Knowledgebase Page - The 15lb base weight gear list

Feb 10, 2020

Why 15lbs is a good target and how to achieve it

15lbs or 6.8Kg is a magical figure – it’s about the base pack weight you can achieve for an extended three season backpacking trip without really compromising on comfort or sacrificing any of the key pieces of gear; such as tents, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and rucksack.


Go much below this weight and there must be compromises to achieve such a low level – you could go without a sleeping mat, use a minimalist tarp instead of tent, leave the cooking gear and fuel at home and eat only cold food plus a host of other compromises that could reduce base pack weight further.


At 15lbs though none of these compromises have to be made, you can take a tent, full size sleeping mat, cooking gear etc. 15lbs is also a good starting weight for your back – with a good rucksack it’s a relatively small load to carry and even though you will be adding food, water and fuel you will probably still stay under 22lbs – which is a comfortable carry for most people.

Even with this low weight it’s notable that the largest single item is the RUCKSACK – the item you don’t need, except to carry the stuff you do need. In my 15lb list the rucksack weighs about a kilogram, that’s because I insist on a decent harness system with a frame that transfers the load to my hips for a comfortable carry – if I expect my total weight to be below 25lbs there are a wide range of packs that will carry this around the kilogram mark. Other people will go for a lighter pack than this – that’s personal choice – but it could save 3-400grams more – this is worth doing if you can still carry the weight comfortably.


In my list I’ve included a two skin TENT that’s under 800grams, two skin tents are the most popular because they are the best for managing condensation, but by moving to a single skin option weight could be saved or roominess improved for the same weight. Most tents of this low weight have mesh inners – these are ‘breezy’ in windy conditions but this is the only compromise you need to use for three season use.


I have also included a full sized SLEEPING MAT, many others might compromise here and take a torso mat, and you can use your rucksack to insulate your legs from the ground though it’s not as comfortable. There were lighter options for sleeping mat anyway (though not many) but these are generally un-insulated, I preferred the insulated option which again helps my sleeping bag keep me warm.


The SLEEPING BAG I have gone for is highly rated for its weight – at a Comfort Limit of 2C its around the minimum requirement for most 3 season backpacking trails, fine if I ‘sleep warm’ but not so good if I ‘sleep cold’, but I also have a pair of long johns a thermal top and a down jacket which I can wear to bolster the warmth from the bag.

Finally my total comes to 13lbs 14.23ozs, that leaves 17oz (481grams) for re jigging or for other items – note I haven’t included my camera – 12oz is a good allowance for this but my preferred camera weighs a bit more so it would take the total base weight over the target.

Extra weight may be added for ingredient bottles, salt and pepper or in my case something to carry my coffee in.


It’s a real list and one that I will be using for an upcoming trip, I will be swapping some stuff out and adding equivalents in – but the basic list is sound.

Basic Gear Carried

  Basic Gear Carried     6300g   | 13lbs 14.23oz  
Tent Sea to Summit Alto TR1 Tent     930g   | 2lbs 0.8oz  
  Lightwave Cuben Peg Bag     2g   | 0lb 0.07oz  
  GCG Titanium Tent Pegs - 6     36g   | 0lb 0.85oz  
  MSR Carbon Core Tent Stakes - 6     36g   | 0lb 1.27oz  
  Lightwave Lightning Guylines - 4     20g   | 0lb 0.71oz  
  Grip Clips x 2     10g   | 0lb 0.35oz  
Sleeping Bag STS Spark SPII Regular Sleeping Bag     480g   | 1lb 0.96oz  
  STS Aero Ultralight Pillow - Regular inc. pouch     58g   | 0lb 2.05oz  
  STS stuffsack supplied with sleeping bag     30g   | 0lb 1.06oz  
Sleep Mat etc Nemo Tensor Regular     394g   | 0lb 13.9oz  
  Repair Kit     10g   | 0lb 0.35oz  
  Pumpsack     56g   | 0lb 1.97oz  
Rucksack Granite Gear Crown 2     1064g   | 2lb 5.6oz  
  Gram-counter Gear 30L Pack Liner     62g   | 0lb 2.19oz  
Raingear Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket     172g   | 0lb 6.06oz  
  Montane Minimus Pants     156g   | 0lb 5.51oz  
Cooking Soto Windmaster Gas Stove     66g   | 0lb 2.33oz  
  Evernew ECA 278R Titanium Solo Potset     152g   | 0lb 5.37oz  
  GCG Thermo Pocket Insulated Pouch     34g   | 0lb 1.2oz  
  Optimus Sliding Spoon     26g   | 0lb 0.92oz  
  MSR Deep Dish Bowl     61g   | 0lb 2.16oz  
  Sawyer Mini Filter     97g   | 0lb 3.42oz  
  GCG Firesteel     12g   | 0lb 0.42oz  
  GSI Compact Scraper     18g   | 0lb 0.64oz  
  Pot Washing Cloth and Pan Saver     10g   | 0lb 0.35oz  
 Washroom Coghlans Mirror     20g   | 0lb 0.71oz  
  Granite Gear Air ZippDitty     17g   | 0lb 0.6oz  
  Lightwave RAP-VAP Towel Small     52g   | 0lb 1.84oz  
  Packtowel Nano - Medium     18g   | 0lb 0.64oz  
  Disposable Razor x1     12g   | 0lb 0.42oz  
  Coghlans Camp Soap 59ml     85g   | 0lb 3oz  
  MSR Blizzard Stake as Trowel     33g   | 0lb 1.17oz  
  Coghlans Biodegradable Toilet Roll     42g   | 0lb 1.48oz  
  Vaude Dento-Fresh     45g   | 0lb 1.59oz  
  Pee Bottle     35g   | 0lb 1.24oz  
First Aid Kit Total Weight     181g   | 0lb 6.4oz  
  Granite Gear Air ZippDitty 1.0L     17g          
  2 x 4" Wound Dressings     14g          
  1 x Stretch Bandage     10g          
  1 x Surgical Tape     3g          
  1 x Bite and Sting Relief     17g          
  6 x Wound Cleaning Wipes     11g          
  5 x Plasters     4g          
  1 x Small Vaseline Tin     34g          
  Ibuprofen Tablets - 16 Pack     8g          
  Sun Screen Stick     12g          
  Micropur Tablets - 75 Pack     8g          
  Elastoplast Fabric Strapping     31g          
  STS Nano Mossy Net     12g          
 Hydration Hydrapak 750ml Stash Water Bottle     70g   | 0lb 2.47oz  
  Evernew 0.6L Water Bottle     27g   | 0lb 0.95oz  
  Hydrapak Soft Flask 750ml     68g   | 0lb 2.4oz  
Clothing Patagonia Thermal Airshed Jacket     230g   | 0lb 8.11oz  
  Rab Zero G Down Jacket     290g   | 0lb 10.2oz  
  Rab Forge Leggings     130g   | 0lb 4.59oz  
  Marmot Windstopper Gloves     66g   | 0lb 1oz  
  OR Helios Sunhat     84g   | 0lb 2.97oz  
  Montane Primino 140 Helmet Liner     18g   | 0lb 0.64oz  
  Haglofs LIM Power Dry Top     168g   | 0lb 5.94oz  
  XSocks Trekking Expedition Short     54g   | 0lb 1.91oz  
  Montane Prism Booties     154g   | 0lb 5.43oz  
 Accessories Petzl Tikka Lamp     85g   | 0lb 3oz  
  ALOKD2-8x11 Waterproof Bags - Double Zip     20g   | 0lb 0.71oz  
  Petzl E+ Lite     26g   | 0lb 0.92oz  
  Maps x 2 Cut to Size     54g   | 0lb 1.91oz  
  Deejo Naked 15g     15g   | 0lb 0.53oz  
  Sunglasses and Lowe Alpine Pouch     108g   | 0lb 3.82oz  
  Compass - Silva     26g   | 0lb 0.92oz  
  Glass Cleaning Cloth     2g   | 0lb 0.07oz  
  Multimat Sit Mat     32g   | 0lb 1.13oz  
  Gram-counter Gear Mini Firesteel     15g   | 0lb 0.53oz  
  Cable Ties     6g   | 0lb 0.21oz  
  Discretionary Gear Carried                
  Samsung Phone incl. LokSak     115g   | 0lb 4.06oz  
  Credit Cards and Cash in LokSak     23g   | 0lb 0.81oz  
  Granite Gear Document Pouch     19g   | 0lb 0.67oz  
  Headphones     10g   | 0lb 0.35oz  

15lbs or 6.8Kg is a magical figure – it’s about the base pack weight you can achieve for an extended three season backpacking trip without really compromising on comfort or sacrificing any of the key pieces of gear; such as tents, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and rucksack.