Dungeon Master Assistance

Where anyone over 18 can share thoughts and ideas on RPGs.

D&D 5E – Weight of Standard Equipment Packs


The Basic Rules for Dungeons and Dragons are available as a free pdf download from Wizards of the Coasts. If you don’t have yours yet they are available here. I am very excited about these and will post a full review later. For now, here is something I hope you will find helpful.

The rules for encumbrance is a variant. However, if you choose to use them it would help if the weight of the various equipment packs were listed in the D&D Basic Rules. I have added up the weight of each of the individual items in each pack and have listed them here. These weights assume a full waterskin, for the packs that contain one. You can subtract 5 lb. for an empty waterskin.

Just out of curiosity, I also added up the cost of the packs if the items were purchased separately. It turns out that most of them really are a bargain, so if you like most of the items they contain, you may as well go with a pack.

Burglar’s Pack (16 gp): Total Weight 46.5 lb (Over 21 gp. if purchased separately.)

Diplomat’s Pack (39 gp): Total Weight 46 lb (Slightly over 39 gp. if purchased separately.)

Dungeoneer’s Pack (12 gp): Total Weight 61.5 lb (Over 17 gp. if purchased separately.)

Entertainer’s Pack (40 gp): Total Weight 38 lb (Over 63 gp. if purchased separately.)

Explorer’s Pack (10 gp): Total Weight 59 lb (Same cost of 10 gp. if purchased separately.)

Priest’s Pack (19 gp): Total Weight 25 lb (Over 27 gp. if purchased separately.)
The Priest’s Pack contains items that are not listed for purchase separately. Here are the values I used.
alms box, [a well-made small wooden box about 1 gp and 1 lb.]
2 blocks of incense, [2 smaller blocks of cheap incense should cost about 1 gp, the weight is negligible]
censer, [a light weight brass censer and chain should be about the same as a holy symbol 5 gp 1 lb]
vestments, [Fine clothes cost 15 gp and weigh 6 lb. so we can use that]

Scholar’s Pack (40 gp): Total Weight 11 lb (Cost of a little over 40 gp. if purchased separately.)
This assumes a small knife cost 2 gold pieces and a little bag of sand is 1 lb.



23 responses to “D&D 5E – Weight of Standard Equipment Packs

  1. redraggedfiend July 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

    There are some pretty obvious price problems, but “D&D Economy the Game” was never as exciting as dungeon crawling rules. A small knife at 2 gp is beyond the practical budget of most commoners (being the target customer for such an item).

    Weight values are also wildly inaccurate in most RPGs, surprise. Of note I thought to point out the common water skin probably isn’t the size of a gallon milk jug. I assume it is much closer to a quart, liter, maybe half gallon. I would speculate the weight of a full skin closer to 2 lbs than 5.


    • Ronny July 14, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      I agree completely.
      If you are curious how I came up with those numbers:
      The 5 lbs for a full water skin came directly from the Basic Rules. I don’t think it is too far off. I have always said that a waterskin holds1/2 gallon and weighs 4 lbs. (One gallon of water actually weighs a little over 8 lbs.)
      As for the small knife, I agree that it is over priced. However, if I made it less, then – unlike all of the other standard equipment packs – it would cost more to purchase the Scholar’s Pack than to purchase the items in it separately. Also,a small knife could be used as an improvised weapon. If you are proficient with a dagger, it could be used as a dagger in a pinch. A dagger cost 2 gold pieces. I can see my players all buying small knives instead of daggers, because they are cheaper.
      I suppose that we can say that Scholars require an exceptional small knife with exacting properties for precisely trimming their writing quills and that these special knives cost 2 gp.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anonymous May 22, 2016 at 7:40 am

        You could make the small knife disadvantage and do one damage regardless of modifiers. Assume adventurers are aware that if a small knife is used for more rugged activity than intended it runs the risk of breaking.


      • Ronny May 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

        Great idea. I’ll definitely do that. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cward September 19, 2017 at 5:42 am

        Super old thread but thought I would give me 2 cents. When you buy a dagger for 2gp you are buying a high quality crafted weapon. It’s not a kitchen knife. It’s tantamount to you going and buying a $200 Kabar instead of buying a cheap $10 knife at walmart. There is a huge difference.


      • Ronny September 19, 2017 at 8:36 am

        Exactly! Thank you.
        And when you buy a penknife for 2gp you are buying a high quality, extremely sharp, small knife for thinning and pointing quills to prepare them for use as dip pens, like an X-ACTO knife. Not one that could be used for fighting and not for cutting bread or meat.


  2. SirZac July 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

    This means that rogues will basically start out anchored to the ground with the three packs they start with.


    • Ronny July 25, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      I think you are reading that wrong. They start put with either “(a) a burglar’s pack, (b) a dungeoneer’s pack, or (c) an explorer’s pack”, not all three. Or am I missing something?


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  4. Seth Zolin December 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    This does mean a sorc would be starting out already encumbered. STR is the most practical dump stat which means your carrying capacity is 120. The back is already above 40 which means light encumberance.


    • Ronny December 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      You are correct. If you are using the encumbrance variant a strength score of 8 results in being encumbered, and a speed drop of -10, if you are carrying more than 40 lbs. That is why I never give a starting character less than a 10 in strength. For Sorcerers, I put their lowest score on Wisdom. If I did have a character with a strength score of 8, I would take my starting gold and buy everything I needed with an eye on its weight and try to not go over 40 lbs.
      That being said, I don’t use the encumbrance rules. As long as they don’t exceed their carrying capacity by much all is okay.


  5. Josh January 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Has anyone figured out what the sand is for in the scholar’s pack?


    • Ronny January 18, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Sprinkling clean sand onto the text soaked up the ink. The inky sand could be flicked away from the paper, and any residual stain removed by gently scraping it off with a knife.


      • Josh January 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm

        I thought it must be something like that, but it was driving me crazy.


      • Ronny January 19, 2015 at 8:23 am

        One thing that I have always liked about D&D was that I learned so many things that had absolutely nothing to do with my daily life. It was always a great escape that got my mind away from work and cleared my head.


      • Jay May 13, 2015 at 1:00 am

        I also interpreted this as the case. I practice calligraphy myself and the substance is actually called pounce or pounce powder, similar to that of drafting powder. Although sand may have been used, pounce a little finer. Today pounce is often made often of chalk and but one can also make use of Sandarac resin.

        Similarly, pounce and other abrasives such as these are used to prepare the writing surface of parchment and vellum, before writing. As vellum, made of calf skin, and parchment, made of lesser leathers, is hand made and processed, there is often unevenness in the surface. Thus, abrasives were used to not only smooth the surface for writing but, it is said, open and roughen the surface to readily accept ink.

        I also thought it was quite clever that they included that into the scholars pack. I also agree with the assessment of the small knife for the preparing of quills. The knife used for quills is quite small, not much larger than a craft knife and not adequate for combat. In fact some say this is the use from which the term penknife came. As such I do not see it being used for anything more than small cutting or slicing tasks.

        I recently found this blog and thought i should throw in my two cents.


      • Jay May 13, 2015 at 1:05 am

        I left out the fact that pounce is generally, and traditionally, made of cuttle fish bone, however most mass marketed pounce is chalk.


      • Ronny May 13, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        Thanks for your comments. I do appreciate it when people participate. I am always learning something. I didn’t know that vellum was made of calf skin. I have been a draftsman most of my life and what they call vellum today is just a high grade paper.


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