Deborah Collum shows us what gear she takes on her Camino walks through Spain.
In 2019, I walked two Caminos – the Frances across Spain to Santiago de Compostella, (779km) and the Jeju Olle in South Korea (425km). The Frances in April/May was very cold and by contrast the Jeju Olle in September with two typhoons was hot and humid. I loved the Frances, particularly the early mornings before too many pilgrims exited from their overnight accommodation. I was never lonely.
I could walk with others or not, choose to rest and enjoy a quiet cup of tea (from my Thermos) anywhere. The feeling of carrying all I needed on my back was very satisfying and life seemed so simple and uncomplicated.
Below are ten products I took on both long-distance walks.
Black Wolf B-Lite 55Lt pack I bought the lightest and most comfortable pack I could find. For carrying comfort on the trail, this pack has an air lite harness with vented foam straps and a padded waistbelt. Load all your gear into the top of the pack, and access the main compartment through the side zipper and stash a drink bottle or other items in the expanding side pockets. I've used this pack for six Caminos and it’s still going...
Oboz Sawtooth low waterproof shoes Women’s Oboz sizing did not go up to larger sizes so I had to purchase a men’s size 9 shoe for extra length for thicker socks and for extra toe room for downhill. This was an excellent shoe for me with my orthotics sliding in comfortably. The Oboz has a good tough sole and is quite a robust shoe for the Camino, also they are waterproof. I’m onto my third pair of these great shoes now and have worn Oboz boots on all of my Caminos.
Mox lightweight shoes Because I really travel light, I found weight to be an issue with sandals. They are just too heavy for the short amount of time I would have worn them. Instead I carried a pair of lightweight Mox shoes, which I used in the showers and to wear out at night.
Weight: 300gm (as opposed to around 650gm for sandals.)
Kathmandu Trailhead quick dry shirt This shirt has SPF factor which I like for hiking 6-7hr in the sun per day and it’s smart enough to wear out at night to cafes/restaurants. The Moisture Control System absorbs and wicks moisture away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable and the olygiene finish helps control odours so you can wash your top less often. Its lightweight features air vents to keep you cool all day. I only take two of everything – one I wear while the other is drying.
Sleeping Liners I’ve never found the need for a sleeping bag mainly because of the weight and bulk in my backpack. Instead I use a Sea to Summit Silk Liner and a Summit Thermolite Reactor Liner together. Together they weigh just under 400gm as opposed to 750g-1000g+ for a sleeping bag. Most Albergues have clean laundered blankets which were put on every bed and if there wasn’t one, I’d ask for one. And that would be enough for a good night's sleep.
Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor: $89.99/263gm
Sea to Summit Silk Liner (Std) / $119.99/130gm
Helinox Passport TL115 poles These poles have a maximum length of 115cm but collapsed to 35cm, fitting nicely into the supplied pouch and more importantly into my backpack. I love, love, love my trekking poles! Hint: tie some distinguishing ribbon or tape onto your poles (and boots). When on Camino you must leave your boots and poles at the door so it’s very handy to be able to distinguish your own from the many others all in a basket together.
RRP: $219 pair
Kathmandu Raven Headlamp It’s a very powerful LED headlight (200 lumens) with many lighting settings. It takes 3AAA batteries so no need to worry about finding somewhere to recharge it. Great for early morning exits from the Albergues or for reading in bed on Camino.
Osprey Hydraulics 3l bladder I have always used a water bladder as it’s easily accessible on my backpack and I can drink on the go. I also tend to sweat a lot so a 3lt water bladder plus my trusty tea Thermos (750ml) is enough fluid for me. This Osprey product is a really good one and easy to clean too.
Mountain Design Wayferer Gore-tex jacket This was invaluable on the Camino. My 3/4 length jacket is 9 years old now and still wind and waterproof. In April/May 2019 whilst on the Frances Camino, I experienced a lot of rain and very cold weather; it snowed a couple of days too but this jacket kept me both dry and warm. There are lighter weight Gore-tex jackets on the market now but until this one wears out (or I do) I won’t be replacing it for a while. Easy to sponge clean in the Albergues but as I wore it every day and every night out to dinner, I couldn’t wash it and be without it.
Kathmandu Aysen hiking trousers I carried two pairs of these full length quick dry trousers. They were very comfortable and easily laundered in the albergues. They also took a lot of rough wear climbing over rocks etc. And although they are expensive at about $159 a pair they do last for years.