Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hiking gear calculator

I have put together a simple gear calculator, using Excel.

You can list your gear by category, add the carried and worn amounts for each item, then see totals for your base pack load, full pack load and total skin-out weight (everything carried and worn).

It also determines whether your weight qualifies as Super Ultralight, Ultralight or Lightweight, based on the scale on the ultralight backpacking entry at Wikipedia.

Finally, it will calculate what percentage of your body weight you're carrying.  There seems to be a general view that you should aim to carry no more than 20-25% of your 'ideal' body weight.  See Brawny's post on this, for example (Look in the section on Philosophy).

You need to enter amounts in grams.  These are converted to pounds for the non-metric folk out there.

If you have any suggestions on how I can improve this, please be sure to leave me a comment.

The calculator can be downloaded here.    Enjoy!



  1. I had 22 kgs in winter Gow,over 7 nights,104klms your pack weight for 5 days in high country is about right,better to be warm and safe than light and dead.
    I climbed the staircase spur with 16kgs in pack and it was a hard slog up in summer.
    Im going up to feathertop in june for a week of snow shoeing,and will take 22kgs as well,just to be warm and well fed.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Darren. Agree about the Staircase Spur being a slog!  Also, agree with you that being warm and well-fed should come first.   My pack weight was 18kg for a 5 day snow-shoeing trip around Mt Bogong last August.  I am not sure if you saw my post on this  - it's here:   Feathertop will be fun  - what route are you planning to do?

  3. Hi Andrew
    I read your high country walk,very cool trip,many would have bailed out after the night on bogong drama,lol.
    I was up there 5 weeks ago and will go back just after first good snow for the year if its a good day i will go razor back to fed hut,if bad ill go bungalow spur.
    See how i feel might drive around to moutain creek and have a go at bogong as well.ive only been in to hiking a few years,im 50 in october and after years of running skipping hitting bags etc,i wanted a new challenge and hiking alone does that for me,some times my daughter and her friend tag along,so they might be coming this trip with a tobbongong,lol
    Was it cold enough for all your gear you took or not.?
    cheers darren

  4. Gday, Darren

    I am sure that trip will be fun. with or without the kids.   Tobogganing eh?  Crikey, I could just imagine you watching your daughter and friend disappearing down the side of Bogon, whoops fading into the distance! 

    I used all my winter gear at one point or another.  One thing I would change is to replace the ski jacket with a lighter, hard shell.  I needed insulation from the wind/snow/sleet, not from the cold - the other layers took care of that.


    PS. I am a tad under 50 myself and since getting back into hiking 18 months ago, I am the fittest I've been since high school. That said, a touch of arthritis is giving me grief, but I will get that sorted out this year.

  5. Thats what im considering,i have a pretty heavy ski jacket as well but was thinking could i get away with a top quality hard shell sailing jacket,like say a nautica competion one.
    I took that on gow and it worked fine.
    Just dont want to get caught short in the alps.
    I also got a gym mat 10mm at op shop,so soft and cut a strip of and used it for extra padding on sholder and hip belts for pack,so much nicer to carry the lowe 85 cerro toro pack,and use the rest as insul mat.
    Gumtree is a good sight for cheap stuff to and i noted your mention of the shop in cheltenham that hires hike gear,very nice.
    I will be hiring cr,ons snow shoes,blbeacon on next hike unless i can get 2nd hand.cheers darren.

  6. Great and inspiring read. Tad over 50 and trying to get fit enough to do some winter hiking. Did a fair bit in my younger days in the UK so have the experience and will.... just unfit. I will follow your lead and start with something with easy access to snow so I can test the gear out..and of course myself! Thanks for the spreadsheet doubt it'll validate some lighter gear purchases!

  7. Hi Andrew,

    I know this is an old post but I'm becoming more and more of a gear geek and have just started making use of this spreadsheet and I love it. I'm a backcountry skiier and when I do overnight trips I'm not aiming to qualify for 'ultralight' by any means, but I'm having a lot of fun entering all my data and analysing it all. Thanks for sharing the Excel file!

    Also I'm glad to see in more recent posts that you're keeping it up after the hip replacement.



  8. Thanks for the positive feedback, Ben and for your comment on the hip replacement - this particular procedure is a modern-day miracle!


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