Friday, March 14, 2014

Getting our act together

Robin and I at Tidewater Cove, Columbia River
We have been casually watching our camino departure date move up on the calendar for many months now with a kind of detached indifference. It has just been too far away to get lathered up. But now it has dawned on us that will be leaving next month and so a flurry of camino related activity has  now descended on our household. Travel plans, researching and booking accommodations along the Le Puy route, watching the weather on the Aubrac plateau, fine tuning our gear selections, figuring out what we need to do to walk away from our home for 3 months are all competing for our time. While the Lenten season calls us to a quieter time our building excitement to set out on our longest camino yet, is palpable.

This trip has its unique challenges. We will have to carry clothes and gear to accommodate winter like weather early on and mid summer heat towards the middle and end. There will also be a lot of other people walking the Le Puy to St. Jean Pied de Port section competing for lodging. But it is all good. We have spent a lot of time trying to lighten our backpacks and have had some reasonable success.  The biggest game changer has been switching from our Aarn Peak Aspiration packs to the ZPacks Arc Blast 45, an almost 4 pound savings. Leaving my sleeping bag at home will also save me close to another 2 pounds. A more versatile and much lighter rain gear solution was found in the Montbell Versalite jacket and pants, rather than the Altus poncho. Robin and I will both be carrying Golite trekking umbrellas for rain and sun protection. I have also switched from my Salomon Quest 4D boots to Teva Kimtah's. They also have a wide toe box, fit well, and shave off another pound. My second shoes are New Balance Minimus trail shoes. These weigh 1 pound for size 13, and should be great once the weather heats up.

Maybe a bit too much black??
Robin and I have both been out in the local weather (lots of rain) and have been quite pleased with our selections. Our ZPacks Cuben fiber packs have not leaked (they are seam sealed) but we do have Granite Gear Uberlight EVent dry sacks for everything we are carrying, just in case. I am also going to carry and try out a rain kilt from ZPack. This seems like a great rain solution for warmer weather. The kilt keeps your shorts dry and the umbrella takes care of the upper part. It is quick to put on and take off, plus you are not roasting in a poncho or rain suit. My whole pack list is here. Robin's pack list is here. There will always be things we choose to carry that are beyond our basic needs. For me these are my camera and iPad. But, I must admit it is tantalizing to consider the weight savings if they stayed home. Maybe next time (but I doubt it).


  1. Great list and good approach. It seems fun to see how past experience influences our next walk. Wishing you both a wonderful time. And it's OK to have some favorites we carry (like the iPad and camera). Buen Camino!

  2. Hi Kathy...It was great seeing you and Ron yesterday. It was a fun day.

  3. Great packing lists. Fabulous detail. We carry much more than you two! As Karen says every Camino.." I'm not carrying as much this time"....of course that means....Karen moves it from her pack to myn pack!! I really had to laugh Robin at your 'mud brush'. Boy, could we have used that last year....probably well worth it. Dayton

  4. Hi Dayton, we have really tried to trim down what we will carry, but the "mud brush" stays. Plus it is really light.