One of the most difficult things about the Camino – except walking it – is to decide what needs to be on your Camino Portugues packing list. I spent weeks researching which items are the best fit the Camino, which are the lightest, which gear has the best functionality…I even went so far and weighted each item, until I narrowed it down to mind-blowing 6kg. Not bad, right?
I know there are many Camino Packing lists out there suggesting what to pack and what not to, but I think – very humble here – mine is the best. I used each and every item I had in my backpack and did not buy anything along the way. (except snacks and bandages for my feet but that was planned).
Interested in knowing how much my 2 weeks Camino experience did actually cost? Check here! I wrote down a very detailed list of my expenses.
As a disclaimer, I walked the Camino Portugues in June. The weather is quite mild during late spring, but it got fresh during the night. I also washed my clothes every day and didn’t mind attaching them to my backpack to dry. And maybe sometimes I even wore my clothes longer than I care to admit.
Click here and read about my full Camino experience! Know how much I walked a day, where I stayed and what I would do differently today!
So, what should be on your Camino Portugues packing list?
Backpack – that’s a question frequently asked and no one has really an answer 🙂 However, from our backpacking round the world trip I knew what I wanted and what was important to me and I put together some criteria:
- the bag needs to have 3 compartments: one on the bottom for a rain jacket and sleeping bag, one central for my clothes and one on top for things I might need during the day
- comfortable hip straps
- adjustable chest strap
- a few easy access outside pockets
- between 30-40l (30l would have been enough for my gear but I prefer to have a bit space, it’s easier to pack)
- clips where I could attach things (laundry) to
- a rain cover
Organization – I knew I hate nothing more than rummaging through luggage and not finding what I need. To keep my bags in order, I had my clothes packed up in one medium-sized packing cube. I also found a tiny hanging travel wash bag that proofed perfectly for my few toiletries
Bum Bag – to store phone and money during the day and as a handbag in the evenings
Sleeping bag – I had a light sleeping bag (comfort 8-15°C) but many only bring an inlay (click here to know more) during the summer months. However, most hostels do provide blankets and an inlay *might* be enough. Personally, I was happy to have brought my sleeping bag though as I just prefer the feel of it.
Clothes for the Camino:
It goes without saying, that your apparel solely depends on the season. I walked in June and there was no need for heavy rain gear or warm clothes.
2 pair of socks I had random hiking socks from the discounter but would definitely invest in 3 good pairs of merino socks (3 instead of 2 because I had not enough socks with me to change them during the day and it would definitely have been better to do so)
Zip-off pants (they are unarguable just perfect if you can’t bring many clothes)
Leggings (they were my universal clothing when arriving at the auberge. I used them as leggings under my dress and slept in them as well.
2 merino t-shirts (I like the shirts from Icebreaker very much. They are made from Merino and that’s just the best for hiking. It’s regulating temperature, are smell resistant and dry quick)
1 merino dress (I have this dress from an icebreaker in black and it was great to change into normal/comfy apparel after a full day of hiking)
1 thermal long sleeve
1 pullover I just picked the lightest pullover from my closet (in terms of weight)
Fleece vest Instead of the pullover and the vest, I should have just taken a light fleece jacket
Scarf (I had a magic scarf and it was quite practical, especially as I could wear it around my head as well)
Toiletries – just the basics on the Camino packing list
Soap and Shampoo (I had only travel size toiletries and some leak-proof travel tubes that I filled up at home. It was surprisingly enough for 2 weeks, but I wasn’t peaky and shamelessly used sometimes shower gel and shampoo that someone else left behind 🙂
Toothbrush (I am using a toothbrush made of bamboo to avoid plastic), toothpaste, face moisturizer
Comb (it’s a pain but takes less space than a brush)
Toilette paper/tissues (cause you never know)
Suncream, lip balm
First aid kit
I took quite a few medicines with me; against urinal and yeast infections, back pain, throat pain.. but every village has a pharmacy and there is really no need to carry tons of pills.
Painkillers, Magnesium (to prevent muscle cramps)
For your feet:
Compeed – Do not travel without! Put 2 packs with different sizes on your Camino Portugues packing list
Moleskin tape to keep the Compeed in place and to protect wound spots on your feet. I cut them in small stripes at home as I couldn’t take scissors on the plane, but a tweezer works, too
A needle and a thread (this is super gross, I know but when you have a blister, it’s best to poke it with a needle and pull a thread through it. And leave it in… that helps to stop the blister to refill .. sorry sorry sorry but you’ll thank me later)
Antiseptic wipes or spray
Deer Tallow Cream – I am not sure this is a thing anywhere else than in Germany but it’s basically a cream you use morning and evening to prevent blisters. It’s very popular amongst hikers
What are the best shoes for the Camino Portugues?
hiking shoes I packed my broke in Keen hiking shoes (I have the high Keen Terradora (this one) but a pair of trail runners would have been enough for the Camino.
Birkenstock I chose Birkenstocks over Flip Flops (despite the weight) as I can walk good enough in them and wore them instead of my hiking shoes from time to time. Alternatively, I could have taken hiking sandals.
Phone + cable
Powerbank (I am using the Anker PowerCore 10000, it’s small but charges my phone up to 3 times)
if you are from outside Europe, think about bringing a universal adapter
I listened to audible audiobooks a lot on the Camino. It was a good alternative to carrying a book with me and helped a lot to get through difficult or boring stretches of the Portuguese way. Click here to know more and to get a free trial!
Other items that you need or are good to have
Earplugs no Camino Portugues packing list is complete without 🙂
Plastic container and spoon – I often prepared some pasta or salad in the evening and packed half of it for lunch the next day
Ziplock bag for documents
Little wallet with a credit card, cash, and ID card – I left my usual wallet at home and just had the bare minimum on me. If you want to sleep in the official pilgrim hostels, you need to bring your ID.
Pilgrim pass (Credencial) – a little book to collect stamps along the way and I advise you to order it before your trip to save you from stress. When I arrived in Porto, the Pilgrim office was already closed and opened only late in the morning, way later than I planned to start my journey. You can get it here
Notebook and pen – I had it with me and wrote one page, the note pad on my phone would have been enough, to be honest
Water bottle – I had a light metal bottle. It kept water quite long fresh but it was so annoying to drink from, that I drank way too less. I would recommend to either have one with a build-in straw or a water bladder for your bag. While I am at it, the water quality in Portugal is very good and you can drink right from the tap.
What you can leave at home
Torchlight – you’ve got your phone! (unless you start every day super early AND in a season where it gets day late)
Book – too heavy! You can get the kindle app on your phone or you get audiobooks (that’s what I did)
Snacks – you can buy everything there (I had one pack of instant soup with me to be on the safe side though)
Walking sticks – that’s probably arguable (and personal). Most stretches of the Camino are relatively easy and the majority of pilgrims had none
Any item that you bring just in case – you can buy everything along the way as you come by a village daily
Makeup – something that you definitely won’t need on the Camino
more than one change of clothes
evening clothes – really, no one wears anything “real” or even fancy on the Camino. Bring one comfy change and you’re good!
Waterproof clothing – better take a big rain poncho, it’s lighter to carry. When I walked the Camino, it rained on 2 days but it was still quite warm. I was melting under my rain jacket, it was horrible!
Laundry detergent – if you use the washing machines in the hostels, they provide washing powder and if you wash by hand, shampoo works, too
That’s it! That’s what I brought with me on my Camino Portugués in June 2019! When are you leaving?
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