Meet my first pack: The Osprey Kyte 36L. Read 6 reasons why it was perfect for the Camino, and what I promised myself I would never buy in a pack again.
The search for the perfect bag for our world trip began months ago. It was the first thing we started researching, and we would soon find out one of the most challenging purchases for me. I walked the 500 mile Camino de Santiago four summers ago with my mom using the Osprey Kyte 36L, which was perfect for that trek, but this trip will be very different and I knew I needed a different bag. To read about the backpacks I tried for our upcoming around the world trip, check out this post. For now though, let me review my first pack, the Osprey Kyte 36L.
Here are all the reasons why the Osprey Kyte 36L was perfect for the Camino de Santiago.
1. Sleeping Bag Zip Compartment at the Bottom - Lodging for the Camino isn't a walk between 5, 4, or even 3 star resorts. Most pilgrims, or travelers who walk the Camino, stay at albergues, or $5-$25 dollar hostels where a sleeping bag is a must. My sleeping bag took up more space than anything else in my bag and was one of the first things I took out of my bag when I arrived at an albergue. It the the common way of reserving a bed. Rooms range from single rooms to dormitories with 50+ beds, so easy access to my sleeping back was a must. This zip compartment was perfect to throw my sleeping bag in, along with my dirty chacos in a shoe sleeve to keep separate from my clothing and other items.
2. Two Small Pockets on the Waist Strap - Since my bag was also my day pack, these two small pockets were perfect for keeping essentials that I would need quickly. I kept small bags of nuts or snacks in them, chap stick, my phone or small digital camera, and sometimes a bandanna.
3. Removable Rain Cover - This pack comes with a durable rain cover in a small outside pocket that it fits perfectly in. There were a few times on the Camino when we were walking in the middle of nowhere the downpour commenced. The easily accessible rain cover saved our packs from getting completely soaked.
4. Adjustable Back Harness and Waist Strap - I'm tall, but tiny. 5'7, 120 lbs and have a long torso. The XS size in this pack with the adjustable back harness was perfect and comfortable even after walking for 20 miles multiple days in a row. No, I'm not exaggerating. Plus the pack is built for women! So the chest straps fit perfectly on my petite frame.
5. Front Mesh Pockets and Compression Straps - These were perfect for stashing a light jacket or hat. I get warm pretty quickly, so it was nice to have a pocket or straps to put my sweatshirt in while on the move of it got too hot or if I needed my hat when I felt like my face was starting to burn.
6. Lifetime Warranty - This may be the best of any Osprey pack. Osprey's ALL MIGHTY GUARANTEE will repair any damage or defect to any pack for any reason free of charge. Trust me - I've used it. Not on this pack, but on another one. Their team was extremely easy to work with and I had a brand new item in the mail within a week!
This bag was the perfect size for the Camino. I didn't need much, and although I was nervous the bag would be too small, it was exactly what I needed. However I did learn one import lesson from this bag.
Here's the only down side to this bag: it's top-loading. This means that when you put things in the bag or take things out, you load and unload from the top. There is an opening with a drawstring and you stuff everything in and out this hole. The most recent version of the bag has side zipper access, which is suppose to give you easy access to inside of the bag without having to take everything out from the top. From what I have seen on this and most side zippers though is that it is too small to do anything meaningful inside the bag. For the Camino, this was frustrating, but fine. I promised myself that next time I traveled with a bag, I would NOT by a bag that was top-loading, no matter what.