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Details of what to take

The clothes list is based on what I actually used. What just went for the ride has been left out. Then there are some suggestions in case you're going to use albergues (which I only did once).

First aid and repair kits are suggested. Most of this stuff you won't need but it's better to take them along than to risk an unnecessary inconvenience.

There is also a list of suggested options and a special section if you want to take along a decent camera.

Day clothes

Night clothes

On the bike

Bike emergency

Personal hygiene

First aid

Other accessories

For albergues

Optional stuff

Download the list without the comments

Day clothes and accessories (while riding the bike) - Back to top

To take
Comments
Cycling jerseys - 2

As with all clothing items the idea is to take 2 so that wear one and have an extra clean one: dry or drying.

During in summer I recommend short sleeves. At any other time of the year you're better off will long sleeves. Even though temperatures can go up quite a bit in spring and autumn, it's always pretty cool if it clouds over or you're in the shade.

During winter these should be heavy weight jerseys and you will most likely have to add a layer of thermal underwear.

Long sleeves have the additional benefit of protecting your arms from the sun and avoiding the "sauna effect" while wearing a shell.

About zippers....

If possible use jerseys with zippers that go the full length of the front. They will allow maximum flexibility in adjusting body temperature.

Cycling shorts - 2
Except in winter during which you'll never loose the tights, shorts are a better bet. In summer tights are too warm. In spring and autumn tights will be too hot for all except the first hour or two in the morning
Running tights - 1
These are to put over your shorts if you do the trip in autumn or spring. You start off the day with the tights over your shorts and once you've warmed up and the temperature has gone up it takes seconds to take them off..
Waterproof shell - 1

In order to save weight you should take only one "outer shell" that is both breathable and waterproof. In the same sentence and in regard to a piece of clothing "breathable" and "waterproof" usually equates to "not for the financially challenged" but if you can afford it do so.

In rainless weather the ideal windbreaker is a cycling jacket with "wind stopper" type technology. They are more comfortable and breath much better than anything waterproof, but that means taking another garment that is waterproof (which can be a $8 plastic rain-shell). The other consideration is that during summer you will probably hardly ever need a wind-breaker. So you'll end up carrying two things just in case.

For those on tight budgets my recommendation is a non-breathable waterproof "light" jacket. It's a good windbreaker and serves you in the rain, it's just not as comfortable as the more expensive stuff.

This shell will also be used off the bike at night if it gets chilly or is raining.

The zipper recommendation applies here too.

Fleece - 1

Fleece is light and keeps you warm. You will use this on the bike: all day in winter, probably not much, if at all, in summer and definitely in the mornings during spring and autumn

It doubles up as protection against the cold at night year round.

Cycling shoes - 1 pair

Choose the type according to the time of the year and the weather you can expect.

Regardless of above it's advisable not to use shoes designed for competitive racing. They are the lightest and most efficient when pedaling but not very good for walking and you might have to walk quite a bit. So sacrifice a little stiffness and lightness to gain a little "walkness".

Socks - 2 pairs
Take 2 pairs of cycling socks. These you'll use the clean ones at night. Coolmax socks will dry over night so you should no need more than this. Extreme winter might require thermal socks if your boots are not up to par.
Helmet - 1 If you buy a new one purchase it at least 2 or 3 months before the trip and make sure you complete one or two long (more then 2 hours) rides with it. Fix any minor discomfort.
Gloves - 1 pair

Fingerless cycling gloves for all times of the year except winter. During spring and autumn some people might want to wear running gloves or mittens over (or under if they are silk) their cycling gloves for the first few hours in the morning.

Another option for sensitive hands during the spring or autumn is to take 2 pairs of cycling gloves: one full fingered and one fingerless but this option takes up more space and weighs more.

Night clothes (to change into) - Back to top

To take
Comments
Cool max shirts - 2
Any T-shirt (remember light) is ok, but coolmax has the advantage of being lighter than cotton and drying very quickly after you wash. There are quite a few equivalent materials, coolmax is just one of them. Long sleeves are advisable during the colder months
Underwear - 2
Whatever you fancy. As always synthetics will dry more quickly.
Light shoes - 1pair
If you don't use shoes specifically for cycling, an extra pair could almost be considered redundant. But it's a bit risky not to take at least one extra pair of shoes. Your "day" shoes will end up filthy ,often muddy and occasionally soaking. Take along the lightest you can find. An pair of running shoes are good for cold weather and during summer even some sandals will do.
Pants - 1
One pair of pant will do for the whole trip. You shouldn't even have to wash them. Shorts will suffice in summer and long pants in winter. During the unpredictable months you might try convertibles: the type that have a zipper half way down the leg that allow you to use them long or short.

On the bike - Back to top

To take
Comments
Rear rack

My first advice here is don't skimp on the bike accessories. You might get away with loading 15Kg onto some coat hangers fixed with chewing gum, and then riding 900km on rough terrain without a hitch. But then you might not and quite a few haven't so buy something decent.

There are basically 2 types of racks. Those that are fixed to the frame of the bike and those that are fixed to the seat post. The ones that fix to the frame are more reliable. I wouldn't use the others (regardless of what the manufacturer claims) unless I was traveling very light (6 kg.)

Contrary to a relatively wide spread notion, racks that are fixed to the frame are 100% compatible with full suspension bikes, you just have to get the right one like the Old Man Mountain Sherpa available from Arkel OD.

Rear Pannier(s)

Here the advice is the same. Buy good quality stuff. You don't want to spend part of your trip preparing things or finding a place that will do it for you.

The guys at Arkel OD make them "as good as they get"... not cheap but they're worth every penny. Curiously the XM-28s have (what do you know?) 28lts. total capacity which will be more than enough if you pack according to this page. The XM (mountain) series incorporate "compression straps" that avoid the need for any external device in order to keep things from bouncing about.

I'm not paid by any of companies mentioned on this site. I recommend them because I've used their products and had excellent results. By the way, as an added bonus the guys at Arkel OD are a cool bunch that give outstanding service.

Front Pannier

For the front you can go on the cheap side if you don't plan to carry any serious photo equipment. A camera is the only "heavy" item I can think of that you would want so handy.

Above 800grs you should consider something like the Small Bar Bag from my friends at Arkel OD.

Pannier rain covers

Very few panniers are water proof. Rain covers will protect your panniers and their content in case of heavy rain. Keep them in the outer pockets of the panniers so you can reach them quickly.

Water bottles - 2

Water is pretty abundant along the Camino. You will usually be no further than 10Km to the nearest town. Even at 5Km/h that's no more than 2hrs away. There are a few exceptions, such as when you cross the Pyrenees. Lookup the details in any of the guides.

In any case it is always advisable to have "extra" water with you. You can use it to clean a wound or for other "emergencies".

With only one bottle you might run short. Except for during winter it can get very hot and dry so don't risk it.

Even though I use a Camelbak (which carries the equivalent of 2 or more bottles depending on the model) for my "normal" riding I changed back to bottles for the trip. Some days you might end up spending up to 7 hours on the bike and doing so for a few days at a time. General discomfort levels are higher than on ordinary rides (unless you routinely compete in stage races) so I recommend shifting the load to the bike as much as possible.

Anti-theft device

Spain is a relatively safe place. Common sense applies just as anywhere else. Also as in most places your are more theft prone in the big cities than in the small towns.

Occasionally you will want to leave your bike unattended and a light anti-theft device will come in handy. Buy the lightest you can find since you are only trying to avoid some petty thief from making the most of an of an opportunity: riding off when your not looking. If you plan to leave your bike somewhere you feel you'll need more than the very basic, don't (though there are not many places along the Camino that qualify as "needing more than the very basic"). Just keep in mind that nothing that will keep a pro from taking your rig.

Bike emergency (tools and spares) - Back to top

I have no experience with disc brakes so the following does not include any specific suggestions for them. Worn pads could need changing if you run into bad weather so try to start the trip with a fresh or reasonably new set.

If you are traveling in a group, one set of tools among you is enough, just make sure you stay together or have some way of staying in touch at all times.

To take
Comments
Multi-function tool

Get one good multi-function bike tool like the Topeak Alien. If your bike is old or has unconventional fittings, test the tool to see what cannot be adjusted with the tool and take whatever extra you need in this department.

Brakes and racks are the most likely to need adjustment..

Small pair of pliers
If you snap any of the cables (brakes or gears) a small pair of pliers may come in handy. They are not indispensable but they will save you a lot of swearing.
Chain lubricant
Regardless of the weather if you are going to ride more than 3 o 4 days on dirt roads you are well advised to take along a small (the smallest available) bottle of chain lube.
Inner tube

Riding tubeless tires will save you this but instead you'll need a repair kit specifically for this type of rubber.

Riding "normal" tires you could get by with just the repair kit, but it is much faster to carry an extra inner tube, change it if you have a flat and repair it (or get a new one) when you arrive at your next rest point.

I had 2 flats in 800Km. Remember you are riding dirt roads most of the time so it is very likely you will get at leas on flat on the trip.

Tube / tire repair kit Just in case you get a second flat before you've had a chance to repair the first one, or get a new inner tube.
Air pump Small but good. Make sure you have tried it at least once before you go.
Chain pins They can save you "hours" when fixing a broken chain, specially if you don't repair bike chains for a living.
Tire levers Again, this is something you might be able to live without but they are so light (most are plastic) why risk it.
Brake inner cable

Even though it is very unlikely a brake cable will snap, taking one along could be the difference between walking and riding and they way virtually nothing. One ("universal") will do for either brake.

Gear inner cable Same as above.
Tie-wraps Assorted sizes... useful in assorted emergencies.

Personal hygiene - Back to top

To take
Comments
Comb or brush
Comb
Soap or shampoo
Small bottle or bar
Tooth brush
N/C
Tooth paste
N/C
Deodorant N/C
Disposable razor N/C
Body glide or vaseline

If you usually "grease up" for riding do so even more and if you usually don't I suggest you start. It will keep you saddle-sore free.

Try the high tech stuff like Bodyglide instead of vaseline. The first lasts much longer and is more effective.

Sunscreen Spain is famous for the Sun that shines there, even in the colder months.
Baby wipes Take the smallest pack you can get (they weigh a lot). You probably won't need many but they will come in handy whenever you want to clean body parts in the wilderness (i.e. hands for eating).
Paper napkins They serve the same purpose as above except they are dry... for some things "dry" might be more appropriate.

First aid - Back to top

To take
Comments
Pain-killer
Buy a couple of boxes of whatever you usually take. The first day you might even want to take some pain killers before going to bed even if you are still not in pain... you will be and taking them from the start helps reduce the discomfort level the following day.
Disinfectant
You'll be riding on dirt and often quite a distance away from a decent emergency center. Even small cuts and scrapes can get infected to the point of needing medical attention. Make sure you have something to disinfect wounds.
Assorted band-aid
Tape according to the size of the wounds.
Anti diarrhea
I didn't take any and didn't need them either, but some people are particularly vulnerable to changes in their diet. If your are one of those people...

Other accessories - Back to top

To take
Comments
ID

It should be obvious to most that carrying your passport or Spanish ID card (if you are a resident) is a good idea, more like indispensable.

Even so, I'll point out a few Spanish particularities that won't be so apparent to some.

Hotels are required by law to ask potential guests for an ID (with a picture). They won't check you in if you don't have one.

Except for restaurants, business are pretty strict about asking customers to show ID when paying with a credit card.

Like most countries with Roman Law (as opposed to Common Law) I think it is mandatory to have a valid (passport or Spanish ID card) ID on you at all times... I'm not 100% sure of this (I'll check it out and update accordingly). Having said this, it is very rare for police to ask for ID.

Money

Going "cheap" you will need more cash since "albergues" don't take credit cards nor do small businesses in towns. On the "low" end you won't need more than 20 euros a day.

If you stay at hotels, eat at restaurants in big towns (or cities) and buy other stuff at super-markets you practically won't need cash since you can pay almost everything on a credit card.

ATMs are available all over Spain so you'll be able to stop at one every day if you want.

Guide book

A good guide book is a must for: the maps, the description of the terrain, what to see, options of where to stay and general knowledge about the Camino and the places you will visit.

Pen & paper
In case you want to make notes
Calling card Cheaper than any other means of communication.

If you're going to stay at albergues - Back to top

You have to pack a few more things if you plan to stay at albergues. Albergues vary quite a bit in "quality" and what they offer. Some will loan you pillows others won't; some have a washer and a dryer available and some don't even have hot water.

In any case you can count on a minimum "extra" things you will need in all of them.

To take
Comments
Pilgrim's passport

To gain admittance to refugios (hospices) along the Way, you must present a credential to prove that you are hiking or biking the Way. Each day, as pilgrims pass through towns, they will receive one, sometimes two, stamps in the credential. This can be done at the pilgrim information center, at the refugio where you stay or even at some bars and restaurants. At the end of the journey, in Santiago at the Oficina de Acogida de Peregrinos, pilgrims present the stamped credential to confirm that they have hiked at least the last 100 kilometers or biked the last 200 kilometers of the Way, whereupon they receive a Compostela or Compostelana, proof of having made the pilgrimage.

The Pilgrim's Credential is best obtained in advance . However, you should be able to obtain one at one of the usual starting points (as I did), but depending on where you start, you may find out that things are not as organized as they could be in that regard.

You should get a Pilgrim Passport regardless of whether you'll stay in albergues or not. It's a unique souvenir of the trip.

Ear-plugs
Unless you can sleep through an earthquake the only way of getting any shuteye is blocking out the snores.
Flashlight
Lights out at 21:00 - 21:30 hours, so you'll need it to find your stuff.
Sleeping bag
No sheets. You will want to add a hiking mattress if you travel in the high season since you might end up sleeping on the floor.
Chamois Albergues don't provide towels. You can take your own but it will only be really dry the first day. After that it will be humid, heavy and inconvenient. Try the synthetic towels that are sold for swimmers.
"Shower" sandals N/C

Optional stuff - Back to top

To take
Comments
Mobile phone
Not a high priority, but if you have a GSM phone and can afford the rates, bring it along. Calling cards will be cheaper but a mobile can always help in a emergency.
Cycle computer
Useful to help pinpoint your location on the map and record stats during the trip.
HRM
Take it along if you normally wear it while you ride. Just make sure the sampling rate (if it's the kind that can record information) is the lowest allowable (once a minute on Polar S series) so you don't run out of memory before the end of the trip.
GPS

Nice toy for recording stuff on the trail but you won't need it. It's practically impossible to get lost. Planning your day will be easier if you know the distance you've traveled but that can be accomplished with simpler means such as a Cycle computer.

Sun glasses Do what you normally do when you ride.
Camera

Whatever suites your fancy. If it's digital just remember to take the charger or have fresh batteries on hand.

For those of you who are serious about picture taking there is a bit more info here.

Hat, cap or headsweat

I tend to stay out of the sun. And when riding my helmet seems to be enough protection. But a hat or cap can be almost indispensable in summer for any outdoor non-bike activities.

You might also want to take along a headsweat for protection against the cold or the sun while ridding

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