CAMINOLOVERS.COM – FROM PILGRIMS TO PILGRIMS WITH LOVE

Best Backpack for Camino de Santiago – For men, women, different Caminos and preferences

Author:

Published:

Updated:

Affiliate Disclaimer: As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties. This helps supporting our website, so we can continue creating amazing content for you :).

Let me put something straight right at the beginning of this article–there’s nothing like one and only best backpack for Camino de Santiago. Because while some people want to pack super-light (and hence will do well with 30 liters backpack), some prefer carrying more weight and enjoying more comforts on their Camino (and need 45-50 liters or so backpack).

And because a skinny women 5.3 foot tall won’t enjoy the Camino very much, if she walks with a backpack that fits well a muscular men 6.4 feet tall. Having said that, there are a few things that characterize any good backpack for the Camino, and I have also hand-picked some great products for each possible situation you may encounter as a pilgrim (light packing, heavy packing with emphasis on comfort, short camino, super long camino with a lot of wild camping).ย  We will look at all these things on the following lines, so stay tuned and I hope that once you’re done with this article, you will know exactly what to buy for your Camino.

 

Rule no. 1: Before deciding about a backpack to buy, make sure how many things you want to pack

Ultralight packing is the name of the game for many pilgrims (you can later check my ultralight camino packing list for some inspiration on how to get the weight down to 4 kilos), but that doesn’t mean it is a right philosophy for everyone. Me personally, I’ve never walked with a backpack lighter than 8 kilos (including 1 liter of water), simply because I like some comforts on the Camino. Think at least 2 books in print :), an inflatable mattress (which allows me to sleep outside when I feel like that), a mouth harmonica, and such things. And since I am also on a plant based diet, I always have a bit more food with me (think nuts, dried fruits and stuff), because while you can eat vegetarian on the camino, it isn’t always east to get something immediately.

The point I try to make here is that one of the most important characteristics of the backpack is its size. And Camino can definitely be done with 34 or even 30 liters backpack–if you pack light, and take only the most necessary stuff. If you like to have a few more things on you as I do, than you’ll need 45, or even 55 liters backpack. Another thing to bear in mind is that each backpack has a weight it can support, and for some non-hiking backpacks (some people do the Camino with the “city walk” backpack), this can be quite low. If you overload such a backpack, the straps on your back will start to tear from day one, and after a week you’ll need a new backpack, since the original one will simply be broken… Hence this is one of the things to consider.

 

Rule no. 2: Buy a backpack fitting for your body size.

Many people do not know this, but backpacks also have sizes! They aren’t typically that many (often only two, S/M and L/XL), since each good backpack has the adjustable back, so you can make a bit “longer” or “shorter” depending on the length of your torso, but this also has some limits. Hence it is pivotal to get the right size, because if your backpack is too small, you’ll just have pain and develop rash and itches.

And when it is too big (which is actually the worse case scenario) you won’t be able to position it properly on your body, the backpack will be too low on you, and both your hips and back will suffer as a result. Believe me, I have seen more than a dozen of pilgrims quit the Camino simply because they had a backpack too large for their body, and developed injuries because of that. Make sure you won’t make the same mistake!

 

Rule no. 3: Do not try to save too much weight when it comes to straps that help to support your weight on different part o your body.

Of course the weight of a backpack is very important, especially when you try to pack light. There are many backpacks on the market weighting 2.5 kilos (5.5 pounds) and more. You can hardly get your backpack down under 6 kilos when the back alone weights three kilos, without anything inside it yet… However, one place where you should never try to save too much weights are the straps that support the backpack on your chest, and especially the straps that support it on your hips.

Some manufactures make these really thin, trying to save weight. But believe me it isn’t a good idea. These straps should be wide enough and feel comfortable on your body. Only that allows for right weight distribution and will prevent injuries that you will no doubt suffer with a backpack that has these straps super-thin or one doesn’t have them at all.

If you find any information on this page incorrect or outdated, or have a suggestion how to improve it for fellow pilgrims, please let us know. Thank you for helping the pilgrim community, and buen Camino ๐Ÿ™‚

You should also consider the number of pockets (each pocket makes the backpack heavier, especially if there’s a zip), but having virtually no pockets on the backpack (which is the case with the real super-light packs) also comes with a price. Having pockets means that you can distribute the stuff in the backpack logically. Also it allows you to for example have a mobile phone always at hand, without having to actually carry it in your hand :)… To sum it up, less weight is good, but only when the manufacturer of the backpack saves the weight on the right places.

 

My recommended Camino backpacks for various situations, weights, men and women

Okay, let’s dive into this. I will now try to present 1-2 great backpacks for affordable price, for each possible situation on the Camino. You can purchase these backpacks on Amazon, in any of their locations, hence regardless of if you will head to the Camino from the US, Canada, Australia, Asia, or Europe, you should be able to purchase the backpacks. Let’s start!

 

Smaller backpacks for women (lightweight packing)

Let me start with smaller backpacks, for women. The two backpacks I am about to recommend are good if you want to pack light, and do not plan to take a bulky sleeping bag (but rather a small one, or a sleeping bag liner–check my article on best sleeping bags for Camino for more information). They both afford decent support in terms of hip and breast straps, enough pockets, and are reasonably light (both below 0.7 kilograms, or 1.5 pounds) for true light-weight packing. Let’s have a look at them:

Product name
MOUNTAINTOP 35L Hiking Backpack for Women & Man Outdoor Backpack with Rain Cover for Camping, Cycling and Traveling
Osprey Tempest 9L Women’s Hiking Backpack with Hipbelt, Violac Purple, WXS/S
MOUNTAINTOP 35L Hiking Backpack for Women & Man Outdoor Backpack with Rain Cover for Camping, Cycling and Traveling
Osprey Tempest 9L Women's Hiking Backpack with Hipbelt, Violac Purple, WXS/S
Price
Price not available
$138.60
Best for
Quality/Price ratio
Top quality and comfort
Weight
0.89 kilos (1.96 pounds)
0.7 kilos (1.7 pounds)
Capacity
35 liters
34 liters
Recommended for
Pilgrims looking for premium quality and at the same time comfortable & beautiful backpack.
Serious pilgrims
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
I’ve walked once with a girl wearing exactly this very backpack, so had a chance to see it in detail, and also get 1st hand feedback. I have to say that I was quite shocked how inexpensive it was, considering the quality and all the features of this backpack. Highly recommended.
An amazing backpack. You will find all the pockets you need, all the straps, all the zips, simply everything. 34 liters is enough if you pack wisely and light. I am 100% sure you will be more than happy if you get this backpack, and you will use it on many of your long walks and hikes over the years. It comes in three different sizes, (XS-S, S, M/L), so make sure to buy the one that is fitting for the length of your torso)
Product name
MOUNTAINTOP 35L Hiking Backpack for Women & Man Outdoor Backpack with Rain Cover for Camping, Cycling and Traveling
MOUNTAINTOP 35L Hiking Backpack for Women & Man Outdoor Backpack with Rain Cover for Camping, Cycling and Traveling
Price
Price not available
Best for
Quality/Price ratio
Weight
0.89 kilos (1.96 pounds)
Capacity
35 liters
Recommended for
Pilgrims looking for premium quality and at the same time comfortable & beautiful backpack.
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
I’ve walked once with a girl wearing exactly this very backpack, so had a chance to see it in detail, and also get 1st hand feedback. I have to say that I was quite shocked how inexpensive it was, considering the quality and all the features of this backpack. Highly recommended.
Product name
Osprey Tempest 9L Women’s Hiking Backpack with Hipbelt, Violac Purple, WXS/S
Osprey Tempest 9L Women's Hiking Backpack with Hipbelt, Violac Purple, WXS/S
Price
$138.60
Best for
Top quality and comfort
Weight
0.7 kilos (1.7 pounds)
Capacity
34 liters
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
An amazing backpack. You will find all the pockets you need, all the straps, all the zips, simply everything. 34 liters is enough if you pack wisely and light. I am 100% sure you will be more than happy if you get this backpack, and you will use it on many of your long walks and hikes over the years. It comes in three different sizes, (XS-S, S, M/L), so make sure to buy the one that is fitting for the length of your torso)

 

Smaller backpacks for men (lightweight packing)

The same as goes for women section, these are smaller backpacks and you will do with them if you plan to pack light. Needless to say, if you go for a winter Camino or hope take a tent or love to have lot of clothes with you, the size of these backpacks won’t be adequate. But for a pilgrim who’s in Spain for walking and doesn’t mind to wash his walking t-shirt and shorts every day, they are big enough. And good of course ๐Ÿ™‚

Product name
Osprey Daylite Plus Commuter Backpack, Wave Blue
UltrAspire Epic XT 3.0 Lightweight Multi-Day Unisex Hiking Backpack – (Pitch Black, SM/MD (Chest: 27″-42″, Torso: 16″-21″))
Osprey Daylite Plus Commuter Backpack, Wave Blue
UltrAspire Epic XT 3.0 Lightweight Multi-Day Unisex Hiking Backpack - (Pitch Black, SM/MD (Chest: 27"-42", Torso: 16"-21"))
Price
$71.42
$199.95
Best for
Best Quality/Price ratio
Top-notch quality features and design
Weight
0.6 kilos (1.3 pounds)
0.95 kilos (2.1 pounds)
Capacity
34 liters
33 liters
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims
Those who want to stand out, athletes who happen to be doing a pilgrimage ๐Ÿ™‚
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
Amazing backpack from Osprey, the reviews speak for itself… The only downside are the hip straps that could be wider to help distribute the weight better on your body. Other than that, however, it is a great backpack, especially for the price.
This back is just marvelous. Super durable and with attention to utmost details, it will serve you on any adventure–be it Camino, or any other long distance hike, ski trip, or escape to the mountains. Premium things have premium price though, so before getting it make sure you can actually afford it.
Product name
Osprey Daylite Plus Commuter Backpack, Wave Blue
Osprey Daylite Plus Commuter Backpack, Wave Blue
Price
$71.42
Best for
Best Quality/Price ratio
Weight
0.6 kilos (1.3 pounds)
Capacity
34 liters
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
Amazing backpack from Osprey, the reviews speak for itself… The only downside are the hip straps that could be wider to help distribute the weight better on your body. Other than that, however, it is a great backpack, especially for the price.
Product name
UltrAspire Epic XT 3.0 Lightweight Multi-Day Unisex Hiking Backpack – (Pitch Black, SM/MD (Chest: 27″-42″, Torso: 16″-21″))
UltrAspire Epic XT 3.0 Lightweight Multi-Day Unisex Hiking Backpack - (Pitch Black, SM/MD (Chest: 27"-42", Torso: 16"-21"))
Price
$199.95
Best for
Top-notch quality features and design
Weight
0.95 kilos (2.1 pounds)
Capacity
33 liters
Recommended for
Those who want to stand out, athletes who happen to be doing a pilgrimage ๐Ÿ™‚
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This back is just marvelous. Super durable and with attention to utmost details, it will serve you on any adventure–be it Camino, or any other long distance hike, ski trip, or escape to the mountains. Premium things have premium price though, so before getting it make sure you can actually afford it.

 

Bigger backpacks for women (comfort packing)

If you prefer to pack more things, be it clothes, cosmetics, or a one person tent for a nice sleep outside on a hot night, you won’t do with a 30-35 liters backpack. 45 liters is the bare minimum here, and 55 is the norm that will allow you to not only pack your stuff, but at times when needed carry more food on you, or perhaps even a souvenir or two from your pilgrimage :). I handpicked for you one fantastic backpack (beats anything else on offer), and you can see it below:

Sale
Osprey Renn 50L Women’s Backpacking Backpack, Aurora Purple
  • Women’s-specific sizing and fit
  • Fixed top lid with zippered pocket
  • Osprey Daylite compatible with front panel cord loop attachment points

An amazing backpack, comes in 50 or 65 liters variation (for really heavy packing), beautiful colors with 3 options, great hip support, unbeatable reviews, 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds). The one backpack I’ve seen many pilgrims from the US carry, and not a single one was disappointed with it.

 

Bigger backpack for men (comfort packing)

Just like for the women, I have hand-picked for you one top-notch backpack when it comes to quality/price ratio. Backpack big enough to pack a small tent in it and a sleeping mat and everything else you need for the Camino de Santiago:

Osprey Atmos AG 50L Men’s Backpacking Backpack, Black, Small/Medium
  • Included raincover made with PFAS-free DWR and bluesign approved materials
  • Curved zip access on one side of panel
  • Floating top lid with lash points

– The “Creme de la creme” of 50-55 liters backpacks for male pilgrims. Comes with a built-in rain cover, has a perfect location of pockets, super comfy, will endure rough-handling, and basically it’s the one backpack you buy and will take to all your nature trips. Comes in two sizes as well (S/M, L/XL), make sure to pick the right one. The only downside is the weight (almost 2 kilos or 4.3 pounds), however, with this backpack packing ultralight isn’t our goal, hence it isn’t really an issue.

 

Universal backpack for being completely self-sufficient in Spain

There is one more situation you may encounter. Perhaps you want to connect your Camino de Santiago with some mountain crossings, be it in the Picos de Europa, the Pyrenees, or any other mountain range that is close to one of the pilgrimage routes in Spain. And you want to be self-sufficient, meaning being able to cook on your own stove, having a comfortable tent, and clothes for all possible weather extremes, and of course your own food to cook in the mountains. In such a case, you should look for 65 liters backpack or even a bigger one–to have enough space to pack everything. For women, the bigger 65 liters variant of the Osprey backpack I just recommend (read two paragraphs above) will do the trick. For men, I recommend the following gem:

Gregory Mountain Products Stout Men’s 70 Backpack
  • Adjustable Suspension – VersaFit adjustable suspension with 4″ of adjustment and Perforated breathable backpanel
  • FitTune Adjustable Hipbelt – Quick and simple to adjust while wearing the pack, the FitTune hipbelt allows for 4 inches (10 CM) of adjustment for a custom fit.
  • Integrated Safety Whistle – Sternum strap with integrated safety whistle

Very light for its size (just 1.6 kilos/3.5 pounds), has a built-in rain cover, perfect location of side and hip pockets, pretty comfy and durable, great distribution of weight, unbeatable price for this level of quality (similar backpacks of more famous brands start at $300).

 

Final word on the best backpack for Camino de Santiago

As you can see, choosing the right backpack for the Camino isn’t as easy as it seems. It is important buying one of right size, with the right capacity, and also one that will offer enough support and good weight distribution. I tried to give you some ideas and tips on backpacks I tested myself, or at least talked to pilgrims who carried them. In my opinion, it is better going for a more expensive backpack, knowing it will last you for years after the Camino, than buying a cheap alternative that you will throw to the garbage bin once you return home. Because Camino is love, and most pilgrims do come back :). Ideally with the same backpack…. Buen Camino!

Matej

May also interest you:

About the author

Featured Posts