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Backpacks again


Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French Camino (2009), French Camino (2011), Via de la Plata (2012), Camino Inglês (2014),
I have read (and reread) just about all the advice on packs, but am still struggling. I know at the end of the day it is a personal choice, but I think an informed choice is best. One of my problems is that I am unsure about size (not capacity). Very few packs seem to have a choice of sizes. As a 1.70m average weight female I imagine I am a medium, if the pack comes in 1 size only how can it suit everyone? Also the very light ones don't seem to be all that strong. I am trying to find one in the 1 kilo range to try and keep the weight down. Any advice most gratefully received. :?
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.
You may have seen other posts regarding this issue where I speak of my Osprey 35. It comes in sizes and it made a big difference on how it felt, to be fitted with the right size. The other thing I liked about mine was that it opened along the front, like a school backpack making the contents very visible. My son had one that loads from the top, and you cannot see in it, or had to remove other things to get to what he needed. Does not sound like a big thing, but it was more convenient for me.. His was an Osprey as well, a man's model, also fitted to his large frame. Lightweight and well fitted is the key. Many people commented on how little it looks, but it carried everything I needed just fine
I also posted on the other pages about my backpack. It is the REI Jetpack. I loved it. I am 1.74 meters and a female of average weight. When I bought it at REI the salesman told me that I might be a little "too tall" for it but he said it shouldn't be a problem as long as I was carrying less than 9 or 10 kg. The total weight of my pack and everything in it was about 6.5 kg. and I had no problems. The backpack is very small (30 l.) and is just about the smallest one I saw on the camino but I managed to take everything that I needed. I never had any problems with it. It was the lightest ( .62 kg), cheapest ($55 US) pack that I could find and for me it worked well. I think others might prefer something bigger. THe website features many customer reviews that may or may not be helpful.
I really wanted to be comfortable and not carry too much for me so it worked out well.
I bought the Berghaus Freeflow 30 litre-a little heavy but thats because of the feature I mainly bought it for-the tubing that keeps the pack away from your back thereby allowing air flow to keep you dry. As for size many modern packs most seem to be adjustable with shoulder and chest straps.
In my opinion its very important to keep the weight down=7 kgs tops!
The REI backpack mentioned looks great and very well priced.
That reminds me...the REI Jet pack mentioned above, does not have special features to keep the pack off your back. I walked in March though so most days were not very warm and therefore it wasn't a problem. Maybe in hotter months, one of the packs that leaves space for airflow would be more comfortable.
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Many of the packs sold here in the States are sized according to a dimension called "torso length": you measure from the nape of the neck to the iliac crest (see the osprey site or elsewhere for details). Some packs cover the short end, some longer, and many are adjustable. You might measure and compare. Many outfitter sites (such as allow comparison across several packs, and torso length is one of the comparison factors.
How to measure one's body to determine which SIZE backpack to buy: ... Length.htm
The above gives a good visual representation of this most important measurement ... h_faq.html
Overview. Click on blue areas to expand topics ... +size.html
video if you are lazy

I believe the most common error most make when using a backpack is that they wear the hip belt around their waist, which is incorrect. The correct place for it is upon the top of their hips, (see iliac crest in first link) which is why it is called a hip belt. A quick guide is that one's navel should be slightly above (or even under)the hip belt's buckle. All the weight of one's pack should rest directly upon one's hip belt, transferring that weight to one's hip, and never upon one's shoulder straps. Shoulder straps are there just to keep the pack from flopping around on one's back. The sternum strap keeps the shoulder straps from slipping off the shoulder.
I would stress the importance of getting a backpack that is the correct size in the torso length for your body. As stated in other posts, smaller packs that do not sit on your hips will put the stess on your shoulders.

When I was going through this same decision, I was looking at the JetPack. I am a 6 foot male with a long torso. though the JetPack held all my gear, the waist belt was too high and did not comfortable put the weight on my hips.

I opted for a bigger 45L pack that was longer and a better fit to my body. I only needed a 30L pack for my gear, but the pack size made all the difference. I was very happy with my choice.

I would stress picking an ultralight pack. Especially on the Camino, you are not in conditions that are severe for a pack. It is not getting dragged over rocks, poked by branches, etc. The ultralight packs by GoLite, REI, Gossamer, etc. would be my choice. Nothing over 3lbs. at all and preferably closer to 2. Given you are a woman, you want to keep your weight lower, because your total weight is less. At 180lbs I have an easier time carrying 15lbs than my 100lb. daughter would. She used a Gregory Gpack and was happy with it.
Find a pack with the ultralight materials and that fits your torso well. Take your Camino gear to the store, load the pack and carry it around for 30m to an hour. that is a good test.

Good luck.
It is important to have a pack that fits well so it is comfortable. If you are able, go to a decent walking/outdoors shop where you will be able to get advice from the assistants, try different packs on with weight inside them, and find the right thing for you.

You also don't need to spend a lot of money. The rucksack I will be taking on the Camino de Levante next year is a basic Regatta Survivor which I got from my local freecycle group. It is very comfortable, waterproof and will contain everything I need,

Thanks for all your replies and advice, I think this site is amazing :!: I feel a 30L pack may be a little on the small side. I am very conscious about limiting the weight I intend to carry, my max will be 7 kilos including pack and sleeping bag. Did you 30L ones take a sleeping bag?
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I carried a sleeping bag in my 30l pack. I bought it at a second hand store so I don't know the brand or anything but it was great. It weighed just under 2 pounds (about 900 grams)It took up more space than I would have liked but I still managed to get everything in the 30 l pack. My pack was packed very tightly but it carried everything I needed, was light, and durable.
Yes I took a sleeping bag in my 30l pack-another advantage of the Berghaus Freeflow is that you can use the lower compartment for the sleeping bag and everything else separate in the top bit. My sleeping bag was the snugpak travel lite which fitted in there nicely.
You say in another post that you will go in May/June. If it is more June than May, you can get away with only a silk liner bag instead of a full sleeping bag and have plenty of room. But once again, focus on the fit of the pack and its weight more than the volume. John H. recommended the Osprey Talon 30L pack when I was looking. It is a great pack for the Camino. I ended up taking my REI UL45L pack even though all my stuff fit in the 30L one. The REI pack fit my body better, and was 3 oz. lighter than the Osprey to boot! Plus I already owned it and that saved me US$127. I just tightened the pack up to remove the extra space and was happy.

An added benefit in the end was that I could bring more gifts home from Santiago after the trip! :lol:

There are many Brazilians that have done the Camino and I wish I could put you in contact with one of them. They could help in locating items locally. We met a woman from Brazil in the airport in Leon this last June, walking from Astorga to Santiago. She bought alot of her gear at home and finalized items in Madrid. Her name was Cecilia, but we never saw her again after we shared a taxi from the airport. Cecilia, if you are out there, PM me.


I don't know the capacity of my pack as it is an older Millet pack I've had for many years but I do know that it isn't too big.

The value of a smaller pack is that when you start putting your stuff in it you are forced to make decisions and some of the stuff you have assembled gets discarded before you ever leave home. Its so easy to add things - each only a small item in itself but all adding up. I'm sure that if there is something important that I have left out I can buy it in Spain or make do.

I found the Gregory Z55 to be a great pack on my camino. It is light, fit well, and dried easily. The one draw back was the lack of external pockets, which I didn't actually miss after a while.
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.
I have just found the Brazilian association of pilgrims, and had a good shop recommended in São Paulo where I live. With that and all your most helpful advice I should be OK. Thanks a lot, everyone. :D
I can try to give yo some suggestions about backpacks.

Here in Spain we have the specialized shops "Decathlon", where we can find backpacks. For man or woman. For different kind of walks, for one day walks, for one month walks. For mountain walks or another.

In my opinion, if you have to buy your new backpack, no more than 50 litres.

But, new sleeping bags are very little. I bought a new ultralight one last week (700 gr) for only 20 euros. Very small. And I'm tall, "big". My sister bought another one for only 500 gr. So, may be with 45 litres is enough.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
50 litres?! Blimey! Mine was a 33 litre pack from Osprey. Very comfortable, supportive, easy to adjust and had straps at the side to compress. expensive, but well worth it.

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