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Weighing travel gear is a great way to make sure you don’t over pack. My whole philosophy on packing is that you can bring what you want as long as you stick to your target weight. What that target weight is, well, that’s up to airline regulations and how much weightlifting you do. But who has time to weigh all of their stuff (other than me)? I’ve done the homework and have created a spreadsheet of typical weights for you.

Why Bother Weighing Travel Gear?

Nobody wants to schlep around a heavy bag. As I have elaborated on in other articles, packing to weight can change the way you look at packing. Rather than thinking of packing a certain number of things, paying attention to the total weight can free you to make better choices. Going through the effort of weighing travel gear can also give you an awareness of why you might be taking more than you need. If I can’t decide between two similar items, a quick weigh takes the choice out of my hands.

What Weight Should I Shoot For?

The overall weight of your bag should be a little less than the maximum carry-on weight for your airline. I aim for 16 pounds, as this is often the maximum weight that is allowed in the cabin of European airlines. US airlines typically allow up to 25 pounds, but that is a miserable amount of weight to drag around, in my opinion. Ultimately, you should be packing to the weight that you can realistically handle. You may only be able to carry 10 pounds, but that’s still possible!

How to Use This Spreadsheet

I have gone through my typical items and made a list of what you might potentially pack. The weights are in ounces. Keep in mind that your things probably don’t weight the same as mine. These are target weights more than absolute weights. If you can do better, great! And for a point of reference, I am 6’2″, I weigh around 180 and I have size 12 feet, so I am larger than a typical woman or man and should have heavier clothes than the average person. That means you can do even better than I do!

You can come up with an estimate of your bag before you even pack. Print out this spreadsheet, grab a calculator and add up all of the items you plan to pack. Compare your results with your actual bag. How did you do? Post results in the comments!

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Weighing Travel Gear: The Spreadsheet!

AWS Staff

This post was published by the Adventures with Sarah team. Click here to find out more about the people that make everything at AWS happen.


  • Leslie says:

    Based on your previous articles about weights, I got a nice food scale at Bed Bath & Beyond with one of their coupons. (It easily fits into my handbag for shopping trips) I weigh EVERYTHING just out of curiosity. It’s easy to tune out the weight of favorite objects. I have three 5×8 hardback notebooks I carry everywhere, which I weighed… well over 5 pounds! I might also have the world’s heaviest down vest. Weighing stuff is turning into one of my favorite hobbies…

  • Nancy Schein says:

    Weighing and tracking are a great idea to remain mindful about the reality of all that stuff we think we want to take! Spreadsheets to the rescue!

  • Linda says:

    Always good information from my packing guru. My spreadsheet is also color coded for different colored capsules. And to weigh clothes, I put a big bowl on the scale, zero it, then dump the garment in. Avoids having to fold things up really small. Thank you, Sarah.

  • Mary says:

    Awesome post! I had definitely been wanting something like this spreadsheet. I am already using it to root out the “problem children” or unacknowledged luxury items in the packing list for my upcoming trip.

  • Gwen Karlson says:

    Sadly, I don’t know how to turn your spreadsheet into a printable format. Any suggestions? Thanks. (I appreciate and enjoy reading all the info in your blog.)

  • Lily Chan says:

    Thank you for this post and spreadsheet! Although I read and re-read your posts on packing light, I’m not at a point where I weigh everything. I tend to be a macro thinker and focus on what could easily tip into the heavy category, usually that’s shoes and toiletries. I also have quite a bit of wiggle room because I don’t travel with a laptop or bulky chargers. The carry on backpack makes a huge difference too. So far, my carry on bag has hit 13 lbs. Been packing in my mind on how to incorporate a travel yoga mat and a TRX suspension trainer. Luckily, I usually fly with airlines that allow an under the seat personal bag!

  • Ann Kolke says:

    Love your blog. Your spreadsheet is fascinating. The last column on your spreadsheet did not come through. Can you re-send in landscape so it shows.Grazie Mille

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