What Should My Backpacking Base Weight Be?

By Anna Duncan

When it comes to backpacking, the weight of your gear can make or break your experience. Knowing what your base weight should be is essential for ensuring that you have a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

Your base weight is the total weight of all the items you need for a backpacking trip, minus any consumables like food and water. This includes items such as your tent, sleeping bag, stove, clothing, first aid kit, and other necessities. Since these items can vary significantly in type and weight, it’s important to take some time to consider what you really need on your trip and choose items that are lightweight but still provide the necessary features you need.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for a base weight of between 10-15 pounds for an overnight trip. This will ensure that you have all the essentials without adding too much extra weight. For longer trips or more extreme conditions, you may want to increase this number slightly to account for heavier gear such as larger tents or heavier sleeping bags.

Aside from choosing lightweight gear, there are other ways to keep your base weight down. For example, consider bringing fewer clothes or leaving behind any unnecessary items like books or electronics. It can also help to invest in multi-use items like a bandanna that can be used as a washcloth or towel.


Your base weight is an important consideration when planning a backpacking trip. Aim for a base weight of between 10-15 pounds for an overnight trip and adjust as needed depending on the length and difficulty of the trip. Also consider investing in multi-use items that can help keep your pack light while still providing all the necessary features you need.