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69 Reviews
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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent if you don't stray too far from civilization
A distinction must be made between "outdoor" books that assume that your trip into the wilderness happens in the context of a working civil society, i.e. you buy food at the store, you have your tent, your map, maybe a GPS, and if you are in trouble a competent attempt will be made to rescue you. Then there are the "survival" books which assume that if you don't do "it"...
Published on July 25, 2007 by Martin Doege

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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Broad but not deep
This book is crammed full of information on a wide variety of backpacking topics, from weather forcasting to group dynamics, however it goes into very limited detail about each one.
It is in my oppinion a good resource for the inexperienced.
Anyone that already has a good deal of backcountry savy would be better off getting more specialized information on select...
Published on June 8, 2008 by Chris Fisher


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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent if you don't stray too far from civilization, July 25, 2007
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
A distinction must be made between "outdoor" books that assume that your trip into the wilderness happens in the context of a working civil society, i.e. you buy food at the store, you have your tent, your map, maybe a GPS, and if you are in trouble a competent attempt will be made to rescue you. Then there are the "survival" books which assume that if you don't do "it" (gather food, build a shelter, find water, etc.) yourself, it ain't gonna happen. Maybe you can get help, but maybe other humans even pose a danger to your life, perhaps because of violent behavior, stupidity, clumsiness, or for whatever reason.

This book falls mainly into the first category, but makes interesting forays into the second. Perhaps the strongest impression is left by the First Aid section (which is also the longest). If you are really in an emergency, in which case you will definitely not have the time to read five pages on the Heimlich maneuver or whatever, this is probably the book you should pick up in a hurry. Of course ideally, you should know the content of the section by rote, but the descriptions are short yet detailed enough that they can be read quickly and confer all the vital information. A variety of more obscure illnesses are included that you will probably not find covered in other First Aid texts.

The nutrition section is quite short and the recipes are probably not something you would want to eat every day -- burritos, pizza, pesto. Don't expect any information on game, edible berries or the like...

A number of good sections cover such things as crossing a river or bearproofing your camp. These are well-written and stress the importance of understanding the situation first before acting. Along the same lines, there is an extensive review of leadership skills -- this is definitely an outdoor book for the thinking man.

All in all a thorough book, but if you are in situation where help does not arrive after a short while, it might not be enough. The SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea would be an excellent complement to this book and nicely covers those things which the BFM leaves out.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Broad but not deep, June 8, 2008
By 
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
This book is crammed full of information on a wide variety of backpacking topics, from weather forcasting to group dynamics, however it goes into very limited detail about each one.
It is in my oppinion a good resource for the inexperienced.
Anyone that already has a good deal of backcountry savy would be better off getting more specialized information on select topics they wanted to know more about.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good All-Around Book, January 27, 2007
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
The Backpacker's Field Manual is probably one of the better introductory books out there. Not only that, but it has valuable information for even the most experienced backpacker. It is layed out fairly well, and written in a fairly straightforward manner.

The biggest downside I see is the author's ideas of Leave No Trace camping, which seem to be taken to an extreme (the author says that one should scatter sticks, pinecones, and such over your campsite after you break camp so as to look like no one has been there). While this is, in my opinion, a backpacking style difference, it was enough of an issue for me to drop it down from a five star to a four star.

Not only that, but the author is primarily interested in sharing tradional (heavy) backpacking advice, with little to offer the lightweight of ultralight backpacker. Still, some of the techniques mentioned are excellent advice for any backpacker and the section on first aid is very detailed.

While this book is called a field manual, I would leave it at home due to the weight of this book. That said, it's definately one I feel every backpacker should have at home!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You mean it is in your backpack?, August 28, 2006
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
It's portable reference for everything backpacking. I can't imagine heading out into the wilderness without it. It covers everything from first-aid to a few sample recipies. The only thing I would change is an unexplicable change between the last edition and this one. Before the front and back covers were laminated which gave the book more survivability in your backpack. Since they bill it as a portable reference I'm at a loss to explain why it now has a standard cover. Obviously that has nothing to do with the info inside the book and that is, as I mentioned, invaluable.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Backpacker's Field Manual, July 7, 2005
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
For technique and a GREAT overall guide this book rates among the top. Add Walker IV, Mountaineering and Winter Hiking and Camping to the library and you are set for the outdoors.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good starter, January 9, 2007
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Tiber (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
This is an excellent book for the new hiker or the veteran. I would highly recommend it to any Boy Scout group as a supplement to BSA material. I actually used the land navigation portion to teach my Infantry Platoon, because it was better than the Army Common Task Manual. You cannot lose with this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a survival guide, but the basics of hiking so that you won't put yourself in a position where survival is a challenge, April 3, 2011
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Christopher Culver (Cluj-Napoca, Romania or Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
In the early 1970s, Princeton University launched a program where incoming freshmen would hike together in the wilderness to get to know each other before classes started. This quickly became popular among American universities, and over the years a large body of collective experience arose. THE BACKPACKER'S FIELD MANUAL was conceived as a compendium of advice for guides leading hikers through America's state and national parks. It was written by Rick Curtis, director of Princeton's program for many years.

When I first heard of this book, I imagined it would be a survival guide, but in fact, the book generally covers the mundane aspects of walking a trail instead of what to do if something goes horribly wrong. The sort of advice you'll find here is what food to bring along to cook for a group of people with diverse diets (including vegans and Jews who keep kosher), how to use a camping stove, where to dig latrines and how to avoid bears. There's exhaustive guidance on Leave No Trace hiking. But even if you aren't leading a big group, there's plenty of information to interest you. The explanation here of how to use a sighting compass is the most clear of any of the guides I've read to date, and the comparison of down and synthetic fabrics has more information to help you choose than some other resources.

As the guide was written for an American audience who were hiking within the US, all measurements for e.g. food are not metric, which limits a bit the usefulness of this book for people traveling internationally.

It's still good to go on and read a real survival manual after this, like the SAS Survival Handbook, as Curtis stops short on many useful tips. For example, he only briefly mentions the building of shelters and does not even describe how to make a snow shelter. Still, this book is full of practical advice and budding trekkers are sure to learn something from it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have when preparing for a trip, July 5, 2010
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
I bought this book several years ago when my friends and I were talking about hiking the Appalachian Trail after college. Having minimal experience in backpacking, I bought the Backpacker's Field Manual to learn the basics of planning a hiking trip and everything it would require. While our trip on the AT hasn't happened (yet), I did take an overnight backpacking trip with some friends about a month ago. I pulled this book off my bookshelf to help with my preparations. I could not have been more well informed or better prepared. I referenced it again and again both before and during my camping trip. So much of the information was useful for my rag-tag group from how to distribute weight in your backpack, to having extra rope handy, to stretches to do the next morning when you are feeling sore. After our trip, I went back and re-read the sections I had skimmed over only to find that there were even more suggestions I had missed my first time through that would have saved us the occasional trouble out on the trail.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially for beginner backpackers. I really hope that they come out with an updated edition in the near future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My New Bible, March 14, 2008
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Oshkibob (Midlands, SC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
Whether you're just becoming interested in backpacking, or you've been backpacking all of your life, this book is a great addition. When researching a reliable book for the outdoors, I was concerned with whether or not this book addressed survival adequately. Well, it pretty much covers everything. Seriously, anywhere from feminine hygiene problems while backpacking to creating a watch out of a compass. It also address any preperation questions you may have as far as buying gear or planning your trip. Great book, I can't put it down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Backpacking, January 10, 2008
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This review is from: The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills (Paperback)
This book is good for someone that wanted to get started hiking and backpacking. I feel that it has good source of information for starting out.
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