Going Light with Backpack or Burro

Publication Year: 1952.

Going Light with Backpack or Burro, edited by David R. Brower. Foreword by Newton B. Drury. Contributions by Lewis F. Clark, Elizabeth Cowles, Alex Hildebrand, Joel H. Hildebrand, Milton Hildebrand, Mildred Jentsch, H. Stewart Kimball, Louise H. Klein, Richard M. Leonard, Bestor Robinson. 152 pages, with line drawings. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1951. Price, $2.00.

Going Light is a “backpack manual, with notes on the care, feeding, and persuading of burros.” Its purpose is “to let people know how they may enjoy wilderness trails (chiefly those of the West) without superfluous equipment and expense.” This little book fulfills its purpose admirably and presents sound advice and ingenious tips on various aspects of modern wilderness travel. For instance, it reveals that your wife will not break down on the trail if you break her in properly, and that old inner tubes can be cut up and used to advantage in pitching a tent. Above all, we learn that common sense, efficiency and knowledge can make camping a pleasure even for the uninitiated. Despite the book’s interest in “those who go into the national parks and forests,” old timers in the ways of camping will find it surprisingly useful. Most of the chapters, such as those on wilderness travel, equipment and camping, concern familiar subjects, but the approach is clear and fresh; more original are chapters titled “Children,” “Women” and “‘Especially for Men.” This last chapter should be made required reading in all college mountaineering clubs. Some of the advice in the book may not apply to other mountain areas, but most of it does. The Sierra Club, and David Brower in particular, are to be congratulated on this attractive, beautifully edited manual.