Yet, everyone has their own preference on what to pack for the Camino. We are about to embark on our fourth Camino later this year, we’ve also walked a number of other long-distance hikes. There are 12 things that we pack to walk the Camino and other walks, that many people are surprised by or may not have thought about. Here they are:
One: Blister Plasters
Your feet are quite literally doing the walking on the Camino de Santiago. And for some people blisters are an inevitability. No matter how much moisturizing you do, or what kid of socks or shoes, you may still get blisters. We always travel with Compeed Blister Plasters. We think these are the best when it comes to protection, but they’re also incredibly sticky and stay put on your foot for a few days.
Whether you choose these plasters, or an alternative, remember to think about foot care for the Camino and put something for your precious feet on your Camino packing list!
And whilst you’re at it, we recommend throwing in a needle (in a clean and sanitized sealed bag) that you can use if you absolutely have to pop any blisters. Find out more about blister care on the Camino here.
Two: Ibuprofen or pain killers
You can of course buy Ibuprofen and other pain killers in Spain. There are plenty of pharmacies and shops on the Camino de Santiago. But, do note that pain killers are quite expensive in Spain. Especially if you are traveling from the UK, the comparative price of buying pain killers in Spain is quite significant.
Why would you need pain killers on the Camino? A whole host of reasons. Whether you’re suffering with a sore head after too many Sangrias, foot pain, muscular pain. You name it. It’s super helpful to have a stash in your pack for the Camino just in case.
Three: Pop Socks
Sticking with the foot theme, one thing we always pack for the Camino de Santiago, is pop-socks. Many people we talk to online haven’t heard of pop socks. Apparently they are quite a British phenomenon.
Pop socks are stockings, but just for your feet. For hiking, they act as a thin and protective layer to help prevent blisters for anyone who is prone to blistering. Other methods are available, but this is the one we tend to choose especially when walking in the heat.
Four: A deck of cards
Whether you’re walking solo, with friends or in a couple , we suggest packing a deck of cards between your group. This means that you will always have a few fun games that you can play during lunch breaks or in the evening in your albergue. Asking others to play a game is also a great ice-breaker and a good way to make some Camino friends.
Five: A couple of clothes pegs/ pins
Why would you take clothes pegs /pins on the Camino I hear you ask? Well, the short answer is, you will need them! On the Camino, you will inevitably have to wash your clothes regularly, unless you want to carry 4 weeks worth of underwear on your back.
Stashing a couple of clothing pegs in our backpack, means that you can hang your laundry in your albergue easily in the evening. But, if it still hasn’t dried, then you can attach it to your backpack in the morning and let your clothes dry as you walk.
Can you do your laundry on the Camino and what are the best travel detergents to use? Find out here.
Six: A bottle opener
Most wine in Spain is in a corked bottle and not a screw top one. If you enjoy a wine or two, then having a bottle opener with you can be very handy. Often, there are some wonderful gardens and chill out spaces in Albergues where you can enjoy a drink at the end of the day. Sharing a bottle of wine with company in the Camino can be one of the most wonderful and social parts of the walk too. Why not include a bottle opener on your Camino packing list.
Find out more about some of our favorite Albergues on the Camino del Norte here.
Seven: Sandwich bags
Sandwich bags are a very helpful addition to your Camino backpack. When hiking, we use sandwich bags for a number of things. Firstly, they are great for storing a packed lunch on the Camino, which we regularly did.
Secondly, they are handy for collecting small items of trash. For example, left over lunch or snack packaging. But they can also be useful to collect any toilet roll/ wet wipes that you may have used on the way during the day. It’s so important to leave no trace when you walk!
Finally, sandwich bags can be used to store dirty laundry and keep items separate from your clean items in your bag, until such a time as you can get to a sink/ machine to clean it.
Eight: A sunscreen stick
I’m sure you’ve considered that you will need sunscreen when you walk the Camino. But you may not have thought about packing a specific facial sun stick. The reason that we never hike without one of these, is that it’s so important not to allow your face to become sun burnt when you hike.
As well as keeping the sun off your face with a hat , we recommend having easy access to a sun stick so that you can reapply sunscreen to your face at regular intervals throughout the day.
I also find that facial sun sticks are much less greasy than regular sunscreen. Which prevents my face from getting gross and spotty during the hike. A must add to your Camino packing list.
Nine: Wet Wipes
Wet Wipes are a super handy item to have on any travel adventure. Even more so when you are walking the Camino. We think that these are a great item to pack for the Camino as they are so multi-purpose. We recommend putting them on your Camino packing list.
When we walk, we use wet wipes to wipe our hands before or after lunch breaks, I sometimes use them to remove makeup too. But, wet wipes are also super handy for toilet breaks too. Often, you may find that bars/ restaurants in Spain don’t have any toilet roll in the bathrooms, or of course you may have to partake in a “nature wee” on the way.
Should you pack cosmetics when you walk the Camino? Find out here.
Ten: A Journal and a pen
On the Camino, you’ll have plenty of time to reflect and think. This can be a really great opportunity to self-reflect and record your thoughts in a journal. Plus, you may want to keep a diary of your daily walks, including highlights and places you’ve been to or memorable people that you have met.
We recommend packing a lightweight travel journal and a pen on the Camino. Lotus Eaters Travel have created a journal that serves two purposes 1. Self-Reflection 2. A diary of your daily adventures. You can find it here on Amazon.
Eleven: Ear Plugs and an Eye Mask
Ear Plugs and an Eye Mask are absolute must on your Camino packing list if you plan to stay in albergues. Ear Plugs can protect you from even the most dastardly of snorers, or the loudest dorm room. Eye Masks also help you to sleep when lights are going on and off, which they often are during the night and early in the morning in albergues on the Camino. Don’t head out on the Camino without yours
Find out more about albergues and etiquette here.
Twelve: Tiger Balm or Muscle Rub
After walking long-distances every day, you’re likely to find that you get one or two muscle pains or twinges. Even if you’ve trained really well for the Camino.
This is why we recommend putting some muscle rub on your Camino packing list , such as Deep Heat. My preference is Tiger Balm, which feels like a much more natural muscle pain relieving cream.
Find out more about training for the Camino here.
Yoga For Hiking Online Course by Lotus Eaters Yoga
How much should your backpack weigh for the Camino?
The first item on your Camino packing list has to be your backpack! Wondering how much your backpack should weigh for the Camino? You can find out more in our guide here.
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