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So I did some repacking & rearranging

I have the Aarn Freedom Featherlite backpack, but was having problems with the extra "harness pockets" that you attach to the arm straps. I felt like I was being strangled by them & they also added about 2 lbs empty to the weight of the pack. I found a waistpack this morning & just switching out the pockets for the waistpack has already saved me those 2 lbs + the weight of the contents.

Finding a much lighter rain poncho saved me some more weight as well. When I add my fleece sleeping bag liner, the weight of my bag is just under 17 lbs. The old way with the liner would have been over 20. 17 lbs is under 10% of their bodyweight, sad to say, but maybe it won't when I finish, right? :)

I would say about 2lbs, so I've saved a net 2lbs by chucking the harness thingys. I'm not in a position to go out & buy another one. It does fit into the large denim "purse", so I'm figuring out a way to hang it from the bottom of my backpack.



dg, u'll be fine. I took a similar one during my first Caminos. Until I saw a pilgrim friend hold his sleeping bag inside a bag which he was holding on the palm of his hand! That did it for me. Shortly after I got mine. Am always looking for a better one. They r expensive, yes. Another investment to make, in time. Best, xm 8)


AARN Balance pockets


I have the same AARN backpack and am experimenting with setting it up. The front pockets do seem a bit clumsy but I want to try them out with a load before "nixing" them as XM might say.

Before buying the Aarn backpack I did some searches on the internet and the general opinion seemed to be that because the front pockets balnce the load front and back, you end up less tired at the end of the day and this more than compensates for the extra weight. (Also I can't help but think one way of carrying less weight would be to lose 2lbs myself, but not everyone has it to lose)

Also, I like the idea that I can take off one or both front pokets and use as a "handbag" or daypack for the plane.

So that's the theory, I really must pack all my stuff in my pack and get out and try it!

Best wishes for your Camino

Hi Mercury! I did try the pack with the side pockets on, but still, I felt like I was being strangled. When I put them on the straps, the tops came right up to my chin & I couldn't make any adjustments that would change it. I still love the backpack, though, & I think the new waistpack I bought yesterday with the two water containers will balance me out.

Minkey, you need to give xm access to your "English to English" dictionary. ;) Otherwise, he might be stuck in the UK looking for braces & asking for suspenders. :lol:


on edit: all in good fun. xm, I don't want you to think I'm picking on you, because if you were in the UK looking for suspenders, you might get a surprise. ;)


...give xm access to your "English to English" dictionary...he might be stuck in the UK looking for braces & asking for suspenders. ...all in good fun. xm, I don't want you to think I'm picking on you...in the UK looking for suspenders..."

:lol: I cracked up with this, dg :!: OK, a "rucksack" it will be. Now, for the inevitable, u Brits, what r: 1) funny packs + 2) suspenders :?:


I think it was Oscar Wilde who said: "The English have everything in common with the Americans except, of course, language" - or words to that effect. XM - we call a fanny pack a bumbag, and suspenders braces - because over here a fanny is...well...erm...female genitalia, and suspenders are the fancy lacy bits of lingerie that we girls hold our stockings up with (I'm fairly bilingual, being a dual national, but don't know what the lingerie item is called in the US - but can live without the knowledge!).

Now, to return to the very serious subject of packing - you veterans (I mean experience, not age, of course) can tell me whether I am mad to switch from a fairly old (and therefore heavy) REI mountain bag for a silk bag? I'm starting at Burgos on 14th May. I want to keep my (20L) pack below 7kg, but don't want to freeze at night.

Many thanks!


And another thing while I am at it - does anyone have any thoughts about the need for a guide book (I know Brierley is the favourite of most) on a first Camino? I thought that I might get away with talking to experienced pilgrims on the way.

Thanks again,

British suspenders are American garter belts. ;)

On my last trip to London, one of the guides said that he was multi-lingual. He spoke English, American, Canadian, Australian, Kiwi, etc. :lol:



"Two countries separated by the same language"

Years ago, in Edinburgh, I saw this sign in a shop: "English spoken, American understood"


Oh - garter belt, thank you DG, even if I could live without the knowledge....you are too kind. But how would you know about them? And did you also know the emergency repair to a broken suspender is a dime (or 6d piece for Brits) to hold the stocking up?

On the subject of the Great Language Divide, I won't even mention aluminium...

Funny you should bring up aluminum. I could never pronounce it correctly. The best I could do was "aluninin" or something. Drove the parents nuts. Then we went to an international convention & I met some Brits, who taught me "aluminium" & straightened me out. They have my mom's eternal gratitude.

How did I know about garters? I'm a chick. ;)



US: Aloominum (with the stress on the 'num')
UK: Aloominiyum (stressed on the 'min')

It was originally called aluminum by its discoverer Sir Humphrey Davy - but a writer in the Quarterly Review in the early 19thC 'took the liberty' of changing it to aluminium because it sounded 'more classical'. So the US version is the original.

I was foxed by the 'Wolverine' - foolishly, because of course there must be female wolverines, or there wouldn't be any wolverines at all...

(short for Phillippa, which means 'the lover of a female horse', not 'the female lover of horses', alas)


Too bad xm speaks American rather than English.

Alcott, Louisa May,
Austin, Mary,
Chopin, Kate
Clemens, Samuel L.
Crane, Stephen
Dickinson, Emily
Dreiser, Theodore
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
Irving, Washington
Jackson, Helen Hunt
James, Henry
London, Jack
Melville, Herman
Miller, Arthur
Merton, Thomas
Poe, Edgar Allan
Thoreau, Henry David
Twain, Mark
Whitman, Walt...just cringed in their graves at the sound of those words :(


...anyone have any thoughts about the need for a guide book...on a first Camino?

:lol: On all Caminos, Pip!


…Wilde who said: "The English have everything in common with the Americans except, of course, language" … "Two countries separated by the same language"

"Henry Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter,
Condemned by every syllable she ever uttered.
By law she should be taken out and hung,
For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.
Eliza Aaoooww! Henry imitating her Aaoooww!
Heaven's! What a noise!
This is what the British population,
Calls an elementary education. Pickering Oh,
Counsel, I think you picked a poor example. Henry Did I?
Hear them down in Soho square,
Dropping "h's" everywhere.
Speaking English anyway they like.
You sir, did you go to school?
Man Wadaya tike me for, a fool?
Henry No one taught him 'take' instead of 'tike!
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
This verbal class distinction, by now,
Should be antique. If you spoke as she does, sir,
Instead of the way you do,
Why, you might be selling flowers, too!
Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse,
Hear a Cornishman converse,
I'd rather hear a choir singing flat.
Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one!
Eliza Garn! Henry I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that?
It's "Aoooow" and "Garn" that keep her in her place.
Not her wretched clothes and dirty face.
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
This verbal class distinction by now should be antique.
If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do,
Why, you might be selling flowers, too.
An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him,
The moment he talks he makes some other
Englishman despise him.
One common language I'm afraid we'll never get.
Oh, why can't the English learn to set
A good example to people whose
English is painful to your ears?
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.
There even are places where English completely
disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years!
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks have taught their
Greek. In France every Frenchman knows
his language fro "A" to "Zed"
The French never care what they do, actually,
as long as they pronounce in properly.
Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning.
And Hebrews learn it backwards,
which is absolutely frightening.
But use proper English you're regarded as a freak.
Why can't the English,
Why can't the English learn to speak?"


Thank you Xm - I was fretting about the weight of a book...

And the old language debate - American English is nearer to Shakespeare that wot us Brits use...




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