How to pack for the Camino de Santiago Portugues (Central Route) in November
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I read a lot of blogs, reviews, listings and one book about the Camino, and prepared or thought I was preparing for it for months. Even so, I found it amazing how much of what I brought I did not need, and how much I could’ve packed better.
So here is a comprehensive and detailed list of the things I consider to be MUST haves for this walk, specifically in November or the fall when the weather is cold and rainy.
To paint a picture, it was 7-15 Celsius our entire walk, with most days being overcast (which helped it not be so cold) and 6 days out of the 12 of solid rain ALL.DAY.
Please also note this is meant for the central Portuguese way, which differs largely from other caminos in terrain. (Those damned cobblestones)
1 pair of hiking boots/shoes or sneakers (I strongly recommend going one size up and getting boots for better ankle support) I have these, and it is pure love.
2 pairs of quick dry leggings (everything should be quick dry) I also recommend leggings with the pocket on the side for phones etc. It made a huge difference for me to be able to just pull my phone out on those rare non rainy days where I could put my phone in my leggings pocket)
3 pairs of merino wool socks (they dry quick, they’re super cushiony and comfortable and I recommend 3 instead of 2 because some days you won’t be able to do laundry and there’s nothing better than clean, warm socks after 5 hrs of cold, wet feet)
2 pairs of underwear ( I washed my underwear in every shower, put the other pair on, and dried them overnight on the heaters. Not much fabric to dry and saved me tons in buying expensive quick dry undies)
2 long sleeve shirts (you’ll want an extra one to wear when you arrive and all your stuff is wet)
2 t-shirts or tanks for layering/ wearing under/ sleeping
2 sports bras (if you can wear a regular bra on this walk you’re a savage and a stronger woman than I am and I could learn some things from you, let’s be friends!)
1 water proof jacket(😂). ( I bought an insulated Columbia jacket that I was told would work for snowboarding too (it’s true I used it to snowboard in the Alps) and it did wonders on this walk. Nothing will be completely waterproof with this much rain, but my jacket did the best of everyone that was with me on this walk.
1 amazing pack ( I am in love with my Osprey pack and it came with its own water proof cover ) If yours doesn’t have a waterproof cover, make sure you invest in one, you will need it.
1 canvas bag ( I folded mine very small inside my bag but it came in handy every time I had to purchase something or go around town… unless you want to carry your stuff in your hand or your big pack… this is a must! )
Bed bug spray (if you’re staying at hostels you don’t need this so much, but for albergues I would highly recommend them) I bought this eco friendly one!
Quick dry towel (again you don’t need this if you’re staying at hostels or hotels)
Sleeping sack (don’t need it if you stay at hostels or hotels)
Pilgrim passport: have this always handy ( I took mine out at least 2-4 times a day for stamps) but bring some kind of water proof cover for it ie. a ziploc bag so it doesn’t get wet ( my husband and cousin had to replace theirs after our first rain)
Sunglasses I can’t even make it on cloudy days without sunnies
HydroFlask water bottle Keeps everything either hot or cold for long periods of time, water fountains are plentiful along the way so you can refill your bottle. It’s also ideal for taking coffee or tea with you along the way.
Carabiners it was really useful for hanging my panties to dry on my pack while I walked- I know, shameless!!!
Moleskin I seldom use even bandages, I believe in fresh air and nature, but without moleskin I would’ve had a very miserable time.
Hanging Toiletries bag ( with all your essentials inside, this one was more than perfect for me as I was able to hang it while I showered in hostels and use everything inside without having to un pack and re-pack)
There’s nothing else I can think of that really merits adding extra weight to your load. I packed a few more things than this, and regretted it dearly.
Pack light my friends!
Can you think of any other essential I’m missing?