[pct-l] Back to the Future: Ultralight

Rod Belshee rbelshee at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 7 23:06:01 CST 2014

We all learned that Ultralight was a new concept pioneered by Ray Jardine a 
couple of decades ago. Before that backpackers carried enormous 45-70 pound 
packs, right?

Here's a quote from Clinton Clarke in 1940, promoting The Desert Trail (a 
completed 475 mile stretch at the southern end of proposed Pacific Crest 

"The trip may be made with backpack or with pack animals. For those who 
prefer the former method it is surprising how much food and bedding can be 
stowed in a knapsack that weighs only 15 or 18 pounds. ... Experienced 
hikers with packs that weigh less than 30 pounds have remained on the trails 
away from all sources of food supply for 10 days without hardship."  --  
Clinton Clarke, "They follow the trails with a pack on their backs", The 
Desert Magazine, April 1940, page 25.

Indeed photos show early proponents on the trail with just a bedroll strung 
over a shoulder, food tucked inside. Only later did gear become such an 

Steady ('04) 

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