The Camino de Santiago without carrying your backpack
Some of the comments that are often heard when talking about making the Camino de Santiago without a backpack are: “Don’t you think that way the Camino loses part of its meaning?”, “If you take the backpack you are not an authentic pilgrim!”, etc.
However, there are so many ways to complete the Camino de Santiago as pilgrims. Each one knows what they can endure physically and how they feel like living the experience. No one has the right to judge your way of pilgrimage and you should not be influenced by this type of comment.
Ten advantages of completing the Camino de Santiago without a backpack
The tradition of carrying the backpack on the Camino de Santiago is something that has been inherited from the pilgrims of the Middle Ages. At that time, it was like this because there was no other option, but today there are alternatives.
There are many companies that offer backpack transportation service on the Camino de Santiago. We offer that service to the people who organize their pilgrimage with Santiago Ways.
It is not necessary to subject our body to more effort than it should to travel many kilometres on foot. Pilgrimage does not have to imply physical suffering and discomfort. Here are some of the advantages of not carrying your backpack on the Camino de Santiago.
You’ll protect your back and joints
The main advantage of doing the Camino de Santiago without a backpack is to take care of yourself. Although the weight of the backpack should not exceed 10% of your body weight, for many pilgrims that is impossible.
Even some people who carry light backpacks experience back pain in the early stages. That malaise only gets worse as days pass by. Other ailments such as joint discomfort or tendinitis are also related to carrying the weight of the backpack for hours.
The route will be easier for you
Not all pilgrims are in the same physical condition, nor the Jacobean routes imply the same degree of difficulty. Making the Camino de Santiago without a backpack will make it easier for you, especially on the hardest stages.
You’ll progress faster on the stages without a backpack
It is great to be able to jump into the Santiago network without having a date to go back home, but not many people can afford that luxury. Most pilgrims have a few days only to do the Camino de Santiago. Not having to carry the backpack will allow you to move faster and therefore you will be able to complete longer stages.
You’ll have a better and more complete kit
If you don’t have to carry your luggage on the Camino de Santiago, you can prepare your backpack without so many limitations. That means you won’t need to spend a part of your time, every afternoon, to wash your clothes. You can wear extra clothes.
This way, you’ll have more time at the end of each stage. Not having to worry about washing your clothes every evening involves more time to rest, to visit the town at the end of the stage or to chat with other pilgrims.
You’ll be more comfortable
The simple fact of not having to carry weight on the Camino de Santiago will make you walk much more comfortably. Both in summer and winter, doing the road without a backpack is more enjoyable.
In summer, the time of year when the majority of pilgrims choose to make the Camino de Santiago, the heat is assured on all the pilgrim routes. Carrying the backpack attached to your back will make you sweat more, increasing your feeling of warmth.
On the other hand, in winter the backpack of the Camino de Santiago is usually heavier because you need to have better equipment. The best way to dispose of all the protection you may need is to hire a backpack shuttle, to transfer it for you.
You’ll avoid the rain giving you a hard time
In northern Spain, downpours are frequent, both in winter and summer. That’s why it’s advisable to wear a waterproof cover for your backpack. However, if the rain is intense it is easy for your luggage to end up getting drenched.
You can use any backpack or case
You can’t carry just any backpack for hours. The backpack for the Camino de Santiago must have specific characteristics. Unless you’ve been on a pilgrimage before or if you’re an experienced hiker, you probably won’t have a proper backpack at home.
If you choose to hire a backpack transfer service between stages, you will save yourself having to buy one. You can use any backpack or suitcase you have at home.
You’ll reduce the possibility of losing things
Carrying your backpack on the Camino de Santiago implies carrying everything. Both the essential things to perform the stage and what you will not use until you reach your accommodation.
Therefore, it is easy that during the stages of the Camino de Santiago you have to take some things out to be able to include others. There are many pilgrims who end up leaving some of their things behind.
You can make visits without worrying about the backpack
You will be able to stop to visit localities that are on your way, without having to be worried about watching out for your backpack. The same thing happens when you sit in a cafeteria or in a square. In our article on advice for making the Camino de Santiago for the first time we discussed it. Thefts are not frequent, but it is necessary not to neglect items of value.
On the other hand, if you make the Camino de Santiago without a backpack, you can get in and out of supermarkets or museums freely. Otherwise, you will have to go to the luggage office to look after it, before entering.
Doing the Camino de Santiago is cheaper without a backpack
The backpack shuttle service on the Camino de Santiago is much cheaper than many pilgrims believe. If you add to the above that you will not have to spend money on buying a specialist backpack, making the Camino de Santiago without a backpack is very cheap.
Frequently asked questions about backpack transport on the Camino de Santiago
If after analysing the advantages that we have just explained, you decide to hire a transport service for your backpack on the Camino de Santiago, you are likely to have some questions. Keep reading, we’ll clear it all up.
Is there a backpack shuttle transport services on all routes?
All the routes on the Camino de Santiago have a backpack transport service. We offer the service of luggage transfer between stages on all the pilgrim paths that we organise.
Can I contract backpack transfers on specific stages?
Yes. But with us, you cannot do this, because Santiago Ways only offers the transfer of backpacks to the pilgrims who entrust us the planning and organization of their pilgrimage.
However, other services, such as the Post Office, do allow you to hire transportation for specific stages. In addition, in the locality from which you want to send your luggage, we’re sure you will also find other offers.
Who walks on the Camino de Santiago without a backpack?
One of the lessons learned on the Camino de Santiago is that each pilgrim loads his own backpack, but this is not always visible. The reasons why a person can decide not to carry the backpack on the Camino de Santiago are very diverse. Now, we explain some of them.
Families travelling with children
Families travelling with children can hardly meet the requirement to wear a backpack that does not exceed 10% body weight. In addition, children generally need more things than adults, especially if they are very small.
The Camino de Santiago is a place for everyone. Despite being a rather demanding trip, many seniors are encouraged to make the Camino de Santiago. Undoubtedly, from a certain age, the musculature of the body is not so strong and injury is much easier.
Many of the older people who make the Camino de Santiago opt to hire a backpack shuttle. In this way, they take care of their health and make sure that they will be able to complete the route without problems.
It is also common that the pilgrims who are injured during the Camino de Santiago decide to continue without their backpack. Having to leave the Jacobean route for an injury is a very frustrating, but a quite common feeling.
The alternative to leaving the Camino de Santiago is to hire a backpack shuttle. In this way, if you suffer from problems with your knees or tendinitis, continuing is possible, after a few days of rest.
People with health problems
Health problems are another important reason why pilgrims decide to make the Camino de Santiago without a backpack. Weight on the back is not recommended for people suffering from back or neck pain.
In the same way, pilgrims who suffer from cardiovascular problems, doctors recommend to them not to overexert. Making the Camino de Santiago in a relaxed way is also possible, especially if you don’t load up the backpack.
Pilgrims with reduced mobility
Some of the routes on the Camino de Santiago, such as the Camino Frances, are suitable for people with reduced mobility. For them to complete the route already presents enough difficulties added, like carrying extra weight.
Carrying the backpack for people who have vision problems is also advisable. The weight of it affects the balance and they are more likely to end up suffering from a fall.
Persons in bad physical condition
Many people decide to do the Camino de Santiago but do not have the proper physical condition. Although it is recommended to train for the Jacobean route ,not all people have time or will to do so.
They still want to live the unique experience of pilgrimage. These pilgrims often decide to make the Camino de Santiago without a backpack. Others do not decide, but the inevitable injuries from physical overload during the early stages obliges them to do so.
Pilgrims who want to avoid injury
The risk of injury increases due to the weight of the backpack. Some pilgrims, aware of this, do not think twice and hire a backpack transport service from the beginning of their journey.
In this article about advice for planning the Camino de Santiago commented that all forms of pilgrimage are valid. Not all people have to make the same effort to complete the Camino de Santiago.
There are people who prioritize their personal preferences to the standards of authentic pilgrims. This is totally valid and is not less pilgrim.
If you don’t believe us, take a look at this article about the origin of pilgrims and their pilgrimage , Do you think that illustrious pilgrims carried their backpack? They were the first pilgrims.
There are people who decide to complete the Camino de Santiago by bike. Some cyclists do not have enough dexterity to complete stretches of unstable surfaces.
That’s why a lot of people decide to hire a transport service. This way the bike is easier to handle and they are less likely to end up skidding on the descents.
It is also common for people who wish to intersperse sections by bike with stages on foot to make the Camino de Santiago without a backpack. Some sections are not suitable for bicycles, so depending on the characteristics of each stage, they use the bike or complete it on foot.
People who don’t know how to travel with a light backpack
Finally, there are people who are unable to travel with light backpacks. I’m sure you also have a friend that every time you go out on a trip, no matter if it’s 3 days, they take a huge suitcase with them.
For this type of people, it is best to do the Camino de Santiago without a backpack. Otherwise, they will end up leaving the road during the early stages due to excess weight.
We hope that the information we have provided you has been useful. If after reading this article, you still think you want to carry your backpack on the Camino de Santiago, do not forget to consult our advice on what to take on the Camino de Santiago and how to prepare your backpack .
Remember that in Santiago Ways we have many years of experience accompanying hundreds of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago . So, if you wish to complete the Camino de Santiago with a guide or if you are looking for an agency that will help you organize the Camino de Santiago (itinerary, accommodation reservations, insurance and backpack transportation), do not hesitate to consult us.