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Back Pack for ultra light

barryg

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry
 
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I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry

Hi, Barry. . .

A few questions to help narrow down some of the many candidates available,
1. What backpacking experience do you have to this point?
2. Do you have a specific carrying capacity (amount of load space) in mind?
3. What country are you from?
4. Are you planning to use the backpack for hiking or trekking other than the Camino?
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry
You want the best guidance to help you make the best choice? Answer Davebuggs' questions. That would be my advice. He is the guru of all things equipment and body related questions that trouble the Camino universe!
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry
I don't have a backpack recommendation, but you may want to consider a few more things to throw in there. I expect that you know these from your Camino last year but I am putting this out there for readers who haven't walked yet and may be looking at your list and thinking it is enough. Top of the list is a towel and toiletries. They may not be needed if you are staying in hotels, but the bivvy sack and sleeping bag liner suggest that you won't. Perhaps one can walk without these but your fellow pilgrims won't thank you. In your extra clothes, in addition to the shorts and tops, make sure to include underwear and socks.

You may say that all of this goes without saying, but you haven't read all of the same threads here on the forums as I have. :)
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry

Depends what your definition of ultra-light is - mine is under 3kg ex water - and my pack is 12L - and that includes 2-4L of water

But volume can also be a constraint on pack size - for May, I'm not sure about the goose down jacket - it's more likely to be warm that cold and you'll need more liquid than you can carry in your pockets
 
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Deleted member 3000

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10.5 oz.

 

Priscilla NC

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
I'm another Z Pack lover. Mine has been through 2 caminos and many hiking journeys. It's still in great condition.
 
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Deleted member 67185

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Depends what your definition of ultra-light is - mine is under 3kg ex water - and my pack is 12L - and that includes 2-4L of water

But volume can also be a constraint on pack size - for May, I'm not sure about the goose down jacket - it's more likely to be warm that cold and you'll need more liquid than you can carry in your pockets

:) 3 kg is definitely within the standard definition for "ultralight", which is a base weight (weight of the backpack and non-consumable contents) 10 pounds or less / 4.5 kg.

In fact, you are close to what would be defined as "hyperlight" or "superultralight" which is 6 pounds / 2.7 kg or less.

Total pack weight would be the backpack plus all of the contents of the backpack including consumables (food, water, fuel, etc)

Although thee discussions of base weights in these categories are typically applied to wilderness backpacking where the demands and needs are trickier and more profound than on Camino, I am happy that the Camino allows me the fun of a super light load. :)
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry
Have a look at the Osprey Levity 45. I bought the ladies’ version, Lumina. Doesn’t have all the mods and cons I was used to with the Exos but it is roomy and very light... I’ll be using it again this Summer on the VF. (I am not an ultra-light backpacker! but I keep the weight under 5kgs).
 

barryg

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Hi, Barry. . .

A few questions to help narrow down some of the many candidates available,
1. What backpacking experience do you have to this point?
2. Do you have a specific carrying capacity (amount of load space) in mind?
3. What country are you from?
4. Are you planning to use the backpack for hiking or trekking other than the Camino?

Just using it for the Camino. Did the Camino last year with my wife's inner frame pack. Besides the balance being all of (and hurting my hips), I carried far too much. I need just enough space for one change of clothes, one extra pair of sandals, a ponch, a bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, flash light, that's about it.
 

barryg

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Depends what your definition of ultra-light is - mine is under 3kg ex water - and my pack is 12L - and that includes 2-4L of water

But volume can also be a constraint on pack size - for May, I'm not sure about the goose down jacket - it's more likely to be warm that cold and you'll need more liquid than you can carry in your pockets

You say "Mine is under 3kg," but you don't mention the name of the pack. Care to share?
 
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barryg

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
:) 3 kg is definitely within the standard definition for "ultralight", which is a base weight (weight of the backpack and non-consumable contents) 10 pounds or less / 4.5 kg.

In fact, you are close to what would be defined as "hyperlight" or "superultralight" which is 6 pounds / 2.7 kg or less.

Total pack weight would be the backpack plus all of the contents of the backpack including consumables (food, water, fuel, etc)

Although thee discussions of base weights in these categories are typically applied to wilderness backpacking where the demands and needs are trickier and more profound than on Camino, I am happy that the Camino allows me the fun of a super light load. :)

Can you suggest a brand name?
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Just using it for the Camino. Did the Camino last year with my wife's inner frame pack. Besides the balance being all of (and hurting my hips), I carried far too much. I need just enough space for one change of clothes, one extra pair of sandals, a ponch, a bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, flash light, that's about it.
You’ll still need a towel, some first aid kit, minimal toiletries, a hat.... 🙂
 

barryg

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Just to be clear, I want to be very light. I even considered stuffing all my stuff in my cargo shorts, but that is absurd, of course. Thanks for all your wonderfully informative answers.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Someone above, says that "Zpack is no more." Is that true?
 
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alhartman

2005-2017 Delightful 346 days in Spain and France.
Past OR future Camino
2017
Zpack Nero and MyTrails HL20 are both in the neighborhood of 300 grams, The Exos38 is 1050 grams. Osprey Levity45 is 810gms (all from the manufacturers specs)
My Osprey Talon33 is 885 grams, and my Talon44 is 1105 grams. (both from a food scale)

So much depends on your Camino (winter??, camping?) --and what features you want (each adds a little weight). I can vouch from early caminos that with very light loads (GoLite at the time) the minimalist packs (ie no suspension, just straps, meager waistbelt, and sternum strap) work just fine. But at that time I did not need a water bladder--just a single bottle in side pocket.

All that said, go to a real store with your gear in stuff-sacks and try for proper fit.
 
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Deleted member 67185

Guest
Can you suggest a brand name?

The reason I asked about what country you live in is because you location can affect what backpacks are available to you.

You are basically talking about carrying a load that is so lightweight, I would focus on only frameless backpacks, especially since you only are going to use it for a Camino and not for other applications where you want to haul a weight above 4 to 7 kg. At that load weight my recommendation is to look at a frameless backpack, even a hipbelt is not needed, though it can still be somewhat useful.

At 13 ounces / 0.3 kg, (it is 8 ounces / 0.2 kg if decide to remove the hipbelt), I have not worn a frameless backpack, for the load you want to carry, that is more comfortable than the Gossamer Gear Murmur 36.

The Murmur is also fairly waterproof, so even in rain showers the contents inside the pack will remain dry.

The Murmur will still give you a buffer for carrying more stuff, and what you are carrying will not require any cramming or squeezing or tying anything to the outside of the pack. It also has usable outside pockets for water bottles, first aid kit, etc. For the ultralightweight of this backpack, you get a great piece of gear.
 
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Deleted member 3000

Guest
Someone above, says that "Zpack is no more." Is that true?
No.

 
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Deleted member 3000

Guest
You’ll still need a towel, some first aid kit, minimal toiletries, a hat.... 🙂
Earl Shaffer – 1948

When Earl Shaffer walked up Mt. Oglethorpe back in 1948, beginning what would become know as “The Long Cruise” and first thru-hike, he was carrying the following gear in his Mountain Troop ruck sack:
Air Corps survival tent
Marine Corps poncho
A “rainhat” |
“Paper mill” blanket
Match safe
Compass
Sheath knife
Small handaxe
Sewing kit
Snakebite kit
Mountain Troop cook kit, plus food for about a week

His clothing consisted of:
T-shirts
Navy turtleneck
Mountain Cloth pants
Wool-cotton socks
Birdshooter boots.

The tent was the only item that he removed during his hike.

For later hikes, he used a tin can instead of a cook kit, and did not use a tent!
 
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Harington

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Zpacks Arc Blast.
Note that Zpacks size litters including its outside pockets. So a 55L is really only 42L of main storage.
20.2 oz.
You wont regret it.
Opinions are divided about Zpacks. I used one when I walked Canterbury-Rome, and it was never comfortable on one shoulder, no matter how I configured it. Other users have said the same. While it was still under warranty the webbing "cup" that holds one of the carbon fibre stays broke. The second time I used it when walking across Sicily, one of the carbon fibre stays itself broke. That said, they are ultra light. And their customer service is truly excellent/
 

mishlove

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
Lowe Alpine

 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
Just to be clear, I want to be very light. I even considered stuffing all my stuff in my cargo shorts, but that is absurd, of course. Thanks for all your wonderfully informative answers.
Of course that is absurd. Weight you carry is weight you carry, whether it is in your backpack or elsewhere. It is all weight that your feet have to move from point A to point B. Presumably, we put it in the backpack because it is easier to carry/less of a strain there than the alternatives (in the hands, on the head, in a front carrier, etc.). If that is the case, moving weight to another location is just going to make things harder on you rather than easier.
 

Mar Oregon

Member
Past OR future Camino
Hoping to walk in 2020
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry
Hi Barry
You might check out the Utah based company https://www.ula-equipment.com
They make some very lightweight packs. They are well made and they have great customer service. The owner will work with you if you have custom requests. I ordered a custom color pack and it arrived at my door in less than a week.
Buen Camino friend.
 
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phogie

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Shikoku Henro (2018)
Frances (sept-oct 2019)
I was planning to use my Salomon Adv Skin 12 running vest, but I have to say, the Murmur mentioned by Dave looks really good also.

The weight is about the same, but the Murmur is water resistant and it would allow me to carry a bit more gear. On the other hand, I'm planning to "run" some parts of the route, so a half empty 36-liter pack would probably be bouncing a lot. It's also not available locally, so I'm not able try it before buying...
 
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Past OR future Camino
Frances: 2016/17; LePuy 2018/19; Norte 2021
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel.

Hi Barry,

All of the suggestions so far are good ones, which is no surprise given the breadth of experience and how many km have been logged by those sharing their ideas. I've read and heard great things about ULA and about Zpacks, but have never owned one.

I have tried a number of packs since 2015, including a couple of Osprey packs (which I think of as the standard bearer), an REI Trail 40, and a Gregory Z40. I liked all of them for various reasons but I didn't love the weight of any of them, and with the Trail 40 and Z40, I didn't like how they carried (this is, of course, a very subjective critique). I bought a Lowe Alpine, took it out for a few mile hike on one of our local trails, came home and put it back in the box to return, mostly because it was too heavy. It just didn't fit all that great either. And, yes, I was properly sized/fitted before making the purchase.

I carried the Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40 (32 oz) on the Chemin du Puy in April and May and absolutely loved it. It rained 10 of the days I was out and it stayed dry. I did have a pack cover which helps a great deal. The Gorilla is an ultralight pack and carries as comfortably as any pack I have owned. I have not tried Gossamer's Kumo 36 (21 oz) or Lonestar 30 (29.5 oz) so I can't give an honest evaluation of those. There is also 36L superlight pack that comes in at about a pound. I did just purchase a day pack from Gossamer (Vagabond) and have liked it for short hikes and biking. I wouldn't use it on a multi-day trip.

There are so many variables that it's tough to know what is going to fit and feel best for someone else. As for me, the Gorilla 40 is doing the trick... at least for now :).

Good luck and Buen Camino!
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
If you want to go real ultra light, consider Gobi Gear's Free Spirit 30L pack. Nothing lighter or cheaper.

Skip the bivy and the goose down jacket. It is Spain. Take a microfleece sweater and a rain jacket or poncho. The poncho can also double as a tent, if needed. Take a good sized piece of Tyvek for a ground cloth.
 

cbacino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes (one extra pair, perhaps, of very light shoes. One pair shorts, two tops). Water I will pick up at the stops and carry in my cargo shorts pockets. Any suggestions? I am thinking of hiking the northern route in May of next year. I walked the Camino Frances last May.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Warmly,

Barry
Check out ULA backpacks.
 

gvmelissa

New Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP - SdC 2014
Porto - SdC 2016
Norte - 2018
Ing/Fin/Sdc 2019
I've used the Marmot Kompressor Plus 20 pack on 3 Caminos and 2 other long distance hikes and loved it!! 20 liter capacity and weighs 13 ounces. My total pack weight was about 8-9 pounds (without water). Oh, and it's only about $45. I'd highly recommend this pack for ultralight weight walkers.
 
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Fmt2Camino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hello my Camino friends...
I am also searching for an ultra-light backpack. Has anyone heard or used the Matador Freerain32?
It is 10.6 oz (~300g). The lightest (~)32L Osprey I can find is about 1kg.

The Beast28 also looks pretty good to me. It is still very light at about 600g.
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Hello my Camino friends...
I am also searching for an ultra-light backpack. Has anyone heard or used the Matador Freerain32?
It is 10.6 oz (~300g). The lightest (~)32L Osprey I can find is about 1kg.

The Beast28 also looks pretty good to me. It is still very light at about 600g.
Its been discussen on the UL-reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Ultralight/comments/facojb
To me it looks good, 3 minor problems i got:
1. No padding in Straps
2. No way to attach my water bottle to straps
3. No mesh front pocket

But regarding size and features, it should definately be up for a camino in the warmer half of the year. The price is also attractive.
 

BombayBill

Still Learning
Past OR future Camino
2021
So light! A key feature for me for hot Camino walking is a ventilated back panel. I use an Osprey light pack with the ventilated panel. Otherwise the sweat build-up is too great.
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019 CF
So light! A key feature for me for hot Camino walking is a ventilated back panel. I use an Osprey light pack with the ventilated panel. Otherwise the sweat build-up is too great.
Lots of people hike with backpacks without a ventilated back. Me aswell. Ventilation might be nice, but as of date, there is only a single ventilated ultralight backpack on the market and that one is kinda pricey. Osprey and the likes might be nice for lots of people, but they are not light or even ultra light packs.
 

peregrin peregrina

New Member
Past OR future Camino
april 2021
just curious- why wouldn’t you use the vagabond for multi-days? i am considering using it for my camino and packing ultra light. do you suppose it would fall apart or something?
 
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Past OR future Camino
Frances: 2016/17; LePuy 2018/19; Norte 2021
just curious- why wouldn’t you use the vagabond for multi-days? i am considering using it for my camino and packing ultra light. do you suppose it would fall apart or something?
You can now purchase a hip belt with the pack. If I recall at the time I bought mine that option didn’t exist. W/O the hip belt it wouldn’t be a great multi day option as you having your shoulders bear that weight would cause problems.
Gossamer Gear products are well made, I would have no concern about durability.
Hope you get the right pack for you… Buen Camino!
 

peregrin peregrina

New Member
Past OR future Camino
april 2021
You can now purchase a hip belt with the pack. If I recall at the time I bought mine that option didn’t exist. W/O the hip belt it wouldn’t be a great multi day option as you having your shoulders bear that weight would cause problems.
Gossamer Gear products are well made, I would have no concern about durability.
Hope you get the right pack for you… Buen Camino!
thx! i do have a hip belt from a gossamer gear murmer which may take but i actually like the vagabond better! buen camino to you too :)
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CFx2, CPx1
I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for ultralight Camino travel. That would be carrying only a Bivvy sack, sleeping bag liner, goose down jacket in a stuff bag, poncho and extra clothes and shoes
Thanks for any suggestions!
Warmly,
Barry
Hi Barry
Here's an interesting video that may prompt a few ideas.
On the CF I carried one 500ml water bottle in each cargo pocket. Topped up at every fountain, as well as drinking even if I didn't feel I needed to. Now I utilise pocket on shoulder strap.
Regards
Gerard
 
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