Making the three-day journey?
The by-word is simplicity.
Having the right ‘stuff’ is helpful, but necessary is moderation.
We’ve itemized only the essentials here-below.
Modest clothing & reliable footwear for walking (mostly) on macadam & gravel or stones, also through some wooded paths and in a few short spots over unpaved back-roads.
Trousers/skirts (no shorts) and light, well broken-in walking shoes or sturdy sneakers are a must — water-resistant footwear is optimal; hiking- or work-boots are not advised, except if very well broken-in.
Essentials to carry
a small backpack to carry throughout, containing:
» your lunch for the day & revitalizing beverage (e.g., gatorade) – bottled spring water is supplied
» revitalizing snacks – dried fruit, chocolate bars, nuts, cheese, etc.
» a light coat, warm jacket, or pullover
» a poncho to protect from rain
» a hat or bandana to protect from sun/rain
» band-aids, simple medication for blisters, headaches & muscle pain, medicated foot powder, moleskin
» pilgrim’s booklet, containing hymns & prayers (Bring yours back from previous years, if you’ve still got one!) Organizers provide one to each pilgrim at check-in.
» a Rosary
Essentials carried for you
one-only larger bag per pilgrim (weight limit 30 lbs.) transported by the Company of St. René, and retrievable at bivouacs, containing:
» food reserves (your additional meals & drinks)
» a sturdy cup or bowl & a spoon for tea/coffee/soup/instant hot breakfast cereal
» a reliable flashlight
» changes of clothes – kept throughout in water-proof packing
- Socks such as Thorlos®, CoolMax®, Smart-Wool®strongly recommended; cotton socks not advised
» light shoes – for the evening
» toilet paper & toiletries
» night clothes in water-proof packing, and bug repellent
» sleeping bag – kept in water-proof sack throughout, and
» a thick ground mat or sheet
a personal or family tent
If you do not have one, or cannot afford to buy or rent one, please ask a friend or relative to loan one to you. If you still cannot aquire one, don’t worry: no one has ever been left out in the cold — or ‘turned away from the inn’.
Each pilgrim is responsible to keep dry all his own gear, but especially sleeping bag & personal clothing – even inside his larger bag – by wrapping such gear etc. in water-proof packing throughout the pilgrimage.
When it rains, it has been known to pour.
Pilgrims bringing more than essentials must arrange to transport their extra baggage themselves, or leave it in their vehicles. There is a 30 lbs. max. one-only bag limit (not including separate sacks for tent or sleeping bag).
A word about dressing modestly
Pilgrims dressed immodestly will be asked by pilgrim-organizers to change into modest attire. See this post for norms.