Lost and Found... the newsletter of Volume 7, Issue 11
14 November 2002
Editors: Mike Dugger and Tom Russo

Cibola Search and Rescue
"That Others May Live..."
Top of the Hill Boots and Blisters Business as Usual:Meeting Minutes
Who's Who and New Mini Lesson Member Spotlight
Feature Article Web News Disclaimer/Copyright
Recent Missions
Calendar
Callout Information
Back to Top
Top of the Hill by David Dixon, President
If you haven't already done so the cold weather should tell you to winterize your pack. The weather geeks are predicting a colder winter and that means tougher conditions for us. I can't talk too much about adding things to your pack when I'm writing about losing weight but a few things you might throw in or at least have with you are a few heat packs, inexpensive in-step crampons, neck gaiter or balaclava, trekking poles for snowshoe use or icy conditions and goggles. Also, if you haven't waterproofed your boots in awhile now is the time.

It's November already and time for officer elections. Thanks to all of you that have chosen to step forward (some again) and run. I predict another group of great officers for next year.

We've had some positive and successful missions lately. I want to congratulate everyone for continuing to be well prepared and properly geared up. As much as we might grumble at times about having to keep up with team requirements it all pays off in the end. Our trainings and evaluations serve to keep us ready and knowledgeable to face any conditions in the field. I think we often leave a positive impression on subjects, other teams and ICS staff. I know we did on a recent mission. Safety first also remains paramount to us and we will never compromise that standard. Keep up the great work! and good searching.

Back to Top
Boots and Blisters by Aaron Hall, Training Officer
Whoa Nelly! November is the Mother of all Trainings Month. We will have four training opportunities this month. Chris Murry’s Mantracking training was on Saturday the 9th, the Moriarty Training Search was also on Saturday the 9th, and the El Malpais training search will be on Saturday 16th through Sunday the 17th at the El Malpias National Monument (directions to the search will be on the hotline; 1 training credit / day searched). Both of these training searches are real missions sponsored by the NMSP. The purpose of both missions is to recanvas an area to look for clues of missing persons. Since the state is treating them as trainings, so are we, and training credit will apply. Participating in this type of search is a excellent opportunity to learn more about search and rescue missions and at the same time give the families of these missing persons some closure.

In the midst of all these trainings we also have a Land Navigation Evaluation Scheduled for Sunday the 17th at 9:00am at Embudo Trailhead at the East end of Indian School. Please leave a message on the hotline if you plan to attend.

NMESC is planning an Advanced Winter Skills Training for this winter (Jan 31, Feb 1 and 2, 2003). Winter searches in cold, snow and altitude increase the hazard for searchers and subjects. One of the major goals of this training will be to increase knowledge of these additional hazards and learn how to deal with them. The training will be two-fold. The full training will be limited to those individuals with solid winter backcountry skills and will involve an overnight in the snow at high altitude. The last day of the training will be a mock search and will be open to all groups with winter teams. A strict pack list will be enforced for safety reasons during all aspects of the training. A copy of the pack list is available on the calendar under the entry for this training. This training will also cover basic avalanche safety. More information will be placed on the hotline as it becomes available.

See you out there.

Back to Top
Business as Usual:Meeting Minutes by Joyce Rumschlag, Secretary

Minutes of 10 of October, 2002 Business Meeting

Pre-meeting mini lesson was the viewing of medical tapes concerning street drugs and there overdose and Satanism.

President's Report

David Dixon started the meeting at 1915 with the introduction of officers and members. One new person was at the meeting. Welcome Chad Meshbeger! David mentioned that pager entries should include who the IC for a mission is, who you are and who is the pager handler.

Vice-President/Training

Aaron Hall reminded members about the 4 wheel drive training on October 19 at 0900 to be held at Southern and Rainbow. Daryl Owen from Desert Rat will be helping with the training. Chris Murray is scheduled to do man tracking for the November training.

Treasurer

Art Fischer reported that we took in $412. this month and spent $41.41. He requested any gas receipts.

Membership

Steve Buckley asked for anyone working with Paul Dressendorfer to deliver his certificate to him. In regard to the mock search "lessons learned" are to follow. He also passed around a sample membership card.

Equipment

Tony Gaier has two new radios. He made two new rope bags, haul lines and anchor lines. If anyone needs supplies he will be available as usual after the meeting.

Medical

Mike Dugger reminded WFR's that their paperwork is due by the end of March. He suggested that we start the pre meeting mini-lessons pertaining to the medical tapes to begin at 1730.

P.R. Committee

Frances Robertson requested help with the Children's Fair on November 16. CSAR received many positive comments about our participation in the open spaces presentations and hikes. Bonnie Dill said that there is a need for these types of hikes and would like to see a spring event. Frances suggested that we need to target groups with stable, married people to recruit for CSAR.

New Business

David Dixon presented James Newberry with a certificate from CSAR as a former member.

James was guest speaker and began be giving out his business cards and urging us to call with our questions, comments and concerns. He also stated that there is "nobody better than SAR people". He informed us that the 606 is available for trainings. On Nov. 2 Philmont SAR is holding a mock search and we are invited. The week after Philmont, we will probably be back out in the Malpais. Ruth Miller had been found on Mt. Taylor.

James also commented on the mock search as being the "most incredible team training I have ever seen since I've been in SAR" and congratulated Steve Buckley for setting it up. He suggested that we try to build relationships with FC's, Section chief trainings will be held the third weekend in March and September alternating with the North and South part of the state.

Resource book will be on a CD available at nmstatepolice.com. ICS forms are on line.

Tom Russo had made an APRS tracking device at the cost of approximately $30. Membership voted 15 to 0 to budget $200 for R&D so we can investigate the practical issues of how to get more such devices deployed by Cibola on missions.

Post Meeting mini-lesson was a tape on abdomen pain.

Meeting was adjourned at 2115.

Back to Top
Who's Who and New by Steve Buckley, Membership Officer
I want to touch on something that is central to the preservation of this team: election of officers. This month we finalize nominations for next year's officers.

I have only been with the team a few years. I don't have the experience of perspective of our most senior members such as Terry Hardin, Larry Mervine, Mike Dugger, Tom Russo, and others. I did find that my stint as your Membership Officer gave me a unique perspective on what this team is and what it takes to keep this team running well and serving our community. Thanks for the opportunity to serve as one of your officers. I found the experience interesting since it gave me an opportunity to participate in the leadership of the team and contribute to the team in some lasting way.

As promised, I will hand my successor a CD with our letters and e-mail messages on it to make my successor's for month in the job easier. Dave Dixon did that for me and I greatly appreciated his effort. In addition, I will generate a CD with copies of the PACE package on it. This will allow the Membership Officer to cheaply meet the needs of new prospective members who are computer literate. Finally, I will update the membership files and relocate them in new cases since the old ones are a bit worn out.

In retrospect, the only down-side of being an officer is that our elections usually follow the old Soviet Union policy of one office, one candidate. I would like to see this year's election look more like an American election: two or more candidates for each office. Of course, since we are a tight team, negative campaigning is not allowed! I urge each of you to consider serving your team as an officer. I am sure you will find it rewarding and worth the time and effort. I look forward to lots of choices on this year's ballot and may the best candidate win!

Back to Top
Mini Lesson by Tom Russo

Less Basic Communications

There have been several articles in these pages about communications. Mike Dugger wrote an article in January of 1998 entitled "Basic Radio Communications," in which he discussed what to look for in a radio if you wanted to buy one, and a bit about how to talk on one when you bought it. I wrote another in May of 2001 about how to behave on the radio, a little about how to use one, and how to communicate more effectively. But in looking over the articles it seems to me that there's a gap in the minilessons. We have never really had one about what to do in the months after you've passed your Ham license exam to make yourself a more effective communicator.

I have this piece of paper that says I'm a ham. Now what do I do?

It is a common cliche to say that your ham license is "a license to learn," but its being a hackneyed phrase doesn't make it a false one. Your licence gives you the privilege of running a transmitter, but it's up to you to acquire knowlege and experience that makes you a communications asset.

Obviously, one of your steps is going to be that you need to purchase a radio and get on the air.

If you can afford it, buy a mobile radio for your car as well as the handheld you keep for missions. Handheld radios perform poorly inside vehicles, as the metal shell of the vehicle interferes with the propagation of radio waves, and the antennas used on handhelds are notoriously inefficient. If you can't afford a separate radio to mount in your vehicle, consider purchasing a docking booster amplifier that you can use with your handheld. A docking booster amplifier will allow you to power your radio from your car's electrical system, boost its signal, and allow you to connect it to an external antenna on your vehicle. When you get where you're going you can always undock the radio and replace its regular antenna and battery pack for portable operation. You will also need a compatible speaker-mike for your radio if you go this route. If you're dead set against spending much more than the price of your handheld, you should at the very least get a handheld radio that can take an external power adapter (many can't), a magnetic mount antenna and a speaker-mike --- you can then plug the radio into your cigarette lighter, plug in the antenna and speaker-mike, and have something that will work better than a handheld, if not as well as a mobile rig.

The point of having a radio in your vehicle is to allow you to use all that dead time while you're driving about your everyday business to get in the habit of talking on the radio, and to listen to how these things get used. Try to monitor all the time, especially when enroute to trainings and missions. My own mobile rig is always on if I'm in my vehicle, although you can never quite be sure what frequency I'm monitoring. I try to monitor whatever repeater is nearest to me at any given time, and typically announce that I'm doing it by saying "KM5VY Mobile, monitoring" when I come on frequency.

Simplex vs. Repeater operation

There are two basic ways by which Hams communicate by voice on 2 meter FM radio. These are called "simplex" and "repeater" operation. Let's start with simplex.

In simplex operation two or more operators communicate via direct station-to-station contact. In this manner of operation signals propagate along direct line-of-sight paths. In most cases, when we're using 155.160 in the public service band we're using this method. The advantage of simplex operation is that it requires no infrastructure --- you simply agree on a frequency with all the parties, and as long as you're within range you can communicate. The disadvantage, of course, is that line-of-sight limitation. If there's a big honkin' rock in between you and the other station (e.g. one of you is in Albuquerque and the other is in Cedar Crest) you will most likely not be able to carry on the contact.

In repeater operation there is a station called a "repeater" --- usually located on a mountain top or high tower --- that monitors one frequency and retransmits everything it hears on another. Most repeaters run with fairly high power, much higher than you would normally output on a handheld, and even higher than your mobile rig; this buys you a lot of range as your 5 watt handheld's signal down at 5000 feet is boosted to 100 or more watts by the repeater up at 10,000 feet.

In the US, the input and output frequencies of 2 meter repeaters are usually 600KHz apart. Whether the shift is up or down depends on what part of the band the output frequency is in. When you see repeaters listed you'll usually see them as the repeater's output frequency with the offset direction specified as a plus or minus sign, for example "146.900(-)," indicating an input frequency of 146.300 and an output frequency of 146.900. Most ham transceivers sold in the US know about the standard pattern of repeater offsets and the band plan that specifies where repeaters tend to be, and if you tune them to a frequency in the range where repeaters usually are then the offset will be set automatically. This is not always the case, so know your radio and how to use it. I'm sure none of my readers are the sort who consider user's manuals to be part of the packing material to be thrown away as soon as possible, so I'll leave it at that.

Another common feature of repeater operation is the use of "PL" or "CTCSS" tones. PL is a trademarked term owned by Motorola, and stands for "Private Line." CTCSS is the generic term and stands for "Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System." They refer to the same thing: the transmitter must include a sub-audible tone of the appropriate frequency or the receiver will not open squelch. Most repeaters use CTCSS tones to deal with interference problems --- if they're located in a fairly noisy area and didn't use CTCSS then noise could key the repeater. You'll often see repeaters listed this way: "146.900(-, 67Hz tone)" indicating that the repeater uses a negative offset and requires your transmitter to include a 67Hz subaudible tone in order to be heard. If you tune to a repeater that requires a tone but do not set your radio to use the tone then you'll never hear the repeater keying up when you transmit, and nobody will ever hear your transmission unless they just happen to be in simplex range of you and are listening on the repeaters input frequency instead of its output frequency. Some old transceivers do not have CTCSS encode/decode capability, and if you're thinking you might save some bucks by buying an old boatanchor you should look carefully for this feature lest you be unable to use most area repeaters.

Antenna considerations

In both types of operation the quality of your antenna will influence the ease with which you can make contacts, but clearly simplex operation is even more demanding. With repeater operation your signal is amplified dramatically from a high point at the top of a mountain, whereas with simplex you're relying on your relatively weak signal propagating directly to the other station. Handheld "rubber duck" antennas are an inefficient "compromise" antenna that can be replaced by a number of more effective options; some team members have replaced their rubber-duck antennas with quarter-wave whips, others have telescoping whip antennas, and some of us carry "roll-up" J-pole antennas made out of twin lead transmission line normally used with television antennas.

Common simplex frequences

Generally speaking, frequencies in the ranges 146.40-146.68 and 147.42-147.57 are reserved for FM voice simplex operation under the ARRL's band plan. The band plan does not have the force of law, but "good operating practices" --- which are required by law --- typically include observing the established band plans.

An important frequency to know is 146.52MHz, the "National Simplex Calling Frequency." This is a frequency that is set aside for simplex operation, and you can use it to find hams to talk to. Ideally you should not use the calling frequency for extended contacts, but rather use the calling frequency as a way of finding a station to talk to, then agree on a different frequency to use for your contact. You should definitely program your radio to include 146.52 as one of its saved frequencies, and you should try to monitor it whenever you're aimlessly tuning around the band.

Again, although the ARRL band plan does not have the force of law, the FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement just recently wrote to several hams advising them not to use 146.52MHz for extended contacts, because doing so was not "good operating practice" --- he later rescinded his finger-wagging, but the point is that you can't go wrong if use it only to establish a contact and then move to a mutually agreeable alternate frequency.

Other useful simplex frequencies are 147.42, 147.45, and 147.51MHz. These are good frequencies to switch to after you've established contact on 146.52. I keep all three programmed in my handhelds. Before we received our license for 155.265 we used to use 147.42 on trainings a lot.

Useful repeaters in the Albuquerque area

There are a lot of them. A great resource for repeater maps of the state is the Upper Rio FM Society website, www.urfmsi.org. That said, here are some of the more common Albuquerque area repeaters you should know and program into your radios:

Frequency(offset,tone)Location
146.900(-, 67Hz)Southeast Albuquerque with wide area coverage
146.940(-,100Hz)Mount Taylor, La Mosca
147.100(+)Rio Rancho
146.720(-,100Hz (or no tone with reduced sensitivity))Raven Road/S.14
146.960(-,100Hz)Capilla Peak, Manzanos

All of these repeaters get used on missions with some frequency, you should get to know them and make sure you're set to use them before you head out to a mission. If you get in the habit of using your radio often you'll soon get to know the areas where each of these repeaters is best.

There are lots more, but I don't want to make that table too big right now.

Avenues for further study

There's a lot more to being a ham radio operator than yakking on 2 meter FM in your down time. Consider exploring deeper.

Join the ARRL (American Radio Relay League). You'll get a monthly publication called "QST" that has reviews of equipment, projects to build, contests to enter, and plenty of other material to further your knowledge of the hobby.

If you like to read first and play later, think about buying a copy of the ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications. This is an annual publication, but most of the material is pretty timeless. It has in-depth expositions of much of the theory of radio and electronics, plus a large number of projects you can build yourself. Armed with the Handbook, you'll be able to understand why all those answers you memorized for the Technician exam were correct. In fact, I studied for the General, Advanced and Extra exams using just the question pools and the Handbook.

You can learn a lot more about antennas from ARRL publications. The "ARRL Antenna Book" is a huge tome with lots of theory and do-it-yourself projects just like the Handbook. There are many other antenna books you can buy from the ARRL. Go browse the ARRL website (http://www.arrl.org/) and see what tickles your fancy.

If you would like to get a more advanced view of how amateur radio fits into the general emergency communications picture, consider taking the ARRL Emergency Communications Continuing Education and Certification course. This is an on-line course consisting of about 20 lessons. The course costs $45 if you're an ARRL member ($75 if you're not), is self-paced, and runs for about 8 weeks. It takes about 25 hours to complete all the lessons, which involve activities to be shared with your "mentor" and multiple choice review questions. I found the course quite enlightening, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to kick their ham hobby up a notch. To learn more about the course and how to register for it, see http://www.arrl.org/cce/.

Upgrading is always a good thing to do. Your Technician class license gives you all the privileges that you need on a SAR mission, but the things you need to learn to get the higher licenses will only help you. The general class license is not that much more difficult than the Technician, but you do need to learn Morse Code --- what you get other than a deeper understanding of the hobby is access to HF bands for worldwide communications. Not much help on a SAR mission, but could definitely be useful in larger-scale disaster communications, and it's a heck of a lot of fun otherwise.

Nets

Get familiar with the various nets that are held on local repeaters. Every Thursday night at 8:30pm on all the Upper Rio FM society and Mega Link repeaters (that includes 146.90, 146.94 and 146.96) there is a "New Mexico Swapnet." This is a great opportunity to find used equipment, often at a bargain price. Tune in every week if you can. If you really get into it you can even volunteer to be one of the swapnet operators; I did that for about a year until I got too busy on Thursday evenings.

The Bernalillo Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) net meets every Thursday evening at 7:00pm on 146.90, 146.94 and 146.96 repeaters. Try and listen in each week, and consider getting involved even if just to check in to the net and say you have "no traffic." It's a friendly group crossed with a fairly formal net, and a good way to see how things work when a net control station coordinates a frequency for clean, accurate transfer of information.

Lastly, there are several "social" nets held on the various repeaters in the area. The "SCAT" net (Senior Citizens And Travellers) meets every morning at 7:06AM on the Sandia Crest repeater (145.33(+, 100Hz)) for general chit-chat and friendliness. "Rusty's Raiders Net" meets every morning from 8:45-10:45 on the 146.94 and 146.96 repeaters. Both are friendly groups.

Radio Games

Do not underestimate the value of hobbiest activities in advancing the skill and knowledge you can bring to bear on your SAR activities.

A fun activity that will bring together your interest in radio, map-and-compass skills, and physical fitness is Amateur Radio Direction Finding. In this sport you use radios with directional antennas and other equipment you can build yourself, combined with your ability to navigate using a map and compass to find hidden transmitters. Both foot and car activities are held in the Albuquerque area. It is much harder than it sounds --- it's really easy to get distracted from your land navigation tasks when you start bushwacking because you think you're a hundred yards from a transmitter! There are monthly competitions, usually in the Oak Flat Open Space area --- see http://home.att.net/~wb8wfk/ for details.

There are many other opportunities to explore how to use amateur radio more effectively. Everything you do to expand your knowledge and skill as a radio operator has the potential to make you more of an asset to SAR. I hope this article and others I've got planned for future issues help inspire you to pursue these opportunities.

Back to Top
Member Spotlight: David Chapek
I was born in Albuquerque and have spent most of my life frolicking in the local mountains. I have long enjoyed hiking and mountain biking and have recently started doing a bit of climbing. For me, Search and Rescue seemed a natural progression and a chance to give back to the outdoor community (and provides me with justification for buying new gear). For those of you who don't know my face, I am generally the one falling over when out on missions, as I am blessed with two left feet. And while I'm being open and honest, I am also terrified of snakes.

When I'm not out gallivanting with the SAR folks, I spend a fair amount of my time outdoors working on my family's small plot of land in the mountains, building and shaping with hopes of a cabin someday.

I am currently a student at UNM but couldn't tell you what field my degree will be in when I'm done, only that I'll be "well-rounded." In the spring of this year I took an EMT class and learned that I'm really interested in emergency medicine. A second week long class upgrading to Wilderness EMT reinforced that medicine may be a good direction for me.

Supporting me in my soul-searching endeavors is Jade, my wife of 1 year. After 7 years of dating and a sneaky proposal under Delicate Arch, we tied the knot last September in agrassy field high in the Sandias. Our family has only expanded, as we are working hard to raise two lazy ferrets, Puck and Lunchbox, and one rather high strung puppy, Didgeri. Perhaps someday, maybe when she can focus on one thing for more than half a second, she too can play with the other SAR dogs.

I hope this serves as a meet and greet and never as a eulogy, following some tragic map reading accident, like using a map upside down. I look forward to seeing all of you on the trail!

Back to Top
Web News by Noam Buddy
There is no news this month.
The team website can be accessed at http://www.cibolasar.org/
Back to Top
The SAR Pack, Part III: Losing Weight by David Dixon
Previously, in SAR Pack 1 and 2, I wrote about equipping yourself for missions with proper gear and clothing. Part 1 especially included long lists of necessary (and some usually unnecessary) items for both your summer and winter packs. Having just the right contents is certainly essential but so is physical conditioning and as we all know the former is very much related to the latter. The weight of your pack is a big factor in your ability to haul the thing around. For me, age is also a factor because as I get older so especially does my back, and anything I can do to give it a break will make missions more bearable and keep me in the field longer. That break is reducing the weight of my pack. In this article I change directions and go on a pack weight loss program. Not generally by removing but reducing because as with any weight loss program you don't want to jeopardize your safety or in this case the "health" of your pack. This is especially true for search and rescue work. You've already given much thought as to what goes in your pack and weight loss becomes more of a challenge. Reducing the weight of your pack by even a few pounds can make a big difference though not only for your back but in the reduction of energy expended. In this program depending on what I end up carrying I was able to reduce my pack weight by 2-5 lbs.

I am not the only one who is interested in weight loss. The Feature Article in the current issue of Backpacker is an Ultralight Plan. They have a lot of good tips but most of their plan doesn't really apply to us since we aren't functioning as traditional backpackers. (Hey, I tried shortening my toothbrush but couldn't find one in my pack). We can't and shouldn't "remove some items just because we've never used them in the field". Some of our gear is insurance that needs to always be there. Technology, not surprisingly, also has gone the same direction with big advances made in lighter materials and companies formed solely around lighter weight items. Some of these things cost more and my changes did involve some expenditures but who doesn't like a reason to buy some new gear.

Knowing the weight of everything in your pack is an obvious first step in the program so I brought home a balance scale to weigh my pack items down to the ounce - actually gram. I found that sometimes weight differences of clothing and gear was surprising. That difference affects what I decide to pack. The weight of some items, like water, can't be reduced but there are many things that can. (I can loan out a scale if you're interested).

Finally, a reminder that even though items you are wearing, like a headlamp, boots and clothes are not in your pack they're still considered part of your total weight.

CLOTHING

You can't give up clothing. You need your layers. One interesting thing I did find though was that mid and light weight clothing sometimes referred to thickness of material and not actual weight as my heavyweight polypro top and bottom weighed less than lighter weights. I found that I could save a few ounces by carrying an extra top that was actually thicker and more insulating but lighter weight, even in summer. This in fact is related to another positive thing about our no cotton philosophy - for the same thickness synthetics generally weigh less than cotton. Not all synthetics of the same thickness weigh the same though and knowing the weight of all your clothing items helps you make better decisions about what goes in your pack (or on your body) during any season. I also found that a pair of strong, insulated leather palmed gloves which work great for litter hauls and keep my hands warmer actually weigh less than my uninsulated all leathers. They now go into my winter pack. Also, lighter weight winter caps also work just as well to keep my head warm in most conditions.

RAINGEAR

My first set of breathable raingear was a top and bottom of ultrex which I carried for years. But they're bulky, double layer with a combined weight of almost 3 lbs. In addition, I rarely used the bottoms. I now have a more lightweight top weighing 11 oz. and a pair of simple, coated nylon bottoms weighing just 6 oz. for a weight savings of almost 2 lbs. This new set has so far worked fine. The bottoms aren't breathable but the top breathes better than the ultrex. (More of that new technology at work).

FOOD

I have always relied on dried meat, dried fruit and nuts, plus a few candy or energy bars - compact, high energy food. Not many ways for me to save weight here but I did decide that I was carrying a little too much. Other than some additional snacks I have close at hand (and eat during most missions) my food cache now weighs just over a pound. Note: If I am carrying it my stove package includes instant soup, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and a package of dried rice or pasta.

STOVE/COOK-KIT

Even though I don't always carry it I was able to save 7 ounces here by trading in my old stove for a 3 oz. Pocket Rocket and replacing my large canister for a smaller one. (How much burn time do you need on a mission anyway?) I also reduced the weight of my cook kit by a few ounces by taking out a one pan and carrying a few less dried items (see above).

LIGHTING/BATTERIES

I got a big weight savings here although I think the jury is still out on LED's. My headlamp that I have used for years, the SAR standard Petzl zoom with the 4.5v battery weighs 11 oz. In addition I carried a second hand held light source that weighed almost as much. My new 4 bulb LED weighs 4 oz. (3 AAA batteries included) and so far seems fine for most trail hikes. For better light and searching I've added a compact 4 AA flashlight with lithium batteries that weighs only 6.6 oz. and shines like a spotlight. LED's and AA Eveready e2 lithium batteries (not titaniums) are more examples of that new lightweight technology. LED's give off a more diffuse light that takes getting used to but the bulbs last forever. Lithiums weigh half of alkalines, last up to 6 times longer and work much better in the cold. I think their higher cost (4 for around $10) is worth it. Also, with new batteries you may decide that you don't need spares for LED's that burn for 30, 40 or more hours, an additional weight savings. When I added the weight of necessary spare batteries to my old standard bulb light sources my weight savings was over a pound. (Although I will admit that sometimes, depending on the mission, you need the old standby on your head). Note: I have a new 3 AAA LED/Halogen combo light that I just tried on a recent mission. Jury's still out.

1ST AID KIT

I hadn't gone through my kit in nearly a year and in doing so I realized that I didn't quite need all the bandages and multiple items I had. In addition after much thought I pulled my hefty (6 oz.), plastic-paged copy of the WMA Field Guide. I figured in a medical reality I'd be too rushed and excited to use it anyway. Hey, not having it forces me to make sure I know all the stuff. In all I reduced my kit's weight by over half a pound.

PACK

Finally what does your pack itself weigh. Mine weighs about 4 lbs. I could probably save a few ounces by changing to a lighter one although not at a compromise to size. If your pack is too large you could consider down-sizing. A smaller one probably weighs less but you don't want one that compromises it's ability to stand up to the rigors of the field. A "LightIsRight" philosophy doesn't always apply to us.

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS

I saved a few more ounces on assorted pack items that I felt I could do without. I decided 2 of anything is enough, so I got rid of an extra compass, a prussic, some batteries and a few other things.

PACK TIPS

As with my other articles I can't end without a few other Tips on saving weight.
  1. A roll of trail tape is heavy. Do you need more than one roll or even a whole roll on every mission?
  2. Do you carry a bivy? What does it weigh? There are options that weigh less and would probably function as well.
  3. Larger knives are heavy. How many do you carry? How many do you really need? (Acknowledgement to David Chapek for this tip).
  4. Try to find out weights of items before you buy them and think about them as pack additions.
  5. If you carry a closed cell pad like I do try reducing its size to a bare minimum. If you're using it you probably won't sleep much anyway. A piece just 20x36 or so protects your torso from the cold ground but saves you a few ounces and more importantly pack volume. I carry a piece of accordian z-rest. It's sections can work well as splints.

Think about everything you carry. Weigh it. Reduce it. Your pack and back will thank you.

Now if they can just come up with reduced weight water.

Back to Top
Disclaimer and Copyright notice the Editors
The contents of this newsletter are copyright © 2002 by their respective authors or by Cibola Search and Rescue, Inc., and individual articles represent the opinions of the author. Cibola SAR makes no representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in these articles, and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. Articles contained in this newsletter may be reproduced, with attribution given to Cibola SAR and the author, by any member of the Search and Rescue community for use in other team's publications. TML>