After my last failed attempt to activate the St. Regis Mountain Firetower, I did a lot of thinking about how to improve the experience and help my chances for success. As I learned, there were multiple issues that were related to me having a very heavy backpack (approx. 42 lbs). So my focus over the past few weeks has been to find ways to rethink the items that are relevant for SOTA and the hike and trim the fat out of my pack. I also took a look at how I could change items to reduce weight for these required items.
The very first thing I did was completely change my antenna system. Although I love my Buddipole, it is just too heavy and bulky for me to carry up a steep summit. So I switched out my Buddipole for a Packtenna system that includes a Packtenna Mini 9:1 and a Packtenna fiberglass pole along with some accessories. Bottom line on this, I was able to reduce the weight by over 6 lbs. by moving to the Packtenna system.
The second big change was getting rid of the stuff that was really not needed. For example, I brought two large tarps, 6 caribiners, 4 days of food (for an afternoon hike), 4 liters of water (again for an afternoon hike), and a bunch of other items that were just not needed.
So I purchased two scales, a small kitchen scale that can handle up to 5kg and a luggage pull scale that can handle up to 50lbs. I also found a website called lighterpack.com (thank you to a You Tuber named Sintax77) and started weighing and categorizing everything that is going into my pack. Here is the output from my lighterpack list:
I weighed the bag to verify and it is very close to the lighterpack weight so I am very hopeful that this will help me hike up the summits a bit easier and therefore give me more time at the summit to complete my activation. I have two SOTA activations planned for April 23rd, Mount Arab and Azure Mountain!