What follows here is a discussion and listing of the equipment I purchased for my pilgrimage
Boots vs. Sandals
The proper footwear, of course, will be crucial and I’ve found that there exists an intense debate amongst those walking the Camino about the proper footwear to take with you. This debate is centered on the relative merits between sandals and boots as your primary footwear. Some argue that heavy-duty sandals (like Tevas, etc..) combined with heavy-duty wool socks work well in all-weather conditions and are all you need. The main argument in support of sandals is that they are much lighter than boots.
I believe that your choice will be heavily dependent upon your personal preferences. I personally while agreeing with the concept of reducing weight as much as possible need to have some ankle support while walking. For this reason I’ll be walking in Salomon XA PRO 3D MID 2 GTX boots (see below).
What I like about these boots are that they are lightweight and mid-height in addition to being waterproof. They also have a very innovative lacing system that makes it super easy to quickly lace your boots. I find them very comfortable.
I’ve been told many times by Camino veterans that “cotton kills”. Cotton socks can be very abrasive and you do not want anything that might help produce blisters on your feet. Wool socks and the use of a liner sock are the way to go.
The backpack that I’ve chosen to take with me is the MountainSmith Day TLS. The picture above shows how I’ve attached flag patches, water bottles, a poncho, walking sticks, and an empty orange pouch (it’s where I’ll carry some food snacks). You will notice that it is not a full-sized backpack and is designed as a day pack. I like that because it enables me to reduce the weight of what I might be tempted to take with me and travel light. It is very well made and comes with a lifetime guarantee. I find that it has enough interior space and compartments (one interior and one exterior zippered compartment) to allow me to take everything I really need to take. The back also has a lumbar support system and I also highly recommend that you purchase the MountainSmith Strapettes that allow you to put the backpack on over both shoulders. See below.
Even though I’ll be walking the Camino in the summer I’ll be taking a poncho (It’s the green pouch attached to my backpack). Too many veterans of the Camino have told me that I should take it just in case even in the summer! You don’t want to be caught in the rain unprepared, it’ll make your day miserable. The one that I’ll be taking is the best there is. It is the Altus Poncho. It’s simply the best one that there is. It is very, very well made, lightweight (It weighed in for me at 15 ounces) and has enough room to completely cover your backpack. It’s only available from Spain and I got mine online at Barrabes.com (very quick delivery service!) and it’s expensive but I think it’ll last me a lifetime and is worth the expense.