What Is a Good Base Weight for Backpacking?

By Michael Ferguson

When it comes to backpacking, base weight is an important factor to consider. Base weight is the weight of all the gear you are carrying in your backpack, excluding consumables like food and water.

It can be difficult to determine what the optimal weight for a backpacking setup should be since there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account. The most important factor is the type of terrain you will be hiking in and how long your trip will last. Different terrain and longer trips might require more gear so the base weight can vary greatly.

In general, most experienced backpackers recommend that your base weight should not exceed 25% of your total bodyweight. This means that if you weigh 200 lbs., your base weight should not exceed 50 lbs.

If you are planning on a shorter trip with lighter terrain, then you may be able to get away with less than 25%. However, if you are planning on a longer trip with more challenging terrain then 25% may not be enough and you may need to increase it.

It is also important to remember that having too much gear can make for an uncomfortable backpacking experience. Too much weight can slow down your pace and make it difficult to maneuver over challenging terrain or inclines. Therefore, it’s important to find the right balance between comfort and being prepared for whatever situation might arise during your backpacking trip.

Other factors such as personal preference and budget also come into play when determining what the best base weight for backpacking should be. Some people prefer to go lightweight while others prefer more comfort or convenience items like a camp chair or larger tent that add significant weight but provide a better camping experience.

Overall, determining what is a good base weight for backpacking depends on several factors such as the type of terrain and duration of the trip, personal preferences, and budget constraints. Generally speaking, most experienced backpackers suggest keeping the base weight at no more than 25% of one’s bodyweight in order to ensure maximum comfort while still being prepared for any situation. Taking all these factors into consideration will help one determine their ideal setup for their next backpacking adventure!