The “ideal” weight for a backpack is no more than your body weight, with a lower limit of 6kg and an upper one of 12kg, regardless of your actual weight. If you’re from the US, that’s 13 - 26 lbs.
Making sure you’re staying inside ideal ranges starts with your backpack. It might sound weird now, but you don’t need that much organization, so a good backpack with less dividers is probably not a bad idea. Dividers are “expensive” in terms of weight.
My favorite, which is probably just mine, is the Osprey Exos 38l (the old version with hip and chest strap storage). Since this one’s no longer made, I am now walking with an Exos 48l without those pockets. It weighs less than a kilo, leaving more for your stuff.
Things I bring
Shelter and Clothing
- Backpack, of course - as I said above, I am carrying an Osprey 48. YMMV, find the one that fits your back the best.
- Sleeping bag - When I walk in the summer I just bring a light fleece blanket (~900g) with me, in the winter it’s an ultralight four-season sleeping bag (~1200g).
- Fip Flops for evenings and showers.
- Shorts (Nike baseball shorts) for town evenings.
- Two extra T-shirts
- Two extra underwear
- Tow extra pairs of socks
- Rain cover (poncho or rain jacket) - I opted for a jacket and a plastic bag for my backpack.
- Suspenders and a belt - belt is a must, suspenders in case you lose so much weight, your belt doesn’t do the job anymore. Happened to me.
Hygiene and Medicine
Note: You can buy almost anything on this list in most any town, of which you’ll be crossing multiple on almost any day. Bring the smallest versions you can find, and just replenish on the Camino.
- Light bath towel (I am using a hiking towel made from bamboo as it dries faster).
- Toothbrush and -paste
- Deo Roll On, the small travel version
- all-in-one shower gel, small bottle.
- sunscreen (!! IMPORTANT)
- antiseptic gel
- antiseptic spray
- wound spray
- four band aid, four set of nitrile gloves
- Laundry detergent for your clothes. I brought a laundry soap bar, which lasted me for two Caminos and a few multi-day hikes in between.
- iPhone (see for this and below Tech on the Camino)
- foldable keyboard
- Apple Watch
- Air Pods
- charger for iPhone, Watch, Air Pods, and whatever else I want to charge
- 2x 10’000 mAh batteries
- 4 clothespins - to dry your laundry
- pen, 5 sheets of paper
- pilgrim passport (Credential)
- “contact cards” – see: Friends on the Camino
- passport and copy thereof, both in separate sealed bags
- 1(!) credit card
- 100 € in cash, smaller bills
Additionally, I am carrying four light pack sacks. One for fresh clothes, one for used ones, one for hygiene, and one for technology. They’re color coded, green for fresh, yellow for used, red for hygiene, and blue for technology.