How Much Should Base Weight Be for Backpacking?

By Robert Palmer

It’s important to consider how much base weight you should carry when backpacking. Base weight is the total weight of your gear excluding consumables like food, water, and fuel. Having a lightweight pack makes it easier to enjoy the outdoors longer and further. It also helps to prevent injury and fatigue when you’re on the trails.

How much base weight is ideal?

This varies from person to person so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Generally speaking, though, a good rule of thumb is that your base weight should never exceed one-third of your body weight. This means that if you weigh 150lbs, you should try not to exceed 50lbs in base weight.

In addition to body weight considerations, think about how long and far you plan on hiking with your pack. A thru-hiker will want a lighter pack than someone who hikes for just a day or two at a time. If you’re planning on carrying more than one week’s worth of supplies, try not to go over 30lbs in base weight.

To lighten your load, consider what items are absolutely necessary for your trip. Consider investing in lightweight gear like tents and sleeping bags made with modern materials that are designed for minimalists and ultralight backpackers.

You can also save space by using multi-purpose items like an inflatable pillow that doubles as a camp seat.


When it comes to backpacking, having an appropriate base weight for your body type and journey length is essential for having an enjoyable experience on the trails. Remember not to exceed one third of your bodyweight as a general rule of thumb when packing up for any backpacking trip.