Create Your Own Backpacking Gear List With My Custom Gear Calculator Spreadsheet

The new cloud-based version of my Gear Calculator Spreadsheet is available now! You can use this free tool to design your own custom backpacking and hiking gear list, automatically calculate weight and costs and see how different gear will affect your pack weight and budget.

The new version is designed to work with Google Sheets, so you no longer need Excel or any special software (and it’s even easier to use.) Here’s how to get your copy of my spreadsheet and start creating your own custom gear list…


The new spreadsheet is designed to work with Google Sheets, a free cloud-based program. You will need a Google Account to use the spreadsheet. Click the link below (you may have to log in to Google first), then follow the prompt to to copy the file. The spreadsheet will be copied to your Google Drive, where you you can use it to design your own custom gear list.


The spreadsheet comes pre-filled with the most common types of backpacking gear items, divided into seven categories. All you have to do is enter a description for each of the items you plan to use, along with it’s weight and price. The spreadsheet does the rest automatically, calculating the total weight for each item along with weight/cost subtotals for each category.


As you enter data, the spreadsheet will generate a summary of the weight and cost of each category, your base weight, full pack weight and skin-out weight, and pie charts showing the relative impact of each of the seven categories. Use this data to evaluate what you are currently packing and see how changes will affect the overall weight and cost of your gear.


There are several ways you can customize the spreadsheet to your own specifications. To the left of each item is a drop-down menu containing a check and an X. The check activates an item. The X deactivates an item and removes it from all calculations (without requiring you to delete the data, so you can easily turn it back on later.) If you are not satisfied with the pre-filled item subcategories, you can rename them to whatever you like. At the bottom of each category are three blank rows (labeled “custom”), which you can use to add additional items.


As you work, your gear list will be automatically saved to your Google Drive every time you make a modification, and you will be able to access it from all of your web-connected devices. When it’s time to go gear shopping, or create a pre-hike packing checklist, click the Print icon to make a hard copy. In portrait mode, the entire list will print on three 8.5×11 letter-size pages.


This is the third iteration of this tool that I’ve released and I’m always looking for new ways to improve it. Please let me know how it works for you. If you have any questions, feedback, technical issues or suggestions for future improvements, add them to the comments below.

131 Responses to “Create Your Own Backpacking Gear List With My Custom Gear Calculator Spreadsheet”

  1. Overshot Reply

    Nice work on the get list spreadsheet. I am using the Version 3.0 in Google Docs to start organizing my gear. Under the big 4, I have a few packs listed. It does not seem to be adding up the weights when one is active. If the top one is active it adds up the weight below. If the top 3 are inactive and the 4th is active it does not add up the weight below. Might you have any idea why this is? Thanks again!

  2. Freddy Reply


    Thanks for sharing a great tool I had gotten pretty far along with my items on an earlier version, but was glad to see this one come along. I’ve now completed entering all my items, and anything I might remotely consider having along. The chance to “load my pack” from my keyboard and get a precise pack weight is awesome.

    I inserted rows, copied down the format, then amended descriptions to effectively expand your format. No problem whatsoever with functionality from any of those changes.

    A secondary benefit from the worksheet is an inventory, including cost,of all my gear (which of course, will be hidden from my wife).

    Again, thanks for an awesome tool.

  3. Chiseller Reply

    Started a long new, complete gear list, my pie chart & totals are not updating.any help appreciated. Cheers again for a great thing

  4. HuskHikes Reply

    This is a great resource! Thank you for creating a truly wonderful hiking tool!

  5. brother.. this spread sheet is amazing!! Thanks so much

  6. Kuya Reply

    Love the new Google Spreadsheet. I have my own google spreadsheet i have been using, but I think i will start using yours now. So much better!

  7. Updated 8/18/2017: Version 3.0 of my Backpacking Gear Planner Spreadsheet is now live. The new version is designed to work with Google Sheets, a free cloud-based program, so you no longer need Microsoft Excel to use the spreadsheet. I have also fixed a lot of usability issues from the previous version. Please let me know what you think of the new version. Happy trails! E.T.B.

    • Rod Reply

      Love it. Thanks, I have used previous versions for the Boy Scouts when I take them into the Back Country.

      Happy Trails,

  8. Elizabeth Reply

    Thank you so much for offering this spreadsheet with formulas! Now that I’ve weighed my gear and I can see the HUGE weight difference between a plastic Nalgene and a Crystal Geyser water bottle. I’ve finally made the switch to the cheaper and lighter option. I’m now obsessed with cutting weight so I can enjoy my hike more. Thank you for your generosity!

  9. Thank you for this fantastic resource! Love it! Just wanted to flag an issue I had. If you click on the download file in Google Chrome (possibly other browsers too), it goes to MS Excel Online, which disables the check box figures. If you click the download button, it downloads a disabled version, and you can’t add any additional items, or type in the Custom Item boxes. To avoid this, click on the download in another browser, such as MS Explorer. Thanks again!


    • Derek Reply

      Okay, I unfortunately have to change my opinion — I am using it, and trying to fill it out, but the check boxes just disappeared, and I can’t get them back — this document is just too complicated to use. It glitches on me. I think I’m just going to write a simpler one myself in a spreadsheet, without the graphing, or linking of data, or check boxes. It won’t be as slick, but … it won’t just stop working either… Love the idea, wish that MS Excel wasn’t so glitchy.

  10. Trail Dad Reply

    great spreadsheet. I’ve been using it for over 5 years. Some of the formulas in protected areas have become corrupted through cut and paste operations. I cannot change the formulas (and some cells!) because they are copy protected. I could retype everything but what a pain. Would you be willing to email the password so I can rework the formulas? Thanks for any help.

    • @Trail Dad: I don’t remember it off the top of my head, but the password to unlock the sheet is somewhere in the comments section of this post.

  11. Rob Reply

    Anyone know why the pie chart is not a pie chart for me? Everything else seems to work, but the pie chart is just some jumbled up stuff.

    • Rob Reply

      Never mind. After posting the question I found the answer. You need to populate the spreadsheet with your items’ weight and cost before the pie shows up.

    • @Rob: Is it still jumbled up when you entire some items into the spreadsheet? Usually it starts out jumbled when it is empty, but as soon as you put in some gear with the weights and prices it fills out.

  12. Jack Reply


    I am a bit mac/pc compatibility illiterate. I downloaded it to my mac but it does not look like the formulas work there. Am I doing something wrong?


  13. ama yumi Reply

    Hi erik

    i been messing around and think your spreadsheet is the best.

    and i have downloaded many of them, trying to construct my own spreadsheet, but your work made everything simpler: its perfect!

    i would like to thank you and make a suggestion:

    what about to include a section that gives, in a third graphic, how much macronutrients the hiker is carrying on his meals?

    as the author, you could select the basic macronutrientes you want on your own, or just stick to those listed by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine in his online calculator, (lets say, fats, fibers, protein, total water, carbo, etc):

    i think that would be a great step up to your magnific work, since anyone would be able to see, in a glance, how many % of calories is carrying in relation of total amount of weitght, and them improve his carrying load to get a more healthy or calorie dense food.

    best regards.

  14. Reina Reply

    Hello! I’m having trouble with the spreadsheet. I can open it, but it appears to be protected. Is there a password?

    Thanks in advance.

  15. Red Reply


    I opened your document in Google Docs then pasted it into Excel. Now it works.

  16. Deb Roby Reply

    how do I open this list in Google docs? Or do you have a google docs file?

    • @Deb Roby: It was designed to be opened in Microsoft Excel. I’m not sure about Google docs.

  17. GadgetUK Reply

    Really handy!
    For those who want to see more of the lists, you can move the charts and summary over to the right-hand side.
    First you need to unprotect the sheet, go to Review-Unprotect Sheet (password is “Secret”)
    Then add a new worksheet, go to the original sheet cut the charts and summary, then paste them into the new sheet.
    Lastly, go to View-Arrange All-Vertical
    (you will need to juggle with column widths a bit on the new sheet)

    • Mary Reply

      “Lastly, go to View-Arrange All-Vertical”

      Is this step on the original or new wks?

      either one, I cant get the chart and summary on the right side. more steps please?

  18. Dave Reply

    Hi Erik,

    Just a thought. Can you move the graphs to the right hand side. That way the data cells could be brought up and you would be able to see more lines at a time.
    With them on top I can only see a few lines to enter data.(Even with full screen size).

    Fantastic system by the way.

  19. Stephen Fosdick Reply

    Erik, this is O. Ikem Sofar. Have you written an Atlas for the Arizona Trail yet? I’m planning to hike it this Spring, and can’t think of any other guide I might carry but yours.

    Hope you are off to a great year. I’m also planning to finally finish the PCT in July and August of this year … I have about 300 miles to go, from Hwy 12 to Canada.


    • @Stephen: Good to hear from you again. I haven’t got an Atlas for the AZ Trail yet, but I would like to someday. I’ll add it to “the list.” I’m still working on finishing up the next edition PCT Atlases at the moment, which have taken a lot longer than original planned. Hope you have a great hike.

      • T.J. Baker Reply

        Hey Erik: Thanks a ton for offering your outstanding spreadsheet for backpack weight management at no cost your subscribers. I’d buy an Atlas of yours, but I live on the East Coast. Any chance you’ll ever do any atlases of the A.T. or other places east of the Mississippi? Thanks again.

        T.J. Baker

        • @TJ: You’re welcome. Glad you like it. I definitely want to do the AT and Long Trail some time in the near future.

  20. Crystyl Reply


    Thanks so much for this awesome tool. For some reason, I am not able to get some of the ‘custom item’ fields to populate with the total weight. I cannot check the greyed out boxes for some reason in excel on my Mac. Any ideas? Thanks!

  21. Charlie Reply

    Hi Eric,
    great Gear-Planner!

    I managed to rewrite your final Version to our european weight System(kilo and gramm) and Euro as currency.

    If you want to use it for your download-section i can email it to you.

    Greetings from Austria

  22. T Reply

    The calculations are not correct. I put in 41 oz and it tells me it 2 lbs 9 oz which is not correct. 41oz =2 lbs 5 oz.

    • @T: I believe you are mistaken.

      1 lb = 16 oz.
      2 1b = 32 oz.
      41 oz – 32 oz = 9 oz.

  23. Glaucus Reply

    great sreadsheet, I know you;ve said in the past that you have got any intention to released an unprotected version, but it would be good to be able to make small version.
    I just get ##### on the Total(G142) as the cell is to small, despite it only being xxxx.xx and I asume a lot of people will spend over £1k on gear. would also be nice if the charts where off to the side, as only a few rows of info is showing due o the chart taking up so much cell but left hand side of the screen is compltley empty.

    anyway great work and thanks for the great spread sheet.

    • @Glaucus: You can unlock the sheet and make modifications to it if you like. The password is somewhere in the comments section of this thread (I can’t remember off the top of my head what it is.)

  24. Woody Reply

    Eric I’m glad to be part of the Blackwoods clan. Can you hook a brother up with a mac numbers version of your gear list. Thanks, Woody

    • @Woody: I’m currently working on a new version of this tool that will be an online app, so it should be cross platform and not require you to download anything or have any special software.

  25. Debbie Reply

    Nice spreadsheet. Thanks for putting it together. Some of the checkbox cells do not work. I can check the one above or below…such as Line 34, 84, 120, 122

    I have not checked all of them but I seem to keep running into this issue. I’d really like to use each line item so I can add all of my gear and turn on/off the items I’m bringing for a specific trip. I think that was the intent. Please let us know when you update and I’ll cut and paste all of my entries in the next version.

    • @Debbie: The check box thing appears to be a glitch in Excel where it registers the click in above or below when zoomed out. But if you zoom in on the sheet it should allow you to check each of the boxes better.

  26. Charlie Reply

    Hi Eric,
    great Gear-Planner!

    I managed to rewrite your final Version to our metric System and Euro as currency.

    If you want to use it for your download-section i can email it to you.

    Greetings from Austria, the heart of Europe :D

  27. Steve K. Reply

    Hi Erik,

    First off…..thanks so much for this invaluable website.

    Three quick questions…

    Do you plan on making your publications in digital format? It seems that a smart phone can double as an e-reader, GPS, flashlight etc…. Seems that there’s some weight to be saved there.

    Do you ever rely on edible plants on your thru hikes to save weight?

    How do you pack clothing that still fits you after loosing 30+ lbs on long distance hikes?

    Thanks in advance.
    Steve K.

    • @Steve K: I do not plan to make my publications available in digital format because I do not want to encourage people to rely on electronic devices for navigation in the wilderness. Electronic devices can fail when you need them most (dead battery, malfunction, weather damage, etc.) but paper never fails.

      I don’t know anything about edible plants, but it seems to me that plants don’t provide enough calories to make them worth harvesting. You would probably spend as much energy finding, picking and preparing them as you would gain from eating them. Also, you really have to know what to look for so as not to accidentally poison yourself. I just rely on store bought, high calorie food.

      On a long hike some clothing wears out so you can replace those midway with a smaller size, but the other stuff just fits a lot looser at the end ;)

  28. Ryan Reply

    This planner is excellent.. only thing its missing is a Quantity field.. this would be helpful when spreading around weight in a group or so I can see at a glance how much my heavy nalgene bottle weighs but I need two of them

  29. Brian Reply

    Erik, thanks for putting this together. Quick question, is there a way to temporarily hide the distribution pie charts, or a way to expand the list so more of it is on screen at once?

    • @Brian: If you unlock the sheet you can re-size row 4 (which contains the pie charts) and that will make more of the list visible. To unlock the sheet click Tools > Protection > Unprotect Sheet (the password is “Secret”)

  30. Erik- Thanks for making this! I was trying to tally up my different packing options on my own. I have saved different versions depicting how much weight I’ve shaved off since my first hike this year. I’m posting them on my blog, making sure you are refenced.

  31. Erik Reply

    Great tool! I have one enhancement request. It would be nice to be able to add columns for the number of parties in a group. For example, when I travel with my wife, we will spread some of the items over two backpacks. It would be nice to see the impact on weight, and be able to move some stuff around. She might carry 40 lbs., while I cary 50. Thanks

  32. John Reply

    Thank you! Spreadsheet and articles really helped me get my head around my first backpacking trip, which was 5 days in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The Merrill hking shoes you recommeded were perfect. The meal plan was great, and actually allowed me to help others who weren’t as well prepared.

  33. Jason Reply

    Hey Erik, thank you for your spreadsheet and all of your excellent info. I’ll be doing the JMT for the first time in a couple of months (assuming there’s still water), and your info and tools are completely revolutionizing the way I’ve always backpacked (15 years of smaller trips with lots of weight). The spreadsheet has already shown me how much (over)weight I have been, and I love the weight:cost.

    I’m buying a Catalyst today. I like tents > tarps, so may end up with a Big Agnes UL of some kind. Any suggestion on quilts?

    Whatever, thanks a lot!

  34. Yvonne Reply

    Brilliant spreadsheet! Thanks so much for your time and effort Erik – the perfect tool, now all i need is to physically chuck all the crap out of my backpack so it goes from 8.8kg to 6.5kg! :-D

  35. Jared Reply

    What an awesome, easy to use, very helpful spreadsheet thanks so much Erik!

  36. Mike Reply

    Erik…thanks for the spreadsheet. Awesome!
    I thought when I opened it that it was a defective file because I couldn’t see the lines to enter info and I couldn’t scroll down.

    However, when I first opened it in Excel, it was at something like 150-160% zoom level (lower right of screen). I clicked it down to 120% and was able to see the first few lines to enter info and could scroll through the categories.

    It had me stumped for a while so thought this might help someone else. Thanks again.

  37. brian Reply

    Went to download your backpacker gear planner 2.0 but my computer stopped me asking if it was safe. Hence the question as to the safety of your downloads. Thanks!
    By the way I love all the info on your website and videos. Nice work!

    • @Brian: The file is just an excel spreadsheet (not an executable file like a program) so I am not sure why your security software would flag it. Perhaps they are just being overly conservative. As far as I know the file is safe.

  38. Athan Reply

    Looks like an incredible tool.
    I can not get it to scroll.
    I have the top and see the line below the pies then cant get it past that to start entering data.

  39. Luke Reply

    Great resource! I have used this on my PC without any errors but whenever I try to use in on Google Docs the pie charts overlap the Packing & Shelter section making it nearly unusable and there is no check boxes to select or deselect items. It would be great if this spreadsheet could be updated for use with Google Docs. This would make it so simple to share and collaborate your gear list online.

  40. chris Reply

    Thanks Erik. Great spreadsheet. I just found it today and you saved me an hour or so or work tonight!

  41. simon Reply

    I’ve just down loaded the file and it will not let me enter the details as its saying its locked, I am using it on a tablet.
    Thank you

    • @Simon: This spreadsheet was created before tablets became popular, so I don’t know how it will work on one. You can try unlocking the sheet in Microsoft Excel (Tools > Protection > Unprotect Sheet). If prompted for a password enter “Secret”. Once unlocked just be careful not to accidentally overwrite any of the cells containing formulas or it may break the functionality. Good luck.

  42. Kyle Reply

    This is a great resource to figure out weight and price. My only problem is that it won’t add up the base pack weight total pack weight and the skin out weight. Is there a secret to get this to work?

    • @Kyle: There is no need to add those three figures because ‘total pack weight’ includes the base weight and ‘skin-out weight’ includes the total pack weight.

      Base weight = gear only
      Total pack weight = gear + consumables
      Skin-out weight = gear + consumables + items worn or carried

      • Chris Reply

        I think he is referring to the cells for the Base weight , Total Pack Weight and Skin are not working. I looked at the spreadsheet unlocked and it appears the equations are referring to the incorrect cells for the sum function.

        • @Kyle & Chris: You guys are right. Apparently this whole time I had an earlier incomplete version of the spreadsheet uploaded to the website. I kept checking my local copy (of the final version) to make sure it worked correctly, and it did, but that wasn’t the one you were getting. My mistake. I’ve uploaded the final version now. If you download the new file hopefully everything should be working correctly.

  43. David Bagwell Reply

    I would be willing to pay someone for a mac version of this. This is exactly what I need. Do you or anyone know where to find a gear list for a mac’s numbers?

  44. Skip Reply

    Great resource! Something to consider: It’s great to be able to include all your gear inventory and then check the items you plan on bringing, based on seeing their impact to weight. That’s what I need. So it would be really useful to find a way to make it possible to add rows (using named cells so you can still grab totals, e.g.) or to at least include a bunch of hidden rows we can un-hide as needed. Thanks for your consideration!

  45. pete Reply

    Put it on my Asus tablet and Kingsoft that comes with it lets me use any field, like price which I already know for my gear, for commenting.

    A good job, tried the earlier version on a PC.

  46. Todor Reply

    Thank you Eric! Thanks also for making this available for free. My friends and I are hiking in Corsica for 5 days and we are complete beginners. This tool is super helpful for me and included items which I hadn’t even thought of.

    Best wishes for your future hiking adventures!

  47. Pete Reply

    Popped back, after a couple of months of doing adjustments to my kit. And found the metric version – many thanks!
    I’ve always joined groups that only gather on the spot, and hence sharing items (at the planning stage) has not been “a problem”. Now there will be two of us from the same household and a whopping 30% of (my) skin-out weight is in shared items. So the 15 to off-load beats any of my Big Three (15-12-12 %)!
    The question was raised in Feb, I noticed, but the only way to deal with that I found was to do corresponding “minus” entries under OTHER.Minuses don’t carry thru to summaries, but at least they are displayed on the list, so a great help

  48. Frederick Falk Reply

    Love the spreadsheet and everyone I show it to really likes it as well and some have even downloaded it after I showed it to them.

    Couple of questions.

    1. Is there a way to add a column for just manufacturer and then the other column would be the item description.
    2. There appears to be an incompatibility with the Excel version for Mac and the Excel version for Windows. I have the Mac version and cannot get the 1 and 2 click option (top left-hand side of spread sheet to work. It gives me an error saying “you cannot use this command on a protected sheet”.
    3. I noticed whenever I try to do a cut and paste of the contents of a cell (if I am trying to move something from one section to another), it corrupts the weight totals (changes to #REF) and if I accidentally save this I cannot get it and have to start over. It also corrupts where the little arrow boxes are displayed. It took me several times before I discovered what I was doing to corrupt the spreadsheet. I am now on my third version and am very careful anytime I am moving anything around.

    Other than that, it is working great and I really appreciate all of you efforts and allowing others to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Being a programmer myself, I know how much work goes into these things.

    Thanks and have a blessed day,

  49. Steve Kaiser Reply

    I live about 100 miles from Samurai Joe so I went up to check out his gear. He invited me on a 56 mile AT hike at Fontana Dam. I went. It was my first hike ever. Since I’ve been researching my ass off, I quick ordered my Circuit Pack (gave you props for recommending with Chris), Leki poles (they’re awesome). Got my tarp tent and quilt from Zpacks. (samurai Joe).

    I should have gotten name since I fell off of the top level of the shelter at the Fontana hilton the first night. I did 16 miles the first day, 12 the second, then got a room. I am proud of my 28 miles, though.

    I’m still planning on through hiking the PCT in April. Hope to meet you. Steve

  50. Cochise Reply

    Great Spreadsheet really hits the mark Thanks for all your doing much appreciated I am planning to Section Hike the PCT in 2013 (can’t get Off work to do it all in one shot)so this will really add to my planning arsenal again Thanks

  51. Steve Kaiser Reply

    Hi Erik,

    I planning a thru PCT hike in april 2013. (my 1st hike, ever)
    I trying to grasp the light weight issue. If I am carrying 7 days of food at 4000 calories a day at 100 calories per OZ of food, that’s 17.5 LBS of food plus 16 LBS of water; over 30 LBS food and water. Plus the gear. I don’t get it…yet.

    Can you shed some light for me?

    • @Steve Kaiser: On the PCT you won’t need to carry seven days of food or eight liters of water that often. It is only necessary when the towns are more than 100 miles apart and the water sources are more than 30 miles apart (which only happens a few times). The section where hikers usually carry the most weight is the Sierras, due to carrying extra gear (like ice axe, bear canister, some warmer clothes, etc.) The other part where you will find yourself carrying a lot of weight is a few places in SoCal where you have to do big water carries of 6-8 liters.

      But, for the majority of the trail most hikers pack 4-5 days of food between resupply stops and carry 2-4 liters of water at a time.

      100 calories an ounce is a good theoretical goal to shoot for when planning trail food. But in practice most thru-hikers don’t hit the mark. So we hike at a calorie deficit and then pig out in towns to make up the difference. 2 – 2.5 pounds of food a day is pretty standard. If you are a really big eater like me you may venture into the 3 lb territory, but anything more than that is usually too heavy.

      Here are a couple of theoretical examples of how your pack weight will vary throughout the trip:

      Scenario #1: You find yourself mid-way between resupply points on a nice day. In your pack is 2.5 days of food (5 pounds), 2 liters of water (4 pounds) and 12 pounds of gear. Your total pack weight is 21 pounds (lightweight and comfy).

      Scenario #2: You find yourself just coming out of town with a fresh resupply on a hot day. In your pack is 5 days of food (10 pounds), 6 liters of water (12 pounds) and 12 pounds of gear. Your total pack weight is 34 pounds. A bit hefty, but still manageable (and it will lighten up as you go).

      Scenario #3: You just hiked five days and are almost to the next town. In your pack is half a day of food (1 pound), 1 liter of water (2 pounds) and 12 pounds of gear. Your total pack weight is 15 pounds and you are skipping and whistling as you walk :)

      Good luck planning your hike. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

  52. Jay Reply

    Hi, love the spreadsheet! Just curious, what is the stuff at the top of the pie charts?

  53. Patrick Reply


    Leaving for JMT 9/10/12 and had question about bear canister. I know it’s needed in Yosemite but do I need to have one on any other part of the trail? Leaving from TM and 1st night at Thousand Island Lake which is in Ansel Adams Wilderness. Trying to avoid taking one…

    Thanks and sorry for posting here. Didn’t know wher else to leave message.

    • @Patrick: Here is a link to a map showing the areas where bear canisters are required as opposed to suggested:

      Most hikers carry a canister for the entire trip because the logistics of swapping it out is a pain in the butt. Another option (which I haven’t tried but seems like it would work in theory) is to plan your itinerary so that you always spend the night at campsites with bear boxes in the sections where canisters are required. But you should should do something to protect your food (hang, bear box, bear canister) even in the areas where it’s not required because there are bears in every part of the trail.

      Good luck and have a great hike!

  54. Corwin Reply

    A suggestion if you plan on moving to 3.0 version of this tool; a print option for a checksheet that only has those items you have checked.
    It’s a little cleaner to read and would save on paper if printing out checksheets or just reviewing items on the screen during packout. I thought about doing it as an extra tab for you, then I remembered how much I hate working with macros in excel and decided against it.

  55. Russell Reply

    Wow! I packed my pack like I was going camping for a week, then unpacked it and put each little thing in the spreadsheet. Before I was done with cooking, I noticed the base weight over 20 pounds and thought “I never knew how much crap I carried”. Using this, I was able to whittle my weight down by removing unnecessary items and replacing most of the stuff with lightweight alternatives. I managed to get my base weight down below 12 lbs, even counting the gadgets I take. I cannot wait to (slowly) acquire all the gear on my list and start going lightweight. I never noticed a problem before, but being able to cut my base weight in half is just huge and will definitely make a difference on the trail.

    • @Russell: Congratulations on getting your pack weight down. Those little things do tend to add up if you don’t keep track of them. Happy trails.

  56. Mike Bevil Reply


    First of all thanks for the gear planner – best one I’ve found so far – well thought out and complete. One suggestion might be to add an additional checkbox that allows you to mark a piece of gear as shared and devides the weight accordingly.

    Love the site and thanks again for all of your hard work, it’s appreciated!

  57. David Fanning Reply

    Running your spreadsheet in Windows 7. Looks great, but selecting/deselecting is problematic. It always seems to select the row *above* the one I want. I tried “zooming” per one of the comments I found here, but when I zoom I can’t get past the pie charts! This is Microsoft Office Excel 2007. Any ideas?

    Thanks for doing this. This is going to be great when the bugs are worked out!

  58. Jester Reply

    Love the idea of charts! Just added them to my lists. Helps show the scouts what’s going on visually. Smokin’ idea.

    Just came across your blog yesterday via Redwood Outdoors. You have a great site! Thanks for all your controbutions to ULBP.

  59. Dee Reply

    FYI, I use a Mac with MS Office 2011. When I downloaded, it didn’t work quite right (check boxes missing). Then I saved it as .XLSX (latest excel format) and it worked perfectly. Just a tip for others. Thanks for a POWERFUL planning tool.

  60. Ejner Pagh Reply

    Have you got a mac spreadsheet version?

    • @Ejner: I don’t have a version specifically for Mac, since I use a PC. But, if someone is willing to do the conversion I will be happy to post the Mac version here.

  61. Greg Zummo Reply

    Thanks for making such a great resource available to your readers. Not only is this spreadsheet amazing, but I find your blog articles and videos informative and very creative. I will be reading your blog faithfully for now on.
    Best regards,

  62. Bo Sun Reply

    It is possible to make a Google Docs version? Thanks.

    • @Bo Sun: I am not familiar with Google Docs spreadsheet software. I don’t know if it can handle the advanced calculations and formulas required. But if it can, and there is an easy way to convert an Excel spreadsheet to Google Docs format, and someone wants to do the conversion, I will be happy to host it here.

      • Temple Reply

        (I just left a comment below and then missed this…)

        I created a Google Sheets version of this! I rewatched your tutorial to figure out exactly what I couldn’t recreate…

        - Your formatting looks much better because Excel has much stronger formatting.
        - I couldn’t figure out how to freeze rows (so that the pie charts and title remain on the entire sheet) because Google wouldn’t let me keep the charts inside the frozen rows. Ridiculous but true.
        - There isn’t a way to toggle off rows from data like you have (to remove certain gear from the pie charts or whatever) as far as I know on Google Sheets.
        - There isn’t a way to easily switch back and forth from the sheet that shows just the summary to the one that shows everything. So the google sheet just shows everything.

        There’s a reason google Sheets is free… But I really wish they’d add some of these features.

        Here is my spreadsheet. You have to go to File>Make a copy to be able to edit this.

        Thanks again, your sheet is amazing.

        • Temple: Thanks for the conversion. I’m not familiar with Google Sheets myself but I assume people will be able to use your version by clicking the link you provided.

        • Elizabeth Reply

          Hi Temple.
          I was trying to use the Excel Pack list file in Docs and kept running into formula problems. Then I discovered the link you left with the converted spreadsheet to Docs. Thank you so much for doing that! That was really nice of you. That solved most of my problems.

          For some reason your Docs spreadsheet won’t calculate the base weight, pack weight or skin out weight. Have you had this issue before? I’d love to have those numbers auto-populate.

          Thank you for your help.

  63. Chris’s UK version is now available to download (scroll up, the link is under the American version).

    @Mats Thanks for doing the Open Office version. Please send it to me at and I’ll add it to the downloads section.

  64. Mats Grahn Reply

    I have converted it to metric in Open Office if you need it,I can email it

  65. Chris Reply

    Hi Erik,

    I’ve modified the excel for use in the UK now. It actually only took about 10 minutes as the metric weight system is a lot simpler. There is no need for all the complex functions you had to use with pounds and ounces.

    If you would like me to send you the UK version to upload to your site, let me know how I can get it to you.



    • @Chris: Cool! I always suspected there must be an easier way to do the pounds + ounces calculation but wasn’t sure how to pull it off. You can email it to me at erik at – Thanks!

  66. Chris Reply

    Is there any chance of getting a UK version of this planner. It’s a great tool, but with the prices in Dollars and the weight in pounds, it doesn’t work so well for me

    • @Chris I don’t have time to modify the spreadsheet for other currencies but I have recently unlocked it, so if you know Excel you are welcome to modify the formulas yourself to suit your needs. The password is “Secret”.

  67. Mats Grahn Reply

    Hi there
    The spreadsheet looks good but
    I have a little problem, Where I live we count in Kilograms not in pounds
    1kg = 1000g
    I have problem using the spreadsheet when it is like that
    The USD I can go with but it would look nicer with “kr”
    I sthis something you can do anything about?

    Best regards


    • @Mats It’s not possible currently to do the weights in grams/kilograms instead of ounces/pounds. But I will keep that option in mind for a future version of the spreadsheet.

  68. Jonathan Reply

    Erik, happend across your videos on YouTube while searching for help-hint on how to properly pack a backpack. I’ve done some hikes and a few high altitude as well. I appreciate your tips and the simpleness of the gear. You have provided some ideas I hadn’t even considered when packing light. Seems like I alway try to take the kitchen sink in preparation for the elements. I’ve downloaded the documents you have provided and plan on starting afresh with the weight issue and taking only the essentials.

    Thanks again. I will continue reading your blog for more great ideas.


  69. Terri Reply

    Hi Erik,

    Thanks for the new spreadsheet, I really like the improvements and you are the best at synthesizing and communicating information!

    Couple of issues I hope you don’t mind me pointing out. 1) I agree with Russell, would be nice to have choice to reduce or hide the charts. 2) When I clicked on 1 to try and look at the summary it said that the sheet was protected and I couldn’t access this functionality.

    Maybe… you should relegate the charts to the summary and print out (of course), but for data entry you enable all of the cells?!

    Thanks again for all your great information. t.

  70. @Jordan I just re-downloaded the spreadsheet and I’m able to enter the weight in all of the categories correctly. Are you sure you are trying to enter the weight in the right place and not in a cell that is locked?

    Excel doesn’t do a good job of focusing mouse clicks, which makes it easy to check the wrong item (even when your pointer is in the right place). If you zoom in and you can get better accuracy on the check boxes.

  71. Jordan Reply

    Great planning tool. As usual, you have thought of everything and yet have kept it simple. A couple of important bugs hang in there despite three downloads and some repeated testing on MS Excel 2007. The ounces can’t be entered in any section other than the first (Packing) section.
    Unable to deselect the “ground cloth” item – pressing the check adds or removes the “shelter” checkmark but the gc remains checked at all times.
    i’m looking forward to using this planner more. I hope the feedback is helpful.

  72. vicky Reply

    Thanks Erik. Exactly what I needed. I am totally disorgainized, so this will really help….vicky

  73. Dawid Reply

    This is awesome, but is there a way to change it to grams instead of unces. and GBP instead of USD.

  74. shelly Reply

    Thanks loads for the spreadsheet. For the first time ever I have managed to get my gear list off of scraps of paper and into an easy to use document. I am forever grateful.

  75. Chad Reply

    My trail brother. You just made my life much easier. I do this manually on scratch paper and obviously with no graphical overview. I really appreciate your efforts combining cost/weight/gear decisions and “what if” all in one convenient document. I’m Glacier bound and this makes planning comprehensive. Here’s to the next camp at a beautiful tarn! Thanks.

  76. Adam Reply

    I just downloaded your gear planner, and was very excited to load it up. When I opened it, in my up to date excel, line 4 was huge. Which wouldnt be a problem but now all I can see is 5 lines of info. I was wondering if you could help me out. I would love to use your program, but right now its not suitable for my needs.

  77. Russell Emerson Reply

    The spreadsheet does what it is supposed to very well, and it makes my planning a lot easier, as well as showing me where i could and should save weight.

    I had one issue with it that is minor in theory, yet becomes rather aggravating while i plan: when i scroll it only scrolls the part where i enter data on items to be packed, which left me with about 4-5 bars that i could scroll, this may have been so that you could see the chart at all times but it is a major hassle, any ideas f how to remedy this?

    • @Russell: The top pane is frozen so that it will remain in view while you make changes to the spreadsheet. But I can create a modified version that will scroll up so you can see more lines at once. I will work on that as soon as I get a free minute and post it here.

  78. Matt Reply

    A work around for OpenOffice users to the checkbox issue:

    Tools > Protect Document > Sheet (yes open office doesn’t seem to maintain excel document protections)

    then drag out Column A and you can manually change the preferences of =TRUE() and =FALSE() to activate or disable the lines.

    Hope this help until the Grand Master Excel Wiz Erik fiddles with OpenOffice.

  79. Sevens Reply

    I can’t seem to get this to work. There are only 4 coljums and evrything is bunched in the middle. Help please :)


    • @Sevens: Try re-downloading the spreadsheet. The file may have gotten corrupted during the download. If it still doesn’t work correctly then it’s most likely a compatibility problem with the software you’re using to edit it.

  80. Matt Reply

    Excellent planner, i have one request. I use OpenOffice and everything works, except the check boxes to turn the lines on and off. Any way you can get these working in OpenOffice as well? Quite a few people are using it these days as an alternative to excel since its free. thanks.

    • @Matt: Glad to hear it works (mostly) in Open Office. I don’t have that software but when I get some free time I’ll download and install it and see what I can find out.

  81. Thanks guys, I’m glad you like the new Gear Planner. If you use it to create any gear lists you would like to share with the public I’d be happy to host them here on the website for people to download (or if you have your own web hosting you can just post a link here in the comments).

    @Dave: I don’t plan to release an unlocked version because I spent a lot of time designing this and I want to protect that. However, if there are features you would like to see added to a future version let me know. I plan to keep making improvements based on user feedback.

  82. Dave Reply

    Is it possible to get an unlocked version of this GREAT Planning tool spreed sheet? This thing is fantastic. I would like to be able to view the formulas and possibly expand on it for my personal use.
    What a great planning idea!

  83. Drew Engman Reply


    I am mostly a day hiker, but put in some epic day hikes from before sunrise to well after dark. I bring more than I need thinking to be prepared in case I have to spend the night. This spreadsheet clarifies and simplifies where I can trim and what I should consider as my best lightest weight. Thank you for helping me better organize my excursions.

  84. Mike Reply

    You think just like I do, but you actually produce amazing products that follow your thinking!

    I thought my Excel gear spreadsheet was pretty cool and all inclusive but yours takes gear planning and weight & price calculating to another level! You are a great ambassador for the long-distance hiking community and a saint for providing such a great tool free of charge. Thank you! Much appreciated.

  85. andy Reply


    This spreadsheet is awesome!! Really user friendly.

    btw – i’m really looking forward to reading your books when they are released :)

  86. David Noll Reply

    Outstanding. Best gear planning spreadsheet anywhere. Thanks.


  87. dennis phelan Reply

    You have listened to your customers
    You have paid attention to details
    You have made this user friendly

    The results can be summed up in one word


    • Anthea Reply

      There seems to be a bug in your gear planner guide. The pie charts are not coming up only gogglegook.

      • @Anthea: Thanks for the heads up. I have uploaded a new version where the pie charts should work correctly. DOWNLOAD IT HERE

        • Anthea Reply

          Sorry I still am getting the same mixed up piecharts

          • @Anthea: Make sure the file you are getting is named: Gear-Planner-V2-Final.xls (that is the new one)

            In the pie chart: The category labels will overlap (making them unreadable) to start with, because there are empty categories and the paper-thin slices are occupying the same area in the chart. As you fill out the categories with your gear and weights the pie chart should update. Once there is at least one entry in the weight column for each category the pie chart should display correctly.

    • Judy Reply

      Please update the spreadsheet to a more up to date version of excel. When I open it, the pie charts are not functioning because your version is old. Thanks


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