Does Backpacking Base Weight Include Clothes?

By Michael Ferguson

Backpacking base weight is one of the most important concepts to understand when it comes to long-distance backpacking. It’s the weight of all the gear you would carry on your back, excluding food, water, and any other consumables you might pick up along your journey.

The idea behind a base weight is to reduce the amount of gear you need to carry while still having all the necessary items for a safe and comfortable experience in the outdoors. A lower base weight means you can go farther with less strain on your body, and also makes it easier to move faster and cover more ground.

But does backpacking base weight include clothing? It depends on what type of clothing you’re talking about.

Lightweight technical clothing such as quick-drying synthetic t-shirts, shorts, and pants are absolutely essential when it comes to backpacking. These items should be included in your base weight calculation as they are integral for keeping you safe and comfortable in different environments.

Heavy or Casual Clothing: Heavy or casual clothing such as jeans, cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweaters are not typically included in a backpacker’s base weight calculation since they don’t provide much benefit for backpacking trips. While these items may be comfortable in certain situations, they can add unnecessary bulk and weight which can slow down your progress while hiking or camping.

Footwear: Footwear is another item that should be included when calculating your base weight. This includes shoes or boots that are lightweight but still provide enough support for long hikes over varied terrain. Many backpackers opt for trail running shoes or lightweight hiking boots for this purpose as they offer excellent support without adding too much extra bulk or weight to their pack.

Understanding what should be included in your backpacking base weight can help you plan an efficient trip that will allow you to move quickly and comfortably through the wilderness with all the necessary items at hand. While some items such as lightweight technical clothing are essential for a successful journey, heavier items such as jeans or sweaters should typically be left out of the equation in order to keep your load light and manageable at all times.

In conclusion, backpacking base weight does include clothes such as lightweight technical apparel but not necessarily heavy or casual apparel like jeans or sweaters since they add unnecessary bulk and weight without providing much benefit while hiking or camping.