Planning to walk the Camino Frances during the warm summer months? Check out the essential summer packing list for the Camino Frances below to find the five most important items below! Click here to find general travel resources for women.
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Hiking Shoes/Boots and Sandals:
Tips in this section
- Select high-quality, lightweight and supportive shoes
- Size up your shoe a half size
- Pack sturdy walking sandals
Your shoes are 100% the most important gear that you’ll need for the Camino and they can make or break your walking experience. There are unlimited options out there from heavy duty hiking boots to ultra-light trail shoes.
While you’re choosing, remember that the Camino will take you through all types of terrain; from rocky mountain trails to cobblestone streets, and everything in between. Get a shoe that can cover all of these trails. And don’t forget to size up! You’ll want to order shoes 1/2 size larger than your regular shoe size, since your feet will swell while walking through the day.
My recommendation is to opt for a sturdier hiking shoe, like this one. These provided really great arch and ankle support (I have really unstable ankles), and waterproof coverage. The tread on the shoe was also really great and allowed me to get through the rockier portions of the Camino with ease!
You’ll also need a good pair of sandals post-hike. Although you can bring some simple flip-flops, I recommend bringing along some strappy walking sandals like Tevas or Keens. Likely not the chicest shoe you’ll own, but they feel so comfy and amazing at the end of a long day walking. Also, sandals are required in albergues so that you don’t track the Camino throughout the hostel.
Funnily enough, I saw many pilgrims hiking the Camino Frances in the summer exclusively in sandals! While I tried it once, I definitely preferred my boots for the daily walk. Toe each their own… (I couldn’t resist)
Tips in this section
- Select a comfortable and light bag
- Remember the 10% rule
- Choose function over feature
The top things to keep in mind when choosing the backpack are comfort, convenience and amount of storage. You’re gonna take this thing everywhere with you, so make sure you get the right fit.
The backpack you choose will be your constant companion throughout the journey. It’s recommended that the entire backpack (including your gear and water) should weigh more than 10 – 12% of your body weight, so I recommend you choose a pack that has a lighter structure. Additionally, choose one that sits comfortably on your back and distributes the weight evenly.
I was a lucky pilgrim and was loaned a Gregory Amber 34L Backpack that was a perfect fit for me! This backpack allowed me to fit all my gear: It stretched when I needed to cram more stuff, but it never lost its structure. I actually grew pretty attached to it, as it felt like my travel buddy along the Way.
Each backpack will also come with slightly different features such as pockets and compartments. For example, you may want to decide on using a water bottle vs. water bladder upfront. Those who opt for the water bladder (CamelBack) tend to favor the convenience of the straw, while others (like me) prefer to keep simple water bottles in the side pockets of the backpack. These features might normally go unnoticed, but will definitely be more apparent as you are walking long distances that require you to get in your bag daily.
Tip: If in doubt, choose a small(er), light and comfortable backpack!
Tips in this section
- Decide between sleeping bag or liner
- Select a lightweight bag
- Choose according to your preference for warmth
The weather on the Camino varies according to the time of year. No matter which month you complete the Camino, you should bring either a sleeping bag liner or a sleeping bag on the trip.
Most pilgrims I observed brought a lightweight sleeping bag with them. However, during the warmer summer months, it might be better to bring a sleeping bag liner.
While most albergues and hostels are clean (and some even provide bedding!), it’s always best to come prepared with your own sleeping gear. Besides, it’s much easier to rest assured knowing that your bedding is your own and is up to your hygiene standards.
I personally chose to pack a sleeping bag liner and loved it. Luckily, I had warm weather the entire time, so just enough to keep me warm (and it was extremely light and tiny once packed in its carrying case). On a couple cooler nights where I needed a little more warmth, I’d borrow a blanket from the albergue. As the pilgrims say, the Camino provides.
Tip: If in doubt, think about how you prefer to sleep. If you prefer to sleep in the cool, opt for a liner. If you prefer more coverage, go for the sleeping bag.
Clothes and Toiletries:
Tips in this section
- Packing the right essentials
- Bring lightweight and quickdry clothing for the summer months
- Opt for Merino wool
My original hunch was to *slightly* overpack for the Camino Frances. Thankfully, I soon realized that I’d want as light of a pack as possible and decided to leave the extra outfits (and cuter shoe options) at home.
Clothes are probably the easiest part to pack for summer on the Camino Frances. Expect it to be temperate weather, so no need to bring heavy jackets or pants. On the off chance you do have cooler mornings, the list below will help you layer so that you’re never too cold.
I recommend packing the following clothes:
- 2 short sleeve workout shirts
- 1 long sleeve workout shirt
- 2 pairs of hiking pants
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 romper or dress (mine doubled as pajamas)
- 1 light sweater or hoodie
- 1 rain jacket
- 1 scarf
- 1 brimmed hat/ baseball cap
- 3 pairs of Merino wool underwear
- 3 pairs of Merino wool socks
- 2 sports bras
I opted to bring QuickDry workout shirts and pants like those linked above. These worked well, since I washed clothes nightly and they only had a few hours to dry. Of course, washers and dryers are available at most albergues, but tend to get expensive after a while.
I also highly recommend bringing a scarf as an extra layer (as a plus it can serve as heat/wind protection or it can cover your shoulders if you go into the religious sites). I’d also bring a light sweater and a light down jacket just in case it gets chilly. Some people bring a raincoat but I’d advise against the extra weight, especially during the warmer months.
If there is one thing you keep from this list it’s this: invest in Merino Wool socks and undergarments. They are a little pricey, but you’ll be so glad you did! I did not get a single blister on the Camino Frances, and I credit it solely to these socks – they are so breathable and comfy.
Tip: If in doubt, do a practice hike with your fully packed bag. Understanding the weight of your belongings will help you decide what you truly want to bring and what can stay.
Tip: Remember to pack your clothes into dry sacks. These bags help keep your clothes organized and dry in your pack.
Towel and Toiletries:
Trust me when I say, bring an ultralight camping towel like this. Avoid making the same mistake that I did: the towel I brought was too heavy and took too long to dry, so I had to ditch it.
I wouldn’t worry too much about packing toiletries on the Camino Frances. As the most popular Camino route, you’ll (usually) be in or near towns that have stores to replenish the basics. That said, if you’re like me and have specific medications or products that you need (or also splurge and carry curly haircare products), then I’d recommend bringing enough for you to last the journey. Just remember that you’ll be carrying it with you the entire time, and every. ounce. adds. up.
Although this guide covers the most important gear to pack, you’ll definitely be bringing more incidentals along. And that’s okay! Each pilgrim’s pack will be a little different according to them. Some pilgrims prefer to bring books or tablets along, while others are extremely minimalist and travel with even fewer gear than listed above. The most important thing is to prepare in a way where you’re comfortable and safe with your pack.
Personally, I felt that it was truly liberating to bring the essentials with me on a three week trip, and I was amazed that everything could fit in a 34L backpack!
There will also be plenty of opportunities to adjust your pack on the Camino. For example, my gear ended up weighing too much, so I l replaced my towel for a lighter one, and I let go of my guidebook because they were too heavy. Later on, I ended up carrying KT tape and muscle gel to soothe my legs.
At the end of the day, you carry what you need and let go of the rest. Narrow down your pack to the essential belongings and find gear that fits best for your body. If you’re ever in need along the way, don’t worry. The Camino provides and you’ll find what you’re looking for.