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What Does 'Light' or Ultra-Light Mean

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The Forum has not adopted an official Weight Terminology Definition Index as it applies to backpack weight. I can understand why. It is not vital, but labels like 'ultralight' or 'lightweight' are sometimes used in postings.

Perhaps it could be useful for some if there was a definition given for some weight-related terminology; to know what someone means when calling something 'light' or 'ultralight'. Such a standard currently exists elsewhere, but outside of the United States and North America backpacking and climbing community I have no idea if the same thing exists in Europe or the rest of the globe.

The need for an agreed-to set of objective definitions was said to have started for the purpose of settling the early onset of Alpha Male, Richard-measuring blather. Yup. nothing more needful than that. Not only would heated debate ensue about which backpack FELT lighter (no scales), but would then get sidetracked by the frenzied, "Nuh-uh! Ultralight means 12 pounds. Where did you come up with the silly notion that ultralight is 11 pounds?"

Standardizing weight categories became vital.. . well, useful. . .ok, perhaps just inevitable. As it turned out, however, it became a useful tool for other backpack, pre-trip functions.

Relative to any one, single item of gear or clothing, like trekking poles or ponchos or titanium sporks, there is no standard by which to define something as light or ultralight or heavy.. None. Nada.

To be certain, there are differences in weight if you look and compare the weight specifications of one titanium spork against another. So all that can be reasonably said about individual items, like trekking poles, backpacks, or hydration bladders, is that one item is either lighter or heavier than the other. Or what their stated weight is. Telling me that a rain jacket is ultra-light leaves me thinking, "Based on what?"

Note: Manufacturers will use terms like "ultra light" as marketing fodder. They want you to look at their stuff first. There is no "Official Agency of Ultra-lightness" that sanctions or defines these product label declarations. A manufacturer can legally call their 5o Kg sleeping bag 'ultralight', and do so with a straight face if they want to.

Given the amount and type of backpacking I do, I will look for the lightest piece of gear or clothing among those with the same functionality and usability and general quality. Usability is in the eye of the beholder. Some folks want zippers, others don't. Pockets, padding, rain resistance. . . the list of what is usable to a person is infinite. Well, it seems that way sometimes.

How are the 'weight' terms used? They are used to describe the combined weight of stuff in a backpack. Place everything inside your backpack and weigh the whole kabab. Once you have that figure written down, you can check and see how that weight is defined. If you want. Some folks only use the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index as a gauge for what works.

With the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, you cram everything that you need and think you need and want to need into a backpack. Then, using your "Backpack Hydraulic Space Making Ram", compress everything down into a tight brick to make more space. Then add kitchen sinks, rice cookers, bowie knives, electric hair clippers, ukuleles, portable hair salons, a set of crescent wrenches.. . whatever you think you might start longing for. . Just In Case.

Then, put on the backpack. (cue up the motel room, off-to-the PCT scene from 'Wild'). If you are stuck to the floor, slither out of the backpack and toss out a few things. Then wash, rinse, repeat until you are able to at least stand. If you are still in pain, toss a bit more out. Keep at it until you say to yourself, "The feeling is coming back to my shoulders and hips, and my fingers don't look so blue. I think this will work".

Before I list the definitions about weight, it will help to learn a few other terms first.
.
Base Weight. This is the total weight of your entire gear load, including the backpack. It does not include consumables like food, water, and stove fuel. Consumables are not included because the amount varies based on how much you need to take, as well as being used up or eaten up.

Total Weight: This is your Base Weight + Consumables.

Full Skin Out (FSO) Weight: This is Base Weight + Consumables + Clothes you wear, dust that is sticking to you, dandruff flakes that didn't get washed out, last night's dinner, candy wrappers in your pocket, bedbugs in your hat, long hair past your collar. . .

I find FSO to be, well, tediously OCD. FSO does not translate into a meaningful thing because clothes do not mechanically impact the body core, balance, or the carry issues like a backpack's weight. Besides, clothing is constantly removed, added on, getting soaked with sweat or rain, gathering food stains, etc.

Of all the definitions above, Base Weight is the most valuable in helping you to figure out HOW to determine the gear and clothing choices available to lighten your load.

Finally, the weight is over. Here it is:

Stupid-Light (my adopted and derisive term): A base weight number that is lighter than Super-Ultralight.
This is a weight point that would require huge compromises to safety in exchange for lower weight. Backpackers that do this type of weight-culling can end up hurt or dead. And they have. In my mind, they are obliviots and don't get the fact that 'Luck' is not a real piece of gear.

Super-Ultralight (or Hyper-Light): A base weight under 5 pounds/.2.27 Kg.
I've seen it done, and I have put together a 'backpack' as a challenge, but have not used it. While there is little, to no margin for Oops type stuff to occur, it isn't quite as problematic as Stupid-Light.. At this weight, you are giving up comfort levels, while relying on knowledge and experience to compensate for a lack of stuff.

Ultra-Light: a base weight less than 10 pounds/4.5 Kg
There will be a some losses of comfort, and EVERYTING is a multitasker, like a titanium mug is your cooking pot, your measuring cup, your drinking cup, your scooping container to gather water that is in an awkward location, your backup water sterilizer if your filter dies. Using a plastic and lightweight tarp for a tent ( 1/2 ounce), a thinner, closed-cell, hip-length pad for a mattress. A sleeping quilt that is rated for a bit higher temperature than you might run into, so your clothing IS part of your sleep system. and on and on.

Lightweight: a base weight under 20 pounds/ 9 Kg.

Regular Weight: a base weight starting at 30 pounds / 13.6 Kg.
Today, heavy camera and video gear, along with gimbles and sticks and tripods and power banks and drones, etc. carried by semi-pro, content providers is one of the big reasons for tipping the scale toward this weight category. Then there are gear and clothing choices for Winter, high altitudes, hot and arid environments, etc. which will also become factors.

Semi-Related Thoughts:
Keep in mind that the above definitions are for wilderness backpackers on multi-day to multi-month hiking trips. The types and quantities of gear and clothing need to cover far more variables for the wilderness backpacker than for a Camino hiker in terms of temperature ranges, isolation, and total self-reliance.

Five decades ago as an almost 14 year-old on my first solo, multi-day backpacking trip, the base weight while using my dad's old 1960's era Army rucksack, tipped the scales at 54 pounds/24.5 Kg. Hipbelt? What is a hipbelt? By comparison today, for that same length for a multiday backpacking trip, my base weight will be about 13 pounds. Amazingly, this is just how far the technologies in materials and manufacturing have evolved.

For a Camino, the base weight of my backpack is around 8 to 10 pounds, depending on the season. Not having to include a tent or stove or air mattress or the other pieces of gear one needs in the wilderness makes it easy for experienced backpackers to hit this weight level.

Budget considerations for those choosing to purchase new stuff:
For many, all they want is for a piece of gear or clothing to make it just as far as Santiago de Compostela. If that is the case, then long term durability to last over many years and many thousand of kilometers is not needed. Quality only needs to complete the pilgrimage and to function properly along the way. This translates into a significant savings for gear and clothing costs. Plus, it is very possible to find clothing and gear light enough that it will make you happy.

But Wait, There's More. . .

At some point in the first 24 hours of walking, no matter which Weight Definition your backpack matches, you may decide that the pack is still too heavy and start pulling out stuff and leaving it behind like some kind of Camino version of Hansel and Gretel's bread crumb trail.

It is not inevitable that frantic gear dumping will occur. All I can say is that the ratio of gear dumping is likely proportional to where your backpack resides on the Weight Definition Scale.

At the Stupid-Light level, if you run into an unexpected sub-zero ice storm on the Col de Lepoeder your worries about backpack weight no longer exist. Just sayin'.

At the other end of the spectrum with The Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, the decision to dump stuff at the alburgue donation spot may be so bountiful that the hospitaleros decide to open a thrift shop.

"Ounces equal Pounds, and Pounds Equal Pain." Translate it into metric if you must, but it just didn't sound as kewl.
 
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malingerer

samarkand
Year of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
The Forum has not adopted an official Weight Terminology Definition Index as it applies to backpack weight. I can understand why. It is not vital, but labels like 'ultralight' or 'lightweight' are sometimes used in postings.

Perhaps it could be useful for some if there was a definition given for some weight-related terminology; to know what someone means when calling something 'light' or 'ultralight'. Such a standard currently exists elsewhere, but outside of the United States and North America backpacking and climbing community I have no idea if the same thing exists in Europe or the rest of the globe.

The need for an agreed-to set of objective definitions was said to have started for the purpose of settling the early onset of Alpha Male, Richard-measuring blather. Yup. nothing more needful than that. Not only would heated debate ensue about which backpack FELT lighter (no scales), but would then get sidetracked by the frenzied, "Nuh-uh! Ultralight means 12 pounds. Where did you come up with the silly notion that ultralight is 11 pounds?"

Standardizing weight categories became vital.. . well, useful. . .ok, perhaps just inevitable. As it turned out, however, it became a useful tool for other backpack, pre-trip functions.

Relative to any one, single item of gear or clothing, like trekking poles or ponchos or titanium sporks, there is no standard by which to define something as light or ultralight or heavy.. None. Nada.

To be certain, there are differences in weight if you look and compare the weight specifications of one titanium spork against another. So all that can be reasonably said about individual items, like trekking poles, backpacks, or hydration bladders, is that one item is either lighter or heavier than the other. Or what their stated weight is. Telling me that a rain jacket is ultra-light leaves me thinking, "Based on what?"

Note: Manufacturers will use terms like "ultra light" as marketing fodder. They want you to look at their stuff first. There is no "Official Agency of Ultra-lightness" that sanctions or defines these product label declarations. A manufacturer can legally call their 5o Kg sleeping bag 'ultralight', and do so with a straight face if they want to.

Given the amount and type of backpacking I do, I will look for the lightest piece of gear or clothing among those with the same functionality and usability and general quality. Usability is in the eye of the beholder. Some folks want zippers, others don't. Pockets, padding, rain resistance. . . the list of what is usable to a person is infinite. Well, it seems that way sometimes.

How are the 'weight' terms used? They are used to describe the combined weight of stuff in a backpack. Place everything inside your backpack and weigh the whole kabab. Once you have that figure written down, you can check and see how that weight is defined. If you want. Some folks only use the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index as a gauge for what works.

With the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, you cram everything that you need and think you need and want to need into a backpack. Then, using your "Backpack Hydraulic Space Making Ram", compress everything down into a tight brick to make more space. Then add kitchen sinks, rice cookers, bowie knives, electric hair clippers, ukuleles, portable hair salons, a set of crescent wrenches.. . whatever you think you might start longing for. . Just In Case.

Then, put on the backpack. (cue up the motel room, off-to-the PCT scene from 'Wild'). If you are stuck to the floor, slither out of the backpack and toss out a few things. Then wash, rinse, repeat until you are able to at least stand. If you are still in pain, toss a bit more out. Keep at it until you say to yourself, "The feeling is coming back to my shoulders and hips, and my fingers don't look so blue. I think this will work".

Before I list the definitions about weight, it will help to learn a few other terms first.
.
Base Weight. This is the total weight of your entire gear load, including the backpack. It does not include consumables like food, water, and stove fuel. Consumables are not included because the amount varies based on how much you need to take, as well as being used up or eaten up.

Total Weight: This is your Base Weight + Consumables.

Full Skin Out (FSO) Weight: This is Base Weight + Consumables + Clothes you wear, dust that is sticking to you, dandruff flakes that didn't get washed out, last night's dinner, candy wrappers in your pocket, bedbugs in your hat, long hair past your collar. . .

I find FSO to be, well, tediously OCD. FSO does not translate into a meaningful thing because clothes do not mechanically impact the body core, balance, or the carry issues like a backpack's weight. Besides, clothing is constantly removed, added on, getting soaked with sweat or rain, gathering food stains, etc.

Of all the definitions above, Base Weight is the most valuable in helping you to figure out HOW to determine the gear and clothing choices available to lighten your load.

Finally, the weight is over. Here it is:

Stupid-Light (my adopted and derisive term): A base weight number that is lighter than Super-Ultralight.
This is a weight point that would require huge compromises to safety in exchange for lower weight. Backpackers that do this type of weight-culling can end up hurt or dead. And they have. In my mind, they are obliviots and don't get the fact that 'Luck' is not a real piece of gear.

Super-Ultralight (or Hyper-Light): A base weight under 5 pounds/.2.27 Kg.
I've seen it done, and I have put together a 'backpack' as a challenge, but have not used it. While there is little, to no margin for Oops type stuff to occur, it isn't quite as problematic as Stupid-Light.. At this weight, you are giving up comfort levels, while relying on knowledge and experience to compensate for a lack of stuff.

Ultra-Light: a base weight less than 10 pounds/4.5 Kg
There will be a some losses of comfort, and EVERYTING is a multitasker, like a titanium mug is your cooking pot, your measuring cup, your drinking cup, your scooping container to gather water that is in an awkward location, your backup water sterilizer if your filter dies. Using a plastic and lightweight tarp for a tent ( 1/2 ounce), a thinner, closed-cell, hip-length pad for a mattress. A sleeping quilt that is rated for a bit higher temperature than you might run into, so your clothing IS part of your sleep system. and on and on.

Lightweight: a base weight under 20 pounds/ 9 Kg.

Regular Weight: a base weight starting at 30 pounds / 13.6 Kg.
Today, heavy camera and video gear, along with gimbles and sticks and tripods and power banks and drones, etc. carried by semi-pro, content providers is one of the big reasons for tipping the scale toward this weight category. Then there are gear and clothing choices for Winter, high altitudes, hot and arid environments, etc. which will also become factors.

Semi-Related Thoughts:
Keep in mind that the above definitions are for wilderness backpackers on multi-day to multi-month hiking trips. The types and quantities of gear and clothing need to cover far more variables for the wilderness backpacker than for a Camino hiker in terms of temperature ranges, isolation, and total self-reliance.

Five decades ago as an almost 14 year-old on my first solo, multi-day backpacking trip, the base weight while using my dad's old 1960's era Army rucksack, tipped the scales at 54 pounds/24.5 Kg. Hipbelt? What is a hipbelt? By comparison today, for that same length for a multiday backpacking trip, my base weight will be about 13 pounds. Amazingly, this is just how far the technologies in materials and manufacturing have evolved.

For a Camino, the base weight of my backpack is around 8 to 10 pounds, depending on the season. Not having to include a tent or stove or air mattress or the other pieces of gear one needs in the wilderness makes it easy for experienced backpackers to hit this weight level.

Budget considerations for those choosing to purchase new stuff:
For many, all they want is for a piece of gear or clothing to make it just as far as Santiago de Compostela. If that is the case, then long term durability to last over many years and many thousand of kilometers is not needed. Quality only needs to complete the pilgrimage and to function properly along the way. This translates into a significant savings for gear and clothing costs. Plus, it is very possible to find clothing and gear light enough that it will make you happy.

But Wait, There's More. . .

At some point in the first 24 hours of walking, no matter which Weight Definition your backpack matches, you may decide that the pack is still too heavy and start pulling out stuff and leaving it behind like some kind of Camino version of Hansel and Gretel's bread crumb trail.

It is not inevitable that frantic gear dumping will occur. All I can say is that the ratio of gear dumping is likely proportional to where your backpack resides on the Weight Definition Scale.

At the Stupid-Light level, if you run into an unexpected sub-zero ice storm on the Col de Lepoeder your worries about backpack weight no longer exist. Just sayin'.

At the other end of the spectrum with The Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, the decision to dump stuff at the alburgue donation spot may be so bountiful that the hospitaleros decide to open a thrift shop.

"Ounces equal Pounds, and Pounds Equal Pain." Translate it into metric if you must, but it just didn't sound as kewl.
wonderful stuff! and not before time either. Even at 83 and with a fair amount of experience under my belt, I have got myself confused as to who means what when talking lightweight! I regard a lot of claims to be the pilgrim's equivalent of "go-fast" stripes on cars!

Buen camino and best wishes :)

Samarkand.
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Very nice post Dave! Thanks for that.
It is sometimes hard to remember, that most folks will likely never have heard about ultralight (in terms of hiking) when they decide to set for a camino. At least, that was the case when I did... Luckily google pointed me to the right forum before i went into my local sporting goods store :)

I feel, we need to talk a bit about the definition of the singular items. I agree absolutely, that there is no "definite metric" for when an item is ultralight or is not. But i think, there are ranges, of when an item can be considered "ultralight".
Take jackets. There are those waxed, cotton jackets that one could use as a rain jacket, and theres synthetic shell jackets weighing in at a fraction. Theres the good old army surplus sleeping bag, and the extremely light down sleeping bag. And so on.
Of course, and i agree here, it is hard to come up with general numbers for each item. But one possible definition of an ultralight item could be " Item with a minimal weight compared to it's used/needed features".... or something along that thought.
(example: my skiing/snoboarding backpack is significantly heavier than my hiking backpacks. But it's alright, cause it needs the abrasion resistance and thus has to be of a sturdier build)
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Davebugg,

Thank you for these definitions/explainations.
Your following statement re Luck, especially, should be memorized by all.

"Stupid-Light (my adopted and derisive term): A base weight number that is lighter than Super-Ultralight.
This is a weight point that would require huge compromises to safety in exchange for lower weight. Backpackers that do this type of weight-culling can end up hurt or dead. And they have. In my mind, they are obliviots and don't get the fact that 'Luck' is not a real piece of gear"
 
Last edited:
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Sirage

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
Often the English language is more useful and accurate if adjectives and adverbs are not used.
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances April / May 19
"......Perhaps it could be useful for some if there was a definition given for some weight-related terminology; to know what someone means when calling something 'light' or 'ultralight'. Such a standard currently exists elsewhere, but outside of the United States and North America backpacking and climbing community I have no idea if the same thing exists in Europe or the rest of the globe......"


I have seen lightweight defined on some Australian walking sites as under 10kg, with ultralight under 5kg. 'Stupid Light' is also a term used occasionally, usually in concert with 'unprepared' or 'should not be allowed out without a leash' when discussing the latest wilderness misadeventure to make the news.
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
With the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, you cram everything that you need and think you need and want to need into a backpack. Then, using your "Backpack Hydraulic Space Making Ram", compress everything down into a tight brick to make more space. Then add kitchen sinks, rice cookers, bowie knives, electric hair clippers, ukuleles, portable hair salons, a set of crescent wrenches.. . whatever you think you might start longing for. . Just In Case.
Or just buy it all here.

'Luck' is not a real piece of gear.
Luck is a superpower.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
There are many backpacking websites that use the words ‘ultralight’ and ‘ultra-lite’ when describing backpacks. But to qualify as an ultra-light backpack, I only consider packs that weigh 1 kg or 2.2 lbs and under because I don’t think of anything over 1 kg or 2.2 lbs as being ultra-light!
New generation backpacks are made of ultra-lightweight, rip-stop fabrics (like the Gossamer Gear Murmer) and have features like foam backing for comfort and rigidity, hip belts that can be stuffed with socks or towels, and are stripped of extraneous extras like ice-pole hooks, ski fittings, etc.
Some people say that weight doesn’t matter – that comfort is the most important thing and that if you have a pack with a good, strong padded waist belt that takes all the weight on your hips you’ll be fine. That is okay for big, strong people who can carry heavy weights on their hips. It makes a huge difference if you are a small person, 5’3” or 160 cm tall, and weigh around 55 kg or 121 lbs. That person will find it difficult to carry heavy weights on hips or back. Some people have back problems or other reasons why they can’t carry heavy packs and this makes the weight of the pack itself an important factor.
The pack I have used on many pilgrimage trails, long and short, is the 32lt OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) pack that weighs about 600g when empty. My husband uses a Mariposa that weighs 280g empty.
 

El Cascayal

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
@davebugg, pondering all your wisdom makes me think before my next Camino I should humbly make a Pilgrimage to your place.
My description: 5.4 and 1/2 (yes, ☺️ To me it counts) 129 lbs give or take a couple of slices of pan Gallego. 67 years old. Scoliosis, need a left shoulder replacement and osteoarthritis so I have to think hard when I clip or tie anything to get it done.
My dilemma: had my pack fitted, Osprey Manta 34L, carried the bare essentials, nothing more, less than 11 pounds including pack and 1/2 litter of water. Made adjustments on the go as needed. At day 2, horrible neck and left shoulder pain, munching aspirins like others munch trail mix. Was dying and sent my pack ahead to salvage my mini early this June Sanabres Ourense to Santiago. Any advice? Help me Dave!!!!
Aymarah
 
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Jo Jo

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
Candidly, I'd change the weight parameters for the Camino. Those weight definitions are typical for backpacking in the U.S. Where we have to carry tents, stoves, and much heavier sleeping bags to deal with cold mountain weather. The Caminio is not backpacking.

I can (and do) carry things like my Native American double flute, a half pound camera, and an extra pair of shoes and still keep my Camino pack baseweight below 10 pounds. My wife's Camino baseweight is under 5 pounds without really trying. And frankly, I cannot begin to imagine what all I would have to be carrying to get past 20 pounds baseweight and hence the "lightweight" category (karaoke machine?). Although I just returned from the Primitivo and swear I saw people with 30+ pound packs (I was too frightened to ask what they had in them).

For me, I'd probably put Super-Ultralight as up to 2kg; Ultralight up to 4kg; Light up to 6kg; and everything else is just too heavy for me to contemplate. Others are different and I respect that. Those with heavy packs on the Primitivo would always say something like "I don't really feel it." And that may be true. But they had knee or foot problems and you could just tell that there bodies were definitely feeling it, whether they were conscious of the damage or not.

Feel free to walk your own Camino and ignore my opinions,
Jo Jo
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
@Jo Jo I do agree, that one should take into account the differences. With my ~3,5kg packing List, i still have multiple sets of clothing and don't really have cut out anything that might provide comfort when needed.
Personally, i don't have the urge to go lighter. I might cut another 1kg out of it, but then, i might regret not having a buttoned shirt to wear when i feel like it :)
I guess, at some point the benefit from leaving something at home might not be worth the savings in weight. But thats likely what those guys on the Primitivo where saying as well ;-)
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, July '14 & Sep-Oct '16
Via di Francesco, July '15,
CP Oct. '17, Salvador & Primitivo Sep '19
But thats likely what those guys on the Primitivo where saying as well ;-)
No, they were saying that they "needed" it. They did not realize it was a choice. One of the spiritual lessons I learned on my very first Camino was exactly how little I actually needed. That lesson allowed me to get rid of enough stuff to move into a Manhattan apartment. I suspect that the mochila transport services are depriving many pilgrims of that lesson. Well, the universe will eventually teach that lesson even if the Camino doesn't.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
There are many backpacking websites that use the words ‘ultralight’ and ‘ultra-lite’ when describing backpacks. But to qualify as an ultra-light backpack, I only consider packs that weigh 1 kg or 2.2 lbs and under because I don’t think of anything over 1 kg or 2.2 lbs as being ultra-light!
I wouldn't even call a backpack that weighs 1 kg ultralight, but simply light.
No, when I think ultralight I think of a backpack that weighs less than half a kg, like this 248gm/8.7 oz backpack from Zpacks.


Gossamer Gear has categorized their backpacks as Ultralight, Superlight, and Hyperlight!
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
There are many backpacking websites that use the words ‘ultralight’ and ‘ultra-lite’ when describing backpacks. But to qualify as an ultra-light backpack, I only consider packs that weigh 1 kg or 2.2 lbs and under because I don’t think of anything over 1 kg or 2.2 lbs as being ultra-light!

That is true. And it can be tedious to discover that a label does not met your definition when you are shopping; it is, instead, a meaningless, marketing label which offers no comparatives that set a baseline.

Since there has been no official gathering of the "Backpack Manufacturers Weight Certification Committee and Inquisition" to give us The Official Word, we are left to our own devices for what is what. We all sorta do exactly what you are doing. . . we establish our own subjective standard of what is, or isn't 'ultra-lite' when looking at individual bits of gear.

And we really aren't all that affected doing our own comparisons of gear based on weight, and deciding what meets our criteria for 'light' or 'ultra-light'. It would just make it a bit faster for the selection process if we could trust that a label saying 'ultra-light' met a universally agreed upon weight range..

Last year (?) there was a YouTube content provider that created a series of Camino Norte videos. Often he used the term 'ultralight' when showcasing a tent or a sleeping bag, etc. His view of what 'ultralight' was versus mine was quite different, with him stating weights that could be 1 to 1.5 kg higher than what I considered 'ultralight for a category of gear.

I wonder what weight range the pork industry considers to be an 'ultra-light' jamon?
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
@davebugg, pondering all your wisdom makes me think before my next Camino I should humbly make a Pilgrimage to your place.
My description: 5.4 and 1/2 (yes, ☺️ To me it counts) 129 lbs give or take a couple of slices of pan Gallego. 67 years old. Scoliosis, need a left shoulder replacement and osteoarthritis so I have to think hard when I clip or tie anything to get it done.
My dilemma: had my pack fitted, Osprey Manta 34L, carried the bare essentials, nothing more, less than 11 pounds including pack and 1/2 litter of water. Made adjustments on the go as needed. At day 2, horrible neck and left shoulder pain, munching aspirins like others munch trail mix. Was dying and sent my pack ahead to salvage my mini early this June Sanabres Ourense to Santiago. Any advice? Help me Dave!!!!
Aymarah

Would you shoot me a PM, and I'll see if I can help.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Candidly, I'd change the weight parameters for the Camino. Those weight definitions are typical for backpacking in the U.S. Where we have to carry tents, stoves, and much heavier sleeping bags to deal with cold mountain weather. The Caminio is not backpacking.

I can (and do) carry things like my Native American double flute, a half pound camera, and an extra pair of shoes and still keep my Camino pack baseweight below 10 pounds. My wife's Camino baseweight is under 5 pounds without really trying. And frankly, I cannot begin to imagine what all I would have to be carrying to get past 20 pounds baseweight and hence the "lightweight" category (karaoke machine?). Although I just returned from the Primitivo and swear I saw people with 30+ pound packs (I was too frightened to ask what they had in them).

For me, I'd probably put Super-Ultralight as up to 2kg; Ultralight up to 4kg; Light up to 6kg; and everything else is just too heavy for me to contemplate. Others are different and I respect that. Those with heavy packs on the Primitivo would always say something like "I don't really feel it." And that may be true. But they had knee or foot problems and you could just tell that there bodies were definitely feeling it, whether they were conscious of the damage or not.

Feel free to walk your own Camino and ignore my opinions,
Jo Jo

You sorta identified why using terms like 'ultralight' does not accurately define the real-world impact of our backpack weight to our bodies.

I know what total backpack weight I prefer on a Camino. It is a weight that does not detract from the enjoyment of my walk or hike, and it does not cause the backpack to draw my attention to itself while I am wearing it. I try to keep the total weight at, or below that total weight.

I use a portable, hanging-style luggage scale to check the weight of my backpack. It is an objective device that helps me keep my pack's weight to my preferred level. It helps me make choices. . which item I take and which item gets left.

I do not pack to meet a definition, like ultra-light. I pack to keep my backpack as light as possible for the type of backpacking trip I'm doing. if someone asks if my base weight is ultralight, I can give him/her my weight and they can decide.
 

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
A fantastastic thread, @davebugg! Great "food for thought" on many levels regarding today's ultralight terminology and its varying definitions. It has generated a plethora of interesting responses which I have enjoyed reading.
 
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The Forum has not adopted an official Weight Terminology Definition Index as it applies to backpack weight. I can understand why. It is not vital, but labels like 'ultralight' or 'lightweight' are sometimes used in postings.

Perhaps it could be useful for some if there was a definition given for some weight-related terminology; to know what someone means when calling something 'light' or 'ultralight'. Such a standard currently exists elsewhere, but outside of the United States and North America backpacking and climbing community I have no idea if the same thing exists in Europe or the rest of the globe.

The need for an agreed-to set of objective definitions was said to have started for the purpose of settling the early onset of Alpha Male, Richard-measuring blather. Yup. nothing more needful than that. Not only would heated debate ensue about which backpack FELT lighter (no scales), but would then get sidetracked by the frenzied, "Nuh-uh! Ultralight means 12 pounds. Where did you come up with the silly notion that ultralight is 11 pounds?"

Standardizing weight categories became vital.. . well, useful. . .ok, perhaps just inevitable. As it turned out, however, it became a useful tool for other backpack, pre-trip functions.

Relative to any one, single item of gear or clothing, like trekking poles or ponchos or titanium sporks, there is no standard by which to define something as light or ultralight or heavy.. None. Nada.

To be certain, there are differences in weight if you look and compare the weight specifications of one titanium spork against another. So all that can be reasonably said about individual items, like trekking poles, backpacks, or hydration bladders, is that one item is either lighter or heavier than the other. Or what their stated weight is. Telling me that a rain jacket is ultra-light leaves me thinking, "Based on what?"

Note: Manufacturers will use terms like "ultra light" as marketing fodder. They want you to look at their stuff first. There is no "Official Agency of Ultra-lightness" that sanctions or defines these product label declarations. A manufacturer can legally call their 5o Kg sleeping bag 'ultralight', and do so with a straight face if they want to.

Given the amount and type of backpacking I do, I will look for the lightest piece of gear or clothing among those with the same functionality and usability and general quality. Usability is in the eye of the beholder. Some folks want zippers, others don't. Pockets, padding, rain resistance. . . the list of what is usable to a person is infinite. Well, it seems that way sometimes.

How are the 'weight' terms used? They are used to describe the combined weight of stuff in a backpack. Place everything inside your backpack and weigh the whole kabab. Once you have that figure written down, you can check and see how that weight is defined. If you want. Some folks only use the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index as a gauge for what works.

With the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, you cram everything that you need and think you need and want to need into a backpack. Then, using your "Backpack Hydraulic Space Making Ram", compress everything down into a tight brick to make more space. Then add kitchen sinks, rice cookers, bowie knives, electric hair clippers, ukuleles, portable hair salons, a set of crescent wrenches.. . whatever you think you might start longing for. . Just In Case.

Then, put on the backpack. (cue up the motel room, off-to-the PCT scene from 'Wild'). If you are stuck to the floor, slither out of the backpack and toss out a few things. Then wash, rinse, repeat until you are able to at least stand. If you are still in pain, toss a bit more out. Keep at it until you say to yourself, "The feeling is coming back to my shoulders and hips, and my fingers don't look so blue. I think this will work".

Before I list the definitions about weight, it will help to learn a few other terms first.
.
Base Weight. This is the total weight of your entire gear load, including the backpack. It does not include consumables like food, water, and stove fuel. Consumables are not included because the amount varies based on how much you need to take, as well as being used up or eaten up.

Total Weight: This is your Base Weight + Consumables.

Full Skin Out (FSO) Weight: This is Base Weight + Consumables + Clothes you wear, dust that is sticking to you, dandruff flakes that didn't get washed out, last night's dinner, candy wrappers in your pocket, bedbugs in your hat, long hair past your collar. . .

I find FSO to be, well, tediously OCD. FSO does not translate into a meaningful thing because clothes do not mechanically impact the body core, balance, or the carry issues like a backpack's weight. Besides, clothing is constantly removed, added on, getting soaked with sweat or rain, gathering food stains, etc.

Of all the definitions above, Base Weight is the most valuable in helping you to figure out HOW to determine the gear and clothing choices available to lighten your load.

Finally, the weight is over. Here it is:

Stupid-Light (my adopted and derisive term): A base weight number that is lighter than Super-Ultralight.
This is a weight point that would require huge compromises to safety in exchange for lower weight. Backpackers that do this type of weight-culling can end up hurt or dead. And they have. In my mind, they are obliviots and don't get the fact that 'Luck' is not a real piece of gear.

Super-Ultralight (or Hyper-Light): A base weight under 5 pounds/.2.27 Kg.
I've seen it done, and I have put together a 'backpack' as a challenge, but have not used it. While there is little, to no margin for Oops type stuff to occur, it isn't quite as problematic as Stupid-Light.. At this weight, you are giving up comfort levels, while relying on knowledge and experience to compensate for a lack of stuff.

Ultra-Light: a base weight less than 10 pounds/4.5 Kg
There will be a some losses of comfort, and EVERYTING is a multitasker, like a titanium mug is your cooking pot, your measuring cup, your drinking cup, your scooping container to gather water that is in an awkward location, your backup water sterilizer if your filter dies. Using a plastic and lightweight tarp for a tent ( 1/2 ounce), a thinner, closed-cell, hip-length pad for a mattress. A sleeping quilt that is rated for a bit higher temperature than you might run into, so your clothing IS part of your sleep system. and on and on.

Lightweight: a base weight under 20 pounds/ 9 Kg.

Regular Weight: a base weight starting at 30 pounds / 13.6 Kg.
Today, heavy camera and video gear, along with gimbles and sticks and tripods and power banks and drones, etc. carried by semi-pro, content providers is one of the big reasons for tipping the scale toward this weight category. Then there are gear and clothing choices for Winter, high altitudes, hot and arid environments, etc. which will also become factors.

Semi-Related Thoughts:
Keep in mind that the above definitions are for wilderness backpackers on multi-day to multi-month hiking trips. The types and quantities of gear and clothing need to cover far more variables for the wilderness backpacker than for a Camino hiker in terms of temperature ranges, isolation, and total self-reliance.

Five decades ago as an almost 14 year-old on my first solo, multi-day backpacking trip, the base weight while using my dad's old 1960's era Army rucksack, tipped the scales at 54 pounds/24.5 Kg. Hipbelt? What is a hipbelt? By comparison today, for that same length for a multiday backpacking trip, my base weight will be about 13 pounds. Amazingly, this is just how far the technologies in materials and manufacturing have evolved.

For a Camino, the base weight of my backpack is around 8 to 10 pounds, depending on the season. Not having to include a tent or stove or air mattress or the other pieces of gear one needs in the wilderness makes it easy for experienced backpackers to hit this weight level.

Budget considerations for those choosing to purchase new stuff:
For many, all they want is for a piece of gear or clothing to make it just as far as Santiago de Compostela. If that is the case, then long term durability to last over many years and many thousand of kilometers is not needed. Quality only needs to complete the pilgrimage and to function properly along the way. This translates into a significant savings for gear and clothing costs. Plus, it is very possible to find clothing and gear light enough that it will make you happy.

But Wait, There's More. . .

At some point in the first 24 hours of walking, no matter which Weight Definition your backpack matches, you may decide that the pack is still too heavy and start pulling out stuff and leaving it behind like some kind of Camino version of Hansel and Gretel's bread crumb trail.

It is not inevitable that frantic gear dumping will occur. All I can say is that the ratio of gear dumping is likely proportional to where your backpack resides on the Weight Definition Scale.

At the Stupid-Light level, if you run into an unexpected sub-zero ice storm on the Col de Lepoeder your worries about backpack weight no longer exist. Just sayin'.

At the other end of the spectrum with The Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, the decision to dump stuff at the alburgue donation spot may be so bountiful that the hospitaleros decide to open a thrift shop.

"Ounces equal Pounds, and Pounds Equal Pain." Translate it into metric if you must, but it just didn't sound as kewl.
Oh, thank you!
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
In reality the CF can almost be walked using your definition of stupid light. There are individual days (I can think of 3) where it would be truly stupid, on the rest there are enough shops to help temporarily. For example why carry more than one set of underwear /socks when there are so many places to buy new when needed. Trousers, no need for spares, buy when necessary etc. The CF in particular is no wilderness trail with its frequent coffee stops, chinos, supermarkets, Albergues.
Very much tongue in cheek and with no intention of doing so, I reckon you could do it, on top of the clothes you're wearing, with a plastic carrier bag, one set of socks and scanties spare plus a waterproof wallet with necessary paperwork and a large bin liner adapted as a poncho. 😁😂🤣😄
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
In reality the CF can almost be walked using your definition of stupid light. .....
Very much tongue in cheek and with no intention of doing so, I reckon you could do it, on top of the clothes you're wearing, with a plastic carrier bag, one set of socks and scanties spare plus a waterproof wallet with necessary paperwork and a large bin liner adapted as a poncho. 😁😂🤣😄
Indeed.
In happier times during February 2008
in Ferreiros at the provincial albergue I met a
fellow who simply carried two plastic shopping bags.
Everyone joked he would arrive in Santiago with very long arms.
 
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)
The Forum has not adopted an official Weight Terminology Definition Index as it applies to backpack weight. I can understand why. It is not vital, but labels like 'ultralight' or 'lightweight' are sometimes used in postings.

Perhaps it could be useful for some if there was a definition given for some weight-related terminology; to know what someone means when calling something 'light' or 'ultralight'. Such a standard currently exists elsewhere, but outside of the United States and North America backpacking and climbing community I have no idea if the same thing exists in Europe or the rest of the globe.

The need for an agreed-to set of objective definitions was said to have started for the purpose of settling the early onset of Alpha Male, Richard-measuring blather. Yup. nothing more needful than that. Not only would heated debate ensue about which backpack FELT lighter (no scales), but would then get sidetracked by the frenzied, "Nuh-uh! Ultralight means 12 pounds. Where did you come up with the silly notion that ultralight is 11 pounds?"

Standardizing weight categories became vital.. . well, useful. . .ok, perhaps just inevitable. As it turned out, however, it became a useful tool for other backpack, pre-trip functions.

Relative to any one, single item of gear or clothing, like trekking poles or ponchos or titanium sporks, there is no standard by which to define something as light or ultralight or heavy.. None. Nada.

To be certain, there are differences in weight if you look and compare the weight specifications of one titanium spork against another. So all that can be reasonably said about individual items, like trekking poles, backpacks, or hydration bladders, is that one item is either lighter or heavier than the other. Or what their stated weight is. Telling me that a rain jacket is ultra-light leaves me thinking, "Based on what?"

Note: Manufacturers will use terms like "ultra light" as marketing fodder. They want you to look at their stuff first. There is no "Official Agency of Ultra-lightness" that sanctions or defines these product label declarations. A manufacturer can legally call their 5o Kg sleeping bag 'ultralight', and do so with a straight face if they want to.

Given the amount and type of backpacking I do, I will look for the lightest piece of gear or clothing among those with the same functionality and usability and general quality. Usability is in the eye of the beholder. Some folks want zippers, others don't. Pockets, padding, rain resistance. . . the list of what is usable to a person is infinite. Well, it seems that way sometimes.

How are the 'weight' terms used? They are used to describe the combined weight of stuff in a backpack. Place everything inside your backpack and weigh the whole kabab. Once you have that figure written down, you can check and see how that weight is defined. If you want. Some folks only use the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index as a gauge for what works.

With the Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, you cram everything that you need and think you need and want to need into a backpack. Then, using your "Backpack Hydraulic Space Making Ram", compress everything down into a tight brick to make more space. Then add kitchen sinks, rice cookers, bowie knives, electric hair clippers, ukuleles, portable hair salons, a set of crescent wrenches.. . whatever you think you might start longing for. . Just In Case.

Then, put on the backpack. (cue up the motel room, off-to-the PCT scene from 'Wild'). If you are stuck to the floor, slither out of the backpack and toss out a few things. Then wash, rinse, repeat until you are able to at least stand. If you are still in pain, toss a bit more out. Keep at it until you say to yourself, "The feeling is coming back to my shoulders and hips, and my fingers don't look so blue. I think this will work".

Before I list the definitions about weight, it will help to learn a few other terms first.
.
Base Weight. This is the total weight of your entire gear load, including the backpack. It does not include consumables like food, water, and stove fuel. Consumables are not included because the amount varies based on how much you need to take, as well as being used up or eaten up.

Total Weight: This is your Base Weight + Consumables.

Full Skin Out (FSO) Weight: This is Base Weight + Consumables + Clothes you wear, dust that is sticking to you, dandruff flakes that didn't get washed out, last night's dinner, candy wrappers in your pocket, bedbugs in your hat, long hair past your collar. . .

I find FSO to be, well, tediously OCD. FSO does not translate into a meaningful thing because clothes do not mechanically impact the body core, balance, or the carry issues like a backpack's weight. Besides, clothing is constantly removed, added on, getting soaked with sweat or rain, gathering food stains, etc.

Of all the definitions above, Base Weight is the most valuable in helping you to figure out HOW to determine the gear and clothing choices available to lighten your load.

Finally, the weight is over. Here it is:

Stupid-Light (my adopted and derisive term): A base weight number that is lighter than Super-Ultralight.
This is a weight point that would require huge compromises to safety in exchange for lower weight. Backpackers that do this type of weight-culling can end up hurt or dead. And they have. In my mind, they are obliviots and don't get the fact that 'Luck' is not a real piece of gear.

Super-Ultralight (or Hyper-Light): A base weight under 5 pounds/.2.27 Kg.
I've seen it done, and I have put together a 'backpack' as a challenge, but have not used it. While there is little, to no margin for Oops type stuff to occur, it isn't quite as problematic as Stupid-Light.. At this weight, you are giving up comfort levels, while relying on knowledge and experience to compensate for a lack of stuff.

Ultra-Light: a base weight less than 10 pounds/4.5 Kg
There will be a some losses of comfort, and EVERYTING is a multitasker, like a titanium mug is your cooking pot, your measuring cup, your drinking cup, your scooping container to gather water that is in an awkward location, your backup water sterilizer if your filter dies. Using a plastic and lightweight tarp for a tent ( 1/2 ounce), a thinner, closed-cell, hip-length pad for a mattress. A sleeping quilt that is rated for a bit higher temperature than you might run into, so your clothing IS part of your sleep system. and on and on.

Lightweight: a base weight under 20 pounds/ 9 Kg.

Regular Weight: a base weight starting at 30 pounds / 13.6 Kg.
Today, heavy camera and video gear, along with gimbles and sticks and tripods and power banks and drones, etc. carried by semi-pro, content providers is one of the big reasons for tipping the scale toward this weight category. Then there are gear and clothing choices for Winter, high altitudes, hot and arid environments, etc. which will also become factors.

Semi-Related Thoughts:
Keep in mind that the above definitions are for wilderness backpackers on multi-day to multi-month hiking trips. The types and quantities of gear and clothing need to cover far more variables for the wilderness backpacker than for a Camino hiker in terms of temperature ranges, isolation, and total self-reliance.

Five decades ago as an almost 14 year-old on my first solo, multi-day backpacking trip, the base weight while using my dad's old 1960's era Army rucksack, tipped the scales at 54 pounds/24.5 Kg. Hipbelt? What is a hipbelt? By comparison today, for that same length for a multiday backpacking trip, my base weight will be about 13 pounds. Amazingly, this is just how far the technologies in materials and manufacturing have evolved.

For a Camino, the base weight of my backpack is around 8 to 10 pounds, depending on the season. Not having to include a tent or stove or air mattress or the other pieces of gear one needs in the wilderness makes it easy for experienced backpackers to hit this weight level.

Budget considerations for those choosing to purchase new stuff:
For many, all they want is for a piece of gear or clothing to make it just as far as Santiago de Compostela. If that is the case, then long term durability to last over many years and many thousand of kilometers is not needed. Quality only needs to complete the pilgrimage and to function properly along the way. This translates into a significant savings for gear and clothing costs. Plus, it is very possible to find clothing and gear light enough that it will make you happy.

But Wait, There's More. . .

At some point in the first 24 hours of walking, no matter which Weight Definition your backpack matches, you may decide that the pack is still too heavy and start pulling out stuff and leaving it behind like some kind of Camino version of Hansel and Gretel's bread crumb trail.

It is not inevitable that frantic gear dumping will occur. All I can say is that the ratio of gear dumping is likely proportional to where your backpack resides on the Weight Definition Scale.

At the Stupid-Light level, if you run into an unexpected sub-zero ice storm on the Col de Lepoeder your worries about backpack weight no longer exist. Just sayin'.

At the other end of the spectrum with The Argggh and Ouch Scale of Pain Index, the decision to dump stuff at the alburgue donation spot may be so bountiful that the hospitaleros decide to open a thrift shop.

"Ounces equal Pounds, and Pounds Equal Pain." Translate it into metric if you must, but it just didn't sound as kewl.
Do you know how much we missed you?
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
In reality the CF can almost be walked using your definition of stupid light. There are individual days (I can think of 3) where it would be truly stupid, on the rest there are enough shops to help temporarily. For example why carry more than one set of underwear /socks when there are so many places to buy new when needed. Trousers, no need for spares, buy when necessary etc. The CF in particular is no wilderness trail with its frequent coffee stops, chinos, supermarkets, Albergues.
Very much tongue in cheek and with no intention of doing so, I reckon you could do it, on top of the clothes you're wearing, with a plastic carrier bag, one set of socks and scanties spare plus a waterproof wallet with necessary paperwork and a large bin liner adapted as a poncho. 😁😂🤣😄

If you get the correct type of cargo shorts, the ones with huge pockets, you could stuff and jam everything in, dangle any sandals from a belt loop, and go hands free :) You'd look horribly lumpy, but. . .
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
If you get the correct type of cargo shorts, the ones with huge pockets, you could stuff and jam everything in, dangle any sandals from a belt loop, and go hands free :) You'd look horribly lumpy, but. . .
Or a lumbar pack like this.

 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Or a lumbar pack like this.


<Putting on a lumbar pack and twisting from side to side while looking in the mirror> "Hey, guys, does this make my butt look big?"

Seriously, the proper sized lumbar pack can work for a Camino. Some compromises would need to be made on some things, like sleep systems, but the proximity to civilization, bocadillos, Fanta naranja, and accomodations, makes it very doable.
 
Last edited:

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
I enjoyed reading this humorous and informative book for inspiration. But by this standard I have yet to meet a pilgrim who is really going the "ultra-light" route.

Lighten Up! A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking
by Don Ladigin

4DDBC863-DB40-419E-A46D-364011B0E5EB.jpeg
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
Great thread:) As an avid reader of hiking blogs - particularly PCT and Te Araroa - it is interesting to read how obsessed some hikers are in comparing their pack weight and daily km to others. Usually these people are in the super/ hyper/stupid lite group who don't seem to mind accepting/requesting a hot drink/food or even to share a tent in adverse weather all the while boasting of their minimilism and speed but don't mind bludging off others who carry more. Definitely not independent hikers in my opinion when they need to rely on the goodwill of others for their own comfort or safety.
Totally agree - take what you need but try to keep it the lightest you can for your own comfort and enjoyment.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Usually these people are in the super/ hyper/stupid lite group who don't seem to mind accepting/requesting a hot drink/food or even to share a tent in adverse weather all the while boasting of their minimilism and speed but don't mind bludging off others who carry more. Definitely not independent hikers in my opinion when they need to rely on the goodwill of others for their own comfort or safety.
Kind of like those who eschew technology and are walking without a phone, but need to borrow other pilgrim's phones quite often.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
An interesting thread, although I am not attached to weight definitions. I have just purchased my first item of camino gear that I would consider to be light: a new sleeping bag from MEC which carries the name "Camino Traveller". This sleeping bag weighs 580 g. with the built in stuff sack. One side is just a polyester sheet, and the other is padded. I have slept in it, and proclaim it an adequate bed covering for albergue use, which I can make more flexible by varying my sleepwear with garments which I have with me. But lightweight is very far down on my list when it comes to my backpack, due to the state of my back and shoulders, and budget (the new sleeping bag was only $73 CAN, including tax). My own preference for controlling both weight and budget is: 1. leave behind everything I don't expect to need; for this year's camino, for example, the daypack. It only weighs 250g, but I don't need it where I go. There is no service available to carry my backpack; 2. Choose lightweight multipurpose items, merino wool clothing which will make my new sleeping bag warm enough. One long sleeved shirt, 175 g., can be layered for multiple purposes. My back and shoulders are teaching me to lighten-up, but I still have a lot to learn, and to leave behind.
 

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