Ultralight camino packing list for hiking

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This tailored guide provided by a French thru-hiker that will walk you through the must-have items that balance minimalism with practicality, ensuring your journey is both manageable and memorable. This list is for both the PCT in the USA and Camino in Spain.

The author reports her pack is between 4-6 kg for both summer and winter. That’s 8.8 lbs to 13.2 lbs.

She was inspired by this book: 👉 Trail Life: Ray Jardine’s Lightweight Backpacking.

What is on a an Ultralight Camino Packing List?

Equipment

When you’re setting out on a long-distance hike, the right equipment can make all the difference. It’s essential to be prepared for anything the trail might throw at you. Here’s what you’ll need to bring along to ensure your hike is a success:

  • Duct Tape: Wrap this around your stick for easy carrying. It’s a versatile tool for repairing clothing, tent canvas, and even light bulbs.
  • Collapsible Trekking Poles: A must-have for stability and support on uneven terrains.
  • Survival Blanket: This lightweight item can be a lifesaver in emergency situations.
  • Bandana/Towel: Handy for a multitude of uses, from a sweat rag to an emergency bandage.
  • Microspikes: These provide grip on tricky surfaces.
  • Opinel Knife: Ensure the blade is less than 6 cm if you’re flying to your hiking destination. Don’t forget a spoon for your meals.
  • Storage Bags: A few Ziploc bags and trash bags will help keep your gear dry and leave no trace.
  • Bowl with Lid: Opt for something like Tupperware to store your food securely.
  • String and Safety Pins: Bring 3 meters of string and a few safety pins for makeshift repairs.
  • Sewing Kit: A needle and strong black thread can repair a surprising amount of gear issues.

Clothing

When it comes to clothing, you want to prioritize functionality and comfort. Black clothing is a good choice as it’s less prone to show dirt and can be more versatile. Here’s what to wear and pack:

  • On You: A comfortable bra, panties, socks, a long-sleeved shirt or fiber t-shirt, men’s long pants with cargo pockets for extra storage, light gaiters, and trail shoes sized up 1.5 from your normal size for comfort.
  • In Your Bag: A windproof jacket, a rain cape or umbrella (whichever you prefer), a fleece, underpants, and a top for evenings and nights. These can double as daytime wear if it’s cold. Also, pack an extra pair of pants and socks, a down jacket, gloves, and hat for warmth.

Tech

Staying connected and safe is important, even on the most remote trails. Here’s the tech gear you should have:

  • Smartphone: Loaded with music, podcasts, and two essential apps: Komoot or Maps.me for navigation, replacing the need for a topo guide and maps, and Strava to track your mileage and elevation gain.
  • Battery Charger: To keep your devices powered up.
  • Adapter: A multiple socket adapter and a socket adapter depending on the country you’re in.
  • Sunglasses and Headwear: Protect your eyes and face from the sun with sunglasses and choose between a bucket hat or sunhat.

Personal Items

Personal items are often what make a long hike bearable. They’re the little comforts and necessities that you shouldn’t overlook:

  • Toiletry Kit: Include a piece of soap, a comb, nail clippers or scissors, deodorant (Etiaxyl recommended), a toothbrush (you can skip the toothpaste), creams for your skin and lips, and sunscreen.
  • Earplugs and Eye Patch: For those nights when you need to block out the world and get some rest.
  • Toilet Paper Alternative: Embrace the “leave no trace” principle by using leaves, moss, stones, or in a pinch, your bandana.

Pharmacy

A well-stocked pharmacy kit is a hiker’s best friend. Here’s what you should have on hand:

  • Pain Reliever: Ibuprofen for those aches and pains.
  • Compeed and Sparadra: For blister prevention and care.
  • Locoid: For treating various bites.
  • Essential Documents: Always carry your ID, health insurance, and payment cards in a waterproof compression bag inside your backpack.

Special Conditions

For those hikes that come with extra challenges, like mountain nights or complete autonomy, consider these additions:

  • Sleeping Gear: A thermolite bag or light sleeping bag for refuge or bivouac nights.
  • Climbing Harness: Necessary for areas like the Dolomites if you want to do Via Ferrata.
  • Camping Equipment: If you’re going self-sufficient, bring a Terra Nova laser tent (900g) and groundsheet (100g), along with a Thermarest NeoAir Xlite mattress (340g).

Remember, preparation is key for enjoying and staying safe on your long-distance hikes. Pack smart, and you’re ready to hit the trails!

Tips on Cleaning Your Pack

How to Clean Your Backpack [by Brand]

Detailed Guides on How to Clean According to the Manufacturer

BrandEXACTLY HOW TO CLEAN
The North Face How to Clean a Northface Backpack
Fjällräven KankenHow to Clean a Kanken Backpack
OspreyHow To Clean an Osprey Backpack
DeuterHow to Clean a Deuter Backpack
HerschelHow to Clean a Herschel Backpack
NikeHow to Clean a Nike Backpack
CanvasHow to Clean a Canvas Backpack
Vera BradleyHow to Clean a Vera Bradley Backpack
Jack WolfskinHow to Clean a Jack Wolfskin Backpack
JansportHow to Clean a Jansport Backpack

Final Verdict

An ultralight Camino packing list is your ticket to a more enjoyable and less burdensome journey. Stick to lightweight, multipurpose gear, and remember that the Camino is as much about the spiritual journey as the physical one; pack light to make room for the experiences and personal growth that await.

Buying Guide

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Peace of Mind
Global Rescue & Travel Insurance

Global Rescue & Travel Insurance

  • Field rescue & medical evacuation
  • Medical advisory & intelligence
  • Destination reports & alerts
Check Prices
Read More Details
Best Hut to Hut Backpack
Mammut Ducan 30

Mammut Ducan 30

  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic hip and shoulder straps
  • Integrated rain cover and trekking pole straps
Check Prices
Best Traction Hiking Shoe
La Sportiva Trail Running Shoes

La Sportiva Trail Running Shoes

  • Rock plate
  • Moderate cushion
  • Excellent traction
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Award Winning Hiking Boot
Lowa Renegade GTX Hiking Boot

Lowa Renegade GTX Hiking Boot

  • Lightweight
  • Goretex Waterproof
  • Sturdy

 

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Quick Dry Hiking Pants
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants

The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants

  • Flash dry fabric
  • Inner zipper pocket
  • Lightweight
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Best Odor Control Shirt
Icebreaker Merino Hiking Shirt

Icebreaker Merino Hiking Shirt

  • Seams avoid backpack straps
  • Merino Wool
  • Lightweight
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Best to Prevent Blisters
Darn Tough Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

Darn Tough Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

  • High performance
  • Durable
  • Lifetime Warranty
Check Prices
Best Lightweight Jacket
Patagonia R1 Zip Neck Fleece

Patagonia R1 Zip Neck Fleece

  • Quick drying
  • 100% recycled
  • Warm
Check Prices
Most Versatile Raincoat
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rainjacket

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rainjacket

  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • 100% recycled
Check Prices

Frequently Asked Questions About Ultralight Camino Packing List

What should I include in my ultralight Camino packing list?
Your ultralight Camino packing list should focus on the essentials to keep your backpack light. This includes lightweight and multipurpose gear such as a sturdy but light backpack, a compact sleeping bag or sleep liner, versatile clothing suitable for layering, necessary toiletries, and essential electronics like a smartphone with GPS capabilities.

How do I choose the best clothing for an ultralight Camino hike?
Select clothing that is breathable, quick-drying, and able to be worn in multiple layers to adapt to changing weather conditions. Opt for synthetic or merino wool fabrics that can wick moisture away from the body. Include a lightweight rain jacket and consider the versatility and packability of each clothing item.

Can I bring tech gadgets on an ultralight Camino hike?
Yes, you can bring tech gadgets, but choose them wisely. A smartphone with a good camera can double as a navigation device and entertainment source, eliminating the need for multiple devices. A lightweight power bank is also essential to keep your devices charged.

What are the essential personal items for an ultralight Camino packing list?
Essential personal items include travel-sized hygiene products, a first-aid kit, sun protection, a hat or cap, and a pair of good-quality sunglasses. Also, consider bringing a quick-dry towel, earplugs, and an eye mask to help you sleep in communal lodgings.

How can I maintain an ultralight pack while ensuring I have all I need?
To maintain an ultralight pack, scrutinize each item for its weight and necessity. Limit yourself to the absolute essentials and select items that serve multiple purposes. Always ask yourself if an item is essential for your safety and comfort, or if it’s something you can do without.

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I hope this article on the ultralight camino packing list helps you plan your next long distance hike like the Camino, PCT and more.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.