Sitting in the Orisson we all witnessed a rather large German guy stumble through the doors. We had been patiently waiting for him as most of the pilgrims in the room had passed him during the day. He was not a well chap (only had 68% lung capacity), but he was also carrying a humungous rucksack on his back which was not helping his cause.
When you are walking the Camino you will see all types of rucksacks. Many are brand new and popular models such as "Osprey" or "Deuter". It is amusing how you will start looking at other peoples packs and then a warm fuzzy feeling arises when you see a "pack buddy", which is someone who has the same pack as you.
Anyway, one question that I am asked a lot during the preparation workshops for the Camino is "what size pack shall I get?". The answer is not straight forward as it depends on a number of elements.
#1 - What time of year are you going?
If you are walking the Camino from late September to May then you will be carrying more equipment such as additional clothing, perhaps a sleeping bag, wool hat, gloves etc.
#2 - Will you be staying in Albergues or Hotels?
If you intend to stay in hotels or private b&b's / pensions then you will not require any additional bedding or towels.
#3 - Can you manage on the essentials?
The Camino is unlike any other vacation (it is certainly not a holiday). The size of your pack will ultimately be dictated on how much you want to carry. The less you carry the smaller the pack you will need. From experience, the bigger the pack, the more you are tempted to fill it with stuff!
#4 - If you are using the luggage transfer service then who cares?
WHAT SIZE PACK?
In my opinion, the perfect size pack for a person travelling from May to September would be from 38L to 50L and from September to May anything from a 45L upwards. But hey, that is just my opinion and I know others will say differently.
I have met some people who have been extremely happy with dinky 28L packs, but I have never seen anyone on the trail who has been happy carrying larger packs (with exception to my daughter who has an Osprey Atmos 65L, but she hardly puts anything inside it). She likes the larger pack as she is rather tall and it simply fits her torso better.
I thought I would give you an idea of the types of backpack my latest set of pilgrims had and also let you know how they got on with each pack.