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pack weight


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We read all sorts of advice to keep pack weight below 10% of your body weight but are finding this pretty impossible. How much did your pack actually weigh and what items could you absolutely not do without? Also, are showers in most refugios stalls or open locker-room style? To get the Compostela, is it necessary to walk the last 100 km, or just 100 along the Camino? And finally, if we decide to cover some territory on a bus one day, is it still possible to sleep in a refugio that night?
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
Pack weight etc

Hello Melody,
It is so HARD to keep the weight down!
On my first camino I felt that I had to take a black jacket - a little black number - in case we went out to dinner at night. My sister bought me a beautiful sarong which was perfect and could serve as a skirt, cover all after a shower, even a light sheet if it was hot. Then there were those natty two-in-one trousers that zip off at the knee - so useful! My pack weighed 10.5kg - not too bad, I thought, I can manage that. (I weigh 54kg). After 3 days my ankles felt as though they were going to break, my calf muscled ached so much at night I could hardly sleep and I had a permanent headache from painful shoulders. I knew that I wasn't going to make it unless I divested myself of material baggage! So, I sifted through my stuff and made a parcel of 3kg which I took to the Correos (Post Office) to send to myself in Santiago.
"Ah, si signora! You want a pilgrim box - what size?" The Post Offices are so used to pilgrims having to post stuff ahead that they have Pilgrim Boxes in all sizes (even suitcase size) and the Correos in Santiago will keep your box for 30 days.
If you would like my packing list please mail me at: sillydoll(at)gmail.com and I will send it to you with pleasure.

There are only one or two places where the showers don't have doors. Most are normal locker showers but few have hooks inside so I found a large suction hook very useful (If you want my "List of 20 Things to know about the Camino" I'll send that to you as well!)

You have to walk the LAST 100km to earn the Compostella. Even if you walk 5000kms but not the last 100kms they will not give you the Compostela.

Please don't stay in a refuge if you catch a bus. You will pass dozens of tired pilgrims foot-slogging it to the next town only to find bus pilgrims taking up all the beds. Stay in a Posada (little inn) or in a hostal for the night (about 30E for a double room) rather.

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.

Pack List

If anyone would like my list (for women!) please mail me at sillydoll(at)gmail.com and I will gladly send it to you.
Dear Meldoy;
I am a novice, so can not reply from experience, but I too have been obcessing on this issue for a while.

At Backpacker45.com (there is a link to the page at americanpilgrims.com) there is a list of gear with a running weight chart. It totals 20.7 pounds (9.5kilos); not likely to be 10% of anybody's body wieght; but it includes 3 lbs for boots and 2 lbs for a sleeping bag, both of which can be improved. The list also includes a pound of salami and 1.75 lbs of water.

There is also a helpful (to me at least) list on the csj website under "planning your pilgramage", which includes a universal bath plug twice (I wouldn't have thought of it once). Seriously, I think it has good practical guidance (but you probably have already seen it).

I have noticed big differences in theweights of backpacks/rucksacks, so that might also be a place to save some.

Hope this is of some help/encouragement.
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
I found a universal bath plug pretty useless. The only time I really needed a basin or bath full of water was when washing clothes; the action of pulling and pushing the clothes in and out of the water always dislodged the plug.

My pack is under 6 kilos. Here is my complete packing list, which includes the clothes I walk in:

Aarn Featherlight Freedom backpack (small New Zealand company, see http://aarnpacks.com) - revolutionary design, unbelievably comfortable.

ASIC running shoes (I don't wear boots), one size bigger than normal.
3 pairs coolmax sports socks (to walk in, washed daily)
1 pair Zero G sandals
Zip off legs quick drying walking trousers (to walk in, washed daily)
1 ultra-fine merino short sleeve T-shirt (to walk in, washed daily)
1 nylon singlet top
1 long sleeve ultra-fine merino cardigan (evenings, cold)
1 sarong (skirt for evenings, cover for bed, modesty wrap from shower)
1 black nylon nightdress; lightweight.
1 nylon rain poncho
Nylon pouch (instead of spongebag) containing:
Microfibre towel, 30cm x 30cm
6 nappy pins (better than pegs)
Childsized tube toothpaste & brush
Neat 3B Action Cream (small tube) prevents prickly heat rash but I use it mainly as a deodorant & anti-perspirant - active ingredient is aluminium chlorohydrate.
Lustre-Cream concentrated shampoo; in a tube. Doubles as body soap and clothes washing detergent.
Antifungal cream. Ibuprofen tablets.
Nivea Visage moisturiser with sunscreen (used daily on all exposed skin, it comes in a small tube)
Nail sissors, airline sewing kit (including needle & thread), earplugs, tiny LED lightweight torch, tiny lightweight plastic hairbrush.

1 silk sleeping sack
1 down-filled sleeping bag liner (instead of a sleeping bag)

In my winter/spring trips I also take thermal long johns & top, a fine silk/pashmina shawl, & ski gloves (all lifesavers). I swap the nylon rain poncho for a lightweight Gore-Tex jacket (hooded) & rain pants.
that's useful stuff Kanga. i noticed you didn't bother with a sleeping bag. do you think i'd be okay going at the end of april with a tropical sleeping bag (don't have actual temp. spec. but it's certainly no more than 2 seasons), and perhaps a liner to go inside? i was worried i might need 3 seasons at the very least, but might be overcautious.
I do take a silk sleeping sack and a down filled sleeping bag liner, which is like a sleeping bag, with a zip around two sides. You can either climb into it or open it flat, it squashes down to practically nothing and it has a high warmth/weight ratio.
You will be OK with a tropical sleeping bag together with a silk liner. If in doubt take thermals (they weigh nothing). I like a sleeping bag that opens out flat. It can be cold but getting too hot is just as much a problem. The combination of silk sleeping sack and light sleeping bag works for me, together with thermals (and everything else in my pack) if it is really cold!
The preparation for a first camino can be a bit nerve wracking. KEEP THE WEIGHT DOWN. You won't have the perfect gear (NO-ONE does) but on the camino you'll find yourself increasingly flexible, wonderfully innovative, and amazingly lucky (St James provides).
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
Nice one Kanga. Very encouraging words for somebody who's already taken his shoes back once, is considering taking the second pair back, has spent 45 pounds on socks and still hasn't got around to buying the rucksack. I was really concerned about taking the tropical bag - it's only one season and i'm often cold in my house when i'm sleeping in it! the silk liner has improved matters, but i'm still a wee bit sceptical about how effective it will be. I've got a friend joining me for the first week or so, so i could also take his when he goes home... thanks again.
LOL! Yes, a very common experience. One of the nicest things about the camino, once you start, is that life becomes very simple; there are virtually no decisions to make.
Having read Kanga's comments on Aarn backpacks I read about them on the internet and the testimonials were very impressive, so we went out yesterday and bought one each. They do feel incredible (actually you almost can't feel them!) There is even a DVD on how to fit them perfectly to our body. So this weekend we will be putting them to the test on some Easter weekend walking. The information coming through this forum is fantastic. Thanks!
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