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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Initial Gear Assessment

Just did first “weigh in” of the equipment and was pleasantly surprised. Preliminary weight of all the carry equipment (stuff that I won’t be wearing) including backpack itself as well as 1L water bottle with contents is ~2.5KG. It all fits into deuter Pace 20 backpack nicely with plenty of room to spare. It’s so light and low-profile I can barely feel it on my back.

An here I was prepared to do away with up to 5KG.

I guess I won’t be needing external attachable pockets. I’ll also do away with just one hip pack.

P.S. the weight-in did not include second pair of shoes (additional 600-700g). I’m in doubt whether I can’t manage with just one pair.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The main reason behind this blog (besides, yes, me being exhibitionistic egomaniac)  was to gather useful tips and feedback. So far I’m very satisfied on how it’s turning out. Based on your feedback I decided to make the following changes to my inventory:

  • Scrap detergent, shampoo, shower gel. Get single bar of soap instead. A truly brilliant suggestion by anonymous commenter.
  • Get needle and a thread to drain blisters as well as water-resistant coveralls for shoes and backpack. Another suggestion from commenter.
  • Foot cream. The more info I gather about El Camino the more I’m convinced that importance of preserving your feet cannot be overestimated. Here’s what my friend suggested.

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shoes #2

OK, I got first serious contender for walking shoes position – ecco biom walk.


Tried those on today. They’re light (just ~300g a pop), feel really great and supposedly are made specifically for the task of doing great deal of walking. The only concern preventing me from getting them for tryouts is a pretty steep price point at ~200EUR.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Off-topic: Sub-zero Running

People sometimes ask why I run in -20C (-4F). The answer is simple: I hate gyms. I tried numerous times to take them on and it’s always the same: very quickly I get repelled by the numbness of running in one place, inhaling sweat odors, and getting exposed to ungroomed man crotches and armpits in the showers. Triple-YUCK!

True, it’s harder to run in extreme temperatures. Initially the cold envelopes all body not minding double thermal baselayers. By third kilometer fingers are numb, facemask is frozen solid and eyelashes are weighted by icicles. But soon the warmth returns, you can start feeling fingers and toes again, and eyelashes begin to drip, like roofs in the spring. With it comes a feeling of pure joy and realization that you could run forever… if not for that damn meeting with a lawyer at 1:00pm.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Equipment update

I can’t believe I left out the probably most important item: Flag of Lithuania.


I’ll probably get a bit smaller version, though. And, despite what you might’ve heard, not all Lithuanians are werewolves.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Disclaimer #2

Just for the record, I don’t give a flying rat’s ass if in the end, with all that different clothing and gear I’ll end up looking like a high-tech Santa Claus on speed in a Jamaican disco at 5AM in the morning. (don’t thank me for that image – you’re welcome)

This journey is not about being hippie (which I’m not and never was, or even felt like one) or, God forbid, self-torture. It’s about achieving something substantial, clearing my head in a possibly life-changing way, having fun along the way and preferably not doing any permanent damage to my body, please. So even if I decide to cramp up half of the NASA space technology on me, trust me, I won’t feel any different about it than I’m feeling right now. (come to think of it a pair of rocket engines would probably help – I’ll research if I can get those on cheap, like, $50 a pop – second hand maybe – and include into my gadget list)

Backpack and co.

I just ordered deuter Pace 20 plus external attachable pockets. I’m pretty sure that the backpack itself will be OK for running. What I’m not sure, though, is whether external pockets won’t put in too much misbalance. I’ll be testing it in coming weeks.

Ideally the whole setup should give me about 25L of storage space (15L backpack and 10L in two external pockets). Not nearly enough for 2+ weeks of travel, but considering that all of my clothing and other stuff will be very thin and compact I might just make it.

Anyway, whether I can fit everything will be clear once I start assembling actual items into a pile.

360x500_2503_Pace20_7220_09 360x500_1861_ExternalPockets_4030_10

Just for the record: I’ll probably ditch the propane container depicted above ;)

I’ll also planning to get a hip pack (possibly two) for documents, small gadgets and/or drinking bottle. Haven’t decided what to get, though.

deuter Pulse Two is a strong candidate. It has a large base so it will sit on my hip firmly. It holds drinking bottle and has some additional pockets for small stuff. The only concern I have is that it won’t be very convenient to store all the small stuff like money, cards, maps, mobile gadgets.

deuter Organizer Belt would be perfect but I’m afraid it can be to wobbly. I guess I’ll experiment with what I can fit into Pulse Two. If it does not hold all my stuff conveniently I’ll probably get a second, low-profile document belt like deuter Neo Belt I.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011


If there are two things that really make a difference when running those are quality of shoes and use of baselayers. I’ll be using a set of those from my favorite manufacturer – Under Armour.

Baselayer top

Under Armour HeatGear Longsleeve Tee because it’s confortable, facilitates evaporation of sweat and provides cooling effect along the protection from the sun.

1201163-100 (1)


I’ve been using Under Armour HeatGear performance underwear for running (and not) for quite some time now. The stuff’s perfect. The regular underwear is no match for this even in daily life, not to mention sports.

While I usually use shorter version, I like the extra length of the 9” model which should reduce friction between thighs.


It also is coated with antibacterial substance that reduces the pleasant odors what most definitely will be an issue along the way.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


For running

This one I’m pretty sure of: Asics GEL-NIMBUS 12. They’re perfect (if you somehow can get past the fact that they’re ugly as hell)


I’m going to experiment with the insoles, though. For such a long run I might want to increase the cushioning even further.

For walking

Nimbuses are perfect for running, but they’re no good for walking long distances. I need separate walking shoes. No thoughts here, though. Haven’t done my homework, yet. Guilty as charged.

I’ll be doing the research. One thing is for sure: they need to be sturdy, yet very light and comfy. I’m thinking something from the mountain running/trekking range. Standard trekking all-rounders won’t cut it – too bulky and heavy.

Wild alternative: slipper-type ultralight sneakers that I can just throw away at the end of the journey.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Oooohhh, that’s where all the fun begins.

In theory, you would typically need A LOT of stuff for nearly 3 week journey. However, running puts some serious constraints on the amount of crap you can carry on yourself. Every gram and cubic centimeter counts. Therefore I’m taking only the most necessary items that I won’t be able to pick up along the way.

Here’s the draft of the items I’ll need to have on myself. I’ll be detailing particular products for the slot as I go preparing for the trip.

  • Clothing
    • Baselayer shorts x 2
    • Trainer pants
    • Long-sleeve baselayer
    • Running shirt
    • Wind jacket (for those chilly nights)
    • Cap
    • Sunglasses
    • Running shoes
    • Walking shoes
    • Running socks x 2
  • Carrying equipment
    • Lightweight backpack
    • Capacity enhancement attachments (possibly)
    • Hip packs (possibly two)
  • Hygiene and health products
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Shampoo/showergel
    • Shaver? (nah, fuck it, let it grow)
    • Lightweight compact towel
    • Liquid dissolving soap
    • Compact detergent (for washing clothes on the way)
    • A set of band aids to treat sores and blisters
    • Sunscreen?
  • Other stuff
    • Water bottle(s) (at least 1.5L in total capacity)
    • Mobile phone + charger
    • Emergency nutrition (dried meat and fruits, nuts)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I'm 37 year old guy from Lithuania. My primary occupation is web development. I love running and I'm gonna run El Camino de Santiago. Alone. With no support whatsoever.

The funny thing is that I can't find any trace of people who actually did it. The ones I did find either ran with a support (friends carrying things by car or any other mean of transportation), traveled in groups or ran only a part of the El Camino. Either I'm the first or I can't google. Either way it does not matter.

OK, a couple of disclaimers:

1) I'm going to run from Pamplona, not the French border.
2) I reserve the right to walk parts of the way. The idea is to run at least half the distance of roughly 700KM. Hey! It's not a shame to walk on such long distances.


I’m aiming for May 2011. The weather is supposed to be quite warm but not too hot in Northern Spain then.


I don’t know. I’ve been musing with the idea for quite some time now and suddenly felt the urge to finally do it.

Call it enlightenment, message from God (or someone equally distinguished as Kurt Vonnegut adequately put it) or whatever else – I just suddenly knew I can and, most importantly, I want to do it badly.

Actually, I have also got my own, deeper reasons that involve self-development in John Eldredge sort of way and other personal stuff but who cares about it anyway, right?