Your Ultimate Camino Packing Guide

Pilgrims walking along the Camino in the Rioja region
Pilgrims walking along the Camino in the Rioja region

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 JamesHiker carrying a day pack on the Way of St James trail in France One of the advantages of booking your walking or cycling holiday with UTracks is that we transfer your luggage between hotels, which means you only have to carry a day pack each day. We recommend a small backpack with hip straps to keep the weight off your shoulders and evenly distribute weight. Hot tip: buy one with a waterproof cover to protect your belongings in case of rain.

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>Walker dressed for a rainy day on the Camino trail 

What should I wear?

Regardless of the time of year you are walking or cycling the Camino 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

What else shouldn't I leave home without?

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

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