Things you must carry in your bicycle

The Camino de Santiago by bicycle

The Camino de Santiago it’s an intense nature experience, something that only few people are accustomed to, and the pilgrimage demands great physical and mental strength. Since you are far away with limited resources, any surfacing situation requires improvised handling, and you must think of this wile packing for such event.

Things you must carry in your bicycle

Qué llevar en las alforjas de tu bici

Qué llevar en las alforjas de tu bici

What every pilgrimshould not forget on his bike

For starters, you must choose the Continent. Good saddlebags are practical and help greatly with your equipment weight distribution. You will also prevent excessive load on your back, sharing the weight between your bicycle and you.

However, I do recommend to pick a confortable small-sized backpack, just big enough to fit clothes, personal items, travel documents and other items you will need in rest areas, without having to fully unload your bike.

On your saddlebags you should carry:

  • First Aid Kit: Insect repellent, aspirin, iodine (such as Betadine, which helps in wound care/cleaning and also thickens your feet, thus preventing new blisters to appear), needles (to empty blisters before cleaning them with iodine), sewing kit, soap bar, tweezers (you will be amazed!, not only useful to keep you looking good, they are also useful to pull thorns out and other nature-related objects). Scissors, toothpaste, sun screen, chap stick and toilet paper are also a must.

  • Survival Kit: You will need a 1:25000 scale Georaphical Service map of the area you intend to cover, compass, cell phone, alcohol tablets (to heat up food), water purification tablets, matches, large nails (about 6, useful when you set up your tent or extend your waterproof fabric ).

I would also recommend you to carry a utility knife, pen or pencil, notebook, magnifying glass, earplugs (it’s hard to imagine all the tiny insects around you while you travel and common cold). Remember, becoming ill on the Camino de Santiago it’s not an option. We will discuss this further on in the health page.

  • Sleeping bag and insulating mat. I recommend a feather-filled bag. You have several options in the market depending on the weather, forecasts and personal needs and taste.

  • Blanket: any blanket or cover that you can use to keep you warm and protects you from the humidity, or as a roof if required .

  • Rain coat or poncho: remember doesn’t matter when you plan to ride your bike. Wherever you go, you will inevitable end up in Galicia, and if you can say something about that beautiful wild place, is its unstable weather and tendency to rain. It wouldn’t be the land of water any other way!

  • Flashlight and batteries! Remember to big stuff it’s easy, so it’s important to also focus on the little details. Surrounded by nature you will have neither power outlets nor stores to help you.

  • Canteen.

What backpack you should choose?

Even though you can choose the best backpack to suit your individual needs, you must take into account the type of trip you are about to take. It’s a pilgrimage, which means your endurance will be tested and you must carry all your essentials with you!

Considering this, my advice for you is to use a small backpack equipped with padded shoulder straps. It should also have a chest and waist strap (you will see how confortable it is to walk with a well-adjusted backpack), a top cover and outer pockets, which are useful for carrying documents, phone, camera and other personal items such as keys and wallet (you will get back to civilization at some point).

The main compartment should be used for clothing. You are not on a fancy trip: carrying socks, t-shirts, underwear, gloves, scarfs and jackets are a must. You can even throw in a bathing suit if you feel the need of splashing yourself in a river, if you find one. Slippers are useful if you decide to sleep in a shelter and use its showers, or if you just want to feel the breeze on your feet if you take a break.

Lastly, you must take into account the physical effort your body will endure. High-calorie foods are a great choice to gather energy. It would be wise to also carry dry fruit, fresh fruit, salt, sugar, crackers, condensed milk and isotonic beverages. A couple of canned foods will also become handy, which are easily found in local grocery stores. Just open, heat if necessary, and you’re good to go.    

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