There is usually much hysteria about packing one’s backpack as a sensible pilgrim should absolutely minimize the weight one is carrying; It makes the difference between a nice walk and a struggle. So a general rule is to pack what is absolutely necessary, throw out what you don’t need, and buy locally what you after all need or you have forgotten.
We can take into account three different weights: firstly, your own body and what you are wearing; secondly, your body belt, which will take some important documents; thirdly, your backpack, which takes the heaviest weight.
Here you have a recommendation about weights and how to organize your stuff. I may have forgotten to include something, but most of things on the list are bare necessities to any pilgrim.
1) On body (about 2-2,50 kgs):
- Walking boots or shoes
- A pair (or two) of pressure sport socks
- One cap or hat
- Suitable underwear
- A sweater
- a belt
- a T-shirt
- a waterproof lightweight jacket
- Sunglasses (just in case)
2) Body belt ( about 0.70 kgs):
- Cards : bank/ insurance/ European Health/ driving licence…
- Money: Euros, mainly cash. Bank notes could be kept in some zipped pockets.
- Smartphone (with maps, compass, GPS, Flashlight/SOS blinking light, Emergency WhatsApp and so on)
- Bank ID chip for emergency banking
3)In your backpack (about 7 kgs):
- One T-shirt.
- One long-sleeve shirt or blouse if you want to look proper in evenings.
- Underwear (a pair is enough for men, maybe women need more)
- 2 pairs of sports socks with reinforcements on blister areas
- 1 extra pair of long trousers to look proper in evenings.
- 1 pair of swimming shorts, swimming suit or bikini (in summer it´s pleasant to use available pools in the Camino).
- 1 pair of crocs (These are not for walking, but for time spent in the afternoons, as well as in the showers, they are only about 300 gr.).
- 4 safety pins for hanging your clothes to dry.
- A sanitary napkin pack.
- A small toilet paper roll.
- Lightweight toilet map with toothbrush, toothpaste, soap box, nail cutter, comb and lightweight (58gr.) towel.
- Lightweight First aid kit (Compeed, needle&thread for draining blisters, patches, tape, some emergency items, vaseline, iodine, strong thread for backpack repairs, +++)
- A pair of earplugs, they will be useful when you spend the night surrounded by snoring pilgrims. Believe me! You may also want to take blinders for your eyes since some pilgrims love to put on the light or a flashlight at night time.
- A charger for your smartphone.
- Sleeping bag.
- Papers (reservations, Camino profile maps laminated, some lightweight guidebook (Camino Frances, Finisterre, Camino Portugues (just in case change of plans…)
- 2 x 0.5 liter drinking water bottles (ordinary lightweight plastic bottles from the shop, reused).
- Some medicine you like or need to take.
This list may seem minimalistic, but it is all you may need and you can buy in your Camino what you eventually forgot, at a better price than at home. Besides, most of people who have already walked the Camino recommend to carry a very lightweight backpack, no more than 10% of your body weight, so you should personalize your backpack to your own necessities, body weight and physical condition.
The above packing list will fit into a walk-on backpack and body on airlines: No waiting for luggage on arrival, and no risk of losing your belongings in airports.
Buen Camino amigos!