Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Travelling Lighter

As written here before, as a backpacker and ham operator, the Summits on the Air program had become a passion of mine. And, as written here before, I have a passion for traveling light. Every extra ounce in a backpack is important and seems to be multiplied by some unknown factor derived from  the vertical gain of your trek. Backpacking for backpacking's sake is bad enough, but throw radios into the pack and the challenge is amplified. One of my standard practices is to take a small backpack and make decisions on what not to take as opposed to taking a big pack with room for more gear, because you will fill it up.

So with this thought in mind I saw where LNR has come out with a more "trail friendly" 40/20/10 EFHW antenna, lighter than their current version, total weight, 3.5 oz. So I bought one. As I pondered my efforts to save weight in my pack, I had a thought and it went something like this, "Mike, the thing that you carry on the trail that weighs the most isn't your antenna or even your pack, it's you".  I am obsessing on ozs. in my pack and I am more than a few pounds over weight. On average your pack, plus or minus, should be around 16% of our body weight, so by far the largest impact I can have on my total weight is to drop a few pounds myself. Now I will admit, losing weight is not as much fun as buying lighter and more efficient gear, but it will probably have a much more significant impact on the weight I take up the hill..

One thing you will never confuse a hamfest with is a Triathlete convention. We have a hobby that is usually performed sitting down. So having a niche in the hobby that requires us to exercise a little is a good thing. I ran five marathons in the '80's, including the New York Marathon in 1982, so I know what it feels like to be in shape. I don't feel that way now, so I am making a commitment to drop a few pounds.

However, I will still obsess about lighter gear.

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