You’ve decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, and now it’s time to search for the best backpack for your trip! There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best backpacks for Camino de Santiago. How long is the Camino you are taking? Are you traveling alone, or with a companion? Are you packing heavy, or light? The considerations are endless.
If lugging a backpack around doesn’t serve your spiritual journey, or if you have a physical impediment to carrying heavy weights, you can pay to have your backpack transported ahead of time to each planned stop. Nifty, right? Several companies offer this luggage delivery service. Correos, Camino Facil, and Pilbeo are the three main companies that offer luggage transfer on the Camino de Santiago. It’s super easy. You just leave your backpack in the morning at the reception of your albergue or hotel, and the delivery service will pick it up and drop it to your next accommodation place! It’s pretty affordable at just 5-6 euros per backpack, per stage. That means if you’re planning to use this service on the Camino you can have the luxury of just walking with a day pack that holds only valuables, water, and snacks!
Top 8 Best Backpacks for Camino de Santiago
Best for Men:
Osprey Talon 44 Men’s Hiking Backpack
Best for Women:
Osprey Tempest 40 Women’s Hiking Backpack
Best for Kids:
Best for Carrying a Child:
Osprey Poco Child Carrier
Fengdong 40L Waterproof Backpack
Loowoko Hiking Backpack
Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack
Best Backpack Raincover:
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Best for Men: Osprey Talon 44 Men’s Hiking Backpack
In a Nutshell:
- Adjustable shoulder straps to ensure a perfect fit
- Zippered hipbelts, side stretch mesh pockets, harness pocket and top-lid storage
- Sleeping bag access
- Easily attach trekking pole
The Osprey Talon 44 Men’s Hiking Backpack just might be the best backpack for your Camino journey. With plenty of storage, you can fit all your essentials for the walk. The attachments and pockets almost seem endless – storage that will definitely come in handy on the Camino! The side compression straps are great for securing items like tent poles,if you’re choosing to camp, or take a bed mat with you! It’s top loading with a large top lid pocket that makes it super easy to grab whatever’s on top.
One thing to note is that even though the load rating is 40lbs, it’s probably closer to around 25-30 lbs. That being said, we definitely recommend giving this Osprey backpack a little trial run before you set off! The last thing you want is to find yourself struggling with weight related woes on the road to Santiago!
Best for Women: Osprey Tempest 40 Women’s Hiking Backpack
In a Nutshell:
- Stretch mesh pockets on both sides
- Top lid
- Adjustable shoulder harness
- Two zippered hipbelt pockets
- Trekking pole attachment
- Removable sleeping pad straps
Ladies, the Osprey Tempest 40 Women’s Hiking Backpack ticks all of our boxes! We actually couldn’t find any cons. This backpack looks compact – and it is! It’s almost hard to believe that it offers so many pockets, inside and out to hold everything you might need. Keep in mind it comes in two sizes, x-small/small and small/medium fitting a torso size up to 20 inches.
While undergoing the Camino, you really don’t want any extra baggage – in both senses of the word. Extra ‘baggage’ on the Camino often reveals itself in the form of chafing, and blisters. This can be caused by ill-fitted, poor quality backpacks that distribute weight badly. Luckily for you, this one does not!
Best for Kids: Deuter Kikki
In a Nutshell:
- Reflective paneling for extra visibility
- Roomy main compartment
- Nine color choices of a cute animal friend flap
- Side cargo pockets
- Drawstring closure
The Deuter Kikki Backpack is just as adorable as its name. This lightweight companion is definitely the best backpack for kids to walk the Camino de Santiago! The two side pockets allow easy access to a water bottle, or a snack for when your little one needs a pick me up (we all know that’ll happen for sure!). Also, we love that this bag’s clips are easy to use for little hands!
While the side pockets could definitely be bigger, we still find them to be super functional. This backpack is so useful that after you’re done with the Camino, instead of retiring it for the next family holiday, perhaps it can be repurposed as a school bag!
Best for Carrying a Child: Osprey Poco Child Carrier
In a Nutshell:
- Built-in sunshade
- Adjustable torso for proper fit
- Weight range from 16-48.5 lbs
- Lower zipper compartment
- External hydration sleeve
- Adjustable and removable foot stirrups
If you’re bravely planning on carrying your child on the Camino, the Osprey Poco Child Carrier has you covered. This backpack is designed for optimal comfort for both you, the parent, as well as your child. It goes without saying that not all kids have the patience to sit for long treks. If that sounds like your child, there’s a handy cord attachment loop to keep toys or pacifiers in easy reach. It holds 48.5 lbs, and there’s gear storage, and extra pockets for any other things you need to bring.
Our favourite feature is the built-in sunshade – crucial for those sunny days. Just remember that when you’re walking through trees or low hanging branches, your child does sit up a little higher than you! A tree branch to the face does not bode well for keeping your little ones calm during long treks!
We find this backpack to be a little pricey, but the quality is worth it in this case (for both you and your child’s sake)!
Best Budget: Fengdong 40L Waterproof Backpack
In a Nutshell:
- 13” shoulder drop
- Water resistant and durable
- Breathable mesh padding
- Multi compartment
Both waterproof and lightweight, the Fengdong 40L Waterproof Backpack is your best option if you plan on doing the Camino de Santiago during the rainy season because, well, it’s super, duper waterproof! Built to repel water, your clothes will stay nice and dry during any sudden downpours.
This backpack is built with high-quality materials and is made to last. There’s a large compartment and several large pockets to hold your essentials. Also, we love that if you’re flying into Spain or France from a far away country, it’s nice to know this backpack is cabin size approved and stows away nicely under the seat in front of you.
As a minor criticism, the hip pockets could be a little larger in order to fit our phones better. Keep that in mind if you had your heart set on storing your iPhone on your hip.
Best Lightweight: Loowoko Hiking Backpack
In a Nutshell:
- Zipper closure
- Polyester lining
- 8 adjustable straps
- Enough room for 3 or 4 day trips
- Breathable mesh shoulder straps
The Loowoko Hiking Backpack is quite large at 50L, but is relatively light for its size weighing just 2.6 lbs! It’s suitable for men and women, which we love. Another nifty feature is that you can fit a water bladder in the backpack’s laptop sleeve! From there, you can feed the tube out of the top and attach it to the right shoulder strap. Water bladders aren’t for everyone, but we definitely find it much easier to stay hydrated when water is always accessible.
A really awesome Camino specific perk is that there’s a big pocket in the front of the backpack that’s perfect for storing a set of comfy shoes for when you’re done walking and hanging out at the albergue! We love this backpack.
One thing to consider is that the bag is marketed as waterproof, but we’d say that ‘water resistant’ is a better description. It does, however, come with a rain protector that elevates its waterproofing!
Best Daypack: Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack
In a Nutshell:
- Dual stretch mesh shoulder straps
- Large main compartment
- Front panel pocket
- Total volume= 20L
This backpack is super comfy and versatile. What we love about the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack is that it doubles as a Camino de Santiago backpack, and a bag that you can bring to work every day once you’ve completed the Way and are nursing your blisters. Contributing to its versatility, this pack’s flexible back panel makes it great for mountain biking as well!
We find the shoulder straps to be quite thin (in a good way) and well-proportioned for most pilgrims.
If you’re going to purchase this backpack as your main pack, it’s best to think about where you’re starting your Camino from and how many legs you’ll be walking. While it’s extremely comfortable and holds ample gear, it is really considered a day pack and lacks the structure of some other bags on this list. For shorter distances, however, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one!
Best Backpack Raincover: Osprey Ultralight Raincover
In a Nutshell:
- Cinch attachment
- Durable 40D ripstop nylon
- Has its own casing
- Light weight
- Shock cord that keeps the cover tight to the bag
With the word “Ultralight” in it, you know already that we’re fans of the Osprey Ultralight Raincover. You certainly don’t need any added weight on your Camino journey, but if we were to choose any add on to buy, it would be a raincover! You never know when you will run into a rain spell on the Camino.
The cinch strap makes this raincover fit nice and snug around your pack, ensuring proper safety from the rain. It comes in a handy carry bag that’s attached to the bottom of it – super convenient.
This raincover does what it says, and is light. We love it.
What to Consider When Buying a Backpack for Camino de Santiago
Here’s the thing – the backpacks we excitedly spoke about up there are the ones that we found to be the best backpacks for hiking the Camino De Santiago. You need to consider each one carefully and choose the best backpack for you and your individual experience. Your backpack is the most essential item you’ll have on your journey, so you’ll need to factor in some key features.
This is huge! If you didn’t have lower back problems before, you definitely won’t want them after, especially from the hike of a lifetime on the Camino de Santiago. Improper lumber support could affect your journey, and even cause you to quit in the middle of it.
When selecting a backpack, read through our reviews of course, but also search for additional reviews of a particular pack.
Make sure that the pack lies flat and stable against your back. A well-fitted hip belt and buckle across the chest will most likely ensure this.
Another important feature on a backpack that’ll save you is a back frame. An external back frame sits farther away from your torso. This increases body ventilation. The weight you carry will be positioned higher which forces more upright walking posture. This is because the weight is positioned higher allowing better load transfer on your lower body.
With an external back frame, you should place lightweight items on the bottom and the heavier weight items on the top.
The internal frame backpacks are the ones that have those aluminum, flat bars that rest against your back. Not always the most comfortable, but if you are planning to pack heavy for a long hike on the Camino, it’s probably the better way to go for rigidity and support. Internal frame packs are more compact, so that is a convenience for travelling.
Again you’ll want to choose the right frame for your spiritual journey.
Hip Strap & Shoulder Strap
You might be noticing a trend here. It’s all about support! ‘What’s with all the straps?’ you say.
They won’t be in the way, and they’re there for a reason. You’ll want to choose a backpack that won’t leave you thinking about your aches and pains while enjoying the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
The hip strap is meant to transfer the weight off of your shoulders and onto your hips. A hip strap carries 60-80% of the pack’s weight. That’s how much weight will be relieved from your shoulders!
Shoulder straps are what keep the bag on your body, so they’re pretty important. For long or multi day treks, you’ll need to ensure the following in your shoulder straps; thick, supportive padding, load-lifting and adjustable.
We chose some pretty darn good backpacks for you to consider for your Camino trip and considered all of the different circumstances for you! Most importantly, you need to choose the best one for you and your body. Some may come with qualities you absolutely need, and some may not. Thank goodness there are add-ons available to purchase!
If you’re trekking the Camino during a potentially rainy season and your pack doesn’t come with a raincover, you absolutely should buy one (ahem, number eight on our list).
There are so many other choices of extras! If you don’t mind spending the extra money, then why not? Trekking poles can give you even more support for your hike. They’re definitely helpful in certain areas of the trails, and maybe you weren’t planning on exerting yourself to the max and would like some assistance.
We bet you didn’t know that you could add extra pockets, a built-in water bladder, a removable day bag or a sleeping bag compartment? Your hiking convenience options are endless!
Tips for Using a Backpack on Camino de Santiago
- Make sure that it is comfortable. This means considering all of the factors above. Lots to consider we know, but hey we just want you to be comfortable.
- Has easy access to a water bottle or room for a bladder. Hydration is always key when you’re active.
- Small, but still be able to fit everything you need at a light weight.
Consider that you will have to pack lightly, so strive for a 30 to 45-litre pack.
This is generally a function of two measurements: your torso length and your hip size.
If you don’t have the Osprey UltraLight Raincover, options are to line your pack with a plastic bag or go ziplock crazy.