Pilgrims spend a lot of time thinking about what they should pack. Even when you think you packed the right amount, you probably packed too much. Almost everyone packs too much, and usually much too much. It is not uncommon for pilgrims to mail things home or just leave items in the Albergue. One thing we noticed is that long pants, especially jeans or even cotton shorts were most likely to be left on The Way. Pilgrims wishing to reduce the weight of their bags.
A good packing goal: 10% of your body weight, no more than 20 pounds.
About the way:
Cheap restaurants and bars are everywhere. Meals are easy to find along the way. Some of our accommodations include breakfast in our price.
There are lots of stores and supermarkets on The Way. With our pilgrimages, you will see a supermarket in every town. So no need to stock up on snacks and food, between all the cafes and markets, you can always pick up something when needed. Even health items, pharmacies are easy to find.
All of the water everywhere is drinkable -- and is good!
All of our accommodations are booked ahead for you. No need to worry about where you lay your head. But if you plan to do on your own, there are plenty of places to sleep.
The trail is safe. There is plenty of pilgrims on the trail and the trail is fairly easy terrain. But, still use common sense. For safety, you may wish to bring a cell phone (make sure you have an international plan). You can always find first aid supplies in the towns.
Shoes are up to you. Some wear hiking boots, I prefer hiking sneakers. Just choose shoes which are comfortable for very long walks.
Some packing tips:
Clothes (suggestion: try to pack hiking clothes made out of synthetic material, easy to wash and dry) This will come in handy when you wash and hang dry in the evenings, plus less weight.
2 pairs of shorts (wear one, pack one)
1 pair of pants (these could zip into shorts)
2 pairs of short-sleeve shirts (wear one)
3 pairs of underwear (wear one)
3 pairs of socks (wear one, lightweight merino wool socks are good, for when we travel)
1 long sleeve lightweight fleece shirt / jacket
1 pair of shoes (which you wear while hiking)
Rain poncho: make sure that it can cover both you and your pack (Some people prefer rain suits)
Bandana or Buff
Flip flops or sandals - These are good for wearing around in the evening. If you take sturdier sandals (such as Teva sandals) then you can wear them for restaurants and shopping as well, to give your hiking shoes a rest.
Where we stay for our pilgrimages, all bedding is supplied.
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Neosporin or similar)
Lip balm (e.g. Chapstick or similar)
Cloth tape for blisters (also good to use before the blister forms, for prevention)
Band-aids, again primarily for blisters
Underarm deodorant (travel size)
Soap (many hikers cut a standard bar in half) - used to wash body, hair, and clothes
Towels and wash clothes are supplied where we stay on our pilgrimages.
Two packs of tissues (travel-sized) - these are also used for emergency toilet paper since many bathrooms on the trail have no toilet paper.
Pilgrims credentials - we will get at beginning of pilgrimage
Credit card/ Debit Card (please let your bank know you are traveling out of the country)
Recommended pack size; 30 liter for women, 40 liter for men.
Remember your total pack weight includes the pack itself
Find one that is comfortable to you
Safety pins - For hanging things on clotheslines or your pack, for draining blisters, and for emergency clothes repairs.
I brought a little day purse to use for the evenings, when I wasn't carrying my pack. It was small and very lightweight.
Added Luxuries to carry
Lightweight foam pad - We will be staying where this is not needed. I took one, (I laid on it and cut it at my knees) It was nice to sit on when sitting in the grass and taking a break.
Pain killers / antihistamine / anti-diarrhea medication : Take a minimum amount, you can always buy these on the pilgrimage.
Guidebook - We will be giving you daily pages, so you don't need to carry a guidebook unless you wish to
2 or 3 plastic bags - For holding trash or protecting things from rain as necessary (I had a waterproof bag for my cell phone)
Other muscle creams and pills (such as magnesium and vitamins) which you find helpful with muscle pain
Small bottle of shampoo (I brought a little bottle of body wash / shampoo)
Digital camera, lots of memory, charger, extra battery, European power plug adapter
Cell (mobile) phone (make sure it works in Europe), and charger
Shaving cream (travel-sized) and shaver
Deck of cards
One extra change of clothes - Allows you to skip a day of washing which is useful when it rains (e.g. maybe tomorrow will be sunny)