Oct 18, 2005 at 6:54 pm #1216951
David C. MengesMember
Apparently, Ray & Jenny Jardine are closing their business. Today they stopped “sales and tech” support, and have an estimated two months of gear to sell. This message is on http://www.rayjardine.com; curiously, what appears to be their store front, http://www.ray-way.com, doesn’t mention it.
I’m not posting this as a “Gear Deal” because there is no indication of that. I hope their reason for closing is one of retirement, not a business necessity.
I know some people disliked Ray for whatever reasons, but to me he was way ahead of his time. For instance, a lot of light backpacks I see bear a striking resemblance to his Breeze. In any event, I doubt anyone will ever come close to the variety and depth of his outdoor achievements.Oct 18, 2005 at 7:11 pm #1343124
My guess is it was more trouble than it was worth… and they probably didn’t need the money. Just a guess… I don’t know anything and I’ve never met either of them… although I would like to meet them sometime.Oct 18, 2005 at 9:23 pm #1343128
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Always risky trying to read what’s not there, but that’s a pretty abrupt announcement… doesn’t sound at all like they’ve had a good run and are simply closing for retirement…
But I’m probably wrong — hopefully anyway.Oct 18, 2005 at 11:39 pm #1343136
i think it was probably only aug. or early sept., Ray J was corresponding with me. told me BB is now out of print. he was asking me to note small passages on certain matters in BB that should possibly be changed or left out of a new book on the subject. i thought that there would be a new book which some would find less objectionable in parts. perhaps there still will be. i was surprised when he mentioned this. really liked BB. didn’t mind the parts others found objectionable (even though i didn’t agree on all these points). they added character to the book. i don’t feel comfortable sharing anything else about his possible future plans. nothing was stated definitely anyways. just one possibility was mentioned. however, it was not stated in any of his emails that he would be closing up shop. if true, too bad. it’s a sad day in mudville.Oct 18, 2005 at 11:50 pm #1343138
I sort of saw this coming. Ray is a fascinating guy with all sorts of great ideas (and some bad ones too), but there’s definitely a dark side to him. Even without ever having met Ray, I can tell that he’s more than half nuts. One year calling himself a born-again Christian, the next year denouncing all religion, finding conspiricies to steal his ideas under every rock, raving about how dehydration is the cause of all sorts of health problems, first pushing corn pasta a miracle food, then suddenly going off on a raw-food kick. Lurking behind all this craziness is a pathetic need to impress other people with his achievements, even to the point of exaggerating and denying that anyone else ever had lightwight ideas before Ray came along. I think his recent attempts to turn himself into some sort of guru with these “Connection Camps” probably caused a complete mental breakdown. Basically, I think his ego grew to the point where his head must have exploded. I suspect Jennie is desperately holding down the fort right this minute while Ray is going bonkers in the back room.
Ray pointed out in Beyond Backpacking how malnourishment can have insidious effects on people’s attitudes while hiking long-distance trails. To which I might add, malnourishment can affect thinking even when NOT hiking. Maybe all that raw food and drinking too much water could be part of Ray’s problem. Diet manias and nuttiness notoriously tend to go hand in hand.
Anyway, I find it fascinating that flakes are so attracted to the outdoors, especially extreme aspects of the outdoors, such as mountaineering or ultralight backpacking…
I hope none of the above comments will turn anyone away from Ray’s ideas. As far as I’m concerned, Beyond Backpacking continues to be by far the most important guidebook for ultralight hiking ever written (even though I don’t agree with all the ideas presented therein). If you haven’t read it, by all means do so.Oct 19, 2005 at 9:12 am #1343162
Paul, what part of Beyond Backpacking were offensive? I just finished reading it last week… and I don’t recall ever being offended. I may have grinned and rolled my eyes once or twice… but that’s the extent of it. It’s clear that Ray is speaking with his own voice and not trying to be non-biased… but I take everything for what it’s worth… and Ray’s book was worth a great deal to me. Anyway, I really would be curious to know specifically what parts of the book people were offended by.
And who cares if someone changes their diet or beliefs or whatever? It doesn’t affect me in any way. People change. And who among us is perfect? As long as you’re not hurting anyone or spreading hate, I say, live your life however you wish. Heck… try a new diet and a new religion every month if it makes you happy. It’s unfortunate to see this thread turn into a Ray bashing thread.Oct 19, 2005 at 9:19 am #1343163
@kdesignLocale: Mythical State of Jefferson
I say we should make like the dolphins in Douglas Adams’ classic for all time, “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”—- say “So long and thanks for all the fish”.
“So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you but oh dear?
We may not share your intellect
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the people that
hike around you…” *
* lyrics slightly modified (don’t hit me)Oct 19, 2005 at 9:41 am #1343166
>>”grinned and rolled…eyes”
your words = better description than “offended”. thanks. didn’t know i had chosen to use that word, viz. “offended”. did i really? hmm…then i’m not really sure what i was thinking. (BTW, “offended” has a semantic range associated with it; it has its earliest etymology from a greek word, which means a “stumbling block”, whether a physical object tripped over, or an intellectual point “tripped” over – this is a little closer to my intent; sorry i wasn’t clearer.) hope my post was clear enough that it was understood such was not my impression of his book. i thoroughly enjoyed BB. as i stated, even the parts that i didn’t agree with i didn’t mind – felt that they added character to the book (see my “Reader Review” of BB on this website – very positive). Mr. Jardine understood this when we wrote back and forth. i just remember some weeks back that there was a series of posts where others were not that enthusiastic about BB. as far as what parts – i think the forum main index, the reader reviews, or the forum search areas can pull up the historical Thread, Posts, and Reviews.
i had thought of replying much earlier to Anon myself, but, for my part I would not have done it as well as you did. Good words from you. Glad someone more capable than i did so.
again, sorry to have confused the issue with my poor choice of word. hmm…”offended” – did i really say that? i’ll have to go back and read my first post in this Thread. thanks though for bringing it to light.
went back and read my first post. am i missing it? all i could see is that i said that some others found parts of BB “objectionable”. did you read this, i.e. “offended”, elsewhere in something i posted? my memory is not too good, so maybe i wrote that elsewhere? oh…well. thanks again for your fine post. take care.Oct 19, 2005 at 10:44 am #1343178
If this is true then Ray may have a serious vitamin deficiency.
Anonymous #1 said:
Ray pointed out in Beyond Backpacking how malnourishment can have insidious effects on people’s attitudes while hiking long-distance trails. To which I might add, malnourishment can affect thinking even when NOT hiking.Oct 19, 2005 at 1:36 pm #1343204
what parts of BB were “objectionable”?
I mean, I dont think theres ever been a book ever written that someone didnt read and say “what a load” and throw it away…
But Ive read on many forums that Jardine said things in the book that ENOUGH people found objectionable that its been a topic of note, but I dont recall anyone going into any sort of detail about WHAT it was they didnt like.Oct 19, 2005 at 2:10 pm #1343208
hear you loud and clear. this is exactly what i mentioned more than once to Mr. Jardine. objections were nearly always of a general nature – “quirky”, for instance. it was difficult to find any comments that were specific. i do recall one specific comment someone made that they objected to – “a tarp is warmer than a tent”. i think the kinds of things that he was interested in were passages that contained, for instance, technique gripes (like the tarp vs. tent comment), animistic-like beliefs (“connection” and firecraft – possibly), possibly specious health/medical info – one prev. Anon. poster in this Thread mentioned some he/she/it (sic) found “objectionable”, certain minor errors in human physiology (there is at least one dealing with one minor aspect of the process of digestion i’ve noticed), etc. seemed like he might have been striving to make a great book into a greater book.
look, this comes from some direct statements in the emails and from some logically concluded inferences based upon the context. i don’t like trying to explain what might have been in someone else’s mind. i might think that i know, but can’t be certain without asking. i have no plans to write back to Mr. Jardine and ask him.
i think we’ve pretty much covered it, so i hope that if there are any more posts wondering what “objectionable” meant, that the poster won’t be offended if i do not reply. besides, i don’t have anything different that i can tell you. had i known that this was the tact this was going to take, i would not have mentioned the possibility of a new book. that was really the point of my original post, letting others know that we still might get more from Mr. Jardine – which is a good thing, to my mind. the email exchange between Mr. Jardine and myself was only mentioned in anticipation of the questions: “So, Johnson, how do you know that Mr. Jardine might be planning an update to BB?”, or “Where did you hear that Mr. Jardine might possibly be planning a new book?Oct 19, 2005 at 2:31 pm #1343211
No offense ment. I was just curious because, like I said (and you confirmed) the problems people had with the book seem vague at best, and minor mix ups of facts and philosophy on peripherall (sp?) topics.Oct 19, 2005 at 2:57 pm #1343220
none taken. read nothing negative in your post about RayJ or me.
i just didn’t want to offend anyone by not responding further. plus, i don’t have anything else to say that would add value. i, personally, dislike talking about someone else (a third party) – unless it’s 100% (or near 100%) praise for them. Also, i don’t feel comfortable divulging anything that might have been shared in confidence.Oct 19, 2005 at 3:42 pm #1343225
There are two primary objections to Ray Jardine. First, the attitude which says that “I, Ray Jardine, invented all ideas pertaining lightweight hiking and everyone else stole those ideas from me.” Now that is just not true. Some facts. Ray states in BB that he was involved with Outward Bound in the 60’s/early 70’s and he was surprised they were using plastic tarps. In other words, people were using lightweight tarps BEFORE Jardine’s time, as if we didn’t already know that. “The Wilderness Handbook” is book by Paul Petzoldt, the guy who started NOLS/Outward Bound, published in 1974, which describes a net tent just like the one Ray describes in BB. Petzoldt also describes how tarps are better than tents in most situations. Granted, Petzoldt’s tarp didn’t have beaks, but are beaks really that extraordinary an invention? As someone who has tried beaks, I can assure you they have weak points (flapping like crazy in the wind) as well as stregths. Colin Fletcher was also raving about the superiority of tarps long before Jardine published anything. Fletcher was also talking about ultralight hiking (20 pounds base weight back in the 70’s–remember, that was before silnylon and titanium) which he called “new wave” hiking, way before Jardine was publishing anything. One big difference between Fletcher and Petzoldt versus Jardine is that there is a hell a lot less obnoxious egotism in the first two authors.
No one is denying that Jardine energized the whole lightweight movement (or should I say re-energized, given how the Fletcher example shows that lightweight is NOT a new idea), but he didn’t invent everything, by any means. Anyway, the whole idea of everyone stealing Ray’s ideas (go to Ray’s website for these accusations), is basically absurd. If anyone is a thief, it’s Ray, for “stealing” the Petzold net-tent idea without giving proper credit and for “stealing” the whole tarp idea. And everyone who reads BLT is a thief because we “steal” each other’s ideas.
Second, Jardine can be a really nasty guy at times. Go look at his web site and how he trashes Golite. Not merely does he call them unscrupulous, but he also knocks the quality of the equipment and encourages his groupies to do likewise (“golite junk” is the phrase they like to use), which is simply libelous. The Jardine tarp I used a few years back (before getting tired of it due to the wind flapping problem) was a Golite product, and it was well-made, as was the version 2 of the Breeze pack (as I understand, the version 1 breeze had some weak seams, but Golite offered to repair/replace those defective packs) and the Gust pack, which is what I use now.
The unscrupulous accusation is harder to disprove, but what I understand is that Ray was offered the opportunity to be a partner in the Golite business when it first started, but he turned this down, due to his nutty notions about how the outdoor business is evil, in favor of royalties. Of course, camping gear is a competitive, low-margin business and it is no surprise that the royalties were not that high, but I see no evidence that Golite ever broke their agreement. At least not until Ray started trashing Golite on his website, at which point I can fully understand their refusing to pay any more royalties. Ray has also threatened lawsuits against anyone who makes fun of his corn pasta or other ideas on various web forums. (He’ll probably threaten BLT with a lawsuit if he reads this current posting of mine.)
But like I said in my earlier posting, whatever Ray’s faults, I am hardly going to deny his brilliance. Read Beyond Backpacking if you haven’t already. I can also highly recommend the products at ray-way.com. I haven’t bought them all, but the one’s I did buy were well-thought-out and a very good value for the money.
(And too bad if anyone doesn’t like me posting anonymously.)Oct 19, 2005 at 3:48 pm #1343226
Paul… sorry… I meant objectionable. I just didn’t refer to your post when writing my reply. I had a feeling “offended” was not quite the right word… but I wrote the post in a rush on my lunch break.
FWIW… I can be critical myself. I’m sure we all can/ It’s very easy and tempting to do. I just never feel comfortable being critical or hearing others be critical of a person “behind their back”… that’s all.Oct 19, 2005 at 3:56 pm #1343228
Joe, Paul… my guess is that the main thing that rubbed people the wrong way was not so much specifics (although there may be a few of those) but rather simply the tone. One thing I have noticed about myself for instance is that when watching documentaries, which are meant to be non-biased by definition… I always find myself getting subtly annoyed when I can TELL that the filmmaker has a point of view… when they clearly have a bias… and this is true even if I fully AGREE with the point of view! I think this may be the case with Beyond Backpacking. Then again, I’m not sure I would want to change it. I think Beyond Backpacking SHOULD be biased. And the fact is, anything which represents a radical new way of thinking is bound to rub people the wrong way. That’s what make it radical right? :-) With that in mind, maybe another reason Beyond Backpacking didn’t bother me is because I have NEVER been a traditional backpacker. I started my backpacking life… from day one (2 years ago) as an ultralighter. I did a grand total of ONE traditional trip (40 pound load) and that was it. From that day on I was an ultralighter. So I don’t have years and years of conventional wisdom affecting my way of thinking.Oct 19, 2005 at 4:00 pm #1343229
As far as I’m concerned, in this case, there is no problem being Anon – though i (we?) might prefer that you identified yourself. It’s clear you’re trying to be even handed and are not just out to trash someone. You have your reasons for wanting to remain Anon. I (we?) respect your right to do so. For my part, even if others might disagree with certain aspects of your post, i don’t feel that you need to worry about remaining anonymous. You’ve presented yourself well and that deserves respect.Oct 19, 2005 at 4:02 pm #1343230
not need to say “sorry”. i can relate. i write too fast (too often). sometimes, later on, i read what i wrote, i’m surprised, or occasionally shocked.
pjOct 19, 2005 at 4:03 pm #1343231
Anon: Thanks very much for your last post. It was very informative. I reacted as I did to your first post because it came off sounding more like name-calling than anything else. It’s good to know some of the facts. And I had no idea about Paul Petzoldt’s acheivements and ideas… never even heard of the guy. So thanks again.Oct 19, 2005 at 4:09 pm #1343232
really good point. perhaps you’ve hit the nail on the head. astute observation.
while i don’t share certain animistic beliefs found in BB (RayJ had some then that were similar to some Native American beliefs), i understand them and how they fit into that belief system as a whole, and can appreciate them on that basis (i don’t mind saying this, as i’ve already mentioned this to Mr. Jardine). for me, certain aspects of the book added to its “character”.Oct 19, 2005 at 4:11 pm #1343233
@kdesignLocale: Mythical State of Jefferson
I agree with Mr./Ms./whatever Anon’s general take on Ray J. ( was actually a pretty good assessment of the whole Jardine phenomena)— except for one bloody thing.
It’s bloody bush league to talk about other people without identifying themselves. Especially when talking down people. Down right cowardly, as a matter of fact.
The whole BPL anonymous option has become disgustingly abused—it should be terminated with extreme prejudice. It never really got used as a means for industry insiders to give the scoop on equipment (mis)developments.
If people feel they can’t reveal themselves— give the option for creating avatars.
If anyone (including anonymous) wants to discuss or take me on about this—-we can move to “chaff”.Oct 19, 2005 at 7:05 pm #1343249
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Who cares. He acts like an ultralight prophet and everyone is giving him and others way too much credit. What about Hike your own hike. People do your own thing. Whatever works for you, do it.Oct 19, 2005 at 7:28 pm #1343252
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
I can name a half dozen bb’s that have come up against this anonymous posting problem, Fine Homebuilding’s bb just completely revamped itself password on down, requiring an additional request of the syop to log into their opinion/political section.
We are all charachters, from Ray all the way across the board, complete with foibles and tics. There is a bb for ultra light bicycles called weight weenies but ya know you could make a bike out of cheese but you couldn’t ride it, and that’s the feeling you get nice but sorta useless.
Here everyones making the attempt, everyones using this stuff and I like that.
I believe all anonymous posters with strong opinions can go straight to http://www.howmuchdumba**stuffcanyoucarry.comOct 19, 2005 at 7:40 pm #1343254
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
agreed on the anonymous. especially when others are being treated rude. faceless posts are rather cowardice.Oct 19, 2005 at 8:31 pm #1343256
I think many anonymous posters are paid subscribers using the option soely to avoid having their full name (as verified by a credit card company) appearing directly to the left of the post. For these people, I would suggest making a free account like I have for use when posting on the forums. You can associate it with the handle you use on other backpacking forums so that your on-line personality is still easily identifiable.
If knowing a poster’s full name as it appears on their credit card is a vital aspect of the BPL forums, I would much prefer if only registered BPL forum users could see it, and that it be placed on a separate “profile” page as is done by many other forums. Currently, a Google search on my full name returns all the BPL posts I made with my subscriber account.
Now try typing “Bill Fornshell” cancer into Google. A BPL post is the first hit. If that were my name I would be afraid of future employers using that as a reason not to hire me. (Disclaimer: yes this is illegal, but I don’t think it would be worth fighting in court. Also, I mean no disrespect to Bill. I have learned a lot from your designs, but I just can’t imagine myself giving that level of public disclosure.)
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