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Backpack Weight

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by JJB, May 17, 2017.

  1. JJB

    JJB Member

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    This may be a silly question, but when people are talking "backpack weight" are they including the clothes on their body, hiking boots and full hydration packs?

    I leave May 29th and my 36 liter pack, all inclusive is about 20 lbs. (9 kilograms). I am just not sure how I get it any lighter. This includes the weight of the pack, everything I am taking and wearing, hiking poles, hiking boots and 1 liter of water.
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - Yes, when talking about backpack weight it's all you described. Some may not include water weight, but I like to. I found my 9 kg, 36L pack last year was too much. This spring, I cut it down to 6.25 kg and it was a dream to carry. If you check out my Portuguese blog below, I just reposted a couple days ago my packing list and item weights. There are really only two ways of cutting down weight: lighter items or fewer items. I was very weight conscious about everything I acquired for this last Camino and therefore only bought lightweight items. Almost all of my items were also multi-functional. Walking with such a light pack made a big difference and I had everything I needed. Buen Camino!
     
  3. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Member

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    Generally your worn clothes, footwear and poles are left out of carried pack weight (includes pack).
    Your base weight doesn't include those or consumables - food, fuel & drinks, but does include everything else. Without your worn things you're not far above the 6kg maximum that many people aim for.
     
  4. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    An interesting question – And in truth, one I have never really thought about before – I have always assumed that pack weight was just that, the weight of what you actually have in your rucksack – Personally, I have always calculated this on the maximum weight that this might be, so that would be me wearing my most minimal clothes (Boots, one pair of socks, shorts and T-Shirt) but include everything else (Waterproof jacket and gaiters that I might actually be wearing some of the time) including water and snacks.

    It will be interesting to see how other people determine this ;-)


    But I certainly agree with Wily that the lighter your pack is, the happier you will be :)

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  5. keithlundy1

    keithlundy1 Member

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    Hi JJB, What all the guys say is absolutely true, weight is key between a painful and a comfortable walk. Two years ago when I walked it my pack was just over 10kg and I found it way to much. I made the mistake of telling myself, yes I need a that, oh I'll take a spare one of those, let me tell you, you don't need them. Pack minimal gear to get you through as anything you need you can purchase on the Camino. Last time I stayed in an Albergue everyday and I can honestly say I could have reduced my weight by half. In July when I walk it again my aim is to camp out for 3-4 days at a time then have one day in an Albergue to refresh and do laundry and things so I do need to take a bit extra than most and of course I have my tent and ground sheet as extra. My gross weight is under 9kg so I'm quite happy with that but if this is your first Camino ask as many questions as you can think of, there will always be genuine advise and support from the guys. Leslie gave me so much advice the first time but I thought I knew better, I even gave some of my clothes away to reduce the weight. You'll be surprised at how much your upper body strength can endure, it's all about your legs and feet because when you start climbing those really steep hills you will dread all the things you wished you'd left at home. It will take you about 4-5 days to build your walking legs and those days are the hardest. Try and prepare and definitely get some leg work training in before you go, it will serve you well. Have a good and safe journey, Buen Camino Keith, Norfolk
     
  6. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi JJB,
    your backpack is very good in size, so there is not very big chance to take "only if" things. So as it was mentioned before - minimum things is a key (one or two pair of socks, one or two t-shirts, microfibre towel,rain cover/poncho...etc..medicine...) Then weight of gear - backpack weight not much more than 1kg, replace sleeping bag to cover blanket. water bladder replace with plastic bottles from juice -it weight only few grams!-One soap bar is ca 100grams, etc. Shoes and flip-flops..What next? If you think that everything in your backpack is ok and still heavy, write your pack list here :)
     
  7. James Orrock

    James Orrock Member

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    Hi there, Wily. Thanks for your gear list embedded in your Camino Portuguese blog. I assume your base layer items (long sleeve shirt and pants) are to be worn as sleep wear / pyjamas ? Also, was a ball cap sufficient to keep the Meseta sun off your head and neck and was one 500 ml water bottle enough for the longer walk stages?
     
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  8. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi James

    Just replying on the baseball cap question. I think you should be ok with a baseball cap but be sure to ensure the back of your neck and ears are well covered in sunscreen. This year in Burgos I found a Salomon baseball (XA+) cap which had a detachable flap ( a bit like a Kepi) which covers the neck. It came in really handy when the sun got up and is very light with air-holes in the top (I think it was originally designed as a running cap. Here is a link to their site - http://www.salomon.com/int/product/xa--cap.html?article=393041

    I think in general a 500 ml bottle is ok so long as you fill up regularly. I tend to bring two 500ml water bottles but one with the possibility of buying a plastic bottle of water where necessary should be enough. There are however some stages where there can be some distance between fuentes and/or cafes/bars. This year between Villafranca Montes de Oca and San Juan de Ortega we walked almost 12 kms without seeing any fuentes. And Villafranca itself was pretty short on facilities (possibly because we were walking very early in the season).

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey James - My base layer of a long sleeve shirt and pants were primarily used as sleep wear. However, wanting to make sure everything was multi-purpose, I knew that I could also wear them hiking if the weather so demanded. As I think about tweeking my packing list for next time, I might very well add a second long sleeve shirt. That way, I could have one designated sleeping shirt while another for chilly mornings or evenings. Layering is the way to go! Being able to put on or take off items will cover you in most situations.

    I found my ball cap sufficient for the Meseta, but I also generously covered my neck with sun screen. Greg's suggestion of a Kepi-style had is also a good idea. As long as you're prepared for the sun you'll be fine.

    Although I was fine with one 700 ml bottle, some folks drink more than I do. Generally, being able to refill your bottle or pick-up a drink in a convenience store is not a problem. I was very conscious of keeping hydrated particularly on hot days. My go-to drink mid-mornings was Gator-aid or Power-aid that I'd pick up on a rest break. However, there are a couple stretches where carrying a bit more water or an extra drink would be recommended. That extra 500 ml bottle is only going to add 0.5 kg to your weight which becomes even less as you consume it. Buen Camino!
     
  10. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    On the hydration issue mentioned by Wily, I used dioralyte or the spanish equivalent at least every second day. These re-hydration packs are generally used to treat diarrhoea and are very efficient at keeping your electrolyte levels up and preventing dehydration. They come in powder sachets for mixing with water. There are a number of different flavours (I didn't find any of them particularly appealing!).

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  11. James Orrock

    James Orrock Member

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    Hi there, Wily and Greg et al. As always, many thanks for your helpful explanations and suggestions. Regarding sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade I normally find them repulsive to drink except after a period of sustained exercise. I jog in the annual City2Surf fun run each August from Sydney to Bondi Beach and I sure love drinking that orange stuff along the 14 km course.
     
  12. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander Well-Known Member

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    Like James, I am a runner, so am well stocked with tech clothing and gear, which mixed well on the Camino. My runner ball hat was great just as Wily said, but I also had a buff, which was nice on my neck on cool Oct mornings, or just tucked in back of by ball hat to provide the kepi-type neck covering...which worked fantastic. It also worked as a nice eye cover in places we stayed that may have had a little more light at night. My wife hates wind blowing in her ear, so she used hers as a head band/ear cover at times.
    My runner shorts worked as sleep wear, and as light hiking pants for those hot days, and the light long sleeve was a base layer.
    My two pair of pants were conversion so I had long and short pants. Kept the weight way down that way.
    I also had a 2L Camel back, wide mouthed for easy fill, which I rarely filled to 2 L, 1 was fine most days as you could fill up at lunch at cafes, bars, pilgrim water stops, etc.
     
  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey CW - I had forgotten to mention getting/wearing a buff. My wife and I both wore one in Portugal and it was great to have. If someone isn't familiar with it, it's a simple tube that can be fashioned into a number of different forms based on your need. As I basically wore it as a bandana, it kept the sun pretty much off my neck. My wife preferred it as a head band. There are a number of them now available in "camino prints." So instead of getting a more generic one before you leave, just grab one at any number of stores in SJPP. It makes for a nice, practical souvenir of your trip that you can then use once you return home. Buen Camino!
     
  14. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Member

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    Buff's also make great pillow cases on inflatable travel pillows. Great combo for comfort on planes, for an afternoon nap between towns or an extra pillow at night. Love buffs and so amazingly multi purpose.
     
  15. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Thanks everyone. Once again this forum has been terrific. Here is my list of items:
    36 liter Osprey pack with hydration bladder
    1 pair, size 11 moab hiking boots
    2 pair Wright double layer socks (the supposed blister proof ones)
    1 pair smartwool thin hiking socks and liner
    1 pair of hiking pants with zip off bottoms
    2 pair of hiking underwear (exofficio)
    1 pair of end of day shorts
    2 dry fit t shirts
    1 long sleeve tshirt
    1 long sleeve fleece
    1 end of day shirt
    1 1 season superlightweight Lafuma sleeping bag
    1 inflatable pillow
    1 Columbia rain jacket
    1 safari type hat
    1 xero trail sandals
    winter hat and gloves (to be discarded after the Pyrenees
    hiking poles
    lightweight towel
    Toiletries :(Ivory Soap for showers and laundry, travel toothpaste and brush, dental floss, ibuprofen, electrolyte packs, antiseptic packs, blister kit, fish oil pills, sunscreen, antiperspirant (travel), needle and thread kit), hiking goo
    Electronics IPhone, charger, headphones, Spanish adapter and wires.
    Miscellaneous: Guide book, hydration scarf, travel duct tape, clothes pins, sun glasses, plastic bags, toilet paper

    Anything I am missing? Anything I can cut out? Anything I can trade for something else (rain jacket vs poncho: sleeping bag vs silk liner)
     
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  16. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Member

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    Pretty good set up

    You might want to get rid of the winter hat and gloves, its late enough in the year that you'll probably not need them. You've 4 shirts, leaving one of the short sleeve ones mightn't cause you any hassles.

    You could switch to a poncho fairly easily, especially as it can double as a pack cover. :)
     
  17. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. All good advice.
    One other question for those who have travelled the Camino before. I was told Voltaren (Diclofenac) can be purchased at Pharmacy's in Spain. This is a topical anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. In the USA it is only prescription based and is pretty expensive. Has anyone purchased this in Spain?
     
  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - Because if my wife's sore, swollen knee, we used two different anti-inflammatory creams on our journey: Airtal Difucrem and Ibufen. Both were readily available in pharmacies. It seemed to us that the Ibufen was the more effective of the two products. We applied it to her knee everytime we took a break. The Spanish pharmacists are the best! They will be able to help you with most ailments you might have to contend with Buen Camino!

    IMG_0608.JPG IMG_0814.JPG
     
  19. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander Well-Known Member

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    One item that I found worked really well (along with my incredible Wright socks!) was the use of a skin lube on my feet before putting on my socks.
    I used a running lube called sports slick, which didn't sweat off...and was anti-fungal, antibacterial, and just needed a dab to lube toes and sole. Also can be used to help any areas that tend to rub ...some of you know of what I speak!
    Managed to make it with-out a loss of toenail or a blister! And no, I don't work for the company...but am loyal and supportive of items I find have great value to me. slide5.jpg
     
  20. James Orrock

    James Orrock Member

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    Hey, CW what's the weather like in Alberta today? It is late Autumn / Fall here in Sydney but we had a beautiful sunny today about 23 degrees Celsius. I haven't seen the Sportslick product in Oz but I use an anti-fungal cream on long walks which is a very effective preventive agent against athlete's foot and chafing.
     
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  21. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    I bought my Camino buff in Zubiri. They really are fantastic and so versatile.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  22. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    hi JJB

    As Wily says, you will have no problem getting Voltaren (or Voltarol) as it's called here, over the counter in Spain. And yes you will find the pharmacists there really helpful and understanding of the pergrino problems.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  23. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey James - I'm not familiar with the Sportslick product. However, a similar product that is recommended for chaffing and as an anti-blister agent is Bodyglide. We used this religiously every morning on the CP and it seemed to do the job! No blisters! It's not an anti-inflammatory cream like Ibufren, but when applied to the feet before taking off in the morning it might be just what you're looking for. Hopefully, it's available in Oz or at least through amazon.com down your way. Buen Camino!
     
  24. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander Well-Known Member

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    Weather here is a beautiful spring high of 29, a little warmer than the norm...but some occasional light rain to keep the grass growing like crazy.
    I have used body glide as well, they sell it here like a underarm deodorant tube. Not bad, but I prefer the squeeze tube to rub it all up in there.
     
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  25. Debbie

    Debbie New Member

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    This is incredible. You guys are the greatest. So much information but still with a lot of questions on transportation, weather and what a 63 year old woman in reasonably good shape should pack. I want to travel to Lourdes in France, complete the Camino and the go on to Fatima in Portugal. I have a friend traveling with me who is a little younger but has completed half of the Camino. We hope to travel at the end of August and complete the journey the first week in October. How's the weather at this time of year there. I have seen the weather reports but hope that someone has travelled this during this time of year. I also have been told that I should only carry 10 percent of my body weight which is only about 12 pounds. I have read so many of your comments on what to pack and I am ready to start the purchase of my pack and all that should go in it. On one hand I am a creature of comfort to some extent but I want to experience the Camino but not be weighed down during the experience. I have been doing a lot of research but still unsure. Any help would be greatly appreciated. God Bless you all for your helpful comments!
     
  26. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Debbie - Welcome to the Forum. I've walked earlier in the year so let me just comment about pack weight and what to take. I'm not generally a fan of the 10% rule since it can vary so greatly based on a person's body weight. It doesn't make sense to me that a larger person needs more stuff! However, based on your body weight, the 10% rule is pretty close to what you want to be taking. Keeping the weight down that you carry will allow trekking a backpack around much easier. My wife and I did the Camino Portugués last month and we limited what we carried to 6.25 kg or about 13.75 pounds and that included our water. For both of us, that weight was significantly below the 10% mark. If you visit my blog below, I recently reposted my packing list with item weights. We both used a 35L Osprey pack. You don't need anything larger! Clothes were carefully selected for both weight and function. Most items were multi-purpose. Layering allowed us to reduce the number of items we had to carry. Along The Way, there is ample opportunity to wash clothes. You, in fact, don't need much! I would also point you to a couple posts Laurie Ferris made regarding her packing list under the "What equipment should I use and take?" link on this forum. So, take your time to carefully select what you're taking and limit it to "essentials" while leaving the "extras" or "what ifs" at home. To walk far, carry less! Buen Camino!
     
  27. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Debbie and welcome to the forum

    Lots of good advice from Wily already. As he says, it's all about the weight and ensuring that you bring only what you need, not what you think you might need. Remember there is nothing that you might need that you will not be able to source in Spain (apart from perhaps personal medicines).

    Light weight technical clothing wicks moisture away from the body and washes and dries very quickly. Light weight walking shoes are also and essential. No point in being careful with your pack and then wearing heavy shoes!

    In relation to the weather, I have walked in late September/early October. The weather was in general very good although we had some very very hot days (get out walking early!). We did have one or two days rain but that is really it. In future for that time of year I will be bringing a very light jacket and a rain poncho (I got a nice light one, that packs down into a little square, from my local scout shout).

    If you are worrying about having to bring more than you would like to carry there are baggage transport services such as JacoTrans and Correos. They will take your bag from stage to stage. The cost is usually from €5 to €7 per stage.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  28. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Debbie - Let me reinforce Greg's comment regarding good, light footwear. Your shoes will probably be your single most important piece of gear for your Camino. He and I both wear a light weight Merrell hiking shoe. You'll also see a lot of folks choosing a good trail running shoe as well. What's most important is that the shoe you pick fits you well. There are many good shoes available so, if you don't already have them, try a number of them on so as to find the best one for your feet. Break them in well and train wearing them along with your backpack to prepare for your Camino. As it is a long trek, already being in reasonably good shape is a real plus. The better shape you can get in prior to your walk will definitely have a positive effect and pay big dividends . Buen Camino!
     
  29. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi @JJB your packing list is quite good.
    For me there is few things that are not necessary: winter hat and gloves, and fleece.. Instead of fleece take thin jacket with membrane(wind proof).You will walk in June, so maybe except very few days it will be quite hot weather. Use layers, so if you want, take another one thin long sleeve t-shirt.
    Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
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  30. Newforest john

    Newforest john Member

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    Hi.

    I've just hiked 235 miles along the swcp and my pack weighed 10KG and that included my tent and sleeping stuff. 9kg and no tent is way to heavy. Take everything out and really ask yourself do I need it. I'm sure you can cut that down to 6kg and it will make all the difference.

    I'm going back to finish the SWCP, last 70 miles but this time B and B and my pack is under 6kg.
     
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