There have been many times when I wanted a lightweight, portable equatorial mount to use with a small telescope, Hydrogen-alpha (Hα) instrument, or camera when I was traveling. Those occasions when I braved taking a larger equatorial mount, especially when flying, were challenging to say the least. My wife would look at me like I was crazy: one suitcase for our clothes and three for the mount, tripod, accessories, and tools. When the airlines’ luggage scale readout maxed out, I knew I was in more trouble.
A small, reliable mount for observing is always a nice piece of hardware to have if you’re like me and enjoy escaping for an evening or weekend. Or perhaps you have a telescope and want to upgrade to a mount with the ability to track as you observe.
Sky-Watcher USA has designed and manufactured a portable German equatorial mount (GEM) called the Star Adventurer. What I saw right out of the box pleased me. The unit is lightweight, tipping the scales at a little over 2 pounds (1 kilogram) not including the optional counterweight ($30), which is a shaft with a 2.2-pound weight on it. All construction also was of high quality.