Going on a long trek? Here’s what to pack.
Did I mention I hiked the Camino de Santiago with G Adventures the other day? Oh, I did? Many times you say? Yeah, well I still can’t let it go. So I thought it might be useful to let you know what I packed incase you also fancy taking on a six-day trek through Spain (you should).
When you’re walking for hours each day you need to be comfy and though you’re not going to be doing anything too high-impact you’re still going to get sweaty – particularly when the sun’s out. I packed lots of sports shorts and tops – choose wicking fabric to keep you dry and stop your clothes getting sweat-logged and rubbing.
If you do tend to get a bit of rub – shorts and thighs can be an issue for some people – take Vaseline of Body Glide to reduce friction and apply in the morning so chaffing doesn’t even stand a chance. I usually wear Nike Tempo shorts because I find them comfy and not TOO short, they come in nice colours and have inner knickers so you don’t need to pack as many pairs of pants. I’m also a big fan of Gore RunningWear Sunlight shorts, although the choice of colours is limited they’re really high quality. They’re nice and loose and are the softest fabric EVER so less likely to rub..
Lightweight rain jacket
The thing with the weather in northern Spain is that it can be a more like the UK than it is on the Costas. On our first day we had a heavy rain shower for about half an hour so you want a waterproof layer that’s light and easy to pack, not too warm, and will keep you dry.
While lightweight and waterproof don’t often go together, the best I’ve found is this Gore-Tex Shakedry running jacket, I’m not being paid to promote Gore here by the way, but they did give me this jacket a while ago and it is THE best rain jacket I’ve ever had. It’s made with a specially designed laminate fabric that almost looks like leather and keeps you pretty much 100% dry, the rain just flies off. This kind of technology doesn’t come cheap though – £230 ouch. If you run or cycle in the UK regularly I’d say it’s definitely worth splashing out (geddit), if not, a standard light, showerproof layer should see you through. Make sure it’s got a hood – I’ve never understood why they make rain jackets without.
Yeah, it’s not high-impact exercise but boob sweat, chaffing, rubbing straps, no fun. Protect the girls, get the gear.
Trainers and hiking sandals
The terrain on the Camino is easy on the feet, gravelly paths, footpaths and in some cases tarmac roads, you’re not going to need any specialist footwear. Earlier or later in the year when it’s wet you’ll want hiking boots or trail running shoes but in the summer you can get away with trainers – something you’ve worn for longer bouts so you know they’re comfy and you’re not going to get blisters.
As it was summer and I hate having my feet enclosed all day, I also invested in probably the sexiest footwear I’ve ever owned. Hiking sandals. Yes, they’re yuck and they make you look like an RE teacher but it’s nice to give your feet a change to stop any blisters or aches, they have sturdy soles for trekking, straps to protect your ankles, you can walk through streams in them should you wish and having your toes out on a hot day is blissful. I got mine from The North Face because I bought them the day before we went and it was the only place that had my size (yes, I know I’ve just ignored my own make sure you’ve worn them loads advice) but a couple of the others had Tevas, which come in a wide range of styles and colourways.
For short runs and walks I use Tesco’s trainer socks as they’re lightweight and I hate anything too thick on my feet. Longer stuff though they’re pants as they soak up sweat, nice. Make sure you have decent socks that you’ve worn before and you know don’t give you blisters. I use Stance – because they’re slightly cushioned in all the right place and they make some cool patterns (yeah, I’m shallow).
Although I never needed to use them, blisters are an absolute fucker, go prepared.
We were lucky, as we went with G Adventures our main luggage was transported for us – some people hiked with everything on their back. You’ll want a day pack though to carry your essentials – water, money, layers etc. I used my running backpack an Osprey 9l. I do like an Osprey bag as they come in female-specific designs, which means if you’re smaller they don’t fall off your shoulders all the time and they’re not too long for your body, they also have hundreds of pockets which come in handy for spare loo roll, snacks, phones etc.
You’re going to need water. Lots of water. Think of the environment and take a metal water bottle, there are loads of fountains on route where you can fill up. Mine is a Hydro Flask, apparently it keeps your liquids hot or cold for up to 24 hours – I have never had anything in it for that long so I can’t tell you if that works but sure it does.
Like it’s not the first thing you think of! There are cafes along the way for lunch, coffee break etc but you’re probably not going to know when they’re coming up and you might not want to stop. Walking all day does burn up the calories pretty fast so you’re going to want to replace those energy stores.
You’d think there’d be loads of places selling sports nutrition but no, it was mainly crisps and Oreos (which of course are great too). Luckily I packed loads of Trek bars, Clif bars and dried fruit for a good mix of quick and slow release carbs.
And now for the best bit
This post is in collaboration with G Adventures, the small-group travel company I hiked the Camino de Santiago with. If you fancy going on an active trip yourself, they’re offering 15% discount on any adventures booked before 30 September 2017. Tres bien that innit? To book, click the link below or visit gadventures.co.uk