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Frame vs Frameless

Caligal

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF April 4- May 12, 2018
CF Sept 10-27 2019
CP Sept 28- Oct12 2019
C Finisterre Oct 16-Oct 20
Hi All, I have walked 2 Caminos using the same Gregory 36 backpack with a frame. Even though I basically carried the same stuff the 2nd time it seemed heavier, dont know it was me getting older or what. I’ve been thinking of possibly getting a frameless pack for my next walk. Any input or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Dee
 
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Deleted member 67185

Guest
Hi All, I have walked 2 Caminos using the same Gregory 36 backpack with a frame. Even though I basically carried the same stuff the 2nd time it seemed heavier, dont know it was me getting older or what. I’ve been thinking of possibly getting a frameless pack for my next walk. Any input or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Dee

A 'frameless' backpack is not necessarily an unsupported or unstructured backpack. Many manufacturers will have various supports, including a backpad, that helps with structure. Additionally, a fully functional shoulder harness system and hipbelt system will still be in place.

Whether of not to use a backpack without a frame depends on the weight of the load. For most loads under 14 pounds, a frameless backpack works as well as one with an external or internal frame.

Fitting a frameless backpack still needs careful consideration to make sure it works with the users spine length. Many frameless packs will be manufactured with a broader size range for a pack: instead of small, medium, large, extra large (to correspond to spine length), there may be something like small to medium or large to extra large. Sometimes the shoulder harness offers adjustability to help fine tune to the wearer's spine length.

I can suggest a few frameless backpacks which I think are well implemented. Feel free to send a PM if I can help.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
My son likes the ULA brand frameless ultralite backpacks, and has walked four Caminos with his. I know @davebugg is a big fan, too...just sayin'.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi Dave! I spoke a bit too soon! You "da man"! 😃
 

nathanael

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Hi All, I have walked 2 Caminos using the same Gregory 36 backpack with a frame. Even though I basically carried the same stuff the 2nd time it seemed heavier, dont know it was me getting older or what. I’ve been thinking of possibly getting a frameless pack for my next walk. Any input or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Dee
\\\i experienced the same thing and will not be using my Gregory backpack. even when empty it seems too heavy.
 
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nathanael

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Plata,
A 'frameless' backpack is not necessarily an unsupported or unstructured backpack. Many manufacturers will have various supports, including a backpad, that helps with structure. Additionally, a fully functional shoulder harness system and hipbelt system will still be in place.

Whether of not to use a backpack without a frame depends on the weight of the load. For most loads under 14 pounds, a frameless backpack works as well as one with an external or internal frame.

Fitting a frameless backpack still needs careful consideration to make sure it works with the users spine length. Many frameless packs will be manufactured with a broader size range for a pack: instead of small, medium, large, extra large (to correspond to spine length), there may be something like small to medium or large to extra large. Sometimes the shoulder harness offers adjustability to help fine tune to the wearer's spine length.

I can suggest a few frameless backpacks which I think are well implemented. Feel free to send a PM if I can help.
Hi would appreciate if you could send me a list of frameless backpacks. thanks.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Galicia!
I took a frameless 40 litre pack on my 2nd Camino (mainly because it was what I had at the time and I won't embarrass myself by saying how big my pack was on my first Camino!). Although the padding was shaped to form a centre air channel I found I still got too hot and wet. The other problem was in packing and unpacking - I prefer a framed pack that will stand on its own.
Before setting out on my 2018 Ingles I bought a lightweight 36 litre frameless bag thinking "well it's just for a week . . " but couldn't get on with it in practice so reverted to my framed pack.
You don't want to be out there on the Camino only to find you're not happy with your choice, do you know anybody who has a frameless pack you could try out for a while?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
The little extra weight of the curved frame is worth it to me as it keeps most of the pack clear of your back and reduces contact sweating, my previous pack was frameless and my back would be soaked after every hike.
Not all framed pack have that sort of "trampoline style" frame. There are many types of frames used in backpacks.
 
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Deleted member 67185

Guest
At the end of the day its all just our personal opinions. 🙂

:) I'm not referring to the subjective assessment of comfort level of a trampoline style back support. You are correct that such is a personal choice and opinion.

I was only referring to the number and types of backpacks which are considered to be 'good', and which incorporate a trampoline-style back support. There are many more good models of non-trampoline backpacks produced, than those with trampoline-style backs.

Sorry for the confusion in my post. My bad.
 
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AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
please see signature
my previous pack was frameless and my back would be soaked after every hike

Even with an internal frame, having the pack against my back also gave me a soaking.

In my youth frameless packs (bags really) were called kidney bashers. From my local retail shops I note 40 litre packs have either a formal frame (built in) or stiffening material and stitching to give some rigidity. But the cost is in weight: I can't find one under 1.5 kg (more than 3 lb) and most weigh more.

I searched for a pack with an external frame (with "trampoline") that was light.

My 40 litre pack weighs 470 grams (just over 1 lb) and is now into its sixth season.

Without breakages, tears or seams splitting it is more than ready to take me down to Rome in a few months and around the UK after that.

As the material is water proof there is no need for a pack cover. My waterproof coat is designed to go over a pack and I use that in downpours to keep the belts and straps dry and easier to handle.

Kia kaha
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Hi would appreciate if you could send me a list of frameless backpacks. thanks.
I think this is the sort of market research members should contemplate doing for themselves. Individuals might be able to tell you what their own choices have been, but that is likely to have been driven by local availability. This is an international forum, and some manufacturers do not have international sales and marketing arrangements that have the same reach as our forum membership.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I have a collection of packs with a variety of support structures in sizes from sub-20li through to ~70li. I find the important issue is how well the structure supports weight transfer to the hip belt. If the load can be packed tightly so that it doesn't move around, a pack with minimal support can do that almost as well as one with a more robust frame. Where that isn't going to be possible, I prefer a pack with a frame.

I am pretty neutral to whether a trampoline frame or padding works better, I have used both. For many years my go-to day packs had trampoline frames. A couple of years ago I began using a pack that used a combination of a single stay with plastic 'wings' for structure, and padding on either side that forms a channel. I find the differences marginal.

That said, advances in materials technology have seen trampoline frames being used on larger and larger packs, and I am prepared to predict that for use on a Camino, this is likely to become more common. However, for those that are carrying lighter loads, considering a 'frameless pack' is a perfectly legitimate option.
 

Joanne P

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June 2018 & June 2020
I used this OMM pack in 2018 and will happily be using it again this year.
It is only 700gm. It has a removable backpad however I chose to leave that in.
I found it very comfortable, but as someone else mentioned, I would be wary of carrying much more than 6 kilos (I think I may have been up to 6.5kg with extra water on long stretches).

 

camino.ninja

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 5 6,16,17,18,19,20
Primiti+Salvador 19
Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
Hi All, I have walked 2 Caminos using the same Gregory 36 backpack with a frame. Even though I basically carried the same stuff the 2nd time it seemed heavier, dont know it was me getting older or what. I’ve been thinking of possibly getting a frameless pack for my next walk. Any input or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Dee

It's very individual what fits you. But I've mostly used frameless during my 18.000 km. Just make sure you pack light and small. 5 kilos max without water. My packlist is here and fits 22-24 L backpack.
https://camino.ninja/packlist

My current backpack is semi frame. I used Montane Featerlite 24 and Montane Ultratour 22 previously for frameless.

Best,
Andy
 
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cbacino

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
Hi All, I have walked 2 Caminos using the same Gregory 36 backpack with a frame. Even though I basically carried the same stuff the 2nd time it seemed heavier, dont know it was me getting older or what. I’ve been thinking of possibly getting a frameless pack for my next walk. Any input or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Dee
ULA makes quality packs. I’ve used my Ohm model over 5000 miles (Appalachian Trail, Via Francigena, Camino Norte-Primitivo) and will take it on the Israel National Trail next month.
 

anthikes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I have the Osprey Exos 58 (admittedly too big for most people but I see the 48 a lot on caminos) and it has a frame but I have regretted buying it. The webbing has already split and the backpack never stands up on it's own, which I actually find very annoying!
I prefer my Talon 46 which is an awesome backpack.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I have a framed Osprey Stratos 36 ltr, 7.5 kg packed with out water for my Camino. It worked very well for me. While walking the Frances last year in May I noticed that Osprey was the most popular brand of pack. I commented, one day, to a random walking companion (who also had an Osprey) that I wished I had shares in Osprey as they were so popular. He agreed.
 
Last edited:

gidivet

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to SdC - April - June 2014
Le Puy to Conques May 2016
Multiple CF sections since 2014
Indeed, but most of the good hiking ones have nowadays.
We are both lucky and unlucky that there is so much choice. First world problem.
It's worth going on some longer hikes, similar to your usual Camino stages, with a pack you intend to take or buy, just in case. Same with shoes.
I tried the Osprey Exos with trampoline style back and didn't like it at all.
The Osprey Kestrel has a textured/rippled pad covered in mesh, which sits much closer to your back, and I find this supremely comfortable in comparison. It may get just a little bit warmer but still not too sweaty for me.
Having said that, my old Kestrel is getting long in the tooth and I'm on the hunt for a new bag. I wouldn't mind shaving another 500g off the pack weight so looking at all the newer ultralight packs.
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
@gidivet
It’s black friday ... gossamer gear has a sale on their ultralite bags. In various threads, Dave has posted reviews on some of the options from this company. I have one of their bags but haven’t used it yet ... thanks to covid cancelling this year’s camino.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
I have walked the Frances with a frameless pack before. If i were to guess I would say it is about a 40 litre pack. It was during a very warm and dry summer Frances. I kept it very light in weight. I found no disadvantage in carrying it, but it did get quite sweaty where it contacted my back. When I could I would wash it and hang it out to dry. That was one advantage of frameless and inexpensive. I don't like to carry any piece of kit I have to baby and treat with kidd gloves. I like it to be as we used to say, soldier proof lol.
For anyone carrying a light pack, and they're fit I'd say sure why not carry a frameless. They are budget friendly as well and quite easy to carry on a flight.
 

Anhalter

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
My biggest problem with my frameless pack (GG Murmur) was that i was packing too light. My gear just did not fill the pack completely and i didnt figure that out unntil i was way in my camino and so my pack was quite saggy. I'm sure i could have improvised some form of compression, but then it wasnt to big of an issue most days. (Only when carrying lots of water in the meseta i got above 6kg total pack weight)
Unfortunately, theres a couple of things i like about a backpack, and there are not many models out there, that have them and are below 25l internal.
I now use a Bonfus Pack, which is technically even larger than the Murmur, but better to be compressed. Plus i added a few segments of Z-Lite internally to get some nice padding, stability and reduce volume a little. Downside is, the extra 100g of Thermarest Z-Lite now bring the empty pack weight to over 500g, but i figured that as acceptable.
 

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