When you go on a walking trip, you find yourself reconsidering the importance of many objects. It was one of the first discoveries we made while meticulously organising our adventure: we drew up a list of things to bring, made a test by putting them in our backpacks and… looked at each other astonished.
It simply didn’t fit everything we had thought of.
We then emptied the backpack and thought carefully about the items we had scattered on the bed: they couldn’t all be indispensable. We had to make some sacrifices, thinking carefully about the value and usefulness of each one.
Often, when you go on a trip, you throw everything in your suitcase (because “everything could be useful!”), and it doesn’t matter if the result is a 20 kg trolley. It’s not like you have to carry it on your back for 300 kilometres!
Similarly, in everyday life you surround yourself with unnecessary objects and don’t realise that they take up both physical and mental space – and end up suffocating you.
So, we squeezed our list of things to bring. After all, every half kilos counts and could be the decisive factor that aggravates the fatigue of the journey and prevents you from reaching your destination. However, some items were indispensable and we recommend them for every backpacking journey.
- 1 or 2 water bottles (depending on the temperature) – no environmentally polluting and expensive plastic bottles;
- waterproof clothing: K-Way, rucksack and trouser covers;
- technical, light, breathable clothing;
- some fresh and dried fruit to avoid hunger pangs;
- arnica or similar ointments for self-massage: we used them every night before going to bed;
- one complete change of clothes + Marseille soap for washing clothes every day;
- string to hang out the washed clothes;
- a lot of willpower.
By taking only what was strictly necessary, we managed to leave with backpacks that were not too heavy. We soon realised that one of the beauties of slow travelling on foot is the sense of extreme freedom that comes with travelling with so little. Your rucksack is your home, and you have to take care of everything so that it doesn’t get lost or broken on the way.
Also, in the evening, you don’t have to choose what to wear for dinner! And if it’s cold… you go out in a very stylish K-Way! It is also not uncommon to see pilgrims going out in the evening in flip-flops and terrycloth socks because of foot pain or blisters. In situations like these, no one cares about elegance or fashion!
Also, in the evening, you don’t have to choose what to wear for dinner! And if it’s cold… you go out in a very stylish K-Way! It is also not uncommon to see pilgrims going out in the evening in flip-flops and terrycloth socks because of foot pain or blisters. In situations like these no one cares about elegance or fashion!
With only a few things you can also be more creative: when for example in a hostel we didn’t have blankets, we simply slept with three layers of clothes + microfiber towel. We buried ourselves under so many clothes that we were even hot at night… But that’s another story!
Oh yes, you must have realised it by now… on a trip like that, you need to adapt!
Your socks haven’t dried? Then your backpack becomes your hanger!
Need to dry an impressive row of clothes but don’t have a clothesline? Then make one yourself with a rope tied across the room!
Do your feet, legs, shoulders hurt? Well, you have to keep walking, there’s no other choice!
The hostels we stayed in reflect this spirit well, which we could call… the ‘spirit of the pilgrim’! We recommend everyone to stay in these accommodations whenever possible. Many of them only ask for a free donation (which doesn’t mean they are free), offer a range of basic but essential services and, above all, they allow you to meet other crazy pilgrims like you.
When you walk all day, just having the possibility to take a shower in a shared bathroom and sleep in a bed (read: a sleeping bag) is the utmost comfort. It is in situations like these that you really understand how many things we take for granted, how many comforts we have at home that we don’t really appreciate.
It’s in situations like these that you feel grateful for everything you have.
Even if you’re walking around with wet underwear hanging off your backpack.