Rating: 5 / 5
Hi there - I was the illustrator of this book, and worked closely with Don throughout. Here's my take on this tidy little book.
One day, Don called me up on the phone, and told me about his project, and he was very eager to have me do the illustrations. At the time, I was cautious because book projects can be overwhelming and complicated, and they end up NOT being fun. But, Don won me over with his very wonderful optimism and excitement. And, as far as the illustrations, they were mostly very simple. (I also do climbing rescue instructional drawings, and those can be excruciatingly complicated)
At the time I took on the project, I had never done any true light-weight backpacking. I work for an outdoor school, and most of my work involves 30-day mountaineering expeditions with HUGE packs. But, Don was showing me the simple techniques that sort of blew my mind. Everything was new to me, and it was a real eye-opening experience. With very little investment, I purchase a few key items and tried it out on my own. I was shocked at how FUN backpacking could be. It had been drudgery up until my interactions with Don.
Now, just a few years later I have become an outspoken zealot for the cause. I'm known as the "ultra-light" guy in my little town. It's been a delightful transition, and I feel like I've found a new and delightful passion. And it all started with Don Ladigin and his first phone call.
The book is thin (100 pages) and it's purposely sparse. As reviewers have pointed out, it's meant to be a simple introduction to a subject that might seem scary to a newcomer or a "traditional" camper. Don was very clear that he wanted it to be un-intimidating to anyone who picks it up. This web-site is for a very special sub-set of enthusiasts. If you've made it to this review, you would probably benefit more from Ryan Jordan's excellent (and much thicker!) book. But, if you have a friend who, just maybe, would want to try to do something bold. I highly recommend Don's book as a fun and streamline introduction to a new set of skills.
Yup, Highly recommended. It changed my life!