How to choose a good backpack for the Way of Saint James?
The pilgrim faces in each stage to Santiago de Compostela more than twenty kilometres walking with all his belongings loaded on his back. Excess weight or poor distribution can cause discomfort in the pilgrim and even neck contractures and knee injuries.
During the descent and ascent of slopes, the backpack can be a key factor to deal with them. According to physiotherapist Dani Keral, the weight you carry should not exceed 10 to 15 per cent of your body weight. If you exceed this, your knees will suffer from the load.
It is best not to take a backpack too big to avoid carrying too much weight. It is advisable to use one with a capacity of 35-40 litres. The Way of Saint James involves physical effort, so carrying more weight would complicate the pilgrimage.
When choosing a model, it should be considered that the backpack should bear the weight on the pelvis and not on the shoulders. The best way to check this is to try it on before the walk. The weight should be felt on the hips, and there should be a gap between the shoulders and the shoulder strap of the backpack.
Also, it is important that the backpack is height adjustable and has several compartments. In case of doing the Way in the rainy season, you should get a waterproof cover or make sure that the backpack itself is waterproof.
As a last tip, weigh your backpack before setting off. If your luggage weighs more than strictly necessary, you should get rid of unnecessary things to face the Way of Saint James de Santiago in the best possible conditions. The backpack should weigh between 10 and 15 per cent of your weight, approximately six kilos for women and eight kilos for men.
If you cannot carry your backpack, there is a very economical alternative. Some companies will transport your luggage to a specific place of arrival. Usually, the cost is three euros, and it is a good plan if you have already booked the hostel.