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Camino Packing List Categories – General Gear

Camino Packing List Walking Poles

Table of Contents

Camino Packing List

One of the major topics on your to-do-list when preparing for your Camino is the answer to the question ‘What do I need to put on my Camino Packing List’?
If I compare our first camino packing list with the current one I can’t help laughing my socks off. But more of that in the next couple of posts on this daunting topic…

I can reproduce our current camino packing list here in 5 seconds. You would be the proud owner of yet another packing list, increasing yet again your doubts on what to take and what to leave behind.

The truth is, your camino packing list is personal and everyone is different. I prefer to take it step by step, let you decide for yourself if you agree on my choices – and provide more info on that item so you can make an adequate decision based on your personal needs.


In the next couple of posts I’ll be sharing with you 1 item from each category I could not do without on my Camino.

  1. General Gear
  2. Clothing
  3. Sleeping
  4. Personal Care
  5. Health
  6. Documents
  7. Extras

General Gear

Deciding which item to choose from the rather huge category of ‘General Gear’ brings up a familiar feeling. Ever had your backpack complete and packed only to go back to the drawing table after seeing the total weight? Yeah… that feeling. But I’m going to try, simply by asking a very useful question: would I dare to do the Camino without ‘this’ item.

Here’s where I stand if I bring the total general gear section back to a top 3:

My Gipsy Waist Bag

I would miss out on a lot without this waist bag. Sure, I could stuff everything in the side pockets of my backpack, but for safety reasons I always prefer to have my valuables ‘on’ my body wherever I go. I wasted a lot of waist bags and this one is the absolute winner: the design, the fabric, the multi-functionality; it simply belongs on the camino with me. It doesn’t get in the way of the backpack straps, it has multiple pockets and in the evening I can even use it as a normal shoulder bag when going out. But could I do without it if I had to? I’m afraid so, yes – so this one is off the list for this post.

My Sigg waterbottles

I’m not a ‘Big Brand’ fan. If I’m convinced of the quality though, I do not hesitate. That’s the case for Sigg and a couple of other brands out there. I used to have a non-branded water bottle, but it had 2 major flaws: first of all, it was rather sharp on the drinking edges and most importantly, after 2 hikes the water had an after-taste that was caused by the bottle. The Sigg water bottles don’t have that problem. Could I do without my two Siggs? Yes, I could. I could simply buy small bottles of water every couple of days and refill them a few times. Not my preference, but okay, it’s off the list for this post.

My Walking Poles

I imagined hiking without my hiking poles. Now, THAT I could not do – at least not without getting problems with my knees and turning the camino experience into a nightmare. Not an option!

Don’t get me wrong: it’s still a personal choice. If you hate to have your hands occupied and you don’t have any issues with your feet, joints or stamina, I guess you can do without them.

However, I’ve seen a lot pilgrims with blisters, ankle strains and knee problems who really could have benefited from the support of two simple hiking poles.

Two? Yes, two hiking poles

Maybe it’s just me and my lack of discipline, but if I walk with one pole only, I simply forget to switch it once in a while to support the other side. On my first Camino I acquired a tendonitis of my right Achilles, because I was always using my pole on my right side.

When you are doing a descent like the one from Cruz de Ferro down to Molinaseca, just before Ponferrada, the risk of falling decreases tremendously if you’re doing it on 4 legs. In fact, any of these sections on the Camino bring potential hazards: take a look at our post on The 8 Camino Sections to be aware of on the Camino Francés.

So, that’s my item for today: A pair of hiking poles NEEDS to be on my Camino Packing List.

Learn the pro’s and the con’s, how to pick the right ones and how to use them. You can read everything about them on our info page.

The links in this article refer to our shop because we include a lot of valuable information on the product pages, and yes, if you need any of these items we would be very honored to have you as a customer – it helps us keep this pilgrim project going! In fact, we have just put our entire collection of hiking poles on SALE :-).

Next time I’ll be diving into the ‘clothing’ section. I’m not going to argue about how many socks you should or shouldn’t be taking with you. Nor am I going to discuss the different options depending on the weather conditions. I’m simply going to pick 1 item I could not do without.

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Buen Camino!

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