20 days until the Camino

Tuesday 5th April 2016

 20 days to go until the Camino Adventure starts and the equipment gathering is going well, I want to do another proper post about this later, but as its exactly 20 days today (and I have changed the start date from the 22nd to the 25th) I wanted to do a really quick post to celebrate that date, I will probably do a full kit list video (like this one from Alison Stauver) before I go and another when I get back. Thanks should also go to Lindsay Cowie (from Vancouver) for her excellent YouTube videos about the walk.

Below is a photo of some of the stuff I have put together so far and a little bit about some of them:

  • New Boots – obviously (my old ones are 30 years old – still going strong, heavy and actually slightly too small for my feet)
  • Socks thin inner socks that I wore in The Gambia a few years ago and thicker Merino wool socks. I will wash the inners every day and the outers probably once per week
  • New Backpack I have had to buy a new backpack, as I discovered that my old one (bought in about 1986) was too short for my 6’7″ frame and has also been sitting in the garage for too long and was a little musty. Several washes in the shower, and sitting in the fresh air for days has improved it a little, but the whole thing is really falling apart, so a new one was needed and because of my unusual height, I have had to go for a top of the range pack, it is a pretty fabulous bit of kit though, more on that later I am sure…
  • (Update in 2022), I have worked with a company in Bali who have produced an EXCELLENT Bamboo fibre towel, which I now thoroughly recommend you can check it out at PangeaMovement.com If you watch this video it talks about the project and at 1m56s they talk about the new “slits” which were a design feature recommendation from me, which I called “button holes”!! I also very much recommend watching their promo video about why they are great for the environment compared the the towel I mention below!
    [In the photo above I actually used a “Fluffy” quick drying micro-pore towel (in Utility Warehouse purple) for my 2016 walk. I found it  a bit odd to use as it seems to want to stick to my skin rather than slide across, (the Pangea Bamboo towel is SO much better and more absorbent) but it did a great job and is indeed quick drying.]
  • a few Dry-bags of different sizes, which are pretty amazing bits of kit – again more on that later
  • I already had 2 sleeping bags, I am still debating which one to take, one is feather, the other is man made fibres…
    [Post walk update – I ended up taking the feather sleeping bag, but sent it back home after 3 days as it was too heavy and too hot, I ended up just buying a double sheet and sleeping in that folded in half, almost ALL the Albergues have blankets that you can use…If it ever gets extra cold, you can sleep in the clothes you are planning to wear the next morning assuming they are dry, which if you do things right, they will be! You quickly learn that its best to arrive at about 4pm latest, then shower and wash your clothes and hang them out to dry and change into your clothes for the next day and wear them during the evening. I took some pyjama bottoms that looked like trousers to wear in the evenings and in bed. I very much recommend that you do not shower in the mornings as then your towel will be wet all day in your pack!
  • I was looking for trousers, but the best ones I have found (that fit) are the ones I have been using for my mindfulness walks already which were from Marks and Spencer!! I will probably take my old golfing waterproofs, which are actually a nice material on their own and will of course double up as waterproofs too… [post walk update I did also use pyjama bottoms/loose cotton trousers for the evenings (see last point)]
  • I was also struggling to find shirts that would fit and be quick drying, not too expensive and without big pockets in the “nipple” area as I found them irritating even in the changing room!! The Eddie Bauer shirt in the photo was perfect, but I have still not found a suitable replacement!!

OK, that’s all for now folks, more posts to come later obviously, and remember I will be blogging every day, even if only offline, but it looks like there are lots of Albergues with WiFi and no doubt lots of coffee shops etc along the way too…

I plan to take a photo of EVERY sunrise and hopefully (if I remember) every sunset too, so each blog will be about what happened the day before as well as how I am feeling about the day ahead. If you want to get an email every day reminding you to go read the blog, please sign up to my email list below 😀 thanks, Buen Camino! John