How Much Should My Backpacking Base Weight Be?

By Alice Nichols

When it comes to backpacking, the base weight of your gear is an important factor to consider. Base weight is the total weight of all your items, excluding consumable items like food and water. Knowing your base weight can help you plan for a successful trip, as it will tell you what kind of trips are feasible with the resources you have.

Your base weight should be kept as light as possible while still providing enough supplies to cover whatever needs arise. To determine how much your base weight should be, consider your experience level and the type of terrain you’ll be traveling through. Beginners should aim for a base weight between 10-15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kg), while more experienced backpackers may go up to 25 pounds (11 kg).

Factors That Affect Your Backpacking Base Weight

  • Experience Level: If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with a lower base weight until you become more experienced in backpacking. As you gain experience and become comfortable with backpacking, then you can increase your base weight gradually.
  • Type of Terrain: The type of terrain will also dictate how much gear you need to bring along with you.

    For example, if you’re backpacking through mountainous terrain, then it would be wise to pack a bit more gear than if you were on flat terrain.

  • Length of Trip: The length of the trip is another important factor when determining your base weight. Generally speaking, the longer the trip is, the more gear and supplies that will need to be packed.

Tips for Reducing Your Base Weight

  • Prioritize Essential Gear: Focus on packing only essential items that will make your trip enjoyable and successful. Leave any nonessential items behind.
  • Choose Lightweight Gear: When selecting gear for your trip, look for lightweight items that are designed for backpacking use.
  • Share Gear With Friends: If possible, share some gear with friends or family members who are also going on the trip to reduce overall pack weights.
  • Choose Multi-Use Items: Look for items that have multiple uses so that fewer pieces of gear need to be packed.
Conclusion: How Much Should My Backpacking Base Weight Be? Ultimately, this will depend on several factors like experience level and type of terrain being traversed during the trip.

Beginners should aim for a lower base weight while more experienced backpackers may carry heavier loads depending on their needs. By carefully considering these factors and utilizing tips such as reducing unnecessary items and opting for lightweight gear whenever possible, backpackers can determine their ideal backpacking base weight.