What Not to Bring
Important noteI sent two parcels ahead during my walk to get rid of extra weight. I got rid of a total of 3.1 kilos. Really be strict with yourself about your pack weight. I felt compelled to take everything on the packing lists I read because I was counting on the experience of others and because I was afraid. Keep in mind that you have choice, and you must think about what is important to you, or you may have special needs that require items that I haven't even thought of. Whatever your choice and/or your situation, I would recommend you make 8-10 kilos your goal. Remember you will need to be carrying a certain amount of extra weight in the form of food that you buy along the way: a piece of fruit, a packet of nuts, a baguette, some chocolate. Food is often absent from published packing lists, as is water weight. It is not an exaggeration to say that every single gram counts.
Binocular/Monocular - ended up being dead weight. The idea is to take them along to see architectural details up close, or to perhaps see a wayfinding sign in the distance. You won't be seeing the inside of many of the churches because most are locked up and you will be too concerned about meeting your goal for the day, or just too tired to allow yourself such wonderful, yet time consuming activities. You will not be searching for wayfinding signs in the distance. Please read the Compass entry below.
Books - I've already talked about this in optional items, but I want to repeat the warning here. Books weigh a ton and the Camino Francés is easy to walk without a full fledged book. You can nicely get by with just the map pages provided by the Everest book, El Camino de Santiago. Guía práctica del peregrino, or 1 lightweight guidebook such as John Brierley's.
Camp Stove - I can't recommend bringing one, but if I were going on a longer trip than the 800km St.Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, I might seriously consider it. Two of our walking companions brought one and used it to make coffee in the morning. I'm not a fan of instant coffee, but I am a tea fanatic, and a hot cup of tea at 5 am could have been really, really satisfying and comforting.
Compass - there's really no way you can get lost walking from St.Jean Pied de Port to Santiago unless you walk blindfolded...backwards.
Cutlery - I had one of these all-in-one foldable cutlery gadgets. It's pretty heavy and most of the time you will be eating foods that can be eaten with your hands (sandwiches, bread, chocolate, dried fruits and nuts) or you will be in a bar where cutlery is provided, not to mention some albergues have kitchens and provide the use of cutlery. Besides, in a pinch, you can carefully eat with your pocket knife.
Insulated Seat Cushion - I brought this thinking I would be stopping to rest on grassy areas where it might be slightly wet. It folds up nicely and is very light, but the truth is I think I used it a total of three times. It became somewhat annoying to thread under my elastic cables on my pack, especially because that was where my sacred baguette was stored. You really don't need it.
Heavy(?)Sleeping Bag - you will be too hot in the spring and summer season for most and it will take up a lot of space even if it weighs under 1000 grams as mine did.
Make-up - All toiletries add up to a lot of weight. Just let it go.
Mp3 Player - It's subjective and I almost put this in optional, but I can't imagine a worse thing to do than to shut out the sounds of nature and interactions with other pilgrims. However, I did have a very happy interaction with a pilgrim listening to music via his Ipod during a coffe break. I'll link to it later.
Sleeping Mat - Extra weight that is really unnecessary. I never had to sleep on the floor. The only exception I can think of is in a Holy year. Please consult Camino traffic statistics which you can find here : Confraternity of St. James. Navigation tip on the Confraternity of St. James: Pilgrimage to Santiago > Present-day pilgrimage
Tripod(compact) - I brought a very compact tripod along. I used it once as a joke because I felt that if I had carried it that far then... So I did, and then I packed it up and sent it ahead to Santiago. You really won't have time to be setting up a tripod anyway. It would have been nice for photos in buildings where light is minimal, but you really won't have time. Leave it at home.
Vitamins - I brought two tubes of high potency vitamins thinking my body would be needing them. I sent them on ahead because of the weight. I did buy the exact same vitamins later when I got sick on the road. Trust that you will be able to get what you need.
Water Purification Tablets - I brought them and didn't use them. Please heed my warning that all medications, ointments, and toiletries quickly add up to a lot of extra weight. You will not need these if you take your water from marked sources and use common sense.