Ever since I found out about the El Camino bracelet, I’ve thought that it really is one of the coolest travel products I’ve seen in quite a while. The brain child of travellers Tom and Candace, the El Camino is an awesome way to tell your travel story and wear your adventures around your wrist. In their own words, it is a ‘representation of the path you’ve travelled around the world‘. It’s such a fantastic idea, I wish I’d thought of it myself!
The way the El Camino works is that you choose what colour bracelet you want and what length (you can get a single or double strap) and then you build it up with what they call ‘steps’ and ‘spacers’ – basically little charms that come in different sizes, colours and materials. But these aren’t just any charms. You choose which ones you want based on where you’ve been around the world – you can get Country Steps and Small Steps, made out of surgical grade stainless steel; colourful Region Steps, made from glass; and mahogany or oak pieces to space out all the steps along your handmade bracelet.
Right, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty – what do I actually think of the bracelet now that I own one and have been wearing it around my wrist for the last couple of weeks?
From the moment my bracelet arrived in the post, I was impressed with every detail – from the immaculate (and very cute) packaging, to the strength and intricacy of the bracelet (it has a breaking strain of 34kgs!), to the polished look of the clasp, right down to the tiny detailed engraving on the steps. I also love how easy the bracelet is to take on and off – there is just a simple clasp that loops through the open end of the bracelet, so it’s never a hassle if you decide you don’t want to wear it for a day (although personally I don’t know why you’d ever take it off!).
I only have a few steps on my bracelet at the moment (two countries – USA and Australia – and four spacers), so it’s looking a little bit empty, but that’s the beauty of the El Camino. You can look forward to filling up the rest of the bracelet as you travel around the world and visit new countries. I decided to go for countries that I have lived in for long periods of time, so at the moment my bracelet only tells a very small part of my travel story, but as time goes on I hope to add more country, region and small steps – they even have the option of creating your own Custom steps too, if there’s somewhere you’ve been that they don’t make yet!
One of the greatest things about El Camino is the different options you have when purchasing. You can design your own from the get go, and buy as many pieces as you like, or you can opt for the Starter Package, which includes a bracelet in the colour you choose (there are 7 different options), 4 spacers (2 oak, 2 mahogany) and 2 Country Steps of your choice (there are 240 to choose from!), all for just £29.99. The Starter Package is a really great deal, and actually works out a heap cheaper than buying the bracelet and steps separately. They also offer packages for the Country steps (4 for £26.99), Region steps (4 for 34.99), and small steps (4 for £25.49), and you can get 4 spacers for just £5.99.
Just for your own reference though, if you wanted to buy all the different bits separately, a single bracelet is £21.99*, a Country step is £8.99, Small Steps are £8.49, and Region steps are £10.99. If you were to go the extra step (pun intended), a Custom step will set you back £19.99. *Note: they are still doing double bracelets, but are currently sold out. They will be back in stock in the new year.
So while the individual pieces may seem a little pricey, especially if you wanted to fill up the bracelet straight away, you have to consider that every part of the bracelet is handmade or locally sourced, so in my opinion the pricing is pretty fair – and the packages they have created provide some fantastic deals. And if, like me, you’re itching to get a few more steps added to your bracelet, now is the perfect time of year – the steps will make fantastic stocking fillers! They even do gift certificates too (hint hint)!
I guess that the only possible thing that might be thought of as negative about the El Camino bracelet is that it will, of course, be affected by water and any other general wear and tear – I’ve worn mine pretty constantly since I got it and the colouring on the bracelet has faded a little (honestly it’s barely at all, and hardly noticeable), but personally I quite like the more ‘worn’ look anyway. As a traveller, I always have a bunch of bracelets and bands around my wrists that I never take off, but if you want to keep it looking pristine, El Camino advise that you avoid putting the bracelet into contact with shampoos and soaps to keep it looking its best.
All in all, the El Camino bracelet has totally lived up to my expectations. It is a smart, well designed product with a very authentic feel to it. It is made by travellers, for travellers so you can wear your travel story. So you can wear your memories. I’d recommend it to anyone.
Now, what step do I go for next?
*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary El Camino bracelet, but as always, please rest assured that all opinions here are honest and my own.