This is my seventh year walking the Way of St James across Europe (hard to believe, I know – who would have thought this in the beginning?). So I have had lots of practice refining my equipment kit.
Pack. 38 liters is quite enough unless you need to carry extensive rain or cold-weather gear. I used an Osprey Exos 38 (last year’s model) which saved at least 225g (8 oz) over the Exos 48 liter model, which had been my trusty companion for many years (being itself nearly a kilo lighter than the Kestrel 48 model). It really pays to attend to the weight of the empty pack itself. The 48 is still more comfortable and gives extra space; the 38 is a tight fit but sufficient.
Poles. Pacer poles forever!
Sleeping. In anticipation of more seasonal autumn temperatures I carried my half-kilo down bag, which was comfortable but overkill. A silk sack would have been sufficient (but confining – I hate that!).
Footwear. Heeding the experience of through-Hikers on the Appalachian Trail, I opted for fabric trail runners rather than my trusty leather Lowa Renegades that had served me so well. The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes (combined with my prescription orthotics) worked quite well. Their lighter weight was noticeable especially at the end of a long day, and with the orthotic they were stiff enough for the occasional stony sections. This type is especially recommended for road-walking, which is the majority of this route. I used a lighter sock also, the Darn Tough Light Hiker. No blisters or foot problems of any sort.
Headwear. In past years I used a Tilley LT6; it’s good in light Rain but hot in the sun. So this year I used a wide-brimmed raffia hat from Operations Research. It is much cooler and I’m very happy with it. Although the tag says “100% paper”, it held up well to repeated crushing (in transit) and dousing (horse troughs on hot days) without complaint.