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Your body and your backpack

max44

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
13th April 2013 leaving. SJPDP via Rome
I was requested to offer some advice on how to best load your backpack.
If you are walking the standard Camino, the following is more for the non standard walkers. General walkers should just stick to as light weight as possible.
Over the years I have worked as combat medic and medical contractor along with working in remote areas where you "walk in". Some of the packs I have had to carry were about 40 to 60Kilo.
Some of the SAS guys were carrying packs that weighed as much as an average man.
Whilst the S.A.S. guys were super fit and trained very hard, I wasn't in the same class.
My point being, the 10% of body weight would be a good rule, however, you can carry much more, even over long distances.

A bit of bio-mechanics from a medical point of view. Your body is designed to carry weight in the centre of your hips, where your intestines etc are. As it's not possible to carry your pack there, so you need to get as close to your load-bearing centre of gravity as you can.
Grab a bag of sugar and hold it next to your body for a few mins. Next hold that same bag of sugar out at arms length to your side. You will soon see that you will get sore fast. Then try it out in front of you. Once again, you will soon see it is very hard to hold up.
While you are resting think of where your muscles are a little bit sore.
The weight is the same, it's the energy required to hold that same load is very much different.
Using the 10% theory, you could carry the 10% close to your body, however, 2% out at arms length would be way too much.
Your backpack should carry the weight on your iliac crest(the top of your hips) this is as close as you will get to an external weight centre of gravity.
Load your pack with the heavy items close to your back and low to your hips.
Tents sleeping bags, sleeping mats are rolled. Flatten these out so the weight is in close and balance other items from left to right.
I take the air out of my mat, flatten it, fold it and place on the bottom of the pack(Yes, where they tell you to put your sleeping bag. Then load your heavy stuff like water and heavy items, close to your spine as you can. Fill your pack from there.
I hang some heavy items on my front belt in order to move the centre of gravity forward.

My pack has straps at the rear and lower side(further away from me). This is where most people put the mats, because that's where the manufacturers tell you to put it. Once again, you have a light weight item further from your body which means more energy to keep yourself upright. 500grams is now the same as a kilo or more.

One more silly test. Stand with your right arm out to the side and have some one push down on your hand. Then raise your right leg about 4 to 6 inches or 10cm, and see how much force you have to use just to stop them pushing down. Nice trick isnt it?
The above is all about the bio-mechanics of the human body. It's not so much the weight, it's how you load it and where you load it.
Have a look at the people who carry packs for a living and see how they shed the load around their body and hips. Take out your pack, and put in tins of food or water, hang your sleeping mat off the back and then have someone lift it...i bet you feel a big difference.

I could write pages and pages on this subject here, but I wont :) this is meant to make you think about how the body would carry the weight and therefore how much you can carry on the camino.
The more you use your muscles just to keep your centre of gravity, the less you can carry. Walking poles help keep your centre of gravity forward. We all know how much they help. Have you wondered why they help?
I know lots of people will have lots of ides on this subject. I am just commenting on all the testing I have done on my own body in order to carry as much as I can for as long as I can. I used my medical training to help with my understanding as why I could carry a lot more just by setting load out and used a solid frame.
Play with your own pack, walk around the house. try different things. The bottom line is...the more energy you use to carry a specific weight, the harder it is. There is even a formula for it.( Work = force time distance). I added that just to keep the guys from the Big bang theory happy. Happy Sheldon?
 
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Sojourner47

Guest
Well, as I have said many times before on here, the main thing is to carry as little as possible, less than 4 kilos preferably.
There really is no need to carry much at all - see my packing lists posted earlier, and tested on the camino. If you're carrying less than 5 kilos, including water, then you don't need a "technical" rucsac with hip belt etc, weighing a couple of kilos empty.
 

Sheesh

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2009, 2013);
? (2020)
Max, thank you for your informative post. It is very apropos for me right now. Only last night I was doing a test pack of my stuff to try to decide between my 32 ltr and 38 ltr backpacks. I wanted to take the 32 ltr because it is only 750 grams, but it has no internal frame, and no matter how I distributed the items inside it not only seemed a bit snug but definately pulled away from the shoulders.

So, even though it is 500 grams heavier, I will be taking the 38 ltr pack which has an internal frame. It also has a great hip belt and I did notice that that my iliac crest was bearing the weight. All in all it felt much better.

So my load will be 6 kilos, before water. Much better that the 8.5 kilos pre water from my last Camino.

Sheesh
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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:
Your body is designed to carry weight in the centre of your hips, where your intestines etc are

You are right - my body was designed that way - and twice I carried around 3.5kg in that exact location for a few months at a time!

But, my normal sprightly swagger changed to a flat footed trundle, I couldn't sit down without flopping. Carrying the weight in the centre of my hips caused backache, heartburn and loss of balance. It was difficult to get up from a low chair and impossible to get out of bed gracefully, or out of the bath without help.

I would much rather carry the load on my back - as long it it stays under 10% of my bodyweight!
 
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Deleted member 3000

Guest
Chill, man. Not everything needs to be dissected.
Since I scrimp and save to eliminate an ounce or two, it makes a difference to me. All that paring down is lost if I put my spare water bottle on the outside back of my pack (or that extra pair of boots "just in case" dangling from the center back). The little tips can make a big difference over 2 million strides!!

By the way I think REI and other sporting goods stores have leaflets on properly packing a pack. It might be worth looking for them the next time one is on an equipment testing/buying trip.
 
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Sojourner47

Guest
max44 said:
l

I thought this site was meant to support all people in their Camino rather than force ones views as to how everyone's Camino s "should" be done.
So many nay sayers here :)
Life is too short to get into battles :) Just chill and let others have an opinion as well. You carry 3 kilo, us military will carry what WE like on our personal journey :)

Sorry, I didn't realise I was "forcing" my views on anyone, just expressing an opinion, as you are.....
 

Sheesh

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2009, 2013);
? (2020)
CaminoGen said:
Chill, man. Not everything needs to be dissected.
Whoa now, that comment is a tad uncalled for, especially when Max prefaced his post by saying someone had requested the information.

There are many who choose not to or cannot go uber light. So, knowing the alternatives for adjusting their bag’s content is quite beneficial.

Incidentally, on my last Camino I encountered a fantastic French couple who had been walking for a couple of months when I first met them, from their home close to the German border. The fellow had only just retired from the French military and, because they were camping as well as using Albergues, he was carrying all of their camping gear. He told me his pack weighed over 16 kilograms.

Well, he must certainly have packed it efficiently, because he sprinted up the hills like a rabbit. Left everyone in his dust! He even offered to carry my pack up one hill. (I declined of course.)
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Thanks Max. We were told to pack heavy stuff low down and sit the 'waist strap' on our hips so that they bear the load. On practise walks if I don't pack well I am aware of the load being 'wrong'. I carry my 10% on my back, plus items in my trouser pockets (my forward weight??) which works fine for me. If I put the pockets contents in my pack it feels overweight; there seems also to be a 50-100gm break point which is interesting.

Carrying 6kg plus water on a hot day gives me a reasonable weight and as we tend to walk earlier in the year often I am wearing not 'carrying' some of that.

[Edit Feb 1st:- Having just run a test packing for this year it comes out at 5kg 300gms without my water so I am very happy. :D At some point we'll post our packing lists, probably on the 'Walking Around blog, or in an appropriate place on the forum.]
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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:
The Aarn backpacks, which won an award for design in New Zealand, are styled for front and back loading.
From the website: http://www.aarnpacks.com/
FlowMo Bodypacks are the worlds first body centered load carrying systems
This allows the centers of gravity of the load and the body to match Horizontally as well as vertically. Most of the load is now taken off the spine and transferred evenly around the pelvis, the most suitable bone structure in the body for load carrying. The load on the front is carried in 2 separate pockets with a gap in between so that so that you can see your feet as you walk - your forward vision is not restricted by the load up front. Because the volume up front is less than the pack behind, we pack dense gear in front and light bulky gear behind.

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max44

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
13th April 2013 leaving. SJPDP via Rome
sillydoll said:
The Aarn backpacks, which won an award for design in New Zealand, are styled for front and back loading.
Excellent Sillydoll! well done..I havnt seen these, They do seem to embrace the whole concept of ho best to load the body. If you have to carry a lot of weight though.
Has anyone here tried these? They seem based on the military long range reco packs, or the other way around. The Kiwi's are really putting out some great stuff.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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 have been a number of discussions on this pack - mostly favourable.

equipment-questions/topic7812.html


equipment-questions/topic5018.html#p28060
equipment-questions/topic5440.html#p33209
equipment-questions/topic2282-25.html
 
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Sojourner47

Guest
SYates said:
One question fellow pilgrims:

How would you feel when you are relatively new to a forum and have been explicitly asked to share some of your experiences about a topic and you do so with a long and detailed post that takes up a considerable amount of time to write and then you get some of the reactions seen here in this thread for all your time and effort spend?

@Max44 Many, many thanks for writing this all up for us, I have learned something from your post and be grateful that you wrote it! SY

I imagine most people would feel that a discussion had taken place, with different viewpoints being aired, mostly by those who have quite a wide experience of walking the camino. :roll:
 

UKHIKER

New Member
Dare I dip my toe into this muddy pool?
Although this is my first post, I have been looking at the forum for quite a while, and the one thing which stands out is that on practically every topic, there is never total agreement with the original post, which I guess shows a healthy range of viewpoints, and perhaps throws up more information (good and bad. lol) in the end.
That's just my (stoopid) opinion, of course. :D :D
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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:
Welcome to the Forum Uhiker - and for your pragmatic assessment of the postings!

I'm sure that if someone, one day, did research on the posts on this forum, they might find that in winter the subjects are more 'fireside' discussions than hard, practical info.
The veterans are suffering from mid-winter, Camino withdrawel symptoms and things can get a bit heated around a fireside. But as the Forum moderators have suggested, you have to leave your flame-thrower at the door!
 
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SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
UKHIKER said:
Dare I dip my toe into this muddy pool?
Although this is my first post, I have been looking at the forum for quite a while, and the one thing which stands out is that on practically every topic, there is never total agreement with the original post, which I guess shows a healthy range of viewpoints, and perhaps throws up more information (good and bad. lol) in the end.
That's just my (stoopid) opinion, of course. :D :D


Excellent post and welcome btw.

My very personal (and probably not so humble :wink: ) opinion : Most people en route to Compostela probably never heard of this forum. So ALL is good. Take up the info here that you find suitable and interesting, don't waiste energy to the issues that are secondary to you.
The Camino is not a walk in the parc but neither is it climbing the Mount Everest....
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
I've been asked by the OP to delete this thread owing to the ill feeling generated by some of the more reactionary responses. I think it would be a disservice to the OP to delete it entirely as the thread does contain useful information which may be of interest to others. I will lock the thread however, with a reminder to all that personal attacks cannot be tolerated.
 

Mysticl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances May (2015) - pending
I for one am glad this is unlocked even if it's just for a minute so I can chime in. Thank you Max for that wonderful thoughtful explanation. While I am working very hard to minimize my weight I am finding it impossible to be as lightweight as some for many reasons and while I applaud them there is more than one way to skin a cat .... ok bad analogy ...

I plan on buying an uberlight backpack to help compensate for my indiscretions but your advice regarding packing rings true to me and will likely be very very helpful. Thanks again :)
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
First one in 2005 from Moissac, France.
Max - that was a great piece you wrote. I don't know why it may have caused ructions :?
I too pack light but have always wondered about soldiers and how they pack - even going as far back as the Roman legions .... I thought that what you wrote, from personal experience and observation was very interesting.

Even for the superlight packers your observations are relevant. A question for you though ... way back in the late 60's there were the nylon backpacks with external aluminium frames. Very light piece of kit .. now, due to spin off from the moon landings and so on the given on loading such a pack was to put all the light stuff at the bottom and the heavy items right at the top .... the idea being that one would end up with 'perfect' balance as the weight at the top would naturally lean forward, above the shoulders.

No one packs like this now, and those packs have disappeared (crikey - they were light though!) and I have wondered why - is it due to advances on body ergonomics (if that is what it is called) - what is your take on this?

It certainly is a relief not to have shoulder straps digging in, by fitting the hip belt properly ... but, we all still have the mechanical problem of extra weight on articulating joints and feet ... alright for the young soldiers, but for me? Go light as possible ... and I will experiment indoors with your packing scheme - well done for putting it up - and, for me, I would have liked to read more.

Buen Camino :wink:
 
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max44

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
13th April 2013 leaving. SJPDP via Rome
Hi David,
I have received many, many PM's regarding this :)

Firstly, the Camino can be done with just a very small pack. So long as you carry the bare minimum, you can put your hands in faith and wont need to carry anything. This sounds like the best way in summer.

This article was originally for those who are doing more than the Camino, they are taking trips where they will NOT be staying in Albergues etc, and as such wanted to carry more weight. As a rule on here, they say 10% of your body weight. I see some people have said they are 5ft something and 50 kilo..thats 5kilo maximum. However, I am over 6ft and have a strong build. 10% for me would be 10kilo. How much am I intending to carry...5 kilo plus water. Including water heating stove. It's all relative.
The external frame (I use an uber light Osprey Atmos external frame) this is so light, even my small finger can throw it in the air.(Tried it)
In answer to your question, I use a "jump bag" from a helicopter(no frame) so when you hit the ground, things can't stick into you, with 20-40kg medical supplies, in a very short time it pulls on my shoulders because it loses shape. If I wear an A.L.I.C.E. or a tactical pack with frame, the weight is transferred down through the frame to my hips. ie frame holds shape whilst the non frame becomes a sack on your shoulders.
I must point out, I have 9 packs. Each has a particular purpose. I would not use my Himalaya pack for the Camino, my major trauma pack would be useless as well. It's to heavy. Designed for 50kilo carry and sharp objects etc.
My training walks are with 15kilo and I don't really feel it. My walking partner is small and she has trouble with 7 kilo. I tie a rope around my waist and pull her up the hill..she makes the tea :)
Downhill is a different story..my 15 kilo feels heavy walking downhill on slippery stones because I have to use more muscles to keep balance. My walking partner has no issues downhill, so I make the tea.
I do remember being told to put HEAVY at the top and light at the bottom, lean forward, never ever straighten your legs etc etc. These were also based on solid frame packs. Higher centre of gravity and if you had to "big out" you could dump your heavy stuff first and run with your light stuff, ammo water or in my case medical and water.
Bottom line is, a pack is to be specific for the task at hand. Lightweight for Camino, solid frame and large for long deep penetration walks.
Even walking the Camino in summer Vs winter will make a big difference. I think you can even hire people to transport your pack for you. As for me, a Refugio/Albergue/hostel is not in my plan. Maybe once or twice to see what they are like.
I havnt walked the Camino. Looking forward to it. Deserts, jungle, mountains, vast open spaces, ruining a lot of the day with a pack etc etc..yes I have.
I am smart enough to listen to what those who have done the "full Camino" in "one hit" though. I call it "intelligence gathering" :)
I am also working In a few hospitals and medical centres along the way, so, once again, I will have more equipment. This is the main reason we are doing the camino. Leper colonies last year, poor parts of Spain this year(Not Camino) I throw this in just to keep the pack light brigade away.
Warm Regards
 

max44

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
13th April 2013 leaving. SJPDP via Rome
Correction..It has just been pointed out that I am turning into a fat boy of late.. make that 10 of body weight 13kg (Muscle weighs more than fat is my excuse) I won't win though :)
Now I feel like Joust, off the movie "The way" :)
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
First one in 2005 from Moissac, France.
Youst would have lost weight, quite a lot of it, even if he did eat and drink all the way!! :lol:

Very informative Max - the first time, I think, where someone with other than recreational experience of load carrying has posted on here.

On a very very very much smaller scale than you I go and do first aid on the Camino. In the past I have taken a vehicle and set up rest/first aid points along the way - which also allows me to give out free tea and lemonade (and cake!) . For me it is mainly blisters of course, muscle problems, and the occasional repair where a pilgrim has fallen. Funnily enough I spend quite a lot of time showing people how to wear their footwear (and also how to wear their rucksack).
My pack kit pack isn't too big, and I can refill it as I pass the bigger towns, though I always take my own sealed disposable scalpels with me - a few hundred at a time.
Due to commitments here in the UK I have missed the Camino last year but expect to be back this March .. this year I intend to take my bicycle with a trailer ... wearing a pack and also the bulky kit is a little too much for me - and, sure, I know the weight is the same .. if you rise 1000 feet you lift that weight up 1000 feet - you can't beat the laws of physics after all, but I hope this way to be able to go along stretches of the Camino and therefore meet those who have become 'stuck' in isolated stretches. The set-up will also allow me to jump some miles at a time - backwards and forwards - along the roads. We'll see.

Your life sounds pretty interesting - and I get the feeling probably quite hair-raising at times too - you must scare the life out of your partner when you are away from home! :shock:

I hope you will love the Camino - not much chance of being shot at but a wonderful experience. Enjoy!

Buen Camino :wink:
 

max44

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
13th April 2013 leaving. SJPDP via Rome
David said:
Funnily enough I spend quite a lot of time showing people how to wear their footwear
I need lessons here. I will PM you :)
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Thanks for your post! I walked the Camino Frances this September, from a heat wave to quite chilly days in Galicia, and had to buy a sleeping bag and a few more items of clothing on the way. I had an Osprey Aura, which has a hollow back to allow air flow to avoid a sweaty back, and it really matters to the carrying comfort where you put things and how you pack! Admittedly my max pack weight with water was 7-8 kilos, but in the heat wave I had to *carry* everything, and when the cold and rain started, I was *wearing* everything. :D I hope to go back this Sept-Oct and have decided I want (need) to bring a bigger pack in order to bring more clothes and a warmer sleeping bag, but have agonised about the excess weight and potential discomfort. Now I'll just rethink my packing and see if I can carry the extra items without a sense of extra weight!

Oh, and by the way, you have no idea how many people don't know they need to tighten/pull/adjust their tension straps (load lifters?) from the top of the pack to the top of the straps - I think I tightened about twenty strangers' straps along the way and was always rewarded with a baffled smile of relief (and in one case an impromptu gift of a bottle of Rioja). If you can make just one pilgrim's load a bit lighter, you're doing a good thing!

Linda
 
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max44

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
13th April 2013 leaving. SJPDP via Rome
Hi Linda,
Any tips on the Aura. My friend has that model. I am taking the atmos. I have modified the shoulder strap to connect to the front waist strap so it doesnt cut into my arms. It a non standard configuration, but its more comfortable. The weight is on my hips and the shoulder strips are really just to pull the pack closer and stop it slipping down.
I was only going to half fill the water bladder and use the outside pockets for the extra water. This would give more space inside. Did you have any water leakage issues from the rain? I have sprayed the packs and all seems fine except for the seams at the bottom. I use dry packs inside for clothes as a rule, so this shouldnt be an issue.
Regards
Terry
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I love love love my Aura! I tried a good few handfuls of packs before I settled on it and it was so comfortable I sometimes forgot to take it off when we stopped ... I never used a bladder, I had bottles in the side pockets because I could easily reach them and replace them myself on the go - that dual entry stretch side pocket is a stroke of genius. Because of the curve in the back I packed my very compressed, very light (and too thin) sleeping bag, my Altus and my toiletries bag vertically down the bottom and then the clothes, with medicines and easy-reach items in the front zipped pockets. Stuff too much into the big kangaroo pouch and like you say, it feels too heavy and all wrong. Pack it right and it is very comfortable.
Your strap mod sounds interesting - I found that getting the cross chest strap in the right position was crucial and the ladies' straps felt great to me. The pack is pretty close to waterproof but I can't really say for sure - as soon as rain hit, I was in my Altus rain 'poncho' and kept myself, my pack and all my clothes bone dry. With waterproof stuff sacks you should be fine, the pack dries fast as well.

Buen Camino,
Linda
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I have the similarly constructed Exos from Osprey, and I use the water bladder because my shoulders aren't limber enough to reach back for water bottles in side pockets. However, I do carry a water bottle - empty - one of the commercial bottled water sorts - as it is so lightweight. Then I have a bottle available for refills during the day or for bedside at night.

The second year I walked, I downsized my 3-liter bladder to 2-liter size and saved a half pound.
 

AtlantaPilgrim

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Sept 2013
Linda, thank you for your post. What size Aura do you have - the 50 or 65? What type sleeping bag? You said it was too thin....did you get cold? This all very new to me....planning on starting in Leon in Sept.
Laura
 

Melbrob

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Apr 2013
Hi,

Someone asked a question about Aarn packs - I am using one with the front pockets fitted. This allows me to put some of my load (heavy items such as water) in front which brings my load centre forward and just about matches my CofG.

This may sound strange to some walkers however as ex-military (Hereford trained) I am used to having some of my load at the front. It also reduces the size of the back pack. The front pockets have a space between them so I can still see my feet/ground with no problems.

I find this rig very comfortable BUT, as we all know, much of the equipment you choose depends on personal preference. Use the pack which fits you best - after all you will get to know each other very well.

. . . . and enjoy the experience!

Rob
 
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Deleted member 3000

Guest
All of the weight of the backpack and front pockets on an Aarn is carried by the waist belt. I can run my hands under the shoulder straps at all times. Therefore, it never pulls back on my shoulders to create a neck ache. No matter how I pack my regular backpacks, there is rearward pressure. My model is a bit large for the camino.
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CFx2, CPx1
Kitsambler said:
The second year I walked, I downsized my 3-liter bladder to 2-liter size and saved a half pound.
Downsized the 2 lire bladder to 2x 600ml waterbottles, one carried in each of the lower cargo pocket on each leg of my zip off convertibles.Was converted by a german lass who had walked from Munich. That took two kilos out of my pack each morning and I topped the bottles up at every fountain. You have to hoist you belt a couple of notches for obvious reasons!

Regds
Gerard
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@Laura: Actually, it's the 35 litre! That's the perfect size for a summer Camino - leave more room and you'll just fill it with more stuff. It's amazing how little you actually need!
I brought a silk bag with me, but bought a sleeping bag in Burgos. I have no idea what make it is, but it compresses down to about the size of a paperback book - only round - and weighs a little less than a kilo. This was fine from Burgos to Galicia, but I had my silk bag inside as well. Still some nights I was grateful for a blanket on top of that again. I kept the zip open most of the time (as far as it would go - my feet were nice and snug in the bottom bit) and used it as a duvet. Depends where you sleep too - in old stone buildings it can get quite cold at night, or if you're in the draft from a window. And of course you can always sleep in your fleece and hat!
Starting in Leon in September sounds wonderful - I was about there when I walked last year. Enjoy your planning and packing, avoid panicking and taking stuff you 'might need' - you probably won't, or you can get it when you need it - and do not listen to those who tell you the walk up to O Cebreiro is gruelling and best avoided! It was one of my best walking days, beautiful views and an ancient looking path. Just take your time and enjoy it.

Buen Camino,
Linda
 

Craig Bernthal

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May to July, 2014
Well, as I have said many times before on here, the main thing is to carry as little as possible, less than 4 kilos preferably.
There really is no need to carry much at all - see my packing lists posted earlier, and tested on the camino. If you're carrying less than 5 kilos, including water, then you don't need a "technical" rucsac with hip belt etc, weighing a couple of kilos empty.

My backpack, a 50 kilo Osprey, seems set up for the sleeping bag to be strapped to the bottom. So it would hang below that iliac crest, though everything else will be above it. The last time I did the camino I had a smaller, uncomfortable mummy bag, so I got one a bit bigger with a lot of loft--it won't fit inside the backpack like the other did. What do you think? Shift bag to top? (That doesn't look easy on this particular Osprey.)
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I'm also a fan of Aarm Packs. Been using them since 2004. There are a lot of adjustments that can be made to the Aarn packs to suit individual body shapes - I have the Featherlite Freedom and it is important to get the curve of the back stay exactly fitting your back - well worth the trouble. As well as superb comfort the front balance pickets are really useful for stuff you need to access while walking - water bottles, camera, wallet, credential. I'm so used to the front pockets now it's second nature to put on and off. And never any shoulder, back, or neck strain! We also use the balance pockets as day bags when travelling to and from the Camino - they nicely take passports, pens, tickets etc.

But, as they say, you have to find what suits you, and many people find the front pickets off putting.
 

Craig Bernthal

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May to July, 2014
I'm thinking of going with a 62 kilo Osprey, which seems like it may be a bit much, but it would be so easy to get stuff in and out of. Does anyone go with a pack that big?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
The weight of the pack itself can be a downside of a larger pack.
 
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