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Packing Practice; Prayer Plus Penance

Chip

New Member
I could not believe that all my old bushwalking gear was sooo heavy AND that just getting my kit “down” to near 8kg would required such de-cluttering, abstinence, prayer and living in the moment to get somewhere near the 10% body weight ratio. I used many of the lists that folk have published here that have been a huge help in making my own. Has this activity driven you made too?
:?:
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Hi Chip,
With your 'old bushwalking gear' you will probably never get the weight of things down. These days there are a lot more modern fabrics that are very light and quick drying. Some of them are expensive in outdoor shops, but it is surprising what you can find in the way of 'wicking' fabrics in cheaper shops, or in end-of-season sales in outdoor shops.

Sil has a tip to use scales while you pack- and it is amazing how when you keep choosing an item that is one or two hundred grams lighter than another one, it all adds up to a kilogram or two or three in the end!
Happy penance dude!
Margaret
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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KiwiNomad06 said:
..............
Sil has a tip to use scales while you pack- and it is amazing how when you keep choosing an item that is one or two hundred grams lighter than another one, it all adds up to a kilogram or two or three in the end!................
Happy penance dude!
Margaret
We did this and it is a great way to save weight. We also checked the weight of everything we bought new. Many items available on-line give the weight and drying times, so worth checking before heading for the shops. You can always take a small set of scales with you :D (seriously) although most shops are very helpful with this.
Very satisfying to achieve a low weight pack and worth the effort (penance).
Prayers for a good camino, we all need those.
Buen Camino Chip,
Tia Valeria
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I am always amazed when people talk about having scales on hand that will measure grams or ounzes. The only one we have will not measure much of anything under a couple of kgs.

Do you really have these around ....and are they small enough to carry with you to a shop?
Pictures please... :D
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Grayland..... an ordinary pair of kitchen scales seemed to do the trick for me...... I never took them to a shop myself- just used them at home to help make decisions about what to take or not take.... But I might take them to a shop 'next time'!
Margaret
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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grayland said:
I am always amazed when people talk about having scales on hand that will measure grams or ounzes. The only one we have will not measure much of anything under a couple of kgs.

Do you really have these around ....and are they small enough to carry with you to a shop?
Pictures please... :D

My small kitchen scales are fine, I would just take the base and leave the bowl at home. The base will adjust to zero. It might be easier to borrow hand held air-luggage scales from a friend, and weigh things in a plastic bag. (The mug is just to give an idea of the size)
Tia Valeria.
 

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Sansthing

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino (2009), French Camino (2011), Via de la Plata (2012), Camino Inglês (2014),
Digital kitchen scales (sorry, no pic!) are ideal as they weigh things to the last gram. I took mine to the shopping mall, which caused some amusement :lol: :lol: :lol:
Sandra
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
May I be skeptical of that posted list? The empty back pack is 2 kg, the sleeping bag another .8 kg. If everything is in the backpack except the first layer of clothes, boots, and trekking poles, am I to believe that everything else is under 4 kg? (No fair wearing everything, then weighing the pack. It all is carried by your feet.) My scale weighs to 1/100th of an ounce, so everything is compared and the lightest alternative chosen. Still, it is tough to beat 9 kg before food and water. I am impressed with 6.5 kg, and I have hoisted pilgrim backpacks that were remarkably light, but the posted list just looks like it weighs more. The devil must be in the details; how MANY shirts, for example. Since I have never had too little equipment, I suppose I could toss something out.
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
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Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
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Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
The SW should be a day or two out of Sevilla heading up the VDLP at the moment, so we'll have to wait a few weeks before we ask him.

I have no idea exactly how much my pack weighed when I walked around 650 miles of the Levante last year. Perhaps 25lbs - more on the days when I had to carry 5 litres of water. Personally, I wouldn't worry about pack weight too much. Just ensure you are taking what you need, (be ruthless when you pack!) and ensure that you are fit enough to carry your pack.

The urge to buy new stuff because it is lighter can be a giving in to rampant commercialism. Save the money and donate it to disaster relief - people in Haiti certainly need it today.

Andy
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
My pack weighs 650g empty. My silk sleep liner weighs 175g. (I have a 540g sleeping bag for walks in colder months). What I wear - including boots - usually weighs around 1.5kg and what I carry in my waist bag weighs about 1.5kg.
I have a photo of a digital scale on my blog post:
http://amawalker.blogspot.com/2008/07/w ... kpacks.php
I am a shorty, have a small frame, am mid-sixties, and have osteoporosis. I can't carry a heavy load for long periods to it is important to go ultra-light.
Big strong pilgrims can afford to carry more weight!
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
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Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Hi Sil,

I'm certainly not wanting to have a go at any individual or to be prescriptive, merely to suggest that not everyone needs to watch weight to the nearest gramme and that it is possible to walk without buying a complete set of top of the range new gear. (and I'm not saying that you are advocating this!)

Has anyone worked out how much the medieval pilgrims carried?

Andy
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Well the answer has to be - not very much! And with no Goretex or modern boots etc we can also assume that they walked in the warmer months of the year.

I agree about not being prescriptive but its important to share out experiences. Generally speaking the more weight that is carried the more problems are encountered with blisters, tendonitis and joint problems. Like you, Andy, I set out on my first Camino from Seville with an old rucksack I had hiking stuff out of the cupboard. I was carrying at least the same amount as you. Despite the preparation I had done I had very significant difficulties and started dumping stuff to make my pack lighter. The good thing is that when the weather is better pilgrims need less and when the weather is bad we need to carry less water.

So it is no bad thing to advise people preparing to look for lighter options - I have stuff I walk in in the summer I got in a £1 shop.
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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Thanks John for these thoughts. I suppose with the peregrinos of yore, weight might have depended on the amount to coinage they were carrying for alms distribution.

Personally, I think I was OK with the amount of weight I carried - the only thing I abandoned was my sleeping mat, and that was due to the amount of space it took up as much as anything. I did do a lot of practice walking with the weight before hand (walking friends were always very happy because their kit went in my sack!). I will spend some time now looking at my packing list to see what I might leave out next Camino.

Again, speaking personally, I found a very great temptation when I was preparing to buy new kit when I had perfectly serviceable stuff in the cupboard that was older and heavier. I think I managed to resist this on the whole (not least for financial reasons). As you say, it is right to share experience and preferences (which will be different for all of us - as well as capabilities), but I would want to say to anyone considering the Camino that you don't need to buy a whole load of new light kit if you don't want to.

Andy
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I bought chain store wicking t-shirts in 2004 for the Via Turonensis. I only wear them on long walks and wore them again in 2006, 2007 and 2009. My photosgraphs are very boring because I'm in the same clothes on every trip!
I have three shelves in a spare room cupboard that contain my 'camino' stuff. Its all there, waiting for me and I think I could pack up and start walking tomorrow!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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We are with Sil on the Camino clothes. We needed to buy suitable walking gear as we didn't have any so went for the best for our purpose, it just happens that the lightest etc is hi-tec, but was bought in the sales to keep costs down. We are keeping it for walking the Camino and for caravan- cum-walking holidays so most of the time it lives in a drawer or the rucksacks. We will soon recognise folk by their Camino clothes maybe :lol: .
Our combined pack weight is around 11-12kg including the packs but with empty water bottles. We are walking in May so are not taking sleeping bags just liners which is a help.
Not maybe so much 'prayer and penance' as strict discipline on what we really need and what we can leave out. I am benefiting from Terry's advice folowing his camino last year. Also he is carrying my towel, liner-sheet and waterproof trousers in place of his sleeping bag so I need only carry a small sack which fits me OK, so my weight without water is 4.5kg.
The small sack is very good for the avoidance of over-packing!!!!!!!!!
Enjoying the challenge.
Tia Valeria
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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I have just found that Stephen Graham's wonderful 'The Gentle Art of Tramping' is online on Google Books - the url is ridiculously long, so I won't put in a link here - just google 'Stephen Graham The Gentle Art of Tramping' and click on the Google Books link there.

Go to the Chapter 'The Rucksack'.
His kit includes spare boots, yards of mosquito net, a coffee pot, and much, much more. This man carried it all for months and months on massive expeditions that make the Camino look like an afternoon stroll.

Can anyone work out his approximate pack weight?

- and, no, I am definitely not suggesting any of us try to carry that amount 8)

Andy (who will now shut up)
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Hello Andy,

I have read and am rereading a wonderful book entitled, "Pilgrimage, An Image of Mediaeval Religion" by Jonathan Sumption. It is a wonderful read, may be a little heavy for casual readers because of its historical (detailed) writing. Mediaeval pilgrims came from all walks of life. Pilgrimage began in response to finding/keeping of relics. The sick and afflicted were some of the first pilgrims. Then the penitent came to be the majority of pilgrims. These were those who sought forgiveness for their personal failings as well as those forced to go as result of civil and church decree. Those who were sent by civil/church decree were often in chains or with markings identifying them as someone who broke the law. At times they wore symbols of the law they transgressed. The nobility were very active in pilgrimage; again this was in preparation for the afterlife. Often pilgrimage was the first step in joining a monastery.

Obviously the wealthy traveled with great fanfare and fully stocked with the all the best that life has to offer. In the first book of the Liber Sancti Jacobi there is a remarkable sermon, known by its opening words, Veneranda Dies. I will quote a small part of it to provide an image of the purpose of pilgrimage at this time, "The way of St. James is fine but narrow, as narrow as the path of salvation itself. That path is the shunning of vice, the mortification of the flesh, and the increasing of virtue....The pilgrim may bring with him no money at all, except perhaps to distribute it to the poor on the road. Those who sell their property before leaving must give every penny of it to the poor, for it they spend it on their own journey they are departing from the path of the Lord. In times past the faithful had but one heart and one soul, and they held all property in common, owning nothing of their own; just so, the pilgrims of today must hold everything i common and travel together with one heart and one soul. To do otherwise would be disgraceful and outrageous....Goods shared in common are worth much more than goods owned by individuals. Thus it is that the pilgrim who dies on the road with money in his pocket is permanently excluded from the kingdom of heaven. For what benefit can a man possibly derive from a pilgrimage undertaken in a spirit of sin?" The write then went on to condemn the "comfortable persons who ate and drank their way across the roads of Europe in the hope of salvation" calling them thieves and robbers.

The concept of pilgrimage was really an exercise in poverty; a complete focus on the spiritual. Suffice it to say, some pilgrims brought nothing with them. Often barefoot, sometimes wholly without clothing of any kind. It was not comfort they sought, for forgiveness.
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
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This is very interesting Michael, thank you. Presumably a sermon like that means pilgrims had fallen from the high standard? It is very interesting for me to reflect on differences between the motivation for and nature of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and now, and also to ask what we might learn from the past,

Andy
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Aimery Picaud (supposed author of the Liber Sancti Jacobi) did not practise what he preached!

He went on pilgrimage horseback, with a large entrouage, and frequently complained about the food, the accommodation and the people. His descriptions of some the people he encountered was crude, especially those in Navarra who he described as reminiscent of dogs, " a barbarous people, different from all other peoples in customs and in race, malignant, dark in colour, ugly of face, debauched, perverse, skilled in all forms of violence, fierce and savage, cruel and quarrelsome, incapable of any good impulses, past masters of all vices and iniquities. .. men show their private parts to women and women to men. They fornicate shamelessly with their beasts .." etc etc...

This said of God-fearing, Christian people who he also describes as " .. regular in their payment of tithes and accustomed to making offerings at the altar. Every day when a Navarrese goes to church he makes an offering to God of bread, wine, corn or some other substance."

And, he goes on to say:
"It is commonly said that they are descended from the Scots for they resemble them in custom and in appearance. Julius Caesar is said to have sent three peoples - Nubians, Scots and the tailed men of Cornwall - into Spain to make war on the peoples of Spain who refused to pay him tribute. ... Having killed all the men, they took their wives by violence and had children with them, who later became known as the Navarrese - the name being interpreted as non versus ('not true') , that is, not engendered of pure race or legitimate stock.


Not much evidence of Chsritian charity or piety from old AP!
 

elzi

Active Member
I always understood that the medieval pilgrims carried no luggage at all, just a stick with a water gourd and a box with a letter from their parish priest etc (or whatever passed as their credential). I thought the deal was that they walked the whole way in one set of clothes (often barefoot to save their shoes) and only washed themselves at Lavacolla (hence the name) to arrive nice and fresh to Santiago! There has been many days when my backpack has been heavy when I've envied this!!

My backpack seems to grow in weight everytime! When I first set out from Le Puy it was only 7kg, nowadays I seem to carry more and more "essentials". Not to mention I seem to have added a tent and a load of art equipment!! I think I'm up to about 11kg now!!

Incidentally my mum spent so much time standing around in sports shops juggling different items in her hands trying to guage their relative weights that she actually heard the security guards on their radio identifying her as a potential shoplifter! "that's her - handling the socks!" she was very embaressed!! :D
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Hey Andy, I was just wondering where and when are you next walking? ( and Johnnie I bagsed him first!) :lol:
N
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
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I'm going to need a bigger rucksack, aren't I? (although if I carry the kit, you buy the beer)

Andy
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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You're on Nell,

Andy :lol:
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Good but here's a tip for any future 'negotiations' if you'd held a little tougher I would have thrown in dinner and some light laundry!
N
 

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