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Make Your First Thru-Hike a Success [Kindle Edition]

Brian Lewis
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Have you ever dreamed of hiking all of the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail in a single year? A surprisingly high number of people attempting their first thru-hike don’t finish, many leaving the trail early on. In this book, Triple Crown hiker Brian Lewis zeros in on the specific planning and preparation steps you can take to improve your chances of success. While this is aimed primarily at those planning a long distance backpacking trip, a substantial portion of the ideas apply equally well to section hikes and even shorter backpacking trips.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1081 KB
  • Print Length: 131 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AJ68TVW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,795 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Balanced View of Thru-Hiking January 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Actually, Charles Grier wrote this review; the e-book was purchased on J. Kathleen's account. I really enjoyed this e-book; I downloaded it to my Kindle on a windy, rainy December day and read it through with only a few brief breaks. I would like to see it published in print, however, since I prefer turning pages to pushing buttons. I read the book from the perspective of someone whose thru-hiking experience is more limited than is the author's triple-crown achievement: I have hiked the John Muir Trail twice, solo; once in 1954 as a teenager and again in 2008 and solo-hiked what is probably mostly now the PCT from the Canadian border to Snoqualmie Pass, Washington in 1957. Much of what Mr. Lewis discusses in his book, especially his description of the sense of freedom one gains from thru-hiking does resonate with my more limited experience.

What I most liked about the book was the author's emphasis on the "psychological" aspects and the "how-to-deal-with-it" side of thru-hiking rather than a strong focus on gear and mechanics. The early chapters deal with subjects such as: "Can I Really Do It?", "Why Would I Want To?", "Challenges" and "Reasons for `Failure'". These chapters alone make the book well worth its modest price. Subsequent chapters on "Managing the off-trail aspects", "Logistics", "How to Do It: On-Trail" and the chapter on gear are also well worth reading and cover the subjects from a perspective different from that of many of the more gear-obsessed writers. The author writes from what is, in my opinion, a balanced perspective. He views his gear as a means to an end and states that after a few weeks on the trail one thinks mostly about the country, the walking, food and the wonderful sense of freedom rather than ones equipment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By gbolt
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a good first read book to see if a thru hike would interest you and transition from a dream to a possibility. If AWOL on the AT or Skywalkers books stirred the dream, this book will start your planning process. I have already thought about most of what he wrote, yet this book did help my confidence. It served as a remediation and culmination of ideas and thoughts but could easily serve as a beginning point or guide. I appreciated the way the author did not preach or push his philosophy; but simply stated what he thought were keys to success based on his experience. Everything in the book can be found searching the net, but it is in a nice concise easy read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncommon Common Sense December 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not a book full of lists of things to buy and gear to get, instead it's full of useful guidance and suggestions to steer you towards making the best choices for your personal style of hiking. Even experienced hikers can benefit from the reminders of critical - but sometimes overlooked - aspects of long hikes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a thru-hiker, but... December 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am not a thru-hiker. 4 or 5 days out at a time is my maximum.

Brian is a master of simplification. For instance, his reminder that a campsite is just a place to eat and sleep is a good one for people trying to get a lot of miles.

His suggestion to time how long it takes to break camp in the morning is great. I live in Colorado. The best hiking weather and the most spectacular views are early in the morning. I like to get up at the first hint of light and start moving near sunrise. Breakfasts (yes, I eat two) can wait until I'm on the trail and it warms up a bit. Then I get a break and I eat, too.

His summaries of the PCT, CDT and AT are really useful to people trying to decide which one to hike.

The appendix has many links for buying gear from cottage industries.

This is not a hiking journal. You can read the journals at postholer. They are good reading. I hope he publishes those, too.

I will read this book several times. Most likely, I will learn something new each time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for beginners March 17, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great book for those of us starting to think about a thru hike. It's not a guide to stuff to buy but a guide to things to consider, along with lists of places to get more specific information.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful book February 25, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most useful books on this topic I've read, and I've read a lot of them. This author gets it, and understands there are many ways down the trail, and that you have to figure out what works for you. Excellent book, and not bogged down in endless gear talk.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good source of information and valuable advices August 29, 2013
By Jan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Detail description of all aspects of thru-hiking, from strategy to equipment to tips&hints and more ... Good book, fully worthy its price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Practical Knowledgeable Long Distant Walking Man August 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got a big "kick" out of this book, and it is a quick read. The author comes across as an intelligent practical person when it comes to the many elements required of "thru hiking" such as planning, hardships like weather,insects, camping,light weight back packing, hot or cold food, navigation required to stay on the trails, and a "dogged" determination to complete the trail. Much like "Rodeo Cowboys, loggers, fly fishermen, etc", "thru hikers" seem to take pride as a group to mingle with others who have accomplished this title. Maybe even more so because there are less "thru walkers" than people in the other groups. To complete the triple crown trails such as Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and the Appalachian Trail (all 3 perhaps around 7,000 miles of walking through sometimes very harsh conditions) is an accomplishment few of us would try to start, much less complete.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 19 days ago by btomasette
4.0 out of 5 stars Good advice !
I really appreciated the feedback from this experienced through-hiker - he's been there , and has some good experiences to share .
Published 13 months ago by Reed Moore
2.0 out of 5 stars Glorified magazine article
I should have known better - the preview was much better than the book. I'm sure the author is a nice guy and always wanted to write a book but there was no meat. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Robert J. Redd
3.0 out of 5 stars Muddled point of view--full of contradictions
I am an armchair hiker but I enjoy reading about others' experiences and mostly got this book because it was cheap in price. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Horselady
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
Nothing terribly new here, but good solid advice written in a very pleasant conversational style. A good solid book at a very fair price.
Published 18 months ago by RunninHuskies
5.0 out of 5 stars Great info
No muss no fuss. Great info and insight into the practicalities of obtaining success on your thru-hike. Nice job Brian.
Published 19 months ago by Darryl McDonald
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for what it is....
While I'm glad I read the book, I found it light on meaningful insights. To its credit it does not try to compete with the raft of "how to" books, but it lacks the depth... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Roger S King
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
Well written with nice Links. This book has sound advice and a good breakdown on Data Books and Trail Guides as well as Map sources. Thanks Brian for writing it.
Published 19 months ago by Asim
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More About the Author

Brian Lewis has worked as an Army Officer, a Software Developer, and a volunteer working in the field of Investment Education. In more recent years he's been an avid backpacker, thru-hiking all three "Triple Crown" trails over the course of four years. He volunteers as an educator and trip leader with the Mountaineers, a local outdoor organization in his home Puget Sound area in Washington State. Brian's trail journals (for all his long distance trips) can be found at


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