Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Packing List for Spring 2016

I'm packed!

Finding a pack this year has been
a stressful adventure for me.

First I found a sweet little 28 Liter Jade pack
that someone listed on my Used Camino Gear
Facebook Page.
The fellow said it had never been used,
so I bought it.
The minute I took it out of the box,
I was hit in the face with FEBREZE!
I knew right away
I'd never be able to use this pack.
I've aired it out for weeks in the desert,
and now, when I ask other people to sniff it,
they can't smell anything.
But I still can't use it.
So it's up for sale.
$70 plus shipping.
Sweet fitting pack!

I thought, "Well maybe I can use my old pack!"
I dragged it up from the basement.
I opened it up
and the smell almost bowled me over!
It smelled like dirty feet!

And so, the shopping game began.
I tried REI in Clackamas, buying a 30L Osprey.
But when I got it home and tried packing up my gear,
it wouldn't fit.

I don't know what they're doing different,
but packs aren't what they were 10 years ago.
The belts are flimsy 
and they're smaller.
Sort of like cereal boxes,
where they give you less,
but charge you more!

So... I took back the 30L and couldn't find anything 
that fit me correctly at the Clackamas REI.
I came home, thought about "What if I just took a sleep sack?"
But then realized I will be doing some colder weather walks
next season, and so
off I went to the Portland Downtown REI.

It was backpack hell.
Nothing fit.
Too short.
Too long. 
The frames hit my hips. 
The shoulder straps rubbed my neck.

Finally, I found this Gregory Jade 38 Liter.
Waaaaaaay too big, thought I.
But I brought it home,
packed it up,
and I though  "I'm going to keep it."

But alas... the 38L truly was way too big.
When I had it completely packed, there was so much loose "skin" at the top that when completely buckled down as tight as it would go,
it flopped around.

I went BACK to REI
and picked up a 36L Osprey.


Someone asked me today what I packed for the Camino.
Here is this year's list:

Down quilt

Nysil pack cover - lighter than the one that comes with the pack

Clothes got packed in a Compression Cube
Merino Wool Short Sleeved Tee
Merino Wool Long Sleeved Tee
Macabi Skirt
3 Pair Boy Cut Underwear
2 pair Wool Socks
Wool Beanie, Wool Gloves, Buff
Cuddle Dud Fleece Shirt
Merino Wool Longjohns
Merino Wool Longjohn Shirt

All of that fits in this compression cube
Puff Jacket
Puff Jacket fits in this compression cube
Laundry kit:  soap, pins, clothesline, and that's my towel

Inside the bottle is about 1/4 bar of grated soap.
You fill the bottle with water,
wash body, hair, or clothes,
using all the liquid.
Then next time, just fill the bottle again.
I'm trying it out in the shower here at home
to make sure it will work for me.

It did not work for me.
The soap dissolved FAST and in two days was gone.
I got exactly two showers out of about a quarter bar of soap.
So I"m back to a simple bar of soap in a cheap plastic soapbox.

By the way, have you checked out RumAndChupacabras
on Etsy?
She makes a
Camino Soap (click on link)
and I'm trying it next!

In the last stuff sack are the following items:
Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and deodorant (red disk)
Ibuprofin and benedryl (blue/green containers)
Plug adapter and tiny green flashlight
Packet of mustard (for cramps)
Extra bite valve
The tiny white disk is a washcloth - expands when wet
Toe gel tubes
Surgical Tape
Toe spacers
Ibuprofen Cream

And under it all is my ALTUS Poncho!
I am also taking a pair of flip flops.

So, that's it!

The pack weighs in at 2 lb 13 oz
and when I'm wearing it,
I'm 12 pounds heavier,
which means all I'm carrying
(minus water)
is 10 pounds.

I'm ready to go!

Here it is, 
all packed up!

Will I keep this pack?
Not quite sure yet.
I'm going to give my old pack a bath and see what I think.

Buen Camino!


  1. One thing I didn't mention - one reason I had such difficulty is because I was looking for a top loading pack. I prefer a top loader. Much more compact and fits tighter to the body. But man, finding a pack was . . . HARD!

  2. Don't know if you saw my post over on the equip forum but I just went through the same thing (except I didn't need to buy a new pack). Everything barely fit in my 28L Osprey, fit beautifully in my 31L Osprey but it was very uncomfortable. So I am back to using my Mammut Crea Light 40L that includes about 10L of free space. And fits like a hug from an old friend.

  3. Annie, thank you for the brilliant idea of taking grated soap and then adding water when you get there, I will definitely do that when I go in four weeks! It will solve my problem of a slowly disintegrating shampoo bar sticking to the bottom of its tin without adding to my liquids bag (I travel with cabin bag only). So simple and so clever. Enjoy your walk!

    1. Oh my dear! I tried it at home first (as I always do) and IT DID NOT WORK! The soap was gone in 2 days! So, I'm back to a half bar in a plastic soap container.

    2. Oh no, thanks for updating. I am still feeling quietly confident that the shampoo bar will dissolve quite slowly because it always seems to need a bit of work before I can get it to lather up properly - and I will leave a chunk of it in the bottle rather than grated flakes which might dissolve too quickly. It is worth a try, I will test it before I go. The added benefit of this is that I don't have to leave it to dry out in the dorm. I love the smell of it but others might not.

    3. I think a "chunk" is a better idea. Please report back :)

  4. Annie, thank you so much for this! It looks like you did not include what you will actually be wearing, is that correct? I see your hat on the pack but not on the above list. Can you tell us what you will be wearing? And what about your passport, Compostela, money, etc - will you carry a fanny pack or something? Are you bringing trekking poles? Sally P.


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