In February we went to REI to look around and ended up buying our packs. After 4 and a half years of talking about walking the Camino, we’re finally going to walk it. And today, I realized that it is really going to happen this year.
Even though we’d like to walk the entire 800km Camino from the border of France, we will have to be satisfied with walking 300 km from Leon. The following are my impressions after a shopping trip to our local REI Store:
Walking into REI is like walking into a foreign country, where everyone is speaking a “sport.” Each section of the store is bursting with merchandise, and sales clerks who are animatedly answering questions, fitting customers and demonstrating how to use equipment. It’s a bit intimidating for us, since we’re novice outdoor types. Yes, we’ve been camping, ride bikes around the back roads on the weekends and have been known to tackle day hikes on dusty trails around California. None of that has really prepared us for the mission this summer.
Looking around the store, I don’t know what to look at first. Everything is shiny and pretty, even if I don’t know what it’s for, I think I want it! I feel really ignorant and yet need to make some decisions about these toys and how they work. We head to the backpack section. Luckily, after we explain a little about our summer trip, the sales clerk covers the basics with us and makes some suggestions as to what type of pack each of us should use.
We both leave with 40 liter packs, which we believe will be more than big enough to carry the 2 changes of clothing, toiletries and lightweight sleeping bag we’ll need. We know we’ll be back to buy the bags and the hiking boots… and probably a lot more we haven’t imagined yet. And we thought this would be a “cheap” trip except the plane ticket!