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Backpacker Magazine – August 2009

Ultralight Done Right: Light Reads--Low Weight Books

You need a good read on any over-nighter. Just don't pack War and Peace. With these books, you'll stay on the ultralight track.

by: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

A little light camp reading:

1. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (62 pages)
2. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck (112 pages)
3. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson (112 pages)
4. Animal Farm, George Orwell (113 pages)
5. Siddhartha, Herman Hesse (120 pages)
6. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway (123 pages)
7. The Stranger, Camus (160 pages)
8. BACKPACKER (one issue = 7.2 ounces)

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star


Mellow Yellow
Sep 14, 2009

Why is weight always such a hot topic? I swear worrying about weight so much actually adds mass.

Great marketing tool though.

Sep 12, 2009

Anyone use the Kindle? Weight 10 oz... Recharger 4 oz.

Pat OConnell
Sep 12, 2009

Take along a lightweight guide book (or paper copies from the guide book) about the area you're hiking through. It might be useful if you have to change your plans because of weather. Been there, done that.

Sep 10, 2009

Ditch the books altogether and read nature. Explore your surroundings from the grand vistas to the tiniest plants, rocks, and creatures. Study the clouds, the stars, the sounds, the smells. Philosophize. Contemplate the vastness of the universe, hypnotize yourself in the fire. I'm a prolific reader at home, but reading is not on my itinerary when camping and I'm never bored in the woods. Also eliminate all electronic devices except one cell phone for emergency use only and maybe a GPS if you haven't mastered map and compass.

Mark Andrus
Sep 10, 2009

The Gideon New Testament is small and lightweight.
I am mostly a canoer and kayaker, so I have a Boater's Pocket Reference that I found at West Marine for about $15. Also, I have small laminated pages showing the birdm, trees and wildlife for my area near Houston, TX. Another good book to have is "Don't Forget the Duct Tape" for gear repairs. Near the border such as Big Bend or Mexico, I can use a small Spanish phrasebook. I know a light-weight hiker should not carry them all, you can pick one or two to take. The first aid kit might have a small reference page or book, but it is better to take a first aid course at home and know it already.

Printing off the web-There are many old books (pre-1923) that are public domain and can be found at Project Gutenberg and elsewhere.

Sep 10, 2009

I love books on tape and my MP3

Sep 10, 2009

Should have included _Anthem_ @ 106 pages; amazing book. Also wouldn't go on a long trip without penguin pocket Donne.

Joe Gaffney
Sep 10, 2009

I print stuff off the web. Then, when I'm done reading it, it becomes kindling.

I take a deck of cards and play different versions of Solitaire.

Sep 10, 2009

Another option is take ebooks.

I've got around 20 books, from classics to new releases, all stored for no additional weight, since I carry my smartphone onto the trail anyway.

Sep 10, 2009

Amazing number of trail-related stories in the Bible.

Carrie Hurner
Aug 23, 2009

Backpacker must be communicating with my husband. He gave me a little lecture about the large books (2) I took on our 8 day trip to the Wind River range.

Aug 21, 2009

Alternatively, download an audio book to your ipod nano.

James Clifton
Aug 21, 2009

I have a small version of the bible. Good read!


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