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Thread: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

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    Default Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site



    So I went to an International Dark Sky Park last week for the first time. Of course that was very cool and I got to view the Milky Way visually without binoculars!

    However, it was a bit of a hassle as I lugged a bunch of stuff with me to observe, requiring several trips back and forth to the car. I'm going to put together a small toolbox with Allen wenches, a few screw drivers, etc. and wondered if the more experienced astronomers would share what they pack in their toolbox.

    I'm also going to buy a collapsible portable wagon (from Costco or Amazon) to help haul stuff. Any other suggestions from you veteran folks for a packing list and how to best haul stuff?

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    Default Re: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

    I have a toolbox of only the items likely to be lost, broken, etc. For example...lock washers on bolt posts which can fall off. Also, wrenches to fit the nuts on my mount (not everyone else's), screwdrivers that fit my needs, batteries that I might need. In short, only pack what you might need and the tools to apply/remove said parts. You cannot take care of everyone else, and you need to be portable. Now, if you can park next to your observing site, and you have room in the vehicle, bring whatever you want, but know where everything is so you can locate in the dark. And, get to the site so you have enough light to set up...much easier than assembling in the dark.
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    Default Re: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

    Quote Originally Posted by Skybird View Post
    And, get to the site so you have enough light to set up...much easier than assembling in the dark.
    This is what i try to do when I go...much easier than setting up when I can't see.

    I cart one of my telescopes around in its shipment boxes, everything i need is in the box before I leave home. Otherwise, I have a few cheap Harbor Freight tool bags that contain small parts and tools for my other telescopes - i grab the scope and its associated toolbag and away i go.
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    Default Re: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

    I have a tote bag and in the one side pocket I have 2 screwdrivers, a set of small jewelers screwdrivers, pliers, needle nose pliers, a small set of vice grips, two small sets of allen/hex wrenches (one SAE and one Metric), diagonal cutters, roll of electrical tape and a small assortment of zip ties. Also some small extra flashlights both a red and a white.
    I have 2 small plastic tubs lids, 4 inch x 4 inch: One has an assortment of button cell batteries and some AA and AAA. The other has an assortment of screws, nuts and washers both Metric and SAE. I buy the small bags of hardware that only have 1 or 2 pieces, that have the sizes on them. I get them from Menards. If I use something I stuff the empty bag in my pocket, so I know what to replace. The tote bag has a stocking cap, cheap cloth gloves a rag or two, and some chemical hand warmers.


    If you can find these flashlights at your Menards, they are a steal. 8 LED flashlights for $4, and they come with batteries. I use cheap red nail polish to paint the lenses on half of them red. I have them in the pockets of the car door, eyepiece case, imaging case, tool bag.
    https://www.menards.com/main/lightin...1109421&ipos=5
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    Default Re: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

    I have a storage box that I bought at the local mega mart to carry all my odds and ends. I made a short checklist of everything that goes in it that I go over as I pack and then it's ready to move whenever I decide to go to a dark site.
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    Default Re: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

    In addition to the usual tools, be sure to carry spare power cords and fuses, if your gear uses these. I learned this the hard way as once I had a two-hour drive from a mountain observing site to the nearest auto parts store (and two hours back) to get a replacement fuse.
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    Default Re: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

    I try to be minimalist when traveling to a dark site though even that seem a lot at times.
    Case for telescope(s) and mount(s), eyepiece case, accessory case for miscellaneous gear, batteries for mount/ add ons, snacks and drinks as well as warm clothing.
    The large cases have wheels and everything else has shoulder straps so not many trips needed if I am unable to park close.

    Make a list at home, check off items as it goes into the vehicle will help prevent mishaps such as my mounts power cord disappearing on the way to a dark site.
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    Default Re: Hauling all of your stuff to an observation site

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabby76 View Post
    ...
    Make a list at home, check off items as it goes into the vehicle will help prevent mishaps such as my mounts power cord disappearing on the way to a dark site.
    Oh yeah! All my gear lives in the same corner of a closet. Last time I went out I loaded it all up and even remembered the Big Battery that lives in the garage. At the last minute I decided to run through my checklist anyway and, DUH.... I had forgotten the tripod.
    Glad I discovered that. Hand-holding an 8-inch SCT is not easy.
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