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:
- Pack everything up
- Weight it
- Realize it weights way to much
- Unpacking everything
- Debate, analyze, review what can be left behind
- Optionally buy new and lighter-weight things
- 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.
Backpack Hat Water Bottles x2 Hiking Shoes Sandals PAPERWORK BAG Document Packet Journal Pencil TOWEL BAG Towel RAIN GEAR Pack Cover Rain Jacket CLOTHING Hiking Pants Hiking Shorts Light Weight Long Sleeve Shirt x2 Tank Top Shirt for Sleeping Yoga Pants (for sleeping) Socks x4 Bandana SMALL POUCH (this attaches to the outside of my pack for easy access) Chapstick Small Notebook Phone Wallet (Passport, credit cards, cash) Fan ELECTRONICS (Waterproof Bag) Camera Camera Charger Camera Lens Camera Extra Battery Lighting Cable x2 Big Battery Pack FitBit Watch Charger Headphones European USB Plug TOLIETRIES Shampoo Bar Toothbrush & Paste Deodorant Face Cleanser Moisturizer Face Sunscreen Body Sunscreen Brush Soap Nail Clippers Nail File Things it keep my dirty hair out of my face (hair ties, barrettes, ect) SLEEP Sleeping Bag WARMTH Fleece Jacket MISC Headlamp Water Filter Earplugs Clothes Pins Travel Pillow Sunglasses FIRST AID KIT Band-Aids Sterile Gauze Antiseptic Wipes Antibiotic Ointment Medical Tape Ibuprofen Blister Covers Safety Pins Tweezers
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!