Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Back pack for Male or Female

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
I've yet to do a Camino. Just researching at the moment. Regarding my purchase of backpack, as a woman, does it matter if I use one specified for men?
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
Thank you for the prompt response. I suspected as much. Had to check though. All advise to ensure a comfortable stomp is welcomed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2018
Camino Ingles, Caminos Muxia and Finisterre 2019
When you do choose one spend time at home with it just like you might new boots. You can test packing it and wearing it at home and spend some time wearing it. I measured a medium and bought a medium but it seemed too long in the back. I then bought a small and took time to compare the fit and feel then was able to return the medium because the small size was definitely better for me.

There will be lots of threads about equipment so it's worth using the search facility here. Lots of people love discussing kit so always ask too. Good luck.
 

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
Hi GBAyr
I have nothing much to add to the advice already given. Just thought I’d say hello to a fellow Ayrshire person. For what it’s worth I have a women specific pack but it’s really about what is comfortable for you.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have used two different women specific packs - I tried the men's version of the first one because I liked the color better, but the shoulder straps were not comfortable.
Last year I used a unisex backpack that was also quite comfortable.
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
I have used two different women specific packs - I tried the men's version of the first one because I liked the color better, but the shoulder straps were not comfortable.
Last year I used a unisex backpack that was also quite comfortable.
Thank you for your reply. The cost of having to buy to try concerns me, as I think, from most posts on here and other forums, the consensus is that you discover if it's suitable once you're into the journey and end up buying another, and so on.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Gender specific backpacks are the manufacturers method of designating sizing. They work with the assumption that women have shorter backs, wider hips and narrower shoulders than men. If you are purchasing a backpack ensure it fits you, not your gender. Reputable vendors will assist.
Please, please follow TInca's advice. If you live in the United States go to REI. There are experts there that can help to fit you properly. In Europe I am sure that Decathlon would be the store to go to. What fits is the best one for you. Remember the bigger you buy the heavier it will weigh because first time pilgrims will almost always carry to much. Get the return policy on the pack too as you should listen to Carol's advice and pack it and walk with it. I would expand the walking to taking hikes with it. Listen to David Tallan and read the advice about packs on this forum but remember the only advice that will really matter is how it feels. Finally I would also check out packing lists and especially pay attention to people who are traveling light. The lighter is definitely better. Remember you are not walking the Sahara, you can always buy what you find that you need and did not bring in Spain. Final rule of thumb only take what you think you will absolutely need.
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
Hi GBAyr
I have nothing much to add to the advice already given. Just thought I’d say hello to a fellow Ayrshire person. For what it’s worth I have a women specific pack but it’s really about what is comfortable for you.
Hello to you too :) Thanks for commenting. I guess we are all shapes and sizes so the gender based product isn't really worth it's label. I'm very broad in the shoulder, long in the back, and have no waist, so I probably would be best suited to a pack for a man....In theory! I see you'd a June 2020 walk planned. Did you have to cancel?
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
When you do choose one spend time at home with it just like you might new boots. You can test packing it and wearing it at home and spend some time wearing it. I measured a medium and bought a medium but it seemed too long in the back. I then bought a small and took time to compare the fit and feel then was able to return the medium because the small size was definitely better for me.

There will be lots of threads about equipment so it's worth using the search facility here. Lots of people love discussing kit so always ask too. Good luck.
Thank you Carol. I noticed the size on the charts I looked at show that an over lap in back sizes covers small and medium so it can only be a gamble if your size is right in the middle of the two. I found a Small/Medium 36L pack - Osprey Sirrus. It seems to have good reviews on here. I have to order my pack, rather than go and get one fitted, as I'm too far from any outdoor shop and working during the same hours as them. So I'm hoping to gather as much useful info as possible to gamble a purchase that will at least see me ok for my first long hike. I will probably be alone too so it'd be good to gather up the best advise on here first, to reduce the niggles, aches and pains on the way.
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
This is what I have boiled my research down to....so far. Osprey Sirrus 36 Women's Ventilated. It says its for Small and Medium women. Opinions welcomed. I appreciated back size and body shape are an important aspect. Just curious to hear personal reviews. Thank you
 

Attachments

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
Hello to you too :) Thanks for commenting. I guess we are all shapes and sizes so the gender based product isn't really worth it's label. I'm very broad in the shoulder, long in the back, and have no waist, so I probably would be best suited to a pack for a man....In theory! I see you'd a June 2020 walk planned. Did you have to cancel?
I did have to cancel my plans for June and rebooked flights for end of August hoping the virus would have settled by then. I am starting from Saint Jean in just over a week on 30th August. Nervous and excited at the same time. If the virus situation in Spain deteriorates then I think I’ll detour to Portugal as it’s now on the safe list.
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
I did have to cancel my plans for June and rebooked flights for end of August hoping the virus would have settled by then. I am starting from Saint Jean in just over a week on 30th August. Nervous and excited at the same time. If the virus situation in Spain deteriorates then I think I’ll detour to Portugal as it’s now on the safe list.
Do you walk alone? I'm just wondering how daunting it is and if you ever feel unsafe. The pandemic has really upset everyone's lives. Even being on a plane with other people puts me off just now. But I'm sure there's little chance of catching it whilst out walking all day. Perhaps a tent is the best option, if you can.
 

RRat

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning 2017
I've yet to do a Camino. Just researching at the moment. Regarding my purchase of backpack, as a woman, does it matter if I use one specified for men?
Make sure to visit more than one sporting good store. No one store carries all brands. My experience with packs, shoes, etc is that the smaller stores carry brands that are time tested by the store. Small stores can't afford returns or unhappy customers so they tend to carry what works.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Back in the day Dave Bugg would have been into this thread like a tramp on chips with a couple of pages of cut ‘n paste. I do hope he’s keeping well. (GBAyr - ignore me, it’s not supposed to mean anything to you)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2018
Camino Ingles, Caminos Muxia and Finisterre 2019
Thank you Carol. I noticed the size on the charts I looked at show that an over lap in back sizes covers small and medium so it can only be a gamble if your size is right in the middle of the two. I found a Small/Medium 36L pack - Osprey Sirrus. It seems to have good reviews on here. I have to order my pack, rather than go and get one fitted, as I'm too far from any outdoor shop and working during the same hours as them. So I'm hoping to gather as much useful info as possible to gamble a purchase that will at least see me ok for my first long hike. I will probably be alone too so it'd be good to gather up the best advise on here first, to reduce the niggles, aches and pains on the way.
I am also in the UK and I have not found anywhere that would allow using a pack outdoors then returning it. That is why I suggest playing with one you choose inside your home as much as possible. REI does some good videos including how to fit a pack to your body. Osprey is a very popular make with pilgrims but there are lots of brands out there.

I chose an Osprey Eja 38l (the male version is the Exos). I particularly wanted a light pack as I was nervous of my ability to carry a backpack. The Eja seemed the best combination of lightness and comfortable straps for me. The top section (brain) is removable which saved weight, my pack is 900g like this. If you can keep your weight to a minimum it will make a huge difference. I had stacks of room in my pack but it cinched in and was very comfortable to carry and easy to adjust. I also liked that I could easily access my water bottle myself, without taking my pack off.

I also used a Lowe Alpine belt pack for my cash, phone, guidebook, passport and credential. Easy to access these things and also to take them with me to the shower or out in the evening etc.

Good luck
 

Gail Dickson

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April 2016
Portugese from Lisbon 2018
Via Francigena (2020)
This is what I have boiled my research down to....so far. Osprey Sirrus 36 Women's Ventilated. It says its for Small and Medium women. Opinions welcomed. I appreciated back size and body shape are an important aspect. Just curious to hear personal reviews. Thank you
I have the osprey Stratos 34, mens version of the Sirrus. I am 5'8" and find it is perfect. If you are small lady the Sirrus will be fine otherwise go for the stratos. Great packs.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
The outdoor stores I visited when searching for a pack had weights I could put in the pack to test its feel and comfort. I was able to walk around the store with the weighted pack for as long as I wanted ... (unless someone else needed the weights). When I finally purchased my pack I was fairly confident I had the right one.
 

Bodi

For this breath, I am present.
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Najera Sept. 2017; Najera to Astorga Oct. 2018; SJPP to Pamplona May 2019
I have the Osprey Sirrus 34L and love it. I’m about 5’4” and purchased the small size but realized it didn’t fit correctly so returned it for a medium. I love the fit and the trampoline back as well as all the pockets.
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
I have the Osprey Sirrus 34L and love it. I’m about 5’4” and purchased the small size but realized it didn’t fit correctly so returned it for a medium. I love the fit and the trampoline back as well as all the pockets.
That's very helpful, thanks. I'm 5'5" so the medium will be a better choice for me then.
 

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
Do you walk alone? I'm just wondering how daunting it is and if you ever feel unsafe. The pandemic has really upset everyone's lives. Even being on a plane with other people puts me off just now. But I'm sure there's little chance of catching it whilst out walking all day. Perhaps a tent is the best option, if you can.
I will be walking alone but the Camino seems to be pretty safe. I’ve done the last 100 km 2 years ago with a friend and stayed in hotels but this time I’m on my own and staying in albergues. I’m a wee bit nervous but I’m sure I’ll be fine once I start walking. There is a Facebook group especially for women called Camigas which has lots of useful information and allows you to connect with other women who will be walking at the same time.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
That's very helpful, thanks. I'm 5'5" so the medium will be a better choice for me then.
It's not your overall height but your torso length that's important for backpack sizing.
Two people can be the same height but have different torso sizes, depending on whether their height is in their legs or body.
 

GBAyr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not yet
It's not your overall height but your torso length that's important for backpack sizing.
Two people can be the same height but have different torso sizes, depending on whether their height is in their legs or body.
Thank you. Yes, I'm quite long in the back so I believe the medium will be best. I've ordered that to test it out at home. I see you've clocked quite a few Caminos now! I'm hoping it becomes my addiction too. What time of year do you prefer to go?
 

Felicia V

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2017 Porto to SdC
Return to Camino Portuguese 2018 Tui To SdC
I've yet to do a Camino. Just researching at the moment. Regarding my purchase of backpack, as a woman, does it matter if I use one specified for men?
I really think it’s best to get fitted, that being said, when my sister and I got fitted, a men’s worked better for her, and she’s 5’3” and short waisted.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thank you. Yes, I'm quite long in the back so I believe the medium will be best. I've ordered that to test it out at home. I see you've clocked quite a few Caminos now! I'm hoping it becomes my addiction too. What time of year do you prefer to go?
I've done all of my Caminos between May and September. There are pros and cons to each season. The long days of summer are fantastic, the heat not so much. It was fantastic seeing the Meseta in the Spring last year when everything was green and there were wildflowers everywhere.
 

DyanTX

DyanTX
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
If you can find someone who will help you measure your exact torso length, then you can order accordingly. I carry an Osprey Sirius 36liter in a women's XS/S. I first tried a small/medium but found it too long and no amount of adjustment made it work. The XS/S was perfect without further adjustment.
 

aname4me

aname4me
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, (2021)
Most important is your torso length. Your backpack will (obviously) ride on your shoulders. The trick is to make sure it fits correctly on your hips. It is not about your height... it is your torso length.

On my 4th Camino my Wife backed out (death in Family), so I bribed my Son to come.
Being younger, he was very amenable to using my Wife backpack (at no cost but, didn't fit him).
You guessed it... the pack became uncomfortable to walk with.

Let me now interject with a Camino strategy for Couples walking the Camino.
I am the reason we walk the Camino. My Wife enjoys it, but is not as committed.
SO.... I use a 36Litre Pack and my Wife uses a 55Litre Pack.

Two things...
Don't over pack the larger Pack.
2nd... for 80% of the walk my Wife sends her (my Sons) backpack ahead (with A LOT of my stuff in it)

Her larger pack can also fit most of my stuff.
I still wear my pack to walk, but with minimal weight (a 5 lbs backpack = pleasure).


So... Walking by yourself. 36 Litre Pack.
If it doesn't fit in your 36L pack.... leave it behind! Their are no end of Store on the Camino.
If you discover you REALLY needed it.... buy it on the trail.

If Walking with someone.... The second Pack should be bigger, and send it ahead.

You are walking the Camino to enjoy it.... Not to see who can suffer the most.
 
Last edited:

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)


Advertisement

Booking.com

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 56 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 197 15.0%
  • May

    Votes: 327 24.9%
  • June

    Votes: 95 7.2%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 379 28.9%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock