Book Review – Trail Tested: A thru-hikers guide to ultralight hiking and backpacking by Justin Lichter

May 20, 2014 | Tim Hauserman

It’s time to begin to make plans for big summertime adventures. If your heart is set on finally conquering that lengthy backpack in the Sierra, then I’ve found a good source for the information you will need to make the trip a success. Pick up a copy of Donner Summit resident Justin Lichter’s book, Trail Tested: A thru-hiker’s guide to ultralight hiking and backpacking (Falcon Guides).

Lichter, whose known on the trail as Trauma, has backpacked thousands of miles over the last 15 years. In addition to all the major trails in America, he’s hiked in Nepal, Iceland, New Zealand and Africa.  In 2006, he hiked over 10,000 miles by doing the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and what is known as the Eastern Continental Divide Trail. The ECT is not very well known, because very few people have the gumption or are crazy enough to hike this 5400 mile long behemoth. It begins in Cap Gaspe, Quebec and eventually makes it all the way to Key West, Florida. Of course, living in Soda Springs, he is not immune to the charms of our favorite lake, but he shows his love in different ways then some of the rest of us. In 2007 he swam all the way around Lake Tahoe without a wetsuit or support. He just dragged everything he needed behind him.

While Trauma’s lengthy experience provides the background he needs to write this book, what makes the guide special is his low key, directly helpful style of presentation. It’s a useful and fun book that you will enjoy reading from cover to cover, or just perusing for those tidbits of information you need before you hit the trail. Trail Tested is loaded with hundreds of color photos which illustrate the principles of lightweight backpacking, as well as showcasing some of the beautiful places he has hiked. If you need to find out anything about backpacking or hiking, it’s in here.

Looking for some ideas for places to backpack around Tahoe? You could pick up a copy of my book, Tahoe Rim Trail: The official guide for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians, published by Wilderness Press.