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Material and equipment to make the Way of St. James What to bring?

 

A good number of questions arise to every pilgrim when he considers doing the Way of St. James. One of the questions that will probably cause you the most headaches is the following one. What luggage should I take with me to do the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago? Let's try to give you a hand with this difficult task.

 

There are several factors we need to take into account before we start riding our backpack.

  • The weight is very important, usually are many days and we can fall into the error of assuming a burden in many cases unnecessary. Normally along the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago we will find different shops that will allow us to replace what we have spent or buy what we might need at a given moment.
  • Each Pilgrim's Way to Santiago has its own characteristics. And it is not the same to do the French Way, with its great offer of services oriented to the pilgrim and stages in many cases very civilized, that for example the Way of the Savior, less traveled and with more mountain stages.
  • The time of the year in which we are going to carry out the Way of Saint James. It is obvious that we will not need the same type of material if it is winter as if we do it in the middle of August.

 

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Having the above points clear, let's get down to work.

 

Inseparable companions of the pilgrim

 

1- The Backpack

Considering that we will spend many hours together, choosing the right one is vital. Today we have a large number of models available. It must fit us perfectly, and it is important to distribute the load well. The volume of the backpack should be between 30 and 45 liters of capacity. It is also important that you have pockets and compartments that give us some play in everyday life.

 


 

2- Walking sticks

Whenever we see a recreated figure or drawing of a pilgrim we see it with its typical staff, for something it will be. The canes are of great help not only to avoid injuries, but also to diminish and distribute the work to which we are subjecting our legs.

 


 

3- Water bottle

In many occasions they will pass many kilometers without you finding a source where to drink. At the moment you have modern canteens of little weight and easy transport. You can also carry the typical disposable plastic bottle but remember that for safety you can not wrinkle or fold, and please do not leave it lying anywhere.

 


 

4- Sleeping bag

More than recommended if you are going to stay in hostels. However, in many cases today's hostels have sheets and blankets for a fee. For hygienic reasons it is important to bring your own sleeping bag.  We can choose depending on the climate a bag sheet or one of the modern fiber bags that we can find today, whose volume and weight are very small but that maintains a great calorie yield.

 

The footwear of the Way of Saint James

 

1- For walking

For tastes the colors. Boots or slippers? that's the eternal question and the usual discussion. Bearing in mind that we are going to carry a rucksack with a few kilos of weight, that we have to face stony terrain and long descents, our advice is boots. In addition today we have magnificent hiking boots that provide comfort, comfort and very good stability to the step.

 


 

2- To go for a walk

Here's the trick. When we finish the hard stage and leave the hostel in search of supplies or to get to know a little better the villages we pass through, we can opt for light hiking shoes. These shoes also allow us to make the less complicated stages of the Way of St. James, those stages that run through the andaderos or roads in good condition.

 


 

3- For the hostel

A cros or flip-flops will make us a double or triple function. We will be able to use them as footwear of rest in the lodge, we will be able to take a shower with them and also they will be able to serve us as footwear of stroll by the town where we stop after the stage.

 

Pilgrim's clothing

 

1- T-shirts or shirts

The best thing is to wear a pair of them, which are techniques to help perspiration. Quick drying so that after washing they are dry the next day. In winter it is possible that we need one more, because the clothes do not dry the same. It is also advisable to wear an additional T-shirt to serve as a T-shirt after the stages.

 


 

2- Pants

As with T-shirts, it's best to wear a pair of them or three. They have to be technical for the same reasons we mentioned before. In winter, Cordura trousers are probably a good choice.

 


 

3- The socks

Choosing the right socks is just as important as choosing the right backpack and footwear. They should not have seams, it is important that they evacuate the humidity well and therefore that they dry quickly. It would be advisable to bring three pairs to avoid problems.

 


 

4- Underwear

It may seem like an unimportant choice, but nothing could be further from the truth. Confusing us can generate annoying scratches. As with the rest, it must perspire well, which is why it is highly recommended that they are not cotton garments and that they have no seams.

 

 


 

5- Cap, scarf or hat

We will spend many hours in the sun, so it is important to protect yourself as best as possible. A cap, a headscarf or a hat will take care of it without overwhelming us or adding a noticeable weight or volume. Without forgetting that they will also protect us from the cold of the mornings.

 


 

6- Warm clothing

Here as we have already commented previously the type of garment that we will have to take will depend on the time of the year. While in summer with a thin fleece lining is enough. In winter we will need one or several garments with a higher calorie content.  The fiber garments give us a lot of game in exchange for little weight and volume.

 


 

7- The famous third layer

As before, the market offers us a variety of garments according to each period. It is essential to maintain a good waterproof and breathable ratio so that we can wear it without problems for a long time in case of rain or to protect ourselves from the wind, as a short wind.

 


 

8- Gloves

Gloves are one of those complements to our equipment for the Way of St. James that seem to have less importance. It's not like that, especially after being at the mercy of rain or wind for a few hours. We have gloves that can provide comfort without taking up space in our backpack.

 

Essential accessories for the Way of Saint James

 

1- Watertight bag

The clothes and some of the articles that we are going to carry in our backpack when we do the Way of Saint James should be protected from humidity in watertight bags. No matter how much we protect the backpack from the rain, humidity always ends up in what we carry inside, and even more so if we have a long day ahead of us under the rain.

 


 

2- Cover backpacks

There are many backpacks that already come with this essential article. If this is not the case, we cannot miss it in our pilgrims' material.

 


 

3- Headlamp

In the darkness of the hostel, when all our companions are sleeping, we will need a flashlight that illuminates us, disturbing as little as possible. We will also be able to use the flashlight of our mobile phone. But the headlamp will be essential if we get up early to take advantage of the coolness of the morning.

 


 

4- Waterproof layer, umbrella or rain pants

If the rain gets any worse, we'll have to protect ourselves somehow. The layer if wide enough and long enough can do this job perfectly, but the wind is a problem for it. The umbrella may also be a good option, but it is more weight and volume. Rain pants are another good idea, but if the rain catches you all of a sudden... Besides, they don't usually perspire well when worn for a long time.

 


 

5- Utensils for hanging out clothes

Tweezers to hang the clothes, even a small rope to prepare a personalized clothesline. Small carabiners to hang objects or clothes from the backpack. These objects barely weigh and give us a lot of play along the way.

 


 

6- Auxiliary bag or backpack

When we finish the stage and get to know the village where we have stopped. When we go to buy something for dinner or to replace worn products, it is not too much to have a bag, preferably cloth. Another possibility is to take with us a fully foldable auxiliary backpack that can be used both as a bag and as a handbag for documentation when we leave the hostel.

 


 

7- Earplugs

The atmosphere that you live in a hostel with your fellow pilgrims is undoubtedly a unique experience that unfortunately can become a real torture when we go to sleep. And if we are unlucky enough not to fall asleep fast enough or, as they say, to have a light sleep, doing so can become an impossible task thanks to the thunderous snoring that is usually part of the soundtrack of these places.

 


 

8- Mobile Case

Today mobile devices have become inseparable companions. But like any electronic device, the humidity and extreme conditions we may encounter do not usually suit them very well. This mobile phone case can be used to avoid a displeasure with this device.

 


 

9- Insect repellent

When we talk about insect repellents we seem to have in mind the image of countries from other latitudes, or mosquito repellents that are usually used to protect babies or children from the annoying bites of these insects. But it would be a serious mistake to keep this image because not only they are exposed to the bites of mosquitoes, among other bugs.

 


 

10- Pocket blanket

Another good idea is to have a pocket blanket to provide warmth if we need it, especially in those shelters where the cold tightens.

 


 

11- Sunglasses

Of course protecting ourselves from the sun is essential, so we can not miss the sunglasses. In addition, by wearing them, we also protect our eyes from the wind and the particles it carries with it.

 

Pilgrim's personal products

 

1- Soap and personal hygiene

The best thing would be to bring a single soap that serves both for our personal hygiene and for washing clothes. In some hostels we have laundry service that also includes soap, also in large cities we can find laundries where you can go if necessary.

 


 

2- Shower towel

In this section we have also advanced a lot, now we have towels of very low weight and volume, but with a pleasant touch. These, without a doubt, are a much better option than the adsorbent kitchen towel that many pilgrims used up to now.

 


 

3- Sun cream

With as many hours exposed to the sun as a pilgrim usually is, it is very important to protect oneself with sunscreen. Do not forget to apply it several times a day to maintain its effect. In this section we also have products designed for travel that does not have so much volume.

 

 


 

4- Tissues and toilet paper

It's something to count on. We also ask that you carry a bag so that you don't throw used paper on the floor. On the Way of St. James there are points that have become real dunghills that need to be finished.

 

 


 

5- First aid kit

Although there will be many pharmacies along the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago, you should always carry a small first aid kit. In addition to the medicines that you usually take, you should carry at least plasters, plasters, gauze, scissors, tweezers, hypodermic needles, antiseptic, painkillers. And remember, only a doctor can prescribe medication.

 

Other things you can't forget are

  • Pilgrim's Credential
  • DNI or Passport
  • Health Card or equivalent
  • Cash
  • Credit or debit card
  • Mobile phone

 

I hope at least that I have been able to bring some light to the arduous task that the pilgrim has when deciding what to take with him on his Way to Santiago. The best thing to do is to make a list of everything we plan to bring so that we don't forget anything. It is also important to try in the comfort of our home how everything is packed in the backpack.

 

Buen Camino Peregrino!!!

 

 


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