Feb 18, 2013 at 9:13 am #1299422
I don't take everything Ray Jardine says as gospel…and I understand how he comes across as offensive to some….however, some of his stuff, in my humble opinion, is pure gold. The following is sure to offend some… but I thoroughly enjoyed it: http://www.rayjardine.com/papers/cannonballs/index.htmFeb 18, 2013 at 9:40 am #1955596
could have been half as long.Feb 18, 2013 at 10:23 am #1955606
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
There is one odd line in there
"I could have used big, heavy boots, seven pound backpacks, trekking poles, or some other new-fangled implement."
Is Jardine anti trekking pole? That seems odd as they are one of the few extras that are almost universily accepted here as a good way to spend weight.
As for the whole article I disagree with his metaphor as boots, seven pound backpacks etc can enhance the experience. Skurkas approach of the ultimate hiker ultimate camper spectrum is a far more nuanced way than then JardineFeb 18, 2013 at 10:49 am #1955617
@azajacLocale: South West
I own and have read one of Ray Jardine's books. If I recall correctly he did seem pretty anti-trekking pole. He also seems to like his umbrellas so that may have something to do with it. My bet though is that he believes it to impede the natural walking motion. I am pretty sure that is also the reason he doesn't like hip belts.Feb 18, 2013 at 11:05 am #1955620
Jardine deserves credit for the public exposure that his books provided for UL. A lot of what he advocates is pure gold.
However I was put off by the cult of personality surrounding the guy and the fact that with Ray, it is "The Ray-way or the highway"Feb 18, 2013 at 11:08 am #1955622
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Jardine has more than a little of the proselytizer in him and, if preaching to unenlightened masses carrying massive weight, that may be quite appropriate.
Personally, I have long agreed with him on trekking poles, but I'll allow that others with weaker knees or a different walking style or perhaps just better upper body strength might like to hike with them. I don't and I'm sure I could not do as many miles in a day if I had them along. But HYOH.
I hadn't taken the umbrella plunge until 2 years ago and I like them now for some climates. I'd noted that, like people at 13,000 feet in Tevas, some of the most experienced hikers were the ones with umbrellas (goofy though they look). That, plus Jardine's proselytizing, lead me to ordering a chrome dome and I've happily used it when in intense sun at 9,000 feet or in the desert southwest.
And while he takes aim at the low-hanging fruit of heavy boots, 7-pound backpacks, and trekking poles, when I read it, I was thinking of things I still sometimes bring – a 2.5-3" bladed knife, a stove, a water filter – as things that maybe I could go without entirely or greatly scale back in weight.
50 pages of ads in each month's Outside magazine push the opposite – buy, buy, buy!, so I appreciate that one old guy with thousands of thru-hiking miles under his belt is giving an alternative message.Feb 18, 2013 at 11:33 am #1955635
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
I don't know Ray, the man, or the cult around him – but I've read his book "Beyond Backpacking"– and found it quite gentle, actually. Very good read.Feb 18, 2013 at 11:51 am #1955638
regarding: buy, buy, buy!
Can't say that I've ever detected a lack of "buy, buy, buy" in these forums;-)
Note that I'm looking in a mirror so as to include myself in that indictment.
I read Jardine's PCT Handbook. It was a great education and affirmation that I might not die if I tried UL. Even went so far as trying corn pasta! (it did not float my boat).
But eventually it became time to move Beyond Jardine to what better suited my hike.Feb 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm #1955654
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Is Jardine anti trekking pole? That seems odd as they are one of the few extras that
> are almost universily accepted here as a good way to spend weight.
Well, that has to be one of the more unlikely statements I have met. MANY of us see them as little more than triumphs of marketing spin over common sense.
To be sure, they have a definite use on snow, and are helpful to a few with knee problems going downhill. But I see so many people wandering along a track even, with their poles clutched in their hands. Utterly useless in the bush (scrub) of course. Just extra needless weight and inconvenience.
CheersFeb 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm #1955659
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Each to his or her own — trekking poles included.
I find the poles absolutely annoying and unhelpful when going uphill — but great for steadying when going downhill. So on those up and down stretches, you may see me carrying them while hiking up.Feb 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm #1955668
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I find trekking poles a little useful crossing streams
I bet that if I was attacked by an animal they would be very useful, but I don't have any actual experience
One trekking pole isn't as bad as two – two get all tangled up with each other, and occupy both hands. With one pole, the other hand can balance on rocks or hold camera.Feb 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm #1955670
I always used to use trekking poles. Now I only take them when the trip dictates: snow and very uneven terrain. If the trails are mostly flat, I don't need them.
As far as occupying both hands– I use the wrist straps on my poles. At a moment's notice, I can drop my poles to use my hands to do whatever it is I need to do. Then I can resume using them without missing a step.Feb 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm #1955717
– -K.T.- –Participant
Like Jardine isn't biased. But he sure thinks everyone else is.Feb 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm #1955727
@harry-nLocale: Western US
I remember the PCT Handbook (precursor to Beyond Backpacking) when it first came out — with my 7000+ cubic inch pack from the 1990's. Jardine started people questioning why the need for mountaineering assault packs and tents for regular old summer camping, then lit into the gear makers for marketeering it. Of course now the gear makers are going lighter as returns will allow.
In terms of trekking poles, probably excess but many like them on downhills or just to pace. Then there's the ancient art of pole-fu on charging grizzlies …
(ed: precursor)Feb 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm #1955732
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Then there's the ancient art of pole-fu on charging grizzlies …"
And if you're adept with chopsticks, you can use your poles to pick giant deer flies out of thin air.Feb 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm #1955734
Long distance hikers have always known it was important to be light.
Or they quickly learned. The early Appalachian Trail thru-hikers were clearly so. Conventional gear of the day was too heavy to lug. Including tents, sleeping bags, etc. Earl Schaffer only kept his army tent a very short while before getting rid of it and sleeping under his poncho.
Weekend warriors were, and still are the primary ones needing convincing.
Jardine is no doubt a very smart , capable, and outspoken man, as his track record shows.
IMO, he happened upon the scene at the right time to make a name for himself when he began preaching counter to the mainstream media-driven outdoor culture. This culture was driven by the cheap availability of chinese made goods.
Trekking poles are useful. Uphill, and downhill. They allow you to hike faster, with less chance of falling and injury. On flat ground, put them in your pack or you feel stupid. Absolute necessity for safe deep stream crossings in flowing water too.Feb 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm #1955736
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Jardine was a Johnny-come-lately.
Some of us were doing this stuff and writing it up before he entered the scene with his corn pasta.
–B.G.–Feb 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm #1955748
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"Jardine was a Johnny-come-lately.
Some of us were doing this stuff and writing it up before he entered the scene with his corn pasta."
Let us not lose sight of the fact that he earns a living selling his books and gear. He is constantly "building his brand."
Bob G is right.
Many were doing this stuff decades before the PCT Handbook was published — and our gear was more functional than what he used on his first PCT — and we didn't have books, magazines, or the Internet to teach us. Plain old common sense.Feb 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm #1955753
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
In the classic two volume set Rodale set of AT books, one of the early thru-hikers had a 16 base pack weight with a white gas stove, a knife and other "heavy" gear. This was about 1965.
Going even further back, I have open in front of me a 1939 account from the Maine AT Club about their 12 lb challenge. Namely a 12 lb BPW for a 12 day backpack.
Not too much is new under the sun.Feb 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm #1955794
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
>"Some of us were doing this stuff and writing it up before he entered the scene with his corn pasta."
I was doing this 30 years ago. Not as light and not with as much support and advice, but my base weight was a third the norm.
But I wasn't writing it up. Just sharing with friends and customers. So I give credit to Jardine not as the first (heck, Muir would climb El Cap with some hard tack and railroad spikes in a knapsack), but as one of several recent popularizers. I benefit from there being an UL market – lightweight stoves, tarp, etc, are things that I'd rather buy than make so I appreciate the rest of you supporting the cottage industry and not-so-cottage industry offerings.Feb 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm #1955796
"On flat ground, put them in your pack or you feel stupid. "
I don't. I like swinging them, parallel to the ground, in cadence with my step.Feb 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm #1955812
Trekking poles … On flat ground, put them in your pack or you feel stupid.
Me? I'm too stupid to feel stupid, he-he. I appreciate the extra propulsion on flats as well as up hills and the brakes on downhills. Sometimes I'll carry them for a while in one hand for variety but I don't take off my pack unless I'm taking a long break.
I'll grant Roger C his assertion that they are a negative in scrub (which I'm assuming is Aussie for off-trail hiking through nasty vegetation).
I resisted using poles for several years but then decided to prove they weren't needed. Encountered someone on day two of a trip who asked how I liked the poles … I said the jury was still out. The next three days the trail became a steep roller coaster ride … the jury returned a verdict! Later that year I left them at home on a weekend where we ended up walking on steep trails covered with wet leaves. Having two more points of contact would have made for quicker more "secure" descents.Feb 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm #1955815
Yeah, I think trekking poles, despite some people's dislike of them, are just like anything else. Their usefullness and practicality really depend on the person and their walking technique. Some people are very adept at using them to great advantage on any terrain, and other get along perfectly fine without them.Feb 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm #1955817
@maynard76Locale: New England
Sorry I see a lot historical revisionism here. Jardine didn't invent the idea but his books popularized the idea and laid out the arguments for it far better than any other book before then. Hard to convince me that this site would exist without the influence of those books nor the cottage industry that serves the UL movement his books initiated. I bet all the people who post old gear lists as proof that there was an UL movement before him were carrying heavy gear in the 80s and most of the nineties like every one else.Feb 18, 2013 at 8:11 pm #1955832
It is unfair to disparage those who state they were using the same idea in the 70's and 80's but the fact remains that Ray Jardine's writings popularized and galvanized UL thinking and allowed it to reach an audience which quite simply didn't exist in any numbers prior to the internet.
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