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Video: What's in my Pack? Let the debate begin ...

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Dave,

I’m spending lockdown with an electronic spring balance, spreadsheet and a craft-knife literally shaving grammes off my ‘skin-out’ weight. I’ve done some work on my ‘skin-in’ weight also!

I’m post some of my success stories when I get time.
Hopefully the work on the "skin-in" weight wasn't one with that same craft knife!:eek:
 
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Old Kiwi

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Great job!
I found this wonderful website, The Lighter Pack, where you can input the weight of all your individual items and then analyze what you’ve got and what needs to be pared down.
this is my list (although I never completely filled in all the weights!) for my Portuguese coastal Camino in 2019.

https://lighterpack.com/r/urk0wy
By gosh! your actual pack is heavy. mine is 800 grams for 20 litres and there are packs a lot lighter than that. I can never understand why people use a Camelback. First you have the weight of the camelback itself, and then it carries a lot more water than you need to get between watering spots. I carry a plastic 330ml soft drink bottle which I just keep filling up as I go. I have never run out of water. You are carrying an extra 2 kilograms just so that you don't have to fill up on the way. When you do fill on the way you get nice cold water. My pack weight including water is just under 5kg.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
By gosh! your actual pack is heavy. mine is 800 grams for 20 litres and there are packs a lot lighter than that. I can never understand why people use a Camelback. First you have the weight of the camelback itself, and then it carries a lot more water than you need to get between watering spots. I carry a plastic 330ml soft drink bottle which I just keep filling up as I go. I have never run out of water. You are carrying an extra 2 kilograms just so that you don't have to fill up on the way. When you do fill on the way you get nice cold water. My pack weight including water is just under 5kg.

That certainly is a small and light pack. Though gms/litre capacity it's similar.
I do explain that I like the airspeed back etc, which adds weight.

No I don't use a Camelbak. I use single use bottles and generally carry 1.5 litres or so.
On some Caminos though, it may be necessary to carry a lot more water, as there are no refill points.
Just watched Chris's awesome video on the VdlP. Link below.

He often carried 3 lites and 4 litres !
So I don't think we can be too specific.
Route, weather, personal needs etc.
I was interested to hear my rough water calc, is similar to Chris.

10 kms per litre. Though he adds a 3rd when over 20 kms.
And a 4th when over 25 kms.

Note though, that he was walking the VdlP in Summer!

Total pack weight is of course a trade off.
And a very personal thing.

As I mention on the video.
I could certainly shave off a kg (ish) with medical stuff, but sadly I need them.
And another kg with just using a liner, no spare pants, only 1 spare socks, and a few other items etc etc.
But I choose not to.

But well done on your pack weight!
Under 5 kg including water is very impressive and very light. :)
Though I think the link you shared might not be the one you intended to share, as it's 7.3 kg.
(40 litre pack)
Just looked again.
OK I get it. The 7.3 kg includes stuff you wear!

I'd be very interested to see the 20 litre version.

Interestly Chris's pack was 6.5 kg.
But I suspect part of that was a tripod and DSLR camera too.
So he was packing very light. It looks like a small pack.

Chris's video.
You need to have a spare 2 hours or so.
But it's really good.

 
Last edited:

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Dave,

I’m spending lockdown with an electronic spring balance, spreadsheet and a craft-knife literally shaving grammes off my ‘skin-out’ weight. I’ve done some work on my ‘skin-in’ weight also!

I’m post some of my success stories when I get time.

OK, no photos – but a few examples. I’m sorry if this turns into an essay!


First of all, many of the packing lists I see in most cases cannot be 100% complete. There are many little ‘it doesn’t weigh anything’ items which sneak into everyone’s pack and, combined, do add up. My packing list is skin out and has everything on it. Everything. Including my glasses. If you want to be ruthless about eliminating weight, be totally honest about what you’re carrying.


Secondly, it’s OK to make ‘camino lifestyle’ decisions. For example: I walk in Autumn through to Spring. It can be cold and is often wet. I walk in lightweight leather boots (could use trail runners); carry a 38l sack (fits my back perfectly, but 25l would do), carry full waterproofs (I’ve tried and choose not to use a poncho) and one decent change of clothes for the evening (Spaniards take you more seriously, and I prefer to feel respectable). I do not sleep in clothes I’m going to walk in. I could drop my pack weight of just under 9Kg by probably 2-3Kg by making different choices.

My approach is to make my core packing decisions, then aim to eliminate unnecessary weight. For example:

First aid kit. This only needs to be enough to get you to the next pharmacy, not equip a field hospital. In addition to personal medication, you only need enough for a bit of emergency wound cleaning, dressing, pain relief and foot care. Also don’t take anything you don’t know how to use.

Labels. Nothing needs a label. A single clothes label weights nothing, but 10 or 20 weigh something. Cut them out carefully.

Rucsack extras: crampon straps, haul loops, extra straps, straps which are longer than necessary; all can come off. If you use a rucksack liner (a rubble or trash-compactor bag), it need not be larger than the rucksack – trim off the excess. Stuffsack drawcords need only be long enough to allow the bag to fully open. Cut off the rest.

Electronics. My iPhone uses a ‘lightning’ cable; my small backup battery a micro USB. Don’t carry two leads (or if you do make one a very short one) – get a plug-in converter.

If you have a head torch, use lithium batteries. Half the weight and twice the life of standard batteries. You could go rechargeable if you want to take the chance.

Whilst some degree of organisation is important, do you really need bags within bags?

Make a list before you go and check it again on your return. I’ve been walking, camping and hiking all my life, I’ve been on camino many times and I’m an obsessive list-maker so I know what I use and don’t use. In my camino packing list there are only the following which I don’t expect to need: first aid kit, car key, one spare bootlace, large chocolate bar. Everything else will be used.
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
@henrythedog have you shared your List already? While i share your view, that a few added luxuries are totally acceptable, 9kg sounds a LOT to me.
As with my List from #58 i also like to carry a few comforts with me, likely less than you do, but even then, i think i could shave 0,5-1kg of that without running the risk of being seriously uncomfortable.
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
@henrythedog have you shared your List already? While i share your view, that a few added luxuries are totally acceptable, 9kg sounds a LOT to me.
As with my List from #58 i also like to carry a few comforts with me, likely less than you do, but even then, i think i could shave 0,5-1kg of that without running the risk of being seriously uncomfortable.
I’ll try to figure out how to put it on later - but it is comprehensive. I’ve even weighed €300 in €20 notes.

I see your rucksack is 500g, which is outstanding. My osprey Kestrel (also 38l) is a shade under 1500g, with all the ‘trimmings’ removed - but it’s bomb-proof and very comfortable.
 
Last edited:

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
I’ll try to figure out how to put it on later - but it is comprehensive. I’ve even weighed €300 in €20 notes.

I see your rucksack is 500g, which is outstanding. My osprey Kestrel (also 38l) is a shade under 1500g, with all the ‘trimmings’ removed - but it’s bomb-proof and very comfortable.
It has pros and cons. There is no frame. There is no ventilation on the back. It has one main compartment, and that is it. On the other side, it is very robust regarding its weight, practically waterproof, has every feature i want and then, it is very light. And it is expensive, so one should know what one wants. So definitely not for everyone. I would not want to carry 9kg over an extended period with it (some people do).
edit: i would even have taken a heavier pack if it would be more comfortable. But this was the one checking most of my boxes
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I am a little puzzled by how you could get 9 kg of stuff into 25 L, unless it included water on the sides. I carry less than 6 kg in a 31 L pack, and it would be hard (but not impossible) to squeeze into 25L. Do you have a sleeping bag?

The pack weighs 1485g, so contents are circa 7.5kg, including poles. Bag is a 500g PHD down sack. My venerable but much loved RAB alpine guide jacket weight 580g.

I'm about to print out Anhalter's excellent list and consider some investment - although a 'hand-made to order;' super-light rucksack may not make the cut!

It's worth repeating I'm not a summer walker and have passed through Foncebadon in a full-on blizzard twice so far, so my gear is probably more heavy duty than most. Also I'm not built like a racing-snake, men's XL clothing weighs considerably more than women's M
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I'm not a summer walker... , men's XL clothing weighs considerably more than women's M
I am not a summer walker either. I was not questioning/criticizing the weight that you carry. I was just wondering how you might squeeze the volume into a 25L pack, because I wouldn't be able to do that comfortably. The weight of your jacket and the pack itself partly explains it.
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I am not a summer walker either. I was not questioning/criticizing the weight that you carry. I was just wondering how you might squeeze the volume into a 25L pack, because I wouldn't be able to do that comfortably. The weight of your jacket and the pack itself partly explains it.
Sorry - I misunderstood. The 9Kg includes my typical walking outfit. Excluded from the 9 is only a ‘best case’ shorts and merino base layer outfit. On an average walking day when I’ve got the jacket and trousers on and I’m carrying my poles my pack weight would be about 7kg. My 38l Kestrel appears about 2/3 full at most so I’m guessing that a 25(ish) litre sack would suffice.

but ...

The Kestrel fits me like a glove with a structured frame and excellent hip-belt, so I’m hesitant to downsize the sack even though I recognise it’s verging on mad to carry a 7kg load of which 1.5Kg is the means by which it’s carried.

On my first Camino I was preceded (thankfully upwind) by ‘the man who smells like a goat’ who carried his daily needs in a plastic Aldi carrier bag, so I’m mindful that the solution need not be too technical.

Inspired by Anhalter’s list I’m about to dust off the old credit card and invest a kilo away like magic.

Regards



D
 
Last edited:

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Inspired by Anhalter’s list I’m about to dust off the old credit card and invest a kilo away like magic.

before you invest, i'll be gladly be a "sparring partner" in a discussion. Most items i use have an upside and a downside. If you get to specifics, lets talk about that before spending money first :)
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
before you invest, i'll be gladly be a "sparring partner" in a discussion. Most items i use have an upside and a downside. If you get to specifics, lets talk about that before spending money first :)
Thanks. I’ll do it by direct message in the next few days rather than divert this thread.
 

Old Kiwi

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
This is my list. I usually walk mid June to end of July.

Camino EquipmentWeight
Pack
800​
Pairs walking shorts (2)
300​
Pr good shorts
150​
Marino T shirts (2)
160​
Marino long sleeved T shirt
90​
L/S Shirt
200​
Long trousers
400​
Marino sox (3 pair)
125​
Underpants (3 pair)
140​
Poncho (2) Light plastic
100​
Thin, unlined, nylon jacket
200​
Hat
90​
Sandals
520​
Handkerchiefs (2)
25​
Silk sleeping bag liner
120​
Pillow case
60​
Toothbrush, tooth cup, comb
192​
Towel
158​
Flannel
25​
Gloves
38​
Soap
80​
Knife, spork
50​
Clothesline & Safety Pins
20​
4 Cable ties
3​
4 Small alloy Carabinas
10​
Sink plug
15​
Torch
20​
Pen, pencil, notepads
126​
First aid kit
150​
Needle and thread
10​
Toilet roll
30​
Tablets and doctors letter
60​
Security belt
100​
Pilgrim's Passport
7​
Passport, Insurance docs, Air tickets
40​
Travel money card
2​
Euros and sterling
8​
Guide book
240​
Water bottle & water
350​
5214​

My walking shoes are not on the list and I am usually wearing about half a kilo of what is on the list.
The tablets are for my heart.
The first aid kit is a 50g tube of antiseptic cream, a 50g tube of antibiotic cream, a couple of plasters and a small piece of lamb's wool.
I got the approximate weight of each item by weighing them on the kitchen scales so they are not accurate but the total weight was ascertained by putting the full pack on some very accurate scales.
You will note that there is no electrical equipment, phone or camera. I have thousands of photos that I have taken on previous Caminos, most of which do not see the light of day. I do not need ant more. If my daughter comes with me (she usually does) then she takes photos.
I do not carry food. I get breakfast at the first (or second, or third) bar, whichever is about 2 hours from the start of the day (6am). For lunch I get some fruit anytime from mid-day onwards. Evening meal in the town where I stay for the night. I am not fussy about when I eat and have gone from 6am to 2pm with no food when it was not available, without a problem. I travel from New Zealand to Spain (and back) in the long trousers and long sleeve shirt and I either wear the long pants or good shorts with the shirt when I eat in restaurants.
My pack is all packed except for the water and sitting in the bottom of the wardrobe just waiting for Covid to decide that it has had enough and we can all get back on the Camino.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
OK, no photos – but a few examples. I’m sorry if this turns into an essay!


First of all, many of the packing lists I see in most cases cannot be 100% complete. There are many little ‘it doesn’t weigh anything’ items which sneak into everyone’s pack and, combined, do add up. My packing list is skin out and has everything on it. Everything. Including my glasses. If you want to be ruthless about eliminating weight, be totally honest about what you’re carrying.


Secondly, it’s OK to make ‘camino lifestyle’ decisions. For example: I walk in Autumn through to Spring. It can be cold and is often wet. I walk in lightweight leather boots (could use trail runners); carry a 38l sack (fits my back perfectly, but 25l would do), carry full waterproofs (I’ve tried and choose not to use a poncho) and one decent change of clothes for the evening (Spaniards take you more seriously, and I prefer to feel respectable). I do not sleep in clothes I’m going to walk in. I could drop my pack weight of just under 9Kg by probably 2-3Kg by making different choices.

My approach is to make my core packing decisions, then aim to eliminate unnecessary weight. For example:

First aid kit. This only needs to be enough to get you to the next pharmacy, not equip a field hospital. In addition to personal medication, you only need enough for a bit of emergency wound cleaning, dressing, pain relief and foot care. Also don’t take anything you don’t know how to use.

Labels. Nothing needs a label. A single clothes label weights nothing, but 10 or 20 weigh something. Cut them out carefully.

Rucsack extras: crampon straps, haul loops, extra straps, straps which are longer than necessary; all can come off. If you use a rucksack liner (a rubble or trash-compactor bag), it need not be larger than the rucksack – trim off the excess. Stuffsack drawcords need only be long enough to allow the bag to fully open. Cut off the rest.

Electronics. My iPhone uses a ‘lightning’ cable; my small backup battery a micro USB. Don’t carry two leads (or if you do make one a very short one) – get a plug-in converter.

If you have a head torch, use lithium batteries. Half the weight and twice the life of standard batteries. You could go rechargeable if you want to take the chance.

Whilst some degree of organisation is important, do you really need bags within bags?

Make a list before you go and check it again on your return. I’ve been walking, camping and hiking all my life, I’ve been on camino many times and I’m an obsessive list-maker so I know what I use and don’t use. In my camino packing list there are only the following which I don’t expect to need: first aid kit, car key, one spare bootlace, large chocolate bar. Everything else will be used.

Great perspective @henrythedog

Most of us could I'm sure make our packs lighter, but it's trade off.
What are we 'prepared' to carry, for the benefit of carrying it. And it might just be a comfort factor.

To me the key is 'awareness'

Be aware, and honest with yourself, about what you are packing and why.
I'm still challenging my packing choices, and I suspect there are a few items that will get removed.


As an example, in my business we do performance benchmarking of certain aspects of a business.
It's really about the processes and costs involved, not time and motion stuff!
Our report includes a section called the 'Size of The Prize'.

This section highlights and quantifies all the cost and service benefits of doing things a bit differently.
The client can then 'choose' what they want to change going forward.
All we are doing is highlighting the opportunity.


For my Pack.
I recognise that that 'size of the prize' could be a 4kg pack weight.
I could manage with that amount of gear.
But do I just want to just 'manage'........on my Camino.

It's all a very personal choice isn't it? :)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Make one out of very light silk (scarf fabric). It would probably be lighter than anything you can buy. Remember that the pillows in Spain tend to be long and narrow.

Compared to what? :oops:
I only ever found regular shaped pillows in Spain. I think ....

OK, the great pillow debate may commence :eek:

Our 'regular' pillows at home seem to be about 15" x 24"
Standard size in all shops.

But regular elsewhere seems to vary bit.........

R7a04625ce1b4b0c850671311a61673e4.jpg
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I only ever found regular shaped pillows in Spain. I think ....

OK, the great pillow debate may commence :eek:
Search "pillow shape" to get started. Some people claim that there is no standard shape in Spain. However, I recall a lot that were long (e.g. 1 m) and narrow (maybe 30 cm wide).

I take a silk scarf about 18" x 48", that weighs only 28 g. I can unwrap it from my neck after dinner, and wrap it around whatever size pillow I have (if I don't like the cover provided).
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Search "pillow shape" to get started. Some people claim that there is no standard shape in Spain. However, I recall a lot that were long (e.g. 1 m) and narrow (maybe 30 cm wide).

I take a silk scarf about 18" x 48", that weighs only 28 g. I can unwrap it from my neck after dinner, and wrap it around whatever size pillow I have (if I don't like the cover provided).

Ah, we have those at home.
Bolsters.
Not for putting your head on though.

Used more to throw your legs over.
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
i would go with 40x80cm, but i guess, the pillows in albergues are more toward 40x60.
However: You already carry a drysack. You carry stuff thats soft and in your drysack at night. Why not just make a cover for that?
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I didn't mind those long, sausage style pillows in the albergues even though my pillowcase from home didn't cover the end. What I did find amusing about them was that although they are able to fit three heads at a time on them...the beds only fit one set of shoulders.🙂
 

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