What Did You Pack?

The great thing about the Camino is that there is an amazing infrastructure in place to support its pilgrims.  You get the benefit of quiet, well-marked trails but also regular water and food stops and cheap, readily-available accommodation.  That means you can pack light.  

A Very Trusty Backpack

I decided to run with a Gregory Maya 16L, which I couldn’t recommend highly enough.  It comfortably fit all of my gear and I found it easy to run with.  (I do have a very bony back, so I’ve learned from experience that with larger backpacks I have to tape up my lower back to avoid chafing.  That proved invaluable on the Camino too.)

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She weighed 6.2 kilograms, or about 15 pounds, when full (including water).

The Best Running Shorts Ever

I also ran the entire Camino in one pair of Tracksmith Bell Lap running shorts, though if I had been smart enough to buy two pairs when I was at the Tracksmith store in Boston, I would have brought two!  I’m obsessed with these shorts because they’re comfortable, they don’t ride up or give me chafing problems, and they have so many amazing pockets (including one on the side that allowed me to run with my cell phone handy the whole time).  I have to hand it to Tracksmith, these shorts held up amazingly and still look like I just bought them (and I just ran another 42-mile race in them!).

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Get used to seeing me in this outfit…

Tried and True Running Shoes

I stuck with what I knew on the shoe front, too, and didn’t regret it.  I’ve been running in Adidas Pureboost X shoes (All Terrain, lately) for more years than I can remember.  I hate rigid, heavy trail shoes, and I haven’t been able to match the glove-like feeling of the detached Pureboost X foot sleeve.  Unfortunately Adidas doesn’t actually make them anymore (why?!?!), but at least third party vendors on Amazon have been able to keep me well stocked.  I almost definitely could have used a replacement pair about halfway through the Camino, but since I wasn’t actually expecting to run the whole thing I didn’t quite plan that far in advance.

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They carried me so far!

Otherwise, here’s what I brought (or in some cases picked up on the way):

Clothes

  • Two running tees (just two of my favorite old race shirts) 
  • Two sports bras
  • One pair of running shorts to change into if I had to wait for a shower / to sleep in when it was hot 
  • One pair of jean shorts
  • One pair of leggings to relax in / sleep in when it was cooler
  • Two regular tee shirts (one to wear casually, one mostly to sleep in)
  • Light jacket/pullover
  • Three pairs of undies (though one inexplicably went missing after the laundry one day…)
  • One pair of compression socks (maybe just a placebo, but I didn’t have any lower leg/foot issues the whole way, so I’m not complaining)
  • One pair of regular running socks (which I only wore to sleep in when it was cold)
  • Swimsuit
  • Poncho (though I never actually used this running—it only rained twice and I just ran in the rain)
  • Headband (a bandana would also work for the sweaty among us)
  • Flip flops/Toms (started with flip flops but replaced them with knock-off Toms from Decathlon when my Achilles started bothering me a bit)

Miscellaneous

  • Microfiber towel (mine was a tad small, but it did the trick)
  • Sleeping bag liner (absolutely necessary for albergues, where sheets/blankets of varying quality are only sometimes provided)
  • Spork (did actually come in handy for a few early morning breakfasts)
  • Pocket knife
  • European charger (with two USB ports, one for my phone and one for my Garmin)
  • Plastic bags (I put all my clothes in a plastic bag inside my backpack, and also used other plastic bags for things like collecting laundry and grocery shopping)
  • 1 liter water bottle (a water bladder also would have been nice, but the bottle was easier to carry)
  • Earplugs (never try to sleep in an albergue without them)

First-Aid

  • KT tape
  • Anti-chafing stick
  • Bandaids
  • Paracetamol
  • (Eventually I also ended up buying a variety of medicine and disinfectants, but there is a pharmacy virtually every 10km…)

Entertainment

  • Kindle
  • Guidebook—Dave Whitson and Laura Perazzoli, Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo (Cicerone 2019) (I’m old fashioned… the Buen Camino app is probably good enough for most.  It has more up-to-date albergue information, though it doesn’t have as many trail variants as the guidebook.)

Toiletries

  • All-in-one soap
  • Conditioner (a luxury, but it fit!)
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Razor
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair ties

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