Synopses & Reviews
Head out lighter, farther, freer--welcome to the world of ultralight
Backpacking has always been one of the best ways to experience nature up close, with much of traditional backpacking based on the idea that the more your campsite feels like home, the happier you'll be. By contrast, ultralight backpacking pares equipment, food, and clothing to the essentials, giving it the undeserved reputation of sacrificing comfort for utility.
However, with recent advancements in equipment manufacture and design--lighter pack frames, sleeker tents and sleeping bags, multipurpose fabrics--you can now be both comfortable and practical. The Ultralight Backpacker is the first book to offer a complete survey of this new generation of gear and show how the ultralight method works for any backpacker or hiker looking for a less stressful trip, whether it's for a night, a weekend, or several months on the trail. By emphasizing self-reliance over gear reliance and by adhering to the maxim "less is more," the ultralight backpacking philosophy is inspiring beginners and converting traditionalists. The Ultralight Backpacker shows you how to combine proper planning and the right attitude to create a less complicated and more rewarding backpacking experience--safely, comfortably, effortlessly.
- Thorough, up-to-date surveys on the newest ultralight equipment, clothing, and footwear
- Tips on modifying gear to make it "ultralight"
- How to develop the "ultralight state of mind"
Developed primarily for long-distance treks, the ultralight method is considered by many traditional backpackers as too austere. Author Ryel Kestenbaum shows that thanks to recent improvements in equipment design and manufacture, as well as in food processing, ultralight backpacking now offers a safe and comfortable alternative to traditional backpacking methods. In The Ultralight Backpacker, he dispels the myths surrounding this rapidly growing trend. Kestenbaum acquaints readers with the ultralight philosophy and shows how backpackers can once and for all do away with heavy packs and move quickly and comfortably on the trail, whether on a day-trip or season-long trek. He also provides the most complete survey available of ultralight equipment, clothing, and footwear, along with tips on how to select the right gear for each readers unique interests, needs, and personality.
The "ultralight" hiker pares equipment, food and clothing to a minimum to go faster and cover more distance. This guide presents a thorough survey of new equipment, clothing and footwear. It also shows how proper planning and the right attitude blend to create a backpacking philosophy.
About the Author
Ryel Kestenbaum (Los Angeles, CA) is a writer and certified ski instructor who caught the ultralight bug years ago. He has logged hundreds of ultralight miles on both the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails, as well as on shorter stretches in Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, and along the Continental Divide Trail.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Ultralight Way
Pillars of the Ultralight Way; Why Ultralight?
The Right Fit, the Right Feel; Lighweight Backpacks; The Ultralight Backpack; Trimming the Fat; How to Pack a Pack
Tents; The Ultralight Tent; Trimming the Fat; Bivy Sacks
3. Sleeping Bags
Down versus Synthetics; The Ultralight Sleeping Bag; Care of Your Bag; Sleeping Pads; Trimming the Fat
The Big Switch; The Naked Foot; Ankle Support; The Ultralight Shoe; Trimming the Fat; Rain and Wetness; Shoe Care; Insoles; Socks
The Layering System; Trimming the Fat
6. The Rest of the Gear
What to Bring; Trimming the Fat; What to Leave at Home
Building Blocks of Ultralight Food; And Now . . . the Food
8. Health and Safety
Animals; Staying Found; Weather; First Aid; Drinking Water; Hygiene; Stretching
Relaxation: The Strongest Muscle; Bones: The Soft Touch; Keeping Pace; Rest Breaks; Trekking Poles
10. The Ultralight State of Mind
The Most Essential Piece of Gear; The Mythology of Gear; From Equipment Reliance to Self-Reliance; Meditation; Wilderness Ethics
11. On the Long-Distance Trail
Training; Logistics and Planning; Mental Adjustments; Training: Month-by-Month
An Ultralighter's Overnight Pack
Manufacturers and Suppliers
World Wide Web Resources
Photo Credits and Trademarks