Here’s a free backpacking gear list spreadsheet and weight calculator to help you plan and pack for your backpacking trips.
How to Use Our Backpacking Gear Spreadsheet
Step 1: Make a Copy of the Spreadsheet
Open the spreadsheet.
Click File then Make a copy.
Name your copy, select the Google Drive folder you want to save it in, then click OK.
Your copy will open in a new tab. Now you can edit it however you want!
Let’s look at what is included in the spreadsheet.
I’ve structured the spreadsheet to allow you to organize your gear into categories.
Each category has the following fields:
- Name: The name of the category, which you can change at any time
- Weight: This is the base weight total for that category, meaning it excludes the weight of items marked as WORN or CONSUMABLE
- Unit: The unit (lb, oz, g, kg) for the category’s base weight total. The spreadsheet will auto-convert the total as you change units.
The spreadsheet has some pre-populated categories. These are just for inspiration. Feel free to edit them however you’d like.
Under each category you’ll add your backpacking gear items.
Each gear item has the following fields:
- Item: Input the item’s name
- Description: Add an optional description
- Worn/Consumable: Mark an item as WORN, CONSUMABLE, or neither (indicated by “-“)
- Weight: Input the item’s weight
- Unit: Choose from lb, oz, g, and kg. The spreadsheet will auto-convert totals as you change units.
- Quantity (“QTY”): Input the item’s quantity
I’ve pre-populated each category with some popular items. And added some extra blank rows in each.
The weight calculator is a table in the top right of the sheet. It automatically calculates the weight of your backpacking gear as you fill out your list.
It’s broken down by:
- Base Weight: Weight of your pack minus worn and consumable items
- Worn: Weight of items marked as WORN
- Consumable: Weight of items marked as CONSUMABLE
- Total: Weight of everything you’re carrying in your pack and on your body, also called “skin-out” weight
There are also two pie charts beneath the calculator:
- Base Weight: Base pack weight broken down by category
- Total Weight: Total “skin-out” weight broken down by base, worn, and consumable weight
The charts, like the calculator, will auto-update as you add your gear.
Step 2: Add Your Backpacking Gear
How to Add a Category
To add another category, copy an existing category.
Paste it at the bottom of the sheet.
Change the category name.
Locate the gear weight calculator in the top right of the sheet.
Add a row to the bottom of the category rows and above the totals. (Remove any unwanted borders, if necessary.)
Set the cell in the “Category” column equal to the cell with the category name.
Set the cell in the “Weight” column equal to the cell with the category weight.
Copy-paste the cell contents from the above cell for the weight unit column.
Update the “Base Weight” SUM function to include the bottom cell.
How to Add a Piece of Gear
To add another piece of gear to a category, just add it in a blank row. Add a description, if you’d like.
Mark whether it’s WORN or CONSUMABLE. If it’s neither, leave “-” selected from the dropdown menu.
Type in its weight. (You’ll notice its weight automatically gets added to the category total, weight calculator, and weight charts.)
Change your units, if desired.
Change the quantity, if desired.
Step 3: Calculate Your Backpack Gear Weight
Once you’ve added all your items and their details, you can use the backpacking weight calculator to see how much your gear weighs.
You can also look at the weight pie charts beneath the calculator for a visual breakdown of your base weight and total (“skin-out”) weight.
Seeing your weight totals in these ways is incredibly helpful. Knowing your current base pack weight is the critical first step in reducing it!
Step 4: Check Off Items as You Pack Them
You’ve probably noticed by now the checkboxes to the left of each gear item.
These nifty things mean your gear spreadsheet can double as a backpacking gear checklist! 🥳
So, next time you’re packing for a backpacking trip, check off each item as you pack it. (You could also print it out and mark off each item by hand…but why not save some paper and do it digitally?)
That’s right — this backpacking spreadsheet is a gear list builder, weight calculator, AND trip checklist all at once! (Take that, LighterPack. 😉)