dry (to prevent chafing). In addition, each item should be able to be laundered by hand and dry within a few hours. Try hand-washing and home and hanging on a line to test out dry time of various options.

You also want everything to coordinate and be able to be layered for multiple looks and warmth or sun protection. Our Camino de Santiago packing list recommends just two (2) hiking outfits. I know; it sounds crazy. But, it’s all you need.

  • Bottoms (2) – Bring one pair of roll-up hiking pants by Columbia, Prana, or another trusted sportswear brand. Depending on the time of year (if you need to layer), choose a second pair of leggings, capris, shorts, or skirts/skorts.
  • Tops (2) – Get two athletic tops that can be layered on top of each other as well as under/over your evening dress or sarong. For example, pick out a moisture wicking tee and a button down top. Be sure to have the option to cover your shoulders as you’ll be out all day in the strong sun (especially in summer).
  • Bra (2) – Every woman’s body is different, so choose a bra with the level of support you need. Some women wear sports bras whereas others use a regular bra or a combination of the two. Others wear no bra, instead using the built-in shelf bras in athletic shirts.
  • Dress (1) – Bring a travel dress to throw on after you take a shower, run (or limp) around town, and to sleep in. Make sure it’s moisture-wicking and wrinkle free. Bonus if it has a built in bra so that you can wear it while your bras are in the wash.  
  • Underwear (3) – There’s no need to break the bank on this one. Just be sure to pick out something breathable and comfortable. An economical option are the Fruit of the Loom Breathable Micro-Mesh briefs. If you are willing to spend a little more, the ExOfficio panties are amazing!
  • Socks – (3 pairs) – Lightly cushioned wool blend hiking socks. If you are allergic to wool, it’s okay to try blends such as Coolmax. Aside from you bag and shoes, this is the most important purchase you’ll make, so don’t skimp!
  • Pajama (optional) – Many pilgrims wear the next day’s clothes, their evening wear, or even their underwear (!) to bed.

Shoes

All the footwear you’ll need

Bring one (1) of each of the following:

  • Hoka One One Challenger ATRs, but the Altra Lone Peaks are also super popular.
  • Insoles – Your feet are the most important part of your body you need to protect along the Way. Get a pair of Superfeet insoles, or consider having custom insoles made.
  • Hiking sandals – Invest in a great pair of hiking shoes to wear in the afternoons. These give your aching feet the support they need while they recover from a long day. Plus, you can hike in them if needed (in case of rain or if your feet need a break from your shoes.) Chaco’s and Tevas are both great options.
  • Flip flops – Bring a cheap, lightweight pair of flip flips to wear in the shower.
  • Charms or laces for shoes (to tell apart or bungee laces) – Many people have the same shoes, and from time to time shoes go missing in albergues by mistake. Consider getting a bright pair of good quality laces or added a small charm to your shoe’s laces to easily tell them apart. 

Outerwear

Camino outwerwear
  • Jacket – Depending on the season, look for a puffy jacket (winter), or a lightweight windbreaker (summer). Something breathable, packable, and or water-resistant with a hood is best.
  • Vest – If your jacket is lightweight, layering it with a vest can offer extra warmth. Note that many people get too hot with a vest, as backpack straps tend to cover the torso. (spring/fall). 
  • Scarf or Sarong – A wide scarf or sarong is a versatile piece that you can use to hang from your bunk for privacy, as a towel, or as an evening dress.
  • Wide brimmed hat – Year round, but especially in the summer, a wide brimmed hat will keep the sun off your face and neck. You can even a hat with an opening for your pony tailWhatever you do, make sure that the back of the hat doesn’t hit your pack!
  • Beanie – In winter and early spring, bring a lightweight merino wool beanie.
  • Gloves – Bring a lightweight pair of merino wool or running gloves or liner gloves (winter or if you run cold early spring/ late fall).

Accessories

Accessories

Toiletries

Toiletries

Head to your local drugstore to pick up the toiletries you need. Since you’ll be “roughing” it for a few months, you may want to pamper yourself with a soothing scent or upscale brand for a few of these items. Pack only one of each, and replenish as needed.

  • Shampoo bar – Ideally you will use a bar that you can use for soap, body wash, and laundry detergent.
  • Dry shampoo – Use in between washes in the shoulder seasons or winter. In summer, you will probably want to wash the sweat out of your hair daily! (optional)
  • Conditioner – Many choose to forgo the extra weight (optional)
  • Toothbrush & case – I have used the travel toothbrushes, but I always feel like a regular sized toothbrush works much better!
  • Toothpaste
  • Retainer & case
  • Hairbrush – I’ve been using a foldable brush with mirror for years
  • Small mirror – Some bathrooms won’t have mirrors.
  • Contacts & case
  • Contact solution
  • Glasses & lightweight case
  • Deodorant – I prefer this one as I think the travel size ones are too small!
  • Face wash or face wash stick – It’s great to be able to wash your face after a long, sweaty day!
  • Lotion – Find a lotion for body and face; transfer into a travel-size container if you can’t find a small enough all-in-one lotion that you like.
  • Lip balm w/SPFAquaphor is super moisturizing and now comes with SPF 30
  • Razor – Bring a lightweight, disposable one to save on weight
  • Shaving cream
  • Fingernail clipper – Pick out something compact, yet strong enough to trim your toenails.
  • Tweezers – You never know when it’ll come in handy.
  • Feminine hygiene items – Be sure to donate unused ones to a fellow pilgrim or albergue
  • Female urination device – Bathrooms are available all along the way at bars. However, some women with bladder issues or who cannot squat in case of emergency bring a urination device to allow them to tinkle on the go. (optional)
  • Hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes
  • Kleenex Use for your nose or as toilet tissue if needed

First Aid

First Aid Kit

Bring a small first aid kit with a few items to get you started. Rather than carry around items “just in case,” purchase necessities as needed at local pharmacies. Take a picture of prescriptions should you be questioned or need to show it to a pharmacist. Be sure to include blister and foot care items.

  • Prescriptions and/or vitamins – Bring as much as you need.
  • Pill organizer with a few pills of each: pain killers, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamines, anti-diarrhea’s, allergy pills, etc. Magnesium is good for muscle cramps. Buy more as needed.
  • Epi-pen (if needed)
  • Band-Aids (2-3) – Bring a few Band-Aids or plasters just in case
  • KT Tape – Bring a roll of kinesthetic therapeutic tape; watch YouTube videos or consult a physical therapist on how to apply the tape to problem areas on your legs, ankles, and feet. You can also use it to tape hot spots.
  • Anti-chafe stick – Slather your feet, inner thighs, and areas prone to chafing. Many pilgrims rely on plain old Vaseline to prevent blisters, but we prefer the Gold Bond Friction Defense or Body Glide sticks.
  • Sunscreen – Get a high SPF sunscreen, either in a tube or stick. Sunscreen is more expensive in Europe, so you may want to bring a larger quantity to last you the trip. If you plan to use for your body and face, be sure to pick out something that won’t make you break out. Apply liberally and often in the summer.
  • Pain-relieving cream, gel, or balm – Massage your legs each night with your choice of pain-relieving cream. In Spain, you can easily purchase medicated gels and creams when you run out, so bring a small tube. 
Blister/Foot Care
  • Compeed – Blister care cushions can be purchased in Spain. They now have Band-Aid brand knockoffs in the US. Compeed also makes a good anti-blister balm.
  • Moleskin – Cut to size and place over blisters and hot spots.
  • Hiker’s wool – An absolute God send when you need a little extra padding and protection between toes.
  • Mini Scissors – Use to cut tape, moleskin, etc.
  • Vaseline – Some hikers swear by rubbing Vaseline (petroleum jelly) all over their feet.

Muscle/Relaxation

Take one massage tool with you – you’ll need it!

When you stop each night, stretch and massage your muscles with pain-relieving cream. Take any one (1) of the following to roll out your leg muscles and feet. Frozen water bottles work well too for the arches of the feet.

  • Mini foam roller – great myofascial release
  • Lacrosse, tennis or other preferred ball – for trigger point therapy
  • Massage stick – Travel size stick helps with flexibility, muscle pain and recovery
  • Stretch out strap – A strap to assist with stretching (can also use a paracord, sarong, etc.)

Laundry

  • Safety pins – A few large safety pins or diaper pins are helpful for hanging clothes on the line or hanging damp items from your pack.
  • Laundry line – The albergues have laundry facilities that consist of sinks, laundry lines, and washer/dryer (sometimes). However, some of the hotels may not be as well equipped. While not 100% necessarily, you may want to bring a portable laundry line or a piece of para cord to hang clothes in your hotel bathroom. (optional)
  • Laundry soap – Use shampoo, soap, or detergent bars provided by many albergues. Use of washing machines will include detergent. Dr. Bronners is a favorite versatile soap, but doesn’t work too well for hair.
  • Sink stopper – Sink stoppers will be available on many sinks.
  • Scrubba – Most sinks have attached washboards,

Gear

Camino Gear
  • Backpack – A hiking backpack with approximately 40L capacity is a great choice.
  • Packing cubes/dry bags – It’s essential to organize you pack using packing cubes, dry bags (our recommendation), or even Ziploc bags!
  • Waistpack/Crossbody –  Your new best friend is a convertible waistpack or crossbody bag. You will need this to keep all of your valuables and most used items in arms reach. This bag will go everywhere with you – to the shower, inside your sleep sack, to the market, etc. so pick out the bag that works best for you. I purchased a bag similar to the Baggallini triple zip crossbody bag and slip the back loops through the hip straps of my backpack so that it stayed securely in place. 
  • Packable daypack – A daypack is great for afternoons so that you can store your waistpack and still carry a water bottle. You can also use it on days you decide to transfer your pack.
  • Sleeping bag liner – In the summer, all you need is a sleeping bag liner. Linens will not be provided at most hostels. 
  • Blanket/sleeping bag – In the fall and spring, you can add a lightweight, packable camping blanket. In the winter, it’s best to bring a sleeping bag. (You could also use a bag in spring/fall, but a blanket and liner gives you more versatility.)
  • Trekking poles – From a basic, sturdy and foldable pair to the creme de a la creme, the style and type of trekking pole you use is your choice. But, yes you do need them. You can purchase ahead of time or upon arrival at a local sporting goods store. If you purchase an expensive pair, consider folding them down and storing with your stuff so they don’t get stolen (poles are usually left in a bin near the albergue entry).
  • Fitbit or other smart watch (or regular watch) – Keep track of your route, steps, and the time on your fitness or smart watch.
  • Quick dry travel towel – Choose a microfiber towel or 100% cotton Turkish towel. You can even forgo the towel and use a sarong if desired (or use the Turkish towel in lieu of sarong).
Optional
  • Head lamp – If you plan to get up and walk before sunrise, consider bringing a small headlamp. This one on Amazon is even re-chargeable, so you don’t have to worry about batteries.
  • Flashlight – Likely you have this on your phone; if not, consider bringing a small flashlight (if you are not bringing a headlamp). If leaving the hostel early in the morning, you may want to [quickly] shine you flashlight to make sure you didn’t drop anything, or you may need it going to the bathroom in the middle of the night (the lights are often automated)
  • Travel pillow – Pillows are provided; leave this at home.
  • Binoculars – Sometimes it would be neat to have a pair of binoculars for bird watching or checking out upcoming towns in the distance.
  • Pack liner – You can use a pack liner OR individual dry bags to keep contents dry.

Rain Gear

There is a debate over the best rain gear, so you’ll have to decide for yourself what you prefer. You can either do a poncho that covers you and your entire pack, or a pack cover, rain pants, and waterproof jacket. You may get lucky and see no rain, or it may downpour for days on end. Be especially conscious of your choice in spring, when it tends to rain more.

  • Rain pants – Lightweight, breathable waterproof pants keep you dry in a downpour
  • Poncho that fits over your backpack
  • Waterproof backpack cover – You pack may or may not come with one.
  • Waterproof jacket – Can be the same jacket as above, or a lightweight rain jacket that you layer over a vest or pufff jacket, depending on the season.

Tech

  • Smart phone – Take pictures, notes, book albergues, etc.
  • Charger w/multiple sockets and European plug – Be courteous and put a piece of electrical tape over any lights. Want to make friends (or have more gear?), get a plug with more USB ports.
  • Charging cables – Bring the minimum that you need to charge your devices.
  • Power bank – Be sure to fully charge this before your flights since you’re not bringing a US charger. Get a high speed portable charger, and you’ll be able to get multiple charges out of it. This one will charge an iPhone 8 5.7 times and a Galaxy S10+ 2.5 times.
Optional
  • Kindle – If you’re an avid reader, download the Kindle APP on your phone, or bring your device. Sign up for Kindle Unlimited (first month free) or library
  • Tablet
  • Laptop – Leave it at home unless you need it for work
  • Blogging camera (extra memory cards, battery charger) & lightweight case
  • DSLR camera & clip – If you’re a photographer, a camera clip will allow you easy access to your camera
  • Selfie stick – There will always be other pilgrims willing to take your photo, but you can bring a selfie stick if you’d like.

Safety

  • Whistle – Attach a safety whistle to the chest strap of your pack (where you can access it easily and immediately in case of an emergency). Some backpacks comes with a built-in whistle.
  • S Hooks or Carabiner clips – Clips like the S-Biner come in handy when hanging things in hostels or off your pack.
  • APPS – AlertCops
  • Bed bug spray – People swear by bed bug sprays or lavender essential oil to prevent bed bugs. Then again, others say they don’t work at all! If you’re concerned, bring a small bottle. (Test first to ensure you the odor will not bother other pilgrims if you are planning to stay in albergues.)
  • Garbage bag – Bring a garbage bag to place your entire pack inside each night to prevent bed bugs from crawling into the pack.
  • Shoe bags – Store your dirty shoes in a drawstring or zipper shoe bag. Plastic grocery bags work as well.
  • Insurance & documentation – Include a copy on your phone that does not need internet to access
  • Face Mask – Due to changing regulations, you may need to wear a face mask inside the albergues.

Financial

A few things to carry

Store an electronic copy of cards and passports in your phone in case you lose them.

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Coin purse – You need this to store your Euro coins and paper money.
  • Passport
  • Pilgrim’s Passport – Purchase your pilgrim’s credencial at a church, hostel, or tourist shop when you arrive.
  • Plastic passport holder – Protect your passport and credencial inside a plastic sleeve, envelope, or even a plastic baggy!

Books

Books and apps for the Camino
  • Notebook & pen – It’s always good to bring a small notebook or journal for notes. If you plan to take notes on your phone, a pen is still useful.
  • Guidebook – Choose between the Village to Village or Brierly guides.
  • APPS – Buen Camino and Wise Pilgrim are great.
  • Books – Leave at home, and read on Kindle or phone.

Mementos (optional)

When you’re away from home, it can get lonely. Consider bringing a few mementos to show your personality and remind you of the people you love who are with you in spirit. Check Etsy for unique finds.

  • Rock to lay at the iron cross
  • Patches
  • Water bottle stickers
  • Keychains
  • Shell
  • Gifts – Some pilgrims bring (or buy along the way) small gifts such as friendship bracelets or charms to exchange with those who make a lasting impression.

Food & Water

Water bottle and a few helpful items
  • Water bottle– Bring one refillable water bottle (up to 32 oz/1 liter) for one side of your pack, and use the other side to carry your Aquarius (Spanish Gatorade) or other beverages.
  • Water bottle clip (optional) – Attach store-bought water bottle to your chest strap so you don’t always have to reach back to get it.
  • A few Ziploc bags – It’s always good to have a few plastic storage baggies on hand to store leftover food or other gear.
  • Small knife – (optional) You may want to check this at the airport, or purchase a small knife or pocket-size multi-tool in Spain.
  • Spork (optional) – Sometimes a spork is useful, but you’ll most likely be eating out or in a kitchen that provides utensils.
  • Electrolytes – You may want to bring a few packets of electrolyte mix to add to your water. Aquarius, which is similar to Gatorade, is readily available and is the pilgrim’s drink of choice aside from water and wine. (optional)
  • Water bladder – Ditch the water bladder; it’s simply not necessary. There are plenty of water fountains as well as cafes. It’s much easier to refill a water bottle either by handing to the bartender or by filling under the [sometimes unruly] water spigots.
  • Water filtration system – Water is safe to drink in Spain. Non-potable water fountains will be clearly marked.

Miscellaneous & Luxury

Luxury items are items that are important to you. You bring these no matter the weight, and they aren’t optional to you.

Get Started Packing Now with Our Camino de Santiago Packing List

Now that you have the list, here are a few last tips. Buy good quality gear that will last your entire Camino, not to mention for years to come. Research, and get the best items for your budget. You won’t regret being prepared when walking in the pouring rain or blazing sun.

Now, Ultreia! That’s the pilgrim’s cry for, “upward and onward!”

All that’s left to do is download a PDF of our Camino de Santiago packing list so you can start packing!

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