Dave is off volunteering in relation to the Covid pandemic. Read his post:*** Paging Mr Bugg ***
(Could someone check if Dave is OK? Usually he’d be on this faster than a tramp on chips, as my late grandmother used to say)
I have developed some rules of thumb, but my first observation is that pack weight and capacity are loosely related. The bigger you are, the larger pack size you will need. My rule of thumb is that a suitable start point for looking at packs is to take your walking weight in kg, halve that and that is roughly the size of pack you will need in litres for a late spring to early autumn camino. For the average American male, that works out at around 45 li, for Britain, about 40 li. Averages for women are slightly less, so you could think about 40li and 35 li respectively.
Great informative post!I have developed some rules of thumb, but my first observation is that pack weight and capacity are loosely related. The bigger you are, the larger pack size you will need. My rule of thumb is that a suitable start point for looking at packs is to take your walking weight in kg, have that and that is roughly the size of pack you will need in litres for a late spring to early autumn camino. For the average American male, that works out at around 45 li, for Britain, about 40 li. Averages for women are slightly less, so you could think about 40li and 35 li respectively.
Be honest though. Half of us are going to be over the average, and are likely to need something larger.
There are other factors that influence pack size, and you will find many resources on the web. The Complete Walker IV is my goto reference, but there are now many web-based resources. Remember these are providing advice for multi-day bushwalkers - hikers that will need things that you would normally be unlikely to need on the camino. But the principles are still valid. Some people will be more cold or heat tolerant, might be able to afford the high prices of really lightweighct gear, etc, and will have more or less weight to carry.
Further, not everyone walks in summer. The earlier you start or the later you plan to finish needs to be considered. Early spring and late autumn might require anything from 25% to 50% more as your weight allowance, and pack volume.
Once you have an idea about the size, confirm this by getting your gear together and weighing it. My rule of thumb is that you need about a litre of pack size for every 160-170 gm of gear for a summer camino load. If you need much more than you calculated with my first rule of thumb, you might want to rethink your packing list. There are plenty of people here who will willingly help you with that. If you are prepared to buy a really light pack, you can add a little, depending on how much you are prepared to spend on really light gear. Think about adding up to 15 gm/li, it up to 185 gm/li for a summer load.
Now you are ready to visit an outdoors retailer with you gear in hand (or a big plastic bag!) and actually try out some packs. Don't be tempted to stuff everything in until it is so tight that you cannot easily get the next item into the pack. Amongst other things you will want to carry some food and water in addition to your bare load, which is what we have been discussing so far, so some space will be needed for that. I personally count on those items occupying around 3-4 litres of pack space at the beginning of the day if I am carrying two litres of water, and a food bag with snacks, bread, cheese, chorizo, etc. You can hang some of this on the outside of your pack, but I try and avoid that.
Good luck with your pack hunting.
If you go to the end of this link, you will find that davebugg asked for his account to be deleted.Dave is off volunteering in relation to the Covid pandemic. Read his post:
It depends on the person. I only carry 17-20 lbs of stuff, but I carry a large pack so that I can travel on aircraft with the walking sticks packed inside. TSA has never questioned it.
I took 28 litres. I am a short older female. Would go up to 32litres next time so I could fit sleeping bag inside rather than hanging off the backpack. On the sleeping bag question - I'm glad I took one and would again.
@RRat, thank you for your candour in providing this information. I think that it is much more informative to the discussion on pack size to know these things. It allows others to make better first order comparisons than just letting us know how big your pack was.I'm a 66 year old, 190 pound, 6 ft. I used a 40l and it was too big. Determine what you need and get smaller.
@Dromengro. I agree with your comment about getting a comfortable fit, and I have some sympathy with the view that taking a slightly larger pack can be worthwhile. I addressed the issue of carrying food and water in my earlier post, but I must admit I did not contemplate carrying a watermelon! More power to you if you do!I think that a comfortable fit (back length, strap position), as well as durability and colour is probably more important than Litre size. If it's too small things can be strapped to the outside if its too big you can cinch it smaller with a few straps, if it's the wrong colour you'll hate no matter what.
Personally I prefer a bag that's too big. A couple of webbing straps will compress it down to a small day pack size and feel when not carrying much and I don't have to worry how I'm going to carry that watermelon or salami, baguette and bottle of wine I've just bought. I've used an 80-100L canvas pack for 40 years, using it to carry everything from 100lb loads with things strapped to the outside, to a day sac with little more than a few sandwiches in and also as a survival bivvy on occasion.
I made a quick estimate of the extra weight this might involve. Modern canvas packs seem to range in weight from about 33 gm/li to 40 gm/li.