How Heavy Should a Backpacking Pack Be?

By Robert Palmer

When backpacking, one of the most important factors to consider is the weight of your backpacking pack. Knowing how much weight you should be carrying can make or break your trip.

Carrying too much weight can lead to fatigue, injury, and an overall unpleasant experience. On the other hand, packing too light can leave you unprepared for any situation that may come up.

For most experienced backpackers, the ideal weight for a backpacking pack is between 15 and 25 pounds when it’s fully loaded. This range allows for enough gear to get you through a multi-day trip without putting too much strain on your body.

Depending on the type of trip you’re taking, you may need to adjust this range slightly. If you’re hiking in winter conditions or carrying more food and water than usual, then you may need a heavier pack.

To ensure that your backpacking pack isn’t too heavy, it’s important to only carry the essential items that you’ll need throughout your journey. This includes items like shelter, sleeping bag and pad, clothing layers, food and cooking supplies, navigation tools (like a map and compass), first aid kit, emergency whistle, fire starter kit and headlamp. Anything else is likely unnecessary and will only add unnecessary weight.

It can be helpful to invest in a lightweight backpack that won’t add any extra heft to your load. Look for features like adjustable shoulder straps with padding for extra comfort and support; external pockets for quick access items; and multiple compartments or dividers so that everything stays organized.


Ultimately, how much weight should be carried in a backpacking pack depends on the individual backpacker as well as the type of trip they are taking. However, typically experts recommend keeping it between 15-25 pounds when fully loaded with essential items only. It’s also important to invest in a lightweight backpack with adjustable straps for extra comfort and support.