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With just a couple of days to go before I start my camino in Le Puy on the 7th April, the time has come to start packing up everything I’ll need for the walk – and no more!  Of course, I’m sure my final ‘list’ of items will change quite a bit throughout the course of my journey, depending on what turns out to be useful, and what the weather is like.  I thought it would be quite fun, therefore, to show you what I’m bringing to start with and why, and I’ll be sure to let you know whether I was on the right track with my preparation in a couple of months’ time!

So here goes:

First of all: THE BIG STUFF

  • Rucksack: Osprey Women’s Kyte 36 Rucksack (my Christmas present!) – this is a 36 litre rucksack, with lots of pockets and zips for stashing away those essentials that I might need to access quickly on the walk. As it’s a women’s rucksack, it’s supposed to suit the female shape and minimise any damage to the back and shoulders. Also, as it’s not mahoosive, I’m hoping it will deter me from carrying far too much (!) As a relatively petite person, I can’t afford to carry more than I should.
  • Walking boots: Asolo Stynger (Women’s) These are boots that I had fitted at Cotswold, as they suit narrower feet. So far, they have fared well on the walks that I’ve done, although I’ve yet to wear them alongside my full rucksack so we shall see! I’d highly recommend Cotsworld for boot fittings, as they know exactly which shoes suit both your gait, and shoe size (unlike some stores, which simply ask “which shoes do you like the look of?” *shakes head in dismay*)
  • Platypus-style water pouch: This fits nicely into my rucksack back pocket, and with easy access I won’t be tempted to forgo a regular sip of water.
  • Silk sleeping bag liner: Small, lightweight, and will hopefully keep out the bedbugs (we shall see!)  I am not bringing a full-on sleeping back, as the weather will start to get warmer (plus, I can always opt to pay for extra sheets in hostels if need be).
  • Lunchbox: For those days in remoter sections when I’ll need to prepare some food the night before.  Hopefully will soon contain lots of nice cheese, bread and saucisson.
  • Passport and money: for obvious reasons! I’ve opted for one of those travel cards onto which I’ve put a bit of money, but am also bringing a credit card just in case.
  • EHIC health card: Just in case!
  • Personal alarm: Not sure whether these are useful or not, but good to have in remote areas for peace of mind.

CLOTHING
I got most of my clothing from Sports Direct in their winter sale, and managed to bag some great bargains.

  • Poncho: Incase of rain… and also, as The Mighty Boosh say:

Poncho

  • Karrimor walking sandals: Lightweight, comfy and less than £25 – perfect for wearing on an evening or in the shower block.
  • Convertible trousers/shorts X 2 pairs: My boyfriend laughed when he saw these, but needs must! If they’re lightweight and comfortable, then that’s all good.
  • Short-sleeved wicking tops X 2
  • Long-sleeved wicking top X 1
  • Lightweight fleece X 1
  • Lightweight rain jacket X 1
  • Gloves and hat X 1
  • Gaiters X 1
  • Walking socks X 3 pairs
  • Pyjamas/chill-out clothes: harem pants + cotton long-sleeved teeshirt
  • Underwear X 3 pairs
  • Sports bras X 2

TOILETRIES

  • Lightweight microfibre towel: this should be fun to use! Let’s hope it’s bigger than a teatowel.
  • Bar of soap + shower gel (for hair washing and clothes washing)
  • Toothbrush and mini toothpaste
  • Mini Deoderant + mini moisturiser
  • Makeup: MINIMAL makeup, I hasten to add! I’ve brought some mascara and BB cream as a bit of a crutch, but hoping I’ll end up chucking these in the bin once I get going (!)
  • Medi-kit: suncream, paracetamol, Compeed, couple of plasters, hand-warmers, rehydration powder and  insect-repellant
  • Lip balm

BOOKS + MAPS, with the main ones being:

NON-ESSENTIAL ESSENTIALS

  • Earplugs: I am a very light sleeper, so hopefully these will help me get to sleep in a big dormitory.
  • Notebook: Ever the diary-keeper, I want to keep a journal of the route.
  • Mobile phone: just in case!
  • Coquille St Jacques  pilgrim’s shell: I’ve heard that traditionally Pilgrim’s wore this once they’d already completed the Camino, however, I will bring it along anyhow – especially since it was a gift from my parents.

To get to this fairly select bunch of items, I’ve done a bit of research both online and in books – with this particular book being a nice source of both humour and information (thanks to my boyfriend for picking it out for me!). It’s not the book for the seasoned walker, but rather one aimed at people who are doing the chemin for the first time ever, and probably leans more towards women at that. It reads like a blog, or a magazine, with plenty of jokes and quizzes (how to spot a camino snorer//what your camino hat says about you etc – you get the picture), which is a nice counterbalance to some of the other camino literature out there – although the fluffy tone isn’t for everyone, though, granted!

Chemins

So there you have it, my camino pack is now ready!  I’ll be setting off to Paris tomorrow to spend a final weekend with Léo, my boyfriend, before getting the train down to St Etienne and Le Puy on Easter Monday.  The next time I see him, it may be in Santiago – who knows?

I’d love to know what your one *essential* camino item was, or would be? What couldn’t you live without for a few months?  Let me know in the comments below!

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