El Camino Bracelet Review

1:08 pm HelenLJohnson 0 Comments

 ca·mi·no - {noun} - way · route · bypath · road· path · track · trail
As someone who loves travelling, I am always attracted to anything that can be used as a documentation of wanderlust. So I was very excited when an advert popped up in my Facebook stream about a bracelet where I could wear all my travels on my wrist. The company, El Camino, is based in the UK and is the brainchild of two travellers who thought how cool would it be to sit around a campfire and compare travels? I can’t help but agree with my bracelet sparking conversation among both peers and strangers. It is certainly nice when having a bad day or struggling through work to look down and feel inspired about where I have been and dream about where I can go next.

So what are the bracelets? I will admit, I was surprised when it came through the post as I was expecting just a general braided cotton band. However, the cotton used is something I have never felt before! I can only describe it as a bonded flexible metal cotton; it is certainly very durable so will withstand constant wear and submersion in water. I bought the size that related to my wrist, however for new buyers I would recommend buying the next size up to provide a little wiggle room when compiling the bracelet with beads.

The beads are made from hand polished surgical grade stainless steel by a local metalsmith to the El Camino company. As with the bracelets, the beads are very durable but will age beautifully over the years. Each are engraved with either a country or what is described as a ‘small step’, for example New York, Paris or Ankor Wat. These are great for people who have been to a popular location, though don’t feel like they can say they have experienced the country as a whole. For example I bought a New York bead as there are many more places in the USA I want to visit before I can feel like I have experienced a chunk of America life. The small steps are a thinner bead than the traditional country steps, which add a nice visual dimension to a collection. You can also personalise a bead, something I am definitely doing when I get to San Diego Comic Con or Dragon Con some time in the future, as that would be a special trip for me. Each of the beads also come with coconut spacers which are not only a sustainable resource but add a nice rustic touch to the stainless steel country beads.

The final beads to discuss are the glass region beads. These again are handmade in the UK and each represent a continent or specific region in the world, such as the Caribbean. They are nicely weighty and inject a bit of colour, if that is what you want, into your bracelet. You can treat and read these anyway you like; my friend who I introduced El Camino to bought an Europe bead, as that is her home continent, and an Asia one because she feels as though she has covered most of Asia and is ready to concentrate on a different continent. I just have the Asia bead as although I have been there a few times, it is still the area that I want to travel to more and where I feel most at home. So for me, the region beads are more placeholders and inspiration for the country beads to follow. 

How you build up a bracelet is completely up to the individual. You could have one bracelet that was all your solo travel and have a new one once you get married and start with a honeymoon bead. Or if you travel as part of your job, you could mark all your achievements with a bead. You could start with your first destination after buying the bracelet or create a backlog of where you have been. I have started from my teenage years, as that was when I realised I wanted to travel as much as I could in the future. So although I have been to Australia, I was three years old so I won’t add that bead until I go back again. Oh what an excuse! ;) No matter what, each and every piece tells your own adventure story, so create it however you deem suitable.

I am very happy to have found El Camino, I have always loved the idea of Pandora bracelets, but as well as being expensive, they were never really to my taste. It is also sometimes difficult to pick up charms from countries for my traditional charm bracelet. El Camino therefore fits nicely into that little niche where it blends nicely into the bracelets I pick up along the way and is also something to look forward to when I get home. Admittedly, it can be expensive to start up with a bracelet and a few beads, I think I spent around £70 on my first order. However, the beads only work out as £8.99 for the country steps, £8.49 for a small step and £10.99 for a region step, so are much cheaper than traditional charms and make great affordable gifts for traveller friends. All the beads arrive in a sealed bag with a little tear nook so that they don’t get scratched in transit. The bracelets come in a cloth bag which is great for storage. All of these come in a bubble envelope with the cutest freebie ever, this little airplane paperclip! So handy for attaching landing cards to passports or just to brighten your desk!

So if you want to find out more about El Camino you can read their story here or take a look what is on offer here. You can also follow El Camino on Twitter and Instagram where there are some great pictures from fans and a very helpful team for any questions you may have. Also they have a competition to win a bracelet on their Facebook page at the moment :)

Mebon - Ankor Wat Cambodia (Image by Christiane Kempf)

This review has not been sponsored and is not an ad, I bought all the beads and bracelet myself. I was so impressed by the quality and reaction to the bracelet that I thought I would write a review.