Pilgrim's Gift Guide
We love Christmas! Probably because we get to celebrate THE greatest gift to all people, Jesus. Personally experiencing his love in deeper ways on the Camino is why we founded Camino Provisions—to help others go and experience his amazing love and grace—and it’s what draws us back to walk again and again.
With being helpful in mind, we have assembled the Pilgrim’s Gift Guide. If you are aspiring to walk the Camino in the future, use the Gift Guide to make out your own Christmas wish list. If you want to give a gift to encourage someone dear to you to walk, read on for our top picks. Many of these items are great for any traveler on your list, but they are first and foremost selected with Camino pilgrims in mind. You will find details about these items in our archived blogs, and in our Guide Book.
Find even more of our favorite Camino items in our Gear Reviews through Amazon. When you click the links to shop on our website, you pay the same price to Amazon as you normally would, and Amazon pays us a small affiliate commission. We designate a percentage of these sales to donate financial aid to non-profit groups helping pilgrims. Every bit helps. So let’s do some armchair shopping!
Favorite Books & Videos
Leki Walking Poles-We always recommend walking poles to future pilgrims, and we guess 99% of Camino veterans will agree with us. Our favorites are Leki Traveller Carbon Nordic Walking Poles. The lightest weight poles we know, easy to adjust to your height, and amazing lifetime warranty are the reasons these are our favorites. They have served us for thousands of miles, and never let us down.
Camino de Santiago Guide to Preparing Well & Saving Money The guide we wrote is still our favorite for preparing you to go and saving you money so you can get there sooner. Available in Kindle edition so you can have it in your phone’s library without adding weight to your pack. Full of our tips, resources, and money saving advice to have while you plan, and while you walk.
Elizabeth’s Story A novel set on the Camino for anyone who loves a good story, especially one that depicts encounters with God and miracles as a normal and wonderful part of life. Even though it is a fictional story, seasoned pilgrims will recognize the characters and experiences as the real Camino. An uplifting read for anyone age 14 and up, male and female. Fans are writing glowing reviews on Amazon and to the author on her Facebook page, and are clamoring for the sequel. Available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback.
The Way has been around for a few years now, and because it is so accessible (Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes) many have seen it and enjoyed the Camino journey of the characters. The lead is played by Martin Sheen. It is a good watch from a Hollywood entertainment point of view, and to get a glimpse of the landscapes and pilgrim camaraderie.
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago video is a documentary film that follows the stories of six very different pilgrims. It has been around since 2014. The film depicts a more “reality tv” point of view, and you see many facets of pilgrim life. A good watch.
Our four favorite backpacks are small (28-40L) and lightweight by Deuter. One of our primary reasons for liking these four packs is the front-loading feature. When you don’t have a spot to set your pack down and unload it from the top to find something at the bottom, this easy access feature is a huge help. The built-in pack cover is another big plus, speaking as someone whose old school pack cover actually blew off during a downpour with high winds on the way from St. Jean to Orisson. Our favorite packs are sizes that will store easily in the overhead bin of our transatlantic flights so there is no fear of lost luggage. Choose the one that fits your body and will carry just what you need. And FYI, several of these have reduced prices right now!
Sea to Summit Dry Sacks are reliable waterproof carry-alls that come in a range of sizes and colors. We recommend a small one to hold your passport, phone, medicines, cash, and credit cards to keep them dry during Camino rainstorms. They are almost weightless, and the closure works easily, yet is water tight. We favor bright colors that are easy to find in your pack or pockets.
Go Toobs travel tubes for liquids and gels. We have been using these for years and we have never had one let us down. Choose 2 or 3oz sizes in a variety of colors to transport any liquids or lotions you need with you when you travel. These sizes will pass the airport security test as long as the tubes fit in an approved one-quart plastic bag. A clever labeling system on the rim of each lid helps you get organized. For all travelers on your list.
Eagle Creek Packing Cubes are great for keeping your pack organized. Not only do they act like your dresser drawers at home to keep things sorted, but they provide water resistance to help your clothes stay dry inside your pack in a really heavy rain. They are not as full-on waterproof as the Dry Sacks, but we have been pleased at how dry they have kept things, and how they trap odors inside until you can wash those sweaty clothes you have in them.
Favorite Tech Gifts
The most expensive item on this year's list--a new iPhone. We recommend leaving all of your tech devices at home with the exception of a smart phone and its charging equipment. It can perform many functions, and will give you, and your family and friends back home some peace of mind knowing you can contact them or emergency services if need be. If you are ready to update or upgrade your phone, we are super impressed with two of the new iPhones for pilgrim use because of their ability to replace carrying a heavy, separate digital SLR camera. (I love my DSLR, but my husband affectionately calls it “the boat anchor” because that’s what it feels like when you have carried it a few miles). The iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X both have cameras that are as good or better than many DSLRs available today.
Monster Power Outlet to Go We have travelled with this little gadget for a few years now, and it is small, lightweight, and very handy. It serves as an adapter for the Spanish electrical outlets, and provides two outlets for your AC chargers, plus a separate USB portal, so you and two friends could all use the same outlet. The Monster Outlet can adapt to USA and European wall outlets with plugs that are cleverly built in and retractable.
Favorite Camino Clothing & Shoes
The Marmot Precip jacket is a piece you can wear at home or on the Camino. It’s our favorite lightweight jacket to put on during wind or rain. So many features: the tech fabric is breathable, yet waterproof, the design has zipper and velcro closures to accommodate a rang of temperatures and precipitation. Attached hood, pit zips, and great pockets are all part of the design. Small enough to fold away in one of its pockets. Comes in a wide range of colors and sizes for men and women. It’s a classic for spring and summer travel on the Camino.
Merrell Moab Waterproof Hiking Shoes are our favorite shoe for mid-distance hiking, including 15k sections of the Camino. They have the support and flexibility you want in your Camino footwear, and come in a big range of sizes for men and women. No wonder we have seen more pilgrims wearing this shoe and its cousins on the Camino than any other footwear. Some good prices right now on Amazon through our link!
This Shining Buddy Headlamp is inexpensive, but it is not cheaply made. All of our Camino family members have used and enjoyed this headlamp. And it comes with batteries included. What!?! Works great when you need hands-free lighting in dark places. We travel with ours on every trip we take, and use it nightly for walking our dog after dark. The first time headlamps saved our bacon was in 2007 making the descent into Roncesvalles in the dark after taking longer than anticipated to get over the Pyrenees. Nice gift for any travelers or evening dog walkers on your list.
Wick and Helen Van Wagenen had their first Camino experience in 2007, and God has used every part of it to shape their lives since. They have had opportunities to make many more trips to research routes, test gear, and volunteer along The Way. They continue making new trips, and like helping others make the trip of a lifetime. You can contact them at Info@CaminoProvisions.com.