Couch2Camino: The Ultimate Prep List

COUCH TO CAMINO:
“Whoops! I thought I prepped!”
Lessons From the World’s Most Unprepared Pilgrim.

ITEM IS IT ESSENTIAL? Description / Tips
Address List Sure! I like to write all the addresses down in my journal so that my favorite people are in the forefront of my mind, and will be sure to get a postcard!  Electronic storage is probably the wave of the future, though, so emailing all your friends and asking them to send you their mailing address works, too, as does saving your contact info in your phone and syncing it to the cloud.  Did I just say “syncing it to the cloud?” (“Step into the future, the future is now!”)
Backpack YES! Bring the smallest one you can manage. I used a Gregory Women’s Jade XS (50L) in 2009, and after a few days I’d lost enough weight that the waist belt no longer fit me.  I’ll be taking an REI Traverse (40L) – a Kids pack – this year.
Backpack Rain Cover NO I ditched this on the second day, as it was bulky and heavy.  I recommend getting waterproof stuff-sacks or a simple lightweight plastic bag to protect your stuff in case of rain.
Barfing Prepare for the Worst I barfed.  It was unpleasant.  Don’t drink out of any hoses, no matter how thirsty you are, OK? Trust me on this one.
Barrettes Depends Do you use these on the daily? Then bring them. If you’re anything like me, they will disappear into thin air so bring a bunch.
Blisters Think you don’t get blisters? Think again. ARGUMENT:  “But I’ve never gotten blisters before!”Well, the Camino is all about new experiences. Welcome to your next one. I am a fan of the Needle & Thread method (see separate section on Needle & Thread below).TravelingDina’s Blister FAQ:1. “Uh….” you say, “I’m afraid to stick myself with a needle. Doesn’t it hurt?”  My response is: Wussy.

Well, OK: I was afraid, too, and I generally hate needles.  But you know what? Sticking yourself with needles and having little pieces of thread hanging out of your feet is better than the strangely crippling pain of blisters. Trust me on this one. Soon you will think of your needles as sweet, sweet relief.

2. “What about those cool, Band-Aid-Style blister reducers (aka Compeed)?”

A: Those only really worked for me once I’d actually popped the blister & drained the water out using the needle method in the first place. But, your mileage may vary (YMMV).

3.  “Are you sure the needle method really works better for you?”

A: Sorry to disappoint you, but, <b>Yes</b>, the needle method works better for me.  I experimented. I popped one at night using the needle-n-Betadine method. I did not pop another one, and put a “blister plaster” – aka “Compeed”, the type that’s supposed to sock the water out of the blisters magically – on both.  The one I’d popped with the needle the night before which, yes, hurt during the popping process, didn’t hurt in the morning.  The unpopped still hurt in the morning – prime walking time. And, to make matters worse, I couldn’t rip the plaster off to take care of it—when I tried, it just pulled on the skin. It turned into a hot, painful mess. I went back to needle-duty, stat.

Word of advice: For the love of all that is holy, keep your needle small.

Bobby Pins Depends Do you use these on the daily? Then bring them.If you have long hair or hair that tends to get in your eyes, you may want to bring a bunch of these, as having to constantly swipe your hair back can get annoying.
Book Light / Headlamp YES I like a headlamp for freedom of movement.

Books

Depens This one is a toughie.  “I know they’re heavy, but I’m a book addict!”Bring a few skinny books and you can dump them as you go. An electronic reader may be nice, too.I cannot recommend the Mindful Traveler more strongly. Fabulous read!
Bug Spray This was a Godsend in France, where the gnats swarmed and attacked so fiercely that we were coughing up bug guts and decided to walk on the road rather in the gorgeous forest.  I took [LINK] totally toxic 90% DEET spray in 2009, and accidentally dissolved my sunglasses.  I don’t even want to KNOW what it did to my skin!Still, DEET is the best repellant out there, and I like to be comfortable.  For 2012, I’m taking a lower-concentration DEET stick, and will keep it away from all thing plastic.
Calendar Here, print mine!

Calendar

Yes Here, print this one, and tape it into your journal!
Cellphone YES Pay someone to unlock your cellphone for you so you can use it with a Spanish SIM card. Another option is to buy a phone and card once you get there, but that may be more expensive.
Chargers YES Bring chargers for your phone, MP3 player, camera, Kindle, etc.  I recommend one that can charge multiple devices by USB.

Clothes

 Naked pilgrims are frowned upon in España Yes, you will need clothes. Just bring less than you think you need.

Clothesline / Rope / String

Yes You will need a clothesline

Clothespins

Yes You will need clothespins. Some people were able to twirl their clothes inside the clothesline to hold them, but I couldn’t really figure that out.
Comb Bring a smaller one, D
Compass Compass  Could be helpful, I didn’t use one.
Compeed Debatable I want to write: NOOOO!!!!!!! But some people really love Compeed. In theory, they’re great: A special Band-Aid, just for blisters! Stays on till the blister dries up, then it falls off! Wow, what a great idea! If, that is, it worked for everybody.For me, generally the blister jut got bigger underneath it, and since the things are made with some sort of super-glue, pulling them off is a big, sticky, painful ordeal that winds up ripping the top of the blister off in a screaming bloody hunk.  I recommend the needle-n-thread method, mentioned blow. I cannot stress this enough: <i>bring a SMALL needle.</i>Your Mileage May Vary, so you may want to try Compeed to see if it works any better for you than it did for me, but if you wind up crippled, remember,  TravelingDina says “I warned you!”(Me, I wouldn’t try them again if you paid me. OK, well, maybe if you paid me, but it better be a nice hefty sum. You hear me, Compeed?)
Conditioner Depends My hair was a tangled, disasterous mess on the Camino and I ran out of conditioner almost instantly. If you have long hair, I recommend a deep conditioner that gets out tangles effectively with just a little bit.

Conversion Chart, Distance

Here! Use this handy conversion chart! You can also do it in your head, just multiply the KM by .6.
20k = 20*.6 = 12 Miles
OR

20k = (20*.5)+(20*.1) = 10+2 = 12 Miles

Conversion Chart, Money

Yes Go xe.com and print or copy it into your journal.
Converter Plug Highly Recommended If you are from a non-European country, you will need a plug converter.  Don’t forget it in the wall socket on your first day like I did! You will be sad when you cannot charge your iPod or camera. If you are very lucky, however, you will have bought a USB charger cable, so you can charge things via computer when you lose the converter plug.
Currency Go to xe.com and print out a list! Depending on the current rate, you can try a formula.  in 2009, it was: multiply .5E + E (ex: 10E = .5×10 = $5+ 10 = $15)
Deodorant Yes Pre-Camino arguments against deodorant:“But I never smell.”“I don’t need deodorant at home.”“I’m a hippie.  It’s against my religion to wear deodorant.”

Uh… you’re going to be walking in the blazing sun for up to 12 hours a day. You’re going to smell. Get a sample size and bring it. You, and everyone around you, will thank you.

Dictionary Dictionary

Dictionary

YES! What if you get a crush! You will be glad you have it. Just don’t accidentally leave it with the crush.  Oops.
Earplugs YES Holy cow.  If you’ve ever slept in a youth hostel, you <i>may</i> know what I mean. Except that self-identified “youth” tend not to snore as enthusiastically as the full-grown, slightly beer-bellied men who tend to frequent the pilgrim hostels on the Camino (sorry, hombres.)ARGUMENT: “I can sleep through anything! I’ve slept through 3 earthquakes!”REPSONSE: It’s a scientific fact that [LINK] snoring is particularly annoying to the brain.  Snoring is simply more disruptive than a measly 3.0 earthquake, and there is a hell of a lot of snoring (and rustling) going on in the hostels, call-and-response style.Get the highest noise-blocking ones you can find; I particularly like the ones from <a href=http://otcsuperbuys.com>OTC Superbuys</a>. Take a bunch, because invariably one will fall out while you sleep and somehow disappear into thin air, never to be found again.  They weigh practically nothing, so you’ve got no excuse.

ARGUMENT: “I hate earplugs!”

RESPONSE:  Give the OTC Superbuy ones a try. (And no, they don’t pay me! Though I wouldn’t mind some free earplugs! Hint, hint!)  They are the best: super-soft and very comfortable.  Check out [LINK] this nifty guide on how to put them in correctly, too.

Eye Mask PROBABLY If you have trouble sleeping, you’ll be glad to have this for naps, train rides, people turning the lights on at 4am…
First Aid First Aid
Flashlight Flashlight
Fleece Fleece

Fleece

Probably Not The one I brought was way too bulky. Find a thinner warm layer
Flip-Flops Depends You will definitely want a pair of shoes or sandals to change into each afternoon.  I brought flip-flops in 2009, and found that they did not give me enough support to be comfortable after a day of walking.  I’m going to bring my heavier Tevas, which can also be good for walking, in 2012.
Floss Oh hells yes Take the kind you like (I like Glide) out of its big, plastic container and put it in the little travel-sized disc ones you get from the dentist’s office to save on weight.
Food Yes You are going to be staaaaaarving. [LINK TO ARTICLE ON OLYMPIADS NEEDING A BILLION CALORIES]. I tended to carry stone fruit, sardines, tuna, cold cuts, and bread. Some say cold cuts are too salty. I say they are delicious so nyaaah.
Foot Care Kit Yes Band-AidsMoleskinLambswoolScissors

Needle (small)

Thread

Toe Clippers

Betadine

Compeed (if you dare)

Foot Crème Debatable. A nice older Dutch guy whose name is not Norbert gave me some gross German foot cream, which didn’t seem to help my blisters much but that he swore by.  Another friend recommends smearing your feet with Vaseline; another recommends Body Glide, made specifically for runners to prevent chafing on the thighs, arms, etc.  I’ll give the Vaseline and Body Glide a try on my 2012 walk and get back to you on this one.
Footwear Footwear
Girl-Specific Products It feels like a royal pain in the hooch to carry these around, but the Farmacias aren’t always open (or even existent) in the near ghost-towns we pass through.  Sometimes there aren’t even people there, save for a few old ladies who probably don’t need those tampons.  In the words of the only other Pilgrim I saw in Montemarta, “The town is closed.” You may argue, “We can get those anywhere.” I’d say better be safe than sorry—keep a few on ya, mmkay?.
Guidebook Yes For the Via de la Plata, DEFINITELY bring a guidebook, just not the one I took! Allison Rahu’s Cicerone guidebook in English for the Via de la Plata was actually full of errors, inconsistencies, and omissions, and has since been taken off the market. A new one from Cicerone is due in late 2012.The Camino Portugues was so well-marked that I didn’t need a guidebook at all.Q: How many guidebooks should I bring?A: JUST ONE.  You may argue, as I did, “I want to look at ALL the guidebooks and pick the one I like best.”  To which my post-Camino, older and wiser self will tell both you and my previous, pre-Camino self: “Don’t waste your time. Just pick one!!!!”

I chose Rahu’s because it had been updated most recently.  There was another one that is lighter and has a chattier feel, but Rahu’s was more popular on the forums, so I chose that one.  Whichever one you take, though, <i>definitely</i> get the official CSJ leaflet, which will have all the updates, and before you leave, write all of these updates into your guidebook. Do not, please, take both! It is just too heavy.

As I mention above, I wasn’t entirely pleased with Rahu’s book. It oftentimes stated left instead of right (and vice versa) with disastrous results. Trying to estimate how far 3.5 km is with no landmarks (“Turn left in 3.5 km”) isn’t the easiest thing, either.

QUESTION: Should I only take the part of the book I need?
ANSWER:  Maybe.  I regret having ripped my book apart while here – if I want to do the Camino again, I’ll have to buy a new book. Plus, ripping it up at home means that if you decide to start someplace earlier, you’re screwed.

QUESTION: Why is the guidebook so damn heavy?

ANSWER: I know, amirite? I think we all we all need to write to Cicerone and beg them to, out of the good graces of their hearts, quit using glossy paper for the book! It may be gorgeous, but, I swear, it weighs more than my sleeping bag. These are guidebooks for <i>hikers!!!</> WTF?

Gum YES I brought gum, as I’m addicted.
Hat YES Don’t waste time searching for a floppy hat if floppy hats aren’t your thing.  I used my tried-n-true baseball cap—effectively shields your eyes and face from the broiling sun, protects you from bugs, keeps your head cooler.  It got a little sweaty, but worth it. Just don’t lose it. (*sigh*)
Headlamp Headlamp
Hoody T-Shirt I liked this
Hotel Day 1-3 I highly recommend getting a private hotel for the first few days, as you adjust to jet lag, culture shock, the whole “OMG WHAT AM I DOING ANNGGGHHH!!” feeling that comes with starting a trip.You may think you’re OK in a Hostel or with a Couchsurfer, but I still say: you can reach out from your private room and go for dinner. Always best to have the fail-safe of your own space to decompress in the beginning.
Iodine / Betadine YES I needed this on the daily.  I recommend the cream/gel kind over the liquid kind, as it’s much more user-friendly, you can stick your needle in it easily, smear it over your blisters and peeling toenails, eat it for dinner (OK, maybe not that last one…)
iPod / MP3 Player YES This was a lifesaver! Be sure to get your music, audiobooks, and podcasts all synced as far in advance as possible so you’re not stressing over your stupid music up to the day you leave.
Lambswool Yes I swear by this stuff.  If you have sweaty feet or are prone to blisters, corns, or hammertoes, buy some lambswool and wrap your toes in it daily.  I regretted not having any, but luckily found some IN NATURE near a pasture and thanked my lucky stars for those shedding sheep!
Manicure Maybe, although probably a bad idea Should you get a manicure before you go? This is really not necessary, and if you get polish, you will be picking off the residue for weeks.  I mean, OK, if your nails are really, really jank, you can get ‘em buffed, but <b>NO POLISH!!!!</b> Not even clear. I’m serious.
Maps Maps
Medicine YES Bring any prescription medicine, with the original labels, and a prescription if you can.
Misc Stuff NO Don’t bring anything extra. You will always have too much stuff! Go back and take 3 things out of your bag, NOW. Make sure everything you bring is essential.
Moleskin Yes You may need this, good to have. Put it in part of your footcare kit
Mouth Guard Oh hells yes If you use a mouth guard to sleep at night, bring it with you or you’ll regret it!
Nail Clipper/Nail Scissor
Nail Clippers Probably I brought a toenail scissors, but after a few weeks of walking, your toenails may become thick and hard, rendering them uncuttable by normal toenail scissors.  I’ll bring a clippers on my 2012 walk.
Nature vs Cities Decide In my down time, I was much happier out in Nature than exploring Big Cities. Do what works for you.
Needle & Thread YES Blister treatment is a highly controversial subject on the Camino.  I became a devotee of the following method:1) Coat a needle and thread in Betadine2) Gentlyput the needle into the top layer of the blister from one side, and thread the Betadine-soaked thread through one side and out the other3) Clip off the thread, leaving the ends hanging out of the blister

4) Gently squeeze the water out of the blister. It will drip off the thread. This is gross and hurts like whoa.

5) Leave the thread in place. This will keep the blister from refilling with water. You may need to periodically move the string and always be liberal with the Betadine. Eventually the skin will harden and become a callous.

Pants YES I brought some untested pants that wound up giving me butt sweat. Be sure to test your pants first! I suggest Palazzo-style Pants that can be used for both walking AND to feel somewhat more dressed up and less like a vagabond in the evenings.
Passport Duh Don’t leave home without it!
Pedicure (pre-walk) Oh God no. I made the mistake of getting a pedicure before I left. This was a bad, bad idea – the friendly ladies sloughed off my nice calluses, which actually protect your feet while walking, leaving me ripe for blisters. There was also literally <i>no place along the way to get rid of the nail polish</i>, so my nasty, crusty nails looked even worse than they should’ve with the “nude” color not-so-nude when it is flaking and crumbling off.So, in summary: PEDICURES ARE A BAD IDEA.  They’ll pumice off your calluses – which you need – and may try to dig out a semi-ingrown toenail, which’ll only make things worse. And God forbid you get someone who makes ‘em square – you’ll get little cuts along the edges of your toes from the square nails.Also to note: my normally easy-to-peel nails got hard as, well, nails from all the walking, so you may want to bring a toenail clipper (which might be able to double as your scissors).  Just do your pedis yourself before you leave so you can get used to it.
Pedometer Maybe I really wish I’d had one of these in 2009, not only because I mean, OMG how cool would it be to say “I took 1,393,259,726 steps this summer” but also because 1) all the guidebooks have different KM distances listed, so it’d be nice to know the real thing, but also 2) the (terrible) guidebook I had tended to say things like “Turn Rt after 3.5k.” Not particularly helpful, right? Right.
Pedometer Pedometer
Pens Oh hells yes <b>RETRACTABLE ONLY.</b> <i>None</i> with caps, OK? The caps get lost and the uncovered tips leave a mess. Also: Bring NEW ones so they don’t all dry up halfway through your trip.

Phone, Cell

Probably If you want to call outside of Spain, getting a Telefonica phone card from any Tabac shop is way cheaper. I mean, WAAAAAY cheaper. In 2009, you could get about 1 hour for 5 Euros vs. 10 minutes on a cellphone.For calling within Spain, you can unlock your phone from home and buy a SIM card, or buy an unlocked (“libre”) phone in Spain so you aren’t stuck with one carrier and can use it in other countries. Personally, I found it really good to have one.
POLES, WALKING STICKS PROBABLY ARGUMENTS:  They’re a pain in the ass.  I never use them. I’ll look dorky.  They’re expensive.RESPONSES:  First off, you can get good used poles for like $25 off of CraigsList.  So, if halfway through the Camino you’re all, “These suck, waaah!”, you can just ditch ‘em without feeling too guilty. Personally,I loved mine, especially for the downhills. And the wild pigs. (I kid you not. Wild. Pigs. Scary!)I’ll admit: They <u><i>are</i></u>a pain in the ass when you’re not actually using them, and, especially if you’re as clumsy as I am, you’ll spend half of your resting time picking them up from toppling over or trying to get them comfortably back in your pack or trying to keep them from dangling off your wrist at odd angles and banging your knee while you chug your water.

<i>THAT BEING SAID</i>, I <b>loved</b> using them for walking.  They took tons of pressure off my hips and knees and helped me feel safer and more secure when strange dogs or, uh the random wild pig sniffed by.

Try to get the telescoping kind that do down easily to a nice and wee tiny and small size.  They’ll be much easier to deal with when you’re not actually using them, plus (hopefully) less airline drama.

Speaking of which: If you can’t  your poles with you on board, wrap them up and check them separately from your bag.  <b>Under no circumstances attach your poles to your bag and check them all together.</b> Walking sticks are, for some reason, a “flagged item”, and so if attached to your bag, your bag will get searched and possibly held up [LINK](and lost for a week by Air France.)  Get to the airport early enough so that if security rejects you, you still have time to check them.

Oh, and yes, you will look dorky. Deal with it.

Pony-Ohs, Ponytail Holders, Scrunchies Depends If you have long hair, you’ll want to bring these.  Walking in the heat with your hair down is a drag. Bring more than you think you may need if you have a tendency to misplace things.  My friend Nicole says any self-loving person shouldn’t be caught dead with a scrunchie, and I vote for “lighter is better,” but I trust your judgment on this one.
Postcards Postcards Want to be anal retentive like me? Here, download my “Name, Addy, Ph#, Postcard Sent Y/N” chart!
Pullover Pullover

Q-Tips

No My Doctor, Dr. Tipton, who I’m convinced the doctor in The Simpsons was modeled on, could tell that I’m right handed by seeing how much cleaner my right ear canal was. Which was, apparently, too clean.Apparently, you risk popping your eardrum and/or getting some weird buildup of cotton and wax that needs to be removed by Dr. Tipton with a tweezer or some bizarre ear candling or something. He echoed my grandfather in telling me, “The only thing you should stick in your ear is your elbow.”On top of all that, Q-Tips are heavy and unnecessary on the Camino.  Just learn to use a towel and the jumping-on-one-foot method to clean your ears when you travel.  You can go back to your dangerous ways when you get home.

Ritalin

Maybe But for the love of god don’t drink a coffee, too! But hells does it work: look how focused and how much I wrote! Awesome.
Scissors Probably You’ll need one to cut the threads hanging out of your feet. (Or to cut the freaking Compeed things off after you try it, even though I told you not to.)Scissors also come in handy for cutting other band-aids, clothesline, and your toenails. You may be able to use a toenail clippers to do scissor duty or vice-versa. My scissors wasn’t able to cut through my nails after they got all hard from walking, so either a clipper or both a clipper and a scissors may be your best bet.
Shampoo YES To save on weight, a combination soap/shampoo or shampoo/conditioner is key.
Shampoo Leaves No I bought these from REI on a whim. They were completely ineffective. Maybe this works if you have a baldy, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t just use regular soap them. Let me know!
Shirt, Cotton NO The super comfortable Old Navy t-shirts I brought gave me really bad B.O. At least I looked cute while I scared everyone away with my stank, right? Right…You’re going to get sweaty carrying a backpack, and cotton doesn’t dry well and it absorbs (and gives off) odor like mad.  Get a [LINK] shirt made of new-age material designed especially for walking or running.
Shirt, Long-Sleeved, Lightweight Probably ARGUMENT: I never burn, I like short sleeves, it’ll be too hotRESPONSE:  One day you will forget to put on sunscreen.  Everybody burns—you will, too. It’s Spain, in the summer, remember? You can get super lightweight shirts that aren’t too hot and will probably be a lot more comfortable than watching your skin broil.  Get one that can double for your après-walk clothing, as well.
Shirt, Sport Yes Get a shirt made of a new-age material designed especially for walking or running. You’re going to get sweaty carrying a backpack, and cotton doesn’t dry well and it absorbs (and gives off) odor like mad.
Shorts Yes, Yes, Yes! I found shorts to be the most comfortable way to hike.

Sleep Sack

Maybe I got rid of mine in a wild fit of OMG MY BACKPACK IS TOO HEAVY AAAAHHHHH. I didn’t really miss it.
Sleeping Bag Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag

Yes I found this to be more helpful than just a sleep sack because I get cold easily, and not every hostel had blankets.
Sleeping Mat Sleeping Mat
Sneakers Depends The sneaker-style hiking shoes I brought in 2009 definitely did not cut it on the dirt roads with tons of stones – the soles were just too thin.  However, I really don’t know what to tell you in the shoe department, as I couldn’t find anything at ALL to fit my ridiculously short and fat feet.  Some say sneakers are enough, some say hiking boots, I know one guy that hiked in Vibram five-fingers. I’d love to hear what’s worked for you!
Soap YES!!!! For the love of God Yes! You are going to stink. The alburgues don’t supply you with soap, so bring your own. To cut down on weight, I suggest either a combination soap/shampoo or soap/detergent (for example, Dr. Bronners can be used on skin, hair, and clothes! WIN!)
Soap, Bar, in plastic bag This was gross. No. I kept a small bar of soap in a little plastic bag thinking it would be lighter. This turned out to be unbelievably gross. Big No.
Soap, Bar, in plastic case Maybe It seems like this might be pretty heavy.
Soap, Liquid Maybe I’m going to give a small bottle of Dr. Bronners a try in 2012.  It can be used as soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent, and a little goes a long way. Bring a small empty Nalgene bottle as well to make a dilution each time you use it. Much lighter!

Sock Liners

Yes I used some thin cotton socks that I bought last-minute in Spain as liners and it seemed to help my blisters.  Others recommend silk liners; I’m going to give them a try in 2012.
Socks YES. And sock liners Oh, CoolMax, why do you lie?  I bought all sorts of fancy (and expensive!) wicking socks and still I had blisters by Day 2.  The CoolMax didn’t dry quickly at all and didn’t wick as the label promised.  Wool seems like it may be too hot but everyone says it’s the answer—let me know what you think!For me, an REI pair and a Thorlo pair, both with extra padding for walking, worked well; the Thorlos with no padding were for shit.  Definitely look for the “Walking” socks, not the “Running” socks, to get the padding in the right place. For once I guess this “specialization” garbage is correct. Who knew!I also recommend thin socks to wear inside of your regular socks, to act as a “friction layer” that prevents blisters. Supposedly the thin sock rubs against the thick sock instead of your foot. It seemed to work better for me, but wasn’t perfect. Silk sock liners have been suggested: I’ll give them a try on my 2012 walk and let you know!
Spork Essential “I won’t need to carry food, so I won’t need something as silly as a Spork,” you say.Actually, you will, and you will. Unless you like being hungry. Or eating tuna salad out of a can with your fingers. Which may sound fine while you’re reading this but is actually highly inefficient and really, really gross.Get one of those little folding sporks. They rock. As does saying the word “Spork” over and over and over. Spork!!!
Student / Teacher ID YES You may be able to get some good discounts with these
Sunglasses YES ARGUMENT: “But I never wear sunglasses.”RESPONSE: Well, then you’re going to get deep crows feet by 32, like me.  Oops. Plus, it’s Spain. In the summer. The sun is bright. Ow. Bring ‘em.RECOMMENDATION:  The kind with the little nosepieces are good because they keep you from dripping sweat onto your cheeks, but if you have long hair it may get caught in them so incessantly that you’ll dash the sunglasses to the ground in a fit of frustration, upon which they’re useless, anyway, right?Personally, I recommend a pair sans nosepieces that don’t rest on your cheeks to avoid excess sweating. Also, keep your DEET bug spray away from them…
Sunscreen Sunscreen
Tevas / Walking Sandals Depends I wrote multiple times in 2009 “I WISH I HAD MY TEVAS!” so I’m going to bring them in 2012. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Therm-a-Rest, Mattress Pad Depends The Therm-a-Rest I brought was waaaaay too heavy, and I ditched it on the third day to make my pack lighter.  I never tried one of those lightweight but supremely dorky-looking (especially when coupled with poles) LINK closed-cell mats, but several people carried them.  I really only needed a mat twice, so I’m not sure if it’s really necessary. Probably depends on which Camino route you’re taking and which season.
Toilet Paper YES ARGUMENT:  Everywhere will have toilet paper.RESPONSE: No, they won’t.Also, one of the greatest pieces of self-knowledge I gained on the trip was that if I was suddenly grouchy, uncomfortable, or in a bad mood and couldn’t figure out why, it was probably time to pee.  Going between towns became a necessity and if you’re anything like me, well, it takes a little while to dry!Bring some TP, plus a little plastic bag to put the used stuff in.  (Yeah, I know, “Gross!” But not as gross as leaving it in a field for someone else to find. Leave No Trace, remember?)
Toiletries Sparingly ARGUMENT: “But my 15 products are part of my self-care routine! I’ll be a pizza-face without my ProActiv System!”
RESPONSE: Nobody’s beautiful on the Camino, and priorities shift—a lighter pack becomes more important than vanity.  I tossed my benzoyl peroxide and toner on the 2nd day. I did keep my special face-soap, though.
Tongue Scraper Oh hells yes
Tongue Scraper Oh hells yes I love this thing.
Toothbrush YES Don’t leave home without it!
Towel, Microfiber, REI Brand Oh hells yes! [LINK] This is the best product ever made in the history of man. Amen.
USB Cable Highly Recommended See “Converter Plug”
Water Bottle vs. Camelback Water
Waterproof Jacket & Pants / Poncho / Rain Jacket Bring SOMETHING ARGUMENT: It won’t rain! I love the rain!RESPONSE: It will, and you won’tRECOMMENDATION:  Definitely don’t bring your fancy-shmancy Marmot jacket your ex-boyfriend bought you (ahem.) I found the super-duper rain jacket to be way too bulky and heavy in 2009, and thought about ditching it multiple times.While I was glad to have it in Galicia, when there were torrential rains, it only protected me on top, and funneled the water in rivulets down my legs.

In 2012, I’m going to try a lightweight poncho like the guidebooks suggest.

Yoga Pants Maybe I did not have these in 2009, but since then I’ve started yoga, and these pants are mighty comfortable! [LINK TO LULULEMON, ARE YOU WEARING PANTS]

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