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Backpack advice

2020 Camino Guides

Wandalina

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese in September '18
Primitivo in September '19
Hi everyone I'm sorry if this has been asked a lot. I'm heading on my Camino in two weeks and my last thing to get is the pack. Had hoped to get it it sales etc..I see a lot of good deals on Lowe Alpine packs although I've heard osprey are the best I'm on a budget. Is it worth the stretch to go for osprey or does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks
 

Waka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
Heres my advice, backpacks are like your socks and footwear, you must make sure that they are fit for purpose.
Like your shoes/boots they really need to be fitted by a professional, likewise your backpack. In my opinion you have left it a little late to get the backpack, I would go to a recognised walking store and get the backpack that is right for you. The guys in the shop will measure and pick the write one for you, now you've said that you are on a budget, explain that to the guys.
Happy backpack hunting.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
You do not need the "best" or an expensive backpack to walk the Camino. It is not a backpacking hike or technical. The same goes for any of the equipment or clothing you carry to walk it. I have walked it before using a backpack that I bought for about 30 euros at a discount shop. Don't be put off by the threads on this forum where members praise the wonders of packs, clothing and sleeping bags that cost a king's ransom. I think many don't realize that there are prospective pilgrims out there on strict budgets.
Choose which Lowe Alpine pack fits you best, and is the right size for your needs and use that.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
You need a backpack that has a hip belt and feels reasonably comfortable for the caminho. The hip belt is important as I have met a few pilgrims with packs without who were suffering shoulder pain. But the brand matters much less.
I have a Lowe alpine that I love and has been on camino Frances and on the section of camino português from Lisbon to porto and this summer was with me on the first leg I did of via Francis enable from England down into France. It was a good buy for me 6 years ago. But I also have a much cheaper day pack that I use walking at home which has no big name brand and is comfy and going strong after 8 years.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
IMO it depends....if you are dong the last 100km using a less supportive backpack that is not overloaded you may be OK. If you are planning the entire CF, for example, then invest in a better backpack with hip belt.
Agree with Waka....go to a shop and work with an expert who can help fit you properly.Buen Camino!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
You do not need the "best" or an expensive backpack to walk the Camino. It is not a backpacking hike or technical. The same goes for any of the equipment or clothing you carry to walk it. I have walked it before using a backpack that I bought for about 30 euros at a discount shop. Don't be put off by the threads on this forum where members praise the wonders of packs, clothing and sleeping bags that cost a king's ransom. I think many don't realize that there are prospective pilgrims out there on strict budgets.
Choose which Lowe Alpine pack fits you best, and is the right size for your needs and use that.
I agree. Don’t worry unduly.
My first backpack was from Lidl and cost under £10 if I remember rightly....
I had no trouble with it and happily walked from St Jean p de Port to Finisterre :)
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Navarra!
Finalise your packing list.

Put ALL of the gear you intend to carry into a trash bag.

Take it along to the store and find a bag it will fit into.

Does it feel comfortable to wear? Can you afford it?

Whether or not it fits is a whole different ballgame - are you tall/short/thickset/slender/female/male? It all matters unless you are Dick Whittington

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peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Wandalina - I wonder, are you planning to just buy online without testing? If so, I guess a lot of people do and many of them are happy with their choices. Yes, Alpine Lowe and Osprey are big trusted brands and Osprey packs were the most popular on the camino, last time I was there. Quechua (from Decathlon) are also very popular and about half the price. Plenty of other makes are good too, such as MacPac, TNF, Dueter, Berghaus, Gregory etc etc
All the old salts here are emphasising the importance of trying before buying - so you should do that if you possibly can. And if you find something that feels right it shouldn't matter what brand it is. Marbe2 makes a good point - if you are just walking the last 100km and aren't planning on a lot of subsequent hikes, then it won't matter too much what you choose (within some basic parameters of back length/size and litre capacity). And you might as well go for a cheaper one if the budget is tight. If you're starting from Lisbon then something that fits very nicely and is likely to last becomes more important.
Perhaps you can say some more about how far you are walking, which country you are buying in and how many litres capacity of your pack you are looking for? cheers, tom
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm not sure if Osprey packs are better packs or if they just have better marketing and distribution networks than other companies. Lots of people carry Lowe Alpine, Deuter, Quechua, etc packs and love them.
How the pack fits you is what is important. And packing it properly is important too. Ask how at the place where you buy it, or there are many YouTube videos and diagrams online that show how.
 

sunshines

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino de portuguese (2018)
camino Frances (portion) (2019)
camino primitivo/Frances (2019)
I have o bumbag packs (you can fit a small coat and supplies in ) lowe alpine which I have had for at least 18 years and is about to bite the bullet and an Osprey one that I`ve had two years. the Osprey one seems smaller but it is crafty like a tardis because you can actually fit more in it with all the side pockets etc and apparently Osprey are guaranteed for life so they might cost more but with that guarantee they are likely worth the money. At the same time it is good to go to a walking shop because they will measure you etc and everyone has a different sized back and hip to back distance - mine is very small and most rucksacks dont fit me well....
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
For me, the three most important pieces of gear are my shoes, socks, and backpack. I’d get to a outdoor gear shop and get fitted for a pack. A good fit is critical. Online reviews aren’t going to tell you how a pack feels on your body. You’re going to be walking a half marathon a day with that pack strapped to your back. You want it to fit naturally.
 

Wandalina

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese in September '18
Primitivo in September '19
Thanks for your great advice it's so reassuring to know that there's people here who take the time to write such informed and honest answers. Thanks for putting my mind at rest. It's easy to feel under pressure to spend a fortune on the best gear... Everything the Camino is not about
 

Syncro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francais
I agree with the following sentiment: Go to the store and try them on first before buying, if possible. I had an old pack I had never used and thought I would take with me on my first Camino (saves on $, I thought). I went to REI to have them help me pack my bag and soon realized, the bag I planned to take was not the right fit for me. The associate at the store had me try on several other packs and Osprey was by far the best choice for me. It made a huge difference from the other bag and I'm glad I decided to invest in a new one. As an aside, I weigh slightly less than 125 lbs. I am a true minimalist packer and carry a Camelback bladder. It's very hard to follow the 10% rule at this weight with water, so for me, the weight and fit of the pack matters a lot and it was well worth my investment.

Buen Camino!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Thanks for your great advice it's so reassuring to know that there's people here who take the time to write such informed and honest answers. Thanks for putting my mind at rest. It's easy to feel under pressure to spend a fortune on the best gear... Everything the Camino is not about
That is probably a pet gripe I have when advice is given on what to bring on the Camino. I do not know if it is related to the demographics of this forum's members, but it seems that equipment recommended is mostly expensive equipment, and upon walking the Camino one realizes it is not necessary and the Camino s easily walked with budget priced gear. The weight (not over-packed) of your fully loaded pack is far more important than the pack itself. Your physical condition before you walk the Camino is more important than what brand pack or clothing you buy. Any prospective pilgrim reading this, do not feel you need to spend a lot of money on clothing and equipment.
You will observe pilgrims on the Camino happily and efficiently trekking along carrying small, inexpensive frame-less packs and wearing sandals, and you will see them happy and healthy in Santiago wearing same.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I agree with the following sentiment: Go to the store and try them on first before buying, if possible. I had an old pack I had never used and thought I would take with me on my first Camino (saves on $, I thought). I went to REI to have them help me pack my bag and soon realized, the bag I planned to take was not the right fit for me. The associate at the store had me try on several other packs and Osprey was by far the best choice for me. It made a huge difference from the other bag and I'm glad I decided to invest in a new one. As an aside, I weigh slightly less than 125 lbs. I am a true minimalist packer and carry a Camelback bladder. It's very hard to follow the 10% rule at this weight with water, so for me, the weight and fit of the pack matters a lot and it was well worth my investment.

Buen Camino!
The 10% "rule" applies to your pack without water or food. And I agree that the less that you weigh the harder it is to follow. But it's not really a rule, but more of a guideline.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
That is probably a pet gripe I have when advice is given on what to bring on the Camino. I do not know if it is related to the demographics of this forum's members, but it seems that equipment recommended is mostly expensive equipment, and upon walking the Camino one realizes it is not necessary and the Camino s easily walked with budget priced gear. The weight (not over-packed) of your fully loaded pack is far more important than the pack itself. Your physical condition before you walk the Camino is more important than what brand pack or clothing you buy. Any prospective pilgrim reading this, do not feel you need to spend a lot of money on clothing and equipment.

You will observe pilgrims on the Camino happily and efficiently trekking along carrying small, inexpensive frame-less packs and wearing sandals, and you will see them happy and healthy in Santiago wearing same.
I do not believe anyone is TELLING anybody WHAT to bring on the Camino! I think people are expressing what they are bringing or what type they use. I always want to know what my options are? We are all capable of deciding what is best for our bucks! Some equipment is more expensive. Sometimes, however, I wear cheap wicker shirts, for example, and sometimes I may purchase more expensive brands such as Patagonia. Wandalina, asked for advice regarding which bag to bring! We cannot tell this future pilgrim which choice is better for her?

Most of us know that a backpack is best decided by the pilgrim...and when needed by a professional to help them make appropriate adjustments. Sometimes a cheaper bag may work...sometimes not...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future (2018)
I’m in the U.K. and I upgraded my rucksack. I had a Berghaus 25+5. Not sure where the +5 bit was, definitely NOT in the bag. So, having perused a few videos on YouTube (1000 or so, you know how it is, they are so moreish) I decided I needed a new sexy Osprey. Got a Strava 35. I went to Go Outdoors and Blacks where they had loads to try. Blacks had a 20% off and they did a blue light discount. So I paid £75. Well pleased. Definitely find a place where you can try. I actually thought I would buy the very lightweight osprey tallon but the hip belt was thin and was not comfy. And the backing sat directly on my back and I actually got a sweat on in the shop!! Not attractive.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I do not believe anyone is TELLING anybody WHAT to bring on the Camino! I think people are expressing what they are bringing or what type they use. I always want to know what my options are? We are all capable of deciding what is best for our bucks! Some equipment is more expensive. Sometimes, however, I wear cheap wicker shirts, for example, and sometimes I may purchase more expensive brands such as Patagonia. Wandalina, asked for advice regarding which bag to bring! We cannot tell this future pilgrim which choice is better for her?

Most of us know that a backpack is best decided by the pilgrim...and when needed by a professional to help them make appropriate adjustments. Sometimes a cheaper bag may work...sometimes not...
Wow...why you YELLING at me? lol :D
calma, calma...
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Wow...why you YELLING at me? lol :D
calma, calma...
Sorry, if you are taking my response as yelling...;)surely not meant to be. You were expressing a gripe and I was emphasizing, surely not yelling. My point is that we are all of informed age for making decisions for ourselves and no one is telling anyone to buy the more expensive or less expensive gear. It is up to each individual to discover what is best for them. I cannot tell someone whom I do not know well that they will be fine with a particular backpack, whether very expensive or cheap! Neither should, IMO, any of us unless someone is psychic :D.Seeking professional advice for fit and trying out the gear over time is likely the best way to make such decisions. Again sorry if my initial response caught you off guard!
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Hi everyone I'm sorry if this has been asked a lot. I'm heading on my Camino in two weeks and my last thing to get is the pack. Had hoped to get it it sales etc..I see a lot of good deals on Lowe Alpine packs although I've heard osprey are the best I'm on a budget. Is it worth the stretch to go for osprey or does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks
There is no "best" brand. There are some brands that have generally good quality, reputation, satisfaction guarantees, etc.

Get a pack that can be adjusted to fit your body right, is very comfortable, has hip belt to transfer weight to your hips and legs, and a chest buckle as well.
 

sugargypsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019
In progress: CP 2020 and/or CI
I wanted to buy my backpack a couple of weeks ago, thought about getting an Osprey too. Had two specific versions in mind, which were highly recommended in some articles I've read. I tried two of them and Ospreys are simply too lengthy for my body structure ( 5'4 / 167 cm). The back of my head was bumping against the top when walking.

It turned out that one out of two Deuters will going to be the best for me to fit my body best - not that they are anything cheaper than Ospreys ;). But I tried 5 different 30 / 40 l backpacks. After walking with each backpack it was very easy to decide, which one's the best for me. So I can only agree to the others here, it's best to try them in a shop before buying it.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
I wanted to buy my backpack a couple of weeks ago, thought about getting an Osprey too. Had two specific versions in mind, which were highly recommended in some articles I've read. I tried two of them and Ospreys are simply too lengthy for my body structure ( 5'4 / 167 cm). The back of my head was bumping against the top when walking.
Hi, sugargypsy...

I'm just curious; when you tried on the Ospreys, which frame size did you try with those model of Osprey? And what is your spine size as measured from the top of the hip bone ( iliac crest) to the knob on the back of the neck (the C7 vertabrae)?
 

sugargypsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019
In progress: CP 2020 and/or CI
Don't pin me down on it, but as far as I remember correctly it was this backpack from Osprey or that one.

About exact measuring of my spine, you'll have to wait till tomorrow or the day after, since I'll be going to sleep now soon.

But I can tell you right now, I've got quite short legs, I always have to shorten trousers or buy - if possible - the short version when on offer and sometimes even have to shorten those too ;) ...
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Don't pin me down on it, but as far as I remember correctly it was this backpack from Osprey or that one.

About exact measuring of my spine, you'll have to wait till tomorrow or the day after, since I'll be going to sleep now soon.

But I can tell you right now, I've got quite short legs, I always have to shorten trousers or buy - if possible - the short version when on offer and sometimes even have to shorten those too ;) ...
Short legs is OK :) Packs sizes are never determined by the volume/capacity of the bag, but by the length of the frame, and to a lesser degree the shape and fit of the shoulder harness and waist belt.. The two packs that you thought might be one that you tried are each designed toward favoring one gender or the other, so the possibility might be that you tried on a pack designed more for the opposite gender.

I always get curious about things like this because it is something that should matter to those sales folk who advise and help people when they are trying to pick out a piece of gear.

The great thing is that you do have a pack that will work for you and sounds like it fits well. :)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Ospreys are simply too lengthy for my body structure ( 5'4 / 167 cm).
I don't think you can generalize about the Osprey brand being too long. It depends on the model and size you select. I am 5'4" and have a somewhat short torso, so the backpack needs to be similarly short. I use an Osprey Talon 33 in the shorter length and and it fits me perfectly. You can pick either S-M or M-L and then you can further adjust.
 

Havnen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino, St. Frances (October, 2016)
Had an Osprey for the first Camino leg in October, 2016. Then last summer, anticipating intense elevation gains and losses on the TMB and a having a bit of an injury, I sprung for the ultra lightweight Zpack Arc Blast (http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/arc_blast.shtml) and LOVE IT! Only 21 ounces and the arc in the back really helps ventilate on hot days. Fits great and the shoulder straps (weirdly) barely touch the shoulder. Side note: The TMB was challenging and had truly spectacular views...but I missed the energy and community feel of the Camino. Will be back on the The Way in late September and can’t wait!
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Thanks everyone i finally got it they were really helpful in the shop and knew their stuff when it came to fitting. Got Lowe Alpine 33:40 airzone. Fits great and carries the weight well. Thanks to you all for your help x
I am happy to hear it worked out for you. Now all you need to do is put some practice time in with it so that it becomes your new Camino Buddy :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to leave South Africa on 15 September and return on 14 October 2018.
Hi everyone I'm sorry if this has been asked a lot. I'm heading on my Camino in two weeks and my last thing to get is the pack. Had hoped to get it it sales etc..I see a lot of good deals on Lowe Alpine packs although I've heard osprey are the best I'm on a budget. Is it worth the stretch to go for osprey or does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks
Osprey is the best!
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I’m in the U.K. and I upgraded my rucksack. I had a Berghaus 25+5. Not sure where the +5 bit was, definitely NOT in the bag. So, having perused a few videos on YouTube (1000 or so, you know how it is, they are so moreish) I decided I needed a new sexy Osprey. Got a Strava 35. I went to Go Outdoors and Blacks where they had loads to try. Blacks had a 20% off and they did a blue light discount. So I paid £75. Well pleased. Definitely find a place where you can try. I actually thought I would buy the very lightweight osprey tallon but the hip belt was thin and was not comfy. And the backing sat directly on my back and I actually got a sweat on in the shop!! Not attractive.
A perfect example of why you want to try packs on before buying.
 

Wandalina

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese in September '18
Primitivo in September '19
Did a 16k training walk with in today and was happy with it. Neck was a bit sore by the end though I think I must of had the straps a little loose. I imagine it takes a while to find the perfect position with it. Is idea to have the straps fastened enough that there is no movement at all from the pack ?
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Did a 16k training walk with in today and was happy with it. Neck was a bit sore by the end though I think I must of had the straps a little loose. I imagine it takes a while to find the perfect position with it. Is idea to have the straps fastened enough that there is no movement at all from the pack ?
NO, not really. Proper strap adjustments should keep the pack movement to a minimum, but there will always be some. You can determine how much or how little movement is comfortable. For adjustments there are steps to follow:

1. Loosen all the straps on the hip belt and those on the shoulder harness, including the lift adjusters.

2. Hip belt.
  • Put on the pack now that the shoulder straps are loose. Pull the shoulder straps just snug enough so that the hip belt is just below the waist.
  • Now, shrug your shoulders up and keep shrugging while you fasten your hip belt.
  • The position of the hip best should "cradle" the top of your hip bone -- the upper edge of the belt should lie slightly above the top of the hip bone.
  • Snug the belt down and relax your shoulders. The hip belt should now be holding nearly all the weight of the pack. If the belt starts to slip, tighten a bit more.
3. Shoulder straps.

I do not know why the notion exists that the hip belt supports the entire weight of the pack, but that is incorrect. The shoulder harness is designed to hold about 10 to 15 percent of the packs weight -- which is a nominal amount -- while the hip belt is designed to support the rest. People can hurt their lower backs if the entire weight of a heavier pack is on the belt, and skin irritations and rawness around the waist and back are side effects which may happen at any weight level.

I don't know if an unloaded shoulder harness (all the weight on the belt) is a reason for the excess movement you experienced wearing your pack, but that is a possible cause. It can also cause the pack's movement to interfere with the center of balance.

Your pack harness may have three straps -- one to snug the shoulder straps down. Another called load lifters, which are at the top of the shoulder harness, which when tightened help snug the pack bag closer to the body. This helps with the comfort of carrying the load. Another strap designed to snug the two shoulder straps toward each other. That is the sternum strap, and it will assist in positioning the shoulder straps so they do not rub against arm pits and slip around your shoulders.
  • Snug down the shoulder straps so that they just start taking some weight.
  • Fasten the sternum strap. Adjust it so that the position of the shoulder straps rests on your shoulders at a comfortable distance. Some packs will allow you to move the sternum strap up and down on the shoulder harness so that it crosses the chest at a comfortable point; you can do this prior to fastening the straps.
  • If you have load lifter straps, they will be at the top of the shoulder straps. Reach up and back toward the pack following the shoulder strap until you feel an adjustment strap. Grab it and pull toward outward to the front. You will feel the pack start to snug to the top of your body. The ideal position for these straps is when they form a sort of 45 degree angle when looking at the pack from the sides.
Pack adjustment are never static. In other words, as you are hiking, you will make tiny adjustment to the straps as you need to relieve pressure, snug things up, shift weight between belt and shoulders, etc. But mostly, when the pack is loaded properly and adjusted well, a good fitting pack will be comfortable to wear ---- well, as comfortable as one can be carrying weight on their back :)
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Did a 16k training walk with in today and was happy with it. Neck was a bit sore by the end though I think I must of had the straps a little loose. I imagine it takes a while to find the perfect position with it. Is idea to have the straps fastened enough that there is no movement at all from the pack ?
Good to hear the pack is comfortable.
Dave has covered off set-up procedures above. I'd just add - be careful not to overtighten the load lifters (the tensioner straps connecting the shoulder straps to the top of the pack), as this can bring on pain in the shoulder and upper back area.
Neck pain could be caused by all sorts of things but could be if you are leaning forward with face looking down at the ground, possibly because the pack is not comfortable when the back is upright - maybe.
Suggest you just keep practising and adjusting as you go - and ideally get someone to observe you walking.
 

loumura

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues March 2019
Heres my advice, backpacks are like your socks and footwear, you must make sure that they are fit for purpose.
Like your shoes/boots they really need to be fitted by a professional, likewise your backpack. In my opinion you have left it a little late to get the backpack, I would go to a recognised walking store and get the backpack that is right for you. The guys in the shop will measure and pick the write one for you, now you've said that you are on a budget, explain that to the guys.
Happy backpack hunting.
Well, I bet this will be a first! Both my husband and I have poor backs/necks. We are pushing 70. So, we hike with what you call "fanny packs". They only hold enough for a change of clothes and a few necessities and a water container. We plan on walking the 150 miles between Porto and Santiago with NO backpacks. We will be doing this in March and are taking double the time recommended, 20 days. It is, after all, walking, not hiking. We have excellent rain gear and trail shoes and other than keeping dry, we have no worries. We have no reservations, no compostella and no reason to hurry. We hope to stop whenever we choose and maybe stay a couple days to rest and snoop if we like it. I am counting on the fact we can wash and wear the same clothes and when we reach Santiago we will delight and be grateful for our carry on to meet up with us. Hope we aren't crazy but have done a lot of hiking and know you don't really need much but a good working cell phone and water. Should be able to pick up a few snacks along the way and replace water. If anyone thinks we are totally crazy, please let me know!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Well, I bet this will be a first! Both my husband and I have poor backs/necks. We are pushing 70. So, we hike with what you call "fanny packs". They only hold enough for a change of clothes and a few necessities and a water container. We plan on walking the 150 miles between Porto and Santiago with NO backpacks. We will be doing this in March and are taking double the time recommended, 20 days. It is, after all, walking, not hiking. We have excellent rain gear and trail shoes and other than keeping dry, we have no worries. We have no reservations, no compostella and no reason to hurry. We hope to stop whenever we choose and maybe stay a couple days to rest and snoop if we like it. I am counting on the fact we can wash and wear the same clothes and when we reach Santiago we will delight and be grateful for our carry on to meet up with us. Hope we aren't crazy but have done a lot of hiking and know you don't really need much but a good working cell phone and water. Should be able to pick up a few snacks along the way and replace water. If anyone thinks we are totally crazy, please let me know!
No, absolutely NOT crazy! Buen camino to you both. :)
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Hi everyone I'm sorry if this has been asked a lot. I'm heading on my Camino in two weeks and my last thing to get is the pack. Had hoped to get it it sales etc..I see a lot of good deals on Lowe Alpine packs although I've heard osprey are the best I'm on a budget. Is it worth the stretch to go for osprey or does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks
Do not skimp on a pack. Osprey, by my experience is the best value for the money. Grab a garbage bag, put all your stuff in it and head down to the camping goods store. Find a pack that looks like your stuff will fit, place the bag of goods in the pack to make sure, get the staff to help adjust the pack to your needs and you can check acquiring a pack off your list.

PS. One point to keep in mind is that a pack for the Camino should be small enough to be a carry on, making it under 50L. And contents? Well, a few as possible minimizing weight as much as possible.
 

Wandalina

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese in September '18
Primitivo in September '19
NO, not really. Proper strap adjustments should keep the pack movement to a minimum, but there will always be some. You can determine how much or how little movement is comfortable. For adjustments there are steps to follow:

1. Loosen all the straps on the hip belt and those on the shoulder harness, including the lift adjusters.

2. Hip belt.
  • Put on the pack now that the shoulder straps are loose. Pull the shoulder straps just snug enough so that the hip belt is just below the waist.
  • Now, shrug your shoulders up and keep shrugging while you fasten your hip belt.
  • The position of the hip best should "cradle" the top of your hip bone -- the upper edge of the belt should lie slightly above the top of the hip bone.
  • Snug the belt down and relax your shoulders. The hip belt should now be holding nearly all the weight of the pack. If the belt starts to slip, tighten a bit more.
3. Shoulder straps.

I do not know why the notion exists that the hip belt supports the entire weight of the pack, but that is incorrect. The shoulder harness is designed to hold about 10 to 15 percent of the packs weight -- which is a nominal amount -- while the hip belt is designed to support the rest. People can hurt their lower backs if the entire weight of a heavier pack is on the belt, and skin irritations and rawness around the waist and back are side effects which may happen at any weight level.

I don't know if an unloaded shoulder harness (all the weight on the belt) is a reason for the excess movement you experienced wearing your pack, but that is a possible cause. It can also cause the pack's movement to interfere with the center of balance.

Your pack harness may have three straps -- one to snug the shoulder straps down. Another called load lifters, which are at the top of the shoulder harness, which when tightened help snug the pack bag closer to the body. This helps with the comfort of carrying the load. Another strap designed to snug the two shoulder straps toward each other. That is the sternum strap, and it will assist in positioning the shoulder straps so they do not rub against arm pits and slip around your shoulders.
  • Snug down the shoulder straps so that they just start taking some weight.
  • Fasten the sternum strap. Adjust it so that the position of the shoulder straps rests on your shoulders at a comfortable distance. Some packs will allow you to move the sternum strap up and down on the shoulder harness so that it crosses the chest at a comfortable point; you can do this prior to fastening the straps.
  • If you have load lifter straps, they will be at the top of the shoulder straps. Reach up and back toward the pack following the shoulder strap until you feel an adjustment strap. Grab it and pull toward outward to the front. You will feel the pack start to snug to the top of your body. The ideal position for these straps is when they form a sort of 45 degree angle when looking at the pack from the sides.
Pack adjustment are never static. In other words, as you are hiking, you will make tiny adjustment to the straps as you need to relieve pressure, snug things up, shift weight between belt and shoulders, etc. But mostly, when the pack is loaded properly and adjusted well, a good fitting pack will be comfortable to wear ---- well, as comfortable as one can be carrying weight on their back :)
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply ... Absolutely brilliant advice I'll look into all those points you mentioned..
 

Wandalina

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese in September '18
Primitivo in September '19
Good to hear the pack is comfortable.
Dave has covered off set-up procedures above. I'd just add - be careful not to overtighten the load lifters (the tensioner straps connecting the shoulder straps to the top of the pack), as this can bring on pain in the shoulder and upper back area.
Neck pain could be caused by all sorts of things but could be if you are leaning forward with face looking down at the ground, possibly because the pack is not comfortable when the back is upright - maybe.
Suggest you just keep practising and adjusting as you go - and ideally get someone to observe you walking.
Thank you Tom for the great advice
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
Thanks everyone i finally got it they were really helpful in the shop and knew their stuff when it came to fitting. Got Lowe Alpine 33:40 airzone. Fits great and carries the weight well. Thanks to you all for your help x
Thank you for letting us know that you have found a great pack that has met all your needs both physically and budget-wise. I'm excited for you! Buen Camino!
 

Wandalina

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese in September '18
Primitivo in September '19
Well THAT WAS AMAZING I'm officially a Camino addict!!!
 

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