We found 10 Reddit comments about Trail Life: Ray Jardine's Lightweight Backpacking. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
It is mostly contained in the books I've read. I have been out of the backpacking scene for a while so I may be a bit rusty on the exact details and perhaps his methods have fallen out of favor. Some of his weight cutting techniques are a bit extreme by my taste such as only taking an umbrella and tarp instead of rain gear and tent. However, my father and I cut quite a bit of weight in our week long trips. We were starting with packs around 40 pounds and wearing big hiking boots and eventually got to around 20-25 pounds and would just wear a nice set of running or trail shoes.
Some of his books:
This site mentions him and a quick Google search with his name and 'water filter' brings up quite a few references as well: http://www.the-ultralight-site.com/water-purification.html He's by no means an end-all authority but the ultralight backpacking he pioneered was pretty widely known.
Reading Trail Journals is always nice because you're getting a day by day account of how hiking operates rather than a stylized narrative. Just at cursory glance, I saw few guys I hiked with who should have pretty accurate journals:
Frankenstein - I hiked around him for a good portion of the hike. Pretty detailed and should give you a good idea of life on the trail.
That's not to say a stylized narrative isn't pleasing to read and get's you hyped for your trip. A Walk in the Woods gets some shit from thru-hikers but it's a book about the Appalachian Trail for people who are not thru-hikers-so you!
Ray Jardine's Trail Life is indispensable for preparation. Even if you don't agree with all of his points, he gets you thinking and presents the organization of gear in a straight forward fashion. It was so hard to get a direct answer out of anyone online in regards to gear; every question was greeted with "just do what works for you!" I had no hiking experience and wanted something of a base to start from. Trail Life at least gives you a starting point to experiment with. I would say this is the most important book for practical preparation you need to make.
Honestly, not much you can read is going to help a ton, the AT doesn't need that much prep work. Here's a pre-hike check list that I would suggest.
So I was drafting a blog post on books this weekend. Copypasta:
Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide - Andrew Skurka
Ultralight Backpacking Tips - Mike Clelland
Lightweight Backpacking and Camping - Ryan Jordan
Trail Life: Ray Jardine's Lighweight Bapackpacking
Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardine's Guide to Lightweight Hiking
Here are a few:
Ray Jardine's Lightweight Backpacking for general techniques and 'ultralight' ideas
Freezer bag cooking - a method of cooking I prefer
More mountaineering than basic camping/hiking - but a SOLID reference book is Freedom of the Hills by The Mountaineers
Real experience is really your #1 learning tool for these sorts of skills. Preparing is key - but at some point you need to get outdoors and practice what you've read. Start with small trips, even around your neighborhood (with a full pack) works. Then work up to the longer / overnight adventures. Ask questions!
Ray Jardine's book is another popular one. I just preferred Skurka's. Both guys run websites too. Jardine has some resources on making your own gear and Skurka blogs regularly about various hiking-related topics.
As /u/cwcoleman said, that's a long trip, especially for a newbie. The biggest issue with long trips is food. Many new long distance backpackers have found that what looks great on a spreadsheet turns out terribly after a few days of trying to eat it.
What is the nature of your trip? Are you hiking all day, every day? Short hike to a site you'll stay at all week? Something else? It makes a big difference in what you'll want to pack and eat. Either way, I highly recommend going on your camping diet for a few days at home. Look into freezer bag cooking and dehydrating your own meals. That can give you tasty meals that are easy to make and have virtually no cleanup.
Please post a gear list of what you already have. Share your budget too if you're looking for gear recommendations. I hate giving recommendations for good reasonably priced gear, only to find out that the budget calls for free gear and buying a few things from Walmart.
I really like that you know about not eating where you sleep.
Ray Jardine's Trail Life has some really good tips about camp site selection. It makes a huge difference. He has some oddball ideas in the rest of the book that can work, but you probably shouldn't follow them exactly. For example he's a big fan of corn pasta, but the same thing he was using doesn't really exist anymore, so you won't get the same dietary benefits. It's still a great book for getting you to think creatively though.
Get Ray Jardines book!
And be sure to check his Homepage. If you're into myog, you will go farther than just a backpack with 200$.
Trail Life? That sounds familiar, OP!
This is the early edition I have, which is the one I'm referring to in terms of historical context. Years later he released an updated edition of it with some changes and a different title. If I remember right, it's less focused on PCT planning and more about taking his philosophy on any trail. Then years later he released a version of that one with color photographs and a few more updates and a new title. So it depends on if you want the version with historical interest or the one with more updated info or the one with updated info and color photographs.