What to pack?

Honesty, how hard can this be you say? I keep telling myself, just pick out the necessities and leave the rest. Sounds simple right… Wrong…

I first started out thinking that I would have to carry all of the stuff in my backpack. I would weight myself and then put on my stuffed backpack and then subtract the difference to see how much weight I would be carrying. When walking, I experienced that 20 lbs becomes heavier and heavier the more miles I walked. I realized that everything I needed to take for my pilgrimage was too heavy, so I did some more research and found out that I could have some of my stuff transported from one albergue to another for a very small fee. At first my ego said, “you can carry everything and save money”.

After practicing for 10 mile walks on the beach in the early morning into the blistering heat, I realized I had to say Adios to my ego and use my common sense. I had to let go of my frugal nature and be willing to pay the minimum fee to keep from stinking and have the extra amenities to enjoy and make my evenings pleasurable and fun.

I also did not want to lug around a heavy backpack in the airports and on the plane and to and from the bus stations and train stations. So what is the solution. Oh my God!!! 25-30 lbs is way too much to carry! What was I supposed to do. The elimination process started.

Oh no!!! Not again!!! I need to sleep on this!!!

Guess what I woke up and had this wonderful picture of a carry-on bag with wheels that I could wheel around. It would have to carry the stuff I would transport from one albergue to another and also be able to accommodate the backpack. Unreal you say!!! Impossible!!! I believe in dreams and visions. I got this idea and I went on a searching expedition to the local second hand shops. For $4.00 I got an almost brand new carry-on bag that folds up when needed to accommodate my backpack. perfect…

I put all of the things I now have decided to take in the bottom and then put the backpack in and it all fits. Now I have one carry-on that I can wheel around and when ready to hike the trail, take out the backpack filled with only the bear minimum essentials for the day trip (bearable weight) and fold down the carry-on and leave all the rest of the heavy stuff in there, to be transported from one stop to the next. My advice to everyone, if you get an idea, follow it through, it just may surprise you and work out.

I now have categorized everything and put in each category in separate bags.

What could I get rid of and what stays: This is what stays…

  • Shower stuff – I made a decision, I am not going to stink
    • Toothbrush – must keep – my electric toothbrush was too heavy, so I went searching and found small Vivitar battery operated toothbrush (so no need to charge with other voltage in Spain)
    • Hair brush- must keep
    • soap – bar of soap was too heavy and too messy, so I got the perfect product, a sponge filled with coconut soap and I tried it out, it works great
    • For a touch of a lovely fragrance, I will add a few drops of Dr. Teals Foaming Bath – small 3 oz- Shea Butter & Almond Oil to add to sponge, purchased at Big Lots
    • Toothpaste – Light substitute for heavy tube – 2 oz Eco-Dent ExtraBrite Baking Soda Tooth Powder
    • Deodorant – 2.65 oz Schmidt’s Charcoal+Magnesium (all natural and works, no aluminum) sticking is not an option on my camino
    • Shampoo – cannot take big bottles on airplane, cannot take cheap shampoo or my hair will get all frizzy, So I got travel bottles and filled 2 of shampoo and 2 of conditioner and one of de-tangler. Shampoo that works best for my curly hair is ISO http://www.isohair.com. I have to order online. This is heavy; however, I am not willing to sacrifice and have to live with “bad hair days” for 2 months”
    • In regards to my hair, when I was little I was not allowed to cut my hair, because of my parent’s religious beliefs and rules and I had to wear my hair in braids all the time. I was not allowed to enjoy my beautiful curly hair. Now that I am 70 years young and going on this trip, I am going to wear my hair in braids while hiking for practical reasons, so my hair does not get tangled and pulled as I take the backpack on and off. It also will help keep me cooler. Beauty is temporarily sacrificed for practicality. I plan to take a shower after each day’s hike and let my curly locks flow for a few hours of beauty, before being braided up again for the walk the next day.
    • razor – is necessary. I am not hiking with hairy legs. That is just too primitive!!!
    • small floss – keep food from taking shelter between my teeth
    • tweezers – for those pesky black hairs that seem to grow overnight on my chinny, chin, chin.
    • nail file & clippers – nothing worse than a broken nail or toenails that need clipped
    • bottle of Melatonin – to take before bed to help me sleep soundly
    • earplugs – to block out the snoring of the others in the Albergue (pronounced Al-bur- gay)
    • 2 small washcloth absorbent towels used to dry cars. They are small, light and do the job
    • waterproof bag with hook on it to keep shower stuff in and take with you to shower, to hook on hook while showing, so I do not have to put on the floor in the shower
    • Shower shoes – because so many people are using the same showers, and to avoid foot fungus, I got waterproof flip-flops to wear into the showers
  • Sleeping Stuff
    • Silk Cocoon and Silk pillowcase -Since I plan on sleeping in hostels (called albergues) in Spanish, I am told they usually have clean bunk beds with paper disposable sheets. A sleeping bag is too bulky and heavy to carry, so I got a lightweight Silk cocoon which hikers usually use inside their sleeping bag and I purchased a very colorful silk pillowcase, to lay my head on at night. I will be sleeping in luxury, surrounded and hugged by color and soft luxurious silk.
    • What clothing to sleep in: Most pilgrims say they sleep in their clothes for the next day. Sorry, I am not going to do that. If I do that, I know I will have a sore back before I even start my walk . No way Amigo. Since I am in a room with lots of mixed gender people, I cannot wear anything sexy, so I have chosen to take my WoolX long pants and top. Oh here is that wool again. Who knew soft luxurious wool would be the ticket again. It will be breathing, while I am breathing and keeping me warm during the night. No problemo – I will find somewhere private to change into my outfit for the day.
  • Clothes
    • What to do with the dirty clothes – take an extra bag into shower and put them in that. Most pilgrims, from what I have read, wash out the outfit and socks they wore that day and hang them on the line to dry. That is why it is necessary to take quick drying clothes. I am told there are usually washlines outside to hang them on. However, just in case, I am taking a piece of bungy cord string to tie on my bunkbed and some clothes pins to hang my clothes to dry, if there isn’t any space outside. There are washers and dryers for a fee, but for such a small amount of clothes, hand washing sounds great.
    • How do I choose my clothes to take!!! clothes that breathe and dry quickly. So I went out and started to buy the clothing they wear fishing. It is supposed to breathe. I tested it out. It breathed ok however, even with deodorant, the clothing started to stink. I told you before, I am not going to stink on my camino. I love cotton and I know cotton breathes; however, cotton does not dry quickly. So guess what, I ended up with the soft and comfortable Woolx wool. 2 spaghetti strap tops and a turtle neck and a light jacket made out of the 90% merino wool. I also have a black legging that I will use on the airplane and when I sleep at night. I thought it might be hot, so I took my 10 mile walk yesterday and the temperature was in the 80’s and it worked. Who knew wool was the answer. Long sleeve coverup.
    • How do I choose hiking shorts? Almost all of the shorts have either seams or belt loops at the waist and when I tested them out for 10 miles, I found that the backpack puts pressure on these seams or belt loops and starts causing me pain. So I kept looking to find the perfect hiking shorts that do not cause additional pain. I finally found hiking shorts at Merrell, called Wayfinder hiking shorts. They work. They not only do not have seams and no belt loops, it works perfectly. I got two of them.
    • Rain gear – Light raincoat, rain pants, poncho, backpack cover
    • Underwear – I got the no seam underwear that breathes at Soma. A full brief works perfectly with the seams away from the pressure of the backpack
    • socks – I already mentioned before the merino wool, no show socks to prevent blisters.
    • Lace shawl -Light to wear when I am praying in the many cathedrals along the way.
    • Dresses: Several lightweight, quick drying dresses to wear at night
    • Swimsuit
    • Jewelry – a few earrings to wear, I will aways wear my cross
  • Miscellaneous
    • Moleskin – for blister
    • For Pain – Neuropathy – Frankincense and Myrrh for my foot – when it hurts
    • sustain lotion
    • coconut oil
    • sensitive skin laundry detergent
    • q-tips
    • few bandaids
    • clove oil in case of toothache
    • Lavender oil to put on silk cocoon to keep away bugs
    • clothes pins
    • bungie line
    • plug that converts Spanish voltage to American plug with charging cord outlets
    • phone charging cords and plug
    • Meditation and Breathe essential oil blends
    • small scripture cards to hand out to pilgrims
    • two potable chargers to charge for iphone
    • small tape recorder w/microchip to make recordings
    • cellphone
  • Food, Vitamins, Medicine
    • Hydration packets (Blue Berry Lime) (blue butterfly pea flower, blue spiraling, blueberry, baobab fruit, lime, hibiscus, Himalayan pink salt & monk fruit) very important to keep my body hydrated
    • Turmeric packets – (turmeric, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, black pepper & monk fruit) very important to keep inflammation down
    • Daily Greens packets – (moringa, matcha, spirulina, chlorella, lemon, mint, coconut and monk fruit) (probiodic) – energizing superfood
    • Cranberry Hibiscus Apple Cider Vinegar packets (organic vinegar, hibiscus, cranberry, vanilla and monk fruit) for detox and energy
    • Japanese Green Tea U-matcha with monk fruit – caffeine and energy
    • thyroid medicine
    • Blood pressure medicine
    • Hormones
    • Honey straws
    • Turmeric tablets
    • B vitamins
  • Paperwork
    • e-ticket plane tickets
    • passport
    • drivers license
    • vaccination card
    • Pilgrim’s passport
  • Download on phone
    • spain bus app
    • spain train app
    • American embassy in spain
    • Download on phone Camino route map
    • Spanish taxi app
    • WhatApp app to call over internet
    • set up blog

Published by Esther Mae

Happy, Joyous and Free. Enjoying life and retirement. Oct 5, 202, I completed the FEl Camino de Santiago de Frances, over 550 miles, beginning August 15, 2021 in St-Jean-Pied-De-Port, France and ending in Santiago and walked through the Holy Door. I am 70 year young. Read about some of my adventures. I have a close relationship with my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Spiritual growth and enlightenment are my priorities in life. Please jump on the spiritual soul train with me as I walk and try to practice a spiritual way of life. Esther Mae

2 thoughts on “What to pack?

  1. Esther, I will be praying for you along the way. This is a bucket list or dream of mine. I will be watching you and praying as you go along. Enjoy trudging the journey of happy destiny. Be safe my friend.
    Love and peace, Judy D.


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