I’ve been noticing that there are backpacks, and then there are BACKPACKS when it comes to The Camino.
I had heard that the Rule of Thumb is “pack ten percent of your weight.” I did just that. And I thought that I was packing the “bare minimum.”
And then I saw what the locals (meaning the Europeans) are carrying.
My goodness, these folks travel light!
Here’s what I’m thinking. The stores back home, in Toronto, while they have heard of The Camino, stock their packs to deal with backpacking in and around Ontario. Meaning, you walk into someplace like Algonquin Park, carrying ALL your gear. That means your basics, tent, cooking gear, food, AND you carry all your crap out. That means all your trash as well. So of course, carrying a 60 to 90 liter pack is fine and dandy. Keep in mind, my pack at empty is 4 pounds.
That is not necessarily the case on the Camino Frances.
For one, European packs are lighter to begin with, like 2 or 3 pounds lighter. And they rarely go over 40 liters, so you really can only pack the basics like a change of clothes and a toothbrush.
That weight difference is such a big deal after twenty days of hard slogging over rocky trails!
My Dad is already thinking of doing another Camino route, but he definitely will not be taking his current pack. He’ll be getting a Deuter, or Osprey, or some other European brand, no more than 40 liters. And yes, he will be packing LIGHTER!