Having worked and participated in the camping trade for years, i learned the hard way about backpacking!. Humping a 60-70lb pack around is NO fun. And i started to work at getting the weight down, it took me 10 years to get it right. Once i saw Mr Kestenbaum`s book, i wept! if only this had been around when i first got the idea of lightweight camping i could have saved myself all those years! ( not to mention back aches! )Some of the ideas are a little drastic to say the least I.E. cutting out the labels in jackets etc. But the overall book is very, very good, In particular his reccomendations on rucksacks and shelters are great ( i have always been a fan of the tarp )So to round up, be aware that we live in a much more changeable climate than Mr Kestenbaum, so always pack those extra thermals! and always have your waterproofs! ignore some suggestions like drilling holes in your toothbrush ( just a bit over the top ) and cutting labels out of clothing ( this will invalidate some guarantees in for instace gore-tex clothing )But do take onboard the IDEAS, and you will have some wonderful camping trips going light!.
I got this book as I came to the realisation that I'm carrying far too much kit when I'm on the trail. I thought there might be some good field craft tips in this book and there are, so I'm relatively pleased. However the author is very extreme in his views of what can accompany you on a backpacking trip. I understand the philosophy of "every single gramme (or ounce in this book's case) must ear it's place in your pack" but going to the point of not bringing underwear is a little extreme for me. The book is also a little USA centric, and I think there's an expectation that you will only go backpacking when its guaranteed to be dry. So all in all not a bad book for the money, but nothing revolutionary either.
I am so glad I bought the book. Expect a more thorough review after this summer's exploits, but in terms of helping me to visualise and prepare for a fairly easy few days wild camping in Scotland, I couldnt have asked for a more helpful introduction. I should say that I am not going to the ultralight extremes this guy suggests ie I will be taking a tent (and underwear!) In fact, Im taking a relatively heavy back pack (Berghaus C1 ) but he goes through the preparation and planning in such a simple lighthearted and clear way, I have to encourage anyone considering their first overnight hikes to get it.. I feel much more confident and upbeat after reading it. Happy camping!
This is a good book but unfortunately I am the wrong reader. There are many excellent tips on lightening your hillwalking or backpacking load safely but they are aimed squarely at an American audience. All the equipment and sizes considered are those of the USA rather than Britain or Europe and I would argue that the author is a very experienced backpacker in the USA; some of his advice could result in very serious problems for someone on Dartmoor or the Cairngorms with all four seasons apparent in one day!