Search 57,387 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

Good backpack for petite women? Help!

serenalms

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October 2013
Hi there, I know there have been a thousand posts on backpacks, and that in the end everyone is different and there is no one size fits all answer, but I'm having an extremely hard time finding a pack that fits me properly.

I am a fairly petite woman - 5'3" and 105 pounds - and so far, every single pack I've tried on (and I've tried on MANY - even those for children/teens!) hasn't fit me properly. I recently drove to the largest REI in California to try them on, as I was told that they'd be my best bet, and after trying on pretty much every one in the store, nothing really fit that great. Ultimately I ended up with an Osprey Sirrus 36. While I didn't love it, the REI guy told me that it was by far the best fit.

While I was there, I also tried on a Gregory Jade 38 and *I* felt like it was by far the best one, but the REI guy said that it was too loose around my waist, even when I had it pulled as tight as it could go (you can see a picture of what I mean here: http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/a11f0f3edf8d11e2bf4822000a1ddbe2_7.jpg). He said that the belt would stretch out, and since it was already as tight as it could go, that would be a problem.

However, the Sirrus kind of digs into my waist/rib cage, and after wearing it around the house for 10 minutes with about 15 pounds I was already really annoyed by the chaffing and rubbing of the shoulders.

I ordered the Gregory Jade just to compare, and personally, I still think it fits better, but the REI man was so adamant that it was a bad fit that I'm really not sure what to do.

So, this brings me to my main question, do any of you have recommendations for good packs for petite women? if not, do you think I should go with the Gregory Jade, which I prefer, or keep the Sirrus per the advice of the REI salespeople?

Lastly, a good friend suggested I look into external frame backpacks, as those are apparently good for smaller people?! Would this be something good for me try? I've never even heard of these kind of packs.

As always, thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

Serena
 
Published on Amazon
Guide to the 16 main caminos with maps, pictures, hyperlinks and other information.
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.

NicoZ

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
There was a thread a few days ago called something like "what to compromise " that thread lists most options.

Other then that email Gregory support and ask if it's possible to get a smaller belt.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Try the Deuter Groeden, it is a perfect fir for a small and short back and weighs just under one kg, it is super comfortable and roomier than packs with greater capacity. I think it is 32 ltrs and I fitted my stuff in more easily than into a .36 ltr pack. Gitti
 

Yvonne

New Member
Serena I am also quite petite 154cms or about 5ft 1, and l like you, had trouble finding a suitable backpack. I eventually settled on a Deuter Womens ACT lite 45 +10 Litre for my SJPP to Finisterre Camino last Sept/Oct.
Having a short torso, it was imperative I could adjust the straps at the back, which this Deuter style allowed, having at least 6 different lengths to choose from.
You know you have a great fitting pack, when you shed it for a day on arrival in Santiago, only to find you miss not having it on!
Deuter gets my thumbs up. :D
 

Mmc_56

Member
I smile when you say you are petite....5'3".... I am 4'11" :) I tried various packs on before I purchased my Soloman 30 ltr.... I loved it....see if you can find one to try on. It is ultra light, has a full zipper so is not just top loading...just like I wanted. Be sure that your belt strap is not fully tightened at purchase as you will probably lose weight...depending on how far you are walking. By the time I was done, I could not tighten the strap any more...good thing I didn't walk any farther :)
Marilyn
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

backpack45

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
I don't know about the various packs for petite women, but I do know about external frame backpacks. They're what everyone carried many years ago--before internal frame packs came out. There is an external metal framework to which the pack is attached. Though they are still made these days, I venture to say that most packs made today have an internal frame--meaning you don't see the support system because it is buried inside (or even non-existent and you use your sleeping pad, or similar, to provide the support).

I see them from time to time on the trails--mostly worn by people who have seen no reason to change from their original equipment or those who really need to carry heavy loads (probably 30 lbs. up). They are sold online and generally are less expensive than internal. You may be able to find one at a garage sale.

External frame backpacks generally weigh more, are bulkier, and because their center of gravity is further from your body do not have the feeling of "being one with your body" :D as internal ones do. I loved my old Kelty, but it weighed 4+ pounds compared to my new 2 lb. Granite Gear Crown.
Happy trails,
Backpack45
 

backpack45scb

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2001 CF, 04-6 LP, 07 Port, 08-10 Arles, 11 Mozá,12-13 Gen-LP. 00-10 PCT, 15 Norte, 16 Primi
I'm not sure you need a waistbelt. The first time my wife and I did the Camino, we used a Golite Breeze (no longer available), a ultralight pack with no waistbelt. It worked well for us. We are about 12 years older now and use packs with waistbelts.

Since you are in California, why not try one of the packs from http://gossamergear.com/packs/backpacks.html or ULA http://www.ula-equipment.com/packoverview.asp.

Also, you might put your question to PCT-L, the Pacific Crest Trail listserv. You will find women there with similar fitting requirements http://mailman.backcountry.net/mailman/listinfo/pct-l. Lastly, there is a Northern California Camino Group on Facebook, and someone may have a pack that you could try on for the cost of a cup of coffee and a drive: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Peregrinos.Northern.California/
 

serenalms

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October 2013
Thank you for all the great suggestions! It seems like a lot of people think Deuter is good for petite women, so I'm going to check those out next.

Also - a lot of you have mentioned torso length, and while I am rather petite, the torso lengths don't seem to be as big of a problem for me as the hip belts. Almost all of the packs I've tried on are just too loose around the waist/hips.

I had no idea finding a backpack would be this hard!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Have you thought about trying to ask for a pack for a child/adolescent. They may fit better so long as they have the capacity that you need.

Just a thought :)

Oops, then I read the other thread and see that you are doing so. :oops:
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
The Aarn Featherlight Freedom can be ordered in a small size (with a shortened torso length) and also ask for the small waistband. The waistband is made in two parts and attached with Velcro so is very adjustable. The pack itself is adjustable as to where it sits on the harness, the harness is adjustable and the waistband is adjustable. The front balance pockets are a unique feature which imo make these the most comfortable packs made. And I have no connection with this small New Zealand company, I just love their packs and want them to stay in business. Fitting the pack properly is important - you can ask for a DVD that helps explain what to do.
http://www.aarnpacks.com/products/feath ... eedom.html
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

serenalms

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October 2013
Yvonne said:
Serena I am also quite petite 154cms or about 5ft 1, and l like you, had trouble finding a suitable backpack. I eventually settled on a Deuter Womens ACT lite 45 +10 Litre for my SJPP to Finisterre Camino last Sept/Oct.
Deuter gets my thumbs up. :D

Thank you all for the recommendations, especially Yvonne! After trying on about another 15 packs, including most of those mentioned above, I have finally settled on the Deuter Womens ACT lite 45! I was hesitant because at almost 4 pounds, it weighs almost double what I was hoping to have, but it fits me the best and ultimately that is what is most important. I'm a bit sad that I had to sacrifice weight for fit, but I'm just happy I FINALLY found a good fitting pack.

That said - if I adhere to the 10% body rule I'm only supposed to bring less than 11 pounds, and with a 3.5 pound pack, I don't have much to work with. How important is this "rule"? What did all you other petite ladies do?

And for other petite woman out there - the Gregory Sage (comes in 35 and 45) was also a pretty good fit. The xs is actually xs, which I found rare!
 

AnnaG

So many Caminos; so little time.
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Caminho from Porto-Santiago late September/early October 20 2013
Hi there, I know there have been a thousand posts on backpacks, and that in the end everyone is different and there is no one size fits all answer, but I'm having an extremely hard time finding a pack that fits me properly.

I am a fairly petite woman - 5'3" and 105 pounds - and so far, every single pack I've tried on (and I've tried on MANY - even those for children/teens!) hasn't fit me properly. I recently drove to the largest REI in California to try them on, as I was told that they'd be my best bet, and after trying on pretty much every one in the store, nothing really fit that great. Ultimately I ended up with an Osprey Sirrus 36. While I didn't love it, the REI guy told me that it was by far the best fit.

While I was there, I also tried on a Gregory Jade 38 and *I* felt like it was by far the best one, but the REI guy said that it was too loose around my waist, even when I had it pulled as tight as it could go (you can see a picture of what I mean here: http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/a11f0f3edf8d11e2bf4822000a1ddbe2_7.jpg). He said that the belt would stretch out, and since it was already as tight as it could go, that would be a problem.

However, the Sirrus kind of digs into my waist/rib cage, and after wearing it around the house for 10 minutes with about 15 pounds I was already really annoyed by the chaffing and rubbing of the shoulders.

I ordered the Gregory Jade just to compare, and personally, I still think it fits better, but the REI man was so adamant that it was a bad fit that I'm really not sure what to do.

So, this brings me to my main question, do any of you have recommendations for good packs for petite women? if not, do you think I should go with the Gregory Jade, which I prefer, or keep the Sirrus per the advice of the REI salespeople?

Lastly, a good friend suggested I look into external frame backpacks, as those are apparently good for smaller people?! Would this be something good for me try? I've never even heard of these kind of packs.

As always, thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

Serena

Serena, I haven't made my Camino yet (soon!), but I bought the Deuter 45. It's been perfect so far while training. I'm 5'3" and have a sway back. There were only two packs that might fit me (according to REI), and I tried them both. I love my Deuter. The Camino will be the test - so far, so good!

Buen Camino!

http://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/sh...x&adtype=pla&gclid=CL7WrPPvkrkCFcaDQgodVlAAHQ

Laurie
 

GreatDane

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF to Burgos Sept/Oct 2014, Burgos to Astorga April 2016, Astorga to SdC 2017
I'm the person that started the "compromise" thread. I've kept a word .doc of notes on which backpacks to try for my x-short torso (15-15.5") with notes when ever I have the chance to actually try one on. I did a 450 mile road trip last weekend to the REI Flagship store to try on the North Face Women's Casimir 36L. Fits great! but didn't purchase as I like the features and fit (except the weigh - about 1 lb more than I'd like) of my frontrunner. It's the Lowe Alpine Centro ND 33+10 pack.

If anyone would like to see my notes, PM me.

Edited to add: If I'm having this much trouble finding a suitable backpack, there must be many many short/petite people walking out there with the wrong backpacks and making it to SdC.
 
Last edited:

lorrainemc

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
March 2013, SJDPP to SDC
I ended up with the Lowe Alpine Airzone - also heavier than I might have liked, but fitted like a glove and I never regretted the extra weight on my camino March/April this year. I was slightly over the 10% weight but my pack was so comforatable it didnt seem to matter for me. I ended up deciding that a well fitting heavier pack would be preferrable to a poorly fitting light pack
 

FatmaG

Active Member
Serena,

I am rather "petite" as well (1,57m, 102 pounds), since 2010 I use a Deuter Spectro which has the advantage to be slightly lighter than the other SL ones.
Mine is a 28l bag; it doesn't exist any more, but I would anyway recommend the bigger one. (28l is just a little too small to get my self inflating mat in it with all the rest).

http://www.deuter.com/en/DE/product/1-69/34832/SpectroAC32SL.html

In general, I am more than happy with it; but this summer I had some mayor problems with my hip (hurting after some hours) - maybe because the hipbelt is not "thick" enough (not enough padding).
Anyway, you should try it in a shop first - in my case the hipbelt is almost at its smallest position, so this one might as well be too large for you if this is generally your problem.

As to the 10% rule, it is (almost) impossible. Try to get is as lightweight as possible.
I don't have to tell anyone here that the lighter the bag, the more easygoing the camino is...
I have been carrying all between 6,3 kg and 10 kg (without water and food). On some caminos or treks, I have sent home or forwarded some of my stuff because it was just too heavy.
Nevertheless, my future goal would be to reduce my staff to 5kg (still without water and food)...

Good luck in finding the right one,
and buen camino!

FatmaG
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

daviddephillips

there are More than One Camino.
Year of past OR future Camino
(2013) sept. finished.
2017 Camino Porta
Serena, i attached a photo of my wife with her Gregory Jade 28' pack. Her proportions are almost exactly yours, except age. We recently completed the Camino during days of grueling heat. She was fit perfectly at our local REI store.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    211.7 KB · Views: 82

jbruni87

James from Maine
Year of past OR future Camino
camino francese (2012) camino Portugese (2013)
There is a company calle Ultra Light Weight. they make packs that weigh less then 3 pounds I bought a model called the camino. I also bought an ultra light weight tent, from REI and a sleeping bag that weighs less the 19 oz from Enlightened equipment REI does not carry much in the way of ultra light weight stuff.
James From Maine
 

jlmiko

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
Hi, Serena,
It looks like you've already found a good pack but if you change your mind, I went with ULA (Ultra Light Adventure) out of Colorado, which is the company that I think James from Maine is talking about. I'm 4'11" and had a terrible time finding a short backpack but with a grown up sized hip belt. I ended up with their Circuit pack in a Child/Adult size but the hip belt comes separately and I was able to get a Medium Adult. They were also fantastic about helping me to make the adjustments I needed to make. My pack weighs about 1 lb. 11 oz. and is very comfortable. Check them out if it's not too late.
Lauren
 

paladycamino

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2014
There is a company calle Ultra Light Weight. they make packs that weigh less then 3 pounds I bought a model called the camino. I also bought an ultra light weight tent, from REI and a sleeping bag that weighs less the 19 oz from Enlightened equipment REI does not carry much in the way of ultra light weight stuff.
James From Maine
Thanks for letting me know about REI. I was thinking of going there because we have a store in Pittsburgh but I was afraid of weight.
 

katehawk

Kate
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2012
I also used the ULA Circuit on my Camino. My main objective was weight, though I am small- framed too. I loved it! The only issue I had with it was that the side zippered pocket on the belt, that I used the most and over-filled (camera/phone/sunscreen...) began to rip at the zipper. I had to break into my blister repair kit for my thread and needle to repair it. When I got home, I called ULA and they mailed me a whole new belt, no questions asked. The pack is also machine washable (remove inner back support to wash separately). After 500+ miles it still looked brand new. Although I bought many things at REI for my trip, they did not carry ultra-light packs. I tried on most of what they had in stock and ultimately decided to follow the one most important piece of advice (for me) I got from this forum, which was: Weight is everything. It paid off royally.
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Camino Masks
12 different designs, shipped world wide from Santiago.
M

marthayfulgencio

Guest
I also used the ULA Circuit on my Camino. My main objective was weight, though I am small- framed too. I loved it! The only issue I had with it was that the side zippered pocket on the belt, that I used the most and over-filled (camera/phone/sunscreen...) began to rip at the zipper. I had to break into my blister repair kit for my thread and needle to repair it. When I got home, I called ULA and they mailed me a whole new belt, no questions asked. The pack is also machine washable (remove inner back support to wash separately). After 500+ miles it still looked brand new. Although I bought many things at REI for my trip, they did not carry ultra-light packs. I tried on most of what they had in stock and ultimately decided to follow the one most important piece of advice (for me) I got from this forum, which was: Weight is everything. It paid off royally.

That's fantastic that this worked for you so well!

However, I would disagree with your conclusion that "Weight is everything". Weight is one important factor. But comfort and fit are equally important.

Like a couple of others on this thread, I carry a Deuter ActLite 45-10. I am quite petite, with a short torso. It is the most comfortable pack I've every used, whether half-empty or fully loaded. But it is, I believe, 3.5 lbs. Doesn't matter - feels like a feather on my back.

I also have a Six Moon Design ultralight. Fantastic pack in general, but I rarely use it anymore. Just not as comfortable (as least without some very specific, OCD packing distribution), even with light loads.
 

Gil A

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
My wife is 5'3 and she is very happy with a north face alteo 35 for women. We have been training with fully loaded packs. Her pack weights less than 1 kg and fully loaded - without food or water - is just over 6 kg. She is very happy with her backpack
 

AnnaG

So many Caminos; so little time.
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Caminho from Porto-Santiago late September/early October 20 2013
I used Osprey's Kyte 46L. I purchased and used two others and returned them before choosing the Kyte. It was by no means perfect. Good points are that it's completely adjustable for height. (The Gregory's were as well, but the Gregory pack has a lumbar support that dug into my back. Some swear it's great; it hurt the heck out of me on me for just a couple of minutes.) The height adjustment is important for several reasons. First, for comfort on long treks such as a Camino. Second, for the weight of the pack, which will be different each day (realize that food & water weight will change each day). Third, how the pack is filled will be different every day, even if you're loading up the same items. There's no way to reload a pack exactly the same twice (IMO), which is fine. Not a bad thing.

Point being, an height adjustment may be needed each day, so you'll want a pack that does that easily.

Other things I loved about the Kyte was its size. It worked really well for me for the Portuguese Porto-Santiago route. It also has TWO zipper pockets on the hip belt (one on each side) - many packs only have one on one side. It's H2O-ready, although I have not yet used a camelback. Another thing I loved about my pack was it was fairly easy to get my hiking poles on & off of it. Not super easy, but easy enough. Also, it comes with a rain cover attached (not all packs do, and that's a must vs. a separate cover), and it was easy to get out and put on. Really easy.

The drawback for me with the Kyte was the shoulder straps. They dug into me. Funny thing...I'm very broad across the back for a woman. No one believes me until they measure me. I ended up trying on men's packs for this reason. They didn't pan out. So I stayed with the Kyte. But I was constantly adjusting the shoulder straps throughout the days on my Caminho. I will say this...it did make a difference when I packed the pack differently, interestingly enough.

http://www.trekt.com/4631-Osprey-Wo...=74686&zmam=41843225&zmas=1&zmac=7&zmap=74686

The other two packs I tried were 1) the Dueter Act Lite 45+10L (marketed for petite women). Ultimately it didn't work for me after I used it for several hikes. It was always too tall for me, no matter how it was adjusted. (I'm 5'4", certainly petite!) Even the sales person admitted when I returned it that it should not have been presented to me.

2) I tried an Osprey Talon 33L and loved it the most. The shoulder straps on the Talon, for some odd reason, are different than the other Ospreys, including the Kyte. It was by far the most comfortable pack for me. The straps were PERFECT (see above for my problem with Kyte). I do not know why the straps were different. All other Ospreys have the straps that hurt me. However, the Talon was small for a Caminho, I thought, and it wasn't quite as sturdy as other packs. I decided to use it as a daypack around here (Puget Sound), but taking it on the Caminho wasn't practical.

Whatever you do, it is important to find the pack that's right for you. But there is no perfect fit every day with one pack. At least I don't think there is. So don't look for perfection! Take advantage of stores which have liberal return policies. Don't abuse a pack, but do try it out on an actual hike.

Bom Caminho!

Anna
 

AnnaG

So many Caminos; so little time.
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Caminho from Porto-Santiago late September/early October 20 2013
Thanks for letting me know about REI. I was thinking of going there because we have a store in Pittsburgh but I was afraid of weight.
I'm not certain what "ultra lightweight" is, but REI carries a ton of packs, and my Osprey Kyte certainly falls into the light-weight category - and I got it at REI. Also, weight is not the most important thing. Weight in a pack will be a bit different every day, and your load will be distributed a bit different every day. Your energy level will vary, the weather will vary, the terrain will vary, your clothing (and therefore the pack fit) will vary. All of the things I was concerned about on my Caminho never came to pass. Like...the weight of my pack! Not having enough water! Not finding food I can eat! (I'm gluten-intolerant.) Getting blisters!

The only thing which was truly an issue was one I really didn't think would be - the language barrier I experienced in Portugal. I traveled alone, and that means I was truly in my element only inside my head. Everything and everyone outside of my head was unfamiliar - the language, the customs, the signs - unfamiliar! (When you travel with someone, you are probably speaking the same language, so there's always at least one person in your corner who knows what the heck you are saying!) I was not prepared for that. It was rather disorienting.

Not saying that to make you worry! I carried my Rick Steves Portugal-English dictionary, and everything was fine! People were extremely helpful and friendly. I'd return in a heartbeat.

In fact, don't worry at all. Do your best to prepare, and then go and let go. Let it unfold as it is supposed to. It will not be what you think it is, no matter what it is you think it will be. And that's a blessing.

Bom Caminho!

Anna
 
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

reg2450

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
March 2013
Deuter. Threw Georgia's out after far too many kilometres and bought a local. The one I got from Kathmandu in Australia cost a lot, was supposed to be designed for 'small women' and was so uncomfortable we shipped it forward constantly. Then realised we could get rid of it and buy another one - but throwing away an expensive backpack was not something that came easy, even on pilgrimage.... But the Deuter changed our experience from challenging to enjoyable in one day. I love them
 

Alena

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2013 - Astorga-Santiago-Finisterre
Camino Portuguese 2014 - Porto-Santiago
Being quite petite myself (155 cm) I was completely satisfied with my Jack Wolfskin Rambler for women - 26 http://www.jack-wolfskin.com/equipm...rucksacks/women/2002221-rambler-26-women.aspx. It was very comfortable, but maybe a backpack for me won't necessarily be comfortable for another person even if we have the same measures. You have to try and find for yourself!

I was a little concerned that it would be too small, but, in fact, I managed to include everything I needed inside and I had extra space for food! ;)
The 10% rule which was also worrying me never became an issue, even though I had to keep it under 5 kg. The less stuff, the better, you get used to it.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
It may have been said above, and certainly has been stated elsewhere in other forum conversations, but the single most important thing is to be properly fitted by someone who knows what they are doing. You cannot hope to have a good Camino experience with the first rucksack you buy off the peg in a Wal-Mart store or other discount or online retailer. A properly fitting rucksack is second in important ONLY to a properly sized and fitted pair of hiking shoes or boots.

To fit a rucksack properly, you must go to an outdoors specialty store, not a discount department store or online retailer. If you are price sensitive, first go someplace to get properly fitted, then once you have decided on a brand, model, size and color, you can choose to seek the best price elsewhere.

In my view, the steps to proper rucksack / backpack fitting are:

1. Speak to an experienced (hiker / backpacker) sales person. Tell s/he what you want the rucksack for and how long daily/days you will need to wear it. (example: I will be carrying 10 - 15 pounds of stuff in the sack and will be walking about 30 days covering just about 800 km - 500 miles, on gravel and stone paths, in very hilly terrain. I expect rain and possibly snow. I do not need to carry a tent, cooking gear, or bulk food or water.)

2. Have the sales person measure the length of your torso - from the top of your Iliac loop hip bone to the center of your shoulders. The better shops have plastic forms that strap to your waist to accomplish this. In particular, Osprey has one. It can be used for any brand rucksack.

In general, a torso length / height of less than 19 inches is considered a short to medium frame size. Most women and shorter men will likely fall into this range. But do not make the assumption. Every person is shaped differently. However, Osprey breaks it's size range between Small/Medium sizes and Medium/Large sizes at 19 inches.

Personally, I measure 18.75 inches so I am on the cusp. Through proper measurement and fitting, plus some trial and error, we decided that a M/L size Osprey rucksack adjusted to the minimum / shortest possible adjustment worked for me better than a S/M rucksack extended to its maximum length. In the latter scenario, the very large, heavy duty Velcro patch used to secure the shoulder harness to the sack body was not fully engaged. I considered that less safe. I did not want to take the chance it would let go and throw me off balance at an inopportune moment.:(

3. Select several likely possibilities from the available makes and models. Bear-in-mind that some manufacturers simply offer different colors of their S/M men's bags and call them women's bags. So, if you are a short torso woman and cannot find a woman's style you like, do try a S/M man's rucksack. It might work for you.

4. Once you have selected a possible rucksack, ask the sales person to place weight in the sack. REI uses sand bags in 5 pound increments. I suspect other good outdoor shops do the same. Put the weighed sack on and have the sales person assist you to get all belts and straps adjusted properly for the load. ALL rucksacks ride differently empty than they do with a load in them. Pay particular attention that the hip belt rides on the top of the upper hip bone as mentioned before. (Just FYI - I train with 20 pounds of kitty litter bags in my Osprey rucksack before I go on Camino).

5. Wear the pack for 20 - 30 minutes in the store. Walk around, climb stairs, bend over and touch your toes, squat down. Move your arms all around. Kneel down and get up. These are all things you are going to have to do while wearing the rucksack on Camino, so get a feel for it. If the store has a simulated "hill" for testing boot fitting - use it. If the store has stairs in it - used them too. Get a feel for walking up and down an incline with the weight on your back. With the rucksack, your center of gravity is changed. You need to learn how to walk all over again.

Once you have tried this and found a good "fit," you have found your bag. The only two decisions to make are what color, and do you want to buy it there, where they took the time to help you, or they to find the same bag online. Either way the decision is yours.;)

I hope this helps someone...:)
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
I am also quite small. I found the Deuter Act Lite 35/10 to be roomy enough (including my down sleeping bag). It's super light, durable and fits very well. In my experience, all backpacks take some getting used to. You need to load it up and practice with it. Do an overnight if you can swing it. Practice carrying it, packing and unpacking and then jettison all the crap you don't really need. Just remember: Ounces make pounds, pounds make pain.
Buen Camino
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

serenalms

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October 2013
I started this thread and as I mentioned somewhere along the way, I ended up with the Dueter Act Lite 45+10L. I tried on over 50 packs and even special some of the others recommended on this thread, but ultimately that was the one that fit me best.

I finished my camino in November, and now that it's over I can happily say that the Deuter could not have been better for me. I was concerned because it was heavier and larger than the packs that people recommend, but ultimately the fit and comfort level made up for it. For me, 10% of my bodyweight would have been less than 5 kilos, which was just not possible no matter how little I packed. In the end my packed weighed around 7k, and the weight didn't bother me at all.

Weight is important, but I think it should come second to fit. If you don't have a good fitting pack, it doesn't matter how light it is!
 

E H A

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Student
Another alternative would be backbacks for teenagers, Ospray do a range that are both shorter and narrower than adult packs but with the same functions!!
Check out the following link for inspiration on how to rock your backpack & shop some of our favorites!!
http://www.geartrade.com/
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I couldn't help myself when it turned out Cotswold Outdoor have an exclusive on selling the Osprey Mira 26L in the UK - it is not in the European selection of their packs. I just had to try it. It has the same AG (anti gravity) mesh back system as the larger Aura and Atmos at 50/65L and everyone has raved about it. I guess it is well deserved ... my problem was it is just not big enough to comfortably sit on my hips. The waist belt seems very very narrow as it's supposed to really hug you, but in my humble opinion this is a pack aimed at slender folk with a low BMI. It might be worth looking at if you are.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
April-May 2016
Hi there, I know there have been a thousand posts on backpacks, and that in the end everyone is different and there is no one size fits all answer, but I'm having an extremely hard time finding a pack that fits me properly.

I am a fairly petite woman - 5'3" and 105 pounds - and so far, every single pack I've tried on (and I've tried on MANY - even those for children/teens!) hasn't fit me properly. I recently drove to the largest REI in California to try them on, as I was told that they'd be my best bet, and after trying on pretty much every one in the store, nothing really fit that great. Ultimately I ended up with an Osprey Sirrus 36. While I didn't love it, the REI guy told me that it was by far the best fit.

While I was there, I also tried on a Gregory Jade 38 and *I* felt like it was by far the best one, but the REI guy said that it was too loose around my waist, even when I had it pulled as tight as it could go (you can see a picture of what I mean here: http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/a11f0f3edf8d11e2bf4822000a1ddbe2_7.jpg). He said that the belt would stretch out, and since it was already as tight as it could go, that would be a problem.

However, the Sirrus kind of digs into my waist/rib cage, and after wearing it around the house for 10 minutes with about 15 pounds I was already really annoyed by the chaffing and rubbing of the shoulders.

I ordered the Gregory Jade just to compare, and personally, I still think it fits better, but the REI man was so adamant that it was a bad fit that I'm really not sure what to do.

So, this brings me to my main question, do any of you have recommendations for good packs for petite women? if not, do you think I should go with the Gregory Jade, which I prefer, or keep the Sirrus per the advice of the REI salespeople?

Lastly, a good friend suggested I look into external frame backpacks, as those are apparently good for smaller people?! Would this be something good for me try? I've never even heard of these kind of packs.

As always, thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

Serena
Serena,
What is your torso measurement? I didn't see it in here, whether you were measured. I might just have missed it.
 

MaidinBham

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances SJPP to Muxia, April (2014)
Camino Portuguese Lisbon>Santiago, April/May (2016)
I am petite and used Osprey Sirrus 36L, (torso 16") and I love it. I just wanted to point out that this pack comes in 2 sizes XS/S and S/M. I have XS/S and it is marked on pack as "Sirrus 36L", but is actually 34L in XS/S size. Just kind of made me wonder if what OP used was the S/M.
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

wayne smith

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF June 2016
Hi there, I know there have been a thousand posts on backpacks, and that in the end everyone is different and there is no one size fits all answer, but I'm having an extremely hard time finding a pack that fits me properly.

I am a fairly petite woman - 5'3" and 105 pounds - and so far, every single pack I've tried on (and I've tried on MANY - even those for children/teens!) hasn't fit me properly. I recently drove to the largest REI in California to try them on, as I was told that they'd be my best bet, and after trying on pretty much every one in the store, nothing really fit that great. Ultimately I ended up with an Osprey Sirrus 36. While I didn't love it, the REI guy told me that it was by far the best fit.

While I was there, I also tried on a Gregory Jade 38 and *I* felt like it was by far the best one, but the REI guy said that it was too loose around my waist, even when I had it pulled as tight as it could go (you can see a picture of what I mean here: http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/a11f0f3edf8d11e2bf4822000a1ddbe2_7.jpg). He said that the belt would stretch out, and since it was already as tight as it could go, that would be a problem.

However, the Sirrus kind of digs into my waist/rib cage, and after wearing it around the house for 10 minutes with about 15 pounds I was already really annoyed by the chaffing and rubbing of the shoulders.

I ordered the Gregory Jade just to compare, and personally, I still think it fits better, but the REI man was so adamant that it was a bad fit that I'm really not sure what to do.

So, this brings me to my main question, do any of you have recommendations for good packs for petite women? if not, do you think I should go with the Gregory Jade, which I prefer, or keep the Sirrus per the advice of the REI salespeople?

Lastly, a good friend suggested I look into external frame backpacks, as those are apparently good for smaller people?! Would this be something good for me try? I've never even heard of these kind of packs.

As always, thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

Serena
Hi Serena,
My wife and her friends who have all walked the Camino, all use the Lowe Alpine Airzone pro 33. It is fully adjustable and is quite narrow on the back line. My local hiking shop has a series of different weights that fill a pack, I spend hours browsing around the shop with a full back pack until I find one that fits me correctly.
Wayne
 

Renascer

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
It may have been said above, and certainly has been stated elsewhere in other forum conversations, but the single most important thing is to be properly fitted by someone who knows what they are doing. You cannot hope to have a good Camino experience with the first rucksack you buy off the peg in a Wal-Mart store or other discount or online retailer. A properly fitting rucksack is second in important ONLY to a properly sized and fitted pair of hiking shoes or boots.

To fit a rucksack properly, you must go to an outdoors specialty store, not a discount department store or online retailer. If you are price sensitive, first go someplace to get properly fitted, then once you have decided on a brand, model, size and color, you can choose to seek the best price elsewhere.

In my view, the steps to proper rucksack / backpack fitting are:

1. Speak to an experienced (hiker / backpacker) sales person. Tell s/he what you want the rucksack for and how long daily/days you will need to wear it. (example: I will be carrying 10 - 15 pounds of stuff in the sack and will be walking about 30 days covering just about 800 km - 500 miles, on gravel and stone paths, in very hilly terrain. I expect rain and possibly snow. I do not need to carry a tent, cooking gear, or bulk food or water.)

2. Have the sales person measure the length of your torso - from the top of your Iliac loop hip bone to the center of your shoulders. The better shops have plastic forms that strap to your waist to accomplish this. In particular, Osprey has one. It can be used for any brand rucksack.

In general, a torso length / height of less than 19 inches is considered a short to medium frame size. Most women and shorter men will likely fall into this range. But do not make the assumption. Every person is shaped differently. However, Osprey breaks it's size range between Small/Medium sizes and Medium/Large sizes at 19 inches.

Personally, I measure 18.75 inches so I am on the cusp. Through proper measurement and fitting, plus some trial and error, we decided that a M/L size Osprey rucksack adjusted to the minimum / shortest possible adjustment worked for me better than a S/M rucksack extended to its maximum length. In the latter scenario, the very large, heavy duty Velcro patch used to secure the shoulder harness to the sack body was not fully engaged. I considered that less safe. I did not want to take the chance it would let go and throw me off balance at an inopportune moment.:(

3. Select several likely possibilities from the available makes and models. Bear-in-mind that some manufacturers simply offer different colors of their S/M men's bags and call them women's bags. So, if you are a short torso woman and cannot find a woman's style you like, do try a S/M man's rucksack. It might work for you.

4. Once you have selected a possible rucksack, ask the sales person to place weight in the sack. REI uses sand bags in 5 pound increments. I suspect other good outdoor shops do the same. Put the weighed sack on and have the sales person assist you to get all belts and straps adjusted properly for the load. ALL rucksacks ride differently empty than they do with a load in them. Pay particular attention that the hip belt rides on the top of the upper hip bone as mentioned before. (Just FYI - I train with 20 pounds of kitty litter bags in my Osprey rucksack before I go on Camino).

5. Wear the pack for 20 - 30 minutes in the store. Walk around, climb stairs, bend over and touch your toes, squat down. Move your arms all around. Kneel down and get up. These are all things you are going to have to do while wearing the rucksack on Camino, so get a feel for it. If the store has a simulated "hill" for testing boot fitting - use it. If the store has stairs in it - used them too. Get a feel for walking up and down an incline with the weight on your back. With the rucksack, your center of gravity is changed. You need to learn how to walk all over again.

Once you have tried this and found a good "fit," you have found your bag. The only two decisions to make are what color, and do you want to buy it there, where they took the time to help you, or they to find the same bag online. Either way the decision is yours.;)

I hope this helps someone...:)
Very interesting thanks.
 

Renascer

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I am petite and I went for the Ultralight one from ULA. Their packs are very customizable.
I could choose to custom straps S or J shape for breast area and waistband to my size. The one i got is this, the Circuit.
It will be versatile for other occasions, short trips when i want to put more stuff in it. I will be testing other smaller ones too in case feels better than this one. If i find one that feels much better than this i get a small one too.
For a long trip like the camino i plan to go light. It is a 68L but it is lighter than most 30L. So This may be all i need for the camino and if i decide other shorter weekend hikes with my son when i come back this will fit too.
 
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

Moorwalker

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
That said - if I adhere to the 10% body rule I'm only supposed to bring less than 11 pounds, and with a 3.5 pound pack, I don't have much to work with. How important is this "rule"? What did all you other petite ladies do?
The 10% "rule" is only a rough guideline and is actually based on guidelines for how much weight schoolchildren should be asked to carry in their schoolbags. It's a reasonable place to start if you are average shape and size but don't take it as an absolute rule.

Having said that, the less weight you carry on your back the more comfortable you are likely to be. You really don't need a lot on the Camino, apart from anything else Spain has plenty of shops so if you find you need something along the way you'll almost certainly be able to buy it within a day or so.

As far as your pack is concerned, comfort and good fit are more important than going for the ultimate light weight. I like the ZPacks Arc Scout in the shortest back length, Osprey don't fit me at all well and dig into my hips. If you want to look for light weight you might try a pack without any back system at all given that you aren't going to be carrying a lot of weight because those are much less critical on back length.

A proper hip belt should take some of the weight of the pack and reduce the weight that is on the shoulder straps but that does mean that it needs to fit well and sit in the right place. Again though, if you're not carrying a lot of weight it is less important.

Your REI person sounds as if they need a serious talking-to and some better training. Al the theory in the world counts for nothing if a pack isn't comfortable to carry.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Packs are like choosing footwear sadly.
We're all different and like different things.

I'm surprised @serenalms you tried all the packs in the store and didn't find a good fit.
Maybe the sales person was not that good?

Perhaps try another/smaller store? Sometimes they have better service

For what it's worth, my wife Pat, (your size/height) uses a Sirrus 24 and loves it.
 

Laura the Explora

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Hi there, I know there have been a thousand posts on backpacks, and that in the end everyone is different and there is no one size fits all answer, but I'm having an extremely hard time finding a pack that fits me properly.

I am a fairly petite woman - 5'3" and 105 pounds - and so far, every single pack I've tried on (and I've tried on MANY - even those for children/teens!) hasn't fit me properly. I recently drove to the largest REI in California to try them on, as I was told that they'd be my best bet, and after trying on pretty much every one in the store, nothing really fit that great. Ultimately I ended up with an Osprey Sirrus 36. While I didn't love it, the REI guy told me that it was by far the best fit.

While I was there, I also tried on a Gregory Jade 38 and *I* felt like it was by far the best one, but the REI guy said that it was too loose around my waist, even when I had it pulled as tight as it could go (you can see a picture of what I mean here: http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/a11f0f3edf8d11e2bf4822000a1ddbe2_7.jpg). He said that the belt would stretch out, and since it was already as tight as it could go, that would be a problem.

However, the Sirrus kind of digs into my waist/rib cage, and after wearing it around the house for 10 minutes with about 15 pounds I was already really annoyed by the chaffing and rubbing of the shoulders.

I ordered the Gregory Jade just to compare, and personally, I still think it fits better, but the REI man was so adamant that it was a bad fit that I'm really not sure what to do.

So, this brings me to my main question, do any of you have recommendations for good packs for petite women? if not, do you think I should go with the Gregory Jade, which I prefer, or keep the Sirrus per the advice of the REI salespeople?

Lastly, a good friend suggested I look into external frame backpacks, as those are apparently good for smaller people?! Would this be something good for me try? I've never even heard of these kind of packs.

As always, thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

Serena
Hi Serena
I’ve done 2 caminos and am doing my 3rd this summer. I’m 5’2’, 110ish pounds. I really like my Osprey 26L, but understand feeling like it digs in. It did for me at my hips but my body got used to it. A friend who is about my size also uses this pack.

That being said, I would have gotten the Gregory Jade 28L if the model that the back height adjusts had been available where I live in Sweden. The 24L fits all my stuff but it would be nice to have room for snacks and stuff.

If the Gregory is comfortable, I’d go with the Gregory. So what if the REI guy said it wasn’t “the right fit.” You’re the one wearing it :)

Just a little extra tip since you mentioned 15lbs. I keep my pack to ~10 pounds without water, with water around 12-13lbs. You really feel the extra weight when you’re waking day after day if, for example, your pack was 15lbs without water and say 17-18 with it.
Buen camino!
Laura
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
Hi Serena
I’ve done 2 caminos and am doing my 3rd this summer. I’m 5’2’, 110ish pounds. I really like my Osprey 26L, but understand feeling like it digs in. It did for me at my hips but my body got used to it. A friend who is about my size also uses this pack.
Laura
My suspicion is that Osprey make their women's packs for slender women, something that is extremely common in outdoor equipment and clothing. Apparently we wider women aren't supposed to be active. I know several women who are rather wider across the rear who find their packs uncomfortable. I once carried an Ospry pack for someone else for a while and ended up with bruises and abrasions on my hips.

Osprey certainly make some very good kit and have a good reputation for build quality, but like everything, they won't suit everyone.
 
Camino Masks
12 different designs, shipped world wide from Santiago.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

trecile

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

Rebequa

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hi there, I know there have been a thousand posts on backpacks, and that in the end everyone is different and there is no one size fits all answer, but I'm having an extremely hard time finding a pack that fits me properly.

I am a fairly petite woman - 5'3" and 105 pounds - and so far, every single pack I've tried on (and I've tried on MANY - even those for children/teens!) hasn't fit me properly. I recently drove to the largest REI in California to try them on, as I was told that they'd be my best bet, and after trying on pretty much every one in the store, nothing really fit that great. Ultimately I ended up with an Osprey Sirrus 36. While I didn't love it, the REI guy told me that it was by far the best fit.

While I was there, I also tried on a Gregory Jade 38 and *I* felt like it was by far the best one, but the REI guy said that it was too loose around my waist, even when I had it pulled as tight as it could go (you can see a picture of what I mean here: http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/a11f0f3edf8d11e2bf4822000a1ddbe2_7.jpg). He said that the belt would stretch out, and since it was already as tight as it could go, that would be a problem.

However, the Sirrus kind of digs into my waist/rib cage, and after wearing it around the house for 10 minutes with about 15 pounds I was already really annoyed by the chaffing and rubbing of the shoulders.

I ordered the Gregory Jade just to compare, and personally, I still think it fits better, but the REI man was so adamant that it was a bad fit that I'm really not sure what to do.

So, this brings me to my main question, do any of you have recommendations for good packs for petite women? if not, do you think I should go with the Gregory Jade, which I prefer, or keep the Sirrus per the advice of the REI salespeople?

Lastly, a good friend suggested I look into external frame backpacks, as those are apparently good for smaller people?! Would this be something good for me try? I've never even heard of these kind of packs.

As always, thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

Serena
I tried the Gregory Jade, but no luck. I ended up with this great little pack!

[Moderator edited to remove video link that became unavailable.]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I tried the Gregory Jade, but no luck. I ended up with this great little pack!
Can you tell us what it is without watching a ten minute video?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 100 ratings
Downloads
15,118
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,780
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,603
Updated

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top