What backpack should I get? Sleeping Bag or Sleeping Bag Liner? Trekking Poles? Boots, shoes or sandals? There are many questions that you will have and that you will need to find the answers to when preparing to walk the Camino de Santiago. I've been doing a lot of reading and video watching and I'm finding that there's a lot of information out there that can help us to better prepare ourselves.
There are many varied opinions from pilgrims on what works and what doesn't. Some people walked with hiking boots, some preferred trail running shoes and some even hiked in sandals. The size of their backpacks also varied from 35L, 48L and up to 65L. Some people brought a sleeping bag while others only brought a sleeping bag liner. Although there are many varied opinions on choice, size and brand of their equipment, all the people agreed that whatever you choose to bring, you must pack light and that your pack should not exceed 10% of your body weight.
The equipment we choose will be very important to how well or not well we manage on our 500 mile walk. In the end, we must prepare the best that we can and then be open to make changes as needed when on our Camino.
The way I see it, there are three (3) major things to consider when choosing the right equipment:
The best advice I can give is to purchase your equipment at a quality outdoors-adventure store with a great return policy like REI. I had to go through 4 backpacks before I found the one that is the most comfortable. In the store the REI staff will help to measure your torso (which is the key to a great fit) and then help you to try on the various packs. They will fill them with some weight and strap it onto you. Now if you're like me, things that felt right in the store can for some reason feel different once I get home. So save your receipt, leave the store tags on the pack, then fill them again with about 10 pounds of stuff. Okay, now walk around the house with it on. Go up and down stairs if you can. Do this again the next day. If the pack stills feels great on you with no issues, then you have found the right pack for you. If you have issues about the fit, then return it and start all over.
My Equipment List
- Hiking Shoes
- Sleeping Bag
- Trekking Poles