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The elusive light weight Camino

#1
Hello and thank you all for posting on this website - it's wonderful!

I am planning to walk the Camino this July and I am so excited! But I, like everybody else, am worried about the weight I will be carrying. Folks frequently recommend that you carry no more than 10% of your body weight, which sounds great except that I am under five foot and only weigh 94 lbs. So I am limiting myself to 10 lbs. I have packed and repacked, but cannot get the weight under 12 lbs. I really need help determining what is essential and what is not, or perhaps I can afford a couple of extra pounds?! I know that every ounce counts and I want to be comfortable, but it just seems like some of the items people list as having had on the trip are beyond luxury for me. This is literally the entire contents of my pack at 12 lbs, assuming that I will be wearing one set of the clothes (sports bra, undies, shorts, socks, and a tank top);
1 liter of water
1 pair of running shorts, 1 long sleeved shirt, 1 pair of soccer pants
1 comb
1 rain jacket, 1 pack cover, 1 fleece
1 pair of undies, 1 sports bra, 1 pair of socks
1 camera, 1 pen light
1 50 degree sleeping bag
1 pair of flip flop sandals
1 light camping towel
1 deodorant, 1 toothbrush, 1/2 a tube of toothpaste
a few hair ties, thread and needle, chapstick, and some personal feminine items.

It seems impossible to cut down any more weight - especially 2 lbs! But I've never walked, and I'm sure everybody feels like it is impossible to lose more.

These are items others have packed that I would like to be able to take;
1 T-shirt
1 bug spray
1 sunblock
1 hat
1 floss (because I am crazy about my teeth)
1 razor
1 knife
soap/shampoo/whatever to wash myself and my clothes

If anyone could please give me their opinion that would be wonderful! I would like to know specifically what I could lose from my pack, and what essential items I am missing (e.g. a knife and sunblock).

Thanks for all your input!
 
#2
Hola - 12 pounds is 5.4 kilos and your list includes 1 litre of water. I think that is a fantastic achievement. the 10% guide is just that - a guide - if you are comfortable with the weight and you have tried out walking with full kit I'd advise you to relax and go for it. You can dispose of any extraenous stuff as you go along but it looks like you have the minimum to me.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
#3
You are a diddly-little thing, aren't you!
One thing you could change is the sleeping bag. In July you could manage with a silk sleep liner that weighs under 200g - about 7oz.
Make sure your shampoo, soap etc are small - hotel size will do. You can top-up as you go.
I took an all-in-one moisturerizer/sunblock and a small sunscreen stick to rub on my face and hands while walking.
What does your pack weigh empty? With such a light load you don't need a heavy duty pack with inner frame, wide padded hip belt etc. My pack weighs just under 600g empty and around 5kg when I get on the plane. With food and water it goes up to around 6kg.
If you have bought shirts that are on the long side, cut a few inches off the bottom. (Hey - every ounce counts!)
I even cut the labels out of my clothing - not so much for the weight but so that they don't scratch whilst I'm walking.
Good luck!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#4
The 10%-of-body-weight guide is not useful. If you are from a cold climate, your winter clothes probably weigh more than your pack does now! You may have a purse or brief case that weighs that much. In general you are looking for a weight before water and daily meal supplies, so you are well below anything that could be considered heavy. Up to about 7 kg you probably will not even notice as you carry it, particularly if you have a pack that is good at putting the weight on the belt and not your shoulders.
 

Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
#5
I agree with Sillydoll--lose the sleeping bag and carry a sleep liner/bag. You will probably lose 1.5 pounds right there and in the summer, you do not need a sleeping bag. You cannot go without a hat or some head covering so put that back in. The sun is blazing and you need to protect not only the top of your head but to give your eyes some relief from the glare. You will also need sunblock--take a travel size or plan to purchase in Spain. Sunburn can be very painful and you will dread the following days.

I took Liggetts bar shampoo rather than a liquid--a tad lighter and a bar of soap for body/clothes. But you have done extremely well with your pack weight. How does it feel to you? As others have said, the 10% is a guideline not a hard and fast rule. No one is weighing you and your pack to see if you conform. What makes all the difference is how it feels to you. There are some elements you simply cannot leave behind: like a simple first aid "baggie", a hat, and sunscreen. Most of the items on your "like to take" list are light and if you dropped the sleeping bag, you'd be wise to think about including some of them.
 

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
#6
We only managed a few days walking this year, my first, and I kept my packing down to about 5k plus water in a very small pack with a Pod-sac attached. I don't like the tall packs - they are not comfy for me. Circumstances meant I finished up carrying nearer 7kg but it was fine as the pack felt right. Terry has tried carrying it and says it is awful, really uncomfortable, he prefers his bigger pack. This is just to say that it isn't just weight but a really good fit to the pack that matters. Mine is an Airflow type so I don't get too hot and sweaty (hardly a problem this May!!!!!!!!!) with hip strap etc by Berghaus
Buen Camino
Tia Valeria
 
#7
Thank you all so much for your help! I do think that the 12 lbs feels comfortable, and when I took out the water and the sleeping bag (which I do think I will switch to a liner) I was well under my goal weight - even with all of the other things I wanted to take. You truly are experts. Wish me well on my Camino!
 
#9
mcsharm, you read my mind! I had the same questions and I just joined this site to reply to this link! I am taking my first Camino in Sept. and am so excited that I'm already packed! I too, have questions about my pack wt. and what's essential. Your post answered some questions for me, thanks! I have one more (for now). Is a rain parka/pack cover essential for a Sept. Camino? I found a nice sturdier one, but it's still 8.5 ounces and every ounce counts!

Danette
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
#10
I did three long hikes - including two caminos - with a small, red, blue, green and yellow school stachel. I loved all the little pockets with zips on the sides and back! I had to add foam padding to the shoulder straps because they were fairly hard and a waist belt, which I hardly used. When it perished and I couldn't mend it anymore I invested in a proper backpack.
I tried on dozens and ended up with a 36L inner frame, wide padded hip belt, Karrimor pack that weighed 1.5kg empty. Big mistake!! When I tried it on it felt comfortable but, when it was fullypacked, it proved to be too long for my torso and bounced on my backside! When I tightened the waistbelt to lift it I ended up with bruised hips and a bursitis. A pilgrim suggested I tighten the sternum strap and the shoulder straps but I had to then put foam pads under those straps because my shoulders ached. I also got a rash from the wretched thing.
Many people suggest that weight is'nt important but for me, being a smallish person, weight is the most important thing. It doesn't matter if you have the best pack on the planet, if it weighs too much you still have to carry that weight - whether it is on your shoulders, distributed on your hips or on your head! A too heavy pack gives me a back ache, tired legs, aching calves, sore ankles and crampy feet.
 

vjpulver

Crazy Chicken Lady with the Camino on my Mind!
Camino(s) past & future
Apr-Jun 2009 - I solo walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I hope to return as a hospitalera in 2016.
#11
My Camino experience reminded me that we are never alone in this world. We are always part of a grand stream of humanity and we can support one another in so many ways.

We can walk the Camino with joy and with a light pack. There will be times when, no matter how well you pack, you will wish you had brought some item you left behind. This is when we are reminded of our humanity, our need for other people, and the wisdom of sharing and caring and gratitude that that is how the world works. We can help one another by sharing what we have, knowing full well that a time will come when others will share of their abundance with us. I guess this is what faith is about...faith and trust are not logical are they?

You cannot pack for every contingency, so do not fret over your choices, but do not feel you must take so much stuff. It is OK to do with out at times, or to be uncomfortable or even a little afraid. Maybe part of the adventure is in finding out your own strengths and weaknesses...or learning to trust in others as well.

So, as you contemplate your trip (and your packing), know that you will have what you need or will find what you need and maybe in an unexpected way. (What you WANT, well, that is a different story and I am not telling that tale.) The Camino is not a wilderness. There are stores and people and options. There are wonderful pharmacies and strangers eager to become samaritans and friends. This walk is an opportunity to be more open and friendly with the world.

So pack light, pack happy, and move forward with a sense of adventure and a sence of joy and gratitude. You may be humbled (it is likely) on this pilgrimage, but in my opionon, it is a blessing (and frankly, there is no way to avoid it!)

"Ginn"
Waxing Philosophical in Sunny Santa Fe
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
#12
I would make sure you have a foot care kit. Not a first aid kit, but a foot care kit. Include moleskin, duct tape and second skin or Compeed, needle/thread (I never did this, but I saw other pilgrims use the thread as a wick). Also include some gauze (2X2s are perfect) and a roll of 1" tape, preferably something that isn't going to cause more friction. My first aid kit was more geared towards cuts and scrapes and not feet, and I ended up spending money and time in the pharmacies along the way.

Sunblock is also essential. I used a small bottle of 50SPF stuff I picked up at REI and it worked like a charm. I would also bring a hat, too. You will need soap and laundry soap (I like the all in one stuff from REI that cleans you and your clothes).

Another thing I had which I liked was a Buff. When it was hot out, I would soak it in water and hang it around my neck to keep cool. When it was cold out, or raining, I would wrap it around my head/neck to keep me warm.

I think your list looks good. Light is good! Your body and your feet will thank you!
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
#14
http://www.buffwear.com

If you have watched Survivor ever, then you should know what a Buff is! I think that show is what really made them popular. I've known about them for a while. I use mine for all kinds of things. It has many uses on the Camino, but I primarily used it to keep the wind and rain out of my face and on the days it was sunny, to keep me cool.

Good luck!
 

+@^^

Active Member
#15
interestingly, the original Buff is a company established in Igualada, a small city 60km from Barcelona, right there in Spain.
in 1992 Buff created the first multi-functional, seamless, tubular headgear
so, no need to buy one at home - wait till you get to Spain
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
#16
I would add the hat (don't count it as in your pack, because it is always on your head... You don't count the weight of the set of clothes you will be wearing)

I don't bother with deoderant. Afterall, many (most) pilgrims shower and wash clothes daily.

I use a "universal" soap called "Camp Suds" and use it for hair, body, shaving, and clothes washing. Just a drop is enough. Available in outdoor stores.

In 3 caminos, all I have used from my first aid kit are the bandages and antiseptic cream for blisters.

Can't remember if I saw a towel on your list. Outdoor shops carry light weight, fast drying towels in various sizes. I get by with one that is the size of a large teatowel.

You are in the zone or target weight of a light weight pack, so relax and have a good camino.

David, Victoria, Canada
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#17
HI, here is my multiply refined list after 3 Caminos over the summer months, May to September. The only change is that I now use an Aarn Liquid Agility pack, 26 litres plus 6 litres in front pouches plus space for two 500 mls water bottles. I have also bought an Altus poncho/raincoat. I am totally excited as this feels like I just wear a vest not a pack in the way the weight is distributed and I have my gear down to 5 kg including water. Regards, Gitti
 

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#19
Thanks Gitti for the advice on the muslin instead of a towel. I had a small tea towel sized chamois type towel that got very smelly after a few weeks in spite of repeated washing. Will ditch that for my next camino in october. have just ordered online - sight unseen (OMG) a 900gm backpack. it was on sale so hoping for the best . my last one weighed 1.6kg so i'm keen to get the weight down. only $90 australian dollars so not a big outlay if it turns out to be lemon! i enjoyed your packing list. :)
 
#20
Love my new backpack. it weighs only 9oogms and has a larger capacity than my last one. Will have to be careful not to add extra weight beacuse there is extra room!
It is a Black Wolf Pinnacle rucksack hiking backpack 40l. Love it!! :D
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
#21
Hello and thank you all for posting on this website - it's wonderful!

I am planning to walk the Camino this July and I am so excited! But I, like everybody else, am worried about the weight I will be carrying. Folks frequently recommend that you carry no more than 10% of your body weight, which sounds great except that I am under five foot and only weigh 94 lbs. So I am limiting myself to 10 lbs. I have packed and repacked, but cannot get the weight under 12 lbs. I really need help determining what is essential and what is not, or perhaps I can afford a couple of extra pounds?! I know that every ounce counts and I want to be comfortable, but it just seems like some of the items people list as having had on the trip are beyond luxury for me. This is literally the entire contents of my pack at 12 lbs, assuming that I will be wearing one set of the clothes (sports bra, undies, shorts, socks, and a tank top);
1 liter of water
1 pair of running shorts, 1 long sleeved shirt, 1 pair of soccer pants
1 comb
1 rain jacket, 1 pack cover, 1 fleece
1 pair of undies, 1 sports bra, 1 pair of socks
1 camera, 1 pen light
1 50 degree sleeping bag
1 pair of flip flop sandals
1 light camping towel
1 deodorant, 1 toothbrush, 1/2 a tube of toothpaste
a few hair ties, thread and needle, chapstick, and some personal feminine items.

It seems impossible to cut down any more weight - especially 2 lbs! But I've never walked, and I'm sure everybody feels like it is impossible to lose more.

These are items others have packed that I would like to be able to take;
1 T-shirt
1 bug spray
1 sunblock
1 hat
1 floss (because I am crazy about my teeth)
1 razor
1 knife
soap/shampoo/whatever to wash myself and my clothes

If anyone could please give me their opinion that would be wonderful! I would like to know specifically what I could lose from my pack, and what essential items I am missing (e.g. a knife and sunblock).

Thanks for all your input!
I really think you should add the hat and extra underwear and socks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances {2016}, Portugese {2017}
#23
I can get super nerdy about this...so here is some stuff that cut off a few hundred grams:
Cut off all labels
Card version of a knife (or just blade from a razor)
long sleeve shirts so only sunscreen needed for face
made toothpaste dots
no sewing kit, but 1m of duct tape around my pen
only needed 500ml water on the CF. carried more on the CP
drilled holes in my toothbrush and cut it shorter
solid soap/shampoo with ´dye´ conditioner

Good luck!
 
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
#24
Drink the litre of water in the morning, this will increase your body weight by 1kg increasing your "allowance" by 100g then just carry 500ml of water refilling as necessary. Drinking plenty of water will reduce fatigue just as efficiently as reducing the weight in your pack.
 

Sam - AU

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2018
#26
I completely agree with previous comments. Don't get hung up on the 10% rule, I did pre my first camino and then had to let it go. If you don't weigh much the 10% rule will barely cover the basics. My advice write a list of the essential equipment bits, do a good amount of research as to how light you can get those so you have an understanding as to what is too heavy, then pack around those as everything else is minimal weight. Second time around I will just pack the 30g of face exfoliant instead of getting completely hung up on it. Regardless of how much or how little you take some days you will feel every gram and other days you won't feel your pack at all. Alot of it is in having a good quality pack and knowing how to wear and adjust the pack straps properly (and do this daily as you lose weight on the trail). I remember seeing people on the trail with packs without hip belts and being horrified, the hip belt is the saviour! (taking most of the weight off your back and shoulders)
 

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