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Second guessing myself

Camino(s) past & future
Walking May 2019
#1
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
I hope you find the actual experience less daunting than whatever you are imagining right now. One thought strikes me from your post: why carry 24 pounds of weight? Have you already decided on your packing list and found it added up to that? For a summer camino that sounds very heavy. If you take a little of your time in hand to review what you need and take advice on lightweight options you may find yourself with far less weight on both your back and your mind. Many people have posted their packing lists here which you may find helpful to begin with.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
#4
I imagine everyone second guesses themselves to some degree before a journey like this. I know I sure did. It was the first thing I wrote in my journal! But like the millions before me and what surely the millions after will do, I made it and came back a different person. I am confident you will have a great time walking and reflecting. In May you will have plenty of company and the way is so well marked you will have no troubles. My only suggestion is to try and shed some pack weight. A nice weight is well under 24 lbs. if you could hit 14-15 lbs it will make an enormous difference and you could well consider carrying your pack. If not, nothing wrong with shipping the pack ahead. In the old days that’s was the donkeys job!!
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte end of March 2019
#5
I agree with @Bradypus I walked the Frances April 2018 and I have several disabilities. It is very doable and yes you can sen your pack forward as needed....i did when I felt the need. But unless like me you have specific medical items, 24 pounds might be a bit heavy. My pack was under 10 kg with daily water and I was carrying specific medical items in my pack. I wear a heavy metal brace on my leg and have some back issues so light weight is important . Forum members might be able to help get your list a bit lighter. You won’t need to bring things like a tent or major food items as lodging are food are readily available. Hope you will let us help. We are eager beavers as we have all been there also..feeling those small little butterflies you feel now ...we feel your excitement and we share in your dreams.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
#6
One thing I've noticed here and on camino is despite all the talk about what's the best pack to have and what's the optimum weight to carry etc, a lot of folks don't seem to really know how to properly use the straps on their pack to shift the weight onto their hips rather than their shoulders/back. Learn how the shoulder and waist straps work, optimise them for your own body, and you'll feel a world of difference.

Every time I put my pack on, I loosen the waist straps first, click them together as low as I can possibly go (lower than you would imagine), and then tighten them. And then I barely feel my pack while I'm walking.

I'm sure there are probably some good YouTube tutorials showing how the straps work in more detail.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
#7
Your pack can be lighter than 24#-- and you can also be stronger by May. You can still be a pilgrim and have your pack forwarded if you need to! Wear your pack on walks at home, and around your house too. Just put in about 10#s or so, or even 5# to start out with. :) Your back and shoulders will get stronger. You can also check in with a sports doctor and ask for specific exercises to do to strengthen your back and core. -- I am 56 and have had problems with my knees-- my sports doctor has showed me how my core muscles are weak, and so my femur is not sitting correctly in the knee joint. -- I planning on walking in April. (and have walked three times before.) You can do this! You will love it-- I wish you a Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2016 Camino Frances to Leon
Fall 2017 Camino Frances to Finisterre
May 2019 Portuguese
#8
Hi Jo, A video was posted yesterday by a Scottish gentleman and he said that the hardest part was getting there. That is so true and I suspect that the majority of people second guess themselves. I sure did! I figure that it's all part of the journey because once we start walking those fears disappear and our hearts and heads are lighter. Get the weight of your pack down, enjoy any confusion and hassles in the preparation of your walk and watch as everything flows into place.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago - Sept/Oct 2015
Camino Ingles & Santiago to Finisterre & Muxia Sept/Oct 2016
#10
Hi Jo,

Welcome to the forum - and I'd just like to reassure you that its totally natural to second guess yourself. This journey is something that you cannot really plan out in the same way as a normal vacation. It isn't just about booking a room for a week, with the biggest choices being steak or fish!

The nerves and planning are all part of the adventure - I always say that if you know exactly how its going to go, then it wouldn't be an adventure! Having your pack shuttled is definitely an option, but as others have mentioned, trimming back a few of those 'necessities' and swapping some out for lighter options could take a load off that pack weight.

You've got this.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2020)
#11
I first desired to walk the Camino in 2012. Sometime around 2013 I woke from a night’s sleep with a bad feeling about the Camino, so I shelved the idea. The Camino wouldn’t let me be though, and in 2014 I again came back to the idea of walking it. In the fall of 2015 I walked the entire Camino Frances. The experience was life changing. I am so glad I walked, regardless of any anxieties I might have had going in. I am planning my second Camino Frances for early 2020. My advice is to acknowledge your anxieties, but go regardless. Just do it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (2017,2018)
Via Turonensis (Paris-Chartres,2018)
Camino de Invierno (Dec2018/Jan2019)
#12
If I understood correctly, 24 pounds was the weight Jo was asked to carry in the store to test the backpack she was going to buy, not the actual weight she was going to carry on the Camino.

Anyway, welcome to our community, Jo! The Camino is a wonderful way, and you'll meet a lot of wondeful people there. One advice that I'd like to offer is this: should you need help, or feel lonely, or whatever - just say it. I found that people are only too happy to help, and I've had a lot of help on my Camino. This has become part of my Camino experience, and a very important part.

I wish you a very Buen Camino!❤
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#14
I agree that you should not be carrying 24 pounds or a 55 liter pack! It sounds like perhaps you went to REI for your pack and gear. Remember, that REI isn't the only place to buy your gear. I find that their selection is very limited, and has become even more so since I began my Camino adventures a few years ago. There are a lot more backpack makers out there than Osprey, Gregory and Deuter. Many members here have posted packing lists that may give you some ideas of how to lighten your load.

I spent months in the forum learning about gear before my first Camino. I ended up with a women's Marmot Graviton 36 that weighs 2 lb 4 ounces. My total pack weight was about 14 pounds without water. Also bought and returned backpacks that were too big/heavy.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
#15
Your pack may not fit you well. Try different ones. I tried Ospreys, and Deuter packs, but ended up with an LL bean 35L women's "daypack" with a trampoline suspension. It is so comfortable for me to wear. On the Camino, one third of it is filled with my down sleeping bag. I hike in the cooler days (Oct, or April) and so bring heavier clothes. I carry about 18# with water and daily food.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Plan on returning in 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
#16
When I had the pack fitted, I just went with the recommendations - I needed a 55L Osprey. Oh my gosh, I am so relieved I posted this for myself. I need a different pack!
I find that REI employees tend to be used to dealing with wilderness hikers, so they may not know what would work well for the Camino. I also bought a pack from REI and ended up with a 45L pack, which was way more room that I needed. My pack weight was around 15lbs and I could have even packed lighter. It is also technically exceeds the height requirements to bring on as carry on luggage, but they did let me bring it on the plane.

Even if you find a lighter pack is too much to carry, don't let this stop you from walking the Camino, there's nothing wrong with shipping it ahead each day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#18
Lighten your load literally before camino; 24 pounds is too heavy.

Hopefully Santiago will lighten your load figuratively as you walk towards him.

On camino there are many who have lost: parents, marriages, jobs and vocations, etc. Open your heart, mind, and mouth as often as you are able. Let out the hurt and in the healing.

Sorry to be so mushy.

Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#19
Ian beat me to the punch. You have to let the retailer know what you will use the pack for and that you need something between a day pack and a multi-day backpacking pack. Ask if there is a salesman who has walked a Camino or is experienced with outfitting pilgrims. Also tell them about your back problem so they can maybe get you a better suspension and hip-belt solution. Also mention at the time whether you want a bladder water supply in it or not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
TdMB/KLW(2014)
Portugues(2015)
St Olavs Way(2016)
88 Temples Japan(2017)
PWC & VF (2019)
#20
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
Hi Jo, It is said in life we regret the things we don't do more than the things we do. Good on you for not dismissing The Call...it may have taken time but you're already well on your Way. I'm a reasonably experienced Long Distance Walker (LDW) by now but I still have a crisis-of-confidence before each trip...I'm feeling that way now as I head off to walk the Via Francigena from London to Rome in March.
Just to echo the thoughts of others, you'll be amazed at how little you do actually need even for a lengthy walk. I carry either a 35lt or 38lt pack with a usual weight if 6.5 - 7kg...& that applies whether my walk is 120km or 2100km! If you do end up carrying more than is comfortable, you can always do what we all do at some stage & ditch stuff along the way. There's also the good old guideline of carry no more than 10% of your body weight.
Finally, & you will already have realised this by the responses to your thread, the Camino is a supportive environment & walkers/pilgrims are very generous with their time & sharing information...ask & ye shall receive!
I wish you all the best...you're in for an amazing experience, the results of which remain long, long after the walk is over. 😊
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#21
I treated myself to a new pack for my second Camino. What a difference. Although the pack itself was a similar weight, the new one was SOOO much more comfortable and easier. I tried very pack I could find over a couple of months, and found the salespeople generally to be not that helpful. Usually too young, and have never done anything like a Camino themselves. (Buying shoes was a similar experience - I did my own research and had to insist on not following their advice)
I carried the same weight 6kgs both times, but my new pack was brilliant. They have to fit your body shape well, so it's worth the time to get the right one.
Something else that may help you is the use of walking poles. I am a recent convert to two poles, I wouldn't walk without them now. There are earlier threads about this you can read up on.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#22
I treated myself to a new pack for my second Camino. What a difference. Although the pack itself was a similar weight, the new one was SOOO much more comfortable and easier. I tried very pack I could find over a couple of months, and found the salespeople generally to be not that helpful. Usually too young, and have never done anything like a Camino themselves. (Buying shoes was a similar experience - I did my own research and had to insist on not following their advice)
I carried the same weight 6kgs both times, but my new pack was brilliant. They have to fit your body shape well, so it's worth the time to get the right one.
Something else that may help you is the use of walking poles. I am a recent convert to two poles, I wouldn't walk without them now. There are earlier threads about this you can read up on.
What pack do you have?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
#23
I’m from the US –

For so long I..............
.- Jo
Hello Jo,
I get the impression this Camino may be happening at the right time for you.

It seems to me you may well get a number of replies relating to the weight of your pack and other issues.

I only have one offer at this moment.

Although this forum can be be a great help to you and others, have you considered investigating if there is a Camino Group in your neck of the woods where you may be able to benefit from face-to-face conversations with experienced pilgrims?

Buen (finding-your way forward) Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#24
I am from the US and started walking the caminos in 2015 because I knew the PCT and the like would be too difficult for me... to carry a tent, all the food for a week, high elevations, etc., etc.
So happy now, and so will you be! I wish you well, and if you try hard you should be able to reduce your pack weight by half!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#25
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
Hi, Jo, and a warm welcome to the Forum....

I have some things for consideration with regard to backpacks and fitting and proper adjustments that I'd like to share if you'd wish. Let me know.

The very first thing to understand is that you will more than likely experience the goals which you have been hoping for by walking a Camino.

I have thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and Colorado Trail. I backpack, and hope to be able to continue doing so, hundreds of miles every year in the Cascades, Rockies, and Sierra Nevada. I've also walked the Camino Frances twice... the first time from St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos; and this last time from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago d Compostela.

I mention the above because walking a Camino is not similar -- in most ways -- as backpacking in the mountains on a multiday trip, or as a 6 month long thru hike on the PCT or the Appalachian Trail. The techniques and knowledge base and skills and gear and loads and supplies.... none of that is either shared or needed when walking the Camino vs wilderness backpacking.

And for you, that can be a HUGE positive thing because the logistics of walking are easier to accomplish on Camino where you do not have to carry a 5 to 7 day supply of food, fuel and cooking gear, carry a tent or worry about a lot of 'what ifs' because you are going to be mostly isolated in the wild and far removed from immediate help.

Yes the scenery and surroundings are different. Not bad or good, just different. As a lifelong backpacker, mountaineer, and climber, I did not mentally or spiritually insist that walking the Camino would be the same as backpacking. If I had left that 'filter' of expectations about backpacking in place for the Camino, and not have been able to adapt my expectations and goals, I would have hated walking Camino. I would have been constantly disappointed that the Camino was not the same as the Goat Rocks Wilderness, or the John Muir Trail, or even a day hike in the Cascades.

And if I had stubbornly clung to that backpacker 'filter' as a Camino walker/pilgrim, than I would have been the problem, not the Camino.

I mention all of the above just so that you can start focusing on preparing your walking for Camino instead of a backpacking trip.

To be certain, there are similar techniques, knowledge, and even some of the types of gear -- like backpacks -- which are shared both by Camino pilgrims and by backpackers. The difference is in the amount and types of gear, the fact that you don't need to pack for 'just in case' situations, and that you will have a lot of fellow travelers share your walk with you.

You are basically walking town to town and village to village... with some big metropolitan areas thrown into the mix. Think of it as walking 10 miles to 15 miles from your hometown to the next town near to you. You have restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, lodging facilities, etc along the way. If you need something that you don't have with you, you can easily stop and buy it. Tired and ready to call it a day? You can stay at the next motel. Hungry? Stop at a convenience store or grocery store or food joint and grab something to eat.

When it is all said and done, the basic logistics of walking Camino are just that simple.

Because the walking logistics are that simple, my total backpack weight for Camino is about 9.5 pounds. That is in comparison to a total pack weight of 23 pounds on the Pacific Crest Trail between resupply points which were usually 5 to 8 days. And that, my dear Jo, is a big positive for walking the Camino and one of the reasons why doing so will result in a far larger likelihood that you will feel you have been able to embrace your goals and reach you chosen destination, than if you were attempting to thru-hike the PCT :)

Walking the Camino can be a spiritually and physically soothing and joyous experience.

As I said above, let me know if you would like any help or advice on practical issues pertaining to gear, shoes, etc. You can either reach me by posting a question as a new thread, or better still, sending me a private message via this Forum.

There are a lot of experienced pilgrims, backpackers, and walkers on the Forum that will also be of help. I have read some advice offered here and in other threads directed at other members which, among good and solid advice that is given, is incorrect and even potentially damaging. It is difficult for a beginner to discern when problematic advice is given, especially in a Forum where so much of the recommendations and advice is spot on.

Here is a re-posting of something that I sometimes am able to share with new members who join:
-----------------------------
American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) has a nice FAQs about a pilgrimage on a Camino which may give you some additional help.

The good news is, you are in a forum with a wonderful group of people. Most are here to help people like you to achieve their pilgrimage goals. We can offer you encouragement, knowledge, and point you in the direction that will help you help yourself.

My suggestion to start is this:
  1. Take a deep breath. Write down in large letters the reasons why you want to go on Camino. Place that piece of paper where you can see it every day. That way, if anxieties and fears threaten to overwhelm you as you plan, you can just breath, read what you have written, and focus on those reasons until the negative stuff fades.
  2. Make a list of questions and concerns that you have.
  3. Go to the Search Engine at the top of the Forum pages.
  4. Enter the words or phrase that you want more information about. You will get a huge amount of information to explore.
  5. If you find that you need help with anything, post a new thread so that your question or concern can be readily seen. If you post a question within someone else's thread, you won't receive as big of a response.
  6. Remember that perfect timing as it relates to how you feel, scheduling, and day to day life issues, seldom align themselves perfectly. If one waits for such to occur, doing something like a pilgrimage will always be in danger of taking a back seat while you wait for that perfect alignment to happen.
------------------------------------
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#26
What pack do you have?
My new one is an Osprey Sirrus 50 - it also has (but I rarely used) a zip on the side to give access without going through the top. My old one was a Deuter that seemed OK in the shop but wasnt.
I tried on so many before I found the right fit, its such an individual thing. My sister who is similar to me, (people mistook us for twins) didn't find the Sirrus comfortable on her.


I have for several years now been toying with the idea of an Aarn pack.
But for the cost (and I like my Osprey) it would have to be super good.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#28
I totally agree with what @davebugg said about the difference between walking the Camino and a through hike like the PCT. The Camino appealed to me because I'm a traveler, not a hiker/camper. The Camino just happens to be a journey where I use my feet for transportation. I can't tell you how many people ask me if I want to do the PCT now that I've done the Camino, since it's practically in my back yard. I have to explain that other than traveling by foot and carrying a backpack they are really quite different endeavors.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Camino Frances: Burgos to Santiago
#29
I imagine everyone second guesses themselves to some degree before a journey like this. I know I sure did. It was the first thing I wrote in my journal! But like the millions before me and what surely the millions after will do, I made it and came back a different person. I am confident you will have a great time walking and reflecting. In May you will have plenty of company and the way is so well marked you will have no troubles. My only suggestion is to try and shed some pack weight. A nice weight is well under 24 lbs. if you could hit 14-15 lbs it will make an enormous difference and you could well consider carrying your pack. If not, nothing wrong with shipping the pack ahead. In the old days that’s was the donkeys job!!
THIS ☝☝ my pack was exactly 14lbs before water and snacks. You don't need more than that.
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way, 1999 West Highland Way
2016 & 2019 Camino Frances SJPDP to Santiago
#30
Welcome to the forum. If 24lbs is what you need, you've got 4 months to train with the weight on your back to allow you to get used to it. As others have suggested, make sure the harness has been adjusted correctly to your height and carry the weight on your hips and you should be ok.
I walked with 14kg in 2016 and I've just done a conversion to pounds and it comes out as 30lb. I trained for 3 months with a loaded pack and my only issues were caused by things beyond my control.
Good luck. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#31
When I had the pack fitted, I just went with the recommendations - I needed a 55L Osprey. Oh my gosh, I am so relieved I posted this for myself. I need a different pack!
I found a pack of around 30L worked well for me but what is important is the fit and comfort on you. You'll be spending a lot of time with it. Get one that works for you (not against you :)).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles and Camino Frances. VDLP Spring 2019
#32
When I had the pack fitted, I just went with the recommendations - I needed a 55L Osprey. Oh my gosh, I am so relieved I posted this for myself. I need a different pack!
You have to go a long way to beat an Osprey pack [forum members this my opinion please disagree if you wish]. I use a Kestrel 38 which comfortably takes a sleeping back and all I need with room to spare - my pack weight including water is about 16 lbs. A 55 litre pack is far to big.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('15)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
#33
To me it seems this is less about you having the wrong backpack than you having others making decisions for you. I'm sure they're trying to help, but neither the shop salesman nor your daughter need to be happy with the backpack or the plan, only you. So maybe it is time to take a deep breath and think about what it is that you need and want and then act accordingly.

There‘s countless discussions out there about the best pack, best shoes, best whatever. None of that is necessary, you don‘t need the best, the perfect or a certain brand to walk the Camino, nor is there a perfect pack weight for everyone. You carry the load you need to carry, and while walking you‘ll certainly find out what (for you!) is needed and what isn‘t, and how to deal with it.

You can buy another backpack on the way if you feel you have to, or simply lighten your weight by leaving behind things you realized you don‘t need. You can also walk shorter days, slower pace, do more stops during the day, change shoes, or socks, and so on. Just adapt, grow, get to know yourself and your needs while walking. There‘s a beauty of it‘s own within this kind of self discovery.

You already realized your pack isn‘t comfortable the way it is right now. You even did so before starting, which is good - so, change it, now. Put in only what you know you‘ll certainly need, not what others tell you you might need, replace things with lighter versions, try different ways of packing (wich item where?). Maybe you can borrow another pack to try out from friends/family. Or maybe the ancient pack found in the basement does the trick.

There‘s no perfect approach to it, and you certainly won‘t be able to buy a good Camino by purchasing a certain kind of backpack or getting your load under X kgs or whatever. There are people with the seemingly perfect gear and plan who quit after a few days, and others with serious illness or injury, 20 year old second hand backpack, worn out tennis shoes, and on a 10 Euro/day budget, who walk to the end of the world with a smile on their face.

The more I walk, the more I realize it‘s mostly about mentality, not gear or training (even though those can help).

From that point of view, the only things really necessary are an open heart, an open mind, and the will to walk. I‘m quite sure you‘ve got all of those.

You can do it. Don‘t worry.

Buen Camino! :)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
April (2017)
#34
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
Jo,
I, too, am a widow. My pack weighed 13 pounds. I went in May 2018. My pack was bare bones, and I carried it. It rained nearly every day. I have scoliosis, but have not had back surgery. I was 68 at the time. You can do this. Buen Camino! Ultreia!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct 2018
#35
Hi Jo

Just do it. It will be the most amazing time of your life. The only bad result is that you will not be able to stop talking about it. Just ask my wife. The Camino sneaks into all our conversations.

Just do yourself a couple of favors to make the trip easier. Exercise - work up to walking 20KM with a light pack - 10 to 15 lbs. Break in your shoes. Make sure your feet are in good shape - visit a podiatrist. Pack a momento to leave at the Cruz de Ferro. Pack two credit cards and two debit cards.

then just have a ball

Buen Camino -- Bob
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#36
I hope you find the actual experience less daunting than whatever you are imagining right now. One thought strikes me from your post: why carry 24 pounds of weight? Have you already decided on your packing list and found it added up to that? For a summer camino that sounds very heavy. If you take a little of your time in hand to review what you need and take advice on lightweight options you may find yourself with far less weight on both your back and your mind. Many people have posted their packing lists here which you may find helpful to begin with.
I carried 9 lbs last year. I am small framed and in '17 I unloaded a bunch if stuff after one day. There are plenty of stores and Farmacia along the way if you find you need something.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walking May 2019
#37
Hi, Jo, and a warm welcome to the Forum....

I have some things for consideration with regard to backpacks and fitting and proper adjustments that I'd like to share if you'd wish. Let me know.

The very first thing to understand is that you will more than likely experience the goals which you have been hoping for by walking a Camino.

I have thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and Colorado Trail. I backpack, and hope to be able to continue doing so, hundreds of miles every year in the Cascades, Rockies, and Sierra Nevada. I've also walked the Camino Frances twice... the first time from St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos; and this last time from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago d Compostela.

I mention the above because walking a Camino is not similar -- in most ways -- as backpacking in the mountains on a multiday trip, or as a 6 month long thru hike on the PCT or the Appalachian Trail. The techniques and knowledge base and skills and gear and loads and supplies.... none of that is either shared or needed when walking the Camino vs wilderness backpacking.

And for you, that can be a HUGE positive thing because the logistics of walking are easier to accomplish on Camino where you do not have to carry a 5 to 7 day supply of food, fuel and cooking gear, carry a tent or worry about a lot of 'what ifs' because you are going to be mostly isolated in the wild and far removed from immediate help.

Yes the scenery and surroundings are different. Not bad or good, just different. As a lifelong backpacker, mountaineer, and climber, I did not mentally or spiritually insist that walking the Camino would be the same as backpacking. If I had left that 'filter' of expectations about backpacking in place for the Camino, and not have been able to adapt my expectations and goals, I would have hated walking Camino. I would have been constantly disappointed that the Camino was not the same as the Goat Rocks Wilderness, or the John Muir Trail, or even a day hike in the Cascades.

And if I had stubbornly clung to that backpacker 'filter' as a Camino walker/pilgrim, than I would have been the problem, not the Camino.

I mention all of the above just so that you can start focusing on preparing your walking for Camino instead of a backpacking trip.

To be certain, there are similar techniques, knowledge, and even some of the types of gear -- like backpacks -- which are shared both by Camino pilgrims and by backpackers. The difference is in the amount and types of gear, the fact that you don't need to pack for 'just in case' situations, and that you will have a lot of fellow travelers share your walk with you.

You are basically walking town to town and village to village... with some big metropolitan areas thrown into the mix. Think of it as walking 10 miles to 15 miles from your hometown to the next town near to you. You have restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, lodging facilities, etc along the way. If you need something that you don't have with you, you can easily stop and buy it. Tired and ready to call it a day? You can stay at the next motel. Hungry? Stop at a convenience store or grocery store or food joint and grab something to eat.

When it is all said and done, the basic logistics of walking Camino are just that simple.

Because the walking logistics are that simple, my total backpack weight for Camino is about 9.5 pounds. That is in comparison to a total pack weight of 23 pounds on the Pacific Crest Trail between resupply points which were usually 5 to 8 days. And that, my dear Jo, is a big positive for walking the Camino and one of the reasons why doing so will result in a far larger likelihood that you will feel you have been able to embrace your goals and reach you chosen destination, than if you were attempting to thru-hike the PCT :)

Walking the Camino can be a spiritually and physically soothing and joyous experience.

As I said above, let me know if you would like any help or advice on practical issues pertaining to gear, shoes, etc. You can either reach me by posting a question as a new thread, or better still, sending me a private message via this Forum.

There are a lot of experienced pilgrims, backpackers, and walkers on the Forum that will also be of help. I have read some advice offered here and in other threads directed at other members which, among good and solid advice that is given, is incorrect and even potentially damaging. It is difficult for a beginner to discern when problematic advice is given, especially in a Forum where so much of the recommendations and advice is spot on.

Here is a re-posting of something that I sometimes am able to share with new members who join:
-----------------------------
American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) has a nice FAQs about a pilgrimage on a Camino which may give you some additional help.

The good news is, you are in a forum with a wonderful group of people. Most are here to help people like you to achieve their pilgrimage goals. We can offer you encouragement, knowledge, and point you in the direction that will help you help yourself.

My suggestion to start is this:
  1. Take a deep breath. Write down in large letters the reasons why you want to go on Camino. Place that piece of paper where you can see it every day. That way, if anxieties and fears threaten to overwhelm you as you plan, you can just breath, read what you have written, and focus on those reasons until the negative stuff fades.
  2. Make a list of questions and concerns that you have.
  3. Go to the Search Engine at the top of the Forum pages.
  4. Enter the words or phrase that you want more information about. You will get a huge amount of information to explore.
  5. If you find that you need help with anything, post a new thread so that your question or concern can be readily seen. If you post a question within someone else's thread, you won't receive as big of a response.
  6. Remember that perfect timing as it relates to how you feel, scheduling, and day to day life issues, seldom align themselves perfectly. If one waits for such to occur, doing something like a pilgrimage will always be in danger of taking a back seat while you wait for that perfect alignment to happen.
------------------------------------
Please send me your suggestions for backpacks and fitting and proper adjustments.

I do realize that the Camino is no through hike. I have learnt so much in reading and watching material for a though hike for many years. Never pulling the stop when I should have and gone. The knowledge of abilities, gear and survival skills was enormous. I will never get to put them to use. I probably could have used a mule but it wasn’t for me. Too many what ifs. My daughter always scolds me on the “what ifs”.

I know I can walk, hiking is another thing, I know there will be a few places that will feel like a hike and I am looking forward to them just to dream a little but as many have said on the forum, make it your Camino walk. I won’t even have to pretend that the mountains are calling me. What you have told me here, makes me even more focused.

In about a week or so, I should have a list of the necessities I deem I should take and I can have you take a look.

Three questions I have that may be in the FAQs you suggested I read and I will read this evening:

Should I take two credit cards, plus one debit card and how do I get cash in France to start my trip to SJPdP?

How much cash should I have with me daily on the Camino?

Do you have any cell phone ideas for me? My daughter suggested to go with T Mobile and then cancel when I return home.

What you said that was remarkably great for me. . . “And if I had stubbornly clung to that backpacker 'filter' as a Camino walker/pilgrim, than I would have been the problem, not the Camino”.

Thank you so much Dave –
Jo
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte end of March 2019
#39
Definately @davebugg is the guy to go to for Backpack and foot advice. Also search the forum look at suggestions..then go try them out let them know this is the Camino not a back woods trail..find on what’s best for you but try to keep the weight down between 7-10 kg. If you need to send the pack forward daily then do so with no regrets. Average cost is 3-5 euros per day. Small envelopes are in each albergues and you just either call to reserve pickup or do it via internet then carry a small daypack for things like valuables, rain gear first air and food/water.

You cant control family what if’s so plan for your self and have something in place for the family for contingency so they keep contact and feel comfortable.

In about a week or so, I should have a list of the necessities I deem I should take and I can have you take a look. Post the list when you are ready forum members will look at it and make suggestions help .

Three questions I have that may be in the FAQs you suggested I read and I will read this evening:

Should I take two credit cards, plus one debit card and how do I get cash in France to start my trip to SJPdP?
This one is up to you. Many ATMs along the way suggest getting cash at bank ATMs during business hours Incase the of problems with the ATM you can go into the bank and resolve the issues right away.
How much cash should I have with me daily on the Camino? I usually always have at least 100 euros on me emergency cash hidden somewhere on my person . at ATM i take 300 euros at a time. Most albergues supermarkets and small restaurants and cafes take cash only. Watch Efren Gonzales YouTube videos
on the camino frances he gives you a good daily breakdown of what you will spend daily

Do you have any cell phone ideas for me? My daughter suggested to go with T Mobile and then cancel when I return home. WiFi is available everywhere you can call home useing Whats app app or Apple messenger if you feel you need a SIM you can one at vodophone or orange. Use the forum search function . Many posts about sim options. I have verizon. I pay $40 extra per month while traveling I have a world phone I Get 100 minutes of talk and 100 txt...100MB data , the rest I use wifi.

Don’t worry lots of people walking, old and new, firs timers new timers and they help each other. Lots of help here on the forum. Enjoy the planning it’s all down lhill from here. Buen Camino
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#40
Please send me your suggestions for backpacks and fitting and proper adjustments.

I do realize that the Camino is no through hike. I have learnt so much in reading and watching material for a though hike for many years. Never pulling the stop when I should have and gone. The knowledge of abilities, gear and survival skills was enormous. I will never get to put them to use. I probably could have used a mule but it wasn’t for me. Too many what ifs. My daughter always scolds me on the “what ifs”.

I know I can walk, hiking is another thing, I know there will be a few places that will feel like a hike and I am looking forward to them just to dream a little but as many have said on the forum, make it your Camino walk. I won’t even have to pretend that the mountains are calling me. What you have told me here, makes me even more focused.

In about a week or so, I should have a list of the necessities I deem I should take and I can have you take a look.

Three questions I have that may be in the FAQs you suggested I read and I will read this evening:

Should I take two credit cards, plus one debit card and how do I get cash in France to start my trip to SJPdP?

How much cash should I have with me daily on the Camino?

Do you have any cell phone ideas for me? My daughter suggested to go with T Mobile and then cancel when I return home.

What you said that was remarkably great for me. . . “And if I had stubbornly clung to that backpacker 'filter' as a Camino walker/pilgrim, than I would have been the problem, not the Camino”.

Thank you so much Dave –
Jo
I'm not Dave Bugg, but I'll do my best to answer your questions anyways.

For me, more cards is better. I took a few when I was on the Camino Portugues and was happy I did when for unknown reasons, some seemed to stop advancing me cash at the end of my Camino in Santiago. At least I had one that worked! I took some euros with me, exchanging the money before I left. But I'm sure wherever you land in France there will be an ATM you can get cash from.

I would always carry two or three days worth of cash with me. I had guidebooks or apps that let me know which villages had ATMs and I paid attention to that. The Camino, outside of big cities, is pretty much a cash economy. How much cash two or three days worth is will depend on how you want to do things: sleep in private or municipal albergues, or casa rurales; eat in nice restaurants or cheap pilgrim menus or cook for yourself, etc.

I got a €20 Vodafone SIM when I arrived which I put into my phone that gave me phone minutes and data, plus 30 minutes overseas.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#41
Please send me your suggestions for backpacks and fitting and proper adjustments.

I do realize that the Camino is no through hike. I have learnt so much in reading and watching material for a though hike for many years. Never pulling the stop when I should have and gone. The knowledge of abilities, gear and survival skills was enormous. I will never get to put them to use. I probably could have used a mule but it wasn’t for me. Too many what ifs. My daughter always scolds me on the “what ifs”.

I know I can walk, hiking is another thing, I know there will be a few places that will feel like a hike and I am looking forward to them just to dream a little but as many have said on the forum, make it your Camino walk. I won’t even have to pretend that the mountains are calling me. What you have told me here, makes me even more focused.

In about a week or so, I should have a list of the necessities I deem I should take and I can have you take a look.

Three questions I have that may be in the FAQs you suggested I read and I will read this evening:

Should I take two credit cards, plus one debit card and how do I get cash in France to start my trip to SJPdP?

How much cash should I have with me daily on the Camino?

Do you have any cell phone ideas for me? My daughter suggested to go with T Mobile and then cancel when I return home.

What you said that was remarkably great for me. . . “And if I had stubbornly clung to that backpacker 'filter' as a Camino walker/pilgrim, than I would have been the problem, not the Camino”.

Thank you so much Dave –
Jo
Hi, Jo...

I'm going to do a re-post of something I have previously written and posted here regarding the methods to properly fit a pack, and then once you have a properly fitted pack, how to adjust it for use. Let me say something which i will reiterate later in that post, when walking adjustments to your backpack will be a dynamic process, not static. In other words, once you first put on your pack and quickly make the adjustments and start walking, you will frequently be wanting to loosen and tighten and re-position and snug up, etc. This is due to how your muscles behave, pressure points that may develop, your backpack shifting around a bit, allowing your shoulder girdle and hips and lower back to evenly accept weight and disperse weight so injury is avoided ---- or the biggie: it just feels better this way :)

As far as pack recommendations, I can send you a private message with some ideas of packs to try out. Additionally, there are some standard favorites among our female Forum veterans that you might add to a list of packs to try out. You have plenty of time to be as choosy and persnickety about what pack to purchase, so do not rush faster than your ability to accurately assess the best choice for you.

----------------------------------------------------

Things are a trade off. Cost vs weight seems to be the most obvious trade off in a lot of backpacking gear :). IF you are planning to do hundreds of miles a year backpacking or hiking, then the trade off would lean to lighter gear. If one is not going to become a serious backpacking junkie, then the best strategy is to go with the less expensive gear. Because I have, up til now, averaged 600 to 900 miles of hiking in high mountain areas from Spring until late Fall, all of my gear is either very light or ultra light.

The one other thing that is important to me whether it is my large capacity bag for backpacking trips lasting longer than 10 days - the ULA Catalyst -, or a medium sized bag like the one I use on Camino -- the Gossamer Gear Mariposa; it is whether or not I can take it aboard an aircraft as a carry on.

After a bad experience of an airline losing all of my gear because I had checked my backpack the day before I was due to start a month long backpacking trip, I now always carry on my pack and gear. That's my preference because most of the gear I have is ultralight gear that is not easily replaceable at a lot of sports stores. Please note too, that a lot of others prefer to check their packs and have yet to experience any issues at all.

I mention all of the above as considerations to make if you are ever in the market to purchase another pack.

As you become used to packing and unpacking your pack, all of those straps will become familiar and their use will be second nature. And THAT is the key: practice packing and adjusting your pack often. This is your 'House' while you are on Camino. It will contain your closet, your bedroom, your kitchen, and your storage pantry. Also keep in mind that once you know just how much strap you need for your various adjustments, it is OK to cut them to a more appropriate length. That's normal for experienced backpackers to do. It gets rid of annoying dangley bits and the flapping around that inevitably will occur with a length of unneeded strap material. (just remember to use a lighter to lightly melt and fuse the freshly cut material so that the strap doesn't go all unravely on you. ;)

Correct Sizing of a Backpack

The size of the pack is determined by the length of your spine, not by how much the pack can carry.

Measuring for a correct fit involves determining your spines proper length. That measurement is done by using a tape measure and measuring from the protruding 'knob' on the back of your neck which is at the base of the cervical spine, to the place on your spine that is even with the top of the crest of your hips. That measurement is essential. I am posting a link to help you see how this is done. You can do it by yourself, or have someone help you. Ignore the manufacturer, as this applies to any pack.

Once you have that measurement in centimeters or inches, Pack manufacturers will have a sizing guide to match that spine length to their stated size range. Sometimes the sizes are expressed as Small to Extra Large. Sometimes that size scale will combine the sizes like: S/M, M/L, L/XL. When the sizes are combined, it usually means that there is a good amount of adjustability to the frame of the pack to customize the fit. That will usually be in the shoulder harness and the hipbelt so that a fine tuned fit can be achieved.

Here is a good video which will help with fitting. Ignore the reference to the manufacturer as the method is pretty universal.



Fitting The Shoulder Harness

First, let me mention that there are differences in the shapes of shoulder straps. The standard shoulder strap shape has been what some manufacturers describe as a "J" shape. This shape tends to fit the chest shape of the male better than the female due to the lesser fullness of the chest. However, even with some men who have bigger chests, the J strap shape can be uncomfortable.

A few manufacturers, ULA and Six Moons Design are the most notable, have developed what is called an "S" shaped strap. This shape has solved many of the fit issues for women, allowing for the straps to properly sit on the shoulders without the uncomfortable compression and chafing due to breasts of larger chests. Here is a link which shows the difference between the two strap shapes:



The shoulder harness should wrap around over your shoulders and sit slightly below the top of the shoulder. The shoulder straps should sit comfortably toward the middle of the shoulder girdle, although that may vary a bit. It should not feel like they are going to slip off your shoulders or sit tight against the base of your neck.

The sternum strap should NOT be required to keep the shoulder straps in place. The sternum strap does connect the shoulder straps, but it is designed to help control where the straps sit on the shoulders with excess pack movement; it is not meant to overcome a poor fit and placement of the shoulder straps.

After fastening the sternum strap in place, pull the adjustment strap until you feel a bit of tension.

The sternum strap on a good pack can adjust up and down on the shoulder straps. The usual placement is somewhere just below the collar bone, but body types and builds will cause a variation of where the sternum strap placement feels best.

Hip Belt Adjustments

For the hip belt, the pad of the belt should sort of 'cradle' the crest of the hip bone: the top of the pad should be slightly above the top of the crest while the bottom of the pad should be slightly below the top. Again, the belt, when it is snugged down, should cradle. The belt should not entirely sit above your hips so that the pad compresses your waist, nor should the entire pad sit below the crest of your hips totally squeezing the hip bones.

There is a lot of misinformation about how a pack's load is distributed between shoulders and hips. It is NOT true that the waist/hip belt carries the entire load of the pack. It definitely CAN do that, but doing so is undesirable.

There are reasons which make it necessary to keep the shoulder harness unweighted with the full load weight on the hipbelt. These include damage or injury to the shoulder girdle. There are folks who prefer a total load on the hipbelt even though their shoulder girdle is healthy, but it is a practice which has potential complications associated with it. Even so, it is up to an individual to decide.

If the Hip/waist belt carries the entire weight of the pack
  1. it means the shoulder harness is unweighted and there can be significant pack movement which, during difficult walking terrain, can create problems with your center of gravity. I have seen people lose their balance and fall as a result.
  2. It also can result in your core muscles being overworked, stressed and fatigued trying to compensate from that extra movement.
  3. All of that weight on the pelvis can create significant compression forces by requiring the hipbelt to be over-tightened in order to prevent it from slipping down. This can cause numbness and pain as blood flow and nerve compression is experienced.
  4. All of the weight on the hipbelt will also place additional strain to the hip sockets and knees.
The load ratio will be about 5 to 15 percent for the shoulders and 85 to 95 percent on the hips. This will allow for the proper engagement of your core muscles to help carry the backpack.

Steps To Adjusting a Backpack Before Walking

I'll add a link to a video (ignore the manufacturer) that shows the best steps to follow when putting on a pack and adjusting it. The basic steps are these:
  1. Loosen all of the straps on the shoulder harness and hip belt.
  2. Put on the pack and very slightly tighten the shoulder straps so that the hip belt is slightly below the hips.
  3. Shrug your shoulders up, and then fasten the waist belt as you are getting it roughly into position.
  4. Slightly tighten the shoulder straps to assist with the hip belt adjustment.
  5. Position the hip belt padding to let the padding sit half above and half below the crest of the hips. The padding of the belt should never sit entirely above the hips. The padding should sort of wrap itself over the top of the hip bone and hug the hips.
  6. Tighten the belt just enough to keep it in position. At this point, nearly 100% of the packs weight is resting on the hips.
  7. Snug the shoulder straps to take up 5 to 15 percent of the packs weight. You will feel just a slight unloading of the weight off the hips.
  8. At the top of the shoulder straps and toward the pack, are smaller straps called 'load lifters'. Grasp them and pull to your front. You will feel the weight of the pack lift up slightly and pull more snugly toward your back. This helps with center of gravity and balance. You can experiment with how snug or how loose you want to pull on the straps. A properly adjusted load lifter strap will form a sort of 45 degree angle when viewed from the side.
  9. On some waist/hip belts there can be a small strap connected to each side of the belt. Again, pulling forward on those straps will bring the bottom of the pack closer to your back, helping with balance as you are walking.

It is important to remember that after you make the first pack adjustment before starting to walk, that you will frequently be changing those adjustments while walking: tightening, loosening, pulling, having the pack higher or lower....

Pack adjustments are a dynamic thing, not a static thing. As you walk, how the pack feels, pressure points, center of gravity, etc WILL change. This is why it is important to become so familiar with your pack that making adjustments becomes second nature as you walk, requiring no real thought or consideration.

A good pack, loaded and adjusted properly will be so integrated to your body while walking that you sometimes forget you are wearing it. Now, NOTHING will make a weighted load in a pack disappear, but it will help keep that load from becoming an agonizing exercise in torture :)
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#43
Just one question about measuring torso length @davebugg - from the video it appears essential that I remove my bra to do the measuring. 😂😂😂
LOL!!!! It did make me wonder how many repeated viewings of the video the males would need to do, in order to remember what was actually said. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#44
My daughter always scolds me on the “what ifs”.
That brings to mind a great packing tip I read somewhere on this forum. For every item you are packing ask "When will I use this?" If your answer starts with "when" put it in the "maybe" pile. If your answer starts with "if" then put it in the "no go" pile.

The Camino runs on cash. Take two debit cards on two different accounts (though the emergency one only needs an emergency amount in it.)

If your phone is compatible consider using Google Fi as your provider. $20 a month with unlimited domestic calls and texts and data effectively one cent per MB. Works overseas automatically with same rate on data (free if you are connected to WiFi), texts still no cost and calls 20 cents a minute (but it automatically tries to make them over WiFi.) No cancellation costs. Was called Project Fi until recently.

Edit: In the US Google uses Sprint or T-MOBILE for networking, whichever has the best signal. In cities and along interstates the signal should be okay but if you spend time in remote areas the service may not be good for you.
 
Last edited:

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
#45
Should I take two credit cards, plus one debit card and how do I get cash in France to start my trip to SJPdP?

How much cash should I have with me daily on the Camino?

Do you have any cell phone ideas for me? My daughter suggested to go with T Mobile and then cancel when I return home.
1) I usually do the camino with two different flag cards, and that works well (I'm from Australia). Try to buy some euros before you leave the US so you have some cash with you at arrival. After that, any ATM will do the job (check fees with your bank though, as some charge you a lot every time you draw money out overseas).

2) I usually have 250-300 euro cash with me, and get cash out every time I'm down to the last 50. It varies a lot from person to person, but your daily expense will probably fall somewhere in the 35-80/day range, including accomodation, meals, an eventual purchase or touristic attraction visit. It can be quite lower or higher, depending on your style of travelling though.

3) Can´t help with American cell phones, sorry. In my previous caminos, I bought a pre-paid sim card when I landed in an Spanish airport. Usually costs 30 or 40 euro for a month of local phone calls and data.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#46
Jo, you've gotten great advice on what type of cards to take for ATM use and carry amounts of cash.

Many Forum members have opened Charles Schwab checking accounts, online, specifically as travel accounts and to use their ATM debit card.

Opening a Charles Schwab account is FREE.
Charles Schwab pays a decent interest rate on deposit balances compared to most banks.
The account is FREE.
Charles Schwab will automatically reimburse ALL transaction fees, ATM out of network fees, they do not charge conversion fees and will reimburse those from other bank's ATMs.
The account is FREE.
You are able to easily choose your own PIN number; and although choosing a 4 digit pin rather than a 6 digit pin is not as important for foreign travel as it used to be, you are able to choose a 4 digit pin number.
The account is FREE.

Some folks get a bit confused as to account options when opening a FREE account online, but many of us can help answer questions should that be needed.

And the account is FREE... no minimums ... no monthly requirements for balances... no specific level of activity required.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (2019)
#47
I'm scrabbling at the moment to give you definitive specific Banks in Spain but from fairly recent experiences in that country, some of the Banks that have ATM's charge a fee at their end for using the services outside their premises. This is on top of the fees, (if any) charged by the processor of your card.
I recall, the last time I was there, (recently) that Deutcherbank were one of the good guys.
I suppose what I am saying is, if you have a few minutes, make sure you don't get stung.
Oh! yes. And finally, when the Bank asks you which currency you wish the transaction is to be performed in, you should choose the local currency, ie Euro's. The wording put in front of you sometimes can be somewhat confusing. If possible go into the Branch and speak to a person. If you choose your home countries money (assuming you are not from a € country) as a means of transfer, they will get two bites, (make that three) out of your cash.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#48
I have used a Schwab account for years as my travel account, and they do refund all ATM fees worldwide. Just don't leave it to the last minute to set it up.

And I've been using T-Mobile for several years, and I love, love, love that I get unlimited data and texting worldwide. The speeds can be slower, but for I think an extra $10/month they will bump up the speeds, and give you the ability to use your phone as a hotspot while abroad. Calls are 20 cents a minute, but I make cheaper calls using the Viber app, and Viber credit, which makes calls just 2 cents a minute. Of course there are many apps that allow you to make free phone calls, like Whatsapp, but that only works when the other party has the same app. The Viber app and credit come in really handy when you want to call an albergue, or any landline.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March (2019)
#49
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
hi Jo,
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
hi Jo,
I am also a Jo from the U.S., also a recent widow, getting ready for my first Camino, and second-guessing myself. I am merely a hiker wanna-be, but I’ve got two months to change that. I appreciate the insights and advice posted here, hoping not to bring along all my second-guesses in equipment and blister prevention. I am a very spiritual person, looking forward to spending time with my Creator and every pilgrim He brings across my path.
Buen Camino,
Jo
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
#50
Hi Jo, I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. I lost my 24 yr old son and I think somehow I walked the Camino Frances in 2017 for him. I walked with my friend who is a widow. It was wonderful to walk and meet people who walked for all different reasons. Before we left, everyone was so concerned about us. This spring we’re returning to walk again. No one is concerned. They just think we’re crazy and fun. That will happen to you. Do it! You will never regret it! Sending love!
 
Camino(s) past & future
March (2019)
#51
Hi Jo, I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. I lost my 24 yr old son and I think somehow I walked the Camino Frances in 2017 for him. I walked with my friend who is a widow. It was wonderful to walk and meet people who walked for all different reasons. Before we left, everyone was so concerned about us. This spring we’re returning to walk again. No one is concerned. They just think we’re crazy and fun. That will happen to you. Do it! You will never regret it! Sending love!
Awwww Judy, I am so sorry you lost your son. As a mom, I cannot imagine.
And .... Good for you for walking the Camino in his honor. I’ll be on that path before Spring, just Sarria to Santiago. I was going to walk it solo - a statement to embrace the solo journey I am now on as a widow, but my sister has decided to join me on this adventure 😊
 

Ricardo Moretti

Rick Camino April-May 2018
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2018
#52
I’m from the US –

For so long I have wanted to do a hike though, especially the PCT, Pacific Coast Trail. I’ve dreamt of it, started planning for it and then all things unexpected happened. My husband passed away and I had to run the business. I felt so alone on this course of my life and the PCT kept creeping in and I knew it was something I needed to do. I just wanted to walk. Then more life got in the way, I had to have back surgery. I have two children and they were extremely supportive getting me through all the pain and helping with the business.

I realized that the PCT was never going to happen for me so I started searching for something I knew I could do - I found the CAMINO! That was eight years ago.

I miss my husband beyond anything you can imagine. I know I am not the only widow who will be walking the Camino in May. I hope to find myself and to learn to let go. I want to walk the Camino. I just want to walk.

I’ve booked my tickets and arrive in France May 8. So excited, until I made more time to do more reading and to understand from others what their pilgrimages meant to them. Reading the forum the last couple of days have made me think a little harder. I haven’t second guessed myself until now.

And to top it off, my daughter and I went to buy my pack, get fitted and to buy a few necessities for my trip. I was weighted down with 24 pounds and instructed to walk around in the store for a while. It wasn’t easy for me but I hid my concerns. As I was getting ready to make my purchases, my daughter made me promised to have my pack shuttled. I was surprised. No way, I thought. That’s not the pilgrim way. She was very insistent so I told her I would have my pack taxied if I had a bad day. Okay, now we’re good to go.

I knew I would have bad days carrying my pack, I just accepted the fact each day would be a bad day, to carry with me what I would need on my Camino. I want to sit quietly in the dark churches and figure out where I have been and where I want to go. I’m not a religious person but I need to find my true spirituality – I’ve always thought they go hand in hand so I hope to find the truth for me.

My pilgrimage will be my adventure. I guess that’s what I truly want.

NOW - I have so many questions that I probably shouldn’t worry any longer and just go.

I hope I am not blindsiding myself!

I may not start out as a pilgrim but I sure hope to arrive as one.
- Jo
Sounds like you are prepared! About 300,000 thousands do the Camino every year. It is well catered to and amenities abound - in comparison to the PCT. You will meet people and it will be most wonderful. I think that you're blindsiding will be to keep your pack weight down - keep it near 10% of your IDEAL body weight. By planning and purchasing your backpack, you have already taken your first steps and now just keep going.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
#53
Hello nervous one,
The way you are feeling is normal. I dreamt of walking the Camino for 30 years.
I was very confident in my plan until I started purchasing airline tickets etc.
Then your committed. It brings all those fears to the surface.
I remember the day before I left. I put on my loaded pack and went for a walk around our neighbourhood. I was a km in and started crying. Second guessing....thinking I was crazy...??? How was I going to strap this thing on everyday and walk the 800 kms.
I was so nervous as I boarded the plane the next day to Paris....then the train to SJDP. EXCITED but
Then....you’ll get caught up in the journey...the people....the beauty....and suddenly your putting one foot in front of the other accomplishing your goal.
You can do it ! And those you love here and passed will be with you in your heart and thoughts every step of the Way.
I’m proud of you......Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#54
One key item for me was a waist pack with a crossbody strap. I wore it in front. It had two zip pockets. One for daily cash, tissue, chap stick and glasses. The back pocket held my compenstela, my passport, one credit card and a bit more cash. I used a safety pin to fasten the zipper tabs of the back pocket together. Now there are many great items like this available online. https://smile.amazon.com/Travelon-A...dpPl=1&dpID=41rU45s7dJL&ref=plSrch&th=1&psc=1
Hiking poles are essential. You can buy rubber tip replacements at many Camino supply stores along the way. Take a light weight pullover dress for the evening. Wear it with a scarf and your flip flops. I didn’t use a sleeping bag, rather a silk liner and a down blanket (from Costco). It was perfect for June walking. You’ll feel at several times like you are hiking. There are ups and downs every day except along the Meseta. The scenery is beautiful, you’ll pass through the little towns via farming countryside, and then head back up or down across another plateau and onto the next part of the Camino. My self doubts were vast, all you need is day number one under your belt to know that you can do this. Walk every day being positive and stop in every church. Say your prayers and let go piece by piece. One thing I wish I had done was have an electronic (on my phone) version of “Spanish mass” translated to English with the Spanish mass response written out and learned. I knew then English words only. I really wished for this. The Camino will soothe your soul.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)(2018)
#56
I imagine everyone second guesses themselves to some degree before a journey like this. I know I sure did. It was the first thing I wrote in my journal! But like the millions before me and what surely the millions after will do, I made it and came back a different person. I am confident you will have a great time walking and reflecting. In May you will have plenty of company and the way is so well marked you will have no troubles. My only suggestion is to try and shed some pack weight. A nice weight is well under 24 lbs. if you could hit 14-15 lbs it will make an enormous difference and you could well consider carrying your pack. If not, nothing wrong with shipping the pack ahead. In the old days that’s was the donkeys job!!
Oaties?
 

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