Anatomy of a Backpack

Preparing our backpacks for the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain involved a tremendous amount of thought with the challenge being to only take what we can carry 10-20 miles per day.  (Click on the link for a short video explaining the Camino.)


We try to keep the weight close to the recommended 10% of our body weight which really makes weight loss counterproductive. No incentive to lose weight… I can just add pack mule to my resume.


We have packed, weighed, taken out, repacked, weighed, taken out, weighed again and find ourselves adding things we think we absolutely HAVE to take. Sherpa in, Sherpa out, Sherpa in… Latest item added: flashlight that fits on a hat brim. You never know when you’ll be walking in the dark, right? (We may look like nerds but at least you will see us and we will see you!)

My husband is the organized one. He packed everything in ziplock bags and has labeled, numbered and documented each bag on a chart he designed. Organization is not my strong suit, so I will probably throw stuff back into any old bag in haste, anyway. . He did pack my bag for me so I suppose I owe it to him to try to be organized the first day.

Each of us packed:  3 pair underwear, 2 pair hiking socks with 2 pair of liners, 3 quick dry shirts – sleeveless/short sleeved/long sleeved, 2 pair quick dry leggings, 2 pair wind pants, fitted twin sheet/pillowcase, Sherpa (lined rain poncho) light jacket with raincoat, 2 towels, flip flops.  The following were split between the two of us:  toilet paper with roll removed, bar soap in a mesh bag for hand washing laundry and showering, small bag of toiletries, first aid items (New Skin and band aids for blisters, vaseline for feet, pain reliever, etc.) sewing kit, flashlight, compass, Samsung tablet/charger and camera/charger, English/Spanish translator (size of a small calculator) and extra plastic bags. Have I forgotten anything?  Oh, well… as long as I have my plane ticket, passport and debit card I’m good.


Packing in ziplock bags is great when packing for any trip since I don’t like to check bags. Waiting for checked bags just seems like an inefficient use of my time and I don’t own much that is worth waiting for. (Blogging, on the other hand, is apparently worth my time.) I roll the items of clothing tightly, take the air out of the bag and seal. Nice and compact. Extra empty bags, just in case? Wouldn’t hurt. I also try to remember to keep items the TSA want to check in an outside pouch. At least I can try…

Now it’s time to put the backpack on and start hiking. Click on the following link for a short video on fitting a backpack properly:

Fitting your Backpack

O.K, gang… here we go… Buen Camino!

3 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Backpack

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