Reducing Backpack Weight for Thru-Hikers and Backpackers: The Importance of Weighing Your Equipment

If you are a thru-hiker or a backpacker you should consider keeping your pack weight low. One of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce pack weight is to evaluate each piece of equipment by weighing it with a scale. Weighing each item is an unbiased way to evaluate your equipment.

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using a scale to weigh a titanium Shepherds tentstake

Kitchen Scale

If you want to reduce your pack weight, getting an accurate kitchen scale is a great way to start. When you weigh each item in your pack, you begin to see your gear differently. Understanding the value and the weight of each item is fundamental to reducing your pack weight. It’s important to get a kitchen scale that can measure down to the gram so you can see the smallest variation between alternatives.

Maximum Measurement Range: 5-22 pounds

Retail: $10 to $25

using a luggage scale to weigh a backpack

Luggage Scale

A luggage scale is a great way to weigh things like a tent, sleeping bag, or backpack that can’t be easily placed on a scale without falling off. It’s also a great way to weigh your pack when it is fully loaded.

Maximum Measurement: 110 pounds

Retail: $10 to $15


If you want to reduce your pack weight then using a scale is a great place to start. By knowing what your gear weighs, it makes it a lot easier to find other comparable gear items that weigh less. You will be amazed at the ability to lighten your pack when you know the weight of your gear. After you know your gear weight, you will likely start seeing other lightweight alternatives that might even provide more value.