All I need, I carry with me….. This expression is used quite often by people walking the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, as it explains how unnecessary, useless weight is. Actually, the Camino de Santiago is a generic term for the many pilgrimage routes in Europe, but most people are referring to the Camino Francés (leading from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela) when talking about the Camino de Santiago. It is vital to have the right equipment and clothes with you so that you make it to the finish line.
Investing in high-quality hiking boots is essential, and make sure you have them well broken-in and are able to walk in them for many hours. Finding the perfect pair of trousers is extremely important too, as it reduces the amount of “dead weight” you need to carry with you. Functionality is much more important than looking great: A cool pair of jeans might be quite fashionable but jeans are completely inappropriate when walking the Camino.
You should instead pick a useful pair of hiking pants with zip-off legs. These trousers can be worn either as shorts (when the weather is fine) or as long pants (when it’s cold and rainy). And the added advantage is: You don’t even have to take your pants off to change your look! The lower part of the leg can simply be removed by a zipper and attaching it to the upper part of your trousers is as simple as that. A real all-rounder!
The material of your hiking trousers should be quick-drying, so you can wear them again quickly after washing – by hand or in a washing machine. If between two colours, always choose the darker one – lighter trousers will look dirty, even after a short time. Compared to cotton trousers, hiking pants are often water-repellent and windproof, and some will even protect you from UV radiation!
Your perfect pair of hiking pants should have many pockets (with zippers) for the things you need regularly (for example your mobile phone, a map or a compass), and will also have the added advantage of helping to keep your backpack a little lighter.
By the way: During your journey you will pass several cities and smaller villages where you can buy all the essentials, so when packing your backpack make sure you do it in the “less is more” way. Before setting off to Spain, you should walk some hours with your equipment in order to get a feeling for distances and the weight.
Ready? Buen Camino!