The Packing Ordeal!

I had no idea that packing for the Camino was SUCH a big deal. I mean, I have packed, unpacked and repacked this backpack a million times and I’m still second-guessing myself.

So, here’s the rub – it is ALL about the weight! (Ugh, isn’t that always the case. 🙂 ) Seriously, the goal is to get your backpack to weigh no more than 10% of your body weight in order to lessen the load you will be carrying for 500 miles and save your back, feet, shoulders and legs undo stress.

Nice idea, but I think I’ve already experienced more stress trying to eliminate stress! All that, and my backpack is still 3 pounds heavier than my goal weight. (Story of my life.)

I just don’t know what else to leave home. I already ditched the sleeping bag in exchange for a silk sak and a prayer for warm weather. I’m leaving the rain pants at home and figure a little torrential downpour (as has been reported to be a probability near Galicia) won’t melt me. I’ve only packed one change of clothes and will wear the other. I returned a little Swiss Army knife, a toiletry bag and a European converter because I thought they added too much weight and figured I could just borrow a knife/tweezers, use ziploc bags and a USB plug. Granted, I have kept one luxury item – a camping pillow but, hey, it only weighs 5 ounces and I don’t want to put my head on an albergue/hostel pillow.

The Facebook page, “American Pilgrims on the Camino,” has the sweetest people on the planet and they have offered generous advice on packing. And, they all say – pack light and you can always dump what you don’t need or buy what you do need along The Way. So, I’m going to trust them and head out with the extra weight on my back. Who knows, maybe after walking 500 miles, I’ll lose the three pounds off my backside in another way. 🙂

So, here’s my Camino packing list. (Peregrinos actually care about this kind of thing. Otherwise, feel free to scroll to the end. :))


Toiletry Bag

Toiletry Bag

tooth tabs
shampoo tabs
body soap tabs
laundry soap tabs
hair ties
mouth guard
ziplock bags



iPhone stand
iPhone charger
keyboard charger
wireless headphones
headphone charger
multi usb port plug

My Fanny Pack

My Fanny Pack

copy of passport
emergency contact info
global entry card
business cards
Pilgrim credentials
reading glasses
insurance cards
confirmed travel info
credit cards


My clothes

My clothes

2 short-sleeve shirts
2 long-sleeve shirts
2 pants
hiking shoes
2 undies
3 pair socks
2 bras
rain jacket
shower shoes

Sleeping Supplies

Sleeping Supplies

compressible pillow
silk sak
ear plugs
eye mask
money belt


Odds & Ends Gear

Odds & Ends Gear

trekking poles
safety pins
clothes pins
water bottle
day pack
fanny pack
water bottle holder

On second thought, that shell decoration must weight at least 2 ounces – I should leave that at home. Problem solved.

This Post Has 53 Comments

  1. A few years ago I helped my son pack for a long trek. He was only 14 and very thin at the time so getting his pack down to 10% of his bodyweight was next to impossible. I don’t see much to leave out with the exception of some of the technology items. Those may be a “must” have for reasons I don’t know. My only suggestion is unfortunately something to add to your list. Do you have a rain cover for your backpack? I would say that would be something that you wouldn’t want to leave without. Good luck on your trip!

    1. Yes, the technology is so I can write and update my blog. As it is, I’m trying to do this on my phone which has been a learning curve. Yes, rain cover for my pack is mandatory. Thankfully, it is built into the bottom of the pack. 🙂

  2. Excited for you! Gutsy, and I am a bit jealous! Very courageous to set out on this huge journey! Best to u, prayers for health and strength for you during this time. Please post updates frequently (as possible). Is Gallacia where the Gallatians in the Bible lived?

  3. My math might be off but I think if you lose weight — the bag technically needs to get lighter. Sorry!
    Also what’s the mouth guard for? Going to play some tackle football? 🙂
    Good luck. The packing seems like it would be the hardest part!!!

  4. Why not dump the technology. Except phone if there is service. Get a paper and pencil and write in it then put it in computer when you get home. I know you want to post if there are places to post do that. Weight of your equipment is alot. If it rains a lot there no reception and even with covers can still destroy the equipment. There is no need to hurt your self for trip. I am telling you from experience dont weigh yourself down just carry what you need the electronics are not a must. Just enjoy the journey and share the stories when you can.

    1. In actuality, the tiny wireless keyboard only weighs a couple of ounces. I do appreciate your concern and advice and I’ll probably learn the things I don’t really need along the way. (In more ways than simply material, I hope.)

      1. I just wanted to say yes you will figure out what to get rid of on the way. I know you will do great on this adventure and enjoy God’s beautiful land. Just for the record ounces lead to the pounds that your backpack is now over the pound limit. I was reading your other posts on keeping stuff and had to laugh when you said it is only a few ounces. Just remember if you add up all the ounces you are keeping it will make the backpack heavy LOL I will enjoy reading about your journey. I just finished two books you wrote and really enjoyed them one is about Friendship which was great to read and so true on many levels and the other about your life. The other one great was great about your life. Your writing is what has lead you to this journey so enjoy it. Be safe!!!

  5. Try a crystal deodorant. It lasts many months and is much healthier as well. The chemicals (particularly aluminum) in “regular” deodorants can be harmful and really should be avoided.

    I wish I could do something like this!!
    I need some life-changing experiences that are positive.
    All the best and will keep you in prayer. 🙂


  6. Reading your blog at a very stressful time. But interested In the journey you are approaching. Wonder if they make long sleeve shirts with zipper removable sleeves? That would save 2 for 4 shirts…ha

  7. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as I am beginning my prep work for my Camino in March/April. Good luck and most importantly, Have Fun!

  8. I haven’t walked the camino yet but I’ve done a bit of backpacking. Your list looks great to me. My camino research seems to indicate that the 10% weight limit is an arbitrary number and more of a goal than even an average. I also think it represents people who are not really in shape and much heavier than you probably are, hence their 10% is more likely about 15-20 pounds. If you are in better shape (and used to hiking trails with elevation gain) I bet you could easily handle the weight. If anything, I would think you’d want a bit more backup clothing, wear 1 set carry 2 for most clothing items.

  9. Presumably you will be using the walking sticks and not carrying their weight on your back! Looking forward to reading about your journey. It sounds very exciting! Have you been doing training walks? Maybe you can write about that in your blog if you don’t have time to answer me here.

  10. So excited for you! I’ve been following you for years…we are the same age and I am a homeschool mom and Facts of Life fan from way back! I feel a bit envious of you bc I’m about at a crossroads in my life…seeking deeper spirituality and coping with a soon empty nest… and will be living vicariously through you. I have dreamed of traveling to India, Nepal, and The Camino so have enjoyed your Instagram posts and now new blog. Best of luck on your journey and you will be in my prayers!

  11. Enjoy reading about this; remember, it is the journey not the destination that is important. Take time to look back to see where you have been (different perspective looking backwards vs forwards ☺)

  12. I did a portion of the Camino (Astorga to Santiago) this summer & I’d definitely keep the shower shoes (with blisters & such possible you dont want to minimize possible infection, etc, especially if sharing showers in alburques.

    I bought a shell along the way but many bring 1 with them, more symbolic.

    Also you should check out the Camigas facebook page, its for women traveling the Camino.

    Buen Camino!

  13. Hi Lisa,
    I just wanted to send uplifting and encouraging thoughts and prayers to you as you embark on this journey! I have a friend of mine who walked it for the first time alone two years ago and this last May, took his mom as a surprise (as she was so interested after he got back and talked about it), and completed the whole trek again! He cannot say enough about it, so I’m sure you will have a wonderful experience as well! I love that you will be blogging your journey for all of us to enjoy as I will look forward to your entries. All the best to you!

  14. Always looking forward to your blog. Thanks for sharing the pictures. I think you packed wonderfully. Only suggestion I have is you could roll your clothes and perhaps be able to pack more.

  15. Lisa – I’m so excited that you are blogging again. I really missed your blog over the last few years. It’s been encouraging to watch a woman near my age living her faith and her dreams. I can hardly wait to follow your journey. I’m sure the spiritual journey will be as challenging as the physical one. May you be blessed with strength and peace as you travel.

  16. Last time I went camping, I ended up ditching the sleeping bag and dragging an inflatable mattress out of the trunk of my car (good thing I’m in the habit of sleeping on people’s floors enough to always have that thing in there,) so if it were me, I’d probably have to have the sleeping bag at least. Fortunately, I’m a brush my hair and go kinda girl, so I could probably get by with a lot less personal grooming equipment. Those two pairs of undies would be rough though lol!

    I guess being on Survivor should have given you some practice for sleeping rough and making do without creature comforts. Fingers crossed for good weather.

  17. Best to you on your journey! I look forward to reading about your experience. I’m currently part of a group called California Mission Walkers. Trekking from Mission to mission along El Camino Real (loosely). Walking is a great way to see life around you and to appreciate things along the way. Blessings to you!

      1. well, doing the El Camino Real is 800 mile stretch of California missions, but it’s a bit more doable in segments since I live in California. I do hope to be able to do the Camino de Santiago someday, but with work, six weeks is a bit much to bite off. oh… the beauty of being self employed! Take it one day at a time… and be sure to Body Glide or “grease” your feet and between toes and double up on socks. Helps with preventing blisters. Stretch your feet each eve too…. I pray you won’t get a flare up of Plantar Fasciitis (seriously, I’m praying).

        1. So very grateful for the prayers. I brought Vaseline for my feet and sock liners. And, I plan to go slowly at first and stretch so I’m hoping that all that (with prayers!) I’ll be able to make it.

  18. Lisa Diane Whelchel ,Don’t U DARE lose weight your good the way u are. Just do your own thing, and have fun but please stay safe🇺🇸

  19. Lisa, I will keep you in prayer that during this WALK you receive, find, and experience what you are desiring from God. I plan to do the Camino, so I will learn ALOT from you! 🙂

  20. Looks like you have all you need,all I ask of you is you stay safe and beware of who and what is around you. I was a Lieutenant of Police with the Hoboken NJ Police Dept. and on the NY & NJ 911 Task Force, So I know what bad people can do, again be safe,have a good time🇺🇸🚔

  21. Now that you are home and recovered, did you ditch any of the stuff you packed along the way, or buy that you discovered you needed? How did the silk sack work out for you?

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