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24L v 55L

dollytz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino Frances September 2016
I've got a 24l jeep backpack with several sections and useful pockets or a 55l gelert. They are the 2 packs I have here in Tz. I want to do some walking with a weighted pack. I'm planning this from Tz but will be in the UK before I go to SJPD Is 24l realistic for Camino starting mid September? I tend to travel lightly wherever I go, can tolerate grubby but hygienic easily and don't need an extensive wardrobe, if it's clean(ish) I'll wear it. Thanks folks
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
Hi @dollytz,

My immediate reaction is that 24l might be too small and 55l is too big. However, I suggest that you set out what you intend to bring and see how it fits in your two bags. You'll probably need a sleeping bag for a mid- September Camino, so that will take up some space, even if you're good at packing light.

Is your 55l pack comfortable to wear when it's only partly filled? If so, that could be your perfect option. You'll only know this for sure when you put your stuff in it and see how it feels.

Buen Camino and happy planning!

Nuala
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I second Nuala's advice. 40l was perfect for my son and me, and we had some room left over to bring back gifts.

When using the 55l, it probably has straps that you can use to tighten the front towards the back so that the load is kept close to your body rather than bulging out away from it. If you pack a single layer of 10 - 15cm diameter stuff sacks against the back and then cinch the front of the pack tight toward the back such that it rides tall and thin, rather than short and fat, the 55l pack should work fine for you. For example:

Untitled-1.jpg
 

dollytz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino Frances September 2016
Thanks, most of my Camino gear is in the UK so I can't plan it out here. Will I need a sleeping bag? I was planning on taking a Maasai shuka-light weight and warm with a silk sleeping bag liner. Poncho v rain jacket? My Camino is very much a budget one so don't want to have to buy extra stuff
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
Thanks, most of my Camino gear is in the UK so I can't plan it out here. Will I need a sleeping bag? I was planning on taking a Maasai shuka-light weight and warm with a silk sleeping bag liner. Poncho v rain jacket? My Camino is very much a budget one so don't want to have to buy extra stuff
I'm a firm believer in starting with what you have, rather than buying new stuff. If you find that you aren't warm enough (more likely to happen in October, rather than in the first couple of weeks), you can always pick up a cheap sleeping bag in one of the cities along the way (e.g. the Decathlon store in Burgos). There are plenty of places to buy what you need - and you might even find useful stuff in the boxes of unwanted items left in the albergues.

Poncho or rainjacket? You'll get lots of opinions here on that one! You need lightweight rain gear and a way of keeping the contents of your backpack dry. If you have something that does that job, then it's good enough IMO.

Similarly, if you can compress your 55L bag (as suggested by @koilife), this could work very well.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Thanks, most of my Camino gear is in the UK so I can't plan it out here. Will I need a sleeping bag? I was planning on taking a Maasai shuka-light weight and warm with a silk sleeping bag liner. Poncho v rain jacket? My Camino is very much a budget one so don't want to have to buy extra stuff
I finished my CF last year in September (19th). Other than the couple of rainy days I experienced, I found it to be fairly warm during that month. I would think you could easily get by with the silk liner and your shuka, not to mention that quite a few of the albergues provide blankets. I would all three of those would get you by without having to buy a bag.
I found a rain jacket (Columbia) suited me good as I would also wear it as a top layer over my fleece pullover if it was chilly when I was out and about. It just seems more versatile than a poncho.
The 55L pack should work fine especially if you pack it practically as shown in the other post. The 24L does seem a bit smallish. I have a 48L and never filled it up.
cheers
 
I walked the Camino Norte last September with a 12L pack and that even allowed me to carry at least 3L of water (it can be above 30C) - if you go with the silk liner only then you'll be fine for space - rain gear needed but I'd bring merino wool rather than bulky fleece jacket - so go for the 24L - the temptation will be to fill up the 55L pack just because you can
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
Poncho or rainjacket? You'll get lots of opinions here on that one! You need lightweight rain gear and a way of keeping the contents of your backpack dry. If you have something that does that job, then it's good enough IMO.
@dollytz, here's my opinion on lightweight rain gear.

Get a poncho that:
  • goes over the pack easily - the head opening is forward of centre;
  • can double up as an extra layer over your silk liner at night.
My experiences of parkas (a lightweight rain coast/wind cheater) is they/you heat up and retain moisture. Although I see some being made of a waterproof and breathable fabric that may be useful.
 

Urban Trekker

Happy Trails
Camino(s) past & future
English Camino (2013)
Portuguese Camino (2014)
French Camino (2016)
Way of Saint Francis April 2017
I've got a 24l jeep backpack with several sections and useful pockets or a 55l gelert. They are the 2 packs I have here in Tz. I want to do some walking with a weighted pack. I'm planning this from Tz but will be in the UK before I go to SJPD Is 24l realistic for Camino starting mid September? I tend to travel lightly wherever I go, can tolerate grubby but hygienic easily and don't need an extensive wardrobe, if it's clean(ish) I'll wear it. Thanks folks
I have a 24 and a 45. I take the bare minimum based on this forum. A 24 L is to small. It will work but you'll have half your gear attached to the outside. Go with the bigger pack. Buen Camino

Happy Trails
 

Gareth Griffith

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago de Compestela in May(2016)
Thanks, most of my Camino gear is in the UK so I can't plan it out here. Will I need a sleeping bag? I was planning on taking a Maasai shuka-light weight and warm with a silk sleeping bag liner. Poncho v rain jacket? My Camino is very much a budget one so don't want to have to buy extra stuff
If your budget is tight don't forget that you can always buy good second hand equipment on on-line auction sites. I've bought a next to new Berghaus rucksac for a third of the new price. However it will be going back up for auction as I now realise that at 65L+ 10 it is far too big.
My thought is that if you are going to be carrying something for 500 miles over 33 days you want it to be right and not a hindrance by being too small or too heavy.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
My take on a good rule of thumb for a summer pack is that its capacity in litres should be about half of your walking weight in kilograms. This will give you enough room to pack around 10% of your walking weight without too much difficulty. If your walking fit weight is around 48kg, then the 24 li pack would be about right. If not, and you choose the bigger pack, you will need to be disciplined about your load.
 

arthur1218

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Franceses, Nortes, VdlPs, Primitivos, Portugueses
I walk with 55 l and it works perfect for me! But you need to be very disciplined and not to fill it up all the way to the top (and it is very tempting). I only fill it up about half way through and leave space for some food items I buy on the way. Many times I have seen pilgrims walking with small backpacks and plastic shopping bags in their hands - not a good idea for me.
Also, in the mornings, sometimes after a sleepless night in the snorebergues, when it gets busy and there is not much space to pack or move around, I just like to throw everything I have into the backpack quickly and leave, not worrying about careful folding everything perfectly so that it fits in a small backpack. Later on, I stop somewhere on the way, sit on a bench and make order in my backpack.

The total weight, with all the water and food I carry, is never higher then 10 kg
My body weight was 80 kg in SJPP, 74 kg in Finisterre
 
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My take on a good rule of thumb for a summer pack is that its capacity in litres should be about half of your walking weight in kilograms. This will give you enough room to pack around 10% of your walking weight without too much difficulty. If your walking fit weight is around 48kg, then the 24 li pack would be about right. If not, and you choose the bigger pack, you will need to be disciplined about your load.
I disagree with your both your rule of thumbs re capacity in litres and your 10% of walking weight though I appreciate I walk at the very low end of weight that people carry - admittedly not everyone can afford to buy the lightest equipment that is used these days by trail runners - especially as this questionner is seeking to use as much existing gear as possible

I treat it as a series of summer day walks (usually May and September) in a country where sunshine is the norm and good rain protection is more necessary (a GoreTex paclite that weighs 250g or an even lighter non-GoreTex that weighs 100g) than worrying about short periods of cold (though I can wear my spare woollen clothes on top of each other if needed) - though if I knew that it was going to be cold, I could bring a jacket that weighs 170g - I also bring a sleeping back liner not a sleeping bag

I bring a single pair of trail running shoes (under 400g the pair) that I wear each and every day at home and my only luxury, here particularly for the Norte, is space to carry a day's worth of liquid - but absolute weight is my only rule of thumb
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I disagree with your both your rule of thumbs re capacity in litres and your 10% of walking weight
Do you have a better guide to new walkers? While we might not agree, the ROT that I am proposing is more likely to get people into a reasonable position regarding pack size than suggesting they walk with a 12 litre pack, which appears to be your advice.

Many people who use the forum regularly will know that I am not an advocate of the 10% of walking weight ROT - it doesn't consider the full range of factors that might influence what needs to be carried. However, it is now so embedded in the culture of this forum, and while I don't believe it will ever be eradicated I accept it is a reasonable guide for summer walks. It will allow for the items needed to create a balanced packing approach for normal people. The pack volume calculation is a simple extension of that rule.

There are many other advantages to this approach, particularly when compared to your suggestion that absolute weight be the only rule of thumb. That, to me, helps no-one, particularly when you don't suggest what absolute weight should be targeted.
 

marbuck

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Condom to Pamplona April 2016.
Le Puy to Condom France - April-May 2015.
Roncesvalles to Santiago April - May 2014
Finisterre to Muxia May 2014
I carry a not quiet filled 43 lt pack. I weigh 71 kg but carry a pack that weights about 8.5 kg with ease. I am also 66 years old. I am a firm believer that nothing should hang from or be outside your pack apart from a pair of socks that are being dried in the sun. Some people forget to add the weight of their snacks, poles or water when they quote weights or pack size. Be realistic, take the size pack that you need, take no notice of the pack size/weight police.
 
In this case, I was suggesting that the 24L was a better choice than the 55L (and certainly whilst I'm happy to go with 12L I acknowledge that this is pretty extreme and certainly not recommended for beginners)

As far as an absolute weight target for pack weight when summer walking I would suggest 5kg plus liquid
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The 10 percent rule of thumb remains the "gold standard" as a starting point FOR MOST PILGRIMS. It is a generalization. However, many, many pilgrims find that it does work.

All pilgrims, and their gear needs, are different. Thus, their loads, and the packs they use must also be tuned individually to their personal needs. Dougfitz and others have sought over the years to develop more or less objective criteria. It is a worthwhile effort, but the target constantly moves.

I started using a 48L Osprey Kestrel Rucksack, and used it for two month-long Camino Frances, and one Camino Portuguese. However, coming off my third Camino last April, by the time I reached Santiago from Porto, I had experimented by mailing packages of clothing and other gear I triaged regularly, ahead to Ivar. I typically sent a box every three days. By the time I reached Santiago, my 48-liter rucksack was only about 2/3 full. The carried weight decreased from 13 Kg at the airplane check-in, to 9 Kg on arrival at Santiago.

So, this coming April, I will walk the Camino de Madrid using a 35-liter Elementerre "Arenal" (FR) Rucksack, with accessory front Ribz Packs. The accessory rig is intended to move water, rain gear, and anything else I might need during the walking day to the front of my harness to balance weight. This bit is an experiment that I will report on here in the Forum, after my Camino. This new rucksack has one main compartment, and will hold everything I do not need until I arrive at my lodging for the evening. That should keep managing the gear easy.

I decided on this "zoned gear" arrangement after studying everyone else I encountered, and carefully evaluating everything I have brought over three Caminos, and plan to bring this year. I also lurked continuously in the Forum, "cherry-picking" the best ideas I read. I maintain an Excel worksheet that weighs EVERY pocket's contents and aggregates the weights in grams and ounces, I use a dietary scale with a plate-sized flat surface. Each year, I make a copy of the previous year's worksheet and start carving away, based on the notes I took along the way.

After four years' of experimenting and evaluation, I have MY personal system just about perfected. But, and as I stated earlier, IT IS MY SOLUTION.

The good news is that I actually have it down to 11.3 Kg, packed or worn weight. That is about 10 percent of my naked weight; I am a stout fellow...;) However, if I use the "From the Skin Out" approach (FSO), the total rises to 15.8 Kg. That includes all worn clothing and footwear (boots), as well as anything in any cargo pocket or attached to my trouser belt. Yes, it includes all electronics, personal items, medications, etc. I even weighed my pocket change...

I am aware that some may consider this a tad heavy. I agree. However, the weight does not feel heavy to me, and I have carried far more in the past. Plus, I have a built-in handicap...

As a consequence of chronic health issues, and creeping, advancing age with all it's aches and pains, I must carry extra medicines, dietary supplements, knee braces, and related paraphernalia. The extra items weigh about 2 Kg at the beginning of a 30-days journey.

I also use a mid-route, prepositioned cache to ship ahead dietary supplements, and other medications that I consume each day. That means I start with two-weeks worth of supplies, and send the other two-weeks supply ahead. Otherwise, the extra load for a 30-day Camino would be 4 Kg, instead of 2 Kg. I suffered that on my first Camino. It caused me to get real clever and creative, FAST!

As an aside, I have seen both packing extremes on my Caminos.

On my first Camino, I encountered a fellow from one of the Eastern European countries who was traipsing all over Europe with his "house' on his pack. He was carrying a military specification, 80-liter Snugpak rucksack with internal frame. Strapped to the rucksack at appropriate points were a tent (with poles), foam sleeping pad, and a rather large looking sleeping bag in a stuff sack. Otherwise attached to the exterior of the HUGE olive green rucksack were pots and pans, hats, extra boots, and a guitar (full size Spanish guitar). The lad carrying this literally leaned forward under the load as he walked. It cannot have been comfortable.

On the other extreme, on my second Camino, in 2014, I met a team of four people, two couples, who were RUNNING the entire Camino Frances - BACKWARDS, from Santiago to St. Jean Pied de Port. Sheesh! It takes all kinds. Mine is NOT to judge...;)

Anyway, I did speak to these folks for a brief while. None had a backpack, and they claimed to not be shipping rucksacks or luggage ahead daily. Each person was wearing tafetta-weight running shorts, a t-shirt, and low cut socks with trail runner shoes. Each wore a lightweight mesh ball cap.

The only items carried / worn were a waist belt with two .5 liter water bottles and a small zip pouch containing passports and wallets. One person carried a shared first aid kit, another carried a supply of electrolyte powder. When someone else asked what they used for a towel, each produced a Buff. Also, I recall that each person had a super lightweight runner's jacket in a bright color that would have been wind and rain resistant in my assessment. The jackets may or may not have had an attached hood.

But, I would gauge that these folks were wearing carrying not more than 3 Kg FSO.

So, there you have it. Just as your camino is YOUR camino, your packing solution is YOUR packing solution. I opine, based on experience and observation, that a normal sized person would most likely need a 30- 40 liter rucksack with an internal frame.

I HAVE seen many pilgrims with 25 to 30 liter-rucksacks. However on questioning, or direct observation, many of these folks had shipped luggage or larger rucksack ahead via mochila transport services. They were able to wear day-pack sized rucksacks as they had their clothing and toiletries, etc. waiting for them, at their night's lodging.

Then again, and as I mentioned above, it IS possible to go ultra light. If you used all state of the art gear and clothing to reduce size and weight, you could do it. But, that avoids using what you have already.

Bottom line, 55-liter rucksack is too large IF FILLED. The 25-liter pack is likely too small, unless used with all state-of the art gear to reduce size and weight. Also, and as others have correctly stated, any pack should have a padded hip belt, and a sternum strap. Sternum straps can be added to many bags. However, padded hip belts typically cannot.

I hope this helps...
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015) SJPdP (2016) Burgos (2017) SJPdP (2018)
I've got a 24l jeep backpack with several sections and useful pockets or a 55l gelert. They are the 2 packs I have here in Tz. I want to do some walking with a weighted pack. I'm planning this from Tz but will be in the UK before I go to SJPD Is 24l realistic for Camino starting mid September? I tend to travel lightly wherever I go, can tolerate grubby but hygienic easily and don't need an extensive wardrobe, if it's clean(ish) I'll wear it. Thanks folks
I suggest you take the larger pack unless you think that the pack will add too much weight itself or set up what you will be taking and make sure you have a little space left for any small things you may decide to buy on the way if you decide on the small pack. I have a 70ltr and use that and I always have room for anything and everything I take and decide to grab on the road. Sometimes it looks kinda empty but that's not a problem.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Pack size is a little like water bottles! you can fit less into a large size but cannot make a small size take more. So long as the actual pack weight is not excessive then a part filled comfortable larger pack is better than an overfilled small one. Also you can put 1/2 lt of water in a 1lt bottle but not do this the other way round!
We find that if bringing extra things, including a Compostela tube, home from Santiago we need space or an extra bag.
 

oldman

oldman
Camino(s) past & future
C/Frances. SJPP - Estella May 2009.
C/frances. SJPP - Santiago April/ May 2013.
C/Finisterre. Santiag - Finisterre - Muxia May 2013.
C/Ingles. Ferrol - Santiago May 2013.
C/Frances. SJPP - Santiago May - June 2015.
C/Finisterre. Santiago - Muxia - Finisrerre - Cee. June 2015.
C/Frances. Logrono - Burgos May 2016.
Hi Dolltz for me Nidarosa hit the mark if a pack needs a proper hip belt and you don't have to fill it, but you have to carry it and the hips take the weight.
As for budget think Ryanair if you can't bring it on the plane with you its probely too big or heavy
Oldman
 

dollytz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino Frances September 2016
R
Hi Dolltz for me Nidarosa hit the mark if a pack needs a proper hip belt and you don't have to fill it, but you have to carry it and the hips take the weight.
As for budget think Ryanair if you can't bring it on the plane with you its probely too big or heavy
Oldman
I don't think that Ryanair have got to Tanzania yet! Seriously, thanks for the advice. All of my packs have a hip belt, one doesn't have a chest belt but this is easily sorted. I can take both to the UK, pack and see how it feels
 

Pawel

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF+Muxia, Sep/Oct 2015
CF+Fin Sep/Oct 2017
I walked CF in late September and whole October 2015. Talon 33 did well (filled in 2/3 at most orless). Still since then I have switched to smaller Talon 22 and walked a lot with it already. So from my point of view 24l is definitely doable in that time of the year.
As some others mentioned before - weight is not the only one factor.
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
...So, this coming April, I will walk the Camino de Madrid using a 35-liter Elementerre "Arenal" (FR) Rucksack, with accessory front Ribz Packs. The accessory rig is intended to move water, rain gear, and anything else I might need during the walking day to the front of my harness to balance weight....
@t2andreo, your setup sounds rather like the Aarn setup which allows a hiker to divide the load between front & back. I'll be interested to hear how it goes.
Suzanne :)
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, July 2014
Via di Francesco (Italy), July 2015
Frances, Sept-Oct 2016
Portugues Oct. 2017
My wife and I carried 24L and 26L packs on the France, July 2014. We had room to spare. Mid-Sept. you might have another warm layer, but if you keep the gear to a minimum (and you'll want to--my test was whether the item was so useful that it deserved to be carried on my back across Spain), the 24L should encourage you to be prudent with gear selections. Weighing every item individually (in grams) also helped make better decisions.

My fuller thoughts on gear is here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/gear-report-what-actually-worked-what-did-not-for-a-summer-camino.31137/

Buen Camino,
Jo Jo
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I have been using the Aarn-like setup for two Caminos already (2014 & 2015). Moving weight to the front definitely works. That issue is well-resolved.

One day, I suppose that I will break down and buy an Aarn pack with balance bags. But, given the cost of buying them outside New Zealand, I may have to travel there and buy one direct. As this is one country I have not yet traveled to, it might be a good enough justification. I am weird like that.:eek:
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I have been using the Aarn-like setup for two Caminos already (2014 & 2015). Moving weight to the front definitely works. That issue is well-resolved.

One day, I suppose that I will break down and buy an Aarn pack with balance bags. But, given the cost of buying them outside New Zealand, I may have to travel there and buy one direct. As this is one country I have not yet traveled to, it might be a good enough justification. I am weird like that.:eek:
Merely hanging weight off the front of the harness does NOT replicate the advantages of the Aarn design. If anything, it increases the proportion of the load carried on the shoulders and not on the waist. I do it for relatively light items such as my GPS and camera that I want to be accessible, and possibly a small chest pouch with some snacks.

The Aarn approach supports the balance pockets on a couple of light metal stays attached to the waist belt. Quite a large load can be carried in the balance pockets, and has little effect on the load on the shoulders because the weight is transferred to the waist belt by the stays.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Doug:

You are of course correct. In my observation and research, Aarn packs appear to be the "ultimate" solution (to date) for distributing weight more evenly.

The only thing I have found that even comes close are Ribz pack bags (http://www.ribzwear.com/). I bought a set to try this April.

They are designed to be put on before you hoist your rucksack. The two front packs ride to either side of your belly, and zip closed in the middle. I am apprehensive they will work, but it is possible that I am wrong. We will see.

...

Tom
 
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