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Should I Use a Scale?

If you are a thru-hiker or long-distance backpacker you should consider keeping your pack weight low. One of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce pack weight is to evaluate each piece of equipment by weighing it with a scale. Weighing each item is an unbiased way to evaluate your equipment.

Paul Bodnar       Educational       8/13/2021
Paul Bodnar
Educational
8/13/2021

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a tent on a scale

Kitchen Scale

If you want to reduce your pack weight, getting an accurate kitchen scale is a great way to start. When you weigh each item in your pack, you begin to see your gear differently. Understanding the value and the weight of each item is fundamental to reducing your pack weight. It’s important to get a kitchen scale that can measure down to the gram so you can see the smallest variation between alternatives.

Maximum Measurement Range: 5-22 pounds

Retail: $10 to $25

a backpack and its total base weight

Luggage Scale

A luggage scale is a great way to weigh things like a tent, sleeping bag, or backpack that can’t be easily placed on a scale without falling off. It’s also a great way to weigh your pack when it is fully loaded.

Maximum Measurement: 110 pounds

Retail: $10 to $15

Summary

If you want to reduce your pack weight then using an accurate scale is a great place to start. By knowing what your gear weighs, it makes it a lot easier to find other comparable gear items that weigh less. You will be amazed at the ability to lighten your pack when you know the weight of your gear. After you know your gear weight, you will likely start seeing other lightweight alternatives that might even provide more value.


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Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association
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Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.