backpacking Oct 13, 2023

Base Weight Backpacking

what is a good base weight for backpacking

Base Weight Backpacking Explained

Backpacking, for many, is a way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and find solace in nature. As such, reducing the weight of your backpack can make for a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. So what is base weight backpacking and what is a good base weight for backpacking?

What is Base Weight Backpacking?

Base weight backpacking is a minimalist approach to trekking in nature that focuses on carrying only the essential items that you need to be safe and comfortable. This method of backpacking avoids any unnecessary items that add a significant amount of weight to your backpack. Instead, you carry only the most essential items for your journey while making light weight choices, so that you`re able to carry more efficiently and comfortably.

What Should Your Base Weight Be?

The base weight of your backpack will vary depending on your specific needs, the conditions of where you`re trekking, and the amount of time you plan to be out in nature. Generally speaking, however, your base weight should not exceed 30% of your total body weight. For instance, if your body weight is 110 lbs (50 kg), then you should aim for a base weight of no more than 33 lbs (15 kg), plus the weight of your water and food.

Essential Items for a Lightweight Backpack

No matter what your base weight is, these essential items should be a part of your backpacking arsenal:
  • A tent. A lightweight and weather-resistant tent is essential for a safe and comfortable backpacking experience. Choose something that`s light enough to carry efficiently, without sacrificing comfort and protection.
  • A sleeping bag. Choose a sleeping bag that`s warm enough for the climate where you are and the lowest temperatures you expect to reach. Look for a lightweight, compressible model that packs down small.
  • A sleeping pad. Choose an inflatable sleeping pad for both comfort and insulation, while still maintaining a lighter weight.
  • Clothing. To avoid packing anything extra, choose lightweight items such as synthetic materials that are durable and can be layered easily.
  • Cooking supplies. Choose a lightweight camp stove and cookset that won`t take up much space in your backpack.
  • First aid kit. It`s important to always carry a first aid kit when you`re backpacking in case of any unexpected accidents or injuries.
  • Navigation supplies. No matter where you`re headed, make sure you have a map of the area and a reliable way to navigate if needed.

How to Lighten Your Pack

The key to successful base weight backpacking is to make lightweight and smart choices whenever possible. Look for items like a multitool instead of carrying multiple tools, a lightweight water filter instead of bottles of water, or collapsible cookware that won`t take up much space in your backpack. Beyond the tools, look for clothes that are lightweight and durable, like synthetic materials that wick away moisture, or choose a sleeping bag that is lighter but still warm enough for the climate. Lastly, avoid any excessive luxuries such as luxury items like heavy books or electronics when backpacking.


Base weight backpacking is a minimalist approach to trekking that focuses on carrying only the essential items needed for safety and comfort. Your base weight should not exceed 30% of your body weight, with the weight of your water and food being excluded. Carrying a lightweight tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing, cooking supplies, first aid kit, and navigation supplies are essential, while smart choices such as multitools, lightweight water filters, collapsible cookware, and lightweight clothes can help to further lighten your pack.
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