My dear girls, I tell you what I had in my backpack during the Road to Santiago.
It’s an unemotional and quite practical article.
But the harsh reality is that half of your experience of the road to Santiago depends on how your shoulders and feet are.
Consider that I travelled the Road to Santiago in August (hot, not much rain) and that you are not going in a desert place, if you really need something, you can buy it there.
The contents of my backpack for the Road to Santiago:
- 2 t-shirts (not low-necked, backpack straps in contact with the skin irritate it),
- 1 warm sweater,
- 2 short pants and 1 long pants,
- 2 pairs of thick socks to walk (if you walk without socks, your blisters will take longer to heal),
- 1 pair of light socks (I’ve never used them),
- 3 knickers and 2 tank tops ,
- 1 undershirt (it’s not sexy and it’s hot in Spain but if it’s cold or I’m sick, it’s the only thing that saves me),
- bandana for sun protection,
- sleeping bag and a pillowcase,
- expanded sleeping mat (it was useful, even if I slept on the floor one time only),
- big and little towels,
- Marseille soap (to wash my clothes and me. From the half of the Road on I also washed my hair with it, a night I finished my toothpaste and I brushed even my teeth with it, but it is really disgusting),
- toothpaste and toothbrush,
- plasters (essential for my feet),
- some generic medicines (I wouldn’t bring them anymore, and if necessary, I would buy them there),
- a washing line (a little line with some clothes-pegs, which I tied between the buckles of my backpack: since I had few things, I used to hand wash something every evening and the stuff was not always dried the next morning, so I hanged it in my backpack),
- pocketknife, lighter, electric torch, canteen,
- book (I wouldn’t bring it anymore, since either I stayed with other people or I slept),
- notebook and pen (I wrote every evening),
- money belt (for my personal effects when I was without my backpack),
- hiking shoes (mine were new and extremely soft, but I wouldn’t recommend using new shoes because they normally hurt and, since you will get blisters, if you wear shoes that hurt you, you will get more and even worse blisters. I suggest to choose the most comfortable shoes you have, because during the Road your feet are your engine, then you have to treat them well),
- hiking sandals (never used, an unnecessary burden),
- money and bank card (I left with 200 euro in cash. Except some places, you won’t have any difficulty to find an ATM and many hostels require only a donation, that is to say that you give what you can, if you can),
- personal documents,
- mobile phone and charger,
- credential (contains the stamps of the albergues in which you stay: you need it in Santiago to see if you deserve the Compostela, as well as to have a wonderful souvenir of the Road. You can apply for it in your country to the Confraternity of Saint James that sends it to you by mail or in some albergues in Spain),
- guidebook of the Road (I used it a little, mainly to get an idea about the route and the distances. It contains useful references, but you can travel the Road also without it. I had a little one, Terre di Mezzo edition).
My equipment turned out great: suitable for all the circumstances and I needed nothing else. Indeed, I would reduce it because my backpack weighed 10 kg, which were not a lot but not few either.
- Should I bring the tent?
Never needed a tent. Along the road, there are many private or public albergues.
- Should I bring a camping stove and pans?
Never needed these things either. In the albergues you usually find all (cleaned or dirty) or a bar or restaurant to eat something.
- Will I get blisters on my feet?
Yes, you will. Blisters during the Road aren’t possible, they are sure. Don’t pop them and don’t remove the skin. At best lance them with a needle (sterilized with a lighter) and remove the fluid, and then apply a plaster.
- Is there a weight limit for my backpack?
It is recommended not to exceed 10 kg, but obviously there are no rules. Prepare your backpack some days before and then take a walk with it for half an hour. You will immediately realize if you have to leave something.
- How do I choose what to take with me?
Good question, because what isn’t essential for one of us could be essential for another one. There is a good way to select what is really essential: remember that you have to carry on your shoulders all you will carry around!
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong equipment.”
(Baden Powell – Founder of the Scouts)