Maybe I’ve already said it: We’re a designed to walk. Since the beginning, mankind has moved from one place to another. For ages, there was no other way to do it except by foot so we were forced to be extremely careful with what we loaded in our bales. You sure have read, heard or experimented in case you’ve walked the Camino that it has a lot of similarities with the life itself and this is the first one: we can carry (withstand) a limited amount of weight (responsabilities and obligations) so you must choose carefully what you put into your backpack just to not to give up.
Once you’ve chosen what you’re packing, a lot of distractions are eliminated and you can focus in the sensations you receive through your senses: silence or a conversation, the beauty of the landscape, the sound of your steps, the heat or the cold, the tiredness and the happiness of completing a complicated area, being thirsty and hungry to decide where to stop… If you allow it yourself and you can stand the impression of listening your own thoughts for more than fifteen minutes, you can discover new points of view or alternatives you hadn’t considered before. In the Design Thinking methodology that’s known as reframing. Even scientists from Stanford has identified walking as moments where your brain allows itself to be more creative and innovative.
That’s why «Less is more» can always be applied. You quickly learn the difference between «I want it» and «I need it» otherwise ask the people in charge of post offices and logistic companies along the Camino how many times have they shipped boxes full of things from pilgrims who thought they couldn’t survive without 10kg on their backs. Even when you think it’s not possible to carry less things, you can continue removing some following some basic rules which goal is be careful with the «just in case».
Inside de chapter «designed to walk» sections regarding how to choose your boots, backpack, clothes, trekking poles are covered. But those topics are already well covered by a big amount of posts you can easily find searching in Google and YouTube. In my case, and due to my fancy to twist my ankles, I always prefer trekking boots instead of trekking shoes. It’s the item I spend more money in. After that, the backpack. Based on my experience, no more than 40l are needed even in winter, when clothes are a bit thicker and the sleeping bag needs to stand more temperature just in case there’s no heating in the albergue. For walking during spring, I would recommend a 28-30l one. Remember also the use you will give to all this equipment once you complete your adventure so as to value the investment you do though, for most of us, there will always be a next time.
And please, go out walking at least a couple of times longer than 10km to be aware of your feelings with the gear you are going to use. I know it is an easy sentence but use your common sense: if you are not confortable with high mountain boots, buy a pair of running shoes. If you don’t get used to the trekking poles walk without them (but keep them close to you at least for the down and the dogs). You will suffer. At some moment you will suffer. But nothing happens. You will surprise yourself of what you are able to withstand when you remove the continuos complaint from the equation. The variable «shame» appears when you complain for a blister when you see a couple of old japaneses than can barely move their foot and stop by yourself to wish »Buen Camino». When you understand that you can stop to rest and take care of yourself without the need to follow someone else’s pace. And when you hear someone stops and asks you «are you ok?» And you know he really cares.
This is one of the things that engages more with the Camino: all of us walking, in the same mess, right, but with the certainty that if you ask for help, someone will help you and if someone asks you for help, you will help them. That simple.