Setting out on the Camino Santiago de Compostela, you embark on a journey spanning over 800 km, a pilgrimage that can take you around five weeks, depending on your daily mileage. Such an adventure begs the question: What essentials should you pack for this transformative journey?

Back in 2018, I undertook this very pilgrimage, walking from Vezelay to Santiago de Compostela over the course of three months. The key lesson I learned? The art of packing light is essential for a pilgrim. You’ll be carrying your world on your shoulders (unless you opt for luggage transport), making every item in your backpack count. Join me as I share insights and tips from my own experience to help you prepare effectively for your own Camino.

The Ultimate Camino Santiago de Compostela Packing List

If you have been on the road for a long time, packing for the Camino de Santiago is certainly a lot easier. When I walked for the first time a pilgrimage route, I had no experience but I did know that I wanted to take as little as possible. It turned out to be a good choice, because with this Camino Santiago de Compostela packing list I left for 2000 km on the pilgrimage route in May 2018 .

Camino Santiago De Compostela

The ‘rule’ for baggage you have to carry with you during your Camino Santiago de Compostela is that it can be up to 10% of your body weight. Don’t let this rule influence you too much. Your bag can feel light, but if you have walked 30 kilometers through the mountains you will soon think differently about it. And don’t be mistaken for the weight of food and drinks that will add to the weight during your trip. My own backpack was about 9 kg without water.

Regardless of your budget and the length you chose for your Camino, there are two things you don’t want to save on: your backpack and walking shoes. These are the base for a successful Camino. If you don’t have fitted shoes or a good backpack, you’ll get problems sooner or later.

Camino Santiago De Compostela

1- Selecting the Perfect Backpack

For my backpack for the Camino Santiago de Compostela, I went to a store specialized in outdoor products. After trying on the necessary amount of backpacks and comparisons I finally chose the OSPREY AURA AG 50L. This is a backpack designed especially for women, that it fits perfectly to the female body. It means that the backpack is more narrowly at the shoulders and a bit shorter than the male variant. In addition, the so-called harness of the bag is shaped to the female body and the position of the hip belt is also different from that of a backpack for men.

Things to consider when buying a good backpack: lightweight, breathable at the back, a rain cover and soft back- and waist straps.

2- Layering Up: Clothing Essentials

You’ve probably heard about the most important rule: layers. It keeps your temperature and humidity in balance, which adds a lot of comfort to your walk. I myself chose shirts from the Icebreaker brand. That is a brand that has structured its collection according to this layer method.

I chose 2 quick dry t-shirts with short sleeves, 1 tight sport vest, fleece sweater, 1 quick dry leggings and 1 zip-off pants by Fjallraven.

Are you going to walk the Camino Francés in the middle of summer? Then on your Camino Santiago de Compostela packlist is best to have a vest less. A fleece sweater is highly recommended, it is always comfortable and on cold evenings, nights and in the early hours you will be grateful for it. What is essential for summer: a hat to protect your head from the sun!

3- Footwear: Shoes and Socks for the Journey

Good walking shoes are not cheap, but they save you from the need for a professional pair of mountain boots. Some pilgrims swear by semi-high walking shoes, but I walked all the kilometers on low hiking shoes of the Hanwag brand. These are strong but lightweight and extremely comfortable for me.

You can still have such good shoes during your Camino Santiago de Compostela, but if you don’t wear the right socks you can still get a lot of problems. I took 3 pairs of Falke socks with me. Low, for women. That was enough.


Camino Santiago De Compostela

4- Personal Care Essentials for the Camino Santiago de Compostela

At home you probably have all kinds of different creams. For your face, for the day or night, shampoo, bodycream, etc. Well, if you want to take all this with you, it is a lot of weight together. A strong recommendation are small refillable bottles, bought at Bever. With a large bottle of shampoo traveling is not recommended and mini packaging are very hard to be found along the way. Furthermore, 2-in-1 shampoo is a great solution. Although I sometimes bought some creams to spoil myself during the Camino Santiago de Compostela.

I used a refillable bottle for shower soap and detergent for my clothes. For my face and body I bought a small package from Nivea. Suncream is essential too, don’t save on it especially when you walk in summer.

5- First Aid and Blister Care

Of course, blister plasters are also indispensable. Personally, I did not need them, but I often gave them away to others. A small first aid kit I put together, including paracetamol, ORS, a set of tweezers, a sign tweezers, various (blister) plasters and disinfectant. Don’t forget to take to the Camino: earplugs. If you sleep in dorms, you will most certainly encounter noisy pilgrims during those weeks.

6- Sleeping Gear: Liner or Sleeping Bag?

You can choose between a liner or a sleeping bag. I had both with me, and I used both. It is also dependant on when you decide to walk the Camino. In summer a liner is warm enough.

7- The Debate: To Hike with Poles or Not

Good hiking poles help you a lot because your weight (and that of your luggage!) will feel more divided. It is for everyone a lot more comfortable, especially when climbing and descending. I used them every day during my Camino Santiago de Compostela and would recommend them to anyone. Don’t choose Nordic Walking sticks because they have a cap on the tip, which is not ideal for nature trails. Oh yes, please note that you are not officially allowed to take hiking poles in your hand baggage during your flight. Read more about walking with hiking poles and receive the 10 most important tips.

Embarking on Your Camino Santiago de Compostela Journey

As you prepare to embark on your Camino de Santiago, remember that each item in your backpack carries its own weight and significance. The journey ahead is not just a physical challenge, but also a journey of self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment. Packing smartly is the first step towards a successful and memorable pilgrimage.

Live the Camino Experience

Embrace the journey with an open heart and mind, knowing you are well-prepared for the road ahead. Whether you find solace in the quiet paths, form lasting bonds with fellow pilgrims, or discover new facets of your own resilience, the Camino is sure to be an experience you’ll cherish forever.

Should you have any further questions or need more insights as you plan your pilgrimage, feel free to reach out. We’re here to support you in making your Camino Santiago de Compostela a journey of a lifetime. Buen Camino!