All the gear is bought. Our bags are all but packed. This time we know exactly what we need for the walk, so instead of the 15kg I carried over the Pyrenees in 2009, my pack will weigh 6.6 kg without water. The big decisions in buying gear are pack and shoes. My pack is an Osprey Talon 44, which is robust enough, quite comfortable, and weighs about 1 kg. Clemency has a Vaude Tour 50 which is slightly heavier but has a trampoline type harness and suits her better. Both packs, though compact and light are a bit larger than they need to be. We could have got away with 35 litre ones, but these allow enough extra space to carry lunch without the annoyance of bags dangling from the sides. I have chosen Asics Gel Arata shoes, which have so far proven comfortable, and which I hope will be as good as the Salomons I wore last time. Clemency has a pair of very light but very robust Adidas walkers.
It will be autumn in Spain in mid September. The first few days will be continuing across the Meseta, with flat trails, overhead sun and little shade; but once we get to Astorga we will be into the hill country and the weather promises to be a bit less predictable. There is the likelihood of rain and the possibility of frost. The middle hours of the day will be very warm. So, as far as clothing goes, the idea is to wear lots of very light layers. We will board the plane in walking gear and carry one change of clothes, with perhaps one additional set of socks and underwear. The packs are small enough to just sneak in as hand luggage, but the large folding knife in mine will mean it will have to be checked in.
So, my gear list for the Camino is as follows:
1 Osprey Talon 44 pack, with hydration bladder, pack liner and pack cover
1 pair Asics Gel Arata shoes.
1 pair Teva sandals
3 pair socks
2 pairs lightweight hiking pants with zip off legs.
3 T shirts (1x merino, 2x polypropylene)
3 pairs underpants (polypropylene)
1 lightweight merino pullover
1 lightweight polarfleece jacket
Waterproof jacket (lightweight Macpac Goretex )
1 season sleeping bag (packs down REALLY small)
2 neck scarves
Large enamel mug
Folding cutlery set
Lightweight hiking towel
Cell phone and charger
Camera and charger
1 well worn copy of John Brierley's Camino de Santiago Maps
Small medical kit to treat blisters, headaches and other ailments I might be prone to.
The sandals act as casual footwear when exploring in the afternoons, but are robust enough to walk in if necessary. The enamel mug acts as plate, bowl and cup though usually not simultaneously. Clemency will take a journal, but otherwise we won't carry any books. The camino will be a fast from reading.
The other preparations are coming along just fine and dandy. My fitness level will be adequate and I'm passably confident my knees will be up to the task. I know enough Spanish to get by. All the tickets are booked except for the return train (Santiago - Madrid) and the only major things I have to do now are to buy the Spanish sim cards and make sure the cat's medicals are sufficient to put her in the cat home for a month. I don't think she is as overjoyed at the prospect as we are.