Camino Gear

Paring Down the Pack Weight

May 5, 2014
Man with giant backpack

This is a key consideration – how much weight can you comfortably carry?”


Today I learned my lesson…I should have payed closer attention to the veteran Camino walkers and their advice regarding ruthlessly paring down my pack weight.

I walked 19.3 kilometers (12 miles) with a 434.8 meter (1426 feet) elevation gain packing 6.4 kilos (14.1 pounds), inclusive of 3.5 liters of water as there were no refills along the route. By kilometer 11.27, I had decided to replace my 820-gram sleeping bag with a 170-gram silk liner and to toss out a 297.67 gram long-sleeve shirt. By kilometer 14, the 552-gram Tevas as alternate hiking shoes/evening shoes were mentally tossed out the window in favor of a 302-gram pair of Croc-like shoes. Oh, and by the end of the trail, I’d decided to return the 46-liter, 1.5-kilo pack and keep the 36-liter, 1.27-kilo pack.

The thing is, carrying that weight was “do-able” but I realized I had no desire to “do” it.

Thank goodness it was a practice run. I’m a believer…

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  • Jerry Wright September 22, 2015 at 05:53

    Before the Camino when I heard that people would trim the margins from their guidebook pages, I thought they were being excessive. After the Camino, I decided not to carry a guidebook (it really is hard to get lost – like you would have to try) and to trim the excess ends from my pack straps and to only use one pair of boots. Extra weight is just that, “extra”. You don’t want to carry extra if you can avoid it. Ten percent of your body weight or less is what they recommend for pack weight. And for water, you can “camel” up before you leave and just carry enough water to get through a given section.

    Buen Camino

    • Sometimes She Travels September 26, 2015 at 08:00

      I had the same experience, Jerry, when I walked the Camino Francés in 2014 (just after this post was written). There is an interesting thread on the Camino Forum about the arbitrariness of the ten percent suggestion.

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