How Much Do Military Bags Weigh? (Stats Inside)

Soldiers have to be very mobile, but they also have to carry everything that they need on their backs. So how much weight does a soldier carry from place to place?

Military bags weigh 60-100 pounds. The weight varies based on where the soldier is deployed, what supplies they carry, and how long the mission is. This is one of the many reasons why soldiers are required to stay in shape and exercise often.

The supplies that each soldier carries varies depending on what their individual job is. For example, the unit medic will carry a detailed medical bag, while a weapons specialist will sometimes only carry a first-aid kit.

What Does Each Soldier Carry?

Each soldier is issued a backpack that will carry all of the supplies they need for their mission and withstand every kind of extreme condition. While military backpacks are not waterproof, and the specific type and brand vary depending on the mission length and conditions, the supplies that each soldier carries tend to have at least one waterproof layer on them, so their supplies are always protected, even though their backpack is not.

This may not be the best solution and won’t help a soldier stay dry and warm in the rain, but many soldiers use one of their waterproof items to cover themselves and their backpacks to prevent getting wet and cold. However, this type of gear adds to the weight soldiers have to carry every day while deployed.

Who Carries What Supplies?

Every soldier carries their own supplies, and much of those supplies are the same for every soldier. However, since every soldier has a different job to perform on each mission, they each have supplies that the other soldiers do not regularly carry.

First Aid Kit

Every soldier carries their own first aid kit because injuries are inevitable in the field. However, the first aid kit that they carry is a very basic one with supplies for injuries such as burns and sprains. The medic carries a first aid kit with the supplies that are needed for more severe injuries. They carry materials to treat injuries, like bullet wounds and severe burns.

One item they carry is a needle with a gel-like substance that turns into a foam when applied. They apply it to open wounds to stop the bleeding until the injured soldier can get more advanced medical aid.


Every soldier carries their own weapon, even the medic. Though the type of gun varies depending on the soldier’s job and qualifications, they will all carry the needed supplies to keep the gun in working order, including cleaning supplies and any extra attachments needed for an attack at night or from a very long distance.

Snipers will most definitely have the gear needed to spot any enemy targets that are in hidden areas, like rooftops.

One or more soldiers carry explosive devices. While every soldier carries explosive devices, just in case they need to blow something up and are away from their unit. However, the weapons specialist will most likely be the one carrying the more sensitive materials, like C4.


Every soldier carries multiple rounds of the ammunition used by their weapon. This is needed when they are attacked or have to attack their enemies, and they don’t have enough bullets in their weapon. The amount of ammunition varies, depending on how long the mission is and how many enemies the soldiers are expected to face during that time.

Night Vision Gear

Every soldier carries a form of night vision gear. However, this gear will depend on the branch of the military they serve and what kind of helmet they are wearing. If a soldier is wearing a smaller helmet that does not have a lip on the edge, they will be wearing small night vision goggles that fit underneath that helmet.

If the soldier is wearing a bulkier helmet with a lip on the edge, they will wear heavy duty night vision equipment that fits over that helmet. Each soldier carries multiple forms of night vision equipment, and the form that they use depends on the type of mission that they are using it for. However, sometimes soldiers will not be issued night vision equipment for a mission if it is unneeded.


Every soldier carries a kind of binocular, although they may be night vision binoculars instead of normal ones. However, this depends on the mission they are carrying out and the job of the soldier. They are very helpful when it comes to trying to find hiding enemies that may attack the unit.

Sleeping Gear

Each soldier carries their own Module Sleeping System. This system includes multiple layers of protection against the extreme environment that they are in, including a layer that protects from temperatures as cold as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

This sleeping system can weigh up to nine pounds. They also may carry something like a tent, but many soldiers choose to only carry a pad that keeps them off of the ground instead of a heavy and bulky tent that can easily be seen by the enemy.


Each soldier will carry a change of clothing, even if it is just to sleep in. They will not carry another uniform because they wear their uniform for most of the mission, and an extra uniform would just be more weight for them to carry.


Each soldier carries their own rations and MREs, otherwise known as Meals Ready to Eat. The MREs have vital nutrients and are made to keep soldiers full and satisfied for as long as possible. Soldiers may also carry a nutrient gel that is meant for quick consumption but also meant to provide key nutrients to the soldier, just in case they become stranded without their supplies.

The MREs are vacuum-sealed to make them small, lightweight, and portable.

Communication Equipment

Every soldier carries communication equipment, like radios or walkie-talkies. Many soldiers have microphones attached to their helmets and use those to verbally communicate with their unit and commanding officers. However, soldiers also use non-verbal hand signals to communicate with their unit.

The commanding officer will likely have a tablet or other form of technology to communicate with headquarters and receive the unit’s orders, as well as other information vital to the mission.


Soldiers also carry knives, and, in some cases, axes. If they are expected to be in an environment where they may need to chop things up or chop trees down, they will be issued a small ax that they can store on the side of their backpack.

The knives are typically stowed in an easily accessible place, like the side of the soldier’s boot. They are used to cut small things and in close-hand combat, especially if a soldier is no longer in possession of their main weapon.

What Kind of Bag Do They Use To Carry Supplies?

The specific type of backpack used by and issued to soldiers varies on the mission and where they are deployed. However, if you wish to purchase one outside of the military, military surplus stores are great places to buy authentic military gear, including backpacks.

However, if you do not plan on using the backpack for heavy items, I recommend getting a hiking or camping backpack instead. The military backpacks can weigh up to 10 pounds, even while empty.

Why Do Soldiers Carry So Much?

Soldiers carry all of their equipment with them because it is too risky to have a vehicle or helicopter of some kind follow them with their needed and essential equipment. If and when a unit is attacked by enemies, they need to be able to access extra bullets or surveillance equipment quickly, before the enemy has a chance to get closer to them and cause even more injuries.

If they did not carry their equipment with them, then the soldiers would have to get to the vehicle, grab their equipment, then run back to the site of the attack, or to an area where they can return fire. This means that the soldiers would lose valuable time to return fire and may lose the battle, which can be detrimental in the middle of a war.

Also, if the equipment were to be kept in a vehicle or helicopter that follows the soldiers, the enemy would easily be able to find it and target it. If that vehicle is attacked and destroyed, then the soldiers would have no resources to live off of and essentially become defenseless.

What Happens If They Lose Their Supplies

If a soldier manages to lose all of their supplies during an attack or vehicle crash of some kind, then they have to rely on their survivalist skills to survive until someone can find them, or they must find a safe place to contact their commander and get help. Every soldier is taught how to survive in the wild without their supplies, but some soldiers are better at it than others.

For more information about what soldiers carry, watch this video:

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