You want a light backpack? Any object should have the minimum weight and volume.
Your margin also depends on your means of transportation, and these advice affect you if you plan to walk regularly

1 - The clothes

The clothes

Warning: cold resistance and adaptation skills differ from one to another. If possible test your body in winter. Go hiking for a few days with your travelling equipment, walk, stay immobile and try it with and without wind.

The thickness of your clothes doesn’t protect you. The air between the layers and the insulation between each of them does. Read more about the “three layers system”. Besides this, the material is important: if your skin is allergic to synthetic t-shirt, think about merino wool and if you cannot do otherwise: cotton. Cotton is heavy, has little insulation, dries slowly, and keep the smell: avoid it.

Find below a list for temperatures above 0°C. Weights and prices are those of my own equipment or have been found online.







T-shirt 2 220g synthetic 10€ to clean every days/2 days
T-shirt long sleeves 1 300g synthetic or merinos 10€  optional >15°C
Light fleece 1 200g synthetic 5€
Windproof and waterproof jacket 1 600g waterproof 70€ two-in-one, comfortable and resistant
Pants 1 220g synthetic 15€
Pants adjustable in shorts 1 270g synthetic 20€ the shorts can be used as swimsuit
Underwears 3 180g cotton 10€
Socks 3 150g cotton 4€
Flip-flop 1 200g plastic 2€ in houses and around the tent
Hiking shoes 1 waterproof 60€ light and breathable
Light bags 2 50g nylon 4€ light nylon bag to compress the clothes and separate dirty/clean

Weight: 2410g

Price: 190€

To add or replace to resist -10°C.







Down jacket 1 350g down 50€ without hood, down 650 80/20 is enough
Thicker fleece 1 290g synthetic 8€
Gloves 1 100g synthetic 6€ take windproof gloves, it’s more important than the thickness
Beany 1 100g synthetic 4€ optional
Thicker pants 1 320g synthetic 25€ replace the adaptable pants
Tights (cross-country skiing) 1 260g synthetic 20€ optional >-5°C, the running tights can be enough but keep warm as long as you move
Thicker socks 3 210g synthetic 6€
Hiking shoes 1 waterproof 80€ thicker sole, less breathable

Weight: 3300g

Price: 309€

Temperature perception: the wind has an influence on it. However a windshell and thick pants should do. As for the air humidity, the impact is important for high temperatures but is almost inappreciable at -10°C. Here is a tool to give you an idea of wind effect:

About the cold weather

While I was travelling in Asia this equipment allowed me to hitchhike and walk down to -15°C, and until -20°C of windchill. In this situation the coldness was difficult to bear after staying one hour immobile or in case of steady wind. It was especially weird to lose the feet sensitivity. I weigh more than 70kg and I don’t have blood circulation issues or unusual sensitivity to the cold. Therefore, I advise you not to use this equipment below -10°C to be comfortable.

However, be aware of the little difference in temperature perception between -10°C and -20°C, whenever there is no wind. Don’t be too afraid of these temperatures but be careful. Check your feet, hands and ears regularly, walk on the spot, and don’t stay far from roads and dwelling.

Note about the shoes: below zero, air and sweat may condense in your shoes. Humidity cannot evacuate in cold air and it increases the cold perception. Dry your socks as soon as you can. Then, there is also the contact with the icy ground. My soles were the main drawback of my equipment because I kept mid-season shoes. But to put it in perspective, the cold at this level was only unbearable in Balkash surroundings, a lake frozen five months a year, and where the ground was probably colder than the air due to night temperatures.

2 - Camping equipment

Camping equipment

Here is the camping equipment for temperatures above 0°C. You can go down to -5°C by keeping your clothes and if your mattress is good enough. Therefore, this list forces you to find hosts or shelters for colder nights. An argument in favor of this list is: why would I carry six months something I use one month? A sleeping bag and a comfortable mattress for -10°C reach staggering prices and weights.







Tent 1 1720g 360€ for 2 people, 1.3kg/310€ for 1 person
Ground sheet 1 200g synthetic 10€ in rocky areas else optional, a cut tarp should do
Sleeping bag 1 750g down 230€ 400g of down cuin 800
Mattress 1 400g synthetic 50€ R-value >2
Silk sheet 1 110g silk 30€ keep the sleeping bag clean, to use alone in hot weather
Fleece rag 1 20g synthetic 2€ if you can clean it, use your towel

Weight: 3200g

Price: 682€

If you sleep above 10°C, take a lighter sleeping bag with 300g of down and a low quality mattress.

If you sleep above 20°C during a summer trip, don’t take any sleeping bag. The silk sheet should be enough if you don’t mind keeping part of your clothes.

The price is high. If you stay in warm regions, the camping budget is far less important. You can save money at the expense of the weight, the comfort temperature, wind and condensation resistance. You can get sleeping bags >1kg and tents >2kg for 80€ and 120€, the budget falls then to 292€ for 4kg+.

Note 1: if you are travelling with someone, the cost and the weight of the tent is divided.

Note 2: the investment return of the tent and the sleeping bag depends on your future activities, other trips and trekking frequency.

3 - Health and hygiene

Health and hygiene

You should add to this list any object you personally need, such as glasses or specific medicine.

About the first-aid kit content, check this article: “Be safe”.







Drugs 1 30g 100€ resist to change in temperatures, price depends mainly on the malaria drugs
Plasters 1 10g 5€
Antiseptic 1 50g 2€ small volume, resist to change in temperature
Suncream 1 100g 5€ protection SPF 50
Sunglasses and light case 1 50g 20€ minimum Cat 3
Yarn and needle 1 10g 1€ to repair your equipment, or to heat with the lighter to get rid of a tick
Soap 1 80g 2€ small size, to store in a ziplock bag
Towel 2 120g synthétique 4€ small size is enough, 65*90cm
Toothpaste and toothbrush 2 160g 4€ small volume, thin handle
Razor 2 10g 1€ to buy on the spot if you take a plane
Ear plugs 2 5g 1€
Toilet paper 2 100g 1€ one layer only, without cardboard
Light bag 1 20g synthétique 2€ a light nylon bag to collect it
Small cord 2 10g 1€
Knife 1 80g 15€ swiss or simple knife, stainless steel

Weight: 755g

Price: 164€

On the road, buy some sugar cubes. It is useful in case of faintness.


The meal equipment is limited to the knife. If you don’t hike in empty places a stove is useless and it is more interesting to try local food. You can take a plastic bowl but its use is limited for a high volume.

About water, you will find it more often in bottles than at the tap. No need to take a quality bottle, just keep some plastic ones with you and change it once in a while.

4 - The papers

The papers

Here is the minimum you shouldn’t forget.

Most of this information can be kept as files on your smartphone. It will be usefull if you need to print a new copy. Moreover, send all these documents on your personnal email to have a back-up.







Notebook and pen 1 140g 3€ to write your adventures
Bank account details 1 1g
Wallet 1 15g 4€ as simple and light as possible
Blood type 1 1g
Insurance documents 2 2g
Passport 1 20g
Passport scan 1 1g
ID photos 4 2g 5€ as many as Visas needed
Other documents VISA 5 10g depending on your journey
Medical prescriptions and instructions 2 5g might be controlled at the border
Conversation guide 3 3g
Emergency numbers 1 1g
Business card 20 10g optional
Address list 1 1g optional, to send postcards
ID card 1 5g optional, useful to prove your identity if you lose your passport. To store in a different place
Ziplock bags 5 10g 2€ to keep your documents altogether and protected from humidity. It is quickly damaged, take more than necessary and check holes regularly

Weight: 227g

Price: 14€

During your trip you will collect a lot of papers, tickets, coins and cash. Classify it regularly not to be confused.

5 - Electronic material

Electronic material

An important part of this equipment depends on your project. Here is a simple list to which you could add:

  • A camera and its case – this last one as compact as possible and with few zippers. Zippers are rusted quickly and it’s extra weight. Store the extra battery and the charger in a ziplock in the main bag. My own stuff weighted 1200g with a Canon 700D and one lens.
  • Microphones and lapel microphones – if you plan to do some interviews
  • An electronic book – with backlight to read in the evening

Warning: below 0°C electric material can turn off, have shorter autonomy, or be damaged. The Iphone battery is especially sensitive. Check the recommended temperature range for each item, and keep them close to your body or in the middle of the bag. Almost all of them should however resist -10°C without irreversible damage.







Phone 1 250g it’s better if your phone is compact and comes with a case
Phone charger 1 50g detachable USB cable, to use it on a computer
MicroSD 1 2g 15€ optional, if you take many photos and videos your phone storage might not be enough
Cigar lighter socket 1 2g 5€ optional, to charge your phone in the cars
Extra battery 2 300g 20€ optional, you will run less often to find an outlet
Ziplock bags 2 4g 2€ if you have SD cards or a battery to protect from humidity

Weight: 608g

Price: 42€


If you have a camera, you can buy an USB key with SD card reader and plug it into your phone with an OTG adaptor USB – MicroUSB (total 10€). You can then transfer the files to your phone and save them on internet with Wifi.

You can also use micro-SD cards with a SD adaptator in the camera, and then switch it in your phone’s slot (if you have one) to upload your photos.

It is always recommended to save everything on internet as a back-up.

6 - The camera pick

The camera pick

Find below two useful links to pick your material:

Ranking cameras / lens:

Comparison photos / lens:

Be careful with Dxomark: specs don’t really matter if you don’t consider what you really need, what are your competences and the time you want to invest in it. If you consider your phone is sufficient, so be it.

To stay on a budget, an entry-level Reflex is good enough (Nikon D3400, Canon 200D…). Just make sure the camera/lens and the bag are not too heavy. Consider hybride cameras (digital viewfinder) and bridges (smaller captor), it’s becoming a far batter option for quality/weigh ratio than in the past.

Keep in mind the volume of your equipment can attract thieves, and also look too intrusive to your human subjects.

The kit lens 18-55mm is quite good whatever people say, and has the best quality/price ratio. A better zoom with the same versatility landscape/portrait/macro represents a fair amount of money (400€+).

You can also go for primes instead of a zoom, for less versatility but a better image quality. These lenses have the advantage to force you moving around to find the best angle. For a Reflex APS-C (entry-level format), a 35mm or a 50mm is perfect for portrait and street scenes. You can add a second lens of 24mm or 28mm maximum for landscapes or inside buildings. If you have to take one, get a 35mm for an APS-C and 50mm or 40mm for a full frame.

Two prime lenses represent an extra cost of 250€ compared to the Kit’s zoom, but you can be lucky on the second hand market.

To save some money you can create alerts on Amazon with this website (please consider local shops too) :

History and price follow-up on Amazon:

Hybrid cameras

For the same photo quality, hybrid cameras are twice lighter and more discreet. It has less and less drawbacks compared to Reflex cameras :

  • Usually more expensive for the same photo quality
  • Digital viewfinder only (less precise, lag, black out when shooting), not optical
  • Shorter battery life  (500 photos vs 1000 photos with a Reflex) due to the constant use of the digital screen
  • Second hand market is less developped
  • Need an adaptator to use old lenses, quality depending on the brand

This is probably already a good option and likely to be the future standard. Don’t buy automatically the best ranking  : it should first match your own need and your competencies.

7 - The backpack selection

The backpack selection

Select it when all the other equipment has been bought and the volume tested. You can measure the volume of your stuff in a big rectangular box.

Don’t forget to take out what you will probably wear, for instance a t-shirt, pants, underwears and socks (-440g). If you travel with someone else and with one tent, one can take the poles and the pegs and the other one the canvas and the tarp (-960g). Don’t forget the volume of the food, usually 2-3L for one day, and the weight of the water, 1kg (the volume of water is not important as the bottles are placed in the side mesh).

Then you should take a margin of 10% for the calculated volume: you will probably bring some souvenirs back home or you will have to buy extra clothes. Beanie and gloves can be bought on the spot, as well as all winter clothes. Be sure you have the corresponding volume.

Against thieves, just keep precious objects close to your body in internal pockets, or in the main compartment of your bag. Generally speaking, external pockets are useless on clothes or bags, add weigh, and increase water infiltration whatever the waterproof technology.

The price of a backpack below 2kg for 50L vary from 40€ to 150€. I will do an exception and quote some brands to guide you, but you can probably find better and cheaper.

For low budgets, I advise you the Décathlon backpack 50L (40€, 1.7kg)

For resistance and comfort above 10kg:

  • Act Lite 50L+10 by Deuter (130€, 1.7kg)
  • Variant, Kyte, Sirrus, Kestrel… by Osprey (150€, 1.6kg)

For lightness, but some fragility and load below 10kg:

  • Osprey Talon 44L or Exos 48L (130€, 1.1kg)
  • Camp M5 50L (135€, 1.1kg)
  • Le Croz 48L+8 by Vaude (160€, 1.4kg)

Note: You can take out some pockets and strips to lighten your bag.

Weight of the backpack – cold weather





The clothes 3300g 309€
Camping equipment 3200g 682€
Health and hygene 755g 164€
The papers 227g 14€
Electronic material 608g 42€
Backpack 1100g 130€

Total solo: 8750g (9190g – 440g worn)
Total duo: 7790g (8750g – 1920g/2 of shared tarp and tent)

Price solo: 1341€
Price duo: 1156€ (1341€-370€/2 of shared tarp and tent)

My own backpack: 7.7kg for 44L, with 6L margin at the beginning of the trip. I also had a case for the camera: 1.2kg.

Weight of the backpack – hot weather





The clothes 2410 190€ – warm clothes
Camping equipment 3000g 622€ simple mattress and lighter sleeping bag
Health and hygene 755g 164€
The papers 227g 14€
Electronic material 608g 42€
Backpack 1100g 130€

Total solo: 7660g (8100g – 440g worn)
Total duo: 6700g (7660g – 1920g/2 of shared tarp and tent)

Price solo: 1162€
Price duo: 977€ (1162€-370€/2 of shared tarp and tent)

The backpack rain protection

From personal experience, rain is more a threat to your mood than to your clothes or equipment if you take basic precautions.

In monsoon areas you will have sunny hours almost everyday, just use it to move forward, and stay close to shelters when the clouds are gathering over your heads. It’s not the gloomy and damp weather you have in northern Europe for months.

Almost all bags can resist 10 minutes of normal rain: they are water-repellent. You may be always able to find a shelter within this timeframe if you follow roads and villages. Protect your electronic equipment in ziplock bags and your sleeping bag and down jacket in garbage bags. You should be able to survive with no damage even one hour under the rain. Dry everything as soon as possible, especially down equipment and underwears.

Everything is fine as long as it doesn’t rain a few days in a row, or if sun appears sometime, or if you have access to a dry and warm place. Do not hesitate to take refuge in shops.

A raincover (8€, 200g) can be useful, mainly because it’s fast to adjust and can help against thieves. But water will finally go down through your back and there are better practices to avoid being stolen.

A cloak (15€, 400g) can only be recommended if you plan to stay several hours under heavy rain, which is not likely to happen unless the zone is known for unpredictable and frequent rain (Iceland, Scotland…) or if you want to do a trek several days in uncertain weather. It’s not comfortable at all, it’s heavy and the condensation of your sweat may wet you as well. It is often better to just use the tent and wait.