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.
THE RIGHT SIZE PACK.
Take the smallest backpack possible. I carry a 28L pack - the largest pack I've carried was my old 30L Arcteryx and I've never suffered for space. And don't believe that it's ok to carry a larger pack and just not fill it up. It will not be good for your back. Things will shuffle around. You will get blisters on your feet from the uneven load and you'll find things to carry in that extra space. Just buy or borrow the right size pack to begin with.
CUT YOUR HAIR SHORT!
Or if it is long, braid it.
But don't drag along shampoos, conditioners, and hair products.
Just wash, shake it out, and go.
Use the same bar for shampoo and shower.
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.
LOTION? USE OLIVE OIL OR BUTTER.
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. One 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. After about 4 years, it still has deodorant in it.
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.
Tim McElhannon suggests, "Warp duct tape around trekking poles to use for emergency repairs to shoes and clothing." This is an excellent idea and I've done this for many years! 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. "
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 'em out and 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."
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 live in the USA, check your local Goodwill store. They have an "Active Wear" section that is always full of great Camino wear!
If you are taking a smart phone, consider a guidebook app instead of carrying a physical book. "Melanie" used to sell 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. Your clothes won't blow off the line with safety pins, either.
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!