How Much Should Your Backpacking Bag Weigh?

By Anna Duncan

When it comes to backpacking trips, one of the most important factors to consider is the weight of your backpacking bag. An overloaded bag can make it difficult to move, and in extreme cases, can cause injury.

On the other hand, an underloaded pack might not have enough supplies for you to stay safe and comfortable during your journey. So, how much should your backpacking bag weigh?

The general rule of thumb is that your backpack should not weigh more than 20-25% of your total body weight. This means that if you weigh 160 lbs (72kg), then your backpack should not exceed 32 lbs (14.5kg). However, this guideline is only a starting point – depending on the length and difficulty of your trip, you may need to adjust accordingly.

In addition to adjusting for trip difficulty, other factors such as physical fitness level and gear selection will also affect the optimal weight of your backpacking bag. For example, if you are an experienced hiker with superior fitness level and lightweight gear selection then you may be able to comfortably carry a heavier load than someone who is relatively new to hiking or has bulky equipment.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that even if you have a light pack there will still be items that need to be carried separately such as water bottles and trekking poles. These items can add up quickly in terms of weight so you must factor them into the equation when deciding on an acceptable backpack weight.


When it comes down to it, deciding how much your backpacking bag should weigh depends on several factors including trip difficulty level, physical fitness level, gear selection and additional items being carried separately. As a general rule of thumb, try not to exceed 20-25% of your total body weight but this could vary depending on individual circumstances.