how-much-should-i-carry-in-my-backpack

Many of us tend to over-pack. It’s better to have too much than too little, right?

While that may be true to an extent, for efficiency you might carry only what you may need – as opposed to want.

Less weight requires less energy to carry, especially long distances! The problem is that in a long hike a heavy backpack will defeat you. You must eliminate the non-essentials to keep the weight down.

Tips to help decide how much ‘stuff’ to stuff into your backpack:


When readying for travel, a hike, a camping expedition, a bug-out-bag or emergency kit, here’s a tip to determine if you’re over-packing or being efficient.

After you have tentatively decided what to pack, take some time and perform the following task:.

1. Take ALL of your gear that you intend to haul along with you in your backpack. Spread it all out on the floor or on the ground in front of you.

2. Think about each individual item and ask yourself, is it essential?

3. If it is (essential), put it in a pile (the essentials).

4. If it is not, put it in a different pile (the non-essentials).

5. Next, take a look through the pile of non-essentials. Some of the items might make your life easier or more pleasant and enjoyable – or provide a better experience or an increased level of preparedness or safety. You will have to decide if each of the non-essential items are worth the extra weight in your backpack.

Every additional ounce will add up quickly, so the more scrutiny, the lighter your load will be. By keeping things light weight…backpacking is a pleasure.

It’s that simple! Identify the essentials, then contemplate each additional item’s value.

More Tips What To Carry In My Backpack

20% Of Body Weight

You might consider limiting the total weight to no more than 20% of your body weight. Though less is even better! If you’re a 200 pound man, that’s 40 pounds. It’s just a rule of thumb. Of course one’s state of physical fitness plays a big role too!

Test Hike

After you have decided what to pack, go ahead and fill it, and put it on. Wear it. Walk with it. A test hike. How does it feel?

Multiple use items

Try to find items that do multiple jobs. For example a poncho that can also be a rain fly, etc.

Light Weight Alternatives

Ultra light products for camping/backpacking. There are specialty products in this realm. And you can also find substitutes for some given tasks – items which are smaller or weigh less.

Ultralight Camping Gear on amzn

Well okay then. What about specifics?

Logically, specific item choices depends on your purpose and time afield. So, I can’t be specific. However I will suggest covering some of the survival basics within your overall choices.

There are the 5 & 10 C’s of survivability, according to Dave Canterbury. It’s a good guideline. Cutting, Combustion, Cover, Container, Cordage.

Categories of Water, Food, Fire, Shelter, Security, First-Aid, Communications, Clothing & Gear, Knife/Cutting, Flashlight/Headlamp.

The Takeaway

What I carry in my backpack is determined by my purpose and the essentials that go along with that purpose. If there’s room leftover, I will add more – to the extent that I don’t feel overloaded.

Continue reading: Camping Gear List & Checklists

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