Thursday May 27, 2010 | 07:58 PM

Thursday was packing day – and when you’re headed into a war zone, that’s vastly easier said than done. The operative word: weight. For starters, the body armor and helmet weigh just under 30 pounds. (This according to a bathroom scale that’s telling me I weigh 10 pounds less than I actually do.) Toss in all the journalism stuff – laptop, spare laptop, data transmitter, camera, audio recorder, cords, chargers, batteries, notebooks and various other doo-dads – and my trusty old L.L. Bean backpack is already bulging to the tune of 45-50 pounds. Then come the clothing, toilet kit, sleeping bag, headlamp, Gerber all-purpose tool, first-aid kit and God knows what else and the load finally tops out at 60.4 pounds – comfortably under the 66-pound limit set by Afghan’s Safi Airways, which will carry me overnight Saturday from Frankfurt, Germany, to Kabul. My 55-year-old back aches just looking at it. I'm adding a pound of ibuprofen.

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