View Full Version : Ray Jardine: Beyond Backpacking

2003-02-19, 15:47
From my reviews site:

Seldom do I run into an original thinker who challenges me as much as Ray has with his "all trails" book. I have already had a blast trying some of the iconoclastic ideas Ray found by hard work and experimentation. Many of them are listed elsewhere on these pages.

Like one of the reviewers said: "I laughed all the way through the book." I had a romping good time as Ray bashed many of the silly things I have done in the woods for these many years. It was because of the standard ways of backpacking that I abandoned the idea of walking with my camping gear through the woods more than 20 years ago. Now I have hope again.

What works best for me:

- Fresh approach to finding what works

- Application is to enjoying the wilds, not to the techniques themselves

- Stop worrying about the equipment warranty. Play with the design. You own it.

- Be willing to think through a problem and find and select the right answer. Test it with a back-up around.

What could be improved:

- Ray seems to read several gurus with much less experience than his own. Their advice ends up in the book as Ray's advice. Several health related issues come to mind, including often repeated wild stories about refined food. The book would be 20 percent better if an editor had insisted on their removal.

- Several updates seem appropriate.

-- Use of breathable waterproof socks (Sealskinz® and others) would add a lot to the value of lightweight shoes in wet or snowy conditions. At 2 1/2 oz per foot, they are a way to have dry feet without heavy boots. (And they can be turned inside out on the back of the pack to dry.)

--Use of Permethrin as a mosquito/tick repellent for clothing seems like a good idea that is not discussed.

- I understand the Ray had a number of ultralite projects listed on his web pages until this fall. With a new book coming out, they have been removed. Perhaps the new book will contain the projects. I do believe it would be useful for Ray to comment on new technologies that come out when he feels his experience would be helpful to the community of people who start their search with his book. I would certainly read his advice. (And I will buy the book when it comes out.)

- Use of camping hammock: pros and cons