4 Simple steps to determine the best weight of your kit

Is your bug-out bag/emergency kit too heavy to carry?

That’s a complaint I’ve heard dozens of times.

The problem is that we want it all — high-quality gear that’s within a reasonable budget, compact, AND lightweight! That’s a hard combination to come by.

If a lightweight kit is your top priority, then you’ll need to figure out, first, how many many pounds is too much, and then begin weighing your kit and its contents.

There’s no cut-and-dried, exact weight amount that is perfect for every body, since we all have our own unique set of physical characteristics and limitations. So, let’s figure out what weight is right for YOU!

Step 1: Weigh your current bug out bag/emergency kit with all its contents. (A luggage scale or kitchen scale is handy for these steps.) Make a note of that weight. If you don’t have an emergency kit/bug out bag/get home bag/etc. then go on to Step 2.

Step 2: Next, you’ll determine how much weight you can comfortably carry. Empty your kit and weigh the bag/container on its own. Write down that weight.

Step 3: Next, weigh 2 or 3 books (heavier books, like hardcover or textbooks) and put them in your kit. Carry or wear your kit around the house or go on a short walk and pay attention to any pain points or overall discomfort. If you can carry this weight comfortably, repeat the step by weighing another book or two or three, adding them to your bag, and then carrying it around for at least 20-30 minutes. I like using books for this step because everyone has at least a few and you can add various sizes to arrive at a specific weight that is comfortable for you.

Step 4: How much weight can you comfortably carry? By now you should have a backpack/bag loaded with a weight that isn’t too burdensome and doesn’t cause any real pain. Weigh the bag and books and jot down that amount.

It’s possible that the bag or backpack you’re using might be the culprit.

Lightening the weight of your bag might be as easy as finding a lighter weight backpack or another container! Naturally, those lightweight, high-quality backpacks will cost more, but it may be worth it in the long run.

Heck, you could get lucky by finding one on eBay or Craigslist. Look for brands like Osprey and Gossamer Gear, and read online reviews of “best lightweight backpacks”. You might also try a cross-body bag to distribute the weight differently.

Otherwise, evaluate everything in your current kit:

Are there multi-purpose pieces of gear that can replace 2 or more items you have? A half-bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap, for example, can be used to wash clothes, hair, body, and eating utensils.

Can you find smaller or lighter-weight versions of anything?

Is each item of vital importance?

Set aside things that you absolutely, positively must have and critically evaluate what’s left. You may have been told that a sewing kit, for example, is a must, but is it really? Some things fall into the category of “nice to have but not necessary”.

Keep adjusting the contents of your kit until it reaches the weight you’ve discovered is just right for you!