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Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardine's Guide to Lightweight Hiking Paperback – July, 1999

75 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: AdventureLore Press; 3rd ed. Illustrated. edition (July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963235931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963235930
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

253 of 262 people found the following review helpful By Edmond Meinfelder on September 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jardine expertly conveys a wealth of information on how to lose pounds from your pack, keep food from bears and generally enjoy your time in the backcountry. I'd go so far as to say, I likely would not have completed my PCT throughhike without this book.
Though most of the book is condensed wisdom, some of Jardine's suggestions struck me as dubious. For example:
1) Suggesting people will get used to giardia is irresponsible. Some may, some may not. Sitting on a porcelain throne is no way to spend your hike.
2) Quilts are cold and drafty. The bottoms of sleeping bags, where the insulation is compressed, do provide a function: they keep the cold air out.
3) Taking your own silverware to a restaurant is dubious. There are many ways to get digestive tract illness, dirty silverware at a restaurant is just one and not the most likely.
4) People taking help from trail angels are not parasites. (Though people expecting help from trail angels may be.)
5) Many people need to eat for comfort as well as nutrition. I don't recommend Ray's trail menu unless you are not fond of eating.
6) Recommending stealth camping as a tactic to avoid bears was also irresponsible. Many people do not take bear canisters, get nervous when bears stalk their camp and then try hanging their food, which the bears happily eat. This is driving the Rangers nuts as bears increasingly become habituated to people food, making the bears potentially dangerous.
7) Do not count on vibrational harmony keeping mosquitoes away. Odds are, most bugs haven't read Jardine's book and don't know you are in vibrational harmony with them. Use DEET.
Still anyone hiking should benefit from this book. Just don't let Mr. Jardine do all the thinking for you.
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153 of 163 people found the following review helpful By "ytzchak" on July 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Most beginning backpackers buy what looks like the best equipment using ads in magazines, recommendations of store personnel, and suggestions from friends who occasionally hike. I did the same, and found myself overloaded with goods, out a lot of money, and struggling on the trail. I couldn't help think that there must be a better way. I looked through several books on backpacking before going out and overlooked this one because of the title. I thought the title, Beyond Backpacking, suggested a text for experienced backpackers - not me. After an initial arduous struggle, I read and bought the book. Beyond Backpacking is the answer to easy and economical backpacking - and it is more relevant to beginners.
Ray's book covers the basics of backpacking without any hype and dispels many of its myths. Important items, such as footwear, clothing, backpacks, food, cooking utensils and tents, are covered in unexpected detail and clarity. For example, I thought the best shoes for backpacking were the sturdiest, thickest full-grained leather with gore-tex liners. Ray jokingly mocks the boot advertisements and explains why a lightweight pair of trail sneakers works better. Another good example, with clothing, is the selection of socks. He uses and recommends thin nylon socks because they are durable, inexpensive, somewhat breathable, and easy to hand wash and dry. I think I unknowingly wasted about $15 bucks on each pair of smartwool socks.
Ray's writing is clear and easy to follow. Each subject is covered very thoroughly. Beginners, like myself, may want to skim through some sections to gain some basic knowledge and understanding. More advanced backpackers may want to read sections more thoroughly and compare their knowledge and experience with his. Mr.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By C. Farmakidis on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this book, Ray Jarnine puts forth a total reinvention of the culture of backpacking around the principle that "less is more". The author offers many clever techniques for drastically reducing packweigt and then argues that this can lead you to travel faster, enjoy your trip much more let alone save big bucks. Furthermore Jardine argues, that less overmarketed gear allows for fewer distractions and a more effective connection with the outside world.
My experience experimenting with the "Ray Way" during a long distance hike was overwhelmingly positive. The running shoes, the super light homemade backpack and the tarp which are the three pillars of the Ray Way allowed me to cut several kg of my packweight. There are two caveats on the flip side. Since I did most of my hiking in moderate wheather, I really do wonder how packing so sparsely would work in colder and wetter conditions. Also regarding the switch from bulky hiking boots to running shoes, I recommend taking Ray's advice and building balance, ankle stength and reducing packweight before throwing any boots away.
Finally, it must be emphasized that this book totally goes against the status quo. Be ready before you start reading it. It turns the culture of hiking completely on its head. Yet this book also presents some dramatically innovative and thought provoking ideas. For walkers that are open to trying something new and also for those that would like to think more about the philosophy behind spending time outside, this book is a must read.
The reason this book is rated 4 out of 5 despite the innovative content is because the author can a get a little carried away into discussion of hiking philosophy that occasionall sounds like "a little too much". This is a liability and detracts from the overall credibility of the book.
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