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WTB: Ray Jardine's "Trail Life" book
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Tim Gadd
(WickdWarm_n_Dry) - F

Locale: Central Ohio
WTB: Ray Jardine's "Trail Life" book on 12/15/2013 16:24:25 MST Print View

Anyone have a copy that's collecting dust?

Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
If someone has two on 12/15/2013 19:29:34 MST Print View



Edited by remjroth on 12/16/2013 07:05:58 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Ray Jardin on 12/15/2013 20:44:01 MST Print View

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 Also (and I don't say this to be ugly) his designs are out of date.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.

Edited by Cameron on 12/15/2013 22:11:15 MST.

Anthony Huhn
(anthonyjhuhn) - F - MLife

Locale: Mid West
Check the library on 12/15/2013 21:10:43 MST Print View

I checked a copy out from my local library....
Just a thought.

Matthew Black
Library on 12/15/2013 22:22:55 MST Print View

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.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Ray Jardin on 12/15/2013 22:35:40 MST Print View

Yes the designs are out of date a bit, but if you have been paying attention for the last 15 years or so you would realize the basic DNA of a lot of the so called new stuff largely came from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 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 in everything else. The mere fact I would suggest shows what a fossil I am.

Edited by millonas on 12/15/2013 23:02:05 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Ray Jardin on 12/15/2013 23:17:11 MST Print View

"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.


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Ray Jardin on 12/15/2013 23:29:46 MST Print View

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..

Edited by millonas on 12/15/2013 23:51:38 MST.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ray Jardin on 12/16/2013 00:15:52 MST Print View

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.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 12/16/2013 00:16:53 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ray Jardin on 12/16/2013 00:23:05 MST Print View

"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 :)

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Ray Jardin on 12/16/2013 01:09:05 MST Print View

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!

Tim Gadd
(WickdWarm_n_Dry) - F

Locale: Central Ohio
Damn! on 12/16/2013 04:26:17 MST Print View

Woke up and thought I had a bunch of book offers.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
RE: RE: RE; Ray Jardine on 12/17/2013 12:05:21 MST Print View

> "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 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 ...

Edited by tr-browsing on 12/18/2013 01:03:57 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Ray Jardin on 12/17/2013 14:14:04 MST Print View

"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.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Early UL on 12/17/2013 16:07:52 MST Print View

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....

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Early UL on 12/17/2013 16:33:10 MST Print View

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.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Early UL on 12/17/2013 17:05:14 MST Print View

Tube tents are good for one thing: if you have to demonstrate the concept of condensation to beginners.


John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Early UL on 12/17/2013 21:59:35 MST Print View

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.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Early UL on 12/17/2013 22:26:58 MST Print View

>"demonstrate the concept of condensation to beginners."


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Drift on 12/17/2013 23:26:10 MST Print View

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!

Edited by millonas on 12/17/2013 23:41:55 MST.