Dec 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm #1311042
@wickdwarm_n_dryLocale: Central Ohio
Anyone have a copy that's collecting dust?Dec 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm #2054622
@remjrothLocale: Atlantic Coast
RemDec 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm #2054640
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
To some Ray Jardin was "the man" back in the early days of UL hiking. To give credit where its due he did hike a lot of miles with UL gear he mostly made himself.
Its just that his good ideas are mixed with some questionable ideas. Also (and I don't say this to be ugly) his designs are out of date. His stuff will certainly work but there are better designs for packs, better tarps and better quilts designs out there.
Edit – If you want a good "How to" book "The Ultimate Hiker" by Andrew Skurka is much more useful to a modern UL hiker. Jardin's book is more of a curiosity. He is interesting, seems guys from his generation (which includes my dad)were a lot more incline to make their own stuff.Dec 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm #2054642
@anthonyjhuhnLocale: Mid West
I checked a copy out from my local library….
Just a thought.Dec 15, 2013 at 9:22 pm #2054658
Is a great source. And to all those who were doing the same thing without writing about it since granny, it's a great place to start.Dec 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm #2054661
Yes the designs are out of date a bit, but if you have been paying attention for the last 15 years or so you would realize the basic DNA of a lot of the so called new stuff largely came from Jardine. I always laugh a bit when I see the "new" frameless designs, and I say to myself (a la David Spade – a guy your DAD might have known of) "I liked it better the first time, when it was called the BREEZE…and cost a lot less". There were lots of people who did lightweight before him, but he does deserve credit for a lot of the basic attitudinal DNA of the current gear.
"seems guys from his generation (which includes my dad)were a lot more incline to make their own stuff."
I guess I have officially gotten to the age when I can start bitching about the "stupid younger generation", but this is just ridiculous. Did your dad explain to you that way back in the dark ages, oh say 13 years ago, you HAD to make your own gear most of the time, because UL gear of that type did not exist. One of the first companies that consciously decided to market UL gear was golite (which now has morphed into something else entirely)… was…wait for it … originally created to market Jardine's designs. Besides, making something yourself, now even more than then, is a good way to get out of the conspicuous consumerism and focus on some things that matter.
Jardine's original book was a bit earth-shaking for some of us. As for Skurka book, its a great book, but thanks to Jardine and others, there is nothing in it that was new to most of us by the time it came out. Different category entirely. So the reasons for reading Jardine (I'd personally recommend reading a used 1st edition of Beyond Backpacking) are not entirely related to the "up to date information". People should read it just for the attitude, and then judge how much THAT part of it has changed for the better in the past handful of years since then.
@OP: Try abebooks.com if you want to look for hard to find used books. There are 8 "beyond backpackinging" copies, one for 11 bucks. Still, holy crap, a few are way overpriced! Try searching on there for other versions, if you like.
On second thought, looks like amazon has more and is better..as in everything else. The mere fact I would suggest abebooks.com shows what a fossil I am.Dec 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm #2054668
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"One of the first companies that consciously decided to market UL gear was golite"
It kind of depends on how you define 'UL' gear.
Alpenlight had some really nice lightweight packs back in the 1980's. I remember, because I had three sizes of them from one pound up to two pounds empty weight. I think this was long before Golite got into it. Years later on, Golite was trying to send gear to me to test for them. Another company was Feathered Friends, and I still have the first lightweight down sleeping bag that they made for me.
Back in the 1980's, rather than trying to make something, we simply went without. No real stove. No real shelter. A coated nylon hooded rain jacket that weighed only eight ounces was nice.
Of course, we were young and frenzied.
–B.G.–Dec 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm #2054669
I did say ONE of the companies. But still, a difference (it might be argued) is that in the 80's and 90's a whole industry of UL equipment did not suddenly spring into life as a result of the few pioneering companies out there. I'm sure there are tons of people who could analyze the historical sequence much better than I could. But it did seem like UL gear became a specific named *thing* that had a minor explosion starting right about the time of Jardine's book. And ironically, I'm sure Jardine really HATES that. LOL
In particular it seem to me that Jardine was the first person who emphasized analyzing everything together as a system, and in spite of his crankiness, his phobias, and his crazy ideas about food, THAT is something that was new, or at least the pointing to it obsessively in print seemed new. That part of his "craziness" is now part of the DNA, at least for a lot of people who use this site.
I still have my first breeze, in spite of the fact it looks like it was mauled by a grizzly from all the bushwhacking, and I never use it anymore except maybe to carry lunch for a picnic. So I get the sentiment about old meaningful gear..Dec 15, 2013 at 11:15 pm #2054677
just Justin WhitsonMember
Don't know much about Jardine, but thought his "testing" of cuben on that video was pretty ridiculous, contrived, and very obviously biased. Hard to take someone who acts like that seriously, even if in their hey day they were cutting edge, pioneering, innovative, etc.
But, do respect the miles/experience in general, and the polar trip.
I have some pretty "out there" ideas about food and diet compared to most so would probably be slower or more careful to judge that aspect (but i'm ignorant on what he propounds there).
It's perhaps foolish to overly generalize, but i would venture to say that it's somewhat common for there to be a definite streak of anti social tendencies or nature in more hardcore backpackers as a general trend, so the personal aspects of what i've heard of his personality don't particularly surprise me. When you have good chunks of yourself that basically and essentially dislike your fellow humans, you don't tend to treat them all that well–no shock there.Dec 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm #2054679
"To some Ray Jardin was "the man" back in the early days of UL hiking."
Some of us were doing this in the 70's, 20 years before Ray figured out his kit was too heavy, and some probably earlier. There were frameless packs back then, most of us used tarps and other really light gear.
You Gen Y's and Gen X's have a lot to learn from us baby boomers :)Dec 16, 2013 at 12:09 am #2054688
Oh Nick! If only you'd written a book way back then! Think of all the sore feet and aching backs that would have prevented!Dec 16, 2013 at 3:26 am #2054693
@wickdwarm_n_dryLocale: Central Ohio
Woke up and thought I had a bunch of book offers.Dec 17, 2013 at 11:05 am #2055203
> "Oh Nick! If only you'd written a book way back then! Think of all the sore feet and aching backs that would have prevented!"
No need for Nick to have written a book back in the day to save all those "sore feet and aching backs" … There were several sources available, here is a particular one that has a BPL thread on it ("Hiking Light" by Marlyn Doan, Mountaineers 1982)
… and multiple magazine articles (most with a climbing / XC skiing focus) – but several with a backpacking focus – the foremost being:
(check out the piece on the "Superlight Challenge"
Several companies to source the equipment too: Warmlite, Litepac, AlpenLITE (= Superlight series), Down Home, Sierra West, etc.
In terms of general acceptance, it comes down to the old adage: "You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink" ;-)
FWIW, my avatar shows a promotional picture of the 1982 AlpenLITE Superlight pack (2600 cu.in. 24 oz, suggested carry weight between 15-30 lbs). The pack was make from their "Weatherlite" nylon and had their "Technolite" laminate internal frame … I still have mine in the garage.
Tim: Sorry about this further contribution to thread drift …Dec 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm #2055258
"Oh Nick! If only you'd written a book way back then! Think of all the sore feet and aching backs that would have prevented!"
Well, no book is really needed. It comes with experience. Just go out and hike, and hike often. Analyze your gear and par down on your own.
Don't even need to come here on BPL and ask questions. With a little time you can figure everything out by yourself. Much more enjoyable than building a kit from suggestions for stuff that may not work out for you. Also gives you a sense of accomplishment.
With time, you will find that most gear reviews suck too.
If you really want a book, get one of Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker editions. There is enough good stuff for a hiker to figure what they need and don't need – there are enough hints at what to do to go really light. Don't take everything Fletcher says for granted – use your brain.
If you take something for 5 or 10 trips and never use it, get rid of it – band-aids and antiseptic excluded.
The less stuff you bring, the less that separates you from the wilderness. "Comfort" items especially; learn to live with what is out there in the wilderness. When I look at gear lists, which nowadays I find completely boring, I see people packing a bunch of crap they don't need.
For further thoughts, you may want to read The 4 (not 10) Essentials.Dec 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm #2055299
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
If "back in the day" was 1982 I am really old……I am suprised no one has rediscovered the plastic tube tent. Cheap, light, truly waterproof, and easy to use. Perhaps one made from cuben and $300 would reignite the interest. I feel a kickstarter project coming on….Dec 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm #2055312
Tube tents were around long before them. If you have ever used one, I hope you came to the same conclusion as me — they were horrible.Dec 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm #2055324
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Tube tents are good for one thing: if you have to demonstrate the concept of condensation to beginners.
–B.G.–Dec 17, 2013 at 8:59 pm #2055409
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
Tube tents were pretty bad between condensation and no way to keep the bugs out. I am embarrassed to say I still had many nights in one. It wasn't until it received a fatal blow from a falling limb that I was liberated. Rigging it up as tarp for the rest of the trip was a Godsend.Dec 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm #2055423
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
>"demonstrate the concept of condensation to beginners."
+1Dec 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm #2055442
Whoops! I felt bad when Tim came back and found drift instead. Now after you all have run off to the horizon like wild horses I feel awful for him! Sorry Tim. Better luck next time. LOL
(and with apologies out of the way…the hijacking continues)
To the people who keep going on about the very spare precedent publications about "UL" backpacking, yes they are there, and yes I already knew about most of them (even without just regurgitating things I heard on BPL) for a long time, an no they had nearly zilch effect on the mindset at large. Totally besides the point IMHO.
My only point was that something actually seemed to *happen* (an actual trend or collective movement of some kind) as a result after Jardine's book. Maybe is was the backpacking weltanschauung right at the same time, and Jardine was an effect and not the cause at all. Seems very likely. Maybe there was a sizable UL movement before that and I just missed it. it could happen.
But I never said Jardine's book was a classic. For the record though I did find its mindset a revelation for me at the time, and though I think it is worth it for people even now to read it, I think it also contains a lot of craziness and crankiness. It was written by a person, unlike Colin Fletcher, that doesn't seem to have a introspective bone in his body. People who write screeds on the state of society, consumerism, corporations (not to mention what people eat), without turning that same analytic fervor on themselves now and then, at least a little, and with no sense of balance or self-doubt, let alone occasional self-deprecation, really can be irritating.
I agree with Nick that if you are only going to read one book The Complete Walker (up to III at least), and probably no other book about the very specialized, isolated and insignificant hobby/cult that is backpacking that could be called a "Classic", largely due to Fletcher's many fine qualities as an writer, and not having anything to do with gear recommendations, which even when up to date are a pretty lame reason to read a book.
And something also *happened* when that book came out.
I'm not really impressed to hear examples of UL gear people used decades ago, most of which I already knew about. At least not as an example of how "these kids today no nothing". Do you really think that is the point? As an "old timer" myself I get annoyed when I hear a young whippersnapper talk about a Beatles or Dylan cover they think was an original, but I don't go off about it – I already seem old, cranky and irrelevant enough to the younger generation without that!Dec 17, 2013 at 10:54 pm #2055447
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
For decades, I knew Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker was a classic and had a significant effect in publicizing and popularizing backpacking to the masses beyond the cadres within the Sierra Club, AMC, etc. but I hadn't read it. When I did recently (I read two different editions), I was impressed by how advanced his strategies were in each edition – he was ahead of the curve on many UL techniques, weighing and measuring everything before selecting gear, and field-testing the bajebbers out of everything. With the kind of miles he did, he had to find efficiencies where he could.
There was, for me, a nostalgic aspect of reading reviews of 20- and 40-year-old gear (packs, stoves, etc) that I grew up with and later upgraded too. And, even with hindsight, I'd agree with almost all of his recommendations of specific makes and models.
Of more general interest and a classic by anyone's definition is his "The Man who Walked through Time" – the story of his 6-month trip, the first ever documented, of the entire length of the Grand Canyon.Dec 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm #2055455
All his books are great. Especially the one you mentioned, and his last book "River" where he is very conscious that this might be his last big adventure (turns out it was), and the river becomes a palpable metaphor.
He was very good with both the big and small things. In particular I recall him simply describing in detail what he did when backpacking in a whopping big rain storm, from what was going through his head, and the sequence of step he went through setting up hi tarp, and slowly getting out his core gear and checking things and putting on layers, and making something warm to drink. Somehow he made it riveting. Possibly the little details that drew you in, like how cold and worried he was when he first started and the sensations, both physical and emotional, when he finally knew he was over the hump and was starting to get warmer. It sounds like it should be the most boring thing in the world, but he somehow made it engrossing in a way I'm pretty sure even people not directly interested in backpacking would respond to.
As for the gear, I read III in I guess about 1999 or something, and I remember looking all over the place for "visclamps" to make a DIY tarp, only later discovering that they pretty much had disappeared long before.Dec 17, 2013 at 11:47 pm #2055460
I feel sorry for the OP, in a sense, but perhaps the drift will open some exploration — I hope so.
Mark, I have 8 of these left. At one time they were easy to find. Haven't seen them in decades.Dec 18, 2013 at 1:09 am #2055466
IMO, Jardine's book (Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook, 2nd edition) managed to have broader impact because …
1.) he wisely marketed to a specific, dedicated small group of early adopters: PCT thru-hikers. He had creditability with them because he was a thru-hiker himself with multiple thru-hikes.
2.) in 1999 Golite made his designs available to the general backpacking masses (who couldn't or wouldn't sew) and was able to astutely market its benefits to them.
3.) in 1999 ADZPCTKO was started and provided a forum for the sharing of thru-hiker knowledge from those early adopters.
4.) in 1999, Jardine published Beyond Backpacking which broaden the application & marketing of UL to the more general backpacking masses … the book was also marketed & sold by Golite.
Here's a bit of trivia: In 1992 1st edition Jardine's base weight was 18 1/2 lbs. It his 1994 PCT thru-hike, later documented in his 1995 2nd edition where his base weight was substantially reduced.
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