Recommended Backpacks and Bags


If you bring a suitcase, make sure it stays under 18 kg when it’s packed to avoid overage charges. Packing everything into a suitcase will make it easier to check your gear and to navigate train stations and airports. But you won’t enjoy hiking with it. So plan to store any luggage at an accommodations or forward it to Rome.


A well-fitting backpack is crucial for any backpacking trip. 

Your backpack should feature comfortable padded shoulder straps and a hip belt, so the weight of the backpack is carried on your hips instead of your shoulders.

Backpack sizing should be around 30-40 liters.

Here are some popular models with pilgrims:

Backpack Model Size (L) Weight (kg) Price (EUR)
Osprey Mira 34 34 1.13 150.00
Osprey Kestrel 38 38 1.35 139.00
Osprey Tempest 34 34 0.91 130.00
Deuter Futura 50 50 1.68 200.00
Gregory Zulu 40 40 1.40 180.00
REI Co-op Trail 40 40 1.14 125.00
Deuter Aircontact Lite 40+10 50 1.79 180.00

Day Pack / Tote Bag

A smaller day pack is useful for carrying laundry and other miscellaneous items and grocery shopping. These bags should be crushable/collapsable, so it’s easy to stuff inside your larger backpack. Some recommended brands by other pilgrims are Patagonia, Atom Packs, For Monster, and Deuter Speed Lite or Gregory Nano.

Fanny Pack

This is an optional choice suggested by some pilgrims. A fanny pack can be helpful for carrying wallet, phone, and miscellaneous for easy access while hiking.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a great way to organize your clothes and keep your bag tidy. Some recommended brands by other pilgrims are Eagle Creek. Use them for dirty clothes to keep them separate from clean ones.

Bag for Credential

It’s important to keep your credentials and important documents in a secure and easily accessible bag. Consider a lightweight and waterproof option.

Airplane Bag Cover

If you opt to skip the suitcase, you may still need to check your backpack if you’re carrying hiking poles. IKEA sells inexpensive, durable plastic bags that can be used to protect your backpack during air travel. They fit perfectly over a 30-50L backpack.

Recommended Clothing

It’s best to choose versatile clothing that can be worn in a variety of conditions and occasions. Minimize the number of items you carry.

Recommended Materials

We recommend wearing synthetic and/or merino wool shirts. 

These materials are known to wick moisture more effectively than cotton and minimize odor. They also dry faster, which is a big plus because you’ll be washing your clothes every other day or so.

Consider synthetics as well for pants, as they can be lighter weight.

T-Shirt2-3REIAim for synthetic or merino wool.
Long-Sleeve Shirt1-2

Smartwool Merino


Lightweight Fleece





Some pilgrims choose zip-off pants to easily convert to shorts

Consider lightweight joggers or stretch pants for town clothes after hiking


Ex Officio


Bras2 Sports bra, Regular bra
Warmth1 Top
1 Bottom
Uniqlo Heat TechTemps can cool off in the morning and evenings. Consider for sleep or early hikes.
Socks2-3 Pair

Darn Tough

Injinji Toe Socks

Consider pairing Injinji sock liners with Darn Tough to prevent blisters
Bathing Suit1 This is certainly a luxury item, but you may want to use it in choice spots.
Sun Hoodie1

Ex Officio



Helps regulate temperature and blocks UV rays
WindbreakerOptionalPatagonia Hoodini 

After-Hike Town Clothing

You’ll likely want to strip out of your hiking pants and shirt and change into something comfortable for dinner. Consider bringing a lightweight skirt for women, joggers, and wrinkle-free button-down shirt.


This is one item you’ll want to explore in depth. 

The rugged trails of the Via di Francesco inspire many pilgrims to think they need heavy duty hiking boots. 

We encourage you to also consider trail runners, which are popular on trails like the Appalachian in Eastern USA, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Trail Runners or Trainers

Some of our favorite trail shoe brands lean toward wider toe boxes, grippy soles, and reduced heel-to-toe drops.

You may also consider waterproof treating, but keep in mind the treatment can overheat your feet.

Sizing considerations:

Consider ordering a 1/2 size to a full size above your normal measurement, as feet tend to expand during long-distance hikes. Opting for a larger size will help reduce blisters.

We suggest trying on at least 3 sizes per model to make sure there are no rubs or pinches. And note that just because another pilgrim swears by a certain make and model, you should always try them on for yourself before buying.

Popular brands with pilgrims:

  • Hoka
  • Solomon
  • Altra
  • Topo Athletic


Each brand makes a number of different models with different features and price ranges. 

Here are the models most popular with pilgrims:

  • Hoka: Speed Goat
  • Altra:  Lone Peak
  • Topo Athletic: Terraventure

Try these models and more to find the right one for you. There is no one model for all pilgrims.

REI is a great place to try on all of these shoes. Keep in mind that different models and different sizes all have their own nuances for your foot. 

If your local REI doesn’t have the show you want, order it from REI online. You can return it in-store without any questions if it doesn’t work for you.

Camp Shoes/ Sandals

When the hike is over for the day, the last thing you’ll want to do is put your shoes back on. That’s why it’s a great idea to carry a lightweight pair of camp sandals.

Some popular sandals include:

  • Earthrunners
  • Chacos
  • Birkenstock
  • Bedrock

Hiking Gear


This may be the most versatile and loved gear by nearly every pilgrim. Use it for a headband, face mask, neck cover up.

Bug Head Net

Head nets are not a necessity, but you might be glad you have it when walking through the forest stages. You’ll often walk through pockets of tiny flies. They don’t bite, but they can be terribly annoying.

The bug net keeps them off your face. You can also use the buff to keep them from buzzing around your ears.

Telescoping Trekking Poles

These are also optional, but can be very handy because of the steep ups and downs on the trail. Keep in mind that some airlines will make you check your bag if you bring your own. Make sure to buy some rubber tips from REI or Decathlon for pavement sections of the trail.


We recommend Goodr sunglasses because they are inexpensive, lightweight, and designed to stay on during heavy movement activities.


This is optional. Pilgrims who like to hike before the sunrise may find these useful. Look for a lightweight option like the Nitecore brand.

Bug Spray

Bug spray can be found in Italy. If you have a brand or strength preference, then bring a small bottle.

Sun Block

Sun block can be found in Italy. If you have a brand or strength preference, then bring a small bottle.

Water Storage and Filtration

How much water to carry

We recommend pilgrims carry at least 1.5 liters of water per person per stage during cool weather. Consider carrying up to 3 liters of water per person during hot days.

Recommended Water Gear:

  • Platypus Bladders
  • Camelback Bladders

Water Safety

Most people in the Tuscan region drink water from the tap. If you’re coming from another region and want to fill up from public fountains along the hike, you may consider using a water filtration device.

Recommended Water Filters:

  • Sawyer Squeeze – Regular
  • Ketadyne BeFree

Rain Gear

Pack Covers & Raincoats vs Ponchos

The raincoat vs poncho debate is nearly as hot as the footwear debate among pilgrims. 

The key to consider is weight and coverage. 


Raincoats tend to be heavier and also more enclosed. So they can act as a wind protection layer, but also can build up wetness from perspiration.

When opting for a raincoat, you’ll also need a rain cover for your backpack.

The downside of a rain cover is they usually don’t cover the backpack straps.


An alternative is a poncho. Ponchos don’t look overly attractive, but can weigh less, and be more versatile. Plus you can put a poncho over you and your backpack without taking the bag off.

Some of our favorite ponchos are:

  • Frogg Toggs Ultra Lite 2
  • Decathlon


A smart phone is a must. Even though you’ll likely hike in offline mode, a smart phone enables you to use GPX maps so you can stay on trail. You can also use it to take photos if you opt against bringing a camera.

Phone Service / SIM Cards

Many pilgrims add international plans to their home service plan. This can work well, and sometimes is more costly than necessary.

We recommend picking up a 28-day tourist SIM card from TIM phone service provider in Florence. 

The TIM store near the Duomo in Florence (Google Maps) offers tourist SIMs with a local Italian phone number and data for a low cost. This can be cheaper than adding international coverage to your current phone plan. It also helps when you want accommodations to call you, as they will be calling local Italain numbers.


eSIMs are digital SIM cards that provide data service only. These can be good for ensuring that you have access to data at all times.

Airalo is a fantasic option because it is very easy to use with their app, and it’s inexpensive. 

Your local service provider may also offer eSIM options.

Outlet Adapters

Most outlets in Italy are EU standard type C, F and L. We recommend getting an all-in-one plug changer device from Amazon.

Power Chargers

Anker and Nitecore are reliable charger brands that charge phones quick and are relatively lightweight.

Blister Kit

With proper shoes and socks, blister risk should be minimized. But they’re still possible. 

We recommend a small kit including:

  • Leukotape
  • Compede or blister donuts
  • Small scissors or knife
  • Neosporin

Many of these items can be found in larger towns along the trail, but don’t count on finding them in the smaller towns.


Pilgrims can find shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants, soaps, and other common toiletries in Italian supermarkets. But to cut down on weight, you can consider:

  • Dry shampoo or shampoo bars
  • Dr Bronner’s travel soap

Fast-Dry Ultralight Towel

Most accommodations offer towels. But some don’t, and this can come in handy.

Feminine Items

Period Underwear: Consider THINX period absorbing underwear

Menstrual Cups: Consider Pixie Cups or Diva Cups

Kula Cloth

Public restrooms on the trail can be few and far between. 

This means you might need to answer nature’s call while hiking. We ask pilgrims to avoid using traditional toilet paper on the trail as it takes more than a year to break down and can litter the trail.

We ask pilgrims to carry a Kula cloth or similar cloth to support on-trail needs. The cloth is created for backpackers and can be washed easily at the end of the stage.

Backpacking Bidet

In some cases, pilgrims will more than a Kula cloth on the trail. Consider a backpacking bidet, which is a silicone piece designed to turn a water bottle into a bidet spray. This helps minimize toilet paper litter on the trail.

Ultralight Backpacking Trowel

We recommend using this only in emergencies. Make sure to follow “Leave No Trace” protocols and appropriately bury all human waste. We recommend The Deuce trowel.

Sleep Kit

Blankets & Sleeping Bags

Blankets and sleeping bags aren’t necessarily needed in warmer months. These can be bulky and heavy, so we recommend weighing your options carefully before packing one.

If you want a blanket, consider a synthetic down alternative from Amazon. The lightest weight blanket with the highest warmth rating for less than €50 we found is from KingCamp.

Sleeping Bag Liners

These are popular with pilgrims who want to further insulate themselves. Because they are lightweight and helpful, we recommend picking up a liner from Sea to Summit. However, it’s not required.

Scarves / Sarongs

Lightweight luxury item comes in handy as a privacy shield or extra blanket for sitting.

Items You Don’t Need

Sheets and pillows. Most accommodations will provide these. If you have a sleeping bag liner, these can work as sheets if you happen to run across an accommodation without sheets.

Laundry Kit

Laundromats are rare on the Via di Francesco. Pilgrims often need to wash clothing in their bathroom sink and hang dry. Some accommodations do offer access to washing machines.

Here’s the laundry kit we recommend:

  • Scrubba Wash Bag (full size)
  • Dry laundry soap sheets 
  • Lightweight clothesline from Sea-to-Summit
  • Small size binder clips as clothespins


A guidebook is indispensable on the trail, as you won’t find many public information signs giving history or guidance on the trail. 

See our recommended guides.

We also recommend carrying an Amazon Kindle or similar e-reader to minimize weight instead of carrying a printed book. 

Journal / Notebook

It’s very possible you’ll want to capture your experience, your thoughts, or just ideas that come up during your pilgrimage. Carry a small notebook and a few pens.

Conclusion: What to Bring

What each pilgrim packs is a personal preference, but many agree that less is more. 

Take time to consider the weight and versatility of every item that goes in your pack.

Try on as many shoes as you can to make sure you have the right pair, so you can minimize the chance of blisters.

And choose the items that you know you’ll need. Leave everything else at home. 

If there’s something that you forget, trust that the trail will provide an option.

Happy packing!

Via Di Francesco Packing Checklist

Done?ItemHow manyRecommended BrandsSuggestions
 Carry-on size suitcaseOptional If you need to bring extra luggage, consider a carry-on size suitcase with a 40-lb maximum weight limit.
 Backpacks1Osprey, Deuter, Gregory, REIChoose a backpack that fits your torso size and is around 30-40 liters. Make sure to get fit for your torso size.
 Collapsible Tote Bag1 Small bag for carrying laundry and grocery shopping
 Fanny PackOptionalPatagonia 
 Packing cubes2-3 / OptionalEagle Creek, REI, AmazonBasicsTo organize your clothes and keep your backpack tidy.
 Shoes1Altra, Hoka, Topo, Merrell, SalomonWide toe-box trail runners are popular with pilgrims. Try on many models and sizes to see which works best for you
 Camp Sandals1Chacos, Earthrunners, Bedrock, BirkenstockFor walking around town or after hiking. Let your feet breathe.
 T-Shirts2-3REI, Amazon,Opt for synthetic shirts and pants that wick moisture and minimize odor, instead of cotton.
 Sun Hoodie1  
 Warm Top Icebreaker, Smart WoolLight fleece, Merino Wool. This acts as your mid-layer as well.
 Pants1-2Patagonia, Columbia, Amazon, PranaSome pilgrims prefer zip-off convertible pants to change into shorts with ease
 Joggers / Tights1 Good for dinners and lounging post-hike. Aim for wrinkle free and lightweight.
 After-hike/town shirt1 Good for dinners and lounging post-hike. Aim for wrinkle free and lightweight.
 After-hike/town skirt1 Good for dinners and lounging post-hike. Aim for wrinkle free and lightweight.
 Warming LayersOptionalUniqloHelpful for colder months, early morning hikes, and cool mountain nights
 Underwear3Ex-Officio, THINXLook for synthetic and moisture wicking underwear
 Socks3Darn tough, Injinji 
 Bra2 1 Sport, 1 Regular
 Buff1Ex Officio, BuffUse as a head band, face mask, and more. One of the favorite items of many pilgrims.
 Hat with brimOptionalOutdoor ResearchThis can help keep the sun out of your eyes and make the hike more enjoyavle
 Poncho1Sea to Summit, Frogg Toggs, DecathlonTo protect yourself and your backpack from rain.
 Trekking poles1-2Black Diamond, Leki, REITo help with balance and reduce stress on your knees. Make sure to get rubber tips as well for road walks. Make sure they are telescoping.
 Lightweight Wind Breaker1Patagonia HoodiniGreat for keeping body temperature regulated on open stages
 HeadlampOptionalNitecore RechargeableGood for hiking early in the morning. Optional because you may only hike during daylight.
 Kula Cloth1-2KulaMega important. Nature may call while on trail, and public restrooms are few and far between. Do not put toilet paper on the trail.
 Water filtration1Sawyer Squeeze Regular, Katadyn BeFreeTo purify water from streams and fountains along the way.
 Water bladder1Platypus1.5L-3L
 Lightweight or collapsable water bottle   
 Toiletries  Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc. Keep in mind that many items can be found in Italy as well.
 Dry shampoo1 Dry or waterless shampoo can save on significant weight. Look on Amazon.
 Fast-drying towel1 Most accomodations will offer towels. This can help when there are no towels.
 Period Underwear2THINXAbsorbant and minizes waste on the trail
 Menstrual Cup Pixie Cup, Diva CupConvenient and minizes waste on the trail
 Outlet converter1 To charge your devices, bring a universal power adapter compatible with Italy’s electrical outlets. Italy uses C, F, and L plugs.
 Power charger1-2Anker, NitecoreBring a portable charger or extra batteries for your devices.
 Sleeping Bag LinerOptionalSea to SummitCan be used as a light sheet and also provide extra protection while sleeping.
 Light Synthetic Down BlanketOptionalKingCamp on AmazonImportant in colder season. Look for lightweight. Most accomodations will have blankets.
 Kindle/ Guidebooks1 Instead of carrying heavy guidebooks, consider using a Kindle or a smartphone.
 Journal/ Notebook1 You may want to write down your thoughts and experiences
 Blister kit items Leukotape, Compede or blister donutsTo prevent and treat blisters on your feet.
 Laundry washer1Scrubba, Sea to SummitLaundromats are few and far between. Scrubba bags are nicer than sink washing.
 Dry laundry soap1AmazonSave on weight by carrying a stack of tearable dry laundry soap sheets.
 Lightweight clothesline1Sea to SummitVery handy for hanging wet clothes
 Pack of small binder clips  Lighter and more convenient than clothespins.
 Italian Tourist Sim1TIM in FlorenceMonth-long phone number and data so you always have service, inexpensive
 eSIM1AiraloBackup data eSIM that can be recharged. Cheap and effective.
 GPS Apps
 GPS app for offline maps AllTrails, Wikiloc, KomootSee our full guide on our GPX page