Save 600 grams on your expedition rucksack alone

Save 600 grams on your expedition rucksack alone

By Kenny Stocker

Worried about your pack being too heavy? In this guide we show you how to lighten your expedition load by 600 grams on the rucksack alone.

This article is the fourth recipe in 6 weight saving recipes to shave weight off your DofE expedition kit list, a series of articles to help you save weight on your expedition kit without compromising comfort or utility, helping you to make more sustainable choices and invest in kit that will last a lifetime.

It can feel like you are playing Tetris sometimes, but taking time to pack well is time well spent. Pack for stability and agility on the trail whilst ensuring your essential items are readily accessible to minimise disruptions, reduce fatigue and get to where you are going faster.

When you're on an expedition, whether it's just for a day or for several days, how you pack your backpack really matters. If it's not done right or if the backpack doesn't fit well, it can be uncomfortable and slow you down. You need a backpack system that's light and comfy for carrying everything you need, no matter how long your adventure is. The trick is to put the heavier stuff in the middle and close to your back. This helps you stay balanced and move easily over different kinds of ground. Also, you want to make sure that the things you use a lot are easy to get to so you don't have to keep stopping and digging through your pack. This way, you can keep moving smoothly and enjoy your expedition more.


  1. Appropriately sized lightweight backpack - normally 60+ litres
  2. Waterproof backpack cover
  3. Compression sacks
  4. Lightweight dry bags
  5. Hydration system (e.g., water bladder)


  • Choose a backpack with the correct back length and adjust it to your back.
  • Try to fit everything inside your bag. This will protect it and reduce swaying when you are walking. OK, we will allow you the weight penalty of one enamel mug.
  • If your rucksack has an extendable lid, try to save that for stowing your waterproof jacket or fleece if it gets warm.
  • Organise gear into different coloured packing cubes for easy access.


  1. Place heavier items close to your back and higher up in the pack.
  2. Use compression sacks for clothing to save space.
  3. Keep frequently used items within easy reach.
  4. Use dry bags to keep electronics and important documents waterproof.

Chef's tips

More specialised carrying systems exist for bike and canoe expeditions. Search for bikepacking luggage and stowable canoe drybags.

Where you can save the weight

The DofE publish a recommended kit list which is a great place to start if you are kitting yourself out for an expedition for the first time. We do have alternatives, which we have listed below, to help you reduce the weight. Our recommendations are a guide – you should always check with your Leader that the kit you choose is suitable for your particular expedition.

Our choice DofE recommended kit
Pacific Crest 65 rucksack Vango Contour 65
Capacity 65 litres 65 litres
Backsystem Adjustable Adjustable
Weight 1.8 kg (Save 600g) 2.4 kg
Raincover Yes Yes
Airlok Drybags Lifeventure Ultralight dry bags
Sizes 3 - 60 litres 2 - 70 litres
Williams Map Case Silva Carry Dry
Weight 133 g 78 g
Size 29 x 29 cm 30 x 30 cm

Our next recipe delivers the most amount of calories per gram so you can eat well on your expedition.

Rucksacks and backpacks

Ultralight 13-litre day pack, folds away into its own pocket
£18.99 £23.99
20-litre waterproof backpack with bungee cords and mesh pockets
£31.99 £37.99
25-litre roll-top waterproof dry bag backpack with no fuss
£33.99 £39.99
30-litre waterproof rucksack with mesh pockets for extra capacity
£33.99 £42.99
6-litre hip pack for carrying riding and running essentials
£31.99 £39.99
Hip pack: UK made, weatherproof, 3L
10-litre hyrdation vest giving secure and stable space for essential kit
£41.99 £49.99
15-litre multi-activity daypack that's lightweight for high intensity
£32.99 £40.99
14-litre mountain bike backpack built for hydration and comfort on the bike
£51.99 £64.99
25-litre multi-activity daypack that's lightweight, stable and streamlined
£55.99 £69.99
25-litre ultra marathon backpack with space for overnight kit and comfort on the run
£59.99 £74.99

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published