Rating: 4 / 5
Just finished reading this book. As a long time hiker (as far as age, it's downhill to 100 for me), but a relatively recent UL-er, I found this book both informative and a fun/easy/stimulating/inspiring read. Now that I've finished reading it. I'm going to read it again .
First, as to the author. Does he really require any introduction? Anyone, even remotely familiar with the UL movement/philosophy has heard of Ray Jardine. I think of him as the grandfather of the UL movement. At least as far as many/most UL-ers are concerned, it was Mr. Jardine that started it all (or at the very least popularized UL trekking, bringing it to the masses). His contributions to this field are seemingly endless.
The author has a veritable treasure trove of first-hand experience. All of which he draws upon to communicate the truths and UL techniques contained in his book. It contains a lot of great info. Mr. Jardine breaks the stereotypical mold of "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Mr. Jardine can both do (as he has amply proven) and he can teach (as he proves with this book).
This book contains information that is indispensable to anyone wanting to learn UL trekking techniques and philosophy. Other books may have similar info, but perhaps this book had it first. The author communicates all of his points clearly and concisely; often inspiring the reader with his own and others' experiences, and occasionally humorously. It was a fun book to read, beside being overwhelmingly informative.
This would be the second book I would give to someone thinking about going UL. The first would be the BPL Primer on this same subject. Why? The "Primer" is much shorter and would serve as a nice introduction to Mr. Jardine's much longer, more comprehensive book. Though, having said this, there is no reason why this book cannot stand alone without the BPL Primer. It is just my personal opinion.
I only give it a 4 out of 5 (would be higher, but no decimal scores are permitted) due to some minor misinformation on certain points outside of the author's area of expertise. For the most part, these areas are probably readily identified by most readers. Also, for some readers, the injection of the author's personal philosophical (religious???) belief system may be objectionable. Don't get me wrong. The author is very gentle, not "preachy", IMHO, when he mentions his beliefs (in certain respects it is similar to Daoism aka Taoism (older english spelling) and some animist beliefs of Native Americans and other more "primitive" tribal cultures). It is clear that Mr. Jardine wants others to enjoy the outdoors as much as he does and to both establish and derive a mutually beneficial "connection" (Mr. Jardine's term) with the backcountry environment. His comments, in this area, are clearly percieved as not intended to criticize anyone, but rather to encourage all. While, this reviewer may not agree with Mr. Jardine on all points, the tone he takes in his writing is, IMHO, not nearly so intolerant as I had been led to believe by reading others' comments before actually reading this book. So, I don't think anyone should have a problem when reading these portions/comments - even if they don't agree with Mr. Jardine on these matters.
Too often, when the author and his book are referred to, the less than 1% of its content that might be questionable is focused on, while the 99+% of the content which is excellent is ignored. This is majoring in the minors.
In a sense, and rightly so, THIS BOOK IS THE STANDARD by which all others are and will be judged.
I can't think of any reason why everyone interested in UL backpacking should not read this book. It's priced right, and Mr. Jardine ships it out post-haste after placing an order.
I'm ending this review now, so that I can start reading "Beyond Backpacking" again.