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

4.2 out of 5 stars 79 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 (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
Jardine is a VERY experienced hiker, backpacker, and climber; he's done it all, many times. In this book he basically says, "here's how I do it, you may want to do that too."
A word of caution before you approach this book: it is not for novices or people approaching hiking/ backpacking with initial enthusiasm and expecting an uplifting and nicely illustrated book. Jardine's tone is often critical of established hiking practices. Some of his own suggestions will seem extreme or absurd to a novice. You need to have gone to a few overnight hikes before you can start to understand, let alone agree with, Jardine.
Tried and true strategies from an experienced expert. As an experienced hiker, I agree with Jardine in most of the book, even if I do not practice similarly. The most useful advice is on ruthlessly cutting down the weight of your pack and gear. Also very useful are his insights on "stealth" camping, water purification, trail food, footwear, dealing with bears and bugs, etc. He even covers the use of ice axes! The book is a relatively large compendium of thought provoking ideas.
You must know where Jardine's coming from in this book: 100-day long continuous hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail and other mega-hikes. This type of outdoor activity does not appeal to me, and I bet most of us won't be doing it either (got time to take a 100-day vacation? wanna spend it all in the woods?). Here are a couple of examples of how the mega-hike mentality skews the usefulness of the advice in this book. Jardine pushes for cutting down on pack weight. However, he mentions how he lugs along many gallons of watter on long and dry trail stretches, and as we all know, water is about the heaviest bulk in your pack.
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