View Full Version : Pack Weight?

SGT Rock
09-27-2002, 22:05
OK, this is my third time trying this. After the first two, lets refine the rules:
1. Three season. Weather about 30 derees F and up.

2. From skin out. Everything you carry, wear, and is in your pack.

3. Dry weight. No water, food, or fuel (optional).

This isn't a contest BTW.

10-13-2002, 23:02
okay i voted before reading the rules, but i would have broken them anyway. my 35 lb pack is a full up pack including 5 days food and 2 liters water. skin out - mostly not relevent to non-ultralite hikers.

12-05-2002, 19:02
I don't know anybody who hikes without food or water...base weight is relatively pointless.

SGT Rock
12-05-2002, 21:54
I agree, but while I may only carry 1 litre of water, some carry up to 4 liters, and depending on how long a section your hitting will also determine how much food. But your clothing, shelter, pack, etc is pretty much set most of the time.

12-06-2002, 04:54
last 3 day section (Clingmans to Fontana) I weighed in at the post office at 26 pounds-including 1.5quart water and all food for the 3 days in the Smokies...this pack weight also included 6 pounds of winter accesories-mukluks, extra long fleece socks, extra primaloft pullover, silk balaclava, fleece balaclava, etc....
so I am in the 25-30pound range most of the time due to luxuries like the handheld ham radio-still debating on carrying a camera!

Bandana Man
12-12-2002, 22:10
I have read about some pretty incredible pack weights that are frankly just too hard to believe. So, IMHO, pack weight should be determined, as follows:

1. Strip naked.
2. Stand on bathroom scale and record your weight.
3. Put on ALL hiking clothes you will ACTUALLY wear.
4. Load pack with ALL gear you will ACTUALLY take, including all food, water, and fuel, and put pack on back.
5. Hold trekking poles in outstretched hands, if applicable.
6. Stand on bathroom scale and record your weight.
7. Subtract Step 2 from Step 6. This is your pack weight.

If it will be with you when you take your first step on the trail, COUNT IT.

Saluki Dave
11-10-2003, 16:14
Ready, fire, aim. I voted before reading the rules. 4 days food/ 2 liters water is 38 lb, making me a heavy weight. Dry skin out is more like 30.

Blue Jay
11-12-2003, 09:54
A lot of people are dreaming or flat out lying on this one.

11-12-2003, 11:09
I typically carry 35-40 pounds and maybe more, but that includes food and water. I also believe that it is pointless discussing pack weight without including your normal food and water load. You are always going to be carrying food and water, if not, you are in trouble. I always try to keep 2 liters on me, refilling at nearly every opportunity, for one reason, if something bad happens, all I've got to help myself or someone else is the stuff in my pack, in their's and lying on the ground around us/me. So it behooves me to carry the water, a flexible first aid kit, a day's extra food, and reliable kit for cooking. So I carry some extra weight. I try not to overload, but I inevitably end up carrying more weight than many others do.

11-12-2003, 23:50
A lot of people are dreaming or flat out lying on this one.
Funny I thought they were too high. Figured people didn't read Rock's rules before they voted.

Having a 30F+ pack weight of 12-14# doesn't take much (if any) effort. Add 5# for "on body" gear and that puts your "dry" FSO weight at ~20#.

What is odd about this poll is the inclusion of "on body" gear. Typically, folks only mention their "dry pack" weight. And maybe mention "total pack" weight (for a particular trip) as well. "dry" FSO is sort of a strange request. I see Rock's POV, but the request is still "not common". At least amoung the UL gear-head crowd.

If you are a member of backpackinglight.com you can see a 5# pack list for 3 season "mountain" hiking. Add ~4# for "on body" gear would put the minimum for this poll at ~9#.

11-13-2003, 10:16
My pack just got a lot heavier. With colder temps in the Smokys this weekend, the (2.5 lb) down jacket is in the pack along with the (1/2 lb) down booties and (1 lb) fleece pants. Since my little pack isn't big enough to take all this, I have to put everything in my 95 L pack, which, although a respectable 4 lbs, adds an additional 3 lbs to my pack.

11-13-2003, 10:54
My pack just got a lot heavier. Chris notes one of the interesting challenges of backpacking in the late fall; that pack gets a whole lot heavier as you try to make sure you don't freeze as you add extra clothing, fuel, food, and shelter that pushes you into that bigger, heavier pack so you can fit everything. (You've got to replace that 2.5 pound down parka with something a little lighter though, Chris! Of course, that will probably cost hundreds of dollars. :( )

Coincidentally, on another post announcing his impending weekend hike over Clingmans Dome, Chris mentions another challenge of fall hiking that is frequently overlooked: daylight hours are in short supply, which decreases daily mileage and increases the amount of time you lie in your sleeping bag awake in the middle of the night thinking all sorts of thoughts because you haven't had 12 consecutive hours of sleep since the last time you were really sick...

11-13-2003, 11:02
That extra sack time problem can create another weight challenge as many of us choose to bring something along to while away those long hours. For me, that often involves a good book and a source of light to read by, this can mean a need to carry extra batteries.

But then, I'm not shy about carrying extra weight.

11-13-2003, 12:30
OOOOooooooooops! never reading directions...i confess...i took the poll before reading the rules.....sorry!

my backpack.. empty...is 4lbs 7oz (REI Morningstar 65)

my pack with essentials: 35-40 lbs (including 7 days food & water)

just back from a 2 day hike in BIG SOUTH FORK recreation area (upper East TN) & my pack weighed in @ 25lbs (including water & food & several Snickers bars ;) ).


11-20-2003, 10:36
The way this works is guaranteed to cause confusion and wrong answers. I see the poll on the front page of WhiteBlaze, vote, then get taken to the results where you post your "rules" not to include food and water. But I've already voted, and it says I've already voted so I'm guessing I can't vote again. That wouldn't be right, anyway.

With food for five days and water for most of one day, I'm typically 35-40 lbs. Maybe a little less the day heading into town in high summer, maybe a little more heading out of town in deep winter. We hike with food and water, do we not?

Without food and water, I'd have given a different answer--probably 30-35 lbs., maybe even 25-30 lbs. (would be a close call).

These polls are fun and the results informative, but maybe there should be a way to inform voters BEFORE they vote of any special conditions or clarification of anything ambiguous. Otherwise, the results can't be right.

Kozmic Zian
02-11-2004, 12:57
Yea, I try to carry as few superfluous 'things' as possible. Start with a light pack, lst. Under 3lbs. Then apply the old '6 x 5' Theory. That is...............

Six major catagories of weight producing items in your pack.
None of which can weigh over five lbs.
1) Backpack itself - 5lbs (or less)
2) Sleeping Gear(Bag, mattress, Tent) - 5lbs (or less)
3) Clothing (all) - 5lbs (or less)
4) Boots - 5lbs (or less)
5) Food & Water - 5lbs (or less)
6) Everything else - 5lbs (or less)
Now, this is the fundamental backpacking weight - 30lbs. A good, realistic weight to shoot for. Anything you shave off of these sub-totals is gravy. Sometimes one category may be more than 5lbs, or less than 5lbs...so long as it averages out to 30lbs. or less. Over the years I've gotten my basic distance load down to between 20-25lbs...a nice load. Good weighing, and Good Hiking............................................ ...................KZ@

02-12-2004, 15:21
At first I thought you were nuts, Rock. No food or water... but then I realized that people carry different amounts of those, but generally carry fairly equivalent gear.

Followed the directions - chose 8-12 pounds.

My base gear is about 9-10 pounds, and my clothing (swim trunks, SW capilene long sleeve Tshirt, smartwool trailrunner2s, NB running shoes) shouldn't bump it too much.

As a side note, I'd never count this as my packweight, simply because I carry at LEAST this much weight around with me everyday in slacks, shirt, heavier shoes, etc. My body is so used to this weight, and it is spread around over so much area, that I just think it's silly.



02-12-2004, 15:55
without those items (food, water, fuel), I guess my pack is about 30-32 lbs. (I start off with a pack that weighs 5.2 lbs) But with food and all, my pack gets up to 42-45 lbs

Pennsylvania Rose
04-06-2004, 14:59
OK, I was being tongue-in-cheek when I said that my pack weighs 40+ pounds. I've been hauling toddlers around for the last 13 years. You'd think I'd be in great shape by now :) Last time I went w/o kids my gear weighed about 23 lbs. (no food or water). Why not ask (to be more consistant) what what your pack and boots would weigh for a 3-day, 2-night trip in May?

SGT Rock
04-06-2004, 16:51
Well since May in Alabama is different from May in Maine, I just put in temperatures 30 degrees F. and above. I think for a lot of hikers this would be enough to go on, especially since we mainly talk about the AT here, so the weather will include a very good chance for rain or maybe some snow in the mountains in that range. Right now my base would be about 15 pounds for that sort of weather, but I do plan to work on dropping some of that weight, about 13.75 is my goal.

04-07-2004, 23:45
in fact i just bought a new pair in my never ending pursuit of lighter boots, this pair is Vasque Breeze and will probably end up in the dust pile along with the Montrail Storms and the Nike Air Zoom Talacs...if any are interested I will post on the Breezes after a hike....but back to boot weight....these save 1lb over my LLBean Cresta's and that is anywhere from 5-10lbs off my back.

04-08-2004, 16:56
Thats with food and 3 litters of water. I will make a list of what I'm packing for the AT which I'm starting @ April 15th. I have a new Gregory Whitney which is 7 lbs and a few ozs. I hope to cut some of this weight out as it is a bit heavy. However, I went out a few days ago with a full load for a 5 mile hike and it was not too bad. This was 5 miles with some very steep hills and very little level walking.

04-08-2004, 17:50
With a 60 lb pack, the LAST place you want to start cutting weight is in the pack itself (well, unless you could leaving the lid behind. Those tend to weight about 1 lb). You will need every bit of the fabulous Gregory suspension to carry that weight.

Look elsewhere. Don't consider getting a lighter pack until you are under 30lbs total weight!

Gravity man

04-09-2004, 11:42
I read the rules first for once!

For details, my March 04 pack, good to 20 degrees F:


without food or water, skin out weight is 15.26 pounds.

04-14-2004, 00:54
Oops.....now that I read the rules.....and the weather factor I have to add about 10 pounds:rolleyes:

04-14-2004, 05:58
Another voter wo can't read, sorry.. :( As I don't hike naked I should have ticked the second one, 8-12 pounds.. So move/delete the "Less than.." vote if you like. /Ratatosk

10-04-2004, 13:27
It's a little tough to read the rules before voting when the poll is on the home page simply titled "Pack Weight." Just something to consider.

11-05-2004, 11:37
glad to hear that I'm not the only one packin heavier than 20. from skin out I'm usually about 35, that includes 2 liters of water, plenty of snacks and food, and way too much cotton. I don't cary a tent though, just a 6X8 tarp.

Lone Wolf
03-17-2005, 13:26
I've gone to the dark side. I just weighed my pack for my upcoming hiking soiree. All my stuff plus food and chow for 4 days weighs 35 lbs. Gotta get it over 40! Don't want to be a Go-liter. Maybe a six-pack of tallboys. That'll put me at 41 lbs.

03-17-2005, 13:28
I've gone to the dark side. I just weighed my pack for my upcoming hiking soiree. All my stuff plus food and chow for 4 days weighs 35 lbs. Gotta get it over 40! Don't want to be a Go-liter. Maybe a six-pack of tallboys. That'll put me at 41 lbs.


Lone Wolf
03-17-2005, 13:31
Maybe the scale at MRO is way off. I've never started at Springer with less than 40.

03-17-2005, 16:28
I've gone to the dark side. I just weighed my pack for my upcoming hiking soiree. All my stuff plus food and chow for 4 days weighs 35 lbs. Gotta get it over 40! Don't want to be a Go-liter. Maybe a six-pack of tallboys. That'll put me at 41 lbs.That'll work... you could make six alcohol stoves.

You going to white blaze it from Springer? You know that the Benton MacKaye/Duncan Ridge Trail might take you to places you've never been before... Bryson Gap is appropriately between Big John Dick Mountain and Little John Dick Mountain and you've got the Toccoa River, the Toccoa Bend Country Store, Wallalah Mountain, Payne Mountain, Akin Mountain, Coosa Bald, Wildcat Mountain and Slaughter Mountain... just to name a few. Dances With Mice has a neat saying about Payne and Akin Mountains, I'll let him tell you about it. Ain't no stinking shelters and it ain't for wimps. :)

L.Wolf, have a great hike however you do it.


steve hiker
03-17-2005, 19:13
3 people have pack weights under 8 lbs? They must be hiking in the mall.

04-27-2005, 00:04
I keep reading posts saying no one carries no water. Well, if i'm hiking somewhere and i know there's plentiful water, i will drink all of my water to lighten my load. I often do this as i'm not afraid to run out of water on the AT especially if it's been raining lately. If i get thirsty, i start to look for seeps and they are usually plentiful in certain areas and at certain times of year. Why carry something you don't need?

I can't remember this getting me into trouble although once in an ultra race, i tried to go without water for the 1st 13 miles and ended up dehydrated and had to drop out of the race, so i don't try that anymore. But there's not too many 13 mile sections of the AT without water. And i usually figure i can go 7 miles without water, not 13. Anyway, now you know someone who doesn't always carry water. fh

04-27-2005, 00:27
My hubby use to never carry water, but he starting using a bladder to save on time from having to search and/or stop for getting water. The bladder makes for a good pillow to. He uses an electronic fish weighing device to record weight on everything. He sawed off his toothbrush and drilled holes in the remaining handle. I think this is mostly a joke. hikerwife

04-27-2005, 08:57
I still lug around more water than I probably need. I've gotten burned a few times with dry springs (I do a lot of Fall hiking) and one time ran out for 6 miles on a hot and humid day. I'd rather carry a little extra water weight.

04-27-2005, 09:16
so many choices... so little backpacking time....hehehehehehehe! :D

why would you wanna brag about having a liteweight pack (SUB-30lbs or so)
if you DONT include FOOD & WATER????


IF YOU CARRY IT................. YOU COUNT IT!

on the other hand....BOOTs????

04-27-2005, 16:15
Like those in Congress, I too voted before I read. Always get a kick out of these weight Q&As, and... I've learned stuff, like Big 4 or 6, skin out, dry weight, etc.

04-27-2005, 16:24
3500cu. in pack= 23#'s with out food/water. Add 5# for food/clothing worn and #7 for water= 35# my guess.

English Stu
05-03-2005, 18:00
I voted before I saw the rules ,I did 700 + miles as a section on the AT last year Sept to Nov VA to Springer.I go light and with even the most of 6 days food(1day spare) and 2 ltrs water never had more than 31 Lbs this was with the more conventional way of weighing without worn clothes .Worn clothes would be lighter with me than water, food and fuel.I went most of the time under 25 lbs.As I am from England and in the beginning not conversant with the US mail drop system I did not use this ,I now know that you can let the Mail take some of your packweight so there is no need to carry massive weights .I have now changed to soda can stove so will be even lighter if and when I return to the AT ,probably going to do the John Muir Trail first though I am homesick for the AT if that possible.Enjoy your hikes

von Pepper
01-28-2006, 19:58
I'm hiking the trail soon and am all for going as light as possible, but some some of these weights seem like dreams to me, I can't even get close. Granted, I'm a large guy (6'4", 230), so all my stuff is XL size and weighs more, plus I'm allergic to down so have a heavier synth sleeping bag.

Are most here not carrying extras like a headlamp, camera, guidebooks, maps, extra batteries, compass, camp shoes, etc? Unless I eliminate all these items, plus switch to down bag I can't see how I could possibly cut 10 lbs or more to match some of these weights.

01-28-2006, 20:51
VonPepper- Look to lose weight in your pack and whatever kind of shelter you use. Those two items are the easiest to lose large chunks of weight, in addition to the bag but you can't have down so look at other packs/shelters to lighten the load. Even if one were to carry all the 'extras' like headlmap, camera, guidebook, map, batteries, compass, etc. they don't weigh that much collectively; a few pounds at most, which can be made up in your big four.

01-31-2006, 10:36
My advice is get a digital scale and weigh everything you have. Make a list of all the weights. First, go through the list and see what is extra that isn't really needed. For example, how many pages do you need at one time out of the guide book, do you need extra batteries, how many "just in case" items do you have that will never happen. Second, go through and see what is redundant. Is there anything that can serve two purposes. For example, trekking poles as walking support, shelter support, and tripod. Bandana as sweat band, first aid splint, camp towel, wash cloth, shelter sponge, etc.. Aqua Mira as water treatment and antiseptic. Poncho as shelter, pack cover, and rain gear. Sleeping pad as sit pad, sleeping pad, and pack frame. Third, go through and look at what can be replaced at a lighter weight with no comfort penalty. For example, long johns for a set of Golite Lightweight long underwear it is 8 ounces for top and bottom. Get an insulated jacket and pants such as Bozeman Mountain Works Cocoon instead of fleece jacket and pants. (much warmer and saves about 8 ounces over fleece). Check out clothing especially, some brands lighter than others. Cooking supplies is a place to save a lot of weight. Check out pack weight, shelter weight, sleeping bag, pad. All this can be lighter with little comfort difference. Fourth, package everything into smaller containers such as soap, toothpaste, water purification, meds, ect. Fifth, evaluate what is needed or what can be exchanged for as little discomfort as possible. Can you get by with a tarp and bug shelter instead of a tent? Will a 8 ounce rain jacket or poncho be better than one with all the bells and whistles? Is my pack overkill? Can I switch from a hard waterbottle to a gatorade bottle? You make the decisions as to what is best for you. If you like carrying heavier gear that makes life more comfortable, by all means do it. Make your wilderness experience the best for you. It is all subjective to the individual. My base weight without food, water, or fuel is under 10 lbs for 3 season camping (good down to 25 degress) and under 8.5 lbs for summer. Some call this load heavy others think is is ridiculously light. It works for me in all the conditions I will face. I hope this helps! check out backpackinglight.com and other ultralight backpacking sites on the web.

01-31-2006, 13:37
don't argue with a pig... you get dirty, but the pig enjoys it.

some folks will never understand, and you can't explain it to them. others do understand, and find the time, effort, and $$ that it takes to get their packweights down.

01-31-2006, 13:46
my average total pack wieght is 23 lbs,gear,food,cothing,fuel and water:cool: neo