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Size Of Backpack?

Discussion in 'What equipment should you use and take' started by Janade, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Janade

    Janade New Member

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    I'm planning on starting my Camino Frances on May 1st. However, I will be doing some traveling in Germany and Spain with my daughter for two weeks prior to that. My plan is to use my backpack as my only piece of luggage during the entire trip.

    I'm also an occasional backpacker at home -- and one on a budget -- so ideally, my new pack would also be used when I head off into the mountains, carrying my bulky items - tent, sleeping bag, air mat, food, clothes, etc.

    Because of this, I've been looking at larger packs and I found one I like, but it is 70 liters, with an extra 15 liter daypack that is detachable from the pack. It's got all the features I'm looking for in a pack for both the Camino and backpacking at home -- compartment for my water bladder, rain cover (which also doubles as a duffle bag when checking the pack on flights), adjustable fit, light, good reviews. I like the fact that the detachable daypack can be used when I'm going out for the evening or sightseeing when I have a rest day (instead of lugging the whole pack with me)

    I realize this is quite large for Camino purposes - who really needs 70 liters? If it were only for the Camino, I'd go quite a bit smaller -- but what are the pros and cons of taking a larger pack? As a backpacker, I already know the value of paring down and typically I hike with a 25 pound (11-12 kilos) or less pack, including water - so I won't be tempted to take a lot of stuff just to fill it up.

    I do plan to take a summer weight and very light sleeping bag and perhaps a down blanket (which will take up some of the room in the pack without adding much weight) - but I realize I may not need both as I'm starting the beginning of May. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Janade, and welcome here. You're right, that's larger than usual for going on Camino, but if you don't fill it, the size probably won't matter much. I took my old 50L pack the first time (it had a "brain" on top that holds about 10L additionally) and it was considerably larger than I needed (I didn't like the bulk of it for long-distance hiking), but when I went looking for a 36L pack, the difference in actual empty backpack weight was very little, so if you don't fill a 70L all up, you might be only talking about a little extra weight for the larger pack.

    You can also send a package ahead to Santiago to pick up when you arrive if you want to take more for the first part of your trip and then pare down for the Camino. If you want the details on that, just ask.

    I walked the Frances the second time starting in mid-May and there was sleet coming over the Pyrenees. The weather across the Pyrenees is really unpredictable. If you decide to stay at the albergue in Roncesvalles, just be aware that they have no blankets, so you really have to have your own sleeping bag. Like you, I only take a lightweight one, and it's been enough in very cold weather in the mountains. Some of the municipals also have very little heat. I'm not sure I'd bother with an additional blanket - it adds bulk and weight and you can always wear your warmer clothes overnight to stay warmer in your bag if you have to.

    Another thing is good rain gear, which you probably have all sorted. Sometimes if you manage to get damp or your pack contents get damp, it's kind of miserable trying to get things dry when the weather stays rainy. Roncesvalles in particular has a laundry, but they don't let you do your own, and won't only dry your things - everything gets both washing and drying because they "have a system". Many other places also have laundries with dryers which is really helpful, and if you take a guide, you can choose lodging that has a dryer if you need one.

    Hope that helps. You're going at a good time of year. Buen Camino! Beth
     
  3. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Member

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    If it is a comfortable pack to carry and you're not tempted to carry massive amounts I don't see a problem with the size. A large heavyish pack that carries well tends not to be a problem, just make sure it fits you. Nothing worse than a poorly fitting pack (unless its poorly fitting shoes).

    May is great time in northern Spain. @Crepes4Suzette has covered a lot of good stuff there, I'd just add use a pack liner for anything you want to keep dry.
     
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    You seem to be doing two things on one trip. A visit in Germany followed by the Camino. It might be reasonable to use a two pack system. Have a medium size pack for two or three days of hiking and another with stuff that can be forwarded to a reserved place two or three days ahead. Forwarding with Jacko Trans, or equivalent, generally is inexpensive, reliable and convenient. That way you can have "extras" available and with you. Some of this relates to your level of comfort when away from home. The stuff that you will want in Germany may not be needed in Spain.
     
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  5. Jose

    Jose Well-Known Member

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    Besides tempting you to carry too much weight on the camino, another issue is that you will want to pack the weight high and if the pack is too big that is hard to do. I found that really crucial and I had only a 48 liter Osprey and was trying to invent ways to get the weight up higher even though the pack as not full per se. And that many days of carrying it wrong can be fatal, sort of! I packed my entire backpack and some extra post camino clothes into a rolling suitcase, sent it through from St Jean to Santiago and pick it up when I finished. It worked like a charm.
     
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  6. Maureen3

    Maureen3 Member

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    Janade- I used a 30 liter Deuter backpack on my 20 day trip to Spain (14 as a tourist and 6 on the Camino). I only walked 120 k, but I will pack the same items when I return for a longer trek: 2 tek short-sleeve t-shirts; 2 long sleeve shirts; 1 pr. zip off pants; 1 pr. shorts; 1 yoga pants; 3 pr. underwear; 2 bras; 3 pr. socks; toiletries kit; foot care kit; iPhone; hat; rain jacket; fleece jacket; gaiters; sandals; water bottle; money belt; lightweight sleeping bag; backpack cover; and hiking shoes. I was wearing some of these items, so my pack only weighed 13 lbs. While there wasn't much room for anything else, it worked out fine for me. I think a 48 or 50 liter pack would easily accommodate the extra clothes you need for your earlier travels and like the others have said, just ship them onto Santiago so you don't have to carry any extra weight.

    Buen Camino!
     
  7. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi @Janade 40L backpack is maximum for camino. Any bigger size is good enough only for taking unneeded things. :)
     
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  8. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Janade, for both of our caminos, my wife used an Osprey 48L Kestrol and I used an Osprey 50L Atmos. Neither was overloaded and we had room to spare. One consideration is whether your 70L backpack will fit inside the storage bin for carry on luggage. Ours fit both caminos which was important since we did not want to check the backpacks on to our destination (Madrid) and find out they did not make the flight. There are many stories about this. Steve was delayed by several days when his backpack missed the flight and it forced him to start his camino in Pamplona rather than St Jean. Bob
     
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  9. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Janade and Greetings from Kathmandu, Nepal :)


    You already have had a lot of good info posted and I tend go along with the opinion that a 70 litre Rucksack is far too large for Camino walking, so my own suggestion would be to get a smaller one, (I use a 45 litre one and also carry a super-lightweight sleeping bag and I find this amply big enough for Camino Walking) and pack it empty as part of your luggage (Maybe inside a large case as these are less susceptible to damage on airport carousels)

    Then when you finish your traveling in Germany and Spain with my daughter for two weeks, and arrive at Saint Jean Pied de Port (Or wherever you chose to start your Camino) ready to start your Camino, you can pack your rucksack with the essentials you will need while walking and send the rest of your things to somewhere like http://www.casaivar.com/luggage-storage-in-santiago-de-compostela/

    And the collect them when you get there :)


    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  10. Jose

    Jose Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Don´t take that big of a backpack. Not only will it easily let you take too much, but you will end up packing it heavy on the bottom which is a killer. You want the weight high. Also I agree on packing the pack in a suitcase with poles which you then ship to Santiago. I shipped mine with extra clothes for post camino to the place mentioned here, to Ivar, and it worked like a charm. You can do it through the French post office. Very easy. The people in the post office at Saint Jean know all about it. You will need a lock on the suitcase for them to take it. You can buy a lock at the super market in Saint Jean. Ivar will send you an email when he receives it. His place is up a street in Santiago about 3 or 4 blocks from the plazas surrounding the cathedral.
     
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  11. Iain McKie

    Iain McKie New Member

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    I remember having this debate with myself. I finished up concentrating on the weight I was going to carry which I’m glad I did. 10% of your body weight tops is the advice I took and it worked great. Buen Camino
     
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