Yes, I am back! There will be words, but Life has been a bit overwhelming in the (is it really??) week and a half since I came home. Anyway, having done the packing photo thing, I will now do the un-packing list thing before I forget.
Osprey Tempest 30 pack, brilliant as always, just the right size, stops me overpacking and carries well, especially at just 5.65 kg! New sidebag also worked well, with room for my guidebook, notebook, passport, credencial, wallet/coin purse and mobile plus assorted bits and bobs. Always across my body when I walk, under the pack, so I can take it off and go straight into the bar with my sidebag safely in place.
I walked in my long, lightweight, quick-dry trousers, white SPF shirt for hot days, thin merino long sleeve top for cool mornings, and took an ultralight tech top as a back-up.
The trusty trousers, bought in a fit of skin-shedding in Astorga in 2012, developed a small, but not insignificant malfunction which I had to mend every morning the last three days, and are now resting in peace in Santiago. I have already bought another pair (Fjällräven, going for quality to avoid the bleary-eyed seamstress scenario) which are just as light, remains to see if they are as comfortable.
The shirt and merino top worked well, I sometimes changed halfway through the day if it got nice and hot, but the tech top was left untouched – I suppose I could have slept in it if it got so cold I needed the merino vest to walk in, but I slept in that because it feels so comfortable.
My new Hoka Speedgoats worked wonderfully and I have already bought another pair (different colour) for my next walk! Socks finally dialled in, must buy another pair.
Pacerpoles. Always. Wouldn’t go on any long walk without them and used them every day.
My Brita filter water bottle too is great, water always tastes better and it is just the right size so I can get it in and out of the side pockets without help.
The Rab wind jacket was brilliant! Really liked it and would take it again. The Altus poncho also worked and the elasticated full length sleeves were great when walking with Pacerpoles. I didn’t take rain trousers and didn’t miss them but might take them if I ever take only skirts/dresses.
The down jacket was dropped at the last minute and replaced by the merino zip-up fleece, which I was very happy with. More versatile and still warm even if damp. I also had a pair of thin merino gloves I never used, a walking buff with neoprene peak which I really have to stop taking because I don’t really like it, a merino buff which stayed in the pack and a new buff with shells on that I bought along the way.
A knee-length merino dress which worked very well in cool as well as hot weather, great for slipping on before leaving the shower cubicle, matched with short cycle tights in hot or long merino tights in cold weather – I used them both and would take them again. Over I’d wear a black SPF shirt, or the merino fleece if it was cold, and of course either the white scarf with silver shells (obviously), or the darker one. Yes, two scarves. Luxury item.
Aprés-camino I would wear my EVA Birkenstock sandals to plod around in the albergue, wear in the shower and to go out in. If it had got too cold I could have put the spare pair of insoles in my shoes and worn them but never needed to. Glad I took the spare pair though.
One of the three silnylon drybags became a night bag with stuff for the evening/morning, and if I didn’t wear the money belt under my top when I slept, I would put my sidebag into the drybag, roll it up and clip it to the bedpost.
Now for the one you have been waiting for – the brand new, expensive, ultralight, beautiful Sea to Summit down sleeping bag … it was BRILLIANT! Definitely taking it again! I even slept in it in the private room with bedding because I preferred it! It opens up like a duvet, has zips from both ends, can be cinched up at the foot end or opened up to let air into firefeet – just love, love, love it.
Things were almost perfect, but the trousers, merino tights and one pair of socks all developed holes and had to go as all were beyond repair. These things happen, that’s what sales are for!
That’s pretty much it – I did sometimes wish I had something else to wear but that didn’t last long. At least I didn’t have to wonder about it, just put on whatever I hadn’t walked in, and hey presto – out to get a drink before dinner! Definitely trying to pack this lightly again and the layering combinations worked well.