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Luggage Transfer Correos

Backpack Type!

2020 Camino Guides

andyassur

Andy
Camino(s) past & future
The French Way, May 2020
Hi all! Long time reader, first time poster.

I'm going to embark on my first Camino starting mid May, 2020. I'll be doing the french way. I'm travelling from Australia. I have most of my gear now but I have a question regarding backpacks.

I've read a lot of posts regarding backpack sizes but not much on backpack types. Most people seem to be recommending the common hikers pack like an Osprey Talon. But, what if I have an old backpack that isn't exactly the latest in hiking technology, but has ample room? The attached image is what I have. It's an old (7 year old) North Face Surge, with slightly padded waist straps. It also has a chest strap. It was actually adverstised as a laptop backpack. I guess it's biggest issue is the lack of ventilation/air cooling on the section that rests on your back. It's like a soft foam-like padding, rather than a raised mesh system that the fancy Osprey Talon has. I'd really like to save myself 200 dollars by not buying a new backpack. Can someone please confirm that they did their pilgrimage in an old run-of-the-mill backpack and survived to tell the tail, with relatively acceptable comfort? Thanks for your time!
 

Attachments

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
Hi all! Long time reader, first time poster.

I'm going to embark on my first Camino starting mid May, 2020. I'll be doing the french way. I'm travelling from Australia. I have most of my gear now but I have a question regarding backpacks.

I've read a lot of posts regarding backpack sizes but not much on backpack types. Most people seem to be recommending the common hikers pack like an Osprey Talon. But, what if I have an old backpack that isn't exactly the latest in hiking technology, but has ample room? The attached image is what I have. It's an old (7 year old) North Face Surge, with slightly padded waist straps. It also has a chest strap. It was actually adverstised as a laptop backpack. I guess it's biggest issue is the lack of ventilation/air cooling on the section that rests on your back. It's like a soft foam-like padding, rather than a raised mesh system that the fancy Osprey Talon has. I'd really like to save myself 200 dollars by not buying a new backpack. Can someone please confirm that they did their pilgrimage in an old run-of-the-mill backpack and survived to tell the tail, with relatively acceptable comfort? Thanks for your time!
I bring a larger backpack but this would be fine too. Honestly you don't really need to bring much. Worst case scenario you get to St Jean and decide to buy a bigger bag. Outdoor store there is small but not all that expensive, IMO.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (May-June 2020)
A good waist strap is the most important (and often overlooked) feature of any long distance backpack as it transfers the much of the weight of the pack from the back and shoulders to the bigger muscles in the legs via the hips. As long as the waist strap can comfortably support most of your pack weight, the pack should be fine.

The only concern I would have about a pack like this would be its base weight: generally packs with dedicated laptop sleeves tend to be heavier than those without. If the empty pack is no more than 3 or 4 lbs. and you pack on the light side you should be OK. If it's heavier than that, though, you may want to consider a lighter option.

Personally I don't think the fancy, suspended mesh ventilation systems on many newer (and expensive) packs make much of a difference: the REI Trail 40 that I'll be using on my own Camino this May doesn't have one, and it's still a super comfortable long distance pack. Your back is going to get sweaty no matter what. You may want to make sure, however, that whatever foam padding the back of the pack is made of dries quickly and doesn't retain odors. I had to throw out a cheap but decent pack a few years ago for that very reason.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Met a younger guy on the CF walking from Berlin to SdC wearing his GRANDMOTHER’S (!!!) ancient canvas backpack that she had been issued in Communist East Germany - he later walked the Pacific Crest Trail using the same backpack. In short, if it works for you, then it works for you. Don’t waste your money on something you don’t need if you don’t need it.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I don't know if you have used your existing pack for part of a day, but filling it up and doing some longer walks should tell you something. I'm all for saving money and using what we can out of our own closets, but your photo does not show any straps or the belt, making it difficult to give an opinion on its practicality and potential comfort level.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
The truth is, any pack will do the job.
Newer design packs just bring more comfort.
It's a trade off with any Camino gear.
Really the only reason to buy any new/specialised/techie type gear, is the degree of comfort.
Comfort being defined as staying dry, warm, cool, blister free, chafe free etc.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Can someone please confirm that they did their pilgrimage in an old run-of-the-mill backpack and survived to tell the tail, with relatively acceptable comfort? Thanks for your time!
Yes, without a doubt, many people manage fine with less than the latest and greatest. Try to ignore the marketing hype - if you have used your pack and feel comfortable in it, go with that. If it proves uncomfortable, there are lots of Decathlon and other stores along the way that can provide a replacement, probably at a fraction of the cost of a pack in Australia. On my first camino I spent hours in a specialist store in Kent Street, in Sydney, getting the best advice, and I chose an expensive pack. It was not my friend. I discarded it (along with the expensive boots) at León where I bought myself a cheap Spanish pack that weighed less, was a fraction of the price, and was far more comfortable. That Spanish pack was so popular in my family that it made several journeys around the world, including some serious trekking in South America and the Himalayas. A child (who shall be nameless) eventually lost it somewhere. I still mourn it.
 

Paul Wilson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2021
I chose mine based on airflow on my back, pouches on the hips for snacks, phone and cigarettes 🙄 and size to keep the weight down finally settled on the Lowe Alpine air zone trail 25 and I’ve used it an many multi day trip without any discomfort, but Decathlon do a very similar model much cheaper best advice for any walking kit try before you buy. Buen Camino 👍
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
@andyassur, you already know that this is a commuter laptop bag, so expect that there will be limitations. I suspect that the issue of the back padding is not going to be the major cause for discomfort, even if it isn't really designed for hiking. Rather, it will be the extent to which you can get good weight transfer to your hips through the waist belt. You might find that you are carrying most of the weight on your shoulders. Provided you don't have a lot of weight in the pack, you might get away without causing yourself too much discomfort.
 

andyassur

Andy
Camino(s) past & future
The French Way, May 2020
Thanks for so many great responses team. I am totally convinced that my compromise is worth saving 200 bucks. I believe my pack does have load lifter straps. I have done some walking with this backpack but nothing over 3km. I shall put it through a longer test walk. I do believe the weight will sit on my shoulders though which is a bummer. For reference here is an image of the backside of the backpack. It weighs roughly 1.2kg/2.6lb.
 

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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Thanks for so many great responses team. I am totally convinced that my compromise is worth saving 200 bucks. I believe my pack does have load lifter straps. I have done some walking with this backpack but nothing over 3km. I shall put it through a longer test walk. I do believe the weight will sit on my shoulders though which is a bummer. For reference here is an image of the backside of the backpack. It weighs roughly 1.2kg/2.6lb.
I think you should follow Ms. Yates advice. Put the gear you will be taking in the pack and walk at least 15K for a few days with your pack to see how it feels and more importantly how you feel. Remember to take only what you know you will use not what you think you will use. You can always buy anything you forget. One recommendation I would give you is to bring some safety pins so on the days clothes don't completely dry overnight you have the pins to hang your unmentionables on your pack.
 

steve 217

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances planning via del la plata
I bought a Golite Race in a sale £30 GBP best bit of kit ever less then 1kg empty ,
comfortable and most importantly it fits me .
Best bit of advice dont take anything larger then 40l as if you do the temptation will be to fill it rather then travel as light as possible.
Whatever suits and fits has got to be the rule IMHO .
Ive tried to buy another Golitte since then the firm is no longer going but if you ever see one on ebay etc highly recommended, Osprey Talon looks great but as you say save your dolars for important things like shoes /boots debate .
Buen Camino
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
People have been succesfully doing the Camino for centuries, so its definitely not a deal breaker. Having said that, you can't beat an Osprey for comfort. Given that you will be spending a substantial sum to get to Europe, personally I would always invest in good footwear and a comfortable pack.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
The answer is the same as for shoes - one that fits and is comfortable, and if you are buying new try it first in the store for at least 20 minutes with a load in the pack. People often recommend Osprey and they do indeed make good packs, however even there you need to try it first; they really don't fit my back at all well and I know I'm not the only one to find that. If you already have one that you find comfortable by all means use that, but make sure that it's OK with the sort of load you will be carrying on the camino.
 

Deputy Dan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Logrono to Burgos in week of October (2017); SJPP - ?, three weeks in 2020!
Age of the pack has nothing to do with it. My first venture on the Camino was with a 40+ year old US Army Rucksack (though with "upgraded" shoulder straps and hip belt). VERY comfortable for me and used for tens (if not hundreds) of miles getting ready for the Camino. Problem was, it's so comfortable I could carry far more weight than I needed (or could comfortably carry for 3-6 days in a row!). So lesson learned (and stressed by many above!) - whatever you want to use, test it with ALL of your Camino gear for several days if possible. The Army Ruck won't be making the next trip, if only because in carrying less gear to begin with I won't need such a large (and ultimately heavy) load-bearing pack.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
Fit is king. A friend of my bought an excellent Osprey with excellent transference to the hips. Moreover, she packed fairly light (total kit about 13 lbs).

But she has a long spine and she made a sizing compromise because everything else about the pack felt great, and she loved the color. In the end, she hurt all the way to Santiago because it was too short for her to get proper weight transference to the hips. Thus, too much of the weight was still on her shoulders. It took about a week for the discomfort to really set in. It was the kind of thing she didn't really see coming because she went out once or twice a week with full kit for 12 - 15 miles each time. But several days of recovery between each practice hike hid the full impact of day after day after day.

Since she's stubborn, she pushed through instead getting a new pack along the way. No doubt, it built character . . . and it's part of her story.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
You can buy a proper backpacking pack from Decathlon for less than Osprey, Deuter, Gregory, etc.

Here's a couple


 

Jay Es

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017 the del Norte, home via the Portuguse to Vigo, Planning a Via de la Plata for October 2018.
Fill it with your Camino gear and find out if its comfortable whilst you do some training!
 
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2016
May/June2020
Hi all! Long time reader, first time poster.

I'm going to embark on my first Camino starting mid May, 2020. I'll be doing the french way. I'm travelling from Australia. I have most of my gear now but I have a question regarding backpacks.

I've read a lot of posts regarding backpack sizes but not much on backpack types. Most people seem to be recommending the common hikers pack like an Osprey Talon. But, what if I have an old backpack that isn't exactly the latest in hiking technology, but has ample room? The attached image is what I have. It's an old (7 year old) North Face Surge, with slightly padded waist straps. It also has a chest strap. It was actually adverstised as a laptop backpack. I guess it's biggest issue is the lack of ventilation/air cooling on the section that rests on your back. It's like a soft foam-like padding, rather than a raised mesh system that the fancy Osprey Talon has. I'd really like to save myself 200 dollars by not buying a new backpack. Can someone please confirm that they did their pilgrimage in an old run-of-the-mill backpack and survived to tell the tail, with relatively acceptable comfort? Thanks for your time!
Probably the two most important things on your Camino will be your boots and your backpack. I tried a few before I did the Camino 4 years ago and there was a huge difference in comfort! When you are carrying it everyday, having one that fits and is a good construction will add to your enjoyment.
My sister used an Arrn backpack, a New Zealand brand. It was fabulous and had pouches at the front for carrying food and water, this made a huge difference! Not only was it easier and more convenient it also meant weight was distributed better, not all on your back.
Maybe fill your current backpack and go on several 20 km walks with it, you will soon know if it is ok :)
We are going back to do the Camino again May 1st starting at St Jean, there are 4 of us and we have all now purchased the Arrn backpack. We are all from Victoria Australia.
Have a wonderful Camino.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Yep, I'm a big fan of the Aarn packs.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
A well fitted backpack with suspension made for backpacking/hiking should transfer around 80% of the load to your hips. You should not feel as if you are carrying very much weight on your shoulders/back.
You should go to an outdoors type store where you can try on several and compare how they feel with a Camino sized load vs your commuter backpack.

 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
Having said that, you can't beat an Osprey for comfort.
Take care in these matters of personal taste and individual fitting. We are not all the same when it comes to what is comfortable. I have two Osprey packs that I have tested on multi-day ways over longer distances, and while they are reasonable packs, my go-to pack for my next Camino is likely to be my Deuter Guide 45+. My wife's Aarn would probably be my next choice, despite the complexity of the harness. I guess that might be a matter of getting more familiar with how it works.
 

David61

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
Hi all! Long time reader, first time poster.

I'm going to embark on my first Camino starting mid May, 2020. I'll be doing the french way. I'm travelling from Australia. I have most of my gear now but I have a question regarding backpacks.

I've read a lot of posts regarding backpack sizes but not much on backpack types. Most people seem to be recommending the common hikers pack like an Osprey Talon. But, what if I have an old backpack that isn't exactly the latest in hiking technology, but has ample room? The attached image is what I have. It's an old (7 year old) North Face Surge, with slightly padded waist straps. It also has a chest strap. It was actually adverstised as a laptop backpack. I guess it's biggest issue is the lack of ventilation/air cooling on the section that rests on your back. It's like a soft foam-like padding, rather than a raised mesh system that the fancy Osprey Talon has. I'd really like to save myself 200 dollars by not buying a new backpack. Can someone please confirm that they did their pilgrimage in an old run-of-the-mill backpack and survived to tell the tail, with relatively acceptable comfort? Thanks for your time!
Looks ok to me but I know nothing! If you carry it at home, up your weight and use to evaluate. Then if it gets too heavy uncomfortable on Camino use a transfer company now and then. I did and felt no guilt at all! Having hobbled into Molinaseca with back pain due to long term problems I did not hesitate!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
What goes in your backpack and its loaded weight is far more important than the brand, type etc. No need to go out and spend a lot of money on a new backpack.
Is it possible for you to borrow from someone a framed backpack less than 50L in size? If so, do that. If not, work with what you got.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
What goes in your backpack and its loaded weight is far more important than the brand, type etc
I disagree. They type of backpack is very important to how comfortable it will be to carry for many hours each day, day in and day out. You need a proper suspension that transfers most of the load to your hips.

These are both 30 liter backpacks. Which one would you rather carry for 800 km?


backpack comparison.jpg
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
So, I looked up the North Face Surge. There is a waist strap to stabilize the backpack against the waist. However, there is no possible way for that strap to transfer load to the waist, nor is there any frame or other rigid structure that would be part of load transference.

Thus, it is NOT perfect. The entire load will rest on the OP's shoulders.

The real questions are: How much weight will he carry? and, Are his shoulders and back strong enough to do so with reasonable comfort over several weeks of sustained walking?
 

andyassur

Andy
Camino(s) past & future
The French Way, May 2020
Thanks again for everyones input. What a lovely community. After some research I learned exactly what load lifter straps are and true my pack certainly does not have them. So I went to the local adventure store and tried on some backpacks with weights inside. And wow... Load lifter straps are awesome. But the price tags were still too hideous to consider.

I then went to decathlon which felt kind of like an IKEA version of a hiking store. I tried on a few backpacks and my favourite one by far is the Simond Alpinism 22L. I tried it with weights as well.


It is on the smaller side and it lacks waist strap pads but it was super comfortable. I was thinking I could sew some pads onto the waist straps and turn it into a winner. Does anyone think this a good idea or am I crazy? It's 45 Australian dollars. That's a steal.

I think my back and shoulders are strong enough to endure a crappy backpack but I'd like to avoid it if I can, particularly because I just developed tendonitis in the right patellar. Although, my belongings minus the backpack and water is at 4.2 kilos so I'm not carrying much. I'm kind of obsessed with going as ultralight as I can possibly handle.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thanks again for everyones input. What a lovely community. After some research I learned exactly what load lifter straps are and true my pack certainly does not have them. So I went to the local adventure store and tried on some backpacks with weights inside. And wow... Load lifter straps are awesome. But the price tags were still too hideous to consider.

I then went to decathlon which felt kind of like an IKEA version of a hiking store. I tried on a few backpacks and my favourite one by far is the Simond Alpinism 22L. I tried it with weights as well.


It is on the smaller side and it lacks waist strap pads but it was super comfortable. I was thinking I could sew some pads onto the waist straps and turn it into a winner. Does anyone think this a good idea or am I crazy? It's 45 Australian dollars. That's a steal.

I think my back and shoulders are strong enough to endure a crappy backpack but I'd like to avoid it if I can, particularly because I just developed tendonitis in the right patellar. Although, my belongings minus the backpack and water is at 4.2 kilos so I'm not carrying much. I'm kind of obsessed with going as ultralight as I can possibly handle.
22 liters might be a little small.
Did you look at this 30 liter pack that has stretchy water bottle pockets, padded hip belt with pocket and bungee system that you can use to stash a jacket or damp items. It's just a few dollars more expensive.

 

Dromengro

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2020)
You need a proper suspension that transfers most of the load to your hips.
For very heavy loads I agree, but I hate using hip belts and almost always carry a bag by the shoulders straps only. I've mostly used German and Czech army simple canvas rucksacks, which don't have hip straps or load lifters.
A lot of the time I prefer to carry it off one shoulder only, which is why I adapted a bag to have just one shoulder strap.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Is it comfy? do you like it? - You could take it. Personally, I wouldn't .. carrying load day after day a hip belt is paramount - but you don't have to spend mega-bucks, plenty of 2ndhand rucksacks on Ebay and Gumtree - above all, go for comfort .. so if you go into a shop go around the store filling your choice with heavy items and then try it on and adjust it. Don't be shy doing that.

edit - I just saw the photo you put up - looks ok to me, padded hipbelt, chest strap ... you might want to try packing it fully and walking a long day - then do it the next day. A good way to do it is to wear it daily when you go to work ... if by bus get off a couple of stops early .. if you take a lift use the stairs, in both directions, stuff like that .. you will soon know - what you don't need is a 200 dollar rucksack if you already have a good one that you like.

buen Camino!!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
An engineer once told me: be looking at it, not for it. Same applies here, methinks. You know now the benefit of a ‘proper’ backpack. I think your 22l one is a bit neat. Go for something a few litres more capacity. Anything under about 80 Aus dollars is a good price. You will be using it more than once, so it will earn its keep!
 

Paul Wilson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2021
Thanks again for everyones input. What a lovely community. After some research I learned exactly what load lifter straps are and true my pack certainly does not have them. So I went to the local adventure store and tried on some backpacks with weights inside. And wow... Load lifter straps are awesome. But the price tags were still too hideous to consider.

I then went to decathlon which felt kind of like an IKEA version of a hiking store. I tried on a few backpacks and my favourite one by far is the Simond Alpinism 22L. I tried it with weights as well.


It is on the smaller side and it lacks waist strap pads but it was super comfortable. I was thinking I could sew some pads onto the waist straps and turn it into a winner. Does anyone think this a good idea or am I crazy? It's 45 Australian dollars. That's a steal.

I think my back and shoulders are strong enough to endure a crappy backpack but I'd like to avoid it if I can, particularly because I just developed tendonitis in the right patellar. Although, my belongings minus the backpack and water is at 4.2 kilos so I'm not carrying much. I'm kind of obsessed with going as ultralight as I can possibly handle.
I can recommend this as it is similar to the Lowe Alpine I have at a fraction of the cost and if your budget can be stretched I would say footwear and backpack are the place to spend it. Good luck
 

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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I can recommend this as it is similar to the Lowe Alpine I have at a fraction of the cost and if your budget can be stretched I would say footwear and backpack are the place to spend it. Good luck
I agree that Decathlon backpack is a great value. It's the one that I linked to in post #20 above. I've seen a lot of them being carried by pilgrims on the Camino.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I disagree. They type of backpack is very important to how comfortable it will be to carry for many hours each day, day in and day out. You need a proper suspension that transfers most of the load to your hips.

These are both 30 liter backpacks. Which one would you rather carry for 800 km?


View attachment 68995
That is true, a pack with a hip belt etc is better, no doubt but the OP does not have one. I walked one entire Frances all the way to Finisterre with a pack very similar to the OP's (it was all had available to me). Different brand and color of fabric, but it had no hip belt, no ventilation for the back (just foam padding) etc. The load rode solely on my shoulders. I kept the bag at about 5 kilos in weight including water. I had no problems at all without the hip belt. I think a good deal of whether or not a hip belt is needed depends upon how heavy the pack is and the physical condition/fitness of the walker. Strong shoulders and back and that light pack is manageable without a hip belt.
You really do see people walk the entire Frances with all manner of packs and footwear. Stuff that would be considered unconventional inconceivable by many of this forum's members.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Thanks again for everyones input. What a lovely community. After some research I learned exactly what load lifter straps are and true my pack certainly does not have them. So I went to the local adventure store and tried on some backpacks with weights inside. And wow... Load lifter straps are awesome. But the price tags were still too hideous to consider.

I then went to decathlon which felt kind of like an IKEA version of a hiking store. I tried on a few backpacks and my favourite one by far is the Simond Alpinism 22L. I tried it with weights as well.


It is on the smaller side and it lacks waist strap pads but it was super comfortable. I was thinking I could sew some pads onto the waist straps and turn it into a winner. Does anyone think this a good idea or am I crazy? It's 45 Australian dollars. That's a steal.

I think my back and shoulders are strong enough to endure a crappy backpack but I'd like to avoid it if I can, particularly because I just developed tendonitis in the right patellar. Although, my belongings minus the backpack and water is at 4.2 kilos so I'm not carrying much. I'm kind of obsessed with going as ultralight as I can possibly handle.
That pack will work fine, as would the other one had you had to use it.
As I mentioned before, keeping the pack light is more important that the pack itself. Besides, the Camino Frances is hardly a real backpacking trip. You can stop and take a break anytime you want, and staying hydrated and fed never a problem. Just a bunch of walks.
 

Obilix

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances and Finisterre (2015), Portuguese and Finisterre (2016), Primitivo (2019)
I've walked Caminos with a 30l urban backpack (with a laptop compartment, even) from REI, a cheap 40l thing from Decathlon, and an Osprey Talon 44, and got to the end of each one without event or much injury. :)

The only real issue with the 30l one was its length -- it was a bit too short, and started rubbing on the base of my back after while. Other than that it was great, and the small capacity forced me to travel nice and light. I used it for much the same reason you're talking about: it was the backpack I had, and I didn't want to buy something else just to walk the Frances with. It did have a waist strap, though, which I found valuable even with 6-7kg of stuff in the bag.

It wore out before my next Camino, so I bought a cheap thing from Decathlon. Honestly, I didn't like it -- it was uncomfortable in both the shoulder and waist straps, and I could never really adjust it to fit comfortably no matter what I did. It also stunk to high heaven by the time I got to Santiago, after a few weeks in the Portuguese and Spanish sunshine.

The Talon 44 is by far the best and most comfortable hiking pack I've owned, and I've used it for a few 1-3 week hikes, including the Primitivo. That said, I wouldn't go and buy one just to walk the Camino with. If you'll get significant value out of it beyond that, maybe consider buying something like that, but otherwise see if you can go with the pack you have. As other people say, test it out with appropriate weight in it beforehand ... plus you can always buy something else along the way if it really does end up causing you problems.

Enjoy!
 

NomadBoomer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September 2017), Vdlp (April 2018)
As usual on here I suggest that the overall advice is wise, which I read as you could get away with that bag but.. It's going to get uncomfortable on your shoulders, if budget is an issue as you don't think you will walk again then buy a cheap but more suitable backpack in Europe. If you can afford it and will get the use, pay a little more.
Personally I'm happy with my osprey exos. Cost me like 50 cents a day walking so far and good for the Norte in June. Nothing compared to flights and other costs.
 

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