My Ultralight Backpacking Book
By Steve Gillman
Here is the introduction to my book on ultralight backpacking.
There is no paper version available, but you can get it as a
Kindle book here:
Following the introduction I include a few more notes on keeping
it light, and then I have the table of contents from the book
for those who are curious.
The first time I started to hike fifteen to twenty-five mile
days without blisters I was sold on ultralight backpacking. You
may already be a convert too. If so, you can skip the first couple
chapters, although they might add to the reasons you already
have for going light.
Be sure to read the Backpacking and Wilderness Survival
Quick Tips found in each chapter. This is where you'll find
many of the "secrets" you won't see in other backpacking
books. I am often asked why I have so many tips on edible plants,
wilderness survival, and other things that seem only indirectly
related to ultralight backpacking. I include them for the following
1. Knowing which plants can be used for food, medicine or
survival tools is interesting. You may love to feast on numerous
different berries while hiking in the mountains, as I do. You
may also like to know what the plants and things around you can
be used for.
2. Knowing just a little bit about how to survive out there
makes going light even safer. A compass can be lost, and your
food can be stolen by animals. A wet sleeping bag can lead you
dangerously toward hypothermia; unless you know how to deal with
these survival problems.
3. I want this book to be different from other backpacking
books. To justify using the word "secrets" in the title,
there should be some knowledge and ideas here that aren't found
in other books out there.
This book is weak in some areas. I have never had serious
injuries when backpacking, so I have not been motivated to learn
and pass on the latest first aid techniques. Since I have no
desire to cook much when backpacking, you won't find recipes
here either. The purpose of a non-fiction book is not to say
everything there is to say about a subject, but to say something
new and useful. I am certain you will learn some new things here,
and few useful things as well.
I should add that the book is weak when it comes to the latest
and greatest equipment too. I do not review any new tents or
other gear in the book. I mention what I have used, and what
else is available, but these parts are likely to be a bit out
of date. The book is more about techniques than gear. Here is
the table of contents...
Chapter 1 - Why Ultralight Backpacking?
Chapter 2 - Light Backpacking - Getting Started
Chapter 3 - Finding a Good Ultralight Backpack
Chapter 4 - Ultralight Backpacking Tents
Chapter 5 - Backpacking Tarps
Chapter 6 - Using a Bivy Sack
Chapter 7 - Sleeping Bags
Chapter 8 - Sleeping Bag Liners and Alternatives
Chapter 9 - How Light Is Light?
Chapter 10 - Knee Pain
Chapter 11 - Foot Care
Chapter 12 - Physical Conditioning
Chapter 13 - Hiking Shoes
Chapter 14 - Clothing
Chapter 15 - Rainwear
Chapter 16 - Trekking Poles
Chapter 17 - Camping Stoves
Chapter 18 - Outdoor First Aid Kit
Chapter 19 - Other Hiking Gear
Chapter 20 - Wilderness Survival
Chapter 21 - Water Purification
Chapter 22 - Drinking Water
Chapter 23 - Backpacking Food
Chapter 24 - High Altitude
Chapter 25 - Hypothermia
Chapter 26 - Frostbite
Chapter 27 - Thunderstorm Safety
Chapter 28 - Bear Attacks
Chapter 29 - Mountain Lions
Chapter 30 - Other Dangerous Animals
Chapter 31 - Insect Bites
Chapter 32 - Cleanliness
Chapter 33 - Wilderness First Aid
Chapter 34 - Winter Weather
Chapter 35 - Hiking in a Desert Climate
Chapter 36 - How to Use A Compass
Chapter 37 - How to Start A Fire
Chapter 38 - Planning
Chapter 39 - Backpacking Trip List
Chapter 40 - How Many Feet Are in a Mile?
Chapter 41 - Better Off Alone?
Chapter 42 - Full Moon Hiking
Chapter 43 - Leave No Trace
Chapter 44 - Backpacking Gear Ideas
Chapter 45 - More Backpacking and Wilderness Survival Tips