[cdt-l] NOLS

Paul Magnanti pmags at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 2 16:23:45 CDT 2007

Ouch! $3000 is about the price for thru-hike.

There are many, many, MANY resources for lightweight backpacking. No need (IMO) to spend the money. Esp. if you have some experience. Since you already have the equipment, the gain from this course is already negligible.

In any case, a great place to start for light weight backpacking is the book LIGHTEN UP!

It is an excellent meat and potatoes kind of guide for someone new to the lightweight world.

If you want to refine your techniques, use LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACKING AND CAMPING by Ryan Jordan from Backpacking Light. Yes..this book
is by the same group that is an adviser for the NOLS course. This book is less expensive, though. :D

(The above book is good, but has too much of an emphasis on "gee whiz" gear wonkery IMO. The nols equipment list seems to be the same. $45 for long underwear ?!?! YMMV. I tend to do GoLiteNCheap rather than GoLite :D)

Both books together will cost about 1/100 of the course at $30 total.

Of course, there are many lightweight resources on-line as well:

Backpacking Light:  http://www.backpackinglight.com   Ryan
Jordan's subscription site that has some of the biggest gram weenies in
the  world. Very analytical and gear focused discussion.  Yep..same group as the sponsor of the NOLS course.

BackpackingLight: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BackpackingLight/   A Yahoo group devoted to discussing lightweight backpacking techniques and gear. The admin is the author of LIGHTEN UP

A google search  of "lightweight backpacking" will also show many sites.

If you want to read a slap-dashed, kludged together doc, I have one at:

Finally, many REI, EMS, local outdoor stores offer free clinics on lightweight backpacking.  Many outdoor groups are now starting too offer lightweight type trips
as well for less money.

The NOLS course could be good *IF* you do not have any backpacking/outdoor  experience (which, if you are planning to hike the CDT is hopefully not case) and/or you feel more comfortable learning techniques in a group setting (Ditto my first comment, hopefully not the case if you are about to do the CDTl).

Hope this helps. You have god knows how many miles out outdoor experience on this list. If you have questions..please ask.

Ultimately, after absorbing all this info...get out and hike!   Experience is the best teacher. Good luck...and have fun!

The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust 
caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched

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