for Camino Primitivo
I will start with something very significant: Correos (Spanish public service post office) has a service that takes your luggage from wherever you are to Santiago. This means that there are a significant number of pilgrims who cannot carry their backpack. The golden rule over the recommended weight of the backpack is 10% of your weight. Weights 70, loads 7 kg.
As I came from having a bad experience on the West Highland Way for excess weight, this time I dedicated myself to weighing garment by garment, and I made an Excel with the weight of each one and the units that I carried, so that, weighing 78 kg, I carried 7.5 kg, with the camera (a compact of advanced functionality) included.
So, basically, the equipment you carry must meet the following three characteristics: it must be lightweight, waterproof for the outside layer, and fast drying.
Waterproof is non-negotiable because sooner rather than later, it will rain: Asturias and Galicia are not areas where it rains little. Lightweight, it is more negotiable, if you plan not to carry the backpack. And quick drying is recommended, especially if you plan to make the way when the days are not especially long, since if the hostel does not have a dryer, and there is no possibility of leaving wet clothes outside because it still rains, many rooms become true tropical areas full of humidity.
That the clothes must be technical, I guess you all have it well assumed; take in mind that you or someone will wash them on the hostels, probably they’ll use fabric softener, the enemy number 2 of technical clothes, and they’ll put it in the dryer, the enemy number one. So, it’s better not to wear good clothes because you will last in only one Way.
I am one of those who carries walking sticks, a pair. I highly recommend them. You should also think of gloves, hat, buff, sunglasses …
Everyone knows their feet better than anyone, except their podiatrist, but for the Primitivo I would recommend half-cane boots, which will always protect our ankle better, and in the part of Asturias the terrain, sometimes, is irregular and of some hardness. It is also true that there were pilgrims who did it with trail running shoes. I would have broken one ankle.
Then there’s the Gore-tex issue. There are those who hate it, there are those who do not recommend it, and there are those who recommend it according to the time when you are going to do the Camino. This, for a change, is something personal, too. I don’t even like to get my feet wet if it rains, and I’ve never had extra sweating problems from the Gore-Text. If you sweat too much, you can always put talc powders on your feet, to keep them dry, or any other product intended for it. Gaiters can protect your feet as long as the rain is not persistent or intense, and they cover your foot completely.
Finally, the sole. It does not have to be Vibram or Contagrip because of the terrain you will find. But if they are, it won’t hurt you either.
I have some Salomon shoes, so, as a half-cane boot, I would stick with the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX, in male or female model. As trail running shoes, these Salomon Supercross GTX for men or women will serve as leftovers.
We must also consider the socks, which must fit perfectly to the foot, without making wrinkles or moving, having a good padding, especially in the toe and heel, they must perspire well and must dry fast.
This part will depend a lot on the time in which you make the Camino, in winter you will find cold, in summer heat-heat not, but surely, you can go only with a shirt, and in spring and autumn rains, as occasionally in summer. So something waterproof is mandatory.
In my opinion, the best option are the detachable 3 in 1 jackets, such as this one from The North Face for men, or this one from Trespass or The North Face for women. As they are removable, you can take only the waterproof part, which will also help you on days when the wind blows, and leave the polar part at home if you will not need it.
Another option is to make the layers “manually”: a fiber jacket (male or female) or a polar (male or female), if you are going to be cold; one of Gore-tex to not get wet, or even a windbreaker (man or woman) that occupies and weighs little and can save you a cold day in summer or early autumn. And there’s also the softshell wild card.
And underneath, it just depends on each one: polar, thermal t-shirts, normal technical T-shirts, cotton … to the preferences of each one and especially depending on the time of year.
For me, the best solution is to combine a warm or finite or even short trekking pants, depending on the time of year, and carry in the backpack some waterproof pants / covers, such as this for women or this for men. They are economical, take up little space, and are put on and taken off in a moment. They are not the best in breathability, but hey… the price/rain protection ratio is second to none. Another option, if you go in summer, and it does not have to rain much, are water repellent pants, such as this Izas for men or this other for women, that if the rain is fine, or it seems that it should last little, they will endure without you getting wet.