Author Topic: Very Light Backpacking Mount  (Read 23 times)

Dave Matthews

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Very Light Backpacking Mount
« on: December 24, 2017, 03:24:26 PM »
So I'm going camping out at Steamboat Rock State Park in Eastern Washington state (therefore SUPER dark heavens) in July and I truly want to attempt to take my ED80 outside there.  Unfortunately my only mount is the Orion Sirius which is far to big and heavy to take on a plane.  Plus I'll be visiting the peak of a large plateau to get above the local LP, what little there is to start with.  So I'll be taking the mount with me hiking up the mountain so that it ought to be light but sturdy enough to handle the 13lb ED80 plus all the additional bits.  So probably around 15-18lbs at the most.  I have always used a Goto EQ mount therefore I am not sure what other option there are around and would really like to here what additional use to get a light backpacking mount.
Also...I am thinking of using my DSLR to take advantage of the dark skies to take some wonderful wide field shots at the campground.  I won't need counseling, just tracking, are there some option available for this too?  This could be a separate mount than the preceding one of course.
My budget will probably be under $500 for the two and I'm quite open to the second hand industry.



opalytun

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 04:43:09 AM »
My lightest mount is an FTQ which is very rare to find on the used market. It is on my Gitzo 5541LS carbon fiber tripod. Mount and tripod are under 10 pounds. I use this mount with my SVR90T or SVR102T.

There are other small alt/az mounts that would handle your ED80. The DesertSkyAstro DSV-M may be your best bet among mounts you can order new.

I backpack a lot but never have carries more than a monocular or binoculars to enjoy the night skies.

Robert Spencer

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 09:41:53 AM »
Quote
So I am going camping out at Steamboat Rock State Park in Eastern Washington state (so SUPER dark skies) in July and I really want to try and take my ED80 out there. Unfortunately my only mount is an Orion Sirius which is way to big and heavy to take on a plane. Plus I will be hiking to the top of a large plateau to get above the local LP, what little there is to begin with. So I will be taking the mount with me hiking up the mountain so it needs to be light but sturdy enough to handle the 13lb ED80 plus all the extra bits. So probably around 15-18lbs at the most. I've always used a Goto EQ mount so I'm not sure what other option there are out there and would love to here what other use for a light backpacking mount.
Also....I'm thinking of using my DSLR to take advantage of the dark skies to take some nice wide field shots at the campground. I will not need guiding, just tracking, are there any option available for this as well? This would be a separate mount than the above one of course.
My budget will probably be under $500 for both and I'm very open to the second hand market.

I presume you're talking visual with the ED80?

For the DSLR, either a Skytracker (which I own) or a StarAdventurer, Both have their supporters, I view it more as a personal choice. But there goes your whole budget unless you have things like a tripod, and a ballhead for the Skytracker.

boacamcentrumb

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »
Thanks for the replies.

It looks like the Skytracker tripod has a center pin to mount the ball head to. Would that same center pin work to mountThe DesertSkyAstro DSV-M onto the same tripod?I do have a pair of Binos I will be taking with me but since I'm from the East cost and truly dark skies at high elevations are very hard to come by I am going to trying and get everything out there. At the very least I can leave the ED80 at the camp site if it ends up being to much to hike with. Its still very dark there just at a lower elevation.

Michael Shen

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 07:51:21 AM »
Vixen Porta II head w/slo-mo tracking on sale at B & H for $189.

presalacder

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 11:59:05 AM »
Carbon fiber tripod. I can't imagine carrying a 13# scope and mount and tripod to the top of a mountain, along with your other camping gear...tent, sleeping bag, pad, food, cooking gear, etc. I would get a small, doublet for use on the CF tripod...or binoculars as someone said.

Damon Brigham

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 03:50:13 PM »
Quote
So I am going camping out at Steamboat Rock State Park in Eastern Washington state (so SUPER dark skies) in July and I really want to try and take my ED80 out there. Unfortunately my only mount is an Orion Sirius which is way to big and heavy to take on a plane. Plus I will be hiking to the top of a large plateau to get above the local LP, what little there is to begin with. So I will be taking the mount with me hiking up the mountain so it needs to be light but sturdy enough to handle the 13lb ED80 plus all the extra bits. So probably around 15-18lbs at the most. I've always used a Goto EQ mount so I'm not sure what other option there are out there and would love to here what other use for a light backpacking mount.
Also....I'm thinking of using my DSLR to take advantage of the dark skies to take some nice wide field shots at the campground. I will not need guiding, just tracking, are there any option available for this as well? This would be a separate mount than the above one of course.
My budget will probably be under $500 for both and I'm very open to the second hand market.

Desert Sky Astro DSV-M:

http://www.desertsky....com/DSV-M.html

Universal Astronomics Dwarf Star:

http://www.universal.../DwarfStar.html

AOK Swiss Vamo Traveler:

http://www.aokswiss....o_traveler.html

TS Tilting Head Alt-Az:

http://www.teleskop-...to-tripods.html

Berlebach Castor:

http://www.teleskop-...t-Az-mount.html

Tele-Optik various:

http://www.teleskop-...d-per-side.html

http://www.teleskop-...up-to-9-kg.html

http://www.teleskop-...oad-10-kgs.html

Zero trouble ordering from TS or directly from European manufacturers, though for made to order items expect a wait. I've owned mounts from Desert Sky, Universal Astronomics and AOK Swiss. All great products.

Any of these will ride on a photo tripod. But honestly your ED80 will be the problem. It is HUGE for a backpacking OTA. 23.5" long is going to be a pain in the back(pack). For backpacking instead I'd probably go with some decent binoculars if I didn't have a more compact OTA. Unless I'm confusing which ED80 you have. The Synta unit is only 5.7# rather than 13#.

Best,

Jim

unmoharib

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 12:53:45 AM »
Thanks for all the suggestions and links everyone. I'll have to go through them all and start picking out some.
To clarify some things...by backbacking I mean day hikes and by climbing a small mountain I mean a plateau. There is only about 600 ft in elevation change between my campsite and the top. This will be a day hike to get up there before sunset, spend a couple hours up there and then come back down the same night. Maybe 5-6hrs total in time. There will be several people going with me so I can split things up and give to different people to carry. I've done 40# packs with hiking almost 3000 ft in elev change in a day before so I'm not too worried about the weight. Since I don't need to take most of the things I would take for a typical day hike my pack will be much lighter to start with. Though I will test it all out at my house before I take it all out there.I'm not set on taking the ED80 on the trip up to the top but I would like to try. At the least I'll leave it at the campsite and just take the DSLR and binos to the top. I'm just looking at all my options.

acbrawexel

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 07:13:36 AM »
Yes, I also like to take the best bits with me.

Another versatile option for your 80mm refractor is the Televue Tele-Pod. Although the Tele-Pod head lacks slow motion controls, these compact mount heads can be detached from their tripods for true airline (backpack?) portability. You can even purchase the head separately for mounting on a carbon fiber tripod or other ultra light support. Despite the fact that the vendor listed weight capacity of the Televue alt-az mount ranges from 15-22 pounds, this mount is at its best when loaded with less than the rated maximum. In this handy “Guide to Alt-Azimuth and German Equatorial Telescope Mounts” Chuck Hawks also suggests that we avoid testing the capacity ratings of telescope mountings. http://www.chuckhawk..._mount_list.htm

Although my Tele-Pod appears primitive compared to some of the heavier alternatives, the small alt-az mount is a functional luxury under my Pronto after a short hike or extended airplane trip.

I have never handled one but the Equinox ED80 is said to be similar in construction to a TV refractor. Those small Televue refractors are rather solid. Is that ED80 really over 15 pounds with a diagonal? If it is much heavier than my Pronto you will need to evaluate your options carefully. Otherwise a standard Tele-Pod could be a good choice.

David Pee

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 05:33:30 PM »
Quote
Yes, I also like to take the best bits with me.

Another versatile option for your 80mm refractor is the Televue Tele-Pod. Although the Tele-Pod head lacks slow motion controls, these compact mount heads can be detached from their tripods for true airline (backpack?) portability. You can even purchase the head separately for mounting on a carbon fiber tripod or other ultra light support. Despite the fact that the vendor listed weight capacity of the Televue alt-az mount ranges from 15-22 pounds, the mount at its best with less than the rated maximum. In this handy “Guide to Alt-Azimuth and German Equatorial Telescope Mounts” Chuck Hawks also suggests that we avoid testing the capacity ratings of telescope mountings. http://www.chuckhawk..._mount_list.htm

Although my Tele-Pod appears primitive compared to some of the heavier alternatives, the small alt-az mount is a functional luxury under my Pronto after a short hike or extended airplane trip.

I have never handled one but the Equinox ED80 is said to be similar in construction to a TV refractor. Those small Televue refractors are rather solid. Is that ED80 really over 15 pounds with a diagonal? If it is much heavier than my Pronto you will need to evaluate your options carefully. Otherwise a standard Tele-Pod could be a good choice.

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately thats a bit on the pricey side for me unless I skip on the Skytracker which I dont really want to do.

The Equinox is 13lbs so by the time I add my 2" diagonal and 2" EP also with a finderscope it will probably be pushing 16-17 lbs. Its not really meant to be a light travel scope but its what I got so I'll make due. I'm going to see if its possible to take off the dew shield on it to save 2lbs or so but not sure if that little bit is worth it.

chibamaham

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Re: Very Light Backpacking Mount
« Reply #10 on: Today at 12:07:55 AM »
My thinking:

The sky is dark, there's plenty to see, no need for GOTO or DSC's/PUSHTO.

I go with a photo tripod with the scope mounted "sidesaddle" on a 3 axis tilt pan head. I have a Bogen 3040 which weighs about 10 pounds and use it with my 80mm's.

I'd also think about buying an ST-80. They weigh about 3 pounds and you could use a considerably lighter tripod as well. For stargazing from a mountain top, it doesn't give up much to an 80mm apo..

Jon