Mostly the beginners face difficulty in deciding how much to put inside a pack and if it can carry this much weight or not. This is totally normal, and you will understand the terminology regarding weight with time.

It totally depends on how much you can carry inside a pack and depends on the specific trip. There are many factors to define how much weight to carry, but there is no particular figure for anyone. It depends on a particular’s body.

Here I am going to clear your doubt, how much load is too much?

What to carry inside a bag?


No matter how much space your backpack has, you should always put limited and only essential stuff inside. Putting extra stuff can make you feel uncomfortable holding it. If your trip is for a short duration, then carrying a lot of stuff just does not make any sense.

Remember to select a big bag for traveling purposes so that it can fit all your clothes and essentials rather than choose a small one, making the bag heavy and uncomfortable and making it comfortable to carry.

The myth about the 20% rule!

People say that you should not carry more than 20% of your weight; that is total crap. A healthy person with 150 pounds weight can carry 30 pounds of weight, by the same way a person with 400 pounds who is unhealthy can carry 80 pounds of weight.

That makes no sense. We should not measure by the person’s weight if he/she can do this or not.

How much is too much?

If we get into the details and think if you are going for a hiking trip and weigh 150 pounds, and you carry about 30 pounds of weight at your back, then in total, you are with 180 pounds that is too much to carry. Carrying 30 pounds for a short duration is okay, but when you have to trek a mountain, it will be too heavy.

Try to carry on 15 pounds on your back. I know it’s significantly less to carry, and you have to quit most of your luxuries, but it will be worth it. You will be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

The pros and cons of carrying less are:-

Pros:-Easier hiking and more fun with less weight to carry. You will not face body pain problems.

Con:-You will be able to carry less luxury stuff like your gadgets (that is also a pro, I guess)

How much weight can a backpack hold according to liters:-

Backpack’s Capacity (in Liters)Weight (in Pounds)Uses
10 Liters (small backpack)13.22 Pounds Kids Backpack, picnic purpose, sport events
20 Liters (day packs)17.6 PoundsSchool bag, work bag, hiking, commuting.
40 Liters (medium backpack)22.45 PoundsCampaign, short trips, hiking, travelling
55 Liters (large Backpack)26.4 PoundsTravelling, long trips, hiking
60 Liters (large backpack)30.8 PoundsTravelling, campaign, long trips, hiking
Average Estimation of Weight and uses, according to the backpack’s capacity.

Factors that primarily affect the weight of the backpack are:-

  • Time duration:-The longer the trip, you will require more food, clothes, water, fuel, etc., which will add weight to your pack. So, you need to take care that your backpack does not become too heavy to handle. You can compensate with some extra gears and luxury items because if you are going to trek, you should enjoy it to the fullest and not sit with back and shoulder issues.
  • Season:-If you are going for a trek in the winter season, you will need more clothes, i.e., jackets, socks, etc., and if you are going trekking in the summer season, then you will need lighter clothes.
  • Personal choices:-Different people have different choices and regarding how they like to go on a trek. Some people enjoy trekking with full luxuries hammock, extra clothes for day and night, cushy sleeping pads, etc. and want comfort in their tents so they will accept the extra weight. On the other hand, some people are comfortable with what they get and can manage to wear the same clothes in the morning and night, and are ready to sleep in lightweight sleeping pads.

There are two ways of packing your bag:-

Obviously! A short trip requires less packing than long trips.

Packing for the short trips:-

Short trip of two to three days requires fewer clothes, less fuel, less food, everything less. Carrying useless stuff doesn’t make sense because just carrying it and not using it is senseless.

If you plan a short trip for hiking, you should reduce your stuff because carrying everything on your back will give you back, neck, and shoulder problems. You should only carry limited stuff. If it’s an airplane trip, then you can carry more stuff but not too much.

Packing for long trips:-

I know long trips of five to six days require a lot of stuff but compensate for the essential things with the luxury things so that it doesn’t feel a lot heavy on your back. If it’s a hiking trip, take care of your back and put health before luxury and pack more little things. And if it’s an airplane trip, then it’s okay to carry things but not too much.

Some tips to reduce backpack weight

Some tips to reduce backpack weight

Most people value carrying less weight on their backs to enjoy their trip to the fullest and travel faster and comfortably. For this, you indeed have to compromise a lot of luxury stuff, or you can get a lightweight alternative for some stuff. But don’t go so lightweight that you lack things on the trek and have to borrow stuff from other traveling partners for extra food, warm clothes, or anything else. Your traveling buddies will also be carrying little stuff, so they can also deny you to help. So be prepared at best.

Here are some tips which will help you reduce your backpack weight at some level.

  • Always weigh your gear with a kitchen measuring machine or any weight machine. Pack everything inside your bag and check the weight; this will help track a record if you are going too heavy. If it weighs more, then you can put an alternative lightweight thing instead of the heavy one.
  • You should know your base weight, as the main items inside your bag until last like your clothes, sleeping bag, tent, water filter, etc. You should load a pack minus the consumables like food, water, and fuel which will reduce daily. Knowing your base weight will help you reduce weight on your next trips.
  • Replace your old senior gear with a lighter one because the gears are made with lighter materials, which automatically reduce the pack’s weight. The main items to carry are a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping ad, and your pack; focus mainly on this stuff and adjust the other stuff accordingly. Every year new packs hit the market with more functions, good quality, and durability, so if it’s affordable to change your bag every year, then go for it.
  • Plan your meal; carrying every meal inside your backpack will put an extra load on the pack. So, try to take your food from outside while traveling. Plan your meal in written form with a pen and paper about what you will eat for each meal to avoid irrational carrying of extra stuff. You can obviously carry some snacks for in-between suppers.
  • Avoid packing unnecessary things, like the extra clothes, food, etc. Or you can do this thing to check what stuff you are carrying in extra. After coming from a trip, lay all the stuff outside and look and analyze what items were or were not used and avoided while traveling. This will help you reduce the extra weight you are carrying with you.
  • Always prepare a list of items you have to take. This will avoid carrying extra stuff inside your pack. Having a list already prepared will be useful for you in the next trips also. Avoid taking items with only one use; like a pillow, you can use a rolled jacket as a pillow. Always prepare a checklist.
  • Distribute the weight among your traveling buddies. Things like a tent, water filter, and striving can be shared, and you all individually don’t have to carry it. So, you can share the items and distribute the ordinary stuff among yourselves.
  • Repackage your stuff. Like don’t carry a giant toothpaste tube for a three-day trip; you can carry a small one. Carry your food in lightweight plastic bags to throw it after it’s used rather than the Tiffin boxes, which will unnecessarily increase the weight of your backpack.
  • Organize your backpack correctly. The unorganized bag will not fit all of your stuff and will make the bag heavy.
  • Buy a backpack with wide padded straps; it will not put pressure on your shoulders and back.
  • Pack the heaviest item closest to the center of the back to minimize additional strain.


No matter how light your backpack is, it will create an uncomfortable situation if your pack is not organized correctly.

Always select a pack of immense size which can fit all your stuff, and you don’t have to carry some of the things in your hand; this can cause a load to feel unstable.

Hopefully, I gave you good information regarding how much weight a backpack can hold.

Happy traveling!