How Much Should Your Big 3 Weigh in Backpacking?

By Robert Palmer

Backpacking is an incredibly rewarding and adventurous experience, but it can also be a daunting one, especially when it comes to planning out all the gear you need. One of the most important pieces of equipment for any backpacking trip is your Big 3: your backpack, tent, and sleeping bag.

All three are essential for any trip into the wilderness, and they can make or break your entire experience. So how much should they weigh?

When it comes to picking out a backpack, you want to aim for something that is lightweight and comfortable. Look for a pack with adjustable straps and padding in the back panel to ensure that you have a good fit and can carry the weight comfortably.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your backpack weight at around 25-35% of your body weight. This will help ensure that you are carrying the load in an efficient way.

Tents come in a variety of sizes and weights, so choosing one should be based on how much space you need and how many people will be using it. Generally speaking, a lightweight tent should weigh around 2-3lbs per person. This will provide enough room for everyone while also keeping pack weight low.

Finally, there is the sleeping bag. Here again, you want something lightweight but also warm enough for the climate you’ll be camping in.

Down bags are usually lighter than synthetic ones; however, down bags lose their insulation when wet so they may not be the best choice if you’re expecting rain or snow during your trip. A good rule of thumb here is to keep sleeping bag weight at around 1-2lbs per person.


Ultimately, how much your Big 3 should weigh depends on what type of journey you’re embarking on as well as personal preference for comfort level and gear preferences. However, as a general guideline, aim to keep your backpack weight at around 25-35% of your bodyweight; tent at 2-3lbs per person; and sleeping bag at 1-2lbs per person. In this way you’ll have an enjoyable backpacking experience without sacrificing safety or comfort!