Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


The suggested weight to carry (by most experienced pilgrims) is approximately 10% of your body weight. This means if you weigh 160, your pack, including water and food, should not weigh more than 16 pounds.

It's not as difficult as it sounds.

Here are some tips to keep the weight down. Some are my own, and others were given to me by some American Pilgrim on the Camino Facebook Friends.

Or if it is long, braid it.
But don't drag along shampoos, conditioners, and hair products.
Be free!
Just wash, shake it out, and go.
No comb, no brush, no problem!

For 6 lovely weeks, go natural.
Don't worry about makeup.
No mascara, no eyeliner, and please, no perfume!
You will be staying in close quarter with other pilgrims, many of whom may be allergic to your perfume.

Both are free.
Both are great skin conditioners.
Grab extra at dinner!

Instead of heavy SUNSCREEN...
Wear a hat and carry an umbrella.
Doubles for sun/rain.


Deodorant.  I have used two types of deodorant on the Camino.  One is a deodorant stone, which I break into a smaller piece.

I'm old enough to remember using paste deodorant. It is easily applied with fingers.  Last year I cut off a piece of regular SECRET paste deodorant and smashed it into a tiny lightweight plastic container. That worked great. Just rub your fingers over the top and apply. You don't have to see it on your fingers for it to work. Solid or gel, either would work. You don't need much. My container is about 2 inches wide and maybe 1/2 inch deep.

Toothbrush and Paste.

Ann Brooks suggested cutting the handle off your toothbrush to save weight.

I prefer a lightweight foldable brush you can buy at the drugstore. The handle is hollow so it is very light and folding it keeps the brush clean.  I bought mine at Walgreens Drugstore.

For toothpaste, I take a tiny travel tube. When I run out, I either buy another travel size or just use salt, which is a wonderful cleaner and toughens the gums!


Helen Beletti suggests a tiny travel size floss container. If you can't find it at the drugstore, ask your dentist. They always have samples.

Duct Tape

Tim McElhannon suggests, "Warp duct tape around trekking poles to use for emergency repairs to shoes and clothing."  This is an excellent idea! I used duct tape last year to hold my shoes together the last 100 kilometers.  Here is a photo of someone using pink duct tape, which also marks your poles and discourages thievery. Notice the mailing tube for checking poles on the airplane.

Tenacious Tape and ONE Medicine Bottle

Lisa Morales says, "My first aid kit is an empty medicine (pill) bottle with just the essentials. I use a small roll of Tenacious Tape instead of duct tape. Waterproof and no sticky residue. Fixes tents, tarps, sneakers and blisters. "

Featherweight Undies

Lucy Fox posted, "I have discovered a women's underwear that weighs NOTHING. Hanes Smooth Stretch hipsters. They take up almost no room. Best of all, they are super comfortable and very quick drying, you can wash 'me out, they are dry in a few hours, and you can probably do fine with a 3 pack which sells for about $7.50 on Amazon."

Dr. Bronners
Nancy Rich said, "I shave my Bonners Soap into a small squirt container that I carry instead of the bar of soap. Each time I am going to use it I add water....shake............and squirt out soapy liquid for hair-body-clothes washing. Once the liquid is out it is lightweight again until the next time I need it and add water again. Lasts a long time."

Try a Shampoo Bar
Personally, I'm hooked on shampoo bars.  I don't like the idea of something spilling into my pack.  You can use the bar for shampooing your hair as well as for bathing. Lightweight and small, I prefer Liggets Bar.  I cut one in half for 6 weeks of Camino. Share with a friend or save for your next Camino.

Aveeno Face Pads
Debbie Garth cuts Aveeno Face pads into halves and carries them in a ziplock bag. Lightweight and convenient!  Count the number of days you need and divide by two!  She also puts vaseline in a ziplock.

Clothing should be lightweight and quick drying for the Camino. 

If you are taking a smart phone, consider a guidebook app instead of carrying a physical book.  "Melanie" sells a great one for the Via de la Plata. I'm sure there are apps for the Camino Frances as well.

Take a dozen big safety pins instead of clothespins. They are smaller, lighter, and will discourage clothing thieves.  

I take an elastic clothesline and hang my clothes around my bed for privacy in busy albergues.

For handwashing, take 1/4 of a bar of Fels Naptha in a ziplock. Or wait until you get to Spain and buy and split up a bar of cold water washing soap they sell there in every market.

If you plan on using washing machines, don't bother taking laundry detergent. It comes with the price of the load.

LAYER CLOTHING and Multi-task Clothing
Because you are walking through so many varied microclimates on the Camino, it's best to pack lightweight clothing that can be layered. Instead of a heavy coat, take a featherweight fleece and a featherweight windbreaker/raincoat. Or a fleece and an ALTUS poncho (which blocks the wind nicely).  A lightweight pair of long underwear can double as pajamas or leggings under shorts. A rolled up jacket can double as a pillow. 

A lightweight sarong can double as a towel or a skirt in a Cathedral.

Here are a couple of cool videos that will show you how! Some really cute ideas!

These are just a few ideas of how to keep the weight down.
I'll add to them as people post.
Or message me if you have your own and we'll add them to the blog!

Buen Camino!


  1. HI Annie -- I have loved your posts about keeping the costs down. Although I did order merino wool t shirts from Hedrena! Regarding a poncho, I have an LL Bean ripstop poncho that I purchased 24 years ago for a trip to alaska. I have not used it since, I thought I would take it along -- Is there some reason that rip stop is not recommended? thanks - Ruth

    1. Hey Ruth. Thanks! Regarding rip stop, no reason I can think not to take it if it's not too heavy. I'm all for people taking what they already have in their closet!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


All comments are moderated.