Justin Lichter aka “Trauma” has published a book called the Ultralight Survival Kit which explains how to shave all of the just-in-case items that many backpackers needlessly carry on hiking trips. Geared mainly towards triple crown aspirants, thru-hikers, and secton-hikers, it contains all of the tip-and-tricks that seasoned backpackers use to stay safe without carrying a lot of extra gear weight.
If you’re not familiar with Trauma and his hiking accomplishments, you’d benefit by learning more about him. I count myself lucky to know him and really admire his down-to-earth attitude to hiking and educating hikers about the benefits of ultralight, self-powered adventure. Since 2002, Justin has hiked more than 35,000 miles including two Triple Crowns (AT, PCT, and CDT) and long distance hikes across Iceland, Africa, the Himalayas. Norway, and Sweden. A ski patroller and open water swimmer, Justin lives for adventure and walks-the walk, often accompanied by his brave dog Yoni.
In the Ultralight Survival Kit, Justin focuses on how to keep your gear list lightweight without sacrificing essentials. This includes a discussion of how to deal with the elements – rain, wind, the cold, snow, sun, and lightning, how to cope and live with animals big and small, and excellent tips on how to prepare and care for your dog on long hikes.
Written as a practical how-to guide, the Ultralight Survival Kit is easy to read and re-read with tips for hikers of all levels of experience. While I use many of the techniques that Justin writes about, there are a few skills and techniques that I learned about from this book, including:
- How to avoid being “cliffed out”, without an exit route (essentially trapped on a cliff without being able to backtrack) while descending steep canyons or mountainsides off-trail.
- How to find water underground in extreme desert situations
- Advanced first-aid with minimal supplies (something a guy named “Trauma” would know)
- How to conserve energy when hiking through steep snow fields
- Winter survival tips
One thing I find a little funny is that this book is called a “Ultralight Survival Kit” and not the “Ultralight Survival Guide,” particularly since its focus is on education and not gear. Still, if you are looking for a book with advanced ultralight techniques and tips that addresses the challenges and demands of four season travel, check out Justin Lichter’s Ultralight Survival Kit. This is knowledge you can’t afford to hike without.
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