The Ultimate Backpacking Packing List

Few types of travel push you to flex your logistics muscles quite like backpacking. Trekking the Camino de Santiago is no exception. This famed pilgrimage (which, I must point out, served as the jump off point for this very website) takes an average of a month if you decide to endure the ‘original’ route in its entirety, known as the Camino Frances, down to just a few days if you opt to join in at the tail end. Sure you’ll be staying in hostels (or albergues) along the way, or staying in a tent if you’re truly adventurous, but what you take in your pack is just as important as where you lay your head at night. In undertaking the Camino, I learned that less is more when it comes to packing your bag. In all, my backpack came in weighing at just under 9 lbs. and earned me the nickname ‘Mary Poppins’ since I managed to have the smallest backpack of anyone I met, yet carried more essentials than the others. What I’m basically saying is: I know a thing or two about backpacking, and I want to teach you how to pack only what you need, so you don't end up weighing yourself down with unnecessary wares and exhausting yourself in the process.

Here’s what to pack for the Camino de Santiago, or any other backpacking journey, without forgetting a thing:



  • Start with a Backpack (they usually come with a bonus rain cover stashed in a secret compartment)

  • Boots

  • Sandals/Flip Flops

  • Rain Jacket

  • Front Zip Sweatshirt

  • Long exercise tights

  • Hiking pants (that can convert to shorts)

  • Moisture wicking workout top x2

  • Sports bra x2

  • Underwear x3

  • Socks x 2

  • Sock liner

  • Shorts

  • T-shirt (for sleeping)

  • Long cotton dress (for outing)

  • Microfiber towel

  • Cleansing cloths (AKA baby wipes)

  • 2 Headbands and hair ties

  • LED Headlamp

  • Eucalyptus soap in plastic loofah (great for laundry too)

  • Moisturizer with SPF 30

  • Contact Lens Solution and case

  • Baby Powder

  • Ear Plugs

  • Deodorant

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste

  • Hair Conditioner

  • Small hair brush

  • Coconut oil (in plastic travel container)

  • Mini sewing kit

  • Mini first aid kit

  • Blister bandages

  • Gel tube bandages

  • Tiger balm

  • Camping tool with built in fork and corkscrew (you may not make it past TSA with this one...I did)

  • Collapsible water bottle

  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet

  • Phone charger and phone adapter

  • Phone and camera

Here’s how all that looked once packed:

backpack and hiking boots


There are some things that you personally may not need (here’s looking at those of you who have no need for sports bras or hair ties) and certain items such as bandages and toiletries can be purchased once you arrive at your starting point. But given that this is what was in my pack to start with, I only needed to purchase a few more bandages and ibuprofen cream part way through my journey. One thing that I did not take with me that I will be sure to carry on future hikes were walking sticks. They may look like an unnecessary luxury, but after having walked 20+ kilometers and borrowing a pair from my friend, I can attest that they make a world of difference by taking some pressure off your feet during long treks!

Let us know in the comments if you have any additional backpacking tips or if there is an item not on the list that you just can’t live without!