How Much Does a Backpack Weigh Empty?

Whether you are going out hiking, trekking, traveling, studying, or even shopping, a backpack is what you always carry as your daily company.

Based on your journey type, you basically buy different types of backpacks to pack your necessary items. Not all of them weigh the same when they are empty.

So, if you are wondering how much does a backpack weigh empty, then this article is for you.

We will be discussing the usual weight of different kinds of backpacks and the reasons that make them weigh such.

Knowing this will help you to decide the kind of backpack you should buy to feel a lighter burden on your back.

Usual Weight of Empty Backpack

empty backpack weight

For different outgoing purposes, manufacturers produce various kinds of backpacks that weigh differently.

Either it is a regular college backpack, hiking backpack, or any other form of traveling backpack, in most cases, they weigh between 1-6 pounds.

Usually, ultra-light packs weigh not more than 2 lbs. and the weight range varies between 1-2 pounds.

On the other hand, other heavy-purpose backpacks can weigh between 3-6 pounds.

When it comes to measuring the weight of an empty backpack, from its materials to its design, recommended load all these things matter.

Different Categories of Backpacks and Their Weight

heavy backpack

It’s pretty much obvious that a regular backpack can’t bear a load of heavy packing when you are going for a long outdoor trip or adventurous journey like hiking, trekking, etc.

So, in order to load your stuff for different purposes, you basically need different categories of backpacks.

Different categories have different designs, building materials, standards that make them weigh differently when they are empty.

That’s the reason, it’s hard to tell you the average weight of all backpacks in an empty mood. It’s better to divide the backpacks into different selected categories so that it gets easier to assume.

Based on the holding capacity of backpacks, we can divide them into 4 different categories- minimalist, ultra-light, lightweight, and deluxe.

Minimalist packs are those which can hold up to 12 lbs. of weight when you load stuff into them. Ultra-light ones can carry up to 20 lbs. of weight when they are full with goods.

Now, when you talk about lightweight ones, they have the capacity to store between 20-30 pounds.

After all these 3 options, deluxe ones come with a huge storage capacity that starts from 30 lbs. and support you even up to 100L as well.

These storage capacities of various backpacks basically indicate that the usual range of weight people basically carry after packing their stuff is less than 12 lbs. and more than 30 lbs.

But when they are empty, they don’t really weigh less than 1 and more than 6 lbs. on average.

This way when you know the storage volume of a pack, you can quite assume its empty weight by putting it into its probable category.

If it’s a minimalist pack, you can assume that it won’t weigh more than 1 lbs. When the pack is ultra-light, it won’t cross the limit between 1-2 lbs.

If you take lightweight ones, then they will be weighing between 2-4 lbs. And, when it comes to deluxe packs, you can assume it well, they can weigh from 4 to 6 lbs. while they are empty.

Things that Impact the Weight of Backpacks

An empty backpack’s weight largely depends on its build material.

In most cases, traditional backpacks are made of the following build materials- nylon, polyester, dyneema composite fabric, polypropylene, and canvas, etc.

These build materials vary in weight from each other and that has a great impact on backpack weights.

Minimalist, ultra-light, and lightweight backpacks are often made of DCF, polyester, or ripstop nylon material.

On the other hand, heavy-weight backpacks are basically made of canvas and heavy nylon material.

Other than build material, zippers quality, inner compartment, hydration bladder can also have a little bit of impact on the weight of your backpack.

How Much a Backpack Should Weigh?

hiking backpack weight

Once you know the weight of backpacks when they are empty, you might also develop a curiosity to know the ideal weight that you should carry on your back.

This answer is again relative, as you wear backpacks for different purposes and not everyone has the same level of bearing capacity due to their various height and weight.

After knowing the empty weight of backpacks, it’s also important to know the weight when they are full.

According to experts, your backpack should have a weight that is not exceeding more than 40% of your total body weight.

For some other experts, the percentage goes down to 30% and even goes up to 50%.

But, when it comes to hiking, then your backpack should not weigh more than 10-20% of your body weight.

For example, if your weight is 140 lbs. then your hiking backpack’s weight should be between 14-28 lbs.

Because, hiking is basically a long trip, where you have to bear the burden on your back for a long period of time.

So, if you are having an unbearable amount of loads or more than ideal weight, then it’s going to hurt your health sooner or later.

But, the main concern here is, how much weight you can carry comfortably. The ideal answer to this will always vary based on your comfort.

Must Read: Hiking Packs for Big Guys Review.

How to Make Your Packing Lightweight?

If you have thoroughly read this up to now, you already have a clear idea about the empty weight of backpacks and how much your pack should weigh in different conditions.

That might arise another question in your mind: how you can make your packing lightweight. Well, if you follow some simple tips, things are not that hard.

The very first rule to make your backpack lightweight is to pack things that are a must-have and avoid the ones that would be nice to have when you go on a trip.

Before you decide to put things into your pack, take time and think deeply about the things you absolutely need.

And at the same time, eliminate the items one by one which is not that necessary but would be really nice to have.

If you really want to have less burden on your back, then you have to compromise the list and break it down to only ‘must have’ things.

You can take this lesson from your previous packing experiences where you thought you needed all those stuff but ended up using only a few of them in your trip.

So, you need to know what you can’t miss and what you shouldn’t have.

The second rule is to pack clothes that are enough for one week’s stay.

Because it’s better to do laundry to your washed clothes rather than bearing extra loads of clothes on your long trip.

Last but not the least, try to bring items that have multiple uses and better to avoid the ones which are needed only for occasional purposes.

Because it’s easier to rent an occasional item instead of carrying it throughout the whole trip.

Final Words

For outdoor trip enthusiasts, backpack-related questions are always important.

Because, by the end of the day, having a lightweight pack is desirable to everyone for a comfortable journey.

We hope this article about how much does a backpack weigh empty answers a lot of the questions that you were having in your mind for a long time.

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