Posts Tagged With: Camino gear

What I brought on the Camino

I’ve been home from Spain for a week, and my pack has been sitting at the end of the bed, half-unpacked.  Today I began to put it away in the garage.

Contents of October Camino 2.0

Contents of my pack for the October Camino 2.0

But wait! I know you’ve been dying to know what was in it. So I’ll give you a tour.

Osprey Kyte 36

Osprey Kyte 36

The pack is an Osprey Kyte Woman’s S/M, 36 liters. You can see my Pilgrim’s Shell and my patches for American Pilgrims on the Camino and the Pilgrim Network.

One of the most valuable features of the pack was its waterproof rain cover.  It’s integrated into the pack, and completely covers it, then stuffs back into its own compartment when not needed.  It’s something that I’d probably never use in California, but I used it a lot on the Camino.  Best of all, it kept the body of the pack very dry.

The straps did get wet.  But it was only on my last day when the rain was pouring for hours that the pack itself eventually got soaked.

REI Travel Sack Sleeping Bag

REI Travel Sack Sleeping Bag

My sleeping bag lived at the bottom of the pack.  It was one of the best items on board. I was really glad I had it towards the end of October, when the heat was not turned on in many places I stayed in Galicia.   It was also very comfortable when I was on the beginning of the Camino in June.  It weighs less than l lb.  BTW, it has arm holes so you can wear it around the house!

Keen Targhee Boots

Keen Targhee Boots

On one of my many trips to REI in September, I bought a new pair of boots.  Beware, you’re supposed to break in your boots over a course of months—but these Keen Targhee boots were the best—terrific toe room, and they were comfortable from day one.  I only got one itty bitty blister the first day out, and that was it.  To top it off, they’re waterproof!

Above the boots you can see my three pairs of Darn Tough wool socks from Vermont.  I decided to take three pairs so that I wouldn’t have to do as much laundry, and I was glad I did.  It felt luxurious.

Next to the boots are my Keen sandals.  I brought these in June, and they were fine in October, too.   Many people brought Crocs or flip-flops, which are a lot lighter, but I like my Keens, they protect my toes.

Patagonia Torrent Rain Shell and Decathelon Rain Pants

Patagonia Torrent Rain Shell and Decathalon Rain Pants

It rains a lot in Galicia, and I’m so glad I invested in some real rain gear.  The Patagonia Torrent rain shell kept me fairly dry even in the most wet conditions.  It was amazing!  The rain pants kept me dry, but didn’t breath as much.  Together with the rain cover on the pack, I felt confident walking in the rain.  And it turned out to be fun!

When I walked in June I expected to carry my pack every day.  Then I discovered Jacotrans, and other services that, for a small fee, will transport your pack to a destination you designate, farther along the Camino.

REI Flash 22 Daypack

REI Flash 22 Daypack

In October, I brought a small, lightweight daypack with me  so that I could use the transport service more easily. Even with the transport service, you want to carry your guidebook, water, and whatever else.  I liked how this pack had big cargo pockets on the side for my guidebook and water bottle.

With the wet weather, I ended up off-loading heavier items to the daypack, and carrying my Osprey pack because it had the rain cover.

In an case, I would recommend using the pack transport services.  There are days when the terrain is rough, or you just feel like having a lighter load.  For between 3 and 7 Euros a day, it’s a great deal!

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Here are my “Jesus poles.” I used these Black Diamond trekking poles everyday.  They were great for stability in muddy conditions, going uphill, and especially going downhill on rocks, and slippery terrain.  It took me awhile to realize that there is a left and a right pole, and there’s a correct way to use them.  The straps are there so you can put weight on the poles.

Jesus tape

Jesus tape

I’ll show you a close-up of the Jesus tape on them.  My colleague at Trinity, Menlo Park applied the Jesus tape, and I often thought of how Jesus really was walking with me every step of the way.

Trekking poles cannot go on board an airplane, and mine don’t collapse down to fit into the pack.  So I had to come up with a creative solution.

Lightweight Duffel Bag

Lightweight Duffel Bag

The night before I left, I went to Big 5 and bought this lightweight duffel bag. I checked the pack and the poles together in it.  I thought about mailing it to myself in Santiago, but ended up just carrying it the whole way. No big deal.

In June, I swore by my Camelbak type 2-liter water system.  Hydration is critical when you’re walking a half-marathon a day.

Platapus water bottle

Platapus water bottle

Goldhara McKay, a fellow pilgrim, recommended this kind of collapsible water bottle on the American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook page, and I decided to try it instead of the Camelbak type system.  I started out with two of them, but left one at the Molinaseca albergue—I hope someone is using it right now.  They’re terrific!  When empty, you can curl it up into a pocket, and it weighs nothing.

REI high fashion

REI high fashion

What to wear everywhere.  Who knew that REI was such a fashion house?

I wore these convertible grey pants from St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France, to Santiago de Compostela, and on to Madrid.  (In the evening I changed into the yoga pants.)

Add a black or vino tinto colored  T-shirt, a Merino wool half-zip, and a Buff or the Camino scarf, and you’ve got an outfit.

Was there anything I wish I’d left behind?  Yes, my zip lock bag of toiletries, which seemed to weigh a ton.  Somehow I collected full size containers of shampoo, toothpaste, and moisturizer, plus foot care supplies like foot cream and blister care items.

But I was glad I had my BB Cream, blush and lipstick to dress it up a bit each morning.

Buen Camino!

Categories: Camino, Camino de Santiago, Camino Logistics, Reflections, Return to Camino, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting Close

Today was rainy again. The online weather report said 50% chance of rain, and it would have been easy to write off the day for walking. But I’m on the home stretch and need to walk the last 100 kilometers to receive the official Credential.

So I wore the rain gear, and took it on and off about five times today,as needed.

Last night I thought I’d join a fun group I had dinner with and enter Santiago with them.

Today I felt like I need to go into Santiago alone. I’m sure I’ll see many people I’ve met, but I need to enter Santiago on my own time and be free to be a pilgrim on my own pilgrimage.

Today there were several 13th Century churches open. It was a welcome change from all the locked doors in Galicia.

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Categories: Camino de Santiago, October 2013, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

More Reflections on the Albergue

Sleeping in an Albergue is a lot like taking a long airplane ride. You’re on a shared journey in a confined space. Everyone arrives, gets settled, and has to arrange their stuff just so in the equivalent of the overhead bins: the limited floor space next to your bunk.

I always make kind of mess, emptying my entire backpack on the bed so I can sort through it. Other people seem to have more organized systems, but I do have a bag for dirty clothes, and one for clean stuff, then my zip locks with my jumble of toiletries.

In the Albergue, I always make sure I have my iPhone, glasses, and water bottle within reach from my bunk so I can find them in the middle of the night. I seek out bunks next to plugs so I can charge my iPhone while I sleep. The newer Albergues come with lots of plugs. Medieval buildings do not.

There’s usually a shelf for your boots, and a big container for your hiking poles. Some places are very explicit about food, blister repair, and boots in the dormitory, and that’s usually a good thing.

In the afternoon, lots of people partially unpack and take a nap after the many kilometers on the Camino. In bad weather, everyone’s stuff is spread out to dry.

Then there’s a surge out to eat or drink. Some albergues have fully stocked kitchens, and many Europeans buy groceries and cook. The kitchen is a good place to hang out, share some wine and talk.

Later, around 9:00, pilgrims start returning and by 10:00 everyone is settling in. The “big light” usually goes out at 10:30.

There are always a few snorers. I’ve learned to listen to music, and sometimes I take a Benadryl. For some reason, in October there aren’t as many snorers as when I was walking in June. There have been fewer symphonies and arias.

The morning begins early. Before daybreak, the early risers start packing up, their headlamps flashing. There’s an easy etiquette that we won’t stare when it’s time to change clothes.

Our shared sleeping experience is over, and it’s time to pack all our precious carry on items back up into our backpacks and make sure we know where our passport, iPhone, and wallet are. It’s time for desayuno and to walk.

I’m thankful for these nights of shared sleeping. They have refreshed my trust in others, and I wish that more Americans could experience the easy sense of shared privacy I’ve learned to enjoy.

Some nights I’ve had conversations with the person in the adjoining bunk—sometimes they’re men—but I feel very safe. This trip has allowed me to let go of defenses I didn’t realize I had constructed.

Categories: Camino, Conversations on the Camino, October 2013, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Well-packaged

Yesterday at the Madrid airport I had to encase my pack in plastic wrap so that I could check my trekking poles. I couldn’t carry them on board, and they didn’t fit inside.

The end result looks a lot like a Spanish ham, or Jamon!

Right now I’m savoring how, for once in my adult life, I travelled light.

I don’t want to “break the seal” quite yet, and unpack my Camino pack. I’m still coming in for landing back to my Bay Area life.

The process of unpacking the Camino experience will be ongoing, as life moves forward.

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Categories: Camino | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Pilgrim

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I’ve been lightening my pack all day, ounce by ounce. Sorry this had been such a theme the last couple of days, but I’m the girl who drives around with a car as my closet. I slung on the pack and walked through St Jean this afternoon, and saw this fine pilgrim. The medieval pilgrims traveled with a staff, a cloak, and a gourd for water. No high-tech fibers for them! But they walked the same streets of St.Jean, and the Camino. Tomorrow morning I’m off to Orisson, my first stop.

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Categories: June 2013, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Packing

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Will it all fit? This pack is too small! With the help of my intrepid (and ruthless) daughter Andrea, I am getting serious about packing. We got it down to 14 lbs without the 2 liter camelbak filled with water.

Categories: June 2013, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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