How much weight do people consider acceptable for

I realize I brought a lot of things I didn’t need. I made a full size 20 meter vertical with the buddipole (4 22" arms and a long whip). I got an email from Edwin (HB9ZAP) before the hike warning me of too much weight. I found that hiking is no problem for me, but the vertical nature of the trail did make it a challenge. I heard Edwin’s voice during most of my hike! So I’m wondering what kind of weight people find acceptable for a 1.5 hour hike vertical trail? flat trail?

Scott N6PG

I always carry too much weight when I go on an activation.

Having started to do HF rather than purely 2m, the 857 plus 2 gel cells (I always carry a spare),auto ATU, shelter, spare clothes, food, etc, etc. adds up to quiet a weight.

The weight doesn’t really bother me all that much and it helps to improve my fitness. This is because most of my recent activations have required relatively short (1 - 2 hour) hikes and no huge height gains. I am going to try something a bit more ambitious in a few weeks and I will see how I feel about weight after that.


James M0ZZO

In reply to M0ZZO:

I am new to SOTA and ham radio. My first activation involved a Yeasu 897, two battery packs, a Buddipole, a SOTA pole, instruction book, log book, rainproof clothing, food, water, watercolour painting kit and a lack of realism. I am used to hill walking, but the day was hot and the load was heavy. We are in the UK so the rainproof clothing is mandatory :-).

I activated the hill and had a great day but the un-necessary extra weight was no fun. The FT-897 is a bit of a brick. I have done a few non-SOTA hills since and I take a very minimalist kit including an FT-817. I have got the total rig weight down to less than 2 Kgs.

Thanks to all those whe contacted me.


John M6AVN

I aim for around 5 pounds maximum weight - antenna, rig, pole, key, batteries etc. I can easily take less than this through on more longer walks.



In reply to N6PG :

Hi, Scott, an interesting question so I have just packed my gear and weighed it on the bathroom scales!

The pack weight varies according with what I am doing and the time of year. My heaviest pack is for winter conditions; in addition to the FT857D and 7 Ah SLAB, antennas, tuner, food, drink, extra clothing and emergency gear I have a walking axe strapped to the rucsac, and the all-up weight is about 28 pounds. My lightest pack is for a summer QRP outing where I have the FT817ND, no slab or ice axe and minimal extra clothing, this weighs in at about 15 pounds. These weights do not include the camera, walking pole(s) or the mast which I usually use as a walking pole but will carry strapped to the rucsac in icy conditions, using the poles on relatively flat ground and the ice axe on steep ground. In the UK our weather is notoriously unreliable and on several occasions over the years I have seen conditions change from mild sunny weather to a howling blizzard in less than ten minutes, so my policy is to plan for the worst conditions!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to N6PG :

Could update the list. I have an other list for five days of wilderness hiking.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

Interesting, Jaakko. I’d be intereted to see how your five-days one differs, and how much heavier it is.

In reply to M0LEP:
From radio side no VHF or digi and a light weight fishing rod. The other material, tent, sleeping bag, etc are pretty standard. In different outdoor forums there are endless discussions how to reduce the weight. I need to translate my list to English. Tell me if you need it soon.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to N6PG :
Hi Scott, Pleased to meet you.

In the distant past (1980’s) up to 44 pounds but no longer. These days a QRO multiband / multimode up to 2 summit SOTA expedition with Li-Po 9Ah battery, IC706 and a Handheld radio weighs around 27 pounds in winter. A bit more for over two summits and bit less in summer. This includes all the other stuff you need.

For a QRP (FT817) expedition up to 20 pounds. Less for just a Handie. I find that the effect of pack weight on me is non-linear. I don’t notice I’m carrying a 15 to 18 pound pack. After that it starts to get heavy fast between 22 and 35 pounds. Over 30 pounds and I get discomfort in the shoulders but I find that I can carry more weight, further in winter.

I twice carried over 60 pounds up single (modest) SOTAs for winter overnighter’s and over 50 every field day and for summer overnighter’s but it’s very unpleasant and just a means to an end.

One way to keep weight down is to prehydrate about 2 pints or more of water depending on how long you are going to be out, then you can carry less. After that just get the smallest lightest gear within reason (cost). I saved significant weight by building some composite outer panels for the HF rig but it took too long. If you can afford it, it’s worth getting Lithium batteries instead of SLAB’s. The weight ratio is about 4 or 5.

I only use a 5m mast; it’s carbon. A home-brew dipole with 24 AWG wire & links for 80-60-40-20 weighs 0.8 pounds.

I personally can’t vouch for ‘vertical’ as that’s rock climbing. If I’m doing that for SOTA something has gone horribly wrong with my planning!

If you don’t really need it, don’t take it but you must carry the safety gear. Finally and what most people overlook is any excess body weight.

Good luck,
John G4YSS.

A previous post you may or may not find helpful:

In reply to F5VGL:
Thanks, it was how you reduced your radio kit that interested me. I’m off week after next (I think) to the Lake District for five days of walking, but staying in hostels. I’m trying to figure out how much of my radio kit I have to take if I’m to stand a chance of successfully activating any summits…

In reply to N6PG :

You can see the photo of my SOTA HF CW equipment with notes for each part.
If someone wants ultra portable setup, the weight may to be reduced for more than a half of the shown total weight (< 2 kg), but operating comfort and capability of making contacts will suffer.

                                                Vlado, Z35M

In reply to M0LEP:
The Lake District is I found the easiest place to activate with a superb band of chasers listening on 2m after you’ve placed alerts on SOTA and WOTA the night before.
My radio kit is usually:- 2m ssb and 2 m fm - so FT817ND, 4000mAh LiPo, SOTA beam, ex 7m roach pole and ground spike + tommy bar] with backup guy lines and peg set or a dipole like the MFD if you’re doing e.g. the Fairfield Horseshoe’s 8 Wainwright tops, trig point straps and a G4MD trig jig, Rite in the rain notebook and pencil & phone to send SMS Spots to MM0FMF service. There’s usually a HT like my VX-7 with a Garex patch lead in my kit for operating in the rain.
I find the addition of my Dad to the equipment list most beneficial as the old mountain goat knows every path and summit top in the region!


David M0YDH

In reply to M0YDH:

for operating in the rain.

Ah, yes. The one certainty in the Lakes in summer… It will rain… :wink:

I’m going walking with non-ham friends, so if I activate any summits it’ll likely be only for as long as it takes to eat lunch, which is partly why I’m wondering whether I’ll take any radio kit at all…

I find the addition of my Dad to the equipment list most beneficial as
the old mountain goat knows every path and summit top in the region!


73, Rick M0LEP (still jet-lagged after three weeks in 5Z4…)

73, Rick M0LEP (still jet-lagged after three weeks in 5Z4…)

Come to think of it, light-weight radio kit would also be useful for overseas expeditions, particularly if they involve flights to places like Australia where the baggage limit is often one bag weighing no more than 23kgs. At least with my recent trip to Kenya I was allowed two bags of that weight…