El Camino Gear List

It’s the last few days before my trip to Spain and in this past week I have rewritten my El Camino Gear List 5 times. The process generally goes like this:

  1. Pack everything up
  2. Weight it
  3. Realize it weights way to much
  4. Unpacking everything
  5. Debate, analyze, review what can be left behind
    1. Optionally buy new and lighter-weight things
  6. Start from Step 1 again

The Camino should be one of the easier backpacking/trekking style trips to pack for. It has a deep and complex infrastructure so you dont need to worry about packing things like food and water and you will have lodging options every night so you dont need to worry about tents and cooking gear. Sounds easy right?

I’m dealing with a couple of problems here. First off, my pack. I have a large 70 Litter Gregory Deva, which I love as much as I hate. It has seen me through several exciting trips and is in good shape, so I planned to use it again on the Camino. However, its a big pack. Bigger than what I will need for this trip, but the cost of buying a new smaller one didn’t seem worth it. Problem one: My big pack, weights 6 pounds all by itself with nothing in it.

The second big weight is my sleeping bag. Most advice says that at this time of year you will not need a sleeping bag on the Camino. But it will get to about 50 degrees fahrenheit at night. And I know myself, that is cold for me. I wont be able to sleep if I am cold, I will be miserable, and I dont want to deal with that. So I need to carry a sleeping bag. I have a very nice one. It was expensive, its perfectly shaped, its made of some magic that keeps it warm all the way down to 20 degrees. And it is lightweight for a “winter bag”. Problem two: My light-weight winter bag still weighs in at 3.92 pounds.

So we’ll round to 4, and I am now up to 10 pounds.

My weight goal for this trip was 15 pounds, which means I have already used about 2/3 of my weight limit before I put a single thing in the pack! So clearly 15 pounds isn’t going to work or I need to make some changes.

And that is where the debating and constant re-packing has come in. In the end, I’ve decided to keep my current pack and just absorb the weight cost. I bought a small, light, cheap ($30) sleeping bag which weights only 1.6 pounds. If I get too cold I will buy a fancy blanket in Spain. The rest of my gear brings me to 21.11 pounds. Still more than I had intended, but I cant think of what else to purge. I can always drop stuff along the way if I need to (not actually drop it on the side of the road, that would be horribly rude. I will donate or dispose of things in the proper manner).

So here it is, in its final glory. My El Camino Gear List. I sort this list by the “bundles” I pack things in. I dont know why, it just makes the most sense to me that way. When I get back I will do a follow up post, with what was actually useful and whether I managed to handle the weight.

Water Bottles x2
Hiking Shoes

Document Packet


Pack Cover
Rain Jacket

Hiking Pants
Hiking Shorts
Light Weight Long Sleeve Shirt x2
Tank Top
Shirt for Sleeping
Yoga Pants (for sleeping)
Socks x4

SMALL POUCH (this attaches to the outside of my pack for easy access)
Small Notebook
Wallet (Passport, credit cards, cash)

ELECTRONICS (Waterproof Bag)
Camera Charger
Camera Lens
Camera Extra Battery
Lighting Cable x2
Big Battery Pack
FitBit Watch Charger
European USB Plug

Shampoo Bar
Toothbrush & Paste
Face Cleanser
Face Sunscreen
Body Sunscreen
Nail Clippers 
Nail File
Things it keep my dirty hair out of my face (hair ties, barrettes, ect)

Sleeping Bag

Fleece Jacket

Water Filter
Clothes Pins
Travel Pillow

Sterile Gauze
Antiseptic Wipes
Antibiotic Ointment
Medical Tape
Blister Covers
Safety Pins

What do you think? Did I over pack? Will I be shedding gear right and left in Spain? Place your bets now and we’ll see how right you were!


  1. For charging electronics, I carry a small power pack that can be found in the cell phone accessory area at Walmart for under $10, and then just be sure to carry the cables that go to all electronics/cameras. The units are smaller than cell phones and will give you multiple charges.
    As a girl, packaging toiletries can be hard, but I use a wash or bar for hair, body and face. I also have used a decent moisturizer with sunscreen for face, body, and as a leave-in conditioner. Those 2 things eliminate a lot of room and weight.
    For clothing, I always pack tech thermals for sleeping that can double as a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Instead of a travel pillow, I’d take a normal, empty pillowcase since clothing can be put in for padding, and it can organize clothing while travelling.
    I’d leave the journal if you can and use a cell phone app.
    Rather than band aids and blister covers, I just pack Dr. Scholl’s moleskin, and use it for both since I think it sticks better.
    Guessing that the towel is quick dry and designed for backpacking.
    Final thought is that ear buds are smaller than headphones.
    Don’t forget waterproof matches and a small Swiss army knife or a Leatherman as a multitool.

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