Below is a list of things you might not think to bring with you on the Camino, but that I would not do the Camino again without. More items will be added as I think of them.
1. Sewing kit for blister care. (Or mending!) See: Rx for Pilgrim Feet.
2. Anti-histamine tablets or cream, such as Benadryl. Important for countering a reaction to bed-bug bites, and other inflammations. Benadryl also makes you sleepy, which is useful in an alburgue dorm where someone is snoring like the devil.
3. Ear plugs. Also useful in noisy sleeping situations.
4. Rubber thongs (flip-flops). For wearing in the shower. (Walk 30k on a fungus-y foot? No thanks.)
5. A couple of large Zip-loc bags. Use one to keep your passport, pilgrim passport, and other important papers dry and protected. Other bags will come in handy for stinky socks you haven’t been able to launder, etc.
6. A large heavy-duty garbage bag w/ twist-tie. Store your pack in this at night to help prevent bed-bugs from getting inside and hitching a ride to the next alburgue. More on bedbugs later. But yeah, it’s a reality on the Camino.
7. Clothespins. Useful for hanging your laundry to dry. Most laundry is hand-washed and drip-dried in courtyards on the Camino. There aren’t always enough clips, and clothespins will keep your laundry from flying away on windy days. I wrote my name on mine so that no one jacked them or thought I was stealing.
8. Small flashlight. For when you’re trying to find the yellow arrows before the sun has risen. Also helpful for dressing and packing up in a dark alburgue. I brought mine on a whim and used it so, so many times.
Photo: Here I am in the Paris airport, the morning we arrived to begin the Camino. Sleep-deprived, a little dehydrated, and wondering what I might have forgotten.