My Pathfinder 2e character has a bulk limit of 7. I've purchased an adventurer's pack, which costs 2 bulk but includes a backpack, which can carry up to 4 bulk.

The description of the backpack (Core Rulebook, pg.287) says:

A backpack holds up to 4 Bulk of items. If you're carrying or stowing the pack rather than wearing it on your back, its bulk is light instead of negligible.

I'm not sure how this interacts with my bulk. I can foresee two options:

  1. I can still only carry up to 7 bulk. My backpack can hold 4 bulk byitself, but when I carry or wear the backpack I have to hold its 4 bulk too. It seems like in this case there is no real benefit to a backpack, unless you have to justify how you are carrying things.
  2. While wearing the backpack, I can carry up to 11 bulk (7 from my limit, 4 from the backpack). This makes the backpack useful, but I don't see this interpretation supported in the rules.

So how does the backpack work? Does the bulk value of the items in my backpack count against my bulk limit?


3 Answers 3


The Core Rulebook Errata has modified this section of the rules. Under Changes to Make Bulk Less Restrictive (Errata Update 1.0 pg 3, Core Rulebook pg 287):

“The first 2 Bulk of items in your backpack don’t count against your Bulk limits.”

Therefore, the backpack can hold 4 bulk worth of items, and the first 2 bulk don't apply to your encumbered or maximum bulk.


After discussion with WeirdFrog I have to reluctantly agree that Option 1 is correct. Items stored in a backpack are just as bulky for you as items carried any other way.

This raises the question: why use a backpack? But I think any answer to that question is going to fall into the range of opinion and DM/group preferences at the table.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you provide a reference for where in the rules it is implied that the contents of mundane containers don't affect your bulk limit? I'll remove my answer if such a passage exists. \$\endgroup\$
    – WeirdFrog
    Sep 7, 2019 at 22:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mentioned in the question that I didn't see any thing in the core rulebook supporting this interpretation. Do you know of something which does? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7, 2019 at 23:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 8, 2019 at 6:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WeirdFrog I draw the implication from the text under the headings Bulk, Bulk Values, and Estimating an Item's Bulk. I will edit the answer to point to this. Conceptually, I'm surprised anyone has trouble with this. 2e measures bulk, rather then weight, to simulate awkwardness of handling. Items carried in containers are less awkward to handle -- this is the real-world reason that people store items in containers. \$\endgroup\$
    – jiriku
    Sep 9, 2019 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jiriku If we're going with a real-world interpretation, an empty hiking pack is much easier to carry than a full one, and an overloaded one can absolutely negatively affect your ability to move freely. \$\endgroup\$
    – WeirdFrog
    Sep 9, 2019 at 2:33

The adventurer's pack is actually neither empty nor full, but stocked with helpful items* while leaving space for more gear to be stowed. The total Bulk of the items adds up to 1 Bulk. This (1 Bulk) has been confirmed by Paizo as the correct bulk for the adventurer's pack. The 2 Bulk entry was an error. The backpack, by itself does not raise or lower your Bulk carry limit, But instead seems to serve as flavor. If you didn't buy any pack, it would be assumed that you stowed your gear somewhere, but having a pack lets you describe exactly where.

*(1 bedroll, two belt pouches, 10 pcs chalk, flint and steel, 2 weeks rations, soap, 5 torches, and a waterskin)

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take the tour when you get the chance. It's important to note that we're not a forum and we don't do discussion; answers should directly answer the question rather than attempting to respond to other answers. In this case, the asker is interested in whether the bulk of items stored in their backpack count against their character's bulk limit, or only the backpack's bulk. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Jun 20, 2020 at 2:28

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