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Looking for advice - pack weight

Kjack2222

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017
Hello all :) I have been walking the Camino Frances for about 7 days now. I started out knowing my pack was a bit too heavy, but not so heavy that I couldn't carry it, and I thought it could be a good opportunity to get a bit stronger. In the past 7 days I've had problems with my ankles being strained, bad blisters under callouses on the balls of my feet, and my hips as well as my glute muscles have become extremely sore and achey. Basically what I'm wondering is how much of this is basic Camino adjustment and how much of this may be due to my pack weight. What I could send ahead out of my pack isn't very much and really isn't worth what it would cost me...how long does it usually take your body to adjust to doing 25-35km a day?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
It usually takes me 3 or 4 days to adjust to walking with my pack. Up till then I stiffen up whenever I stop walking and getting moving again is a bit of a trial. So many possible causes of your problems. The ankle and blister trouble may well be unrelated to your pack weight. The issue with hips and glutes does sound like it might be a rucksack problem. Does your rucksack have a good broad hip belt sitting quite high on your hips? Have you tried adjusting the length of your shoulder straps so that a larger proportion of your weight is taken on the shoulders and less at the hips? It often takes a great deal of time and experiment to get the various adjustment straps right for you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
Kinda depends... I didn't have the opportunity to train pre-Camino with my loaded pack so although I'd put on lots of miles of walking my hips suffered the first few days under the yoke, so to speak! If I hadn't put on so many miles in advance I would not be surprised if that 'adjustment period' had stretched out into the first week.

It might be worthwhile considering a reduction of distance for a few days or a rest day (you're probably around Logrono which is a great place to spend a night of Tapas crawling!) to let things mend a bit because it's likely to get worse if you keep slogging on and once you get to a certain point, aborting the Camino could come into play. For blisters, take the time to swap socks and air out your feet a couple of times during the day and if you're not already, use some lubricant on your feet, some tape over the hotspots or throw on a second pair of socks (might cause sweating however which could lead to more blisters so use caution on this idea) to help mitigate the blistering.

Last thought: there are always items we can send ahead once we learn to let go and enjoy the simplicity of the Camino. Everyone seems to get there at their own speed but once you are able to see what you can do without, send the rest to Ivar from any post office and you'll be shocked at the difference a pound or two makes over the long days to SDC.

Good luck with your feet et al. Buen Camino!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@Kjack2222 how much are you carrying? What do you think your pack weighs? I note that you were planning to send 10 - 15k of stuff ahead while you walked. Did you do that?

25 - 35K per day on the early stages of the camino seems pretty quick to me, I think you are trying to go to far and to fast. Unless you are a very experienced back-packer, or got some effective training / practice in before you got started, it is going to hurt. Blisters so early in the trek are also a concern.

Stop. Rest. Treat those feet. And carry out a serious review of what you are carrying and why.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
JMO. lighten what you are carrying, send it to Santiago. Take rest day, walk shorter distances for several days.
Blisters: I get those in the same place you do. Caused by distance, weight and heat. Do not open the blisters!!
Get mole skin, cut out a donut a bit larger than the blister and place the hole over the blister. Cover foot area with Micorpour tape. Trim so it isn't bothering toes and does not go past the bottom of the foot. The tape will stay on 4 or 5 days. Just leave it there. Trim any loose places as you walk. Use lighter weight socks if it is hot or your feet feel hot. I got these instructions from my brother who has been an athletic sports trainer for over 25 yrs.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Basically what I'm wondering is how much of this is basic Camino adjustment and how much of this may be due to my pack weight. What I could send ahead out of my pack isn't very much and really isn't worth what it would cost me...how long does it usually take your body to adjust to doing 25-35km a day?
There is no "basic Camino adjustment." All of us have different bodies, fitness, and backpack weights, and different reactions. Since you don't even say how much you are carrying, it is hard to say if this is "normal."

You say that you couldn't send much ahead. If your load really is minimized like that (which I doubt), then I think you need to accept the fact that you are simply carrying too much and trying to walk too far, for your body. You could try sending your pack onward one day, to see if that helps, but maybe you need a rest day first.
 

alhartman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
I try to keep my 'skin out' pack weight to 10kg. That means that my boots, pole, all my gear, and all my clothes are in my pack-- and I weigh (by difference) just wearing a swimsuit. Therefore, it is the weight borne by my walking ankles EXCEPT my added water and lunch.
I also start slowly then taper off!! Under 75km total for the first 5 days. The Camino is not an endurance test! By starting this way, I have also comfortably done about 100km in 3 days across the later meseta. Keep in mind every body is different--listen to yours.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Keep in mind every body is different--listen to yours.
Good advice, on our first Camino as experienced trampers we packed like good kiwis and took everything apart from the kitchen sink. After our first day carrying ove 20kg of gear over the Pyreneese we threw most of it away but still had to carry heavy mountain grade packs the rest of the way. Lesson learnt, on later caminos we cut our gear down, with water and food on long hauls it meant carry weight of under 10kg. Plenty of advice on the forum on how to do this. Also check and readjust how you wear your pack, it shouldn't ride on your hips and needs to be close to your body to transfer the weight down your frame, but not too tight to cause compression fractures... No one said it would easy mate.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@Kjack2222 why those distances? I usually keep under 25km a day, and I don't think I am unusual. The first week I often walk a lot less. The amazing Erika, from Canada, who is 88, keeps her km down to under 10 a day. This is an endurance event, not a sprint. My suggestion is to lighten the load, and reduce the daily distances, at least until you feel comfortable walking more.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
@Kjack2222 My suggestion is to lighten the load, and reduce the daily distances, at least until you feel comfortable walking more.
Although I usually walk days in the 30-35km range myself I think @Kanga is spot on here. Far better to be as flexible as possible and not commit yourself in advance to stages that are clearly proving hard for you. That is the main reason why I hate to reserve beds or use baggage transport. You can always clock up some extra kms on days when everything is going smoothly and you are feeling good. After a while you may find some days so enjoyable that you just do not want to stop! But be gentle with yourself when things are tough.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
There is no "basic Camino adjustment.".
That certainly has been my experience, year after year. I start pain free and little by little the pain sets in and leaves only I have been home for a few days. Although it does plateau.

The pain in the upper foot is one that I have only experienced on Caminos and fell when sleeping on my stomach, forcing me to push my feet dangling off the bed when I do so. It's a pain I remember when ever I sleep on my stomach at home, grateful I don't feel it off Camino.
 

jay quintero

Facts don't care about your feelings.
Camino(s) past & future
Cancelled Winter 2017 plans (too much "cultural enrichment")
slow down. why 25-35Km? How are your shoes? Had issues with my upper foot last week when I didn't lace up my shoes properly. Do you have multi mineral tablets? mineral intake is often overlooked. but those lovely and tasty European gourmet cheeses should solve that (Cheese in America is all processed - yuck) . You might be able to find an inexpensive foldable (?) shopping cart at a made in China bazaar (if there are any along the way). a shopping cart would really look terrible on the road, but it'll beat the cost of sending anything ahead I assume ... it could also double as a camera stand ... would suggest buying extra wheels if you can-doubtful if the wheels would last very long.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
I am 71 and my upper body especially is weak (arthritis). I kept my backpack, with water, to under 5kg and most of my days to around 15-20K when I walked the CF last year. This year I am walking the Camino Portugués with the same kit and have made a tentative schedule to keep my distances down in advance. I like to know how I can break up the Camino into manageable amounts for me, even if I end up doing something different I have a plan. SO I am walking from Porto to Santiago in 17 days -- way more than a fit person would do but I think right for me. OP, everyone's body and fitness is different so what worked for someone else might not work for you.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
You might be able to find an inexpensive foldable (?) shopping cart at a made in China bazaar (if there are any along the way). a shopping cart would really look terrible on the road, but it'll beat the cost of sending anything ahead I assume ... it could also double as a camera stand ... would suggest buying extra wheels if you can-doubtful if the wheels would last very long.
Um, sounds like you haven't done much Camino research... A shopping cart or trolly would be completely impractical on the Camino! I did once see an enterprising Dutch couple with a kind of sulky (long fibreglass poles pulling a two wheel sprung cart, like a small version of what a trotting horse would pull) but they had walked from Amsterdam (and were walking back). It still took two of them to carry it over rocky and hilly sections.
 
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