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Some questions about backpacks!


New Member
I know this is a much debated subject with many many different opinions, and I've scoured the past threads about this sort of thing so far but I still have to ask.

My stats: 24 years old, non-smoker, 125 lbs and 5'7". I'm in relatively good shape but I intend to train for El Camino with boots and pack on when I have purchased both. I'll be doing the camino next year, from June-July 2010 with my friend Nelle.

I tried on the Gregory Deva 60 and fell absolutely in love with it, only to do some research later and discover that it is WAY too big for El Camino! I think what I liked best about it was the hip belt; it seemed to me that all of the weight was on my hips and legs and it felt very comfortable.

So now I'm tempted to go for a Gregory pack in a different model, though obviously I know models will vary as much as makers. It seems to me that when I shop for a pack, the stores aren't very good at keeping Extra Smalls and Smalls in stock for most of the packs and so it's quite difficult for me to determine which pack is comfortable because they're all much too big for me. I know I will have to seriously watch what I pack because with the 10% rule I'm going to have to.

So, some advice: should I go with a Gregory Jade 50? Have people had good luck with these packs? Any pros/cons which stand out?

I've seen a lot of people praising the GoLite brand, and I was looking at the Quest and the Pinnacle, though I am very reluctant to purchase one of these because I can't find any models in a store and I want to try on my pack before I purchase it! Or would they be worth buying one online and returning it in the event it doesn't work for me?

I tried on Ospreys as well and they haven't felt very good to me, but I'm very open to suggestions.

A little help in the decision making process would be greatly appreciated, in addition to any suggestions for how much I should carry. My traveling companion is of a similar height and weight to me, so we can split the weight of some things (shampoo, etc) between us.

Thank you so much! This forum is such a fantastic resource, and as much as I'm looking forward to getting away from technology for compostela, I'm sooo grateful for it in the planning stages!!!

- Lindsay
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Lindsay - you're doing everything that can be done - try them on and buy the one which feels and fits best. To some this will be heresy but imho there isn't much different between 50L and 60L - most weight problems come not from the size of the pack but what we put into it! If you have fallen for the 60L why not go for it - particularly if you have plans to do other walks/trips in future? One thing which might help you decide is to list the weights of the packs - on your list it looks to me as if Go Lite is the lightest - I'm sure Sillydoll uses one of these - what's your view Sil?


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Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Hi Lindsay,
A good fitting pack is just as important as a lightweight pack. Your pack is going to be your best friend and you will be stuck with each other for the entire journey! So, if your pack is comfortable - and you love it already - stick with it. Just make sure you don't fill the 60L space because then you'll have to put your friend on a weight loss program and post stuff ahead to yourself along the trail.
I am 5'2" and weigh 55kg (about 121lbs), have a shortish torso, and use the OMM 32L (Original Mountain Marathon) that weighs under 600g empty. A rough guide is to carry between 10% and 15% of your body weight. I never carry more than a basic 5kg - which can go up to about 6.5kg when I add bottles of water and food.
Do you know the weight of your pack? Your second best friend will be your kitchen scale. Weigh your pack and everything that goes into it. Put it on the weigh less program before you leave for your walk! I take my scale into the stores and the staff in the local outdoor shops are used to this eccentirc old woman weighing shirts, shorts, towels, sleep liners, head lamps etc!!
Good luck!


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
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It is probably worth noting that the litre sizing of rucksacks is variable; some makes will claim 60l but will be similar to 50l in other brands. If you are worried about this ask at the shop if it is a big or small 50l or 60l.

The vital thing is to get something that fits and is comfortable. I will be carrying a Crux AK57 that fits wonderfully well and that I also use for camping trips.



Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2013, (2022)
Definitely you need to try on plenty of packs to find the one that's right for you. And keep in mind also that, as you go up and down in the load capacity of a particular pack, the dimensions of the pack change. For example, on a smaller framed body, the Osprey Kestrel 48 might seem too broad across the shoulders as it has dimensions of 26x14x10.5 (height x width x depth), but the Kestrel 38 is one inch narrower across the shoulders and has dimensions of 26.5x13x10.

I took the Kestrel 48 S/M (because, though short waisted, I am wider across the shoulders), and loved the fact that it was torso adjustable and had a very substantial, supportive hip belt. But the 38 litre would have been more in keeping with what I actually needed in the way of volume. So, you might want to take another look at the Kestrel 38. And my friend loved her Osprey Stratos 40.

Of course, the assistance of a knowledgeable sales person can be invaluable, though not always easy to find. (eg. While in my town's "reputable" outdoor sporting goods store, I told my salesperson I was going to walk the Camino and asked for advice. Her response was that she was new to the area and hadn't walked in all the local parks yet!)

Good luck with your search and getting your kit together. Though challenging, it's a lot of fun.
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New Member
Hi Lindsay,

I'm all for a Gregory pack, even one they say is too big for the Camino. Agreed and sympathy on the problem of finding stores that stock smalls--I'm a bit smaller than you (and all leg, apparently), and had much the same problem.

By now, I've put 800+ miles on foot (along with a few other voyages) on my Gregory z55. It's a men's model from five years ago. At 55L, it's "too big" for the Camino, but cinches/compresses well when it's not full and turned out to work perfectly. It--like the Jade you mentioned--is a little lighter than the ones you're looking at, but if you tried on the Deva and loved it, that's worth a lot.

If you're looking at smaller/lighter packs, don't forget to try on a few of their men's models as well. Depending on the brand and your body, some men's models might work for you.


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