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Packs that lessen pressure on shoulder

Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#1
Around the 15th of May we will be starting the Camino del Norte. The first 3 weeks my wife will walk with me. Due to an operation
one shoulder cannot be "burdened" as much as the other one. It would be good if there was a possibility to carry more weight on the hips or the other shoulder (without affecting her balance).
I once read a thread from a contributor who only used hipbags.
Does anybody know about the availability and usability of such bags or have another idea how to solve the problem. Of course if carrying a backpack will be to difficult, we can send the pack ahead by taxi.
 

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jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
#4
Around the 15th of May we will be starting the Camino del Norte. The first 3 weeks my wife will walk with me. Due to an operation
one shoulder cannot be "burdened" as much as the other one. It would be good if there was a possibility to carry more weight on the hips or the other shoulder (without affecting her balance).
I once read a thread from a contributor who only used hipbags.
Does anybody know about the availability and usability of such bags or have another idea how to solve the problem. Of course if carrying a backpack will be to difficult, we can send the pack ahead by taxi.

You'll want to look for "lumbar packs," such as this one.
https://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/s...h-Day-Lumbar-Pack_10311454_10208_10000001_-1_

They are basically giant fanny packs, but with hip belts like you'd find on a hiking pack. They usually come with a shoulder strap, which helps to stabilize the load.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#6
When a better designed rucksack is fitted and adjusted property, the waist belt, sitting on the hip bones is supposed to carry most of the weight.

If this does not work, consider a lumbar pack, and using mochila transport services to move your luggage or a rucksack from one night's accommodation to the next. It costs about €7 per night per bag. You can arrange it almost anywhere you are staying in Spain. Share one piece of luggage to reduce the coast and to keep things simple.

This way, you only need to carry rain gear, water, snacks and a guide book (if you use one). Many folks with one or another physical issues do this. Not everyone can carry a rucksack with 12 - 15 Kg in it for 6 - 7 hours each day.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
October 2013
2nd Camino Starting April (2018)
#7
Go to a good professional bushwalking store - explain the problem to them, and they should fit you with the right pack.

For example Osprey have a pack that moulds to the hips. Ie. to correctly fit, they heat up the waistband and ask you to wear it around the store for 15min. This allows the semi-hard plastic in the waistband to mould correctly to the body. If you set it to the right position above the hips, this will ensure a waist oriented load. Just pick a pack that has great waist support.

Also the top strap (usually 2 of them) can be loosened all the way for the bad shoulder. Sinch down the better shoulder and this should minimise (as much as possible) pressure on the other.

Use the chest strap effectively and you should be good.

Good luck.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#8
A well fitting pack doesn’t put ‘any’ weight on the shoulders

Mine doesn’t
My wife’s doesn’t

I could slip my fingers under the shoulder straps quite easily.
There is zero weight on the straps.
Pat's actually sits up above her shoulders with clear air under them

All the weight in on the hips
The shoulder straps merely stop the falling back off your body
The sternum straps assist in this.
 
Last edited:

J F Gregory

Portugal Coast - March 2019
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
March 2019 the Portugal Coastal Route
#12
I have had shoulder surgery on my left with metal holding it together. I get pain without wearing back packs, but I went to an outfitter professional and he eventually fitted me with and ultra light backpack (2 pounds) that work very well. I still get some pain but rub it out or massage in ointment.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#13
Thanks everyone for the information. We will probably investigate more the possibilities and availability of lumbar bags. The Osprey with mouldable hipbelt sounds interesting but seems expensive and not available in the Netherlands
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk the Camino Portuguese (2018)
#14
Does anybody know about the availability and usability of such bags or have another idea how to solve the problem. Of course if carrying a backpack will be to difficult said:
I can highly recommend packs from ULA-Equipment (www.ula-equipment.com) in Utah, USA. I have carried their Circuit and Ohm for over 6000 miles, and have never had a sore shoulder!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#15
Around the 15th of May we will be starting the Camino del Norte. The first 3 weeks my wife will walk with me. Due to an operation
one shoulder cannot be "burdened" as much as the other one. It would be good if there was a possibility to carry more weight on the hips or the other shoulder (without affecting her balance).
I once read a thread from a contributor who only used hipbags.
Does anybody know about the availability and usability of such bags or have another idea how to solve the problem. Of course if carrying a backpack will be to difficult, we can send the pack ahead by taxi.
Here is my suggestion, tighten the hip belt tighter than you think normal at first, and then retighten the hip belt as the day goes on. You should be able to easily slip your fingers under the shoulder strap. If you do this, you will offload your shoulders and carry the weight primarily in your hips. The worry I’d have about hip packs is putting all that weight in line with your lower back. I’d be concerned about back problems.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#16
Here is my suggestion, tighten the hip belt tighter than you think normal at first, and then retighten the hip belt as the day goes on. You should be able to easily slip your fingers under the shoulder strap. If you do this, you will offload your shoulders and carry the weight primarily in your hips. The worry I’d have about hip packs is putting all that weight in line with your lower back. I’d be concerned about back problems.
Many of the lumbar/waist packs have optional straps, sort of like suspenders.
 
Camino(s) past & future
October 2013
2nd Camino Starting April (2018)
#17
The 80/20% rule generally means 80% to the waist, 20% to the shoulders. How each individual carries it can vary.

Many do avoid, as much as is possible, weight on the shoulders. But primarily the reason for shoulder weight is to allow an even pack distribution, and allow the pack to be maneuvered around all axis - important if you do mountainous terrain.

Saying that, the Camino doesn't afford much of this terrain - so a greater waist load is fine. Generally... I mean generally, if you can fit two fingers between the straps and top back, your torso size is wrong. Not that I can comment - on my first Camino I walked with a long torso Gregory Z55 (i''m a medium), I often found a gap on my shoulder. It felt really good to have most of the load on my waist, but I found that after 10 or so KM, I tended to tighten my lower shoulder straps to make my pack more comfortable. And on some days... I had some rubbing around the chest and numb arms - shoulder straps were too tight - compensating for the lack of proper fitting shoulder straps.

Long story short... yes you can put more load on the hips. It isn't exactly Kosher (IMO), but it will help heaps. Again this was easier with a torso one size too big - I think this is important to discuss with professionals, as the torso size allows for the inner frame to buttress the load on the hips correctly - a proper fitting torso won't be as easy to do this with.

Again.... chat with a professional, experience is key to ensuring your pack is "miss-fit" to achieve your ends.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
#18
Hello,

As already said, the key is carrying the load with your hips, rather than your shoulders.

Consequences (to be mitigated with consideration to the actual load carried) :
- the hip belt should be well designed, with some "cup form" fitting your illiac crests from above. Can be better achieved with dual "x-form" belt straps, rather than overtightening them.
- The load should be transfered to the pack by a somewhat rigid back. Flimsy backpanels relying on the rigidity of your burden (mattress...) are not good solutions for the Camino.
- In addition, the pack should not push on the fore part of your shoulders (collarbones). The reason behind fore and aft balanced packs, provided the front loads is not suspended on the shoulder straps. Pay attention also to the load repartition in your bag (heavy items close to your back etc.). Avoid if possible the "trampoline" backs which tend to reject the load farther behind you.

Packs which IMO meet these criteria, while being lightweight (the less total load, the less on your shoulders, all things kept equal), are not cheap : Aarn "bodypacks" in general (search this forum) - Exped Lightning/Thunder - Six Moon Design - Sierra Design Flex Capacitor (bought one recently in Germany, not yet fully tested).
 
#19
Go to a good professional bushwalking store - explain the problem to them, and they should fit you with the right pack.

For example Osprey have a pack that moulds to the hips. Ie. to correctly fit, they heat up the waistband and ask you to wear it around the store for 15min. This allows the semi-hard plastic in the waistband to mould correctly to the body. If you set it to the right position above the hips, this will ensure a waist oriented load. Just pick a pack that has great waist support.

Also the top strap (usually 2 of them) can be loosened all the way for the bad shoulder. Sinch down the better shoulder and this should minimise (as much as possible) pressure on the other.

Use the chest strap effectively and you should be good.

Good luck.
My experience is to avoid unequal adjustments for the shoulder straps. A good pack will adjusted doesn’t even touch the top of the shoulders. When I had troubles it was because my straps had somehow become unequal and the weight was not distributed evenly on both sides of my body. This was really crucial for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
October 2013
2nd Camino Starting April (2018)
#20
My experience is to avoid unequal adjustments for the shoulder straps. A good pack will adjusted doesn’t even touch the top of the shoulders. When I had troubles it was because my straps had somehow become unequal and the weight was not distributed evenly on both sides of my body. This was really crucial for me.
I agree wholeheartedly, but if she has an injured shoulder, and wants to walk the Camino, it’s either try this or walk with only a waist pack - possibly paying to forward her main pack. Either way, the Camino calls, and a way can always be found to pursue it.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#21
Properly fitted, there is no weight on my shoulders with my Aarn pack. The shoulder straps just stabilize the pack. The waist strap needs to be able to sit on one’s hips.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#22
Avoid if possible the "trampoline" backs which tend to reject the load farther behind you.
My personal experience with the "trampoline" design is quite positive (Osprey Exos 48), and the two most popular packs for the US Appalachian Trail thru-hikers are both trampoline models (Osprey Exos and Zpacks Arc-haul). The air gap achieved by the trampoline feature is only an inch, but it makes a world of difference for ventilating the back on warm/hot walking days.
 

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