What to Bring on a Pilgrimage: Organizing Your Backpack!

What to Bring on a Pilgrimage: Organizing Your Backpack!

Preparing for a pilgrimage is an exciting and spiritually enriching experience. To ensure that your journey goes smoothly, it is essential to carefully plan what to bring and how to organize your backpack.

A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey that requires accurate and careful preparation. Preparing adequately for a pilgrimage, especially with the upcoming Jubilee 2025, whether heading to Rome or other sacred destinations, is fundamental for experiencing a deep and seamless spiritual journey. But what should you bring on a pilgrimage?

The items to pack vary based on the season and destination, but there are some common and specific elements for each destination. Make sure to bring everything necessary without overloading yourself with unnecessary weight, and adapt your gear to the specific needs of the journey. With a well-organized backpack and an open heart, you will be ready to embark on this journey of faith and discovery.

Before departing, it is important to inform yourself about the specific requirements and regulations of your chosen destination. Remember that a pilgrimage is both a physical and spiritual journey and good preparation can make the difference between a strenuous and an enriching experience. Plan carefully, bring only the essentials, and be prepared to face the journey with the right spirit.

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Here is a practical guide to best tackle this unique experience and carefully choose what to bring on a pilgrimage.

First of All, the Backpack

Pilgrim’s Backpack

The pilgrimage backpack should be light yet spacious, equipped with a waterproof cover to protect the contents in case of bad weather and with space to hold a sleeping bag or sleeping sheet, essential depending on the facilities available along the route.

On the occasion of the upcoming Holy Year and the pilgrimages that will take place, Holyart offers the Pilgrim’s Backpack, an official product of Jubilee 2025, authorized by the Dicastery and equipped with an anti-counterfeit seal to ensure its authenticity and uniqueness. The backpack contains a Pilgrim’s Kit, integrating tradition with the needs of the modern pilgrim, designed to make the pilgrimage a comfortable and spiritually enriching experience.

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The backpack has a capacity of 28 litres and is made from RPET fabric, a material obtained through recycling processes of common PET, designed to have a low environmental impact. Available only in blue, the backpack is personalized with the colourful Jubilee logo and features a writable tag for personal data. Inside, there is a large main compartment with a zipper closure and foldable design, and a padded divider to store more fragile items like a laptop or tablet.

The Pilgrim’s Backpack also includes a series of accessories that, as we will see, are essential for embarking on a pilgrimage: a charming safari hat to protect yourself from the sun during the journey; an eco-friendly and durable aluminium water bottle to stay hydrated; a useful poncho to protect us in case of sudden rain; and a multifunctional scarf, which can be used as an accessory or to protect against the wind.

Completing the kit are the Jubilee magnet and pin, a silicone bracelet symbolizing belonging and faith, and a precious rosary bracelet to accompany prayers along the pilgrimage. What could be more appropriate than a prayer rosary with a crucifix for a journey that promises to be not only a physical challenge but above all a path of spiritual and inner growth in faith?

Now let’s see what to pack in the pilgrim’s backpack.

Pilgrim's backpack, 2025 Jubilee full kit
Pilgrim's backpack, 2025 Jubilee full kit Buy on Holyart
Safari hat of the 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit
Safari hat of the 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit Buy on Holyart
Aluminium water bottle, 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit, white model
Aluminium water bottle, 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit, white model Buy on Holyart
Green bandana with white logo, 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit
Green bandana with white logo, 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit Buy on Holyart
Set of 4 silicone bracelets, 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit
Set of 4 silicone bracelets, 2025 Jubilee pilgrim's kit Buy on Holyart

Essential Items for a Pilgrim’s Backpack

Documents and Money

Starting with the basics: documents and money. Make sure you have your ID card or passport with you, ensuring they are not expired, as well as the European Health Insurance Card if you are travelling within the EU. It’s wise to make copies of these documents, perhaps storing them in a different pocket—just in case!

Cash and credit/debit cards should be stored in a secure compartment, easily accessible but only by you! Maps of the route you intend to take can also be helpful. Paper maps are always good, but to save space, you can opt for digital ones, like the handy downloadable PDF map of Rome.

Equally important is the Pilgrim’s Credential, which allows access to discounts and special offers at rest and lodging places and on transportation. Make sure to obtain it in advance.

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Appropriate Clothing

The clothing you bring will vary depending on whether you are travelling in summer or winter. For summer, light and breathable clothing is always recommended, possibly themed, like the beautiful Jubilee T-shirts, short-sleeved or long-sleeved sweatshirts. If you are travelling in winter or in particularly cold areas, choose thermal clothing and dress in layers.

As mentioned in the Pilgrim’s Kit contained in the official Jubilee Backpack, a hat or cap to protect yourself from the sun and a biodegradable K-way or poncho for rain, conveniently packaged in a compact space-saving pouch, are indispensable.

Shoes are one of the most important elements for anyone embarking on a long walk. They should be comfortable and durable for long walks and waterproof. Remember to pack a pair of sandals or slippers to let your feet breathe during rest moments.

Personal Hygiene Accessories

Personal hygiene is also crucial when embarking on such a journey, as is staying healthy and in the best condition. Besides the essentials for washing, such as the classic toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and shampoo in travel sizes, and at least a couple of microfiber towels, it’s wise to have a first aid kit with band-aids, disinfectant, and basic medications. This kit should include something for blisters, an effective antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory drugs, and perhaps a natural product that provides immediate relief to tired feet and legs due to the long walks. For example, the menthol cream from the Camaldolese Monks is a massage cream designed for treating tired and strained muscles. Thanks to its unique formulation, combining menthol and natural essences, it relaxes smooth muscles, relieves strains, helps reduce rheumatic pains, promotes muscle relaxation, and tones and refreshes the skin. All these properties make it particularly suitable for athletes and those who, like pilgrims, engage in intense physical activity.

Technology and Communication

No one goes on a pilgrimage to stay glued to a smartphone, let alone to work on a computer or use a tablet. But technology can help, and staying in touch with those at home is important. So, we minimize electronic devices but make sure to have them with us, charged and functioning. For this purpose, besides a cellphone with its charger and possibly a laptop, it is useful to bring a power bank to ensure you never run out of charge, especially in isolated areas, and a power adapter if travelling to countries with different electrical outlets.

Other Useful Accessories

  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Gloves and scarf (for cold seasons)
  • Headlamp
  • Water bottle or reusable canteen

Items for Specific Destinations

If heading to specific destinations, when deciding what to bring on a pilgrimage, you may need to add certain items to your backpack.

For the Camino de Santiago, given the many elevations, a good walking stick can be useful to help maintain balance and reduce fatigue. For this destination, more than others, the Pilgrim’s Credential is crucial, necessary for accessing hostels and obtaining the Compostela, the certificate of completion, upon arrival.

If departing for a pilgrimage to Lourdes, bring a container to collect water from the miraculous spring known for its healing properties. Additionally, given the many religious ceremonies often held there, it would be appropriate to adopt modest and suitable attire.

For a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, a rosary will certainly be useful for prayers during the many celebrations and prayer meetings dedicated to the Madonna, and a good pair of trekking shoes for climbing the hills of the Apparitions and the Cross.

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