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Camino de Santiago, Clothes

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Clothes for the Camino de Santiago aren’t necessarily critical equipment, but if you choose right, you’ll be cool when you want to be, and warm when you need it. Mostly the former.

Hat

You want something to shade your face. So at minimum, a baseball cap will do. I saw one guy who had cut up a t-shirt and sewed it to the back of a ball cap to cover the back of his neck. I wore a Tilley Airflobroad brimmed hat, which shades not only your face, but your whole head and neck. It has a great sweatband, and, one of my favorite features, ties front and back, which make it pretty impossible to blow off your head. It’s washable and dries quickly. I often on hot days would soak it in a fountain, shake it off and wear it. It felt great. Again, I’ve had this hat for years, and if I were buying again, I might go for a cheaper alternative. The Tilley hat now costs around $72 and there are lots of others out there for a lot less.

Underwear

As with all your clothes, you want lightweight and quick drying. I’m a big fan of Ex Officio brand and wore their ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxersmany days. I also had a pair of Under Armour boxers,which I alternated with the Give-N-Go. I like the Ex Officios better for a couple of reasons. They were just more comfortable, and they dried faster. Next time, I’m sticking with Ex Officio, but am going with the Boxer Brief, which offers a little more support. My wife wore ExOfficio Give-N-Go Bikini Briefsand said they were great.

T-shirts

Again, I went with Under Armour HeatGear and it was just fine, although if I had it to do over, I’d probably go with ExOfficio Give-N-Go Teeor Columbia. The Under Armour stuff took longer to dry, and wasn’t as cool as I would have liked.

Long-sleeve shirt

Ex Officio again. This time the ExOfficio Men’s Air Strip Lite Long Sleeve Shirt.It’s vented on the sides and back, has expanding pockets, and a collar that you can turn up or down depending on the sun. I wore it over my t-shirt at the beginning of every day, then shed it as the sun got higher and warmer. It washed out easily every night, and was usually the first thing on the line to dry. And, it weighs less than 0.2 kg (6 ounces.) There are now variations of this shirt that are impregnated with insect repellent, which would have come in handy on some days along the Camino. Next time, perhaps. I carried two of these in light colors. You’ll want light colors if you wear them in the Spanish heat.

Rain jacket

As I mentioned before, some people had a poncho that also covered the pack, but I decided to go with a separate pack cover and rain jacket because you can also wear the rain jacket just for warmth on a cool night or morning. I had a Columbia (www.columbia.com) Omni-Tech rain jacket, which worked great for warmth and rain, but frankly was a little warm when the rain came during the warmth of the day. I sometimes ended up wearing the jacket unzipped so I wouldn’t overheat while walking in the rain.

Pants

Columbia lightweight pants with zip off bottoms. Very light and quick drying, and easy to zip the bottoms off and on. Often, I’d start a cool day with the bottoms on, and zip them off when I took off my shirt when it got warm. Two pairs are a good idea. I like, too, the cargo pockets, where I carried my sunglasses in one and a kerchief in the other. I carried my money and credit cards in the zip front pocket, where they were easy to get to, yet there was no danger of them falling out.

Clothes for the albergue and evenings out. I had a pair of gym shorts (Adidas Cool Mesh or something like that, with pockets) a Patagonia short sleeve quick dry sport shirt, and the above-mentioned Teva flip flops. If I needed warmth, I added my spare ExOfficio long sleeve shirt or my rain jacket.

Wallet

Again, I went with Columbia. Their black leather card case with money clipwhich has enough space for about three cards and a money clip is all you need. Also, you can carry a copy of your passport here, just in case you need identification. I always carried this in my zipped front pants pocket. (I carried my actual passport deep in my pack where it would be hard to get to. I never needed it on the Camino. The copy always sufficed for those albergues or hotels who required ID.)

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