Last Updated on March 13, 2021
Carrying a backpack is a must when people travel from one place to another.
We like to keep pretty much everything inside the bag that we will need while on the go and after reaching the destination.
However, carrying too much weight can be a tearing factor and can cause you to go through some physical issues as well.
Whether you own a small or large backpack, you must know how much weight can a backpack hold so that you can use the gear for longer. The more important thing is, you will be physically fine and sound.
Holding Capacity of Backpacks
As there are different sizes of backpacks, their holding capacity won’t be the same. You cannot pack a school backpack like the way you do with a traveling or camping backpack. So, the actual carrying capacity varies depending on factors such as liter capacity, size, material quality, etc.
However, the rule of thumb is that you can pack a backpack all the way till it looks fully packed. Once you reach this state, you should no longer include items inside the bag. If you force the zippers, these will be damaged sooner than you can expect.
On the flip side, you can still carry an overwhelming weight in your backpack without making it looks packed. If you are to do so, consider the material quality of the backpack.
If it’s made of durable nylon, then there shouldn’t be much problem. However, if the material is of average or below average quality, don’t risk it.
To sum up, you shouldn’t carry more than 25 liters in a backpack with 25 liters capacity. It would be fine to do so occasionally. But, if the backpack has to endure more heavyweight than its capacity, then the durability will be highly compromised.
How Much Weight You Should Carry in a Backpack?
You might have heard that a person should carry 15-20 percent of his/her body weight in a backpack. So, if a person weighs 200 pounds, the backpack shouldn’t be heavier than 30 pounds. This is what physical therapists suggest.
Doctors don’t recommend carrying more than 15 percent of body weight for the sake of physical well-being. However, this carrying standard doesn’t seem to fit all individual. If a person weighs 500 pounds, carrying a 75 pounds backpack will be quite overwhelming and impossible to carry.
That’s why pro backpackers consider this suggestion as a myth. They mostly carry more than 20 percent of their body weight in most cases.
However, if you weigh 150 pounds and carry a 22 pounds backpack on a regular basis, you will face some physical issues such as shoulder ache, back pain, etc. Therefore, I would say, carry more weight occasionally, only when you left with no choice. But don’t generalize it when you are backpacking.
Should You Worry About Much Weight to Carry for Backpacking?
First thing first, set your backpacking goals. If you plan to wear a shirt each day, want to tour in an expensive way, then you might need to fully pack the backpack. For those who are looking for an exact number regarding how much weight you are good to carry, I would say, don’t exceed 40 pounds.
Carrying 30-35 pounds is pretty much manageable for most backpackers. Again, don’t push it to your limits first. Listen to your body and care about physical well-being. You don’t want to miss the fun at the campsite lying on the bed due to shoulder and back pain. So, plan your backpacking wisely.
Make sure you wear a good quality backpack that comes with hip belts and straps to ensure you a secure fit. Having a hip belt helps a lot to carry loads. You will feel slightly less weight on the shoulders. If you have a back pain issue, this would be the best backpack for back problems.
Special Consideration for Carrying Weight in a Backpack
- Your trip duration or how long the trip requires you to walk will determine whether you should fully pack or overpack the backpack. If it’s a long walking trip or trekking, don’t carry more than 15-20 percent of your body weight, if you can live inexpensively, and are okay with lightweight backpacking.
- Camping or backpacking during winter requires you to take heavier clothes as well as other gears to keep you warm. Consider this factor, as well.
- If you plan to spend your holidays in a luxurious way, you will need a hammock, sleeping pad, extra clothes, and some additional accessories and gears to make it happen. You cannot go lightweight in this case.
Backpacks should be packed responsibly, considering how far your body can tolerate the weight.
If you are to know how much weight can a backpack hold, you need to consider the design capacity, build material of the backpack, your physical capability, what the trip requires, how you plan for the trip, etc., factors.
Don’t carry an overwhelming amount of weight. It’s somehow okay to exceed the limits when you have no option left. But, you cannot do it on a regular basis.