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Things I Wish I Had Brought On The Camino And Things I Wish I Hadn't

Discussion in 'What equipment should you use and take' started by JFK, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Here is response I received from Transportation Security at Indianapolis International Airport. As I suspected, security regulations require that any checked bag be available for inspection, so shrinkwrapping is not offered, at least at my airport.

    Shrink wrapping was offered for a brief time but no longer. Please be mindful as
    you pack all bags are subject to open inspection. We have an in line system so
    not all checked bags are opened for inspection. However, if it is necessary, the
    packs must be opened. You have several great ideas considering the belts carts
    and cargo holds on such a trip, just don't make them so difficult to open it
    causes an undue delay.
     
  2. HelenC

    HelenC New Member

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    I had wondered how to wrap our backpacks and looked at many covers, but I don't want to have to carry anything extra. So I have bought laundry bags, the type market traders use to transport their goods, I will discard them once we arrive in Biarritz. When we get to Santiago I will see if they sell something similar for the journey home.
     
  3. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    I plan to carry on my main Camino pack and possibly check a second bag or box containing my trekking poles and pocket knife. However, if I am forced to check my main pack for any reason, I plan to use the rain cover. My pack comes with an included rain cover. If you put the rain cover on the pack backwards, the cover contains all the straps and buckles so that they cannot get snagged on the luggage handling machinery.
     
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  4. Orava

    Orava Active Member

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    I had slimmed my pack right down http://www.caminodesantiago.org.uk/threads/a-4-0-kg-pack-weight-is-possible.4867/#post-31999

    ..but added a thin bivy bag and Ti cooking pot and headlamp to allow camping ( which I then did not feel like doing after hot sweaty days). I also had a bad habit of buying food then not getting round eating certain items so ended up carrying things for several days.

    Things I wish I'd brought: More of my record collection ( it's amazing how fast you get through your tunes on the less inspiring marching sections ), a thin hiking towel ( I used just a thin cotton shemagh as a towel, which worked, but was not great), a good guide book (I just followed the arrows and relied on the list of alburges given to me in SJPdP),

    One item that came in very handy was an oversized military pack cover that completely enclosed the pack during hold luggage transport, it also doubled as a great groundsheet to lie on/ picnic on, as well as being a pack cover...
     
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  5. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    That is an extremely good effort
    I finished my camino 12 Oct having started 11 Sept. I couldn't get my pack under 6.5kg. I weigh 60kg. I did have more warm clothes than you and also a sleeping bag all of which I needed. My best tip is you don't need to carry 2L water. I always had a big drink first thing in the morning about 750ml and never carried more than 750ml
    When I stopped for food take a good drink before you restart. Beats carrying it. Buen Camino
     
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  6. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I purchased cloth bags at REI - they are made of thin cloth and the size of large laundry bags. Each was large enough to enclose our Osprey backpacks. We used these when we checked in our backpacks for flights. These protected the bags in terms of straps getting caught in conveyer belts and also from dirt and grime in transit (amazing how dirty they got from a few flights). They are very light, so we just wrapped a rubber band around them and put them in the bottem of our packs during our camino.

    Bob
     
  7. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    A few additional reflections based on our recent camino.

    Items we found to be invaluable:
    • Trekking Poles (one set each for my wife and me) - I cannot imagine climbing up and descending the Napoleon route the first day and O'Cebreiro without them.
    • Headlamp / torch. Most days we left the albergues around 6:45 or 7 am. We'd walk in the dark at least an hour, sometimes longer. The headlamps were essential for us to see the waymarkings. We did not use the headlamps inside the albergues. We both used the dimmer lights available on our cell phones to pack things up.
    • Icebreaker light weight merino wool shirts. I brought two long sleeve and two short sleeve as my only shirts. They are not only light to pack, but as others have noted, are quick wicking and do not absorb odor. A breakthrough for us was deciding we could wear the shirts two days in a row. This really extended times between laundry.
    • Gore-Tex rain jacket. My wife and I both had Marmut Goretex jackets. We endured three of our 34 hiking days in pouring rain. When we entered Galcia, it rained almost every day, although not the full hike. The rain jackets kept us dry. Also, I really liked the zip pits - very useful for ventilation when the jacket was keeping us too warm. Also related to rain, both our backpacks had Osprey rain covers. These really protected our packs and gear / clothing (note that clothes and sleeping bags were still kept in zip lock sacks for extra protection.
    • John Brierley guidebook. I read the book a few times before our camino. For the most part, the waymarkings helped guide us. I found the book very helpful in reminding me what to expect for the day, how long until next town, and for forward planning. I can't image walking the camino without the book.
    • D clips rings - this was a suggestion I saw before our camino. We brought a large D clip for each of us. It was very useful to clip this onto a buck bed, then hang our backpacks on the ring. I'm guessing we were able to use this for 10 to 12 albergues we stayed at. No one ever objected to us hanging our packs on the beds.
    • Elastic knee braces - I threw a pair of these into my pack at the last minute, thinking we might need one or two. My wife developed pain and swelling in her knee and used one brace most of our camino. I used one for several days when I had tendonitis.
    A few things we brought and would reconsider / leave behind:
    • Lightweight sleeping bag. We both had a 40 degrees F down filled Kelty sleeping bag. They compressed down to a small size. We also used silk sleep sheets. Both were sprayed in advance with permetrin. Several of the albergues were cold and the sleeping bags worked well. That said, the bags took up valuable space in our packs and were relatively heavy compared to other items. Next time I may consider using a fleece sleepsheet and leaving the sleeping bag and silk sheet at home.
    • Hiking sandals as second pair of footwear. I don't think our sandals would provide sufficient ankle protection to use on the trail. Also, these were a bit heavy. Next time I'll look for something lighter to wear around the albergue and in town at night.
    A few things I wished I brought along:
    • Boot inserts / in-soles. The soles in my Patagonia boots were substandard.
    • Elastic ankle brace. I used a knee brace around my shin to cope with tendonitis. My wife and I both had swollen ankles. An ankle brace is lightweight and better suited to our need.
    • Gaiters. Despite the rain we experienced on several days, had no regrets regarding not having rainpants. For rain days, I walked in quick drying shorts. No issue if my legs got wet. However, several times our boots and socks got drenched with rain. I only got one blister and this was due to very wet feet. Lightweight gaiters would do a nice job keeping my boots and feet dry.
    Hope this helps. Bob
     
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  8. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    Thanks for that advice, Bob. I like Icebreaker merino too and will be bringing some merino shirts. Were the shirts you brought all knitted T-shirts, or the newer woven shirts they have now, or a combination? I'm considering short-sleeve T's and a long-sleeve button-down woven shirt. I'll also be bringing merino underwear and socks.

    I agree, they can be worn for more than a single day between washing, especially if you can hang them up to dry and air out. This is great for any kind of travel, but especially any time you need to hand launder your clothes, and you don't want to pack very much, like on the Camino.
     
  9. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Eric, I'm not sure if they were knitted or woven. I bought all four through Sierra Trading Post. Two were short sleeve, two were long sleeve. Each was Ice Breaker 150 Tech T Lite shirts. Most albergues now have washing machines. However, we would line dry them, not use a dryer. This time of the year it was sometimes a challenge for them to line dry in one afternoon, particularly if it was not sunny outside. If so, we'd just put in a storage bag and allow them to dry the next day. We also used Icebreaker merino wool socks and a fleece jacket. All were great.
     
  10. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    Thanks, Bob.

    The Tech T light shirts are knitted (stretchy) T-shirts. I have a lot of those and I really like them. I only have two complaints. The lightweight T-Shirts get holes very easily. I must tend to lean against counters, or maybe my pants or belts have extra rough fronts, but for some reason I always get lots of little holes right around where your belt buckle would be. The shirts are kind of expensive to be getting holes that easily, but I think that is just the nature of a lightweight knitted wool fabric. The second complaint is that a lot of Icebreaker clothing is really made for slender, tall people. If you are not that shape, then sleeves are a bit long when the garment fits around the middle, or sleeves are the right length but the middle is tight. Other than that, they are great.

    Icebreaker also has a line of shirts and pants made with woven fabric (wool or wool-blend versions of the woven types of fabrics that are used for typical button-down shirts or jeans, not as stretchy as knit). That fabric seems a bit more durable. I've got 2 short sleeve woven shirts that I've started wearing on some of my training walks, and I'm liking them a lot. I think I might get a a long-sleeve for the Camino. My wife has one, and she loves it. I think it would be great on its own or layered over a T-shirt.

    You also brought merino fleece jackets? I haven't decided about that yet. I have one I could bring, but I think it might be a bit heavier than a synthetic fleece, so I have to consider the weight.

    I like icebreaker socks, but I think I like Darn Tough just a bit better.

    If you like merino clothing, you should also check out Ibex. The fits are a bit more generous, and the styles are a bit more casual --- not just athletic wear. Ibex is a great brand.

    Once you get into merino wool, it's possible to develop an unhealthy obsession...
     
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  11. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Eric. Based on your description, I'm sure I have the knitted Icebreaker shirts. I agree with your comment that the fit for many of their items is tight. For the shirts the XL worked fine for me, but for the fleece jacket, I ordered XXL. The torso fit was fine, but the sleeves were long, which I folded over. As you said, it's easy to become a merino wool fan. Icebreaker is expensive, but all the items I've purchased have been on sale at Sierra Trading Post. Now that my camino is over, my shirts are washed and ready for deer hunting along with some base layer bottoms and gloves. It was nice to have a merino wool fleece jacket and a Goretex rainjacket. I don't think I ever wore both at the same time (but would have if the temps dropped). It was nice to alternate between the two, depending on weather.

    I'm not familiar with IBEX. Thanks for the tip; I'll check this brand out.

    Bob
     
  12. JFK

    JFK Member

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    Bob,

    What time of year did you walk your Camino?
     
  13. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    I am from NZ the birthplace of Icebreaker and other similar types of merino clothing. just a couple of relevant (I think points) yes you sure can wear merino for more than 1 day and more than 2. Have a test before you go as to how many days you can wear it before it stinks! It is usually around a week, yes really! if you hang it to air at night. My second point is why would you need 4 shirts? I walked Sept-Oct 2015 and took 1 icebreaker singlet and 1 quickdry longsleeved hiking shirt, these 2 items I wore every day and washed the quickdry most days and the merino singlet once week. I also took a longsleeved light cotton Tshirt for apres hiking wear. I also had a super lightweight thermal top from Uniqlo which I slept in and it served as an extra layer. This was enough and I do feel the cold. Twice I wore the whole lot at once. Hope this helps. Buen Camino
     
  14. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    Thanks, @anniem . I agree that merino can sometimes go as long as a week before needing to be washed. A lot depends on conditions. If I myself get stinky, then the clothes I'm wearing get stinky, and we both need to get washed! But if I don't really get smelly, just sweaty, then the garment will air out just fine and can be worn again. After awhile, it can get a sort of sweaty smell that is not like really stinky BO, but it still needs to be rinsed out.

    I haven't settled on my clothing for certain yet. But I'm thinking I would like a total of 3 shirts.

    Short-sleeve, lightweight merino T for most hiking days.

    Long-sleeve, lightweight merino T for cooler hiking days, can also be layered for extra cool weather, or sleeves pushed up for warmer weather.

    Long-sleeve, woven, button-down hiking shirt. I own several of these in lightweight, quick-dry synthetic materials, and I may use one of those, or I might buy a merino one from Icebreaker. This can also be layered with the T shirts or on it's own. These kinds of shirts are nice if there is a bit of wind. They look a bit nicer than a T shirt in the evening.

    I think those 3 shirts would give me a few good versatile options.
     
  15. Cornelius

    Cornelius Member

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    7 kgs rucksack rules in my book: Take 2 of all next-the-skin wearables; Only 1 of everything else (and not too many of these). It really isn't a desert out there and if you really need something you'll buy it which helps the local economy as well.
     
  16. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    It sounds like a good plan to me. Don't be tempted to take another "just in case"
     
  17. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    That sounds like a good approach. I've been working on putting together my kit, packing up my pack, and weighing it all. I'd say I have a few more items than what you are recommending, but not much, and I'm following a similar philosophy of avoiding just-in-case items.

    Here is what I've been experimenting with so far. For what I would consider next-to-skin shirts (merino T shirts), I have 2 (1 in pack, 1 worn), and I also have another long-sleeve shirt that I probably won't be wearing next to skin for daily hiking --- total of 3 shirts. For underwear and socks, I also have a total of 3 pairs each (2 in pack, one worn). I'm planning on hiking in shorts and carrying quick-dry pants. So far, with these clothes plus the other warm layer, rain layer, lightweight sandals, sleeping bag, toiletries, 1st aid, phone, charger, backpack, and hydration pack, the load is coming out to about 12 pounds / 5.5 kg. That's before water, which is probably another 2 lbs / 1 kg or so. There are also a few other things I will probably add in. I'm feeling pretty good about it so far!

    I'm trying to minimize the number of just-in-case items. For example, I'm not sure I'm going to bring gloves and a warm hat. I always do for my wilderness backpacking, but I'm probably not for the Camino. I'm not sure about a headlamp, or if I'll just use the little coin-battery light I have on a zipper pull or maybe just my phone light. Do I need a knife or a wine opener? There are still a few things I am working out.
     
  18. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    To answer you query about just-in-case items. I would say yes to the gloves and warm hat but then I feel the cold. I had a double layer Icebreaker beanie and Icebreaker fine merino gloves. Phone light is adequate for bathroom at night but headlamp is good if it is dark when you leave in morning also for reading in bed, not all bunks have bedside lights and also handy for packing in the morning before dorm lights are turned on. Corkscrew for wine definitely, they do NOT have screw tops in Spain. Knife, good idea for lunch picnics and if you intend to cook in the evenings when the albergues have a kitchen. Kitchen equipment is minimal and basic and definitely no sharp knives. It is easy to buy a french Opinel knife for around 8 euros in Spain. Hope this helps.
     
  19. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    JFK, my wife and I began our Camino from SJPDP Sept 27 and we arrived in Santiago Oct 31, 2015.

    Anniem, thanks for the additional commentary regarding merino wool. Our two day limit on the merino wool shirts was more mental than anything. After we developed a routine, we washed our clothes every third day. Since there were two of us, we just bundled everything together in the washing machine, sometimes if items had only been worn for a single day.

    There are different views regarding what some pilgrims would view to be essential and others would view these to be "just in case". For example, the trekking poles were important to us, so it was a no brainer that we needed gloves. Great decision for those mornings in which frost was on the ground. I brought a swiss army knife and used it throughout each day.

    In the end, we agreed that this is "our camino". We read lots of good suggestions regarding what to include in our kit, then we made the final decisions. I only weighed my full pack once and this was before I finalized the load. I was aware of the 10% body weight rule, but I was the one carrying the load and felt comfortable with the decisions we made.
     
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  20. Maya Grandmother

    Maya Grandmother Active Member

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  21. Maya Grandmother

    Maya Grandmother Active Member

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    Hello, we had walking poles so we had gloves with us which we wore all day while walking. As for a beanie, we used our buff for the cold days. The buff can also be used for many things such as putting it around the mouth when windy or dusty, I even wore it on my head in the cold albergues during the night, also as a cooling around the neck on hot days, the list goes on and on. The buff was an important item for me. Many pilgrims bought them in the stores in Spain and were cheaper and had beautiful scenery of the area on them. Take what feels right for you. Lots of luck
     
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  22. Ashna Maharaj

    Ashna Maharaj Ashna Maharaj

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    Thank you Tom
    I will certainly diarise on my notes for my 2017 Mar-May Camino
     
  23. Jose

    Jose Active Member

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    My plan, too, with the big duffle bag. Great idea.
     
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