How to Burn Calories by Walking With a Weighted Backpack

When you wear a weighted backpack, you burn more calories because you have to work harder to carry the extra weight. For example, a 150-pound person walking at a rate of 4 mph for 30 minutes burns 175 calories. Add 5 pounds and the same individual burns 181 calories, according to the HealthStatus website. Walking with added weight also puts stress on your joints, including your back and knees. The key to burning calories by walking with a weighted backpack is to ensure that you get the maximum burn with the minimum risk of injury.

A woman with a large backpack is sitting outside. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Step 1

Use a backpack with padded shoulder straps and a hip strap. The hip strap will keep the backpack from bouncing and moving as you walk and protect your back and shoulders. The padding will prevent the straps from digging into your shoulders.

Step 2

Unzip the backpack and open it all the way. Lay the weights lengthwise inside the strap side of the bag and arrange them from the center out.

Step 3

Use duct tape to tape the weights inside the bag to keep them in place. You want the weight evenly distributed from top to bottom. Do not let the weights lay in the bottom of the bag, which can pull you off center. Having the weights in the bottom of the bag can also press against and irritate your hips and lower back.

Step 4

Zip up the backpack and put it on. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the bag is centered on your torso, and secure the strap around your hips.

Step 5

Walk outdoors or on a treadmill for at least 30 minutes plus a five-minute warm-up and cool-down. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips and your chin level with the ground. Pump your arms as you walk to increase your heart rate.

Step 6

Incorporate hills and stairs into your routine. Hills and stairs will raise the intensity and increase the number of calories you burn.

Step 7

Do intervals. Walk at a rate of 3 mph for two minutes, then speed up to 4 mph for one minute. Alternate between fast and slow for at least 30 minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Backpack with hip strap

  • 1-pound weight bars

  • Duct tape


Start with one to five pounds of added weight and work your way up as you get stronger. Do not add more than 20 pounds to your backpack.

If you do not have room to tape all of the bars inside the backpack, you can use the outside pockets as well. Just make sure the weights are evenly distributed and that none of them rest or swing against your lower back or hips.

If you do not have weight bars, use flexible, sand-filled ankle weights. You can put the ankle weights in the bottom of the backpack but, as with the weight bars, you should evenly distribute the weight.

Consider using a walk vest, which is specifically designed for weighted walking with its own weights and evenly spaced pockets..


If you feel pain in your knees, ankles or hips, reduce the amount of weight or stop using the weights altogether.

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