How Heavy Should Your Hiking Backpack Be for Hiking?

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By: Sonia Zannoni

People that go on hiking excursions usually carry backpacks with them that contain all their essentials. Those backpacks can either be large or small depending upon the trip itself. It isn’t necessarily right to say that only large rucksacks are cumbersome and small ones are lightweight. The weight of your backpack depends on the items that you placed inside.

In some cases, small backpacks weigh more than large ones, because they could be overloaded with heavy items. Now the question which arises regarding the weight of backpacks is whether heavy backpacks are bad for the user or not. The answer is pretty simple, YES! Heavy rucksacks in any way are not healthy for the one carrying them.

Overloaded backpacks will cause neck, back, and waist strains. After some hours of hiking, the user will feel fatigued, and his/her energy for the rest of the trip will be used up.

It is, therefore, imperative that your hiking backpack is of the perfect weight and fits with your body shape as well. Now, deciding on that weight depends on a number of factors.

You need first to see whether there are any resupply points for food or water along the way. Doing so will determine if you will have to carry a large supply of food/ water or just enough to cover until the first resupply point.

The second thing which should be considered is your own physical fitness as well as your height and weight. Also, you need to see when was the last time you went on a hiking excursion with a backpack, and therefore are you in shape or not?

Now, if we speak theoretically, most doctors suggest that whatever you carry on your back should be less than 25 percent of your total body weight.

In cases where the person is going for a long hiking trip, then for that, the weight he/she is carrying should be even less than 25 percent of the body weight. So, let us assume that you weigh 200 pounds, then the weight of your backpack should weigh somewhere around 50 lbs.

Watch this video which offers a backpacking checklist, to help you plan your next hiking adventure accordingly:

Below I made a list of essential items that are always found in hiking backpacks and their respective weights.


Tents are kept because you never know when you’ll need to stop and stay the night or just relax for a while. There are a variety of lightweight tents on the market, and you can easily find one that weighs around 1 kg.

Sleeping Bag

A three-season down bag weighs about 1.2 kg, whereas the top only weighs 750 grams. The sleeping bags used in warm weather are comparatively lighter than those used during winters, as light as 450 grams.

Silk Liner

A silk liner is used to keep your bag clean and adds warmth to your sleeping bag as well. Silk is preferred over cotton because of its lightweight. The weight is 150-200 grams.


LED head torches may be expensive, but they are long-lasting, and their weight is also less. The lightest ones are at about 30 grams and can last for up to 15 hours.

Eating Utensils

Plastic utensils should be kept because they weigh less than metal. If you choose all utensils carefully, then the total weight can get down to just 50 grams.


A stove is usually kept along. That stove can quickly cook the food for approximately 5 to 6 people. The lightest weight that can be managed is about 90 grams.

Water Bottle

Water bottles can never be missed out. It is recommended that you choose old plastic bottles. If you take two bottles, and both filled them with water, then the weight goes up to 100 grams for both.

Spare Clothes

These extra clothes include a spare shirt or any clothes that you plan to wear if you are up for some swimming. The weight of all this should not be more than 500 grams.


These include items like pillows, cameras, sandals, or books. These items should only be brought along if there is enough space left in your bag.

Moreover, hiking excursions can still happen even without these articles.

Lastly, here is a helpful tip: don’t carry everything yourself! If you are sharing your journey with others, then everyone should smartly plan their essentials, and each should help to transport the paraphernalia needed for the hiking adventure.

How Heavy Should Your Hiking Backpack Be for Hiking — Backpacker with Heavy Backpack.

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