The pilgrim’s backspack
The pilgrim’s equipment has to be essential and practical. To travel with a light backpack which does not weight more than 10 kg is crucial for the pilgrimage’s outcome! To arrange the perfect backpack, you simply have to follow some best practice:
L’equipaggiamento del pellegrino deve essere quanto più possibile essenziale e pratico. Viaggiare con lo zaino leggero, che non superi i 10 Kg di peso (acqua compresa), è fondamentale per la buona riuscita del pellegrinaggio! Lo zaino perfetto non è difficile da realizzare. Basta solo che il pellegrino lo prepari seguendo delle best practice:
- The backpack must be of good quality, with a volume from 35 to 45 litres, and have as many adjustments as possible.
- Go with synthetic technical attire: is lighter and more versatile, dries quicker and occupies less space.
- Knapsack must be really light, under 1 kg.
- First emergency kit, cellular phone, flask, clothes, soap and guides are all ok.
The traveller’s fundamentals
What goes in your backpack? It depends on the segment you want to travel: being on the Alps or the Apennines is quite different than being in a lowland. Anyway, there are some essential thing that apply to every season.
Here is a list of the necessary equipment to face the travel:
- High-quality, already-worn and tall trekking-shoes.
- Light knapsack.
- Sandals, perfect to let the feet rest and for the shower.
- One light pile shirt for the day and a heavier one for the night.
- Wide-brimmed hat made of light and transpiring material, to protect from the sun and from the wind.
- Waterproof windbreaker and backpack’s cover.
- Long and short pants in technical material.
- 3 technical transpiring shirts.
- Pajamas and overall, to rest comfortably.
- 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of trekking socks.
- Swimsuit and towel in microfiber.
- 1 litre flask or camelback.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Medicinal, soap, tooth brush and toothpaste.
- Plastic bag to separate dirty clothes or trash, or to wrap your goods in case of rain.
- Safety pins, to dry the clothes by pinning them to the backpack.
- Needle and thread, Swiss knife, frontal electric torch.
- A good guide, identity papers, pilgrim’s credential.
Winter: a season for experts only
To undertake the Via Francigena during the cold season is more complex than do it in summer: the backpack weights more, the route is more difficult, you can have to face rain, snow and ice, drying the clothes become more laborious. In the pilgrim’s backpack, both in winter and summer, must always be all the item we mentioned before.
Via Francigena is not a technically difficult route, but who is not a real skilled travelled should avoid it during the winter. Anyway, it is necessary to perfectly plan the travel and to know in advance if the facilities are open and heated. The best months to travel on the Via Francigena are the ones from May to September: in May and April, there is a chance to find snow, ice and rain. Last thing: in winter the Gran San Bernardo’s pass (Val D’Aosta) is closed!