Embarking on the profound journey of the Arbaeen pilgrimage, the most significant peaceful movement globally is a monumental step that demands meticulous preparation, spiritually and physically. My family and I participated in this awe-inspiring journey in 2022, and we understand the overwhelming task of packing for this spiritually enriching experience. Amidst the multitude of advice from fellow pilgrims, in this blog post, you will find first-hand insights into a comprehensive Arbaeen packing guide that ensures your comfort and convenience and enhances the spiritual depth of your pilgrimage.
This post is all about a comprehensive Arbaeen packing guide.
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Arbaeen Packing Guide:
Footwear: The Foundation of Your Arbaeen Walk
The appropriate footwear is pivotal for the Arbaeen walk, an extraordinary 50-mile pilgrimage. Our extensive quest for the ideal shoe led us to the Skechers Max Cushioning Elite sneakers, made for challenging terrain. These are available for both men and women. Investing in these shoes well in advance is advisable, allowing ample time to break them in. Given the likelihood of your feet swelling during the journey, consider purchasing a size larger to prevent blisters and discomfort.
Additionally, keep in mind that the shoes you wear during the Arbaeen walk are likely not ideal for shrine visits. For these visits, we recommend a pair of comfortable and cushioned sandals that you can easily slip on and off and place into a small bag. Here are a few preferred options: Croc Swiftwater Sandal, Pillow Slippers, Alphabounce Slides Sandals.
Sock Strategies: Defeating Blisters and Enhancing Comfort
Undoubtedly, the role of socks in preventing blisters and enhancing comfort cannot be understated. Alongside regular socks from home, consider investing in anti-blister socks, a game-changer in foot comfort. We speak from experience when we say that these specialized socks are indispensable. Packing two or three pairs of tried-and-true anti-blister socks ensures your pilgrimage is free from the discomfort of blisters.
You may think these socks are thick, and in a climate like Iraq, these socks may not be practical. We thought the same and took the risk anyway. We wore these socks almost every day because they were so comfortable, and we didn’t experience any discomfort because of the heat or otherwise.
Mitigating Chafing and Staying Cool
Chafing and overheating is the perfect recipe for thigh rashes during the Arbaeen pilgrimage, particularly given the scorching Iraqi heat. When we spoke with previous pilgrims, we consistently heard that chafing was an issue and impacted their journey. Each pilgrim had no idea this would happen before their trip. We took their advice, and to combat these challenges effectively, we invested in these anti-chafing and moisture-wicking boxers. Although advertised for men, these are suitable for women as well. These fit small, so we recommend going up two sizes and choosing the longer option. Here is an alternative that may be more suitable just for women. That said, anti-chafing boxers or shorts are essential for your journey. You should wear these throughout and not just during the walk.
Secondly, consider investing in friction-defense body deodorant, a versatile tool that combats chafing in various areas of your body, aside from your thigh area.
Weathering the Elements: Necessary Accessories to Pack
A portable misting fan, though seemingly unconventional, will be invaluable in combatting the intense midday heat. Its cooling misting element ensures you remain refreshed and hydrated, especially during day ziarats and the Arbaeen walk. If you only bring a fan without the misting part, you will be blowing warm air on yourself; with the mist, you’ll feel some coolness, and yes, it makes a difference.
Another unconventional must-h犀利士
ave is compressed towels. These serve many purposes, from maintaining hygiene and wiping off dust to cooling down. These towels are made of natural bamboo, biodegradable, soft to the touch, and have a metal holding case that conveniently fits in small bags. On this journey, you want to pack minimally, without forgetting any essentials, and these compressed towels only need a few drops of water to expand, and you’ll find them to come in handy every step of the way, starting right at the airport.
The unpredictable weather conditions in Iraq necessitate equipping yourself with the right accessories. Prepare to pack a few disposable rain ponchos or a reusable rain poncho that you can keep with you since much of your time will be outdoors. You want something small enough to carry but readily available when nature takes a turn.
Caring for Your Well-Being: Medical Essentials
A well-equipped medical kit is a must, featuring headache and fever remedies, cough suppressants, and any personal medications. Always consult your healthcare professional before compiling your medical supplies. Some of the over-the-counter medications we took with us and used were: Echinacea, Cold Relief, Tylenol, Advil, Arnica, Chamomilla, and eye drops (it’s dry and dusty there, and you’ll be shedding a lot of tears. You’ll want to keep your eyes hydrated).
No need to stress if you don’t get to pack all the medications. There are pharmacies in Iraq that are also stocked with medicine.
Packing Strategically: Lightweight and Practical
Optimal packing is an art that will enhance your pilgrimage experience. An ultra-lightweight camping backpack is a perfect companion, efficiently carrying essentials without adding unnecessary weight. You’ll want to outfit your bag with flushable wipes and hydration tablets. We brought powder packets and tablets and found the tablets less messy and more convenient. These tablets, particularly, had caffeine, and a little extra push helped with the long days.
Arbaeen currently falls during the summer, which means it’s the hottest season in Iraq. Your abaya should be lightweight and flowy. Leave your thick abayas at home, and check out these two shops that offer the perfect abayas for this journey: Bazaralhaya Official and Al Shams Abaya. If you are a nursing mother, they even have half-zip options.
What you wear underneath is just as important as what you wear on top. Many pilgrims prefer moisture-wicking shirts to wear under the abaya. Ultimately, you want to wear light clothing underneath. The Pakistani lawn is a good material option for those with sensitive skin to wear underneath your abayas.
Keeping a Stash: Snacks All-Around
Bring snacks that are filling and enjoyable not just for the walk but for the long bus rides and the entire journey from start to end. You won’t have time on the first leg of your trip to find snacks, so you will have to bring them with you. Ideally, you’ll want healthy filling snacks like nuts and enjoyable snacks like chips and granola bars. Keeping the heat in mind, avoid snacks that might get sticky. Dry snacks are essential, and I would pack more rather than less. Not all Ziarat groups provide snacks. Due to heavy traffic, you may not have food for up to 8 hours at a time, so these will be handy.
What to Leave Behind:
Certain items are best acquired in Iraq, freeing up space in your luggage for essentials. Sun hats suitable for the local climate can be readily purchased, showcasing local expertise.
Similarly, blister and wound care supplies are accessible in pharmacies and specialized care centers throughout the journey.
Water, a precious commodity, is readily available at every corner, rendering a personal water bottle unnecessary.
Additionally, laundry detergent is best left behind as hotels offer this service, and washing stations are available during the Arbaeen walk.
A Journey of Spiritual Enlightenment and Preparedness:
We offer this packing guide as a labor of love, shaped by our personal experiences and comprehensive research. By implementing these insights, you can easily navigate the pilgrimage, focusing your energy on the profound spiritual journey ahead. As you embark on the Arbaeen pilgrimage, may your steps be guided by comfort, enlightenment, and an unwavering connection to the divine.