We are still packing our mochilas! First we packed a few general items, then it was the turn of la ropa and last week was about other items. As I mentioned before, for this week’s post I asked experienced pilgrims for their advice. I wanted to know about the best and worst items they packed.
The answers were many and varied, with some items proving quite popular and some others more personal.
Let’s start with the best!
The most popular item, by far, among the ladies is a pareo (sarong), as it serves multiple purposes (in fact, I think I could write a whole post just about it!):
- it serves as a sábana (sheet)
- or as a toalla (towel)
- you can wear it as a falda (skirt)
- or as a vestido (dress), for instance, when you are washing the rest of your clothes.
- you can tuck it around your litera for privacy
- you can use it as a pillowcase or as a pillow
- it’s an extra layer on cold mornings
- it can be used as sun protection too
Last week I listed imperdibles (safety pins) and they were mentioned as essential by many pilgrims. Tapones para los oídos are quite popular among experienced pilgrims too.
When it comes to calzado (shoes), things get more personal. Some people swear by their sandalias, whereas others prefer shoes. However, most people agree on merino wool calcetines (socks). In fact, any light merino clothing appears to be very popular, from ropa interior to camisetas: they dry quickly and don’t get stinky!
Your feet are very important and need a lot of care while doing the Camino de Santiago. Vaselina is a very popular option when it comes to footcare, although different people use different products: chamois cream, footcream… And, believe it or not, a tennis ball is a great thing to pack! You can use it to massage your feet and other areas.
Last week I recommended taking a móvil (mobile phone) which, among other uses, can also serve as a camera. The problem is that, if you are like me and tend to take loads of pictures, you will run out of memory in no time.
Tina-Marie had the perfect solution: a 256GB USB memory stick for your móvil. In Tina-Marie’s words “it was easy to move the photos and videos over thus freeing up the phone; it weighed next to nothing and fit in my pocket”.
What about the worst?
What people regretted the most was packing too much stuff. I love Beth’s piece of advice:
Don’t take anything on the Camino you aren’t willing to leave behind to lighten your load. I left toiletries and clothing at every albergue for the first 10 nights. I walked with people who carried way too much weight but were unwilling to ditch their items. Not being attached allowed me the freedom to let go, lighten my burden, and walk free!
Most people said they packed too many clothes (ropa). Take two outfits only, plus maybe one other thing that you can wear while you do laundry or to go out in the towns you are visiting.
Navaja suiza (Swiss Army knife) was another item that many people packed and then didn’t use. And it’s heavy!
A few people took a guía (guidebook) and then didn’t use it, but some others did use their guidebooks, so just think about it: do you think you will use it? Or can you manage without it?
When in doubt, follow Alder’s advice:
No “just in case” stuff. You can buy what you need in Spain.
Krista Spurr, has a lot of invaluable information in her Bite-sized travel blog. In this post in particular, she shares her packing list for her 2017 Camino. She is very thorough and analyses every item she took: https://bitesizedtravel.ca/2017/10/12/my-camino-de-santiago-packing-list-2017-what-worked-what-didnt/
For the pronunciation of ropa and calzado, check this post.
For the pronunciation of calcetines, sandalias, camisetas and ropa interior, check this post.
For the pronunciation of tapones, imperdibles and móvil, check this post.
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