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Backpack size advice

Camino(s) past & future
2018
#1
Wanting some advice of backpack sizes please. We are walking from Logrono to Burgos in September. Our main luggage is being transferred each day. I have a small frame and have found the Women’s Osprey fits very well, but not sure which size I would need. I am torn between the 9L and the 20L.
Does it matter if I get the 20L that most of the space will be unused? Just thinking that this may be a more useful size if we decided to walk again but carry all our luggage. Or should I go with 9L which is big enough for what I need to carry for this trip. Any thoughts from fellow travellers would be appreciated. Thank you
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#2
9L is really quite small one you put in your rain gear, spare socks, first aid gear and a few other things....
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago de Compestela in May(2016)
#4
Janet, you remind me of myself. I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure whether I really was. Take my father's advice, "Listen to other people's advice but make your own decision as only you really know your true position."
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago de Compestela in May(2016)
#7
I used to manage a store selling electrical goods. People would come in and request a kettle that just boiled one pint, as most kettles had a three pint capacity and they said they rarely needed to boil three pints. My advice was that you could just boil a pint in a three pint kettle but you couldn't boil three pints in a one pint kettle. They always left with a three pint kettle.
I've seen pilgrims walking with as much stuff hanging off the outside of the their backpack as they've managed to stuff inside and they're probably the ones that recommend buying a small back-pack.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#8
I'd probably get the 20 liter, because 9 is too small to be of much use for other future activities. .But 20 liters really would be too small for me to carry all my stuff on the Camino. Last year my friend managed to fit (just barely) everything into a 22 liter, but it was like putting a puzzle together each morning.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#10
Hi, Janet, and a big, warm welcome to the Forum....

A larger size backpack does not have to be fully loaded.

I would not focus on the size of a backpack to purchase based on this Camino... I would buy the size that would be useful for the majority of the adventures or hikes you will undertake now and in the future. As an example, if you are considering something like backpacking for a few days time in the future, you need a larger capacity bag, and that is the one I would purchase for this Camino.

Keep in mind, too, that with a variety of manufacturers that now produce quality backpacks which are both tough and lightweight, that one manufacturer's small capacity backpack can actually weigh more than a much larger backpack from a different manufacturer. For example, my Osprey Stratos 24 -- a 24 L pack -- which I use for my daily training hikes, is heavier by 14 ounces than my Gossamer Gear Mariposa, which can expand to a 60 Liter capacity. I have a few backpacks of various sizes, but the Mariposa has been used, and is now being used, on multi-week backpacking wilderness hikes where I need to carry up 25 pounds of gear including up to 10 days worth of food and fuel, in addition to all of my gear specific to wilderness backpacking like a tent, air mattress, and cooking gear.

It is also what I carry on Camino, where I only use about a third of its volume to carry the 8.75 pounds of gear and clothing that I take with my on Camino. The fact that the pack can carry much more than my Osprey Stratos doesn't matter. And the Mariposa also fits the dimensions required for use as a carry-on when flying, so I do not need to check it in as luggage.

Please note that I am not making a recommendation with my mention of the Mariposa; I am only using it as a real world example.

The capacity or volume of a backpack is not the same as its size, as it pertains to what is a proper fit and size for your frame. The size is usually expressed by the manufacturer as 'S' 'M' 'L' and XL'; sometimes with an adjustable frame backpack, the sizes will be combined to cover that wider range of fit: S/M, M/L, L/XL. This is based on the length of your spine. Below is a video which will help explain this. Ignore any product reference, the information applies regardless of backpack brand or manufacturer.

Please feel free to PM me if I can answer any questions or provide additional help.


 
Camino(s) past & future
St. Francis Route 2017
#11
I hiked the Camino with the ULA pack, Circuit model pictured above, left, courtesy of Dave Bugg. It is 68 Liters, but I rolled the top down on top of my load (5.5 kilos or 12 pounds) and strapped it so it presented itself neatly (think of a furled sail). The empty pack is very light (1,162 grams or 2.56 pounds). In my 45 days on the Camino, I saw no other hiker with the ULA, but several queries from other Peregrinos when they passed me. The pack brand I most often observed was the Osprey. I used the ULA packs full volume when I arrived in Santiago and began shopping for "stuff" to bring home.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1997 + 2006, Vezelay 2007, Via Francigena 2010, Aragones 2011, winter camino Feb 2019
#12
I walked my first camino in 1997 straight out of college with a JanSport book bag, the kind of simple backpack that American high school and college students use to carry all their books and stuff around. The original one wore out a long time ago, but I’ve never stopped using that kind of bag for my caminos. I love it. It keeps me in a minimalist mindset.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St. Francis Route 2017
#13
I walked my first camino in 1997 straight out of college with a JanSport book bag, the kind of simple backpack that American high school and college students use to carry all their books and stuff around. The original one wore out a long time ago, but I’ve never stopped using that kind of bag for my caminos. I love it. It keeps me in a minimalist mindset.
On occasion, I'll trot out my old 50th anniversary edition (with REI) JanSport rucksack. All the leather is faded, but I can't bear to give it away.
 

Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
#14
I’ve done the Frances and the Portuguese. Getting ready to do the Frances again in 2019. Used an osprey 48. Perfect size for my stuff so no hanging bits. I would think a 20 liter a little on the small side if you take rain gear and a fleece—highly recommend for Galicia. I too do not like hanging bits as it is noisy and insecure.

Pack up your stuff and take it to your local gear store. Best way to know what liter size you need!
 

Deputy Dan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Logrono to Burgos in week of October (2017); Camino Frances in 2019 or 2020
#15
Since you started out saying your main luggage was being transferred each day - a 9L bag should be fine as a day pack. I did the same leg last fall and for two days (foot problems!) had my main pack forwarded along with some gear from my walking companions. I carried everything I needed for the day in a 6L waist pack - what more would you need beyond rain gear, FAK, and spare socks? I personally liked the waist pack - even as light as it is it's nice that it's bearing on my hips and not on my shoulders.
 

Susan G.

A Walking Meditation
Camino(s) past & future
2014 (Burgos to Santiago), 2015 (SJPP to Burgos), 2017 (Astorga to Santiago), 2018- Leon to Santiago
#17
Everybody needs to work out their own system and this one worked for me! I have used a 30 liter Osprey Tempest twice now (2017 and 2018) and everything fit perfectly. Keeps you honest about the amount of weight you are carrying. There are enough small pockets to keep things handy. Inside the Osprey I used 2 double-zippered ZipLock bags for my gear: one for my outer sleeping bag (900 grams) and shower stuff, the other ziplock bag for everything else. Kept everything absolutely dry...and organized! Instead of a bulky rain poncho, I wore a "disposable" cheap (($2.00) rain poncho with a spare one deep in the pack if the one I was wearing ripped. My North Face rain gear (jacket and pants) were perfect. My Keen sandals and shower flip-flops were on the outside back pockets. Picture shows my Vasque boots on the pack, while I wore my wonderful Keen sandals for a change during the flatter parts of Galicia. This system certainly wasn't what I originally used, my first Camino in 2014 was full of trial and error. I can't recommend this system and all these products enough!! Buen camino, everyone! Camino  (173).JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues March 2019
#18
I walked my first camino in 1997 straight out of college with a JanSport book bag, the kind of simple backpack that American high school and college students use to carry all their books and stuff around. The original one wore out a long time ago, but I’ve never stopped using that kind of bag for my caminos. I love it. It keeps me in a minimalist mindset.
I'm with you! We hike with fanny packs only so no weight on our shoulders or necks due to issues. Only big enough for a change of clothes and socks and absolute necessities like a water cannister. I figure we can stop anywhere and stay a while if we need to dry out. We are taking double the time (20 days) recommended so we can even wait out the rain if its bad. Just can't do backpacks any longer. I'm not worried at all. The less we take, the happier I'll be. Of course the luxury is that we can afford hotels or B&B's and a nice shower is all that's required!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#19
20 litres is tiny. I can't imagine something as small as 9 litres.
That is what I use as a day pack on my training days (20l). It IS tiny...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#20
I'm with you! We hike with fanny packs only so no weight on our shoulders or necks due to issues. Only big enough for a change of clothes and socks and absolute necessities like a water cannister. I figure we can stop anywhere and stay a while if we need to dry out. We are taking double the time (20 days) recommended so we can even wait out the rain if its bad. Just can't do backpacks any longer. I'm not worried at all. The less we take, the happier I'll be. Of course the luxury is that we can afford hotels or B&B's and a nice shower is all that's required!
Wow, that must be one giant fannypack! ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#21
I'm with you! We hike with fanny packs only so no weight on our shoulders or necks due to issues. Only big enough for a change of clothes and socks and absolute necessities like a water cannister. I figure we can stop anywhere and stay a while if we need to dry out. We are taking double the time (20 days) recommended so we can even wait out the rain if its bad. Just can't do backpacks any longer. I'm not worried at all. The less we take, the happier I'll be. Of course the luxury is that we can afford hotels or B&B's and a nice shower is all that's required!
You must stay in private accommodations that provide bedding and towels.
 
#22
Simplest answer:
Pick all the things going with you daily. Place in a garbage bag and head off to the sporting goods store. See which pack will hold everything in the garbage bag. Now, no need to buy on a retail floor. Go home and research the pack that you have found will do the job. Find the best price and place order.

Otherwise, listen to DaveBug's advice.

Hope this helps. Any further questions?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#23
Most sporting goods stores stock a limited number of brands. The large manufacturers are ubiquitous. For the (hopefully) light weights we carry on the Camino it is probably not critical, but it is good to be aware that mass produced packs are not necessarily the best.
 

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