Anything I pack for my Camino will have to be carried on my back for the duration unless I want to spend money to box it up and send it home (I am told that this is a normal occurrence for most pilgrims, but I want to avoid it if possible). Because of this, my personal goal is to have a pack weight of less that 15 lbs so that I am less likely to need the Spain Post Office's services. This weight does not include food or water, so the daily actual weight of my pack should be about 20 pounds....it is more than I would like it to be, as it really should be no more than 10% of my body weight, but I can't afford the gear that is lightweight enough to make my pack in the ten pound range, especially since I'm going to be hiking in winter!
I also haven't figured out the logistics of bringing home water from Lourdes yet, as I plan to visit there the Sunday before I start walking, but will probably box it up and send it home if I am able to. I just don't see how I'm going to be able to carry the extra weight--every liter of water weighs 2.2 lbs! At the same time, I can't resist being in Lourdes on Dec. 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception (ok, I know that this year, this feast is technically on the 9th, and the 8th is one of the Sundays in Advent, but still!).
So, I'm basing my tentative list on the lists of others that have walked the Camino, on what I already have, and on what I have been reading about hiking in the winter....As soon as I get my tax return, I plan to take a trip to Albuquerque to visit the REI store there, so some of this could change based on my conversations with them. No matter what, I really only have $500-600 that I can spend on gear, so I'm having to balance between cheap heavy items and more expensive light items. I have also been keeping an eye out for used gear on ebay and craig's list, but have been less than impressed by the selection--sellers are either wanting almost the same price as new gear on Amazon, the gear is clearly ripped/broken from the pictures, or the seller has no idea on the specs of the item (weight, temp rating, etc). Based on this, I'm thinking that hiking/backpacking gear is probably better to buy new when on sale....Because of my budget, I won't quit looking for less expensive gear, but don't really expect to find it. I'm also not adverse to being a charity case--if you have any lightweight camping/backpacking gear on the list that you would be willing to donate to a good cause, I would be an ecstatic recipient!!!
Gear I have:2 short sleeved running shirts
2 long-sleeved running shirts
--these will be my two base layers, and the fabrics on them are very lightweight, wicking, and antibacterial materials (translate that to "less smelly"). In addition, I've been reading that hiking in winter actually requires less clothing as long as you keep moving, so these 2 layers plus a jacket could be all I need while walking. I will need more to keep warm on my breaks, and staying warm is easier to do than warming back up, but I am planning for that by having an extra layer to put on when I am on break. I also plan to take my breaks someplace where I can get inside whenever possible, so that will help with the issue of staying warm! :-)
Safety pins (12-20)
Gloves--I have those stretchy knitted ones, one pair of which can be used with electronic devices. They won't help me if it rains, but they will work on dry days.
Hat--a nice wool one that is long enough to cover my ears!
2 sports bras
String for use as an improvised clothes line....I am debating whether I should spring for some paracord, since it will be sturdier than the string I have, but am not quite willing to put this in the "to buy" list yet.
iPad Mini--this will be one of my 3 electronic devices, and it will stand in for my Bible, other reading material, a computer for keeping up with this blog/keeping in touch with family while walking, and as a watch/alarm clock. I will have to keep on the look out for internet cafes, since it is wifi only, but I can live with that. If I don't check in regularly, I suspect that my mom will have a mild panic!
iPod Nano--I don't expect to be listening to this much while walking, but I want to use it to keep track of how far I have gone and how fast I am going. It has Nike+ on it, so I can strap it to my arm, get it started, and track away! Unfortunately, because I bought a wifi only iPad, I can't use my iPad for tracking. :-/
Comb--one of the nice things about short hair is that it doesn't require a hairbrush, and that means I can save the weight!
Ear Plugs--One of the hazards of using the pilgrim's hostels (Auberges) is that fellow pilgrims often snore. I plan to take 2-3 pairs just in case, and I really hope that I'm not one of the pilgrims that keeps everyone else awake!
Gallon Ziplock Bag for garbage created while on the trail
1/2 a roll of toilet paper, roll removed
Epi-pen: I'm debating about whether I should bring two with me, just in case. I will be careful, and plan to have a note on my iPad listing all of my food allergies in Spanish, but accidents can still happen...I may just bring one with me and have a prescription from my doctor in case I need to get another one because I used the first.
Kleenex--If I bring a handkerchief instead, I can wash it out and re-use it each day. I'm just not sure how hygienic that is.
Debit Card--I get paid in the middle of my trip, so I want to be able to access extra money if I need it.
Pre-paid Credit Card--this will need to be usable in Europe, so I need to figure out where I can get one that is accepted internationally....From what I have read, most places along the Camino don't accept travellers checks, so using a pre-paid credit card with a pin is the best way to access extra funds as needed....ATMs are readily accessible. I've toyed with the idea of just using my debit card the whole time, but cringe at the thought of all of those ATM fees!
A list of emergency contact numbers/addresses--I plan to be safe about this, but pickpocketing has been known to happen along the Camino. I also plan to leave copies of my passport, credit/debit cards, and insurance information with someone here so that, if I am a victim, I can cancel cards and get new ones.
Guidebook--I have ordered the most recent from the Society of St. James in England, but haven't received it yet. I may not take it with me, because of weight, but will likely take notes of what is most important and save it to my iPad.
Disposable razor--I can live with unshaved legs, but having hairy armpits is unacceptable!!!
Minimal first aid kit, including blister care and anti-diarrhea medication--I'm told that there are pharmacies all along the route, and that other pilgrims often also have stuff, but one should at least have a little bit just in case.
one set PJs--some pilgrims sleep in their clothes for the next day, but I tend to sweat a lot when I sleep. This is why I have debated using a sleeping bag liner in addition to my sleeping bag, but don't think that I can afford the added weight. More than likely, I will bring a pair of my running capris and one of my running shirts for PJs, and then plan on washing them once a week. It will only add about 6 oz to my total weight.
Camelbak bladder--my brother Tim will be giving me this, as he was given several while he was deployed this last year....I plan to buy a backpack that has a compartment/port for one, so this is perfect!
Insulated Cup--I am going to want to drink something warm to start the day every day, so I want to bring one of my travel mugs with me to help keep it warmer for longer.
Proof of insurance
net scrubber--this is lighter than a washcloth, and dries quicker as well. If I need to, I can attach it to the outside of my backpack to dry.
I don't know how much all of the above weighs, but I have a 10 lb. postal scale that I intend to use to weigh everything before packing it once I have everything and it get's closer to my actual trip. The goal is to go on a 2-3 day hike over Thanksgiving break in order to get a feel for how I will do on my actual Camino....I just need to find someplace that has a hotel/motel about 20 miles from here so that I can hike there, spend the night, and then hike back.
Gear I need to Buy:2 lightweight knee braces--I doubt that I will need them, but want to be prepared
Backpack--I want this to be under 2 pounds....I'd really like to buy one of the under 1 pound models that I have found, but have a hard time justifying the cost of 1/3 of my gear budget to do so. As it is, I expect to spend in the $75-100 range for one of the under 2 pound models.
Sleeping bag--I would like this to be under 3 pounds, but because I am going to need a sleeping bag with colder ratings, will settle for it being under 4 pounds in order to afford it. I refuse to buy anything heavier, as I can't afford for my sleeping bag to take up more of my weight allowance.
Fleece Jacket/pullover--I found an 8 oz one that I really like!
Rain coat/Jacket--I'm kind of torn about these 2 items. I have found a lightweight water-proof jacket that I like, as well as a "3-in-one" jacket that is currently on sale. If I buy the 3 in one, it has a fleece liner that I can also use as a fleece jacket on it's own and I won't need to buy the above fleece jacket. However, the 3-in-one is a hideous teal color. I'd buy it in a heartbeat if I could get a better color, as I like the idea of being able to connect my layers for ease of taking on and off, but I really don't want it to be disposable either. I suspect that, if I were to get the 3-in-one, I would never wear it again once I got home.
Waterproof gloves/mittens--Since I have been monitoring the weather along the Camino, I'm noticing that there are very few days without either snow or rain in the winter, so waterproof gear is going to be essential for me staying warm.
2 pair Hiking underwear--it is made from material that is wicking and antibacterial. Since I will be washing my clothes by hand, this seems kind of important.
Waterproof Hiking boots
Gaiters--these are nifty devices that protect your legs from the ankle to the knee, and in the process keep mud, dirt, rocks, and snow from getting into your boots. I am told that they are essential gear for winter hiking, as keeping dry is half the battle for keeping warm. It is also one of the best ways to keep from getting blisters (keeping your socks dry). I am ALL FOR both of those!!!
Headlamp--The sun doesn't rise before 8am in the winter along the Camino, so the first hour of hiking most days will be in the dark.
Raincover for Backpack
Hiking Towel--some of the people who have blogged about their Camino trip have used those swim chamois instead of towels to save weight, but I've never used one before, so I will probably just buy the lightest weight hiking towel in the smallest size that I can tolerate. I would be willing to try a chamois, but would need to borrow one to do so.
Hiking pants (2 pr)--I actually prefer to hike in skirts, so I have mixed feelings about buying pants for this trip. I understand that they will be warmer than any skirt, especially if it is windy, but I WILL be wearing long johns underneath, so it isn't like I won't be covered. This seller has told me that should would make a skirt to my specs (I like my hiking skirts to be about calf length) for me if I ordered from her, and I love the colors! Also, I have heard that it is normal to lose weight while on the Camino, so having garments with an adjustable waistband like her skirts are would be a plus!
running tights/long underwear--I am still doing research about this.
Lightweight ballet type shoes--I need to have something other than my hiking boots with me so that they can air out/dry out at the end of the day. I was thinking that some lightweight ballet slippers might do the trick for any sightseeing I do once I am done for the day. A pair of keds/other tennis shoe is another option, but the operative word is LIGHT!
Sock Liners (4 pr)--one website mentions using nylon mens dress socks for this.
Smartwool Socks (4 pr)--they just have to be wicking and lightweight.
Bandana/handkerchief--this could be good for replacing kleenex, as well as for sopping my brow if I begin to sweat.
Soap--I'm thinking about possibly getting a bottle of Dr. Bronners to use for soap, shampoo, AND laundry soap, but need to try it out first. I've tried using bar soap on my hair before and hated the way my hair felt. At the same time, the more that I can make each of my items work for multiple tasks, the less weight I will be carrying.
Passport carrier, preferably waterproof
Digital Camera--Part of me would prefer one that uses AA or AAA batteries (I would likely be able to find batteries along the way), but they are much heavier when this is the case.
Sink Stopper--for making the daily laundry chore easier....I may leave this out and just plan to wash all of my clothes in the shower.
suction cup with hooks--I am told that most of the showers in the Auberges have no hooks for hanging clean clothes or towels.
toiletry holder--might not be necessary if I use Dr. Bronner's for everything!
Journal--I have one that I can use, but want to see if I can find one that is more lightweight. I really don't like the fact that the one I have weighs almost a pound!
International Charger for iPad/pod
Batteries for camera/headlamp--only needed if they don't use standard sized batteries
Stuff sack for creating pillow with coat/fleece
Camino Map--I plan to buy this from the pilgrim's office in St. Jean Pied-de-Port
lightweight scissors--needed for blister pads...I might just use my pocket knife for everything
Bag for dirty/worn clothes
Items I'd like to take if I have room/weightTea ball and loose leaf tea
1-2 Hiking skirts--I really like these skirts for traveling if I didn't buy the custom made ones mentioned above, but suspect that they are really heavy since they have snaps everywhere.
some sort of bag that I can use as a purse when I am in a town/city.
NUUN tablets--I use these for running and love them!
extra rosaries to give away
empty container for putting fragile fruit/veggies into--I can't just buy a bunch of bread/nuts for trail food, so I'm going to have to find ways to make traditionally non-trail food work as trail food. OR, I'm going to have to plan to stop at a restaurant for lunch every day.
belt in case I lose weight
Honey--I'm pretty sure that I will be able to find this along the way, but am not positive. Since I am not much of a coffee drinker, being able to take my own tea fixings would be WONDERFUL. I know that they have powdered peanut butter. I wonder if somebody makes powdered honey?
Any suggestions anyone might have would be helpful, as I love hiking, but have no experience with hiking in the winter, and that is what I will be doing on my Camino trip!