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Ray Jardine's update of Beyond Backpacking now available
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Aaron Granda
(Throckmorton) - MLife
Ray Jardine's update of Beyond Backpacking now available on 12/12/2008 07:36:01 MST Print View

The new book is called Trail Life. I enjoyed Beyond Backpacking so I think I'll give this a read for 25 bucks. Does anyone remember how much people were paying for the old book? I remember seeing it go for over $100.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Ray Jardine's update of Beyond Backpacking on 12/12/2008 08:12:26 MST Print View

$100.00 are you serious? I have the 2000 edition and the $19.95 price tag [REI] is still on the book.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Ray Jardine's update of Beyond Backpacking now available on 12/12/2008 10:11:45 MST Print View

I was following them on eBay for awhile and saw a couple copies go for $75. Given that Don Ladigin, Ryan Jordan (and friends), and others have put out some definitive lightweight backpacking text books for under $25 it doesn't seem necessary to have Ray's book for more than the novelty of it. $0.02.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Ray Jardine's update of Beyond Backpacking now available on 12/12/2008 11:26:19 MST Print View

Maybe they're so pricey because they include many COMPLETELY NEW, patented techniques and items...

The Ray-Walk (TM) (monthly service charge $.10/per mile)
Ray-Fire (TM) (monthy service charge of $4.95)
Ray-Sleep (TM) (extra $29.95 for diagrams)
Ray-Drinking (TM) (monthly service charge $.50/liter)

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Ray Jardine's update of Beyond Backpacking now available on 12/14/2008 17:52:43 MST Print View

Well I must say I'm excited that a new edition is out. I have read Beyond Backpacking, but because of the "out of print status" I do not own a personal copy (checked it out from the library). Ray Jardine truly is a founder in the UL movement. He has been a leader in many techniques we take for granted today...tarp camping, light weight shoes, frameless packs, quilts, etc. I'm sure many of my Golite pieces are the Grandchildren of his original designs.

I must say that my gear and techniques more closely resemble that found in "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping". Still "Ray" offers additional controversial ideas that continue to make me think, such as: No hiking poles, No bivie sacks, no hip belts, no stern straps, hiking with pack on one shoulder only, etc. Some I have learned to use and others I continue to argue against.

During a recent trip to Oregon I was comforted because of Beyond Backpacking. I was solo hiking in 3 sisters wilderness area. I was day 2 into my trip when I lost my hiking staff just off the PCT. I was jumping a stream that I had no business jumping and nearly fell back into it. I thrust my staff in the deep flow pushing my self up, but the quick water pulled the pole from my hand never to be seen again. I began to stress as I thought I needed this staff to hike the remaining 66 miles and it was the only structure I had to erect my small tarp at night....soaked to my knees I thought CRAP! But then I realized Ray Jardine had been on this same trail (PCT) feet from where I stood and he did the entire thing without poles. I knew I would be fine. I got myself back to the trail, unhooked my sternum strap and waist belt and finshed my loop. I have not used either since...but I did buy a new pole:)

Long story to say I appreciate different views and ideas. I bought a copy of TL the day it went into preorder.


Edited by jshortt on 12/14/2008 18:05:57 MST.

none none
. on 12/31/2008 16:12:50 MST Print View


Edited by ultralightly on 05/26/2010 15:11:16 MDT.

Patricia Combee
(Trailfrog) - F

Locale: Northeast/Southeast your call
first $300 takes both on 12/31/2008 17:32:03 MST Print View

I have a paperback of Beyond Backpacking and the PCT Thruhikers Handbook. For me Ray's books helped me to think outside the box of traditional backpacking. I have probably adopted very few of his techniques, maybe tarping, which I love. So, I guess his book helped me start down the road to Ultralite backpacking.

If I can get rich off Ray's books, then why not. I will sell both for $300 including shipping :)
Hey, I gotta finance my summer trips and they are heavy.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: first $300 takes both on 12/31/2008 18:37:25 MST Print View

I've seen "Beyond Backpacking" show up on Ebay every now and then. One "almost like new" copy sold on 8/31/08 for $42 -- and I distinctly remember another two sold for even less afterwards.

Edited by ben2world on 12/31/2008 19:19:34 MST.

David J. Sailer
(davesailer) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Glad to know I don't have to buy a copy... on 12/31/2008 18:51:03 MST Print View

I have heard of copies of "Beyond Backpacking" going for over $400, a few years back. I did see one on eBay at well over $300 (before bidding completed).

I have a copy and still think that it's the best book on lightweight backpacking. I also think that "Lighten Up!" by Ladigan and Clelland is the best value if you already know the ropes. It would blow away "Beyond Backpacking" if it were longer more than a summary.

Jardine explains what works for him and says you have to do it his way or else. He also leaves out huge areas of the subject (food and cooking, for instance). But he's really good at introducing the light backpacking and leading the novice into it.

For example I'd failed at even walking in the park in low shoes, and reading Jardine inspired me to try again, more carefully, following his example. I haven't worn boots for eight years now and have no plans to go back, thanks to him.

I know people who used to know Jardine. Every one of them was expelled from the inner circle for unexplained sins. I'm sure I would have the same fate but I respect what he's done, which is truly awesome. "Beyond Backpacking" is dated in technology and limited to a single perspective but so far it shines with more spirit than any other book on the subject.

-- Dave (

Jim Ford
(jimford) - F - MLife

Locale: DFW
Ray Jardine's update of Beyond Backpacking now available on 12/31/2008 21:50:28 MST Print View

Finished reading my copy of Trail Life, and overall I enjoyed it. I never read Beyond Backpacking, so I can't compare the two, however the new book tends to not be quite so 'Ray Way' as I suspect the older books were. There are some aspects of the book where Ray's opinions are strong, such as the use of umbrellas, or the efforts he makes to remove logos from products.

Trail Life is not so much a book specifically about lightweight backpacking, but rather it's a book about backpacking with a strong lean towards the lightweight philosophy, as it includes sections on various topics (wildlife, ticks, lightning, snow travel, fording creeks, etc.) which have no particular lightweight perspective. Some sections however are more decidedly geared towards lightweight, such as the sections on sleeping quilts and footwear.

For those thinking of making some of their own stuff, the book has a sewing chapter at the back which inludes tips for certain types of projects that could be useful.

Ray shares a number of personal experiences throughout the book, which helps explain his backpacking style transition from traditional to lightweight, and hopefully provides opportunities for us to learn from his mistakes, and not our own.

As for those overpriced copies of Beyond Backpacking, those prices are set by opportunists looking to make a buck. When a book is no longer available via mainstream sources (bookstores,, etc), they hope to find someone who's just got to have a copy of that book, and might be willing to pay that big price. It has nothing to do with the value or quality of the book, or the author. Just wanted to make sure folks don't judge the book (or the author) based on prices set by these opportunists.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
BB v. BPL's text on 01/01/2009 06:45:27 MST Print View

Beyond Backpacking changed the way I saw backpacking in a tremendous way. It introduced me to tarps, quilts and frameless packs that were kept out of my years of wilderness education in Boy Scouts. Soon after I read through it my pack weight went from unmeasured heavy weight to somewhere around 10. His methods are simple and time tested and I consider his book (or Trail Life, if little has changed) a must-read for any up and coming backpacker.

That all said, I have read BPL's text and also consider it a must-read. Where BB was the big chisel taking huge chunks out of the stone, BPL has refined that work that is my packweight and put finishing touches on it. It introduced me to SUL hiking and my never-ending pursuit of the seemingly arbitrary SUL baseweight of 5 lbs.

Read and learn. Knowledge weighs nothing.

John Garberson
(Montana) - F
Jardine's New Book on 03/18/2009 20:22:45 MDT Print View steeply discounted at Amazon right now. Of course it's easy to list things for cheap when they're out of stock but Amazon says you can order now and be charged upon shipping...


Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Jardine's New Book on 03/18/2009 20:32:54 MDT Print View

Support BPL! Skip Amazon!

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Jardine's New Book on 03/18/2009 21:31:53 MDT Print View

I recently finished reading the book. As this was my first hiking book I did find it useful. It has given me many ideas and thoughts on how I can alter my hiking style.

It was a little repetitive I must admit.


Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Re: Re: Jardine's New Book on 03/19/2009 11:28:22 MDT Print View

I've found it fairly useful so far. Not quite to the end of it, since I've been busy reading microbiology, chemistry, and psychology textbooks and can only squeeze a little bit of reading for pleasure in. I feel so far that Trail Life has filled in some gaps for me that lighten up and BPL's books did not fully fill. I learned a lot from the other 2 books and highly recommend them, but Trail Life has smoothed some ideas out and greatly added to my knowledge base.
I was introduced to backpacking through the marines in 2002, but didn't not want to carry the weight during recreational hiking. I feel the book has been fairly useful and getting me to reevaluate some aspects of my hiking and if none other has slightly motivated me to take on some longer hikes with the info contained in Ray's book.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
RJ's Trail Life vs Beyond Backpacking on 03/19/2009 12:32:07 MDT Print View

I own both TL and the older BB (and have read the PCT version that pre-dates BB). I enjoy the new format of TL over the old BB style. The text is 95% identical, though almost all of the dogma has been removed (yeah!). In fact, he nearly complements trekking poles at one point.

And it looks like he might have actually done some proof reading before printing the book, unlike BB which was just riddled with odd phrasing, weird sentence structure and random subject changes mid-chapter.

In short, TL is what BB should have been 10 years ago. It doesn't really contain anything new (not that it needs to). It has just been cleaned up significantly.

Edit: The one thing I did notice while reading TL that I didn't notice while reading BB (probably due to having more trail experience myself) is that many of his ideas and techniques really benefit from...

1) Hiking with a partner
2) He expects folks to be in perfect trail shape before starting on any journey
3) He doesn't appear to have any other life commitments (job, family, income concerns, etc.) outside of his adventuring.

...He never calls out these issues, but he sort of expects the reader to have the same benefits. I wish he made that a bit more clear to the reader.

Edited by tlbj6142 on 03/19/2009 12:41:09 MDT.