Your Ultimate Camino Packing Guide

Cyclists along the Camino de Santiago | Sue Finn
Cyclists along the Camino de Santiago | Sue Finn

Your Ultimate Camino Packing Guide

Learn what to pack before walking the Camino de Santiago 

Having the right gear can make or break a walking or cycling holiday along the Camino de Santiago, the most famous long-distance trail in Europe. Which is why we’ve put together this helpful Camino Packing Guide, outlining the most essential items, from drink bladders to trekking poles and playing cards.

  Walker on Way of St James

What Bags to use when walking the Camino de Santiago


Luggage Transfer Benefits

One of the advantages of booking your walking or cycling holiday with UTracks is luggage transfers. Every morning you leave your big suitcase at your hotel reception and our transfer van will collect it and transport it to your next destination. This means you only have to carry a day pack each day. 

Day Pack Recommendations for the Camino de Santiago

We recommend a small backpack with hip straps to keep the weight off your shoulders and evenly distribute weight. The rule of thumb for pilgrims who don't get luggage transfer services is to carry a maximum of 10% of their body weight - this total includes all the clothes and belongings the pilgrim needs. Because you have the benefit of luggage transfer service, you can comfortably be well under this 10% rule.
Hot tip: buy a day pack with a waterproof cover to protect your belongings in case of rain.
Hikers on the Camino in Spain |  <i>@timcharody</i>

What should I carry in my day pack?

Try to keep items in your day pack to a minimum – it may seem light at the start of the day but after a long day of walking you may regret bringing your hardcover copy of War & Peace. Essential items include:
  • A drink bladder or reusable water bottles – there are many places you can refill your water bottles each day, so reduce your impact on the environment by going plastic free
  • Sunscreen
  • A pocket knife for cutting up food
  • Snacks
  • A Tupperware container for keeping your snacks fresh (especially fruit)
  • Maps and route notes (for self guided trips)
Hiking the Camino Trail towards Roncesvalles |  <i>Scott Kirchner</i>

What should I wear while walking the Camino de Santiago?

Regardless of the time of year you are walking or cycling the Camino de Santiago, we recommend playing it safe and layering your clothes. Don’t leave home without:
  • Collared, quick-drying and breathable shirts – include at least one with long sleeves for sun protection
  • A lightweight scarf or buff - great for keeping your neck, head or ears warm. You can even use it as an eye mask!
  • A hat for protection from the sun and rain
  • Sunglasses
  • Quick-drying walking trousers and shorts
  • Warm fleece jacket or sweater
  • Wind jacket and long waterproof jacket with a hood, zipper flap and storm cuffs – must be waterproof, not water resistant or showerproof
  • If you're cycling, padded bike pants will be your favourite piece of clothing for the duration of your trip!
  • We recommend good quality hiking boots for all of our walking holidays, preferably ones with ankle support; if you’re cycling, opt for joggers or cycling shoes
  • Good quality seamless socks with insulation to prevent sweat and protect your feet, especially if you’re wearing hiking boots
  • Walkers should consider trekking poles, which take a lot of stress off your knees, legs and ankles and help you to maintain balance on uneven or slippery terrain
  • Gloves are also recommended to prevent blisters from poles
Pilgrims walking the Camino in Spain |  <i>Sue Finn</i>

What else should I pack for the Camino de Santiago?

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys listening to music while you walk, you might consider loading music onto your phone or an MP3 player in advance. Other essential personal items include:
  • Universal adaptor
  • Camera, extra memory cards and charger
  • Flashlight
  • Toiletries – you’ll be able to buy essentials in bigger towns, but if you’re a one brand kind of person then BYO from home!
  • Sunscreen, after sun cream and lip balm
  • Blister protection eg. Band-aid strips
  • Small pack of wet ones or hand gel: very useful for cleaning hands
  • Reading material or playing cards
  • Ziplock bags to keep electronics dry
Pilgrims walking the Camino in Spain |  <i>Sue Finn</i>

Camino Walking and Cycling Tours

Discover more about our range of walking and cycling holidays on the Camino here.
Is there anything we've missed in our Camino Packing Guide? Leave a comment below with your suggestions. 
Camino, Cycling Holidays, El Camino de Santiago, packing tips, Travel Tips, walking holidays

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