Once we settled on our hiking boots we learned that we should also use trekking poles. They are very similar to ski poles and if used properly help reduce the strain on the hips and knees. Some perrigrinos like to use a single walking stick - coming from a health care background - we knew it was better to do a proper balancing act - i.e. use dual poles. Trekking poles - we are told - are mandatory on the hills. They help you keep your balance on the uneven terrain - especially on the down hill descent. Our biggest concern is to maintain our balance - if we can accomplish that - we should be able to avoid any ankle or knee issues.
There are a lot of different trekking poles available. To start with we purchased some inexpensive ones - we are testing those and learning how to properly use them. There is a technique to get the maximum benefit from them. We may upgrade to better poles as we continue in our training - for now what we have seem to suffice. There are some ultralight - compact poles that we may take with us - our concern is being able to carry on the airplane - as many airlines insist they must be checked. We have time to figure this issue out.
The other important walking aid is a water container. The two options are carrying a water bottle or a hydration bladder. The bottle slips into a side pocket on the backpack - the hydration bladder fits inside the backpack with a drink tube that snakes its way along the backpack straps and hangs by your chest. We tried both and selected the hydration bladder. It was too difficult to reach around our backs to insert the water bottle into the side pocket after drinking. The bladder keeps the drink tube right at chest level and is more convenient.
We purchased the Platypus Big Zip which fits nicely inside our backpack. It is easy to fill and holds 1.8 liters (60 ounces) of water which should be more than enough as water is readily available along the Camino.
Keeping our balance by making sure the weight of our backpack is evenly distributed and using trekking poles as we walk and having a readily accessible source of water to keep us hydrated will help assure that our Camino will be successful.
Dale and Arlene