21 days, 14 pounds, and counting.
My preparations for walking the Camino de Santiago
As of today, I’ve got 21 days or three weeks until I leave to walk the Camino Portugués. Naturally, pre-trip planning has been occupying much of my time. One thing that many people agonize over when planning to walk the Camino de Santiago is “what to bring?” I’ll freely admit that I’ve put plenty of thought into it, but since I’ve been exploring backpacking over the past two years, a lot of that homework had thankfully already been completed. I did watch a few YouTube videos made by other Camino walkers, but they mostly served to confirm I was in good shape. I did need to purchase a few new things, like a smaller pack (my 58L was much too large for this trip), some better quick-dry hiking shirts, a lightweight warm coat, and new socks. So what am I bringing? All you see here, plus the iPhone I used to take the picture:
I suppose that what you think about this picture depends upon your perspective. I’m certain that an ultralight backpacker would throw out a few things - they can always find ounces to trim. But I think non-backpackers would think this is rather spartan. To me it feels pretty good. I’ll admit that I’m still on the fence about a few luxury items (I’m probably bringing my Kindle as I hate reading on my phone), but barring that and a few small additions to be made to my first aid kit, this is it. But in reality, I’ll be wearing a bunch of this when I put on my pack for the first time, walking into San Francisco Airport. So the picture should more accurately look like this:
Somehow this looks like a lot less to me now. By number this is mostly toiletries and small odds and ends like my passport, pilgrim credencial, and my trusty guidebook (another luxury item since I do have an electronic copy on my phone + Kindle). But the final reveal of what I’m bringing is what you’d expect:
This is my now packed 30L backpack, which weighs just 14 lbs. My target for backpacking is always under 20 lbs with food (which I don’t need to carry here) and water; and even if you add in a liter of water to my now-empty bottle, we’re talking 16 lbs. I’m pretty happy with that based on past experience. Until I stepped on the scale this morning I was wondering how things would add up. Based on the size and weight of the pack, I’ll be able to carry it on my flight - also a key goal for this journey.
So what’s left to do? Not much. I’ve reserved housing for the bookends of my trip, plus a few days where I know options are limited in a given area. For most of the remaining days, my plan is to decide on housing as I go. There are ample public and private options, so I don’t have any concerns. I do still need to paint my traditional scallop shell, though that seems more like a fun undertaking than a chore. I also want to re-read my guidebook and note the historic sights along the route that I don’t want to miss. But otherwise I think I’m ready. Or am I? I guess we’ll find out!