View Full Version : Jardine, what a wacky man....
I just finished reading "Beyond Backpacking" for the 2nd time. The first time was a week before my 1st trip ever, so it didn't really sink in. Now that I have several trips under my belt the 2nd reading made a bit more sense. Though I do have a few questions...
In his Foot Care chapter he goes on and on about Athlete's foot and it prevention (applying cream once, or twice a day, everyday, etc). This is the first time I have ever heard (read) it mention in regards to hiking. Have any of you run into these issues?
For an UL guy, I don't quite understand why he has a shell, WB rain gear and an umbrella. However, later in his gear lists, he seems to drop the rain gear. Maybe it depends on the conditions?
If there is one theme in this book it is that sweat is bad. He seems to go out of his way to mention (too often) that you MUST avoid sweat. Weird?!?! I guess in the winter it should be avoided as it does make rest stops and camp a bit more unconfortable. Thoughts?
There is a small paragraph (can't find it right now) in which he states to never put milk into a plastic container as it will leech into the pours and "ruin" the bottle forever. On my last trip I "discovered" powered milk and loved it. Has anyone else run into issue with milk ruining thier containers?
Why does he dis PipZips so much? Sure they add a bit of weight, but they vent quite a bit of body heat while still keeping you protected from the rain. I think this is one of his "I didn't think of this great idea, so it sucks" issues. I understand the whole heat rises, issue. Whatever?!?!
I really like his idea of dividing the day into 3rds to help you see how "easy" it is to do miles. And the whole idea of hiking for a few hours after dinner. I need to do this on my next trip. I hate sitting around camp. But I can't make it 'till 8pm without dinner and a longer rest.
My favorite "I'm a god and can do no wrong" quote in the book (On the subject of Blackflies, pg 373)...
One evening I crawled into the tent, removed my shell pants and found hundreds of bloody welts on both legs. From then on, I was a good deal more careful about keeping my pant legs tucked in. And interestingly, the welts healed quickly and never bothered me, mainly because I did not scratch them.What self-control. What will-power. How can he do that?!!?
[/list=1]Other than these few issues. It is a good read. If you take what he says with a grain of salt. I'm really looking forward to making a few pieces of gear myself (stuff sacks [his style], quilt??, shell!!).
A cardinal rule of winter hiking is "Thou shalt not sweat". Of course, when the temperature is 10 degrees, it's easy to avoid sweating by taking off layers. If you do sweat, you have to peel off your bottom layer when you stop and replace it with something dry, which can be an unpleasant proposition. At 80 or 90 degrees it's a different story. You can't avoid sweating. Dry camp clothes are still the ticket, but changing into them isn't much of an issue.
Ultralight hiking is hiking on the ragged edge of safety. Because of self-imposed weight restrictions you have no spare clothing and minimum safe shelter in your pack. If you get soaked with sweat or precipitation and temperatures dip, you are just a long stop away from hypothermia. So staying dry is a serious safety measure.
Personally that is not really an option for me. Regardless of my conditioning, I sweat like crazy. In the winter, I could hike in shorts and a t-shirt, be freezing to death and still be sweating like crazy.
The fact of the matter is that sweating is a method of getting rid of waste heat. You can be freezing cold at your body surface and still be generating enough heat in your body core to require you to sweat to get rid of it.
A lot of Jardine's advice is pretty limited in applicability and the man himself is more than a little eccentric.
The condition of your feet is important. A bad case of athletes foot will sideline you until you get it under control.
In my opinion, the Ray Way is best left to folks with a lot of experience and the knowledge to make smart decisions when conditions get dicey.
I'm always looking to strip weight from my pack.
Own Ray's book, and have the same like/hate opinions.
One of my big beefs is his physics on hiking poles where he confuses stress with work. He's supposedly a former-engineer, maybe this is why he is a former engineer (lol)!
Nevertheless, he has hiked all 3 major US long distance trails (multiple times on the PCT), so he does have some experience behind his opinions!
Regarding the foot care.
I'm aware that Athlete's foot can get quite bad, but he makes it seem like if you miss one treatment you might as well lop off your foot.
I just found it odd that I have never seen anyone ever mention Athlete's foot as an issue to "look out for" while long distance hiking. Is it a bigger issue "out west"?
I'd still like to know if anyone has had any issues with milk ruining their bottles?
You are dead on with regards to the hiking pole physics. They just don't make since. I think, again, this is one of those "Big bad industry is shoving treking poles down our throats and I don't like them, so I'll make up something to discredit them", sort of things.
He does this a few times in the book whenever he starts talking about magazine advertisements. Who actually looks at an ad and "believes" you can do exactly what the ad states if you wear/use the gear? He must think we are all idiots.
Originally posted by icemanat95
The fact of the matter is that sweating is a method of getting rid of waste heat.I seriously think some people are just wired to sweat. On my last trip I drank 5 qts of water on a very long 12 hour day. I had to go to the bathroom once (light yellow). But I was sweating hard all day.
My brother drank the same amount, had to go what seemed like every 5 minutes and barely broke a sweat.
I also sweat bulletts!! No matter what time of the year. I think this is the main reasons I get muscle cramps often,I just cant keep enuff electrolytes(sp) ,sodium and potasium in my system .This brings up another issue about sweating and I wonder if this happens to alot of other people. On colder nights if my sleeping bag is not quite up to the job my body tries to deal with the problem by burning more energy to produce more body heat,so after awhile Ill heat up enuff that I start sweating.So in order to stop the sweating at night I have to add another layer so that my body is insulated and doesnt need to produce more heat to stay warm. Is this just another one of my quirks?? Or does it happen often?? Streamweaver
I have the same problems with sweating, especially my feet. My companions never seem to have to change their socks, but on days in the 50's I'll have to wring out my SmartWools (literally wring out a third of a cup of sweat -- ugh!) every four hours or so. Slowing down my pace helps a little bit, but my socks still get soaked in the end, so I just hike at my pace (~2.3 to 3.1 mph depending on terrain) and live with it. Nothing seems to help -- synthetic socks, foot powder, anti-perspirant, etc., so I've gotten used to perenially damp socks.
I think I have experienced the same problem. On my last trip I would feel all sweaty almost as soon as I got into bed. Even in my silk sheets.
Though I don't think I was too cold. I assumed, it was just all of the salt/oil on my skin from the day's hiking. On my next trip, I plan to make some sort of attempt at rising off before I go to bed.
I agree that Ray Jardine has a tendency to dismiss any opinion but his own. I laugh at the "RayWay" slogans pasted all over his website, since I think the man has enough self-righteousness already, even without all the hero worship. In Beyond Backpacking, he shows how badly he could have used an objective, critical editor rather than just a buddy to go through and check his spelling. His arguments against tents are especially annoying, since he sets up the tent as the “straw man”. In his eagerness to show the reader how much he prefers the tarp, he totally ruins his argument against tents by making it impossible for the tent to do anything right. It comes across as a silly scenario. A friend and I often laugh when we use his tent (full netting around body with peak vent in fly), since Ray implies that we'll surely drown in any tent during the night.
However, I feel obligated to defend Ray in some small way when it comes to his discussion of trekking poles. Yes, Ray hates trekking poles and therefore sets up another silly argument against them. However, I've seen a number of people that take Ray's mathematics out of context. In Beyond Backpacking, Ray describes an advertiser's claim that their poles "eliminate an average of six tons of stress per mile on a hiker's legs, feet, and back." He discredits that math, noting how ridiculous it would be that "this reduced stress accumulates in some magical way throughout the course of a mile of hiking", but later brings that math back up to use against the trekking poles by saying, "so all in fun, let's turn the advertiser's claims around: getting rid of the trekking poles can eliminate an average of two tons of stress per mile on your arms, legs, feet, and back." When people bring up Ray's ridiculous arguments against trekking poles, they never seem to mention that he is at least partly making fun of a particular advertisement for trekking poles. I think his intent is to show how ridiculous the advertiser's claims are, so he uses their own mathematics against them.
There's more discussion of the confusion between trekking pole "stress" and "work" at the following:
Regarding Trekking pole use...
Check out the lastest BP, their "tests" seem to indicate you burn more calories with poles (796 vs. 971 with 30# pack per hour). I wonder if "benefits" of poles outway the increase in burn rate?
On my next long day hike, I plan to do ~13miles without my poles. I'm hoping I can do without them.
Let's consider some facts.
First, the majority of long distance hikers do use them. So, there must be a very good reason. Otherwise, they would have jettisoned them a long time ago.
Second, they do take stress off your knees, especially on the down hills. So, consider what condition you knees are in before you decide to go without.
Not to sound like RJ, but the majority isn't always right.
I do have bad knees. On my last hike I was crying on downhills with the poles. After the trip, the doc said I probably have a degenerative joint disorder. I've been taking glucosomine for a couple of weeks, I'm hoping that will help. Though, I'm not sure I'll be able to tell in 13 miles, as I tend not to notice knee pain until the 2nd day.
"Check out the lastest BP, their "tests" seem to indicate you burn more calories with poles (796 vs. 971 with 30# pack per hour). I wonder if "benefits" of poles outway the increase in burn rate?"
Does the article state the mph? I slow down when I feather my poles.
Some of us cant/refuse to hike without poles-me being one of them, and discounting the calories burned and the stress on this joint or another, there are too many times when they have stopped a fall-enough for me to recommend them.
Milk is one of the things I love and crave if I don't have it. The powered milk is ok, I especially like mixing an instant breakfast up with some. I've had no problem with rinsing out my Nalgene bottle after using it.
Poles are more than just a tool to take stress off of your legs. You can use it to fend off the Rotty that dumbass trail runner thought would be cool to run the trail with, unleashed.
They're good for pushing back the brush that you sometime have to walk thru.
For knocking down the spider webs before they hit you in the face.
And how many times have they saved you from hitting the ground after you stumbled over that unseen rock or root.
For checking out that snake on the trail and move him/her out of the way.
I've used them to check the depth of water in creek before taking the plunge.
For balance while crossing a log bridge over a creek.
Some lightweight tents/tarps are designed for hiking poles.
and they make excellent lightening rods on certain sections! just kidding but at west a couple of weeks ago it did occur to me that when a bad storm suddenly hits it may behoove one to loose them at least temporarily.
(Chech and Chong)
No dude.....that's why they have rubber tips and handles on them man....lightning won't have no effect.
Oh yeah man.... you can also check those funny fences that have that weird looking insolation attached to fence post with the poles. If your hat stays on after touching it with your pole, your ok man. Go on thru. Oh man I forgot, don't hold on to the rubber grips when doing this test. You might get a false reading.
Far out and right on!!!!!!
I wholeheartedly agree with Hikerhead. Trekking poles have multiple uses. Though they probably don't significantly reduce bone/joint stress from what I read in the Book "Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail." http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0070444587/qid=1062645938/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_4/102-7018800-8840951?v=glance&s=books
This very comprehensive survey asks questions about just about anything you might want to know about section and thru-hiking the AT. Though the author surveys a lot of hikers and addresses specific questions, I don't think his sample and methodology satisfy the requirements for showing statistical significance for his conclusions. However, even though some unscientific studies like t.v. news phone-in polls do not satisfy these strict requirements, some true scientific studies have shown that they often give pretty accurate results anyway. I don't know of another study about hiking on the AT approaching the same scope as this book, so his most of his conclusions satisfy me.
I do use 2 trekking poles. The first time I used them I felt a very certain improvement in my pace, especially hiking downhill. My back and sides hurt less after a day's hike, which I attribute to using less muscle for balance. With them, I feel like I have a pair gorilla-length arms helping me balance as I knuckle-hike. Many hikers like myself pitch their tents/tarps with them. I poke things with them, dig cat-holes, and generally feel better having 2 pointy sticks while alone in the woods :)
So yeah, trekking poles may not significantly reduce the wear and tear on legs (though many would disagree), but if they improve my pace and make me feel more stable, and have multiple uses, then they have significant value to me.
:banana :banana :banana :banana :banana
Roland Mueser did his survey in 1990, following his thru hike the previous year.
I think that some of his data may now be out of date. However, it is interesting to note that in 1989, 65% of those surveyed did use some sort of a pole.
As far a benefits is concerned, I'd defer to Del Doc's survey. Based on his informal survey done during his 4 thru-hikes, the most common injury/complaint among thru-hikers is "My knees are killing me." For prevention he recommends being careful on the downhills, use a good footbed like Superfeet or Spenco, and use treking poles. For treatment, he recommends Vitamin I, cold soaks, and rest.
RJ is who he is. You may understand him better if he still ran the website he has the way he used to. I wish some of the stuff he had there was still around so you can get a feel for him. A lot of what he says needs to be compared to each othr to get an idea of how rational his ideas are. For example he talks about how much better raw foods are, that they will make you healthier and give you more enery, but then he tells you somewhere else that he tried raw foods on a hike and gave it up because it didn't work? What does that mean? He advises that shoes are the best way to go, but his own wife still uses boots. He tells us that he has a water filter system but it isn't on his own packing list.
As to why he opposes pit zips. It has to do with being a gram weenie. On his old forum there were long heated discussions about something as simple as tie outs vs. grommets that sometimes even got people banned from his board. The main reasons he totally opposed them were they were heavier.
Anyway, I have found that advise on hiking can never be universal because we all have different goals for how we hike. Hiking isn't bike racing where everyone looks for the light4est bike, the best conditioning, the fastest times, etc.
RJ hikes 25 miles per day from dawn to dusk and likes to look like he is day hiking while doing it. I don't want to hike that way so I don't need advise that says to start the AT in June and hike for 3 1/2 months so you are only on the trail when it is warm just to save weight.
It would be just as insane for me to say that anyone that hikes with a gas stove is just not experienced enough at hiking to know that alcohol stoves are the only way to go. It is just one way and it works for me.
I totally agree that some of the arguments he uses are as lopsided as they get. An objective scientific method of testing or comparison would have been better instead of a highly subjective series of arguments. But that sort of gets back to the point that hiking is pretty subjective. Use what works for you.
Originally posted by Peaks
However, it is interesting to note that in 1989, 65% of those surveyed did use some sort of a pole.
Peaks, I think your response, while technically correct, is misleading to the reader. Yes, 65% did use a pole...however, the "pole" was not the double trekking poles in use today:
35% something picked up along the way
20% a specially made walking stick
10% a ski pole
In 1988 I saw NO thruhikers using double trekking poles. The ONLY person I saw using double trekking poles was a local doing trail running up in VT.
Double trekking poles did not become popular until the 90's.
Thyroid and others....you might be interested in a survey conducted by the University of Vermont and Penn State of Appalachain Trail users. Nearly 2000 hikers were surveyed using a reasonalbly sophisticated sampling strategy. The results will come much closer to satisfying the demands for establsihing statistically significant results than the Long Distance Hiking book... I don't believe issues of hiking poles were covered in teh survey. YOu might have a glance at it...It can be found at:
I like that report. I've read part of it now.
Thru hikers were more likely to consider the trail poorly marked (68.4% vs. 37.7%) than non-thru hikers.Interesting. I'm not sure what to take from this statement. There must be some really bad sections that non-thru hikers don't typically use.
Edit (added another quote):
Thru hikers (vs. section, day, weekend) reported a more negative effect from the condition "you frequently socialize with members of your group."That's odd given that "the people" seems to be one of those "what you loved about your AT thru-hike" answers. Maybe it should be "the non-thru hiker people."
Yeah, think for yourself... just like RJ does. :D
Originally posted by SGT Rock
As to why he opposes pit zips. It has to do with being a gram weenie. On his old forum there were long heated discussions about something as simple as tie outs vs. grommets that sometimes even got people banned from his board. The main reasons he totally opposed them were they were heavier.Yea, and he doesn't like hammocks either!
Check out entries 200-250 here (http://www.rayjardine.com/guestbook/guestbook.shtml).
Only 3 good reasons to use a hammock. Dozens of bad ones.
Though he is including a half-page in his new "tarp book" that will show us the light.
What are Ray's "dozens of drawbacks" with regard to hammocking, since he doesn't explain them in his post? I read Brett's post at the top of the page, but that sounded like more a physical particular to him. I guess we'll have to buy the tarp book to find out.
But if I had to guess, RJ's faults with hammocks would be (in this order):
He didn't think up the idea.
They weigh a tiny bit more than a tarp, ground cloth, bug netting, 8 stakes, and 8 guy lines.
He didn't think up the idea
He is not lying on the ground, so he feels "detached" from nature
He didn't think up the idea
Ants can't crawl across your bag while in a hammock
He didn't think up the idea
Blood will pool in your ass while sleeping in a hammock, instead of your head while under a trap pitched foot-end high.
He didn't think up the idea
You can't hold up a hammock with the readily available stout stick in the campsite
He didn't think up the ideaNOTE: For those you who haven't read his books (make sure you find the older version as well, 'cause his ideas change between editions) some of the above comments won't make much sense.
Edit: Added the last two and the note.
WOW...LOL tlbj6142, that's funny! the readily available stout stick in the campsite...I KNOW!!! What's up with that?
I too have been reading beyound backpacking and from it have gleaned a lot of inspiration as well as ( no way I'm goin there insight ) This book is really good for it's insights into shaving gear from your pack.....how much ya shave to me is up to the individual. First off I found it really great to finally get rid of the old propane stove i'd been lugging around for 3 years now. The coke can stove not only works very well but it is also a great conversation piece.
The section on foot care is of course necessary cause if yer feet hurtz then ya aint gonna get far. However I doubt if I'll ever take off on an AT thru hike with a pair of cut converse buddies on my feet and a few in dropoff packages along the way. Come on folks there is a matter of safety here.
It doesn't matter if the temps are 10deg below zero in the sun if I'm active then I'm gonna sweat...always have.........always will...so I deal with it. When I get to camp I replace my clothing................all of it.........with dry stuff. So what if I'm ( gasp ) exposed for a few seconds its something I must deal with. Besides it's kinda cool to see steam rolling off a middle aged hairy fat man when its 10deg.
I guess as with any bit of information the information presented in this book is best applied to the individual as just that.........information to be thought provoking and in comparison with your current methods of backpacking........to some the ultralight will be too extreme as presented in the book...however there just may be a snake eater out there that would consider someone that caried that much weight around a commercialized pack mule.
Still I'm looking forward to making a lot of my own gear in the future and sheading a few lbs in the process from my pack........and perhaps in the proccess shead a few pounds I place on my feet as I treck.
see ya in the woods
QUOTE By woodhippie
Besides it's kinda cool to see steam rolling off a middle aged hairy fat man when its 10deg
This may explain some of them thar sasquatch sitings:banana
true enough............I imagine I may have created a bear scare or two...........as for sasquatch sightings I have Yeti to hear of any.
see ya in the woods
see ya in the woods
As kids in Iowa we used the same method to combat itch weed. If you didn't scratch your legs for 15 or 20 minutes the itching would stop. Does take a certain amount of self control and as we always tried to do STAND IN A CREEK.
I have a pair of Lekis that my son (then 16) bought with his own money in Hot Springs and gave me for my birthday while we were doing a 10 day section hike. I never hike without poles, not even a day hike. But before the Lekis, I used a couple of bamboo sticks cut (with permission) from a neighbors property. Those bamboo poles are how I got my trail name when someone said, "hey, man, nice sticks."
Anyway, if someone is unsure whether they would like to use poles, I highly recommend trying a couple of bamboo sticks before making an investment in commercial poles. Bamboo is free, very strong and light, and I had about 300 miles on my sticks with no serious wear and tear when I left them behind for the Lekis. Bamboo also offers at least one advantage over commercial sticks: you can immediately adjust your grip up or down on the pole to make it effectively longer or shorter as the trail requires. Lots of times for a big step on a steep downhill, I don't find the Lekis are quite long enough, even if I grip the top of the handle, and for sure I don't want to take the time to adjust the length of the Leki for a short stretch of trail or a few steep steps up or down.
I'd recommend cutting poles about an inch to an inch-and-a- half in diameter, and about as tall as you are. Make sure to smooth out any nubs or rough spots in the area where you will be gripping the pole, or even wrap it in foam and tape it tight.
Ray has some good ideas, especially when taken with a "grain of salt" and added to already hard earned experience.
Personally, I have a real problem with "Experts" for many reasons. The first time I read a book by "the foremost Expert" (that was actually on the cover) in the field, it was a book on Raccoons, I had a pet "coon", this so called expert said "A raccoon CANNOT go down a tree head first, they are not able to because they cannot turn their back legs in the right directon" yes, that is what he said. My Rascal NEVER came down a tree any other way. My guess is this "expert" never even met a real coon.
And, some of Ray Js comments strike me as that other expert.
As to hiking poles, if nothing else, I am MUCH faster with them, even when I am hiking without pack on a day hike. It IS easier on my knees with the poles, even pack free. And, they hold up my Nomad tent :-)
Milk contamination? Maybe, possibly, could be, IF you left milk mixed with water in the bottle till it spoiled then for another 3 or 6 weeks.
Pit zips, Yea, Whatever. I wear a tee shirt and shorts down to 40 deg, I dont' get cold.
Sweat is bad? I wear a tee shirt and shorts down to 40 deg, So I sweat almost always.
I've heard rumors that polels have been banned from some parks like Yosemite because of the damge they cause. Any truth to this rumor???
I've heard rumors that polels have been banned from some parks like Yosemite because of the damge they cause. Any truth to this rumor???
That cannot possibly be true. there would be riots. Ranger cabins would be burned down and the Rangers tarred and feathers. Most hikers would rather go to the mall than give up their poles.
Man I wish I could have avoided scratching the chiggers I got in panama a couple weeks back. Man they are still itchy and I still cannot avoid scratching them. I have hundreds of bites all over my feet and a few other spots. Chiggers, the worst itch ever.