If you walking a trail without camping gear then ideally you should be carrying no more than 10% of your body weight. If you are going on a multi-day backpacking trip with a full loadout then try to aim for no more than 15% of your body weight.
Keeping your pack weight down to a minimum can be a time-consuming process. After my very first Camino trip the novelty of taking stuff in and out of my pack to try different set ups soon wore off. I then stumbled upon a fantastic website called Lighterpack.com which I now use to help plan for every single adventure.
What is Lighterpack.com?
Lighterpack.com is a free resource that helps you calculate your gear weight in a simple and visual way. It is a great tool for also creating a “wish list”, which is handy for Christmas and birthday's. Let's go through the features of this fabulous free tool.
#1 – Toggle between lbs and kg
Some people like to work in pounds and ounces, where others prefer kilograms and grams. With lighterpack.com you can create your list and then toggle between different metrics. I found this tool incredibly helpful when I was putting the South West Coastal Path packing list together. I am more of a pounds and ounces kinda girl, however Rebecca who was walking with me calculates everything in kg's. I would be able to send her the link to my list, and she can convert into her chosen metric with the press of a button!
#2 – Visuals work!
I love the way you can add a photo for each item. This makes scanning the list of gear so much easier. In addition, the visual pie chart makes it easy to see where you are carrying the most weight.
#3 – Add links to products
When you have created your products, Lighterpack.com allows you to hyperlink the item. Again, this is handy to share with your fellow hikers who may want to purchase the same item as you, or for those all-important birthday and Christmas presents.
#4 – Marking items that you are wearing
Trying to keep to the 10% or 15% rule will not include the items that you are wearing. This will include clothes, underwear, trekking poles etc. Lighterpack has a neat little “clothes” tab 👕 which will automatically identify items as “wearables” and it cleverly separates this out in the final calculation.
#5 – Identify snacks and food
Part of your 10% or 15% rule will also not include food and snacks. Again, you can still include the weight of these items in your pack list so that you know the starting weight, but with the tap of the little 🍴 knife and fork emoji, you can easily segregate these so that is not included as part of your main carry. I love this as food and water is extremely heavy so I want to know how much it all weighs, but I still need to keep my base weight as low as possible.
#6 – Utilise the categories feature
I find it very helpful to segregate the items into categories. For example, toiletries, electronics, camping equipment etc. You can easily change the colours of the pie chart by clicking on the small square of colour to the left of the text.
#7 – Easily calculate your expenditure
Perhaps it may be best to not add how much you are spending on each item. When I look at how much I have spent on some of the gear, and then the little total at the bottom it is quite scary!
#8 – Share with others
There are numerous ways in which you can share your list with other people. I like to share a link which is provided for each list that you have created, but for those of you who like to geek out, Lighterpack provides you with an embed code so you can easily embed it into your website. If you like your spreadsheets, then you can download the file as a CSV file and work on it from there.
#9 – Easily identify your heavier items
Looking down the list, you can easily add and remove items to see what a difference it makes to your pack weight without physically taking the items out of your backpack and weighing it. Weigh the item once then play around with different combinations of gear until you are happy with your selection. Then it is time to get packing!
#10 – Duplicate your list
Each trip is different, so creating packing lists for every adventure is crucial for me. Being able to tap the duplicate button and then edit my new list saves me time and makes the whole process so much more efficient.
Considering this is a free tool, I think it's brilliant. It's super easy to use, a great way to keep on top of your pack weight, and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. If you enjoy the planning stage of your hikes then I would highly recommend looking at this website.