Roman Military Equipment
In addition to his weapons and armour a Roman soldier was trained to carry a considerable amount of other equipment. This was mainly carried on his shoulder as a pack mounted on a wooden cross frame.
The contents of this pack are thought to include three days rations (although some sources quote as much as 17
days), a canteen of water, cooking equipment, a selection of tools, a cloak for bad weather and sleeping under and probably some spare clothing.
Best estimates for the weight of the soldiers load including weapons and armour come to somewhere in the region of 30kg. which fits well with the amount a modern soldier is expected to carry.
Josephus wrote in the first century that each man carried “a saw
and a basket, a bucket and an axe, together with a leather strap, a sickle and chain, and rations for three days, so that an infantryman is little different from a beast of burden.” Not for nothing were they nicknamed “Marius’s mules” (muli Mariani)