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Last active July 23, 2023 04:16
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QRP and Hiking Loadout in 2023

QRP and Hiking Loadout in 2023


I try to change my loadout when I find a better configuration or change my operating style. This happens pretty frequently and it appears that I may publish my loadout annually. The major changes this year have been using Winlink and moving to Southern California.


  • Switched QRP rig from Elecraft KX2 to Lab599 TX-500. I did so as I operate in heavier conditions that put my KX2 at risk. The TX-500 is more durable, and the only water resistant QRP rig for consumers
  • Switch from the Baofeng UV-5R to the Yaesu FT-65R. The primary reason was that digital modes didn't work so well with the Baofeng's slow VOX trigger. My need for VHF Winlink have been the primary driver for this
  • Since I moved to Southern California from Northern California I have less trees to work with. Therefore I removed the throw weight and instead use the SOTABeams carbon fiber 6m mast to support my wire antennas
  • I still use the EFHW but I carry the OCF dipole more often because it's more compatible with the SOTABeams mast. I have an optional bag with my SuperAntenna MP1 for when a vertical is appropriate
  • I added a full featured compass
  • I added a bivy in case I get caught having to sleep outside
  • I added gloves to use for first aid since I started taking those classes
  • Swapped the tourniquet for a North American Rescue brand. Some generic brands have been known to break when used
  • Emergency food removed. This pack is for 24 hours only. If I plan on longer I will bring food but it will not be packed by default
  • Switch backpacks from a traditional backpacking pack to a more tactical oriented backpacking pack with MOLLE support



  • Water
    • Sawyer Mini Filtration System
      • This device allows me to filter water I may find while out on a field. The manufacturer claims the filter is rated for 100,000 gallons. I have a hard time believing this figure but I would only need a gallon or two for a 24 hour operation
    • 3.5 liter bladder
      • 3.5 liters is about the water needed for a person in ambient temperature. This will almost always suffice for a moderate hike
    • Water purification tablets
      • A backup when all other methods fail
  • Medical
    • First Aid
      • Israeli Band Aid
        • Used for larger wounds
        • Can be used as a tourniquet
      • North America Rescue Tourniquet
        • Can be used to stop bleeding
        • I carry one around just in case I get bit by a snake
        • This brand is better as knock-offs have been reported to break during use
      • QuikClot
        • Hemostatic wound dressing that, when applied, can help slow down bleeding through clotting
      • Gloves
      • Alcohol pads
      • Band aids
      • Burn gel
      • Disposable thermometers
        • Original bought for the COVID age, now I may use them for diagnosing general illness
      • Kardia
        • Essentially a small EKG device. Though I'm not so concerned that I may need it at my young age, it may be helpful to anyone in distress I come across. The same batteries I use for my glucometer can be used on this device
      • Baby Aspirin
    • Diabetic
      • Glucometer/Blood sugar meter
        • I always have one in my pocket but since this is a critical item for managing my blood sugar, I keep one packed as a backup.
      • Glucose test strips
        • Additional bottle of test strips. Again, just a backup
      • Glucometer batteries
        • Backups
        • Same batteries as the Kardia
      • Glucagon pen
        • For any insulin dependent diabetic, low blood sugar can be lethal. For this reason I keep a glucagon pen that can boost my blood sugar extremely quickly.
      • Glucometer control solution
        • I've never had a bad glucometer and I replace them on a pretty regular basis but just in case I keep a bottle of the control solution to check the accuracy of my glucometer
      • Glucose gel
        • Also used for raising blood glucose but is way easier to stomach than chalky glucose pills
      • Glucometer lancets
        • The things that prick your finger to draw blood for the glucometer
  • Lighting
    • Flashlight
      • Chargeable via USB-C
    • Fire starter
      • Fail safe way of starting a fire
      • Has a whistle and compass attached
  • Power
    • Bioenno 3Ah LiFePO4
      • Very safe battery chemistry. It can take a beating and won't light on fire/explode
      • Relatively lightweight
      • Steady voltage during discharge
      • Voltage doesn't drop until very low charge, therefore more energy can be captured from this battery type
      • The Bioennos come with a battery management system (BMS) that prevent over/under charge/discharge
    • 12V USB-C PD Socket
      • Can provide up to 36W for USB-C PD to charge my phone or laptop
      • Can provide 9V/5V USB QC for my other peripherals
  • Navigation
    • Garmin InReach
      • This device contains a GPS receiver and compass, as well as some offline maps
    • My Phone
      • I use Avenza and OSMAnd+ for their offline maps which I download ahead of time. My phone, like many others, has a GPS receiver and compass
    • My Laptop
      • I have offline maps for YAAC that provide superior mapping capabilities, as well as being able to overlay real-time tactical data from APRS using the FT-65R. I have a USB GPS dongle for this device also
    • Compass
      • I carry a SUUNTO MC-2 Compass. It's a full feature compass
  • Communications
    • Garmin InReach
      • This device, along with the subscription I pay for, gives me access to the Iridium satellite constellation for sending my GPS coordinates and sending/receiving messages without relying on a cell network. Additionally, the device provides an SOS feature to call for help when all other means of communication are not available
    • Lab599 Discovery TX-500
      • My QRP HF/6m rig of choice in this loadout. It can push 10W SSB and supports digital modes via the Digirig interface. It's very durable and water/dust resistant
    • Yaesu FT-65R
      • Reasonably priced VHF/UHF HT
      • I have a Digirig for this device to do Winlink and APRS
      • I pack the charging base along with respective powerpole cable
    • SOTABeams 6m Carbon Fiber Mast
      • I have the ground stake for this as well so it's free standing
      • Great for wire antennas like my OCF dipole and EFHWs
    • SuperAntenna MP1 (ADDON)
      • A full 40m-6m vertical antenna that I may pack if I need to be very tactical or I know the mast and wire setup won't work
  • Sanitation
    • Wet wipes
      • Not for sterilizing but useful to clean off dirt
    • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Sunblock
  • Backpack rain cover
    • Covers the entire pack in case it rains
  • Tools
    • Knife
      • A small fixed blade knife
    • Whistle
      • A good instrument to grab someone's attention or signal for help. I have one on the fire starter
    • Pen
    • Small notepad
  • Cash
    • Some parks don't support digital payments yet so I keep some cash just in case
  • Shelter
    • I always carry a small bivy in case I need to sleep outside
    • While not shown here, if I plan on a over night operation, or there is an emergency, I have a small tent and sleeping bag I can pack
  • Food
    • Food is not packed standard, only as needed
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