Camino de Santiago is a life-changing experience. The success of the walk depends on several factors. One of them is choosing the right gear for your Camino packing list. We know many people who were planning this pilgrimage for years, preparing, reading, and training. It’s important to pack light for the Camino to make your walk easier and more enjoyable. We learned this a hard way after walking several Caminos de Santiago.
As of March 2023, we’ve completed several different Caminos de Santiago routes. In total, we walked over 4000 km across Spain, Portugal, and a little bit of France following different Camino routes.
Our completed Camino de Santiago routes
- Portuguese Camino from Lisbon – May 2018
- Camino Primitivo – June 2018
- Camino del Norte – October 2018
- Camino Finisterre & Muxía – November 2018
- Via de la Plata (214 km from Seville to Mérida) – April 2019
- Camino Inglés – May 2019
- Camino Francés – September 2019
- Camino del Salvador – September 2022
- Camino de Gran Canaria – October 2022
- Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino – May 2023
- 3 connecting routes between the Coastal and the Central Portuguese Camino – June 2023
- 3 routes of the Portuguese Camino from Porto – July 2023
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Table of Contents
Our Camino packing video
We walked the Camino in different seasons throughout the year (we on purpose skipped the high season – July and August, as we don’t like crowds), in this post, you’ll find packing tips for different weather and seasons for men and women.
From our experience the two most important things to have on the Camino de Santiago are a comfortable backpack and a pair of good shoes – these two you’ll use every day and if even one of them doesn’t fit well or is uncomfortable it can completely spoil your Camino.
We have created the Camino de Santiago resource page where you can find all our Camino posts divided into different topic groups so you can easily find the information you’re looking for.
Documents to pack for the Camino de Santiago
A passport or an ID for European citizens – you’ll need it for checking in to albergues and hotels.
The Credential (Camino passport) is a small paper book with your name where you collect stamps from albergues, hotels, churches, restaurants, etc. along the way. You can get a Credential in one of the Camino associations in your country or on arrival in some albergues, information offices, or churches on the Camino. You need it to stay at public albergues (where only pilgrims are allowed to stay) and to get your Compostela certificate in Santiago.
The Compostela is a certificate that pilgrims get for completing any route of the Camino de Santiago. In order to get it, you have to walk at least the last 100 km to Santiago.
If you need practical information for planning the pilgrimage check out our post that contains useful tips for planning and walking the Camino.
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8 Essential items to pack for the Camino
It’s very important to choose the right backpack for the Camino de Santiago. I walked with a 36-40L backpack it was more than enough especially if you’re not planning on carrying a laptop as I did. Remember, the bigger backpack you get the more unnecessary stuff you’ll fit in. If you walk in summer you can get away with a smaller 30-35L backpack.
For hiking in winter or late fall/early spring when you need warmer clothes a 40-45L backpack for men and women will be big enough. Make sure your backpack has a rain cover or buy a separate one it’s always great to have it, especially if you walk off-season.
If you’re planning to use a backpack delivery service on the Camino you can bring a big backpack or even a suitcase and walk with a day pack carrying only valuables, water, and snacks. Make sure your daypack is comfortable for long walking and has padded straps, and pockets to fit a water bottle. Osprey Talon 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack or even smaller Osprey Daylite 13L Daypack are great options for a day pack.
Suggested Camino backpacks for women
Suggested Camino backpacks for men
Walking shoes for the Camino
Don’t underestimate the importance of packing a good pair of shoes for the Camino. In the end, you’ll spend most of the time walking in them. We’d recommend walking the Camino, especially if you’re planning to walk a long distance, in proper shoes not in sneakers. We tried on the Portuguese Camino to walk in our running shoes. They were very comfortable in the beginning but after a couple of days of walking on cobblestones and hard surfaces, our feet were destroyed.
For very hot weather hiking sandals can be a good alternative to shoes. Modern hiking shoes usually have good ventilation but sometimes it just gets too hot and it’s nice to put on sandals for a while.
If you buy a new pair wear them before you start the pilgrimage even very good new shoes might cause blisters. If you’re planning to do some Camino training the best is to train in the same shoes you’re going to walk in.
Read our recommendation for the best shoes for the Camino de Santiago.
Suggested walking shoes for women
I walked five Camino routes and a couple of treks in Nepal in Salomon Ellipse 2. They’re comfortable and light. My feet got wet a couple of times when we got pouring rain with strong wind on the Northern Camino and the Camino Finisterre. I didn’t get any blisters even though the shoes were new and I hadn’t worn them before. This model is a bit narrow if you have wide feet they might be too tight.
For walking the Camino in the winter when it rains a lot and on some routes, you can even get snow I can recommend Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX boots. These shoes are amazing for more challenging hiking routes and walking in bad weather conditions. I’ve done Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Base Camp trek in them and for hours walked in deep snow and my feet stayed warm and dry.
Suggested Camino shoes for men
Campbell’s walked four Camin routes and several hiking routes in Canada in his Salomon X Ultra hiking shoes. These shoes are a great option; light, durable, relatively waterproof, comfortable, and have a good grip. For walking off-season when you can get a lot of rain and occasional snow a high-cut model might be a better option.
Campbell just like I bought a new pair of waterproof hiking boots Salomon Ultra 3 Mid GTX for trekking in the mountains. He hasn’t done any Camino in them yet but for hiking in heavy rain and snow and mud, these boots are amazing. They are very comfortable and light, stay dry for hours, and keep your feet warm especially if you wear merino wool socks.
Light sleeping bag
In our experience, most albergues provide blankets but usually, without covers, I prefer to use my own sleeping bag, and if it’s really cold I use a blanket over it. A light sleeping bag with a comfort temperature limit of +12°C/55°F will be good enough.
If you walk the Camino in summer (July, August) when it gets quite hot, instead of a sleeping bag you can pack a silk liner. We walked a couple of Caminos in June and sometimes it was too hot at night for using a sleeping bag. If you get cold you can always use a blanket over your liner.
If you’re planning to stay at hotels (private rooms) instead of albergues you don’t need to carry a sleeping bag, all hotels and guesthouses provide blankets and bedding.
We used trekking poles a lot trekking in the Andes or hiking to Everest Base Camp. For walking the Camino we don’t take poles but I know many pilgrims use them. Trekking poles are great if you have knee or hip problems, shin splint, etc. They help a lot to reduce stress on joints. For some Caminos with many ascents and descents e.g. the Camino Primitivo or some parts of the French Camino (walking over the Pyrenees), the poles will be very helpful.
A quick-dry towel
We always take it when we go traveling. A quick-dry towel is definitely an item to add to your Camino packing list. are very light, pack small, dry quickly (as you can guess from the name), durable, and come in many different colors.
A water bottle
We definitely prefer carrying a water bottle over a hydration pack bladder. A bottle fits in a side pocket, so it’s easy to take it out and refill it, even if it leaks it won’t make everything inside your backpack wet. We like using water bladders on day hikes though. Tap water in Spain and Portugal is drinkable we usually don’t use any filters. I didn’t drink tap water in the Meseta part of the Camino Frances as I’d heard from other pilgrims that they had stomach problems there from drinking tap water.
Having a headlamp on the Camino is quite useful. In albergues lights are usually turned off quite early if you want to read or find something in your backpack you can use a lamp. In the morning if you want to leave early while others are still asleep it is quite helpful as well.
A neck back
We advise having a neck bag or a waterproof pouch where you can keep your documents, phone, money, and credit cards. Always take it with you when you leave an albergue, most albergues don’t have lockers. We have never had any issues but always try to be careful with valuable items.
8 essential items to pack for the Camino walk
Miscellaneous items for your packing list
You’ll be fine if you don’t pack any of these things for the Camino but they will make your journey easier and more comfortable. If you’re like me and rather under-pack than overpack, don’t worry if you need any of these on the Camino it’s very likely you’ll be able to buy them along the way.
In Spain and Portugal like in most European countries, power sockets are Type C. If you’re coming from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, or some other countries outside Europe you’ll probably need a travel adapter that can be used as a multi-plug as well.
You’ll likely get at least one snoring person every night so add earplugs to your Camino packing list if you’re going to stay in albergues.
You can use a stuff sack for better organizing your backpack especially if it has only one compartment and is top loaded – it’s easy to take a stuff sack out and put it back. You can use it as well to separate your dirty and clean clothes.
Some albergues have lockers but don’t have locks if you want to store your valuables in there bring your own padlock.
You can bring your own travel clothesline. It can be put up anywhere – it has suction cups on both ends. Many places have washing lines but there are never enough washing pegs instead.
Bed bug spray
We were quite lucky and had bed bugs only at 3 albergues out of the hundreds we’ve stayed. If you walk a busy Camino route in the peak season and stay at albergues you might get bed bugs. We haven’t used bed bug spray ourselves but saw people using it. It’s not a 100% guarantee but it will help to keep them away.
Eye mask for sleeping
In case you want to go to bed while the lights are still on or want to sleep in the afternoon an eye mask will be useful.
Women’s clothing for the Camino packing list
We’d suggest having one. In northern Spain (especially in Galicia), it rains quite a lot throughout the year. If you walk in July or August the chances of rain are smaller you can get away with a rain poncho, it’s small, light, and will protect you and your backpack from any rain. For the rest of the year, a rain jacket is a useful thing to have.
We walked the Portuguese Camino in May and didn’t have a lot of rain but on the Coastal Route, it was quite windy we were glad we had our jackets. I used my rain jacket and a poncho a lot on the Camino Primitivo in June and on the Camino del Norte in October.
I prefer hiking in yoga pants, they are comfortable and light, stretch a lot, dry quickly, and pack small. I always pack two pairs of pants: one pair of stretchy pants and one pair of normal hiking pants. For summer you can pack one pair of long pants and a pair of hiking shorts or knee pants though I prefer walking in long pants even in summer for sun protection.
Depending on what you prefer to wear for hiking it can be a hiking shirt or a running T-shirt. I don’t like shirts for the Camino I usually pack two running T-shirts; one with long sleeves and one short-sleeve. For walking in summer you probably won’t need a long-sleeve one, rather pack two short-sleeve T-shirts. I wouldn’t recommend walking in a top even if it’s hot. Always make sure your shoulders and neck are covered or put sun cream otherwise you’ll get bad sunburns.
It’s always nice to have a soft and warm fleece. Even in summer if you start walking really early in the morning it might be a bit chilly. We usually wear fleece after hiking when we go out for dinner or drinks in the evening.
For a long walk like the Camino, it’s very important to have good durable socks that protect feet and prevent blisters. We always wear merino wool socks for hiking and long-distance walking. They’re comfortable, and soft, help to prevent blisters, dry quickly, don’t absorb odors, and are easy to wash.
For the summer season, it’s a must-pack item. Most of the Camino routes go through open areas without any shade, you will have to protect your head from the sun. I don’t like hats and prefer wearing a cap it’s more comfortable for me.
Women’s hiking clothes for the Camino
Underwear and changing clothing
I’d recommend sports bras over normal bras – they are definitely more comfortable for hiking. I usually pack two pairs of running bras and three or four pairs of underwear. I wash my underwear and socks every day, it doesn’t take long and it dries quickly.
Highly recommended to take a pair of flip-flops to wear in albergues, your feet have to rest from wearing hiking boots all day. In summer you can wear them outside as well it’s too hot to walk around in shoes.
Extra clothes for women to pack for the Camino
Men’s clothing for the Camino de Santiago
I’d definitely recommend packing trekking pants for the Camino. A pair of quick-dry light pants will work great. For summer you can bring a pair of long trekking pants and a pair of hiking shorts or as an option buy a pair of convertible pants with zip-off legs.
Campbell usually wears Columbia hiking shirts or running T-shirts on the Camino. hiking. They’re great; light, comfortable, breathing, dry very quickly, and easy to wash. Pack two shirts or you’ll have to do laundry every day.
It’s nice to have a soft fleece to wear in albergues or if you go out in the evening. We usually pack our fleece for the Camino. For summer, Campbell brings a fleece vest for off-season a long-sleeve one.
Just like me, Campbell wears merino wool socks for long-distance walking and hiking. There are many great things about them; they last long, prevent blisters, keep your feet warm and dry, and don’t get smelly even after two full days of walking.
For walking in summer a cap or a hat is a must-have item on the Camino. Wearing a hat works better for sun protection as it covers your neck as well. Sunglasses are another important thing to add to your Camino packing list.
Men’s clothes for the Camino
Pack 2-3 pairs of underwear for the Camino. Most albergues have washing basins and washing lines you can wash your underwear and socks every day if it’s necessary.
Clothes for sleeping
Flip-flops are a great thing to pack for the Camino. It’s an amazing feeling when after a long day of walking you take off your hiking shoes and put on flip-flops. They’re great to have for wearing in albergues, on the beach, and outside in summer.
Men’s clothing items for the Camino packing list
It’s all up to you to decide whether to make your backpack heavier by packing a big camera with lenses or keep it light and take photos with a phone or a GoPro. In the end, the Camino is about personal experience and it’s your choice of what kind of experience you want to have.
Probably the most useful device you can pack for the Camino. You can use it for navigation, using Camino apps, taking photos and videos, using social media, listening to music or audiobooks, alarm, etc. Whichever to buy Samsung or iPhone is up to you, I, personally prefer Android.
We used to walk carrying our big mirror camera but the quality of the footage with it wasn’t good enough for making YouTube videos. We decided to buy a new GoPro HERO10. Since then we’ve been using it for taking videos and even photos. It’s very small, light, waterproof, and easy to use.
I got my first Garmin Fenix watch as a present from Campbell 2 years ago and since then I’ve been using it a lot when we go hiking, walking, running, or just training in the gym. It’s amazing how much information you can get from it: distances, speed, elevations, calories, heart rate, recovery time, maps, etc. The watch works great for any activity; hiking, running, cycling, swimming, surfing, etc.
If you like photography and aren’t satisfied with the quality of the phone and GoPro photos then a small digital camera like Olympus OM-D is a great option. It takes really good photos, ok videos, and it is small and light.
Campbell always packs his Kindle when we go traveling or hiking. It’s a great thing to have on the Camino especially if you’re walking alone. In the evenings you’ll have plenty of time to read.
With the Kindle, you can download as many books as you want. I’d suggest buying a Kindle Paperwhite in this case you won’t need extra light for reading in the dark. If you read a lot it might be worth joining Amazon Kindle unlimited program to get free access to hundreds of thousands of Ebooks and audiobooks.
Toiletries to pack for the Camino
|Body wash||Travel hand soap|
|Toothpaste||Travel manicure set|
|Razor (men’s razor)||Silicone travel bottles|
First aid kit
You walk past several pharmacies every day we were always able to buy some medicine or plasters on the way. If you need to buy something with a prescription you can ask your doctor back home to send it to you via e-mail and print it somewhere.
First Aid kit – you can buy a ready-made kit, take out some unnecessary stuff and add whatever extra you need. This kit has plasters, bandages, a safety pin, scissors, even a mini sewing kit, and many other useful items.
Good plasters (toe plasters) are something you’ll definitely need on the Camino. Tip! If you have spots on your feet where you usually get blisters, try to prevent them by putting in some vaseline and a plaster. If you already have blisters you can use Compeed blister plasters, special plasters that you can put on your blisters. It reduces the pain and protects against rubbing. There are special blister prevention patches for shoes as well. We’ve never used them (as I mentioned above merino wool socks work great for us) but the reviews are quite good.
- Alcohol pads for disinfection.
- Imodium – in case you have some stomach problems.
- Anti-inflammatory – to reduce muscular pain, and swelling, e.g. Ibuprofen.
- Aspirin – in case you get a cold or flu.
Best Camino guidebooks
Here is a list of the best guidebooks (in my opinion) for different Camino de Santiago routes.
- A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés): St. Jean Pied de Port • Santiago de Compostela, John Brierley, 2022
- A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Portugués Lisbon – Porto – Santiago: including Camino Central, Variente Espiritual, Camino da Costa, & Senda Litoral, John Brierley, 2022
- A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Finisterre: Including Muxía Circuit: Santiago ― Finisterre ― Muxía ― Santiago, John Brierley, 2022
- A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Inglés: The English Way also known as the Celtic Camino: Ferrol & Coruña — Santiago, John Brierley, 2021
- A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Sanabrés & Camino Invierno: Ourense or Ponferrada ― Lalín ― Santiago, John Brierley, 2021
- Camino del Norte: Irún to Santiago along Spain’s Northern Coast (Village to Village Map Guide), 2019
- The Vía de la Plata and the Camino Sanabrés – A Guide to the Camino from Sevilla to Santiago [2022 Edition
Camino de Santiago planning resources
- Learn more about the Camino | A detailed guide to the Camino de Santiago |
- Calculate your estimated Camino budget | The cost of walking the Camino de Santiago |
- More packing tips for the Camino de Santiago | Camino de Santiago: To Walk Far, Carry Less |
- What are the origins of the Way of St.James? | History of the Camino |
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The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.