There is nothing quite like going out and hitting the trail to enjoy some time camping. A number of items need to be considered when preparing but one of the most important is the weight of the backpack. After all, if it weighs too much, it is going to slow you down and could even lead to back or shoulder pain.

At the same time, you need to ensure that you have everything packed in your favorite backpack that is necessary to keep you going during the time that you are out on the trail.

You must maintain the body and backpack weight ratioHow Much Weight Should I Carry In My Backpack?

First of all, it’s a good idea to consider the pack weight to body weight ratio. For most people, 1/4 of their body weight is going to be the maximum unless they happen to be in peak physical condition, and they might be able to get away with 1/3 of the body weight. It is always a better idea, however, to shoot for a lower ratio. First of all, having things set at a lower ratio will mean that you can pack more during the cold weather or if you want to extend your hiking time by a few days.

How To Make Your Hiking Backpack Lighter?

It is important to consider different ways to lower the pack weight. There are many ways to do so, but the following 15 tips should be kept in mind to reduce backpack weight and to make your time out hiking a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.

1. Know the Weight

One important factor to consider is exactly how much everything in your pack weighs. Some will be listed, such as prepackaged foods but others will be difficult to know unless you have a scale. A digital scale can go a long way to let you know exactly how much you are putting in your pack.

2. Plan for Water

One of the heaviest items that will need to be carried is a water supply. At 8.34 pounds per gallon, it can quickly get out of hand. When you plan in advance and know the water sources on the trail, you will be in a much better position to only pack the minimum amount of water needed.

3. Go Synthetic

Packing extra clothes can add a lot of weight, especially if you go with a natural fabric, such as cotton. There are many synthetic lightweight materials that also offer the benefits of being water resistant and comfortable.

4. Use Some Rocks

Rather than holding your tent down with stakes that need to be packed in, use some rocks from the nearby area.

5. Cut the Pack

There may be a considerable amount of extra weight associated with excess straps and even the logo on the pack. It might only amount to an ounce or two, but it can make a difference.

6. Ditch the Electronics

People enjoy listening to music while they hike but others simply enjoy the solitude and quiet. If at all possible, leave the electronics at home unless they are necessary for the trip. But don’t forget to take necessary items such as a military style flashlight.

7. Consider the Heaviest Items

There are typically 3 items that tend to make up the bulk of the weight; the pack, sleeping bag, and shelter. Always opt for the least amount of weight possible on these three items and it will shave some off the total weight.

8. Batteries

Sometimes, you may be able to simply leave the batteries at home. Just make sure that you have new batteries in your headlamp or any other item before you head out. If you do need to bring batteries, opt for lighter weight lithium.

9. Know the Weather

Stay on top of the weather and you will know what you need to pack and what you can leave at home. There is no sense packing for bad weather other than emergency or survival preparation.

10. Camp Shoes

Take Right Pair of Shoes To Help Lightening Your BackpackLightweight crocks or other camp shoes can really help cut down on the amount of weight in your pack.

11. Smaller Lighter

The Mini Bic is a better choice than its larger counterpart and they both do the same job.

12. Ditch the Stove

There are a number of options available for meals that do not need to be cooked or that cook themselves and are lightweight.

13. Use Trekking Poles

You are going to have these poles with you anyway so why not save the weight of 2 tent poles?

14. Pillow

Although you may enjoy having the comforts of home along with you, it is a better idea to use an inflated Ziploc bag wrapped in extra clothing.

15. No Knife

This may be difficult for some people, but when was the last time you actually used your knife on the trail? More than likely, a razor blade would serve the same purpose.

Moreover, this 2 minute video is worth watching when it comes to lighten your backpack.

Using these tips you can really make a difference in lightening your backpack load. By reducing the pack weight, you increase your comfort and enjoyment on the trail.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.