Female pilgrim walking the Camino de Santiago into Viana do Castelo

Complete Camino de Santiago Packing List for Women (2024)

This post was last updated on 12/22/2023.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. There’s no extra cost for you, and I only recommend products and companies I use. Learn more.

Carrying everything on your back for 15 to 30+ km isn’t something you do every day. But walking the Camino de Santiago, that becomes your every day. The only way to make it through this physical challenge is to be smart about what you pack.

This Camino de Santiago packing list for females is best suited for warm weather. If you’re walking the Camino between May and September, you can follow this list as is. If you’re walking the Camino during the winter or early spring, pay attention to the notes I’ve included below on how to modify this list.

Packing tips

Pack light: The general rule of thumb is your pack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of your body weight. Some people are okay with carrying 15%. I overpacked and was carrying around 18% of my body weight. I own that decision since I was also traveling for seven months. But just because I did it, doesn’t mean you should. It’s better to underpack than overpack. Your shoulders and back will thank you for it. If you’re having a difficult time getting the weight of your backpack down to something that’s comfortable, you can shed things as you walk along the Camino. Anything that you end up not using and are willing to leave behind, you can donate to an albergue. There are also luggage transfer services like El Camino con Correos and Caminofácil, if you find yourself struggling with weight.

If you forget something, you can buy it when you arrive or along the way: Don’t stress out if you realize you missed something from this list. No matter which Camino route you do, you’ll land in a major city where you can pick up last-minute items. Every route also passes through a few major cities where you can stock up on anything you’ve run out of that you can’t find in smaller towns. Your last option, should you need it, is to ask other pilgrims. The communal aspect of the Camino brings people from all over the world together, and you’ll find that many of them will help when you need it.

Prioritize comfort over looks: No one cares what you look like, and what you wear definitely won’t be the most memorable part of your Camino. You’re walking for five to eight hours every day, so do whatever it takes to make it as comfortable and pleasant as you can.

Choose a 40L backpack or smaller: A 40 liter backpack will have more than enough room to hold everything you need. The smaller your backpack is, the less likely you’ll bring unnecessary items. So if a 30 or 35L pack works for you, don’t be tempted to choose a larger backpack. If you’re walking the Camino in the colder months, you might need to size up by 5 liters or a bit more. I used the Osprey Women’s Fairview 40 Travel Backpack and it was perfect. The clamshell opening made it really easy to pack and unpack, the compression straps were effective, and the straps and hip belt were comfortable.

Embrace the minimalist mindset: The Camino forces you to think about what’s essential. Do you really need that extra piece of clothing or is it just a nice to have? It’s a great exercise that’ll show you actually need much less than you think. There’s also something extremely freeing about having everything you need and nothing more, so lean into that. After the Camino, you might even be inspired to declutter and simplify your life.

Clothing

Four t-shirts, one tank top, two zip-up jackets, and a packable rain jacket flat lay on a wooden floor
  • 3 tops – You want to have two tops that you’ll wear when walking and one top to change into after you’ve showered. I took one tank and three short-sleeve shirts. I thought having the tank top would be great for really hot days, but I ended up rarely ever wearing it. I preferred to have my shoulders covered against the sun, and I noticed that my backpack straps would rub against my bare shoulders.
  • 2 sports bras
  • 3 pairs of underwear – I’m a fan of ExOfficio’s Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs. Although they’re pricey, they’re lightweight, pack down small, and dry fast.
  • 3 pairs of socks – I tried out Injinji toe socks for the first time on the Camino and recommend them for preventing blisters between the toes. I had one pair of the Women’s Ultra Run No-Show and one pair of the Run Original Weight No-Show. I prefer the Run Original Weight because the sock is a bit thicker. It provides a bit more cushioning, which prevents my heel from rubbing against the shoe. Even though I’d absolutely use toe socks for future Caminos, they weren’t perfect. I did get three small blisters on my heel. They were easy to manage though – I just put a bandaid over them.
  • 3 shorts or pants – I overpacked when it came to bottoms. I brought two pairs of running shorts, a pair of denim shorts, three-quarter leggings, and skinny jeans when I walked the Camino in September. I didn’t wear my skinny jeans and barely wore my leggings. I realized my legs didn’t mind being in shorts during the colder mornings and evenings. If your legs get cold easily though, three-quarter or full-length leggings would be a great option. Whatever you decide to bring, make sure one of your bottoms is something comfortable that you can lounge around in once you’re done walking for the day.
  • Hat – I’m a fan of running caps, since they’re lightweight, can be washed, and dry fast. An alternative is a sun hat with a brim that goes all the way around.
  • Hoodie or sweater – You want to have a comfortable second layer for hanging out in the evenings. Unlike the outerwear I’ve listed below, this should be only worn once you’re clean.
  • Outerwear – It’s often chilly in the morning, so you’ll need a second layer if you start walking early. I recommend either a windbreaker or a fleece zip-up. It also comes in handy when you’re battling strong winds along the coast, like on the Camino Portugués coastal route.
  • Flip flops or sandals – Trust me, you’ll want to air out your feet at the end of each day. Plus, you need something to wear in the shower.
  • Walking shoes – Hiking boots and trail runners are the most popular choices. Depending on which Camino you do, hiking boots might be overkill. So research what kind of terrain to expect on your route before choosing your footwear. I walked the Camino Portugués, which is mostly flat and made up of paved roads, cobblestones, and dirt trails. I brought two pairs of ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes so I could switch between them every day, and they worked out perfectly. They’re my go-to running shoe so I knew they’d be comfortable, fit my feet perfectly, and provide the cushioning I’d need.
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain jacket or poncho – Either a quality rain jacket or poncho is a must. My Columbia Women’s Switchback II Jacket works well in light rain, but didn’t hold up when I ran into a few days of heavy rain on the Camino Portugués. Luckily, I was able to find a poncho in town, and that saved me and my bag from getting soaked. Not sure whether your rain jacket will weather all-day rain storms? Pack both a jacket and poncho then.
  • Buff (optional) – One of the most unexpectedly useful item I brought was my buff. I wore it around my neck every day to protect the back of my neck from getting sunburnt. Buffs are really handy since they can also be used as an eye mask, head band, and neck warmer.
  • Pajamas (optional) – I brought a pair of shorts and a t-shirt as my pajamas, but only wore them a few times. Many pilgrims sleep in what they’ll wear the next day, which is what I ended up doing. When you don’t need to change in the morning, you can get out the door faster and it’s one less thing you need to pack.

Clothing modifications for the winter

If you’re walking during the winter or colder months, you’ll need to bring some additional clothing:

The best type of clothing for the Camino de Santiago

When choosing your clothes for the Camino, pay attention to the material. You want quick drying and moisture-wicking clothing. These are typically made from merino wool and synthetics like polyester and nylon. In the summer, choose clothes that are breathable and will keep you cool. And in the winter and cooler months, choose clothes that will keep you warm while being breathable.

Pockets are a must too. The more pockets, the more things you can stash away within easy reach. Look for pants, tights, shorts, and outerwear with plenty of pockets for storing your phone, wallet, and snacks.

Toiletries

  • Travel size bottles – Decant all your liquids into travel size bottles that are 3.4 oz/100 ml or less. You should absolutely not bring full-size bottles with you.
  • Toiletry bag – Store all your toiletries in a water-resistant bag that can be hung from a hook or door. I love this Wayfarer Supply Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag that I’ve been using for four years. It easily holds all my toiletries, has lots of compartments for organization, and has a sturdy hook.
  • Body wash or soap
  • Shampoo – Instead of a small bottle of liquid shampoo, I recommend taking a bar instead. Shampoo bars weigh less and last longer. Lush has a variety of shampoo bars so you’ll be able to find something for your hair and scalp type. I used their Jumping Juniper shampoo bar, which is great for oily hair.
  • Conditioner – Some people can go without conditioner. I’m not one of them. But if that’s you, skip it so you can cut down on the weight of your bag.
  • Face wash – If you’re able to use your body wash for your face, this is another area where you can minimize what you pack.
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair ties and clips
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Laundry soap – Some albergues will have soap that you can use, but not all of them do. It’s best to carry either a bar of soap or liquid soap for all the handwashing you’ll do every day.
  • Quick dry towel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Vaseline – Vaseline is the perfect multi-purpose item for keeping your lips moisturized and preventing blisters and chafing. Some pilgrims slather their feet before putting socks on and swear it’s the best solution for having a blister-free Camino.
  • Feminine pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup
  • Razor
  • Nail clippers

Tips for cutting down your toiletries

Get multi-purpose products: There’s a few places where you can combine multiple products into one to save space and weight. Instead of having separate shampoo and conditioner, get a 2-in-1. You can also combine body wash, face wash, and laundry soap with something like Campsuds, a concentrated all-purpose soap. I used it on my Camino as body wash and laundry soap, and I loved that a little bit of it goes a long way.

Swap liquids for solids: Liquid toiletries weigh more and get used faster than solids. After a month on the Camino and washing my hair twice a week, I had barely made a dent in the shampoo bar I bought.

Electronics

  • Headlamp and batteries – If you plan on walking early in the morning before the sun is up, using a headlamp is more convenient than the flashlight on your phone. But if you’re a late riser and won’t start your walk until there’s some sunlight, then leave the headlamp at home. In a pinch, you can always use your phone.
  • Phone and charging cable – If you don’t have an international plan, you’ll need to choose whether to get an eSIM or a physical SIM card. The benefit of using an eSIM is you can keep your current SIM card in your phone (and won’t risk losing it) and some eSIMs provide coverage across multiple countries. If you’re doing either the Camino Frances or Camino Portugués, you can get a Europe eSIM so you won’t lose cell service when you cross into Spain. I recommend Airalo, which offers eSIMs for over 200 countries and is easy to set up. The downside is you’ll only get data – you won’t be able to call or text. If you prefer a physical SIM card, make sure you have an unlocked phone. Once you arrive, you can pick up a SIM at the airport or at any telecom store in town.
  • Portable battery charger – You’re going to be spending long days on the road, using your phone to take photos, play music, or help you navigate. Carrying a portable battery charger is a must so you won’t have to worry about your phone running out of power. Anker is my go-to for portable chargers. The Anker PowerCore 10000 is the size of a deck of cards and can charge your phone two to three times.
  • Headphones
  • Travel adapter – The EU uses plug types C and F, which have two round pins. If you’re from a country that uses a different plug type, you’ll need to bring a travel adapter. I’ve used this worldwide all-in-one universal travel adapter since 2017 and it hasn’t failed me yet.
  • Smartwatch or fitness tracker (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Tablet or e-reader (optional)

Important documents

Passport, Camino de Santiago pilgrim credential, and Buen Camino app flatlay on a wood floor
  • Passport
  • Pilgrim credential – If you’ve ordered your pilgrim passport ahead of time, don’t forget to pack it. Otherwise, you can buy your pilgrim credential at the starting point of your Camino. To stay in public albergues, you’ll need to show your credential. You’ll also need to collect two stamps each day for the last 100 km before reaching Santiago de Compostela if you want the certificate of completion.
  • Camino mobile app or guidebook – A lot of pilgrims prefer to have a guidebook, but it adds some weight to your pack. While you can rip out pages as you go to lessen your load, I prefer using my phone to guide me. The best Camino de Santiago mobile apps are Camino Ninja and Buen Camino (Android and iOS).

Miscellaneous

  • Wallet – Don’t forget you’ll need a debit card for taking out cash. Public albergues and places in small towns usually only deal in cash.
  • Sleeping bag liner or sleeping bag – Public albergues are the cheapest type of accommodation on the Camino, but they also provide the bare minimum. You’ll get a disposable flat sheet and pillowcase, so you’ll need to bring either a sleeping bag liner or sleeping bag. In the summer, all you need is a liner. You can always layer up on clothes if you get a bit chilly at night. If you’re doing the Camino in the winter, bring a sleeping bag.
  • Ear plugs – Unless you plan on staying in private rooms the entire time, there’s a high chance you’ll have a snorer in your room. Find yourself a good set of ear plugs because getting enough sleep on the Camino is very important.
  • Reusable water bottle – Tap water is generally drinkable wherever you are on the Camino. You can fill up at the albergues, cafés, and restaurants. I recommend carrying at least 2 liters of water on you at all times. That amount should get you through hot days and long stretches without rest stops. If walking the Camino is part of a larger trip you’re doing, a collapsible water bottle like this one packs down very small when you don’t need it. When I did the Camino as part of my 7.5-month travels, I carried a plastic reusable bottle and a collapsible 2 liter one.
  • Packing cubes – Even though you’re not carrying a lot of things, packing cubes make a big difference. By keeping everything organized in your backpack, you’ll be able to quickly pack and unpack every day. I’ve been using the Amazon Basics 4 Piece Packing Travel Organizer Cubes Set since 2016, and they’re still going strong. They hold a lot, and I like how each cube has a handle so you can easily pull it out of your bag.
  • Rain cover for your backpack
  • Small shoulder bag, tote, or waistpack – Unless you plan on stuffing your wallet, passport, and phone into your pockets, you’ll want to have a small bag that you can put your stuff in when you go out in the evening.
  • Small first aid kit – Even small towns will have a pharmacy where you can get supplies, but it’s better to be prepared.
  • Carabiners or safety pins – It’s handy to be able to hang things off your backpack, like a water bottle or clothes that didn’t dry overnight.
  • Travel size pack of tissues – They also double as toilet paper in case you need it – just remember to not flush it!
  • A small rock or item to place on the Camino – One of the customs of the Camino de Santiago is to bring a rock from where you live and place it on the Camino. The rock represents your sins or burdens. By leaving it on your pilgrimage, you’re leaving those burdens, and the emotions associated with them, that you’ve been carrying behind. On the Camino Frances, pilgrims typically place their rocks at the Cruz de Ferro. That doesn’t mean you have to though. Place your rock wherever it feels right. On other routes, you’ll see rock piles in many different places. If this tradition doesn’t speak to you, there’s also no pressure to participate (I didn’t when I walked the Camino Portugués).
  • Ziplock bags or reusable silicone storage bags – Use them to keep your important documents dry and save leftover food. Bring a few and you’ll find a way to use them.
  • Hiking poles (optional) – Hiking poles are more helpful on some Camino routes than others. For example, the Camino del Norte is one of the more challenging routes because of its ups and downs. A hiking pole will help you manage the mountains and steep descents. To decide whether you should bring hiking poles, look at the elevation profile of your route and ask yourself whether you typically hike with poles. For the Camino Portugués, I didn’t use hiking poles.
  • Compeed (optional) – If you’re prone to blisters, Compeed is the best for taking care of them.
  • Eye mask (optional) – I didn’t find an eye mask necessary since lights are usually out by 9 or 10 PM in the albergues. If you decide to bring a buff, you can also use it as an eye mask.
  • Camping pillow (optional) – Private albergues will always provide a pillow. However, only some public albergues will have pillows. In those cases, I used my hoodie as a makeshift pillow. If you sleep best with a pillow though, bring a compressible one that packs down small or an inflatable pillow.
  • Journal and pen (optional)
  • Reusable utensils (optional) – If you plan on mostly packing your own meals, having a reusable fork, spoon, and knife is necessary. But if you plan on eating all your meals at cafés and restaurants (which is what I did), you don’t need this. If you’re doing the Camino for the first time and you’re not sure what your eating style is going to be, bring a reusable utensil anyways. They’re very light and small so it won’t make a difference in your bag.
  • Sewing kit (optional) – While I didn’t need a sewing kit, it’s useful to repair tears and pop blisters.
  • Permethrin spray (optional) – Bed bugs aren’t common on the Camino, but they do happen. I didn’t have time to spray all my stuff with permethrin before I left and I didn’t experience any bed bugs. But if you’d rather take all the precautions, get some permethrin spray and treat your bag and sleeping liner with it before you leave home.

More resources for the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago packing list for women