To give a brief overview, Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage performed to reach the cathedral where St. James is said to be buried. This journey can take from 10 to 30 days, depending on which route you choose, as well as how often you take breaks and detours. Many pathways will lead you to Santiago de Compostela, but nine ways have mainly gained popularity.
Out of these nine, Camino Frances is the most popular and also one of the longer routes. As suggested by the name, it starts in France and is 800km from both mountains and flat plains. If you want to go for a shorter pilgrimage, you can begin at the last 100km of this path and reach your destination in a week.
Through this long journey, you will need a bag to carry your belongings. Read on to our best selections for hiking backpacks.
Best Backpack For Camino de Santiago
Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0 Backpack
You can think of this backpack as armor for all your valuables. It will protect them against all kinds of weather, especially rainfall, as is it water-resistant. You can store in your camera, phone, or other electronics without having to worry about them getting wet.
If you want to carry your laptop, there is a padded sleeve present in the main compartment. This pocket can otherwise just be used to store fragile items.
A bonus of this pack is its compartment for keeping shoes at the bottom. It never hurts to have a spare pair of boots handy, in case the ones you are wearing become soaked or damaged.
Besides the shoe compartment, there are two main compartments to keep bulkier items, five external pockets for objects you want to access quickly, and two smaller waterproof pockets for valuables.
PUMA Evercat Contender 3.0 Backpack
To be an actual puma on this journey would be so much more efficient. Sadly, we have to move at human speeds and pause due to bodily constraints.
Considering this is a sports bag, you might think it doesn’t have much room for a ten-day journey. However, the size is perfect, so you are not tempted to overfill the bag. It will carry all essential items, without weighing you down.
This backpack also provides comfort while you are walking. Having a padded back, you will not feel a load of your belongings digging into your spine. The straps are also wide, which will help with ease of carrying.
The North Face Borealis Backpack
Off the bat, I would like to mention that North Face has an extensive range of colors for this particular pack.
While color may not be the most significant factor in deciding which bag to buy, but it is a plus if your favorite color is on their list. My personal preference would be the black and red combination, or the camo style one.
With a length of 20 inches and a width of about 8 inches, there are 29 liters of room to keep your possessions. The straps are also 15-inch long to make sure it is held securely on your shoulders.
The bag itself is lined with polyester, which will keep your things moisture-free, and there is less of a chance that the material would tear.
adidas Prime Backpack
Adidas is another famous sports company that is known for making high- quality products. When buying this bag, your mind can be at peace knowing that even if you opt for the 30-day trek, this brand will not fail you.
Not only they are made of durable polyester material, but they also have reflective lining along the edges, which will glow during night time. This reflective panel will be helpful when it gets dark, for heightened visibility.
Despite its sleek design, the bag is very roomy and will be able to store clothes, shoes, non-perishable food items, and even a blanket. Five pockets can securely be zipped up and aid in the organization of objects.
MARCHWAY Tactical Molle Hydration Pack
This tactical backpack looks very similar to military-style packs. They even come in camouflage colors for an authentic military feel. A stand-out factor for this pack is its 3-liter hydration bladder, which is included in the package.
The bladder can be kept easily in its space inside the bag, and you can drink from the attached tube without having to take the whole bottle out.
The bladder mouthpiece can be fully rotated to control the flow of water, and a refill tube will fill the bottle up. You can fill in water from any streams and lakes in your way, or a guest hotel or shop. Besides the hydration factor, the bag is fully padded and has a sleek appearance.
You can store shirts and pants in the front pockets, along with a few toiletries.
TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack
When you look up hiking backpacks, this kind of style is the most common. This bag is large, with a volume of 55 liters. Even though there is ample storage capacity, I would suggest not filling it to the brim. Keep in mind, you continuously need to walk, and at times walk uphill, which will not be easy to do if there is too much weight on your shoulders.
There is a separate pocket for placing your sleeping bag in. When you feel tired, you can use the compression straps on the pack to secure your sleeping bag while you take a refreshing nap.
This sports pack also comes with a rain cover. If you are ever caught in a downpour, you might get drenched, but your bag will remain moisture-free.
Venture Pal 40L Backpack
If you are undertaking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage alone, you will need a pal by your side. Think of your bag as your travel buddy in this venture. It will not have a stimulating conversation with you, but it will hold all of your possessions.
Also, if you need to store the bag itself in a suitcase, it will fold into its own pocket and will be compact enough to carry.
This backpack also has a large storage capacity with 40 liters. Since it is larger in size, you can use the chest buckle to secure it while on your journey thoroughly. Within the bag, there is a separate wet pocket. This pocket will cater to any sweaty or dirty laundry that you want to keep away from clean clothes.
Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack
As the name suggests, this pack also contains a hydration bladder. You might think the bladder will take up most of the storage, but that is not the case. The bottle will be in an insulated compartment that will keep your water cold. Then you have an additional three compartments to keep your clothes, wallet, phone, etc.
The gear backpack was specifically designed to be used during outdoor activities such as hiking. It is lightweight, has a breathable material through which air will pass, and there is padding present inside the shoulder straps for maximum comfort.
ZOMAKE Lightweight Packable Backpack
When packing for a trip, at times, you overestimate the number of items you would need. This trip, in particular, is more about a spiritual getaway rather than spending time on your electronic devices.
I am not saying you should not bring those devices with you; you can keep them in a hotel while you use this bag as a daypack. You can fold this bag into its pocket and bring it in a giant suitcase.
Once you start the traveling part of your journey, you can place up to 30 liters worth of items inside this bag. As there are many separate pockets, you can organize your things according to preference.
High Sierra Loop Backpack
I think I still have the heart of a child because I get very excited about innovative patterns and colors on top of backpacks. They are a nice change from the regular blues and blacks.
The most annoying thing that could happen while you are walking is when the strap of your bag keeps sliding off your shoulder. This sierra loop bag has adjustable straps that you can change according to your height. They are also padded, which helps in distributing weight rather than being concentrated in one place.
If you want to attach extra gear to the pack, the compression straps will help reinforce items such as sleeping bags.
Best Backpack for Camino de Santiago Buying Guide
As I mentioned in a product review above, you should not opt for a huge bag. Keep in mind; this trip is a minimum of 10 days on foot. Carrying yourself for that time is troublesome enough, without having to hold extra weight as well.
A pack that is from 20-50 liters at max should be sufficient for your needs. There are also other features you should keep in mind before making a purchase:
If you do not know your own body measurements, I suggest you pull out a measuring tape. Preferably, do not buy a bag bigger than your torso and the girth of your hips. An oversized bag will be quite a discomfort to carry around all day.
Next is breathability. Make sure the bag either has mesh or similar material that will let air flow through. This pack will be on your back constantly; if the material does not have ventilation, you will feel sweaty and itchy.
Finally, it would be best if you looked for backpacks that are padded. This padding should be present at the pack, shoulders, and any additional chest or waist straps. These help to take the strain off your shoulders.
But also keep in mind, too much padding will make the bag will bulky and unmanageable.
You will find most backpacks are made from nylon. Nylon repels water and keeps the contents inside the pack, dry. It is also a lightweight and breathable material, that is not very prone to tears.
As the size and number of features on a pack increase, so does its price. You need to make sure you stick to your budget and requirements, especially if the bag if only going to be used for this journey only. You do not want to overspend on a bag that will not be used later.
You can find all of your basic needs covered in a mid-range pack, but if you feel like splurging, go for the highest quality and value for money you can find.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I keep inside my backpack?
You do not want to overload yourself with items, that rather than enjoying the hike, you are more worried about your belongings. It would help if you ideally had a spare change of clothes, toiletries, water, canned food, and tools such as a swiss army knife that will aid you while camping.
Should I only keep one change of clothes for over ten days?
You can keep two or three shirts and a change of pants. It would help if you also kept spare underwear and socks, as those delicates are the most likely to be contaminated. Throughout your journey, you will encounter water sources where laundry can be cleaned and dried overnight.
Will I be in the forest throughout my journey?
If you are worried about not having a proper track to follow, you can set aside those fears. These paths were paved long before you were born. They are also populated with guesthouses and restaurants if you want a break from the pilgrimage.
You will go through plains, fields, mountains, and all the stunning scenery you can take in for a trip.
Will I need to keep a sleeping bag with me?
That entirely depends on your hiking plan. If you do not want a bulky sleeping bag, you can keep a towel or thick sheet that you will be able to sleep on.
Otherwise, for an extended trip, a light sleeping bag will be recommended. You can also choose to stay in hotels instead of with the pilgrims.