So I did some research (added in some personal experience) and came up with guide to show how much you might expect to be able to carry if you are on foot, on mild terrain, in a mild climate, for a moderate distance of 5-10 miles per day (provided you are well fed and have plenty of water):
How Much Gear Can You Carry? So to get a starting point for how much you may be able to carry (for an extended distance), simply take the percentage that I listed for each fitness level and multiply it by your weight.
Poor – 10% of Body Weight (Pack Weight for 160 lb. Person = 16 lbs.)
Average – 15% of Body Weight (Pack Weight for 160 lb. Person = 24 lbs.)
Excellent – 20% of Body Weight (Pack Weight for 160 lb. Person = 32 lbs.)
Elite – 30% of Body Weight (Pack Weight for 160 lb. Person = 48 lbs.)
For instance, if you weigh 160 pounds and have a fitness level of “Average” – multiply 160 x 0.15 (or 15%) to get 24 lbs. This may not seem like much weight, and you may be able to carry more, but this is a good, wise and realistic starting point.
How to Carry a 100 Pound Ruck Most mortals can’t – and not for any distance. But there is no doubt that some can and do carry over 100 lbs. in a rucksack for insane distances in less than ideal situations. But these folks are the exception and are often among our elite Special Forces. So if your goal is to carry a 100 pound pack day after day – the Army or Marines may be your ticket to happiness. Ooh Rah!!!
How Much Can You Carry – For Real? Well, the best way to accurately know what you can carry is to pack your BOB and get out there are hit the road or the trail and test yourself under different loads in different conditions. Grab a simple hanging scale to weight your pack or bag. I recommend ones that go up to at least 75 lbs.
It’s Good for You – REALLY!!! Regardless of the outcome of your weight carrying experiment, you will learn something about yourself… enjoy being outdoors and will probably be looking for ways to ditch weight out of your bug out bag AND get in better shape. And that’s all good stuff! Happy Trails!