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Luggage Transfer Correos

The 10% Rule

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markss

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
Someone somewhere arbitrarily came up with this guideline that one should strive to restrict the weight of their backpack to 10% of body weight. This gets passed around over and over again and seems now to have become a golden rule. Where does it come from?

Obviously it helps to limit weight, but there is no reason to blindly follow some artificial rule that may have worked well for the person originally establishing the measure, yet may not necessarily be appropriate for a good many others.

Factors not directly related to body weight, such as a person’s physique, level of physical conditioning, body strength, state of health etc. determine the amount of weight that one can comfortably carry. To base the decision soley on body weight doesn’t seem to make all that much sense.

I’ve seen people who go to extremes to keep their backpack weight low. Things like removing staples from papers they may carry, cutting off and discarding half of the toothbrush handle and drilling large holes in the remaining portion to reduce miniscule amounts of weight, packing half of a comb. Do these and other such measures really make that much difference?

This is not to discount the validity of suggestions to minimize weight. But, 10%: Just doesn’t work for everyone.

One caveat: Postage rates can be expensive if you find yourself overburdened and need to post items home.
 

vagabondette

Active Member
markss said:
Do these and other such measures really make that much difference?
They can, depending on how many such measures you take. I read a thread on an ultralight forum and a guy lowered his pack weight by over 1.5 lbs by removing tags, trimming straps and doing that kind of thing. So, the 1-2 oz you save by trimming your toothbrush may not make a huge difference but if you add it all up it can be significant savings.

Also, 10% is a guideline not a requirement. It's not like they weigh your gear at the beginning of a camino and don't let you walk if you're over. However, for a walk like the camino which is essentially a series of day hikes, having a 10% guideline can be good for newbies as a baseline and for experienced backpackers as motivation to get rid of the unnecessary backpacking gear.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
vagabondette said:
markss said:
Do these and other such measures really make that much difference?
They can, depending on how many such measures you take. I read a thread on an ultralight forum and a guy lowered his pack weight by over 1.5 lbs by removing tags, trimming straps and doing that kind of thing. So, the 1-2 oz you save by trimming your toothbrush may not make a huge difference but if you add it all up it can be significant savings.

Also, 10% is a guideline not a requirement. It's not like they weigh your gear at the beginning of a camino and don't let you walk if you're over. However, for a walk like the camino which is essentially a series of day hikes, having a 10% guideline can be good for newbies as a baseline and for experienced backpackers as motivation to get rid of the unnecessary backpacking gear.
Indeed it all adds up. Ease of movement on the Camino is a daily juggling act trying to balance your pack weight, the changing topography and the actual weather with your basic health as well as personal strength and known ability to endure. An extra kilo may be "nothing" on a flat stretch in the spring sunshine, but lugged up hill in blinding autumn rain walking through deep mud it can quickly become the straw that breaks the camels back! Many times I have seem strong pilgrims struggling along with too heavy packs; hence pooped before they reach their stride. Thus I carry only 6.5 kilos even in late autumn or winter.

Pare down !

Margaret
 

Yvonne

New Member
If I were to adhere to the "10% rule", then my total weight of my pack should be 4.95kgs.
I tried on many packs, including very lightweight but uncomfortable ones, before settling on a Deuter ACT Lite Women's 45 Litre which fits me perfectly.
At 1.45kg I know I could have chosen a smaller and lighter pack, but comfort was a priority over weight.
Similarly with sleeping bags. I could go lighter by just taking a liner, but again have chosen a sleeping bag, 900gms, thinking in October I would prefer to be snuggly in a bag.
I know others would suggest to just go with a liner and pile on the clothes at night to keep warm.
I'm training wearing my backpack, weighing at 7.5kgs including water, and walking comfortably up to 24kms so far.
So in response to the previous post, yes I'm going to be carrying 50% more than I should and would need to reduce my weight by 33% to comply with the "10%" recommendation.
I have no intention either of cutting my toothbrush in half or taking only 2 pairs not 4, of these great Rohan socks I have.
Obviously the lighter your pack the better, and I am weighing all my items.
But I'm happy with my pack weight and agree it's a personal thing.
Yvonne
 

markss

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
Agree that it is a good idea to keep backpack weight to a minimum. That's really not my point. Rather it is that scattered throughout various threads are comments that seem to sometimes obsess upon some magical 10% of body weight number and suggest others do the same. There is no reason for one to accept this as an authoritative premise as some seem to do. Cutting off tags from clothing and things like that just seem obsessive to me. That demonstrates the point. But hey, if it works for you do it.

A 6'2" 200 pound 30 year old athlete will probably not have the same difficulty carrying more than 20 pounds as a 5'8" 200 pound 65 year old who leads a somewhat sedentary life. Yes the "10% rule" may be a guideline, but there are a lot of reasons why it may not always be best of guidelines and no reason to strictly adhere to it.

While it is sometimes useful to set targets, a blanket 10% of body weight without considertion to more relevant factors seems illogical.

This post is primarily directed toward "newbies" and suggests that perhaps they can relax that 10% rule a bit. Nevertheless it is probably a good idea to leave the leather bound volumes of the Complete Works of Shakespeare at home.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Don't exceed 10% of your body weight if you can avoid it. There is a minimum amount of gear required, and it may exceed the guideline for the petit(e)s, who will have to accept it. More than 10% and you may regret it, or incur a huge postage cost to send it home (15 Euro for my sleeping bag once).

By the way, the uncomfortable ultralite backpacks are not particularly uncomfortable at 6kg. Over 10kg is when you will dislike them. So if your gear and pack are about 6-7kg, consider saving some weight with a lighter pack.

My equipment has been stripped of unnecessary items like labels, ice axe hooks, ladders for external gear, etc. It has permanently removed about a half pound of weight, so I don't have to cut my toothbrush in half.
 

Gailsie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Fall '09 ;
I am working at lowering my weight by more than 10% in order to be fit enough for my Camino in 2014. That is my 10% rule. Unfortunately I am over 25 pounds heavier now than when I returned from my 2009 camino, how did that happen????
 

vagabondette

Active Member
markss said:
This post is primarily directed toward "newbies" and suggests that perhaps they can relax that 10% rule a bit. Nevertheless it is probably a good idea to leave the leather bound volumes of the Complete Works of Shakespeare at home.
Actually, I think the 10% rule is most important for newbies because they're the ones most likely to overpack a bunch of unneeded crap "just in case". Just look at some of the gear lists people post and you'll see what I'm talking about.

You seem to keep hinting (no matter what you actually state) that people are saying the 10% guideline isn't a guideline but a set-in-stone requirement. It's not, and I don't think people are. When people mention it, I think it's with the assumption that most of the people reading the suggestion have a brain capable of independent thought and making personal decisions that will ultimately effect the total weight of their pack but by providing the 10% guideline, they're giving said people a target to shoot for.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
markss et al,

I have commented elsewhere about that magic 10% advice, eg at this topic thread -->> http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/equipment-questions/topic12663.html.

The other issue is that, as has been noted, newbies need good advice, and merely saying that 10% is not good advice doesn't help, and is likely to leave them uncertain about what to do. I must admit that I think the CSJ website advice of 10-15% of body weight is reasonably sound, and newbies are well served by it.

I also think that those who advocate lower targets should declare whether they are ultra-light fanatics capable of sleeping on bare rock, are prepared to spend a fortune on buying the latest gear to save a few 10s of grams, and what risks they are prepared to take.

My most recent experience on St Olav's Way with another pilgrim who had 'packed light' was that she she was continually asking people for help because she wasn't carrying something that she found she really needed. She tried that on me one day, and I helped. She did the same a few days later, when I better understood her modus operandi, and got short shrift. Maybe not as pilgrim like as it might have been, I'm afraid, but it happened.

Regards,
 

vagabondette

Active Member
PingHansen said:
deodorant (clean sweat doesn't stink)
You're right, *sweat* doesn't stink. However, the bacteria on your body that flourishes on the sweat DOES. So yes, you will stink if you don't use deodorant - which is fine, as long as you don't inflict yourself on others.

I once dated a guy who was a teacher and in the summer he wouldn't wear deodorant because "he showered each morning so he was clean". By noon each day, and without doing heavy exertion (like walking the camino), he smelled like a trucker on a 5-day non-stop haul. It was gag inducing. Finally had to dump him because of it.
 

vagabondette

Active Member
PingHansen said:
Try using a better soap and washing the clothes frequently :wink:

Admittedly, some people have different body chemistry. How you live and what you eat, can also influence the odor. I may be lucky in that regard.
It's more likely that you are used to your odor and therefore no longer notice it. I encounter many travelers like this who sit in ignorant bliss while the people around them step further and further away to avoid the odor.

I don't use antibacterial soaps/hand gels because they're bad for the environment and are helping to create of drug resistant bacteria. Bacteria is good. We're supposed to be exposed to it. It helps us build anti-bodies and resistance to bugs. Killing it off using soap isn't a long-term option as you'll just get re-exposed as you move through the environment. All you're doing is killing the bacteria that is already on you, but not those waiting to attach.
 

rickster

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012), LePuy (2013), Coastal Portuguese( 2013), Norte (Fall 2014)
I don't pretend to know what the best rule of thumb for pack weight as a percent of body weight, but I do know that I rationalized carrying more weight than I should have just I see is happening here and I dearly paid for it. And I was in good physical condition and not overweight. Wish that I had just listened to the advice being given here on the forum. To compound the issue, I was stubborn about finally getting rid of things that I knew fell in to the "in case I might need something" category. When I posted about 3 lbs to my final destination, I became a happy pilgrim. Also, it is not that expensive to post to Santiago or your final destination vs sending it back home.
 

supersullivan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2012. SJPP-Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia 2013. Ponferrada-Santiago June 2014. Leon-Santiago-Finisterre September 2014. April-May 2015: SJPP- S de C- Finisterre -Muxia- S de C.
Just to pass on my own penny's worth, recently back from covering the Sarria/ Santiago stretch with my better half, I'm a 52 year old very regular hill walker in Ireland and herself a casual walker but she put in 7 weeks of building up her exercise levels and we were confident that she would be able to manage 16 to 20 kms daily without too much bother, our combined backpack weights came to 18kgs including our daily water load with our bodyweights coming in at 88 kg ( a surplus 10 kgs of thermal padding :wink: ) for me and 58 for W, packs came in at about 14% of bodyweight but to make things easier for W, I was carrying about 13 kg and W. about 5 kg. The important point I would make is that all last winter I was carrying those weight loads in the Wicklow mountains over some very tough boggy terrain so IF properly conditioned, the 10% rule can be let slide but IF not a regular hiker then at least one of your weekly preparation walks should be on forest trails or similar with your Camino backpack and gradually increase from week to week the weight you are carrying until you are comfortable carrying your Camino backpack weight. If you cannot reach this level of comfort before you leave to start your Camino THEN look long and hard at your packing list, I carried a notebook, smartphone, camera, chargers and leads for all so readily could have gotten weight down to 8.5/9 kgs but I knew I was comfortable carrying my intended weight. Wear and carry nothing on your Camino that you haven't worn/carried several times in the weeks before you start. My personal view but supported by my own experience both hill walking and in earlier times as a competitive cyclist
 

marian55

Member
For me the 10% rule is one thing.
The other is training the body with a lot of walking and doing exercises in a sport center with a trainer who is experienced enough to find the right exercises for shoulders, belly etc. Those, which are esp. very good for walking with extra weight. If you're trained one or two kilo extra is no problem.

A body which is not used to walking or sports should be treated with great care. The less weight on your back the better.
I would train more if I had difficulties to carry my stuff. With a certain maximum.
For me this max is 8 kg, which I carry easily over long distances (but is over 10%)
In summer I take less, in autumn/winter I choose for comfort up to 8 kg.
(female, 57 yrs.)
 

grilly

Active Member
Even though I am getting ready to start our 7th Camino (VDLP), I still find the 10% rule useful as a guideline. It helps me think through what I must take and what I can leave behind. This time, I will not take pills like Sportenine -- assumedly to keep me going when I am tired... Funny how much pills can weigh.
But then, for the first time, I will take a Kindle... :)
 

Doodles

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2013)
Portuguese (May 2014)
markss said:
But, 10%: Just doesn’t work for everyone.
As a newbie at this I'm using it as a guideline. How will I know if the 10% work or not if I don't try it? Besides, I think it better to err on the side of carrying too little than too much and 10% doesn't seem like too much.
 

janetharder

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
I too have questions about the 10% guideline. What baseline body weight are we using - fully clothed with boots/shoes, or just after a shower? As a short, not overweight woman, by adhering to 10%, I would be likely without a number of items I would really rather have - as a lifetime scout, I can't imagine hiking 790 kms without being prepared for various emergencies. For my part, I'm starting training now with a pack, adding weight to it as I acquire items. The Camino can be expensive - I'd rather spread the equipment costs over my several years of preparation than not take stuff, and then have to buy it at whatever the going rate in Spain is.

What I'd like to know is a what % of their skin-out weight people actually carried. The choice of boots (to help protect the ankles from sprains) vs the very light-weight trekking shoes seem more important than the handle of a toothbrush.

Janet

Camino Frances in 2018
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Hola Janet and welcome.
Another idea is to think 15% from the skin out. Personally I can carry the 10% happily in my rucksac, much more is too much on my back, but I have my camera and various other things in my trouser pockets in addition to that 10%.
We are all different so the best thing, unless using the one you already have, is to buy your rucksac to be a really comfortable fit. A good shop will let you put either your kit, or some of theirs, in while you try it on. Then as you practise walking add in the things you must take, as you are doing; then the things you would like to take. Think 'hot day' ie carrying all wet weather and cold weather gear in the pack. If it is too heavy start taking stuff out until it is right for you.
Remember water and a snack and also make sure you have space for your compostela tube in Santiago :)
Buen Camino
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Janet,
You raise some interesting points.

I have said elsewhere that the 10% rule is little better than any other magic number. Most people who swear by it cannot identify a source for it, won't tell you what season they walked in and achieved just that, don't mention how much they spent on high tech gear to achieve it, etc, etc.

janetharder said:
What baseline body weight are we using - fully clothed with boots/shoes, or just after a shower?
I believe that you should use the ideal weight for your height (BMI=25), not your actual weight, if you are overweight. You might have good reasons to think that your ideal weight is greater than that, but it is a start point. (I have no source for that :( ). This applies whether or not you take the FSO approach.

janetharder said:
The choice of boots (to help protect the ankles from sprains) vs the very light-weight trekking shoes seem more important than the handle of a toothbrush.
This is just one of the issues that an FSO approach highlights. My most recent pilgrimage, St Olav's Way, was done at about 30% FSO of my ideal weight. The biggest issues were boots, having to carry up to five days food, and carrying extra water (~3.5li). In contrast, I know that my load at the end of the Camino Frances in early spring would be around 18% FSO, and could be brought down more by choice of footwear than by any other weight saving.

Seasonal factors also play a big part. A cold pack (thermal long johns and vest, beanie, buff/balaclava, warm gloves, etc) can add anything from 500gm to a kg, depending on the material thickness. I took one for an early spring start in 2010, but didn't need it then. I wouldn't have even considered it for a later start.

I think the CSJ site guidance (10-15%) is sound for beginners, not the 10% quoted here. The Complete Walker IV suggests that 20% FSO is a good limit for comfortable walking, but recommends no more than 30% FSO in any case. I have found the results very similar whichever approach is used, although the FSO approach allows one to understand the impact of worn equipment.

Regards,
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
This is the beauty of this forum. People have different points of view.

I personally believe the 10% guideline, not rule, is a good framework to start.

Is it perfect, no. Does it fit every person, nope. Are there other guidelines that could be as useful, probably.

I do not believe that there is any guideline that could be considered a rule on pack weight. Age, condition, hiking experience and other factors contribute to the actual amount of weight one is able to easily/reasonably carry.

Just because one can not rationalize (10%) does not mean it has no merit.

In my opinion (10%) is a good starting point for less experienced walkers to start.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
I routinely break the 10% rule. I know I should not but for some reason I am always over

Weighing 195 lbs or 88 kilos my pack weight should be no more than 9 kilos but I carried between 12-14 kilos in my pack. I think the first time I did the camino the combined weight I was carrying was 12 kilos. The greatest amount I carried was on the Via Francigena in Italy, when I was carrying two homemade guidebooks along various papers and other literature we had collected along the way. At times my pack probably exceeded 14 kilos!

Instead of the 10% rule, I have what I call the "three day rule".

1. Pack your gear up into the backpack you plan to use and take.(this includes water)
2. Go for a 20 km walk on day 1
3. Repeat the following day 2 and 3
4. If your back, legs, knees, shoulders, etc are not complaining, then you are probably okay to go
5. If they are complaining - then lighten up, remove some stuff and repeat steps 1-3
 

DragonLily

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May/June 2013)
jirit said:
Instead of the 10% rule, I have what I call the "three day rule".

1. Pack your gear up into the backpack you plan to use and take.(this includes water)
2. Go for a 20 km walk on day 1
3. Repeat the following day 2 and 3
4. If your back, legs, knees, shoulders, etc are not complaining, then you are probably okay to go
5. If they are complaining - then lighten up, remove some stuff and repeat steps 1-3

I like your three day rule and will practise this and see what happens. Thanks :D
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
jirit said:
Instead of the 10% rule, I have what I call the "three day rule".

1. Pack your gear up into the backpack you plan to use and take.(this includes water)
2. Go for a 20 km walk on day 1
3. Repeat the following day 2 and 3
4. If your back, legs, knees, shoulders, etc are not complaining, then you are probably okay to go
5. If they are complaining - then lighten up, remove some stuff and repeat steps 1-3
This is a great idea, if you have the time in your schedule to walk at home for three straight days. I think it could be misleading, though. If one hasn't trained at all, things will hurt, even though the pack weight is fine. On the other hand, walking overloaded for 20kms for three days will not take the same toll as walking that distance for 10, 20, or 30 days.

Maybe a combo approach? Train properly and build up strength and endurance. Then pack up the bag with an aim for 10% of your ideal body weight and apply the 'three day rule.'

Regardless, the Camino teaches simplicity, and if someone has too much stuff, things can be posted home or to Santiago for reclaim at the end of the walk. Sometimes we can't know until we are there just what we will need and want.
Nancy
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata 2010, Camino de Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 2013, Olvidado, Invierno 2014
markss said:
Someone somewhere arbitrarily came up with this guideline that one should strive to restrict the weight of their backpack to 10% of body weight. This gets passed around over and over again and seems now to have become a golden rule. Where does it come from?

Obviously it helps to limit weight, but there is no reason to blindly follow some artificial rule that may have worked well for the person originally establishing the measure, yet may not necessarily be appropriate for a good many others.

Factors not directly related to body weight, such as a person’s physique, level of physical conditioning, body strength, state of health etc. determine the amount of weight that one can comfortably carry. To base the decision soley on body weight doesn’t seem to make all that much sense.

I’ve seen people who go to extremes to keep their backpack weight low. Things like removing staples from papers they may carry, cutting off and discarding half of the toothbrush handle and drilling large holes in the remaining portion to reduce miniscule amounts of weight, packing half of a comb. Do these and other such measures really make that much difference?

This is not to discount the validity of suggestions to minimize weight. But, 10%: Just doesn’t work for everyone.

One caveat: Postage rates can be expensive if you find yourself overburdened and need to post items home.
I don't know where this "rule" comes from, but I had never heard of it until I decided to walk to Santiago. In Sweden such a rule wold be totally useless, or even ridiculous, as people here go trekking in the mountains the north and then have to carry a lot. Tent, heavy sleeping bags, fuel and food for three weeks etc. They carry 20, 30, sometimes even 40 or even 50 kilos (!). And that is considered to be perfectly normal.

Having said that, 10% works perfect for me. Which in my case means 5,5 kg. When I carry exactly that, I don't even feel I have the rucksack on my back. It's nice.
I wonder if one can figure out such a recommendation for shoes also. When I wear shoes which are less than 400 grams each, I don't think about them either. But if the are say 500-600 grams, they feel a bit heavy.
And (I'm not joking now) I've found out there's a perfect weight for myself too. If I gain a few kilos its harder to walk. If I'm a bit skinny I feel like I'm flying. :wink:
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
I don't know where this "rule" comes from
I think the English vernacular has entered here. It is a "rule of thumb," which has been shortened to "rule" in this thread. A rule of thumb is just a general guideline, far less binding than an actual rule. Personally, I think a healthy male can carry 9kg comfortably (before food and water), a healthy female a bit less. I have met hundreds of pilgrims who have kept it down to 6kg. That requires starting with a pack that is very light when empty, and having a lot of ultralite items, such as a very small towel.

Buen camino!
 

fortview

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances Sept/oct 2012 , Salvador, Primitivo 2013
Cotswold Way July 2014
European Peace Walk August 2014 (John)
The expression " rule of thumb " is not very nice. It referred to how wide a stick could be for a man to lawfully beat his wife. It could not be wider than his thumb !! :evil:
This comment is completely irrelevant , I know. Just sayin
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
As a rule of thumb, don't accept urban legends:
There is a false legend that has attached itself to the phrase. It says that the original rule of thumb appeared in English Common Law. The alleged law said that it was illegal for a man to beat his wife with a stick that was thicker than his thumb. Beating her with smaller sticks was permitted, and in some regions encouraged, to keep the woman in her place.

While the belief that such a legal doctrine existed is quite old, the specific claim that the phrase rule of thumb comes from such a legal doctrine is quite recent, appearing in feminist texts starting in the 1970s. From Del Martin’s 1976 Battered Wives:

For instance, the common-law doctrine had been modified to allow the husband “the right to whip his wife, provided that he used a switch no bigger than his thumb"—a rule of thumb, so to speak.

While it was certainly true that in many places in the past (and unfortunately to this present day), men were permitted to beat their wives, but this so-called rule was never codified. In fact, this explanation does not appear until relatively recently and its appearances are in American courts that claim such an old English law exists without citing it specifically.

Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765) contends that in times past a man might be permitted to give his wife “modest punishment,” but states that hitting one’s wife was quite illegal by the late 17th century, about the time the phrase appears, and Blackstone makes no mention of thumbs at all:

the husband also (by the old law) might give his wife moderate correction. [...] But this power of correction was confined within reasonable bounds; and the husband was prohibited to use any violence to his wife, aliter quam ad virum, ex causa regiminis et castigationis uxoris suae, licited et rationabiliter pertinet [other than what is reasonably necessary to the discipline and correction of the wife]. The civil law gave the husband the same, or a larger, authority over his wife; allowing him, for some misdemeanors, flagellis et fustibus acriter verbare uxorem [to wound his wife severely with whips and fists]; for others, only modicam castigationem adhibere [to apply modest corrective punishment]. But, with us, in the politer reign of Charles the second, this power of correction began to be doubted, and a wife may now have security of the peace against her husband; or, in return, a husband against his wife. Yet the lower rank of people, who were always fond of the old common law, still claim and exert their ancient privilege, and the courts of law will still permit a husband to restrain a wife of her liberty, in the case of any gross misbehavior.

And as far as American law goes, the Massachusetts Bay Colony specifically outlawed spousal beatings in 1655. And by 1870, almost all the US states had laws on the books to punish wife beaters, some with very severe punishments attached.
 

fortview

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances Sept/oct 2012 , Salvador, Primitivo 2013
Cotswold Way July 2014
European Peace Walk August 2014 (John)
As usual, falcon, the last word rests with you :D
My husband told me it was an urban myth. I'm not so sure, but at least he doesn't beat me :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata 2010, Camino de Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 2013, Olvidado, Invierno 2014
falcon269 said:
I don't know where this "rule" comes from
I think the English vernacular has entered here. It is a "rule of thumb," which has been shortened to "rule" in this thread. A rule of thumb is just a general guideline, far less binding than an actual rule. Personally, I think a healthy male can carry 9kg comfortably (before food and water), a healthy female a bit less. I have met hundreds of pilgrims who have kept it down to 6kg. That requires starting with a pack that is very light when empty, and having a lot of ultralite items, such as a very small towel.

Buen camino!
Yes, I was thinking that "rule" in the case means just a recommendation, or something. Laughing.
Less strong than the "rule" that one must sleep on a bedbug mattress in albergues, and not on a clean one in a hotel. :wink:
Wouldn't be fun if the purists started to weigh all rucksacks and criticise everyone who carries too much or too little. ( :mrgreen: )
 

billbennettoz

Veteran Poster
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Camino Portuguese 2014
Via di Francesco 2015
I told my wife about the 10% "rule" and she smiled and said brightly: "That's wonderful dear. You can now eat whatever you like and not worry about it..."
 

inspiredjen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April '13
Portugues in 2015?
Great contributions, all.

I think that while focusing on pack weight, the pilgrim might do well to also reduce to 10% their worries and attachment to doing it "right". What a light load that would be. <3
 

billbennettoz

Veteran Poster
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Camino Portuguese 2014
Via di Francesco 2015
falcon269 said:
Or lose 20 lbs, and then the pack is a sum zero addition...
Hmmm - that doesn't sound like nearly as much fun!
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
I'm really struggling with my packing right now. Maybe I should gain 24 kg in weight instead ;-) I guess I have to post my packlist here later for you to comment.

I guess my main problem is that I'm a fairly light woman (60.4 kg this morning) with an interest in photography and would like to blog on her way across Spain. Making my geek stuff a little bit to heavy.

I'll not come as low as 10 % of my body weight, currently my list (what I will carry in my backpack) weights in about 8,8 kg with camera etc and 1,6 l water. Then I wear some clothes and shoes and will have some stuff in my skirt pocket and in the money belt.

I have read some comments where 10 % of body weight should include the clothes you are wearing and stuff in pockets etc as well. But I normally wear clothes and carry around stuff in my pockets so those are my body used to carry daily. But if you are a minimalist nudist in your everyday life you might need to count those as well :)
 

NicoZ

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
If the 10% rule has any value it's for some mythical average person.

Thinner,fitter persons are penalized by the 10% rule. Does anybody think the fitter you are the less you can carry? If you eat a whole cheese cake for breakfast can you carry more? No?

Others have mentioned it up thread but good packs designed to carry fairly serious loads exist. You'll get much nicer shoulder straps,hip belts and chest strap. All those things make your pack heavier but they make it easier to carry. :shock:

Get a pack designed to carry comfortably (even better MORE) then your intended weight. It'll be designed to handle the weight. Then don't over load it.

Good companies should provide a intended load weight for the packs they make. If it's not available online email the companies and ask.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
NicoZ said:
If the 10% rule has any value it's for some mythical average person.
THIS

Aim for 8 kilos or thereabouts, NOT including water (though you'll likely hit 10-12 + anyway) --- though it has to be said, the 10% rule DOES have a LOT more validity for children on the Camino.

Oh, and Beatrice ?

IGNORE the weight of your clothes, hat, shoes, etc. for determining your pack weight. Life is too short to worry about that sort of perfectionist rubbish.
 

wgr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
Whatever u think bout 10%rule doesn't really matter when u r here. What matters is how it feels on ur shoulders and back. I am on day 6 and i have such a different attitude towards items now than I did at home.
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
BeatriceKarjalainen said:
I'll not come as low as 10 % of my body weight, currently my list (what I will carry in my backpack) weights in about 8,8 kg with camera etc and 1,6 l water. Then I wear some clothes and shoes and will have some stuff in my skirt pocket and in the money belt.
In my opinion, the 10% rule is a goal but not an absolute. And it is 10% of your ideal body weight (for those of us with a 10kg mood swing), and includes only the items you will actually carry each day (not boots, clothes you are wearing, and trekking poles).

The problem with carrying too much weight is a greater risk of blisters, tendonitis, and general crankiness - all of which can be prevented. Bring what you need and want, and if it gives you trouble, discard or post ahead those items you discover you don't need. I recently carried my netbook for two weeks so I could work at the end of each day. I was very cranky most of the time, but it was a burden I'd chosen to carry, so no complaints.

Just be sure you enjoy the journey!
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
nreyn12 said:
BeatriceKarjalainen said:
I'll not come as low as 10 % of my body weight, currently my list (what I will carry in my backpack) weights in about 8,8 kg with camera etc and 1,6 l water. Then I wear some clothes and shoes and will have some stuff in my skirt pocket and in the money belt.
In my opinion, the 10% rule is a goal but not an absolute. And it is 10% of your ideal body weight (for those of us with a 10kg mood swing), and includes only the items you will actually carry each day (not boots, clothes you are wearing, and trekking poles).

The problem with carrying too much weight is a greater risk of blisters, tendonitis, and general crankiness - all of which can be prevented. Bring what you need and want, and if it gives you trouble, discard or post ahead those items you discover you don't need. I recently carried my netbook for two weeks so I could work at the end of each day. I was very cranky most of the time, but it was a burden I'd chosen to carry, so no complaints.

Just be sure you enjoy the journey!
I was more questioning this stupid rule that I see people answer as the truth when someone asks about how much to carry. I wonder how it became a rule. And when did the stuff you wear got included in the 10 %? I read a long thread in another forum where that was the fact. So stupid.

I'll try to carry as light as possible as always (I'm quite used to hiking in the Swedish mountains) but it is always good to have someone elses view on the packlist (someone who has been there) to see what I could leave at home or more important what have I forgot to put in my backpack. What will probably be added along the way.
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
BeatriceKarjalainen said:
it is always good to have someone elses view on the packlist (someone who has been there) to see what I could leave at home or more important what have I forgot to put in my backpack.
I'd be happy to look over your packing list, as I'm sure others on this forum would.

You could also take a look at my list: http://thecaminoexperience.com/whattobring.php

Who knows where the 10% 'rule' comes from, so use it only if it helps!
 

Doodles

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2013)
Portuguese (May 2014)
I kept my pack to around 10% and I did cut the handle down on my toothbrush but only because it fit in my Z-Lock bag better. The 10% thing is obviously just a guideline not a rule but some of us are more anal than others when it comes to guidelines. Why that gets some up in arms I'm not sure. :?

One of the big benefits I found to a light pack was the simplicity of it. There is just a lot less stuff to deal with when you go looking for something or even just packing up in the morning. Life was simpler and that added to the enjoyment of the trip. I don't think there was anything I wish I had brought and didn't, but there were a couple things I carried across Spain and never used. I think a 10% guideline helps keep the unused stuff to a minimum.
 

Rambler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
In Scouts there is a guideline for the boys to carry a pack for backpacking that is no more than 25% their body weight. This is often even harder than it is for a pelegrino, because boys tend to be thinner, but it also helps them realize they don't need to bring EVERYTHING. Remember though they are carrying tents, food and stoves, etc. so their percentage is higher.

I was militant about weight on our Camino, even going to the store with a scale to weigh pants! We carried Gatorade bottles instead of Nalgene because of their weight. I cut down our guidebook to only the pages we were using. I went with the Altus Atmospheric because it was lighter than a raincoat, rainpants and a pack cover. We even took an old set of clothes that we traveled in and left them at the first albuerge as a donation so as to not carry anything extra (my daughter kept her travel skirt, and said it was the best decision she made; gave her something "not hiking" to wear in town).

The 10% rule should drive a peregrino to reconsider everything they are bringing to determine if they really need it, or can something else be used that they are already carrying, or is there a lighter version that they can afford. A lighter pack will make your Camino more enjoyable. Plus, my opinion is that you can always get whatever you need on the Way...
:D
Rambler
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
nreyn12 said:
Who knows where the 10% 'rule' comes from, so use it only if it helps!
It has been traced to an early CSJ printed publication by one forum member, but the CSJ website as it is structured now is very circumspect about it, saying
Some people advise carrying no more than 10-15% of your own body weight
without identifying the 'some people' or providing a source of any kind.

BeatriceKarjalainen said:
And when did the stuff you wear got included in the 10 %? I read a long thread in another forum where that was the fact.
It would be a very disputable 'fact'. If you are using a From the Skin Out (FSO) approach, the general guidelines in The Complete Walker IV are to use a 20% target for comfortable trekking, and its authors recommend staying below 30%.
JabbaPapa said:
IGNORE the weight of your clothes, hat, shoes, etc. for determining your pack weight.
I prefer using an FSO target, so these are important considerations. My pack weight budget is my FSO 20 target (15kg at my ideal walking weight) less what I would expect to wear as a minimum (~3kg). This gives me a target of 12kg. Depending on how much food and water I want to carry, my pack and equipment target is around 8-10kg. Eight kg is a bit above the 10% guideline, while 10kg is well within the 15% at the upper end of the guideline.

My other observation about the 10% guideline is that it can only be right for very limited range of circumstances, which I think broadly equate to doing the Camino Frances in summer. If you want to take a better quality camera, tablet computer or have to carry a medical appliance like a CPAP machine or walk in early spring or late autumn, then be prepared for your pack to be a bit heavier. It will mean you slow down a little, but provided you don't try madly to keep up with the walkers with light packs, you will be okay.

Regards,
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
dougfitz said:
My other observation about the 10% guideline is that it can only be right for very limited range of circumstances, which I think broadly equate to doing the Camino Frances in summer. If you want to take a better quality camera, tablet computer or have to carry a medical appliance like a CPAP machine or walk in early spring or late autumn, then be prepared for your pack to be a bit heavier. It will mean you slow down a little, but provided you don't try madly to keep up with the walkers with light packs, you will be okay.

Regards,
I would say for a very limited range of people as well. If you weight 55-60 kg you will have a hard time to get everything you need and still be comfortable/secure/having fun with within that range. I can with a 20 FSO target carrying/wear 12 kg, on me (for a warm day) I have 1,6 kg including my mobile phone in my pocket and my moneybelt with passport, money and credit cards. My backpack then weights 7 kg without food and water. If I would leave "luxury" things as camera, guidebook, mobile and chargers/solar charger I could come down to a total of 6,2 kg if I drop some extra clothing, less stuff in first-aid kit, nothing to carry food in if needed I can come down to a total of 5,2 kg without food & water. So I can go from 8,6 to 5,2 but then I only have one change of clothes and a very slimmed down first-aid-kit, no electronics at all, no guidebook etc... Hmmmm.... I think I have to start deleting stuff, do I really need pants ;-)

Well I walk quite fast in the Swedish mountains with 11-12 kg on my back, keeping a average speed of 5-6 km/h when walking.
 

KWischow

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Finisterre
'd be happy to look over your packing list, as I'm sure others on this forum would.

You could also take a look at my list: http://thecaminoexperience.com/whattobring.php

Who knows where the 10% 'rule' comes from, so use it only if it helps!
This is an excellent resource! I am going on my first camino (Finisterre/Muxia) in a week and am trying to keep my pack to 10% before food and water and am wrestling with the idea of a fleece. With the temperatures being so high I don't want to take something I don't need but I understand the water is unpredictable.
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
I will translate my list from Swedish. I have it in Google Drive will post the link.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
BeatriceKarjalainen said:
Well I walk quite fast in the Swedish mountains with 11-12 kg on my back, keeping a average speed of 5-6 km/h when walking.
If you are already an experienced hiker, you might find you are more cautious in your packing. I bush walk regularly, and carry enough even on a day walk to make sure that I can survive a night in the open - emergency blanket, fleece gloves, neck band and beanie, first aid kit, knife, torch, whistle as well as a compass and map of the area I am walking in. The weight quickly adds up, and many of the items one needs to survive safely in the bush and mountains aren't as important on the Camino.

I found that I was able to remove (reluctantly) or adjust some of these things for the Camino.

Regards,
 

longwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
started in 2007 back 09 and 12 and 13
]
Regardless, the Camino teaches simplicity, and if someone has too much stuff, things can be posted home or to Santiago for reclaim at the end of the walk. Sometimes we can't know until we are there just what we will need and want.
Nancy[/quote]

Speaking about too much stuff.
The starting weight of my pac is about 7 kilos including water. On the first day of my first camino I lost my shorts, my only spare pair of pants. Over the next two weeks I lost other articles of clothing, at the rate of about one piece a day. I began to feel that if I had the time to walk all the way to Santiago, I'd have arrived there naked.
Longwalker
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
dougfitz said:
BeatriceKarjalainen said:
Well I walk quite fast in the Swedish mountains with 11-12 kg on my back, keeping a average speed of 5-6 km/h when walking.
If you are already an experienced hiker, you might find you are more cautious in your packing. I bush walk regularly, and carry enough even on a day walk to make sure that I can survive a night in the open - emergency blanket, fleece gloves, neck band and beanie, first aid kit, knife, torch, whistle as well as a compass and map of the area I am walking in. The weight quickly adds up, and many of the items one needs to survive safely in the bush and mountains aren't as important on the Camino.

I found that I was able to remove (reluctantly) or adjust some of these things for the Camino.

Regards,
Thanks, I know how it is and guess I have to go through my "security stuff" once more :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Having just returned from the Camino (aborted due to nerve damage) I can agree that a lighter pack is better; more easily hoisted onto your back and a lot more easily carried. The old adage about "less is more" is more true the longer you walk. I wish I had done more training and been "stronger" in packing less - doing without - as my pack ended up being 13 kg (or 15 kg by the time I added 2 litres of water) and my body weight was around 93 kg when I left home and I am 189 cm (or 6 ft 2 inches).

Since your feet carry you and have to be carefully looked after then an extra pair of socks might be better than a third T-shirt and a 4th pair of undies - 3 quick drying ones are more than enough. If you can do a trial - say on a week-end - and see how few changes of clothes you REALLY need - if its three or less then that it what you take on the Camino. Remember than pilgrims 200 years ago would (in most cases) had only the one set of clothes!

Thanks to all who have offered suggestions they do help! :wink:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia
Don't exceed 10% of your body weight if you can avoid it. There is a minimum amount of gear required, and it may exceed the guideline for the petit(e)s, who will have to accept it. More than 10% and you may regret it, or incur a huge postage cost to send it home (15 Euro for my sleeping bag once).

By the way, the uncomfortable ultralite backpacks are not particularly uncomfortable at 6kg. Over 10kg is when you will dislike them. So if your gear and pack are about 6-7kg, consider saving some weight with a lighter pack.

My equipment has been stripped of unnecessary items like labels, ice axe hooks, ladders for external gear, etc. It has permanently removed about a half pound of weight, so I don't have to cut my toothbrush in half.
But you shouls and cut the bristles. LOL
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia
Actually, I think the 10% rule is most important for newbies because they're the ones most likely to overpack a bunch of unneeded crap "just in case". Just look at some of the gear lists people post and you'll see what I'm talking about.

You seem to keep hinting (no matter what you actually state) that people are saying the 10% guideline isn't a guideline but a set-in-stone requirement. It's not, and I don't think people are. When people mention it, I think it's with the assumption that most of the people reading the suggestion have a brain capable of independent thought and making personal decisions that will ultimately effect the total weight of their pack but by providing the 10% guideline, they're giving said people a target to shoot for.
I concur for newbies is correct. My thought is walk around for many miles fore hand to see how it feels in all terrain . Im 6" 208lbs not in the best of shape but do a fair bit of hiking and biking and i smoke and drink [they go great together] And when i head into the wilderness ill take 35 to 40 lbs for many tough miles [food & water] and just pace it all out. Yes keep it free of things you do not absolutly need . Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
Someone somewhere arbitrarily came up with this guideline that one should strive to restrict the weight of their backpack to 10% of body weight.

One caveat: Postage rates can be expensive if you find yourself overburdened and need to post items home.
I'm not sure the 10% rule was arbitrary - but rather came together when many experienced pilgrims shared information.

Having walked the Camino several times now, I have seen many people begin with what they consider to be "the essentials" and after about 3 days, begin dumping equipment and clothing and sundries in the "Free Boxes" along The Way. In many cases, it's cheaper to replace an item than to post it home from Europe.

Eventually, their pack ends up weighing right around . . . 10% of their body weight.

Some kids just have to touch the stove.
I was one of them when I didn't listen to reason and decided to walk the VDLP in August.
Experienced pilgrims told me I was nuts to walk the VDLP in August.
But noooooooooo :p:p:p And it was seriously life-threatening. I was totally unprepared for the incredible heat that, like one pilgrim told me, "falls like a curtain" at 2 pm.

The 10% rule is a suggestion - that's all - and just like shoes or cotton underwear, or not crossing the Pyrenees in the snow, each person must decide (and learn) for themselves. If we sound passionate about our advice, it's because we've "been there, done that," but in the end, your are right… it's YOUR Camino!
 
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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Seriously!! Do they actually do that...
Not all; some will accept bribes. And experienced pilgrims know to load their underwear and socks with stones to temporarily increase their body weight. Eating a substantial lunch in several of StJdP excellent restaurants is also advisable.
 

Mark M

Member
Not all; some will accept bribes. And experienced pilgrims know to load their underwear and socks with stones to temporarily increase their body weight. Eating a substantial lunch in several of StJdP excellent restaurants is also advisable.
I can understand their rationale but...really!! Oh well. It's their country. Their rules. I guess some people

My back pack is nine kilo. I with ninety 88 kg, and and quite physically strong..but weight dropping as my walk continues.
 

Mark M

Member
Not all; some will accept bribes. And experienced pilgrims know to load their underwear and socks with stones to temporarily increase their body weight. Eating a substantial lunch in several of StJdP excellent restaurants is also advisable.
Your reply about the stones and food made me laugh out loud. :)
 

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