Pilgrim Checklist

  • Walking shoes – Shoes that you have broken in and know won’t hurt your feet. Running shoes or hiking sandals are also good as long as you have sufficiently tested them.
  • Hiking socks (3-5 pairs) – Good cotton sport socks are good enough for many people, but if you are not used to walking a lot, then you may want to invest in good wool hiking socks. Do not wear cheap socks; you will regret it! Wool socks also have the added benefit that you can wear them more them once without stinking terribly.
  • Small backpack – You won’t need to carry much while you are hiking. A regular or small backpack is sufficient for what you should be carrying. If you are coming with family or friends, it is a good idea to consolidate supplies in one bag and just take turns carrying it.
  • Water Bottle – A 500ml-1L reusable water bottle. There are rest stops about every 1-2 hours at which you can refill your water bottle, so there is no need to bring extra water. Bring at least a 1L bottle to go with your 750ml pilgrimage bottle.
  • Poncho – It may rain. It may rain hard. You may get wet. A light, packable poncho is good to have in your bag.
  • Lunches and snacks – You will need sufficient food for three breakfasts, two lunches, and one supper (this may change) and some snacks for while you rest. Remember, this is a 2.5 day pilgrimage. You need to stay sufficiently nourished. Sacrificing some of the things that you would like to eat is part of the pilgrimage. Apples, oranges, bananas, dried fruit, dried meat, nuts, and trail mix are all good options. There is a prepared dinner for Friday night.
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, and a hat – It may be very hot and sunny. Sunscreen, lip balm, and a good hat are important.
  • Wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer – These are handy things to keep in your bag.
  • Walking poles (optional) – Some people find walking poles to be a big help.
  • Tent (pegs, poles, rain fly, cords) – Many of those who were on the pilgrimage last year know the value of a good tent, and many others know the value of a bad tent. A tent that will actually keep you and your stuff dry in the rain is a good idea. A cheap 2-person tent costs about $50. This will suit your needs if it doesn’t rain. A good 2-person tent costs about $150,  but it’s an investment that you’ll have for a few years.
  • Sleeping bag and pillow – It’s the middle of the summer, so you don’t need a big sleeping bag; however, it can be a little chilly at night, so you do want something that will keep you comfortable down to 10°C. For a pillow, to save space in packing, a travel pillow or a rolled up sweater work reasonably well.
  • Camping mat or cot – Both are fairly compact and light ways to get yourself off the ground and provide a little comfort while you sleep. Air mattresses are unreliable and more of a hassle than they are worth.
  • Toiletries – There are no showers along the way, so you can keep things simple: wet wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste. If you have short hair, a bottle of water and soap are sufficient to wash and rinse your hair.
  • Camping towel – If you’re going to wash your hair and face, then you’ll want a camping towel.
  • Bug spray (optional) – There aren’t really any mosquitoes during the day and there are only a few places where the deer flies come out. The mosquitoes do come out in full force when the sun sets, so as long as you’re in your tent by then, there isn’t really need for bug spray.
  • You’ll need clothes for two days of hiking and nicer clothes for Sunday Mass.
  • Shorts, pants, long skirts – Light, breathable, and quick-drying are all desirable qualities. It’s fine to wear the same pair of shorts or pants every day, but a spare pair is a good idea in case you get soaked. The evenings and mornings can be chilly, so a pair of long pants is good to pack.
  • Shirts (long or short sleeves) – Once again, light, breathable, and quick-drying are what you want.
  • Sweater – It’s nice to have a sweater in the morning and evening for the cold and the mosquitoes, and, if you’re like me, it’s your pillow.
  • Socks – I wrote about socks above, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you of their importance.
  • Underwear – Don’t forget to bring enough underwear.
  • Sandals – A pair of flip-flops or sandals is good for the evening. They let your feet breath and dry out. This can also be accomplished by walking around barefoot, but that’s not for everyone.
  • Modesty – It’s an often forgotten but important virtue, and it’s good to bring on pilgrimage. Short shorts/skirts, tights without shorts or a skirt, spaghetti straps, etc. aren’t appropriate for a pilgrimage.
  • Recreation – Cards, musical instruments, Frisbee, chess, etc. Just remember that things are being put in duffel bags and piled in a truck, so you don’t want anything fragile that might be crushed or broken.
  • Camping chair or stool – There are chairs and pews to sit on at all of the churches. The ground is where you’ll be sitting during the day. A camping chair is a luxury that you may enjoy at the end of the day, but you’ll need to say an extra rosary for the Bishop to pay for it.
  • Pocket knife – I always have a pocket knife. It’s just a good thing to have all the time, even when you’re not camping.