My pack is usually 8 kg including my telescopic pole.
I mostly take 600ml of water and bars and 1 apple.
Have a big feed at my vehicle before I leave and big drink of water.
Depending on wx forecast I guess I am a fair weather activator and only venture out after studying wx forecast.
Simple 3 band link dipole , 10m rg 174 feedline, 4200 ma battery, log book, board with clock and fixture for palm paddle. Small bag with kx3 mic, pencil,Voltage dropping diodes, ear buds. 3 cords to hold my squid pole to a fence or stump etc. Small cushion to sit on nothing worse than butt rot. Above mentioned food water wind jacket as padding for my kx3 or ft 817. Usually wear minimum clothing on hike then put on wind jacket on summit and a stretchy neck scarf thiny to keep my head/neck warm. SOTA cap. Spare glass fuse and short power lead for rigs, pocket knife snake bite bandage small roll of paper ! Etrex 30 mostly just to time my hikes as I visit same summits every year, uhf cb handy rig to talk to land owners,re logistics/safety. 2m handy rig sometimes. Essential in vk5 Fly Vale small sticky bush flies can be very annoying some times. The summits I visit are not that high asl and being in vk5 its a very mild climate during winter and just too hot to activate in summer so I only activate March until end of October and maybe New Year Morning if wx is safe to do so.
Take lots of breather rest breaks if the going is tough and try not to worry if someone else is faster than you. Maybe if you are going to a summit with someone else split up the SOTA kit and cart half each go tag team on the radio during the activation, Hugh and I often take turns at giving our kit a run and leave rest behind. Just be careful if equipment fails in those situations.
73 Ian vk5cz …
Thank you all for the very detailed feedback!
It is interessting to see how you have finetuned your gear.
What i will do:
Weight the empty backpack, since it is a pretty old backpack i’m pretty sure that there are lighter versions arround these days.
You are also right that the fitness improved, since i feel rested when reaching the summit.
@EA2IF I’m 63kg with a 8kg backpack but acutaly my dad weights less then me and carrys 15kg during the activations. He is faster than me (Battery, FT857, hb9 cv beam.) It could be that you can not really compare YL/OM.
It is good to know that my 8kg backpack seems to be avarage.
I will check the posted links and urls and lists in more detail in the evening
Thank you all!
I’ve made a quick calculation:
With your 63Kg and carrying 8Kg of stuff, you are carrying 12.7% extra weight.
With my 75.5Kg (naked) and carrying 10.2 Kg total (radio+batts+clothing+phones+GPS), I’m carrying 13.5% extra weight.
Pretty much the same, around 13% of our own respective weights.
You better don’t care if others hike faster than you. My advise is for you to just enjoy and get to the summit before it gets dark
73 & e-88,
If you lived at sea level and activated a SOTA summit at 10,000 feet (~3000m) you and your backpack would weigh about 0.05% less at the summit than when you started. But not of course if your companion gives you lunch at the top.
Improving fitness is definitely the best way to get up the mountain faster. My vertical kilometer times have improved significantly (<1h) since I started training using the principles in the excellent book, Training for the Uphill Athlete. The short version is that I’ve spent a lot of time building up my aerobic capacity with high volume/low intensity work, then converted it to muscular endurance with higher intensity work later in the season. You can find the book on amazon, or the uphill athlete website. If you’d like to read some articles on the subject, they also have a lot of online resources available: https://www.uphillathlete.com/category/resources/
As far as pack size/weight goes, I’m with the lightweight crowd. For non-technical summer activations I’ll get by with a 12L pack or a runners vest (I use the Ultimate Direction Adventure vest Adventure Vest 5.0 | Ultimate Direction) and the weight will rarely exceed 5 kg. This is more than enough to carry an extra layer, 1L of water (I rarely need more than that), radio gear, food, and some basic first aid/repair/overnight gear. I record my logs in a rite-in-the-rain notebook, or I’ll record the audio on my phone and extract the contact details later.
Winter is a bit different as I’m usually packing ski gear and backcountry avalanche equipment along with me. My day-pack for ski touring weighs in at around 10-12 kg, and that only goes up if we’ll be doing any glacier travel or ski mountaineering. Fortunately, thanks to the training, it’s not too bad and putting in 8 hour days with 2000m of climbing isn’t unusual. For multi-week expeditions my pack will get up above 30 kg and radio equipment becomes more of a luxury. Something like an FT-817 is out of the question (and so is feedline), but lightweight rigs like the MTR series and an EFHW without coax are more appropriate. I’m working on a few homebrew designs for SSB rigs that will weigh less than 300g including batteries. The upside is that an avalanche probe makes a dandy antenna mast and HF propagates through snow, so it’s like you’re already 3m above the ground.
Whatever your style of activating, there’s really no downside to learning about how your body performs and working up a structured training plan. There is literally no age at which you won’t see advantages to adding an appropriate level of physical activity into your life. I definitely recommend Training for the Uphill Athlete to anyone who wants to be more mobile in the mountains.
I was just having a closer look at the 26L Tutor daypack from 3F UL, and the specs are very good:
It is made mostly from Dyneema ripstop and has a roll top closure, so no zip to fail (yes, it has happened to me). It also has side pockets and straps: ideal for holding a mast on one side and water on the other. Best of all, it only weighs 400g and costs about €68, which will be even cheaper when converted to Swiss Francs. It is also not a copy of any other pack, so no intellectual property to worry about. If I wanted a pack for winter walking (non skiing), I would probably want the 38L, but that would definitely be too big for use in summer, where 25L is just right. With frameless packs like these, it’s best to fill them right up.
73 de OE6FEG
Of course, every traveler has a table with the weight of each item of equipment. But I admit honestly, the last time I weighed my backpack many years ago at the airport. Of course, minimizing weight gives you more
ease and speed of movement. Years of practice have shown that the pursuit of minimum weight is vicious. It often happens that a small excess of equipment, food, medicine can save or help. If not for you, then for a fellow traveler or an occasional person in need of help. Well, for example, if equipment or clothing is torn / broken then a small repair kit will help out. An improved first-aid kit (with injections of painkillers, dressings) can give a chance for salvation. I’m not talking specifically about equipment for cooking in camp conditions, since there are many factors to choose from, from local legislation to the tastes of the traveler himself.
But Alex and I, while traveling on the R9U / SO-013, were not too lazy to carry the “extra” weight in the form of a saw, ax and boilers. But it was so nice to sit around the campfire, to sing old hiking songs until late, to dry wet equipment. 0.5 liters of strong alcohol taken “just in case” was clearly not enough))
Yes, I completely forgot, in my backpack there are always different shoelaces, pieces of rope , a spare spoon, spare matches and a small folding magnifier.
So, it looks like you could save 700g, just with a new rucksack.
2L of water seems like rather a lot to me, I carry about 1L max, although I sometimes wished I had taken 1.5L. If you can live without 500ml of water then that’s 1.2kg saved altogether.
I never carry a first aid kit when out for the day, so that would be something else I’d get rid of. Lets say that brings your total to 1.4kg saved.
If your phone is a smartphone, it will function as both a gps logger and contact logger. People say ‘Don’t rely on technology’, but my phone has not let me down or failed to log properly over hundreds of activations. It seems to me, you could ditch both your metal clipboard and gps, that would bring the total saved to around 1.7kg.
So with just a few changes, you could get your weight down to around 6.3kg. Then, of course, there’s Morse code and the benefits that brings - total radio gear including mast under 1kg…
A first aid kit is a personal thing I guess. I carry a few light gauze dressings and some micropore when trekking, but when out for the day I would sacrifice a spare item of clothing if the cut was particularly bad. I do carry a Garmin inReach when trekking, and I would highly recommend them instead of a normal GPS. That way you have iridium based spotting, 3 day weather forecast and an SOS function. They work in conjunction with an Android phone, so typing isn’t a hassle either.
I used to carry a first aid kit when I was doing my ML training: a completely waterproof Ortlieb kit, which was great. I had to upgrade to Ortlieb because my first kit was so old and inadequate. I remember one time a trainer asked to look through it and found some scalpel blades, which I used to trim blisters before applying a compeed. She asked me why I had scalpel blades in my kit, somehow I resisted the temptation to say ‘In case someone needs an emergency tracheostomy’.
73 de OE6FEG
That way you have iridium based spotting, 3 day weather forecast and an SOS function.
My Icom 3062T is programmed for sending SOS to the Rega by klicking 1 button. Emergency radio | Swiss Air-Rescue Rega
(161.300 MHz you can open it with a specific tone pattern, then it will connect you to the Rega emergency channel)
There is also a test frequency usually no one will respond on the test frequency but while my dad was testing it someone from Rega responded test successful - what a shock that was…
I must say my biggest frear is to get on that button by accident and trigger some kind of massive helicopter search party…
So I’m covered if i need to call for help and have no phone signal.
I also like to bring my emergency kit to every activation since i have used it on several occasions. (I usually cut myself on boulders or fall in to small holes with one leg… kind of an expert for those things. ) I like to disinfect the cuts right away.
Luckily i never had blisters!
She asked me why I had scalpel blades in my kit, somehow I resisted the temptation to say ‘In case someone needs an emergency tracheostomy’.
I’m Wilderness First Aid certified and work with a SAR team, so my pack usually consist of some things most people wouldn’t take, such as…
Sterile Saline and Irrigation Syringe
Epi Pen (not for me, for emergency use)
CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet)
Personal Locator Beacon
This weighs me down a bit but I have had the opportunity to use all of the above in the field except for the CAT.
My whole pack with everything I need weights in about 17lbs before water. 1L brings it to just under 20lbs.
I’m a big guy so this is well under 20% of my body weight, which is where you want your pack to be.
Make sure that your pack is fitted correctly at that the majority (80%+) of the weight is on your hips and not your back or top of the shoulders. There should be NO downward force exerted from the straps. I hiked a hike that was 2m in with a guy and about 1500ft elevation gain. On the way down, he was complaining about his pack weight (FT891, 12Ah Bio, LG Tuner, etc). I looked at him and noticed he didn’t have his hip belt on and pointed that out to him. I thought he was about to have a Meg Ryan “When Harry Met Sally” moment when he got everything fitted the way it should be!