Today our schedule was pretty much cleared so Robin and I decided to get an early start on packing our Camino gear. We are leaving next Friday, but what the heck its just one less thing to do as Christmas approaches. As you can see we made it. Both packs weigh around 18 pounds. A good portion of that weight is the pack itself (about 5 pounds). That is a bit on the heavy side for a Camino pack, but it includes the front pouches, which are very handy, and waterproof liners for both the pack and the pouches.
We are using the Aarn Peak Aspiration model which delivers about 40L in the main pack and 12L for the front pouches (combined). We are not carrying a lot of gear, but as you can see the packs are pretty full. I don’t think we could get by with a 30L pack that many use at other times of the year. Part of the weight comes from a small camera, and an iPad mini (for blogging). Those two items with the cases, and cables add close to two pounds. The test for me is how the pack carries. Our experience with this pack system has been very positive. We carried basically the same weight last Camino (2010), and had no problems. These packs are very comfortable in this weight range (my only experience), but I believe they would also do quite well with weights up into the 35-40 pound range for through hiking. They have an internal aluminum frame that is light, but not ultra light. The frame transfers the weight effectively to the hip belt. We never feel any shoulder pain, and the hip belt is quite comfortable. Our kit rounds out with Pacer poles, Salomon boots for me (nice wide toe box), and a pair of Merrell mids for Robin. Both pairs of boots are Gore Tex lined.
We always are concerned about lost or delayed baggage, but have decided to accept potential delays for the convenience of checking our gear. We use an inexpensive REI pack duffel that holds everything in the top photo with just a pinch of room left over. The duffel, loaded out, weighs 45 pounds (packs, boots, poles, and clothing we will walk in). We will carry two small daypacks on the plane. These we will mail to Santiago once we get to St. Jean. So with the exception of a few small items related to walking away from our home for 7 weeks we are ready to go. Yes!