Updated: Sep 19, 2020
If you have decided to hike the Camino de Santiago and are prepping for the adventure, then this is the perfect backpacking gear list for you. Learn more about why the Camino is different than traditional backpacking and why each piece of gear listed here is optimized for hiking along the Camino.
This list is curated by a Camino veteran who walked the French way!
For those that are unfamiliar with backpacking terms, its important to understand the value of carrying a lightweight backpack. Every ounce should be considered since you will be frequently walking on compact dirt, concrete, brick, and other hard surfaces. Backpack weight is less about muscular fatigue and more about bruising of the feet and joint stiffness. The people who are unable to get to Santiago and go home are the ones who don't value the importance of your feet, joints, and muscles. This gear list values these
Have you been Wilderness Backpacking Before?
For many seasoned backpackers, this trip is going to be significantly different because some of the heaviest pieces of gear won't need to be utilized. Instead, you will be able to carry more "luxury" items since there are Camino culture-based areas to consider. This list will be very different than what you are used to since the gear is focused on a different type of walking.
Whether you have been backpacking before or not, the Camino is one of the best and most unique hiking experiences you will ever have!
Minimum Requirement Gear List.
If you are an experienced or informed backpacker, you may have heard of the phrase "Ultralight backpacking." This typically refers to the base weight of a backpack (everything but food and water). For those who want to walk the Camino using this style, this is the list for it. This part of the packing list also serves as the foundation for the ideal gear loadout. This is a list of the minimum gear you will want to bring on the Camino de Santiago if you are walking either in the Spring, Summer, or Fall.
40 + 10 Liter Backpack
Thread and Needle
Foam (Used for blister care)
Bandaids (Small, Medium, and Large Sizes)
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
1/4 Roll of Toilet Paper
1 Quart sized zip-lock bag
2 Water Bottles (1 Liter)
Rain Cover for Pack
1 Pair Wool Socks
Athletic Shoes or Hiking Boots
2 Pairs of Underwear
1 Pair of Shorts
1 Lightweight Flip Flops or Sandals
Lightweight Camino Gear List.
The next thing to consider after getting all the minimum backpacking gear will be other "luxury" style items. Some may think of them as minimum requirements, but experienced backpackers will find them less important. However, it is important for traditional backpackers to understand that this trek is different since it is more social. Because of that, there are different hygiene standards that you will need to address. This is also the place where a few more clothing options will show up. My opinion is that this list combined with the foundational requirements list is the ideal Camino backpacking gear loadout. It's a perfect balance of comfort and backpack weight.
1 More Pair Wool Socks
2 More Pairs of Underwear
2 More T-Shirts
2 More Shorts
1 Pair of Lightweight but Nicer "Church Worthy" Pants
Memo Pad and Pen
High Lumen Flashlight
SOL Emergency Bivvy
Lightweight Windbreaker Jacket
1 Plastic Garbage Bag
3 one-gallon zip-lock plastic bag
Sleeping Bag Liner
Small Microfiber Cloth
Mini Bungee Cords
Documents and Money Holder
The "no-no" Gear List.
More than 4 days worth of clothing
Professional photography gear or DSLR camera's used by amateur photographers
Too much medical supplies
Big Backpacks above 50+10L
Cooking supplies or gas stove
Portable Coffee Maker
The photographer's packing guide to the Camino.
If you don't plan to wear all your camera gear around your neck all day, you should not be bringing camera gear besides your Smartphone. The only photographers that actually use their gear keep it strapped around their neck all day long. Before you commit to bringing a large camera, take a 10-mile walk with it around your neck to see if you would like to do it for another 400+ miles. This was the only photographer I met who was willing to do that.
Now let's assume that you have decided to bring your camera...what other gear should you bring too?
If you are a professional photographer, you love your lenses right? Great! Because if you are going to be using your camera all day, you should bring at one other lense. You shouldn't be bringing more than a total of two lenses because you will likely not want to fish one out of your bag and swap it out.
There is a good amount of dust on certain sections of the Camino de Santiago. Be aware of this so you can have the proper lens cleaning supplies at the ready.
If you happen to be filming a documentary with a team of other film-makers, this will obviously be a little different. If you are making a solo documentary, you should bring a separate microphone that is not directly attached to the camera in addition to the camera mounted mic.
Overall, my advice is to skip the DSLR camera and go with your Smartphone!
About the Packing List Curator
Caleb Schmitz - Author of The Way of the Cross and Struggle for Holiness
Caleb grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and decided to go to school in Kansas at Benedictine College. The fall after college, he was fortunate enough to graduate early and embark on a fantastic journey across Spain. Since finishing El Camino de Santiago, he has been working in Wisconsin at a technology startup while planning his next adventure. Some of his daily activities include mountain biking, skiing, hiking, longboarding, and all other kinds of outdoor activities.
He got married to his wife, Monica, in 2019. And expecting their first baby at the end of 2020. Currently, they are planning another Camino de Santiago trip, but this time, it will be with a baby!