What else to take for Camino de Santiago?
There quite many options of things which could help you during Camino de Santiago.
I definitely do not suggest you to take a laptop or heavy books, but some of the stuff can be pretty useful.
The things I consider useful are (and which helped me or my friends):
- Walking poles
- Water flask
- Mp3 player
- GPS tracker (or just simple a phone app)
- Small tablet
- Ear plugs
Some people take survivalist stuff like hiking stoves, fuel, all cutlery, tents and many other things, but as Camino de Santiago is not a hike deep into the woods and there will be plenty of shops around and almost all albergues have all equipment to make food – you won’t really need it that much 🙂
So let’s talk about my list of additional things you may or may not take with you 🙂
On Camino de Santiago you will definitely see many people using simple trees branches as walking poles as it is kind of old school pilgrims (or maybe medieval school) stuff, but they are not that comfortable to use.
Walking poles can be a great help to lower pressure from your hips, feet and legs overall as they can decrease that pressure even up to 25 percent.
Walking poles are very good when you go up mountain and downhills and even in muddy areas as they will help you not to slip.
Some people use walking poles all day long, even in cities and on paved paths and that is encouraged if that really helps you.
I used walking poles maybe just couple of times when I was in really bad shape and it really increased my legs strength 🙂
I just suggest to buy adjustable poles as you need different length for mountains and flat surfaces.
I would have never thought to myself that umbrella could be a good thing for a hike. It seemed so stupid to carry along an umbrella with you when you have big backpack on your shoulders and you walk 30 km a day 🙂
And that was a bad thing to think 🙂
On my second Camino from Porto to Santiago de Compostela I met a Swiss man who was really well equipped with newest clothes, newest gear and shoes, but interestingly enough, when it was raining, he always used an umbrella. And that is despite the fact that he had all gore tex clothes with him 🙂
And let me tell you why. Umbrella can save you from almost any kind of strong rain. It saves your face, your upper body and even shoes from getting wet. It’s a wonderful help.
Even when you are with all gore tex clothes, your face can get pretty wet and some rain gets on your skin.
And it’s not that heavy. It’s a very light thing.
So, for my 3rd Camino from Saint Jean Pied de Port I took an umbrella with me and it saved me from so much trouble. Couple of times it rained all day, all 8 hours of walking and I used umbrella all day. I didn’t get wet at all and I didn’t get tired to carry it with me all day 🙂
Believe me, umbrella is a very very very useful thing 🙂
It’s a very good decision to carry water with you all day long as you may experience hot days or some areas where are no shops, no public restrooms or water supply.
So simply fill your bottle or flask with water every morning and if you have a chance fill it again during your daily hike.
Some people use flasks to carry water, some use simple bottles.
A flask is better, because some of flasks keeps water cold even on hot days. Bottles do not. It’s not so fun to drink hot water when you are thirsty 🙂 It’s better than no water, but cold water is even better 🙂
You may not need an mp3 player if your phone has a lot of additional space to fit in all your music, but to have music on your long walks is undeniably a good idea.
Let me tell you why.
On some days you may experience heavy rains or you just simply get very tired and there are like hundreds of kilometres left to walk that day 🙂 It is sometimes as well very hard to motivate yourself to walk further as motivation starts dropping every minute. So this is then music comes to help you.
Believe me, on rainy days, music helped me a lot to keep up my spirit. On those heavy rain days I was even walking faster than on sunny days 🙂 And that’s simply because of music.
As Bob Marley said “One good thing about music is, when it hits you feel no pain” :)))
And yes you don’t 🙂 Simply download music you like before the trip and try it when you are feeling blue on your daily hikes.
Bob Marley music can be an excellent choice as well :))
Well, these days you don’t need to have a seperate GPS tracker, simply install an app on your phone or use a watch with GPS in it.
I use app called Endomondo, I use it daily to track my runs, walks or hikes, so it was a no-brainer for me what to use on Camino de Santiago.
We used GPS every day, because it really helps to track your daily distances, plan your day and calculate how much is left to every day destination.
Usually we planned our day like this:
we walk 6km in the morning and then look for a place to have a coffee and eat a croissant 🙂
After that we try to walk up to 20-25km and have a lunch in a restaurant or eat what we have in our backpacks.
After that we just walk the distance which is left to our destination which is very nice to walk after lunch as you have more power 😉
Sometimes on Camino you will see signs how many kilometres are left to some destination (or you may have a list of all cities with distances from each other)… these numbers usually lie, and they lie to the bad side 🙂 If they say that you have to walk 30km, it will be 33km 🙂 Sometimes even more, but it’s safe to say that they usually are mistaken by 10 percent 😉 But once, on Camino Portugues it lied for us even 12km… we had to walk 28km and we walked even 40km to our final destination.
This is definitely a must. Take medicines from headaches, stomach disorders, drugs for cold and take some stuff to fight blisters.
If you have any problems with your health or you know that it may happen, take it, because they might not have such medicine in Spain drug shops and that can cause you a lot of problems.
If you have any specific problems with your skin, livers, back or anything else, please take that medicine with you.
Fortunately enough science and technology so far that we can have thousands of book in one simple gadget. E-reader is much better than books, because it weights much less and it carries so much more information 🙂 If you do not feel like reading one book on some days, read another one and so on 🙂 E-reader can be a really good companion on long evenings in albergues especially if you do Camino alone.
This as well very good option to watch movies, read books, read newspapers or even work if you need to do so. That is so much better than laptop which weights 3-4 times more 🙂 And tablet takes very little space.
As there is wifi in almost all albergues, there won’t be problems to read daily news or anything else you like.
Wifi in most albergues is not good enough to download movies or something, so I would suggest to download it before the trip 🙂
Playing cards is a very good choice to kill time on the evenings with your friends 🙂 Cards uses very small amount of space and weight very little.
We had a lot of fun with cards in the evenings. And it’s quite popular for older people to play cards in spanish bars, so you kind of blend in 🙂
Ear plugs is as well a no-brainer 😉 If you are very sensitive while sleeping, it’s a must for you 🙂 You never know who will be sleeping together with you in a room and some people snore louder than elephants :)) So be prepared 😉
I hope that this list as well helps you to prepare for Camino. These are additional things and you will definitely survive just good with them, these things just make your life more entertaining and easy during long walks and long evenings in albergues 🙂 Enjoy!
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