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To those who brought a tent: How do I keep the total weight down?

Pelikan

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Dear all,

as I intent to bring a tent I would be very grateful if you could share some of your tips on how to keep the total weight down or even your own packing list.

Currently I am about to minimize everything but some help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Bring less than you need...

No that's not it.

Carry as little as possible and what you do bring, make sure it's lightweight. There is a community of people obsessed with lightweight items but I'm just using the term to mean keep the weight of individual items down.

Pros of lightweight: lighter
Cons: more expensive. Not as durable.

A down sleeping bag might weigh half of a synthetic equivalent you bought on ebay but cost 5x the price.

The advice really doesn't change just because you're throwing a tent into the mix. The tent also needs to be light.

Heavy stuff = heavier backpack to carry the stuff = more weight

Depending on the camino you choose you might not need to carry water or food. There's 2kg+ saved. Also the time of the year you might get away with a 2 season sleeping bag instead of 3 or 4 season.. maybe no need for a jacket either. Maybe trail runners instead of waterproof boots.

If you're going the Napoleon pass in winter for example you'll likely need at least a hat and a pair of gloves 😆 (joking btw)
 
You will probably get plenty of comments to not bring a tent - but I am presuming you have a good reason. Just be aware there are legal issues with wild camping in Spain.

I have lightweight tent- but switched out some of the pegs for lighter options. You will need something warmer to sleep in than inside - but cost/weight plays here- as above! Sleeping mats do vary - but as I camp at other times I invested in something more comfortable than a foam mat - but a decent foam mat is fine and not too heavy. But the easiest way to save weight is no cooking gear, but that limits food choices. I took a cheap alcohol stove and small pot and a small plastic tub (plate/leftovers). I also switched out my water bottles to re-use plastic ones eg from orange juice.

Of course you could forget the tent and go with a basic tarp set up or a bivy but those don't suit everyone.

Truthfully it depends on season, route and even the reason you are planning to camp.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

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I bring the same things I bring when not walking with a tent.

The only thing that is added is the tent.

I'm a cold sleeper so I always carry a warm sleeping bag, anyway. And I like to take naps during the day, so I always bring my sleeping mat.

I don't really do packing lists, so can't give the weight of every item. But it's roughly this:

- Backpack (65l Osprey)
- tent (1,5kg which is heavy, but I love that tent so I haven't replaced it with a lighter one yet)
- down sleeping bag (recycled down), very warm even in freezing temperatures, 1-1,2kg or so?
- shortened z-lite mat
- toiletries (small bamboo tooth brush, tiny tube of concentrated toothpaste, small microfiber towel, 1/2 shampoo bar, comb). All wrapped into the towel and put into a ziploc bag.
- clothes depending on season, in a rectangle stuff sack, can be used as a pillow at night
- cup, opinel, spork
- poncho/raincoat
- flip flops
- hat
- first aid kit
- water bottle(s)
- snacks
- flash light
- guide book
- personal items like phone, wallet (in a small extra bag I wear across the shoulder).

No cooking gear. Many albergues have kitchens, so I cook when I stay in albergues (or albergue gardens). Otherwise cold food or I go to a bar just like the other pilgrims.

I'm not an ultralight enthusiast. So I prefer saving weight in the clothes and toiletries department by bringing just less. Would be easy to save more weight if I'd replace things with lighter versions, but so far I didn't see the need to. Pack weight is irrelevant for me as long as it feels good while walking.

My overall pack weight is usually ~10kg incl. water and snacks. But it depends on season, need to carry more water ect.

So. Short summary - same as without tent. Just with tent. Quite simple.
 
It is a problem. Even a lightweight tent has weight but also, one is then into comfortable sleeping mat, possibly a better sleeping bag, a lamp for the evenings ... then the temptation to make your own hot drinks, so stove etc ...

Maybe a way forward - work out by trial and error the maximum weight you are happy carrying over long distances and many days and then work out your packing list with tent from that?

Another possible answer is to take a dog with you and fit it with panniers or attach it to a cart? (A goat would do). 😂:eek:;)

OIP.jpeg
 
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It is a problem. Even a lightweight tent has weight but also, one is then into comfortable sleeping mat, possibly a better sleeping bag, a lamp for the evenings ... then the temptation to make your own hot drinks, so stove etc ...

Maybe a way forward - work out by trial and error the maximum weight you are happy carrying over long distances and many days and then work out your packing list with tent from that?

Another possible answer is to take a dog with you and fit it with panniers or attach it to a cart? (A goat would do).

View attachment 169541
I love the idea with the dog - especially such a sweet one 😍
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
I bring the same things I bring when not walking with a tent.

The only thing that is added is the tent.

I'm a cold sleeper so I always carry a warm sleeping bag, anyway. And I like to take naps during the day, so I always bring my sleeping mat.

I don't really do packing lists, so can't give the weight of every item. But it's roughly this:

- Backpack (65l Osprey)
- tent (1,5kg which is heavy, but I love that tent so I haven't replaced it with a lighter one yet)
- down sleeping bag (recycled down), very warm even in freezing temperatures, 1-1,2kg or so?
- shortened z-lite mat
- toiletries (small bamboo tooth brush, tiny tube of concentrated toothpaste, small microfiber towel, 1/2 shampoo bar, comb). All wrapped into the towel and put into a ziploc bag.
- clothes depending on season, in a rectangle stuff sack, can be used as a pillow at night
- cup, opinel, spork
- poncho/raincoat
- flip flops
- hat
- first aid kit
- water bottle(s)
- snacks
- flash light
- guide book
- personal items like phone, wallet (in a small extra bag I wear across the shoulder).

No cooking gear. Many albergues have kitchens, so I cook when I stay in albergues (or albergue gardens). Otherwise cold food or I go to a bar just like the other pilgrims.

I'm not an ultralight enthusiast. So I prefer saving weight in the clothes and toiletries department by bringing just less. Would be easy to save more weight if I'd replace things with lighter versions, but so far I didn't see the need to. Pack weight is irrelevant for me as long as it feels good while walking.

My overall pack weight is usually ~10kg incl. water and snacks. But it depends on season, need to carry more water ect.

So. Short summary - same as without tent. Just with tent. Quite simple.
Afer reading your post I jumped immediately on my z-lite mat to see if I could shorten it... unfortunately I seem to be too tall 🤣🤣🤣

I still have to unpack/lighten some stuff to reach a total weight of approx 10 kg
 
Dear all,

as I intent to bring a tent I would be very grateful if you could share some of your tips on how to keep the total weight down or even your own packing list.

Currently I am about to minimize everything but some help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
I would not bring a tent and opt to stay ion Albergues. You will enjoy most of it by meeting so many different people on the way
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
I would not bring a tent and opt to stay ion Albergues. You will enjoy most of it by meeting so many different people on the way
Thank you for answer.

I will try to combine both and stay in albergues as well as sometimes in my tent and hope to combine the advantages of both as well. 🙏
 
It is a problem. Even a lightweight tent has weight but also, one is then into comfortable sleeping mat, possibly a better sleeping bag, a lamp for the evenings ... then the temptation to make your own hot drinks, so stove etc ...

Maybe a way forward - work out by trial and error the maximum weight you are happy carrying over long distances and many days and then work out your packing list with tent from that?

Another possible answer is to take a dog with you and fit it with panniers or attach it to a cart? (A goat would do).

View attachment 169541
And let the dog walk long distances 😏 poor animal !
 

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I added even more comfort items to my pack this year, bringing it up to about 4kg. If i was to add my tent (~700g), a sleeping mat ( ~400g) and a warmer sleeping bag (add ~400g) and maybe a few hundred gramms of utensils for camping that would still put me well below the 6kg mark. Add 500g for a sturdier backpack to comfortably carry this weight. Add 1kg for someone not wanting to buy expensive ultralight stuff. So 7,5kg. 8kg maybe tops. Looks manageable. 12kg seems excessive to me.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I usually hover between 10-12kg with a tent depending on the weather. That includes food/snacks. I see no point in toting cooking gear when cold food works just fine.
 
I carry a tarp, poncho/groundsheet, air mattress, lightweight sleeping bag and silk liner. No idea of the weight, but it's low. It works in all seasons. I'm thinking of adding a lightweight bivibag. Those nights outside are wonderful, but usually the lure of the albergues, the company, the hot water, wins out. But I like to know that I can camp when I want to, and sometimes there's no choice, and then it's really worth it.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
I have seen quite a few tenters but most of them had dogs - so I guess that makes it easier to guarantee a bed each night as most refugios don't allow them but there would probably have been others that I didn't see or notice, they would have just looked like large rucksack carrying pilgrims?

Re carrying a tent in general .. type etc .. what does one really need? Want? One can go truly expensive ultra-light or one of those festival single-skin domes that are ridiculously cheap, quite light - or, well many armies just use a personal bivvy bag - not a tent at all really, just a waterproof sleeping bag overbag.

I once suggested that a dome tent could be a good way to go as it is free standing without pegging so unless there is storm wind could be put up in the simplest way - also on hard standing so possibly at a refugio one could ask if one could put it up on a cement forecourt or verandah?

Re light and cheap, we have Eurohike in the UK, they sell quite good kit - their Eurohike Toco 2 Dome Tent with Sewn in Groundsheet is free standing, 1500mm head, weighs 1.5kgs and sells for £25 - produced really for the festival camping market but it is a waterproof dome tent!

I would be interested to know which type of shelter tenting pilgrims took, and what weight they were and what extras had they to bring to camp and what the total weight was.
 
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Dear all,

as I intent to bring a tent I would be very grateful if you could share some of your tips on how to keep the total weight down or even your own packing list.

Currently I am about to minimize everything but some help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
this is also my plan this year because I am doing some less travelled caminos in france and sometimes there is just a campsite. my tactic was re-evaluating everything and really thinking about what I REALLY need.

I bought a tent I could afford (naturehike star river 2p) which is by no means the lightest, but it has enough room for me and my gear and for me to not feel like it's squeezing me in or collapsing on me. (it will be my first time sleeping in a tent in like three decades so I am a bit wary.) it is free-standing and was easy to set up when I unpacked it. I am leaving at home two pegs (can be replacedby rocks). it comes with a mat which I am also bringing.

I bought a closed-foam mat and shortened it (cause I am small and really don't need 195cm). this way it was lighter and I don't need to struggle with air mattress every evening. I can add space sheet beneath for extra warmth, if necessary.

I am using my long-term friend down sleeping bag which goes down to about 10°C. I added a silk sleeping sheet for extra warmth (cause I already have it).

I invested in a water filter and won't be carrying a water bladder as usually, just a 0.5l water bottle and a 0.33l water bottle, plus an empty water bag for dirty water provided by sawyer. I can reach the bottles comfortably from the new-style side backpack pockets with an opening towards the front of my osprey eja (though I am not too thrilled about the backpack itself, unfortunately). I have sawyer mini so I replaced the syringe with a sports cap.

I also invested in a mini hiking/travelling bidet which can be attached to a water bottle so I don't need to carry moist toilet paper and disposable bags which weighted quite a lot for their size and usability. I am training with it before I go.

I trimmed down my clothing to what I wear when walking (hat, small silk scarf, t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, sleeveless fleece, sleeves which are chopped of legs of kid's tights, long pants, socks, hiking shoes with extra insoles), what I am sleeping in (I cannot bring myself to sleep in the same clothes I am walking in: merino t-shirt, light fleece, thermos tights, warm socks), down jacket, wind jacket and a little bit extra (shorts, two extra pairs of socks, extra panties, boxers which double as swim shorts, mini top which doubles as swim bra, buff). flip flops.

small towel and toiletires and women's stuff. first aid kit. small plastic spoon and mini knife (french kitchens are all equipped). rain pelerine (not poncho, doesn't go over the sleeping mat on the outside of my pack). mini packable daypack. chargers.

fanny pack with phone, documents etc. camera.

after consideration, I will be taking walking poles.

I think that's it. I can weight stuff again to give you an idea of my weight. it is about 9,5kg incl. 0.8l of water and about 300g of snacks.

I am training with all the gear too! I have never done this so purposefully before but am very glad I am doing it, as I can figure out how to best pack stuff.

have you seen this resource of camino frances with camping possibilites? I did it last year for an aquaintance who wished to go on the camino with a tent for budget reasons. I really tried to find all available public spots that could be used for camping for one night, eg. rest areas and picnic areas, often with water, within 1km of the camino.
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I added even more comfort items to my pack this year, bringing it up to about 4kg. If i was to add my tent (~700g), a sleeping mat ( ~400g) and a warmer sleeping bag (add ~400g) and maybe a few hundred gramms of utensils for camping that would still put me well below the 6kg mark. Add 500g for a sturdier backpack to comfortably carry this weight. Add 1kg for someone not wanting to buy expensive ultralight stuff. So 7,5kg. 8kg maybe tops. Looks manageable. 12kg seems excessive to me.
But you probably use expensive, specialized ultralight gear, I'd guess?

I get down to 10 (8 in summer when I know weather will be very good) with water and snacks with a very heavy backpack and a 1,5kg tent. And that weight also includes one can of emergency beer 😂. Good enough for me.

12kg is definitely on the heavier side, but I wouldn't say excessive. I'm a smallish female and can carry 12kg without it being too much discomfort. Carried more than that and still enjoyed the walk.
 
My tent is 1800 g 😊
... the tricky thing is the backpack, I think, it's 3100g 🫣 and I know I should exchange it... but it is the one I have and I will try to manage 🤞
Now, please don't shoot me ✌️
I fully understand your desire to walk with what you have, especially if you are also trying to save money. But goodness me, both the tent and especially the rucksack seem to be incredibly heavy! If you cannot buy (eg second hand) could you not perhaps borrow something that is comfortable but lighter?
 
But you probably use expensive, specialized ultralight gear, I'd guess?
@Anhalter has posted his packing list here on the forum and certainly some of it is most definitely 'expensive specialised ultralight Gear', but I was surprised to note that clothing for example is quite often just run of the mill Decathlon.

Some major weight-saving areas are for example his pack, sleeping bag and jacket - both incredibly light and super expensive!

However in other respects I very much admire the list and have certainly learnt from it.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
But you probably use expensive, specialized ultralight gear, I'd guess?

Some major weight-saving areas are for example his pack, sleeping bag and jacket - both incredibly light and super expensive!
I tried to adjust for this with my "additions". Instead of my sub-500g pack, i calculated a 1kg pack (and you can get one of those for a more reasonable price), instead of my 240g sleeping bag i calculated a 640g one... and so on. Maybe not everything 100% correct, but i'd bet one can get around my stated weights without breaking the bank.
(and you can always take less comfort stuff that is already included in my current packing list...)
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
@Anhalter has posted his packing list here on the forum and certainly some of it is most definitely 'expensive specialised ultralight Gear', but I was surprised to note that clothing for example is quite often just run of the mill Decathlon.

Some major weight-saving areas are for example his pack, sleeping bag and jacket - both incredibly light and super expensive!

However in other respects I very much admire the list and have certainly learnt from it.

My clothes are already lightweight, and I carry very few clothes to begin with (some of it is Decathlon - I agree that they have lightweight, good quality for not much money). Sleeping bag is 1kg+ but for the warmth it offers, probably light (and it was very expensive!).

With a different tent (-700/g or so should be possible), different sleeping bag or quilt (-500g or so), and different backpack (I don't even know what my giant Osprey monster weighs, probably -1kg would be achievable) I guess it would be easy to get weight down much more.

But most lighter tents are single wall (which I don't like) or need hiking poles to set them up (doesn't work with my wooden stick).

Most lighter sleeping bags are not warm enough for me (I've tried, and I know why I still bring that -8-9°C comfort rated down sleeping bag).

My backpack is a heavy monster, but so comfortable even with heavy loads that I wouldn't exchange it for anything else even if you'd pay me.

So, I guess the point I wanted to make is, it's not always necessary to have the most lightweight pack possible. It just has to feel good.

For some people, a 10kg pack or even more is still comfortable to wear, and they might prefer it for a reason.

Others need or prefer a very lightweight pack, and will be happy to buy new stuff to achieve a lower pack weight.

I prefer using stuff I have, at least until it's broken and needs replacement, or maybe if it truly doesn't work for me. Buying something that is slightly less heavy, even if it's not expensive, just to reduce the weight of my already comfortable pack, seems unnecessary to me.

But as I said, I'm certainly no ultralight enthusiast. Maybe that will change when I'm older and can't carry anymore what I carry now.
 
, I guess the point I wanted to make is, it's not always necessary to have the most lightweight pack possible. It just has to feel good.
I couldn't agree more!
prefer using stuff I have, at least until it's broken and needs replacement, or maybe if it truly doesn't work for me. Buying something that is slightly less heavy, even if it's not expensive, just to reduce the weight of my already comfortable pack, seems unnecessary to me.
Ditto. My pack is new, but I wear my clothing until it wears out and then I wear it for the garden. Until it's practically falling off me.
It used to drive my wife nuts. I'll still never forget the day my favorite pullover mysteriously disappeared..... . It was only about 25% holes, it still had plenty of wear left!
 
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On our first Camino my wife, daughter and I carried two ultralight tents from Hendaye to Gijon. We were ardent Alaska backpackers. We saw few nice campsites. Some very crowded campgrounds. If an albergue was completo we learned that a credit card was MUCH LIGHTER than those tents and mailed them and some other extra stuff back to the US for a reasonable fee and stayed in a pension. Buen Camino
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
My tent is 1800 g 😊
... the tricky thing is the backpack, I think, it's 3100g 🫣 and I know I should exchange it... but it is the one I have and I will try to manage 🤞
Now, please don't shoot me ✌️
Pelikan, you will need a sleep mat under a sleeping bag if you tent, so if these amounted to (say) 1.1kg then that is 6kg so far.
Can you assemble one set of spare clothes, rain gear, toothbrush etc under or equal to 5kg?
 
Pelikan, you will need a sleep mat under a sleeping bag if you tent, so if these amounted to (say) 1.1kg then that is 6kg so far.
Can you assemble one set of spare clothes, rain gear, toothbrush etc under or equal to 5kg?
I am positive that I will manage to do so. The nearer the date, the more I "throw out things" 🤣🤣🤣🤣
 
It's a long drawn out series of buying and trying. Overall it's likely to cost more than if you paid out for all the expensive kit, first time, in one go. But it's not something you see at the start, but realise when you see a shed full of redundant kit.

I'd say that if you had to replace all your kit during a walk at a reasonable price for what is available, you would get a weight of approx. 25 lbs. To go into a wilderness for a week, more like 35 lbs.

At 25 lbs you can find a backpack to carry the load. But for 35 I use a fully framed pack. It adds to the weight but leaves you feeling good during and after the walk.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I am positive that I will manage to do so. The nearer the date, the more I "throw out things" 🤣🤣🤣🤣
OK then, with 1 litre of water your pack will be 12kg.
This is certainly doable. I did that (but I carried too much) and it was "less enjoyable" than if I had under 10kg and under 8 kg would have been better.
Usual advice applies - start slow and steady, with conservative daily distances, finish strong and quick, enjoying the walk and the stops.
Have a good one!
 
I would really invest in a lighter backpack, even standard models weigh under 2 kgs so that is a big gain straight away. As for total weight, 15kgs is doable - last year we walked a 1000 km through trail in Western Australia averaging 19 kms a day. My pack weighed 14 to 16 kgs, and I am not a young man.
 
Dear all,

as I intent to bring a tent I would be very grateful if you could share some of your tips on how to keep the total weight down or even your own packing list.

Currently I am about to minimize everything but some help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Do you know you cannot camp in Spain except in commercial campgrounds? Leave your tent and stay in albergues.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Dear all,

as I intent to bring a tent I would be very grateful if you could share some of your tips on how to keep the total weight down or even your own packing list.

Currently I am about to minimize everything but some help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
I use a tarp tent which is held up by my hiking poles or if you have trees you can use a guy ropes to make the ridge and weights 245g.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Do you know you cannot camp in Spain except in commercial campgrounds? Leave your tent and stay in albergues.

Even if you do not wild camp, there are ~ 20 official campsites on the Francés or within reachable distance from it.

They're reasonably priced (~ same as albergues) and offer hot showers, sometimes a restaurant/ bar on site or even a good swimming pool! What's wrong with using them?

Plus the albergues who will allow to pitch a tent if you ask politely and pay a fee for use of shower ect..

Between St. Jean and Santiago, that means it is possible to spend ~1/2 of the nights (or more!) sleeping in the tent without breaking any law (during camping season, of course, not in winter when most campsites are closed).

So, what's wrong with bringing a tent if someone likes to sleep outside from time to time?

Some pilgrims prefer to ship a suitcase each day to hotels, and a few others are happy to carry a tent and use it when it's possible. Both are valid options, just like staying in albergues.
 
Dear all,

as I intent to bring a tent I would be very grateful if you could share some of your tips on how to keep the total weight down or even your own packing list.

Currently I am about to minimize everything but some help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Don't carry tent pegs, use what you can find around your camp site, i.e. sticks.
 

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