The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka
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- Written by an expert hiker
- Ove 30,000 miles of experience
- Over 150 photos
- Invaluable advice
- Covers, food, shelter, clothes, flashlights, stoves, water filters and more
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Top Customer Reviews
Dad poured over Colin Fletcher's new book The Complete Walker and so did I. We studied his techniques and emulated them. We wrote away for catalogs and made a few pilgrimages to Vienna Virginia from our home in Fall's Church to a backpacking and camping gear shop (what was the name of that place?) to buy what we could afford and that wasn't much.
Forty years later we are inundated with a torrential stream of gear and advice making the `right' choice of either nearly impossible. Colin Fletcher's simple gospel has fractured into dogmatic schisms, each with their holy book, magazine or website. Now there are backpackers, lightweight backpackers, ultralight backpackers and many flavors in between. I've read many backpacking books, tons of articles and blog posts and have grown tired of their often circular logic, rehashed advice and wondered if advertising dollars skewed their opinions.
Andrew Skurka's new book The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide will change the way how we sling a pack on our backs and hoof it into the wild just as Fletcher's Complete Walker once did. Fletcher's first books recorded his monumental treks (The Thousand Mile Summer and The Man Who Walked Through Time) and these expeditions resulted in The Complete Walker. Skurka's stunning 30,000 miles of trekking over the past decade have resulted in The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide.Read more ›
This book should not be thought of as a complete guide to hiking, the only book you'll ever need. It concentrates on gear and clothing (hence its name). It will not teach you how to read/use a trail or topographical map or a compass, GPS, Wilderness First Aid, physical conditioning, and plenty of other types of knowledge that could be worthwhile to know when one is hiking or backpacking.
One other reviewer thought that a lot of the text was like reading "techno babble" and yes, a fair amount of the text discusses the technical and practical attributes of various gear and clothing options. This is, after all, as the title says, a book about gear. Likewise, Consumer Reports doesn't simply say that item X is better than item Y, it also explains the issues that led to their ratings. I think that most people interested in learning about the various gear and clothing options for hiking/backpacking will find the level of "techno babble" to be both reasonable and worthwhile (but your mileage may vary). Overall I think the author is very very good at explaining in plain english the relevant technical aspects of the gear/clothing discussed. If you're making the gear/clothing decisions then the material in this book is quite relevant.Read more ›
"The Ultimate Hiker's Gearguide" succinctly relates the current state-of-the-art in hiking gear and skills. Although he is not bound by it, Skurka is definitely a student of the "ultralight" school of hiking. Started 25-30 years ago by Ray Jardine (who is still active and still sells kits to make his excellent equipment designs; [link deleted by Amazon]), the history and current state of this movement is well documented in a recent series of seven essays by Ron Moak ([link deleted by Amazon-- see the website for Six Moons Designs]). For those who wish to continue the "old school" (I am about half and half, myself), Fletcher and others are still available, and the outdoor industry is still selling heavy boots, double-walled tents, and zippered sleeping bags.
In my opinion the previous standard-setting book for UL hiking was Ryan Jordan's "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping", which I have also reviewed on Amazon, and which oddly enough Andrew also reviewed here on Amazon! It is important to note that this is a very small field- I know of at most a dozen works on this fringe subset of hiking, and a large portion of those are small cartoon-style works by Mike Clelland and similar authors. (Mike's books are exceptional, actually, but limited in scope.) So this book certainly benefits from a lack of competition.
That said, it is excellent. Obviously, it is published by National Geographic. This is important because it means that it benefits from excellent editing, unlike most other works on the subject. The layout is quite superb and intuitive. Andrew became involved with National Geographic through some of his epic hikes, and it is important to understand just what kind of guy he is. He has hiked coast-to-coast. He thru-hiked across the Mojave then north up the PCT to catch the PNW trail east to Glacier NP, then south down the CDT back to his start point- this is the hike, known as "The Great Western Loop", that earned him a spot as a National Geographic Explorer of the Year. (Because just hiking the triple crown wasn't enough for him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
His is not a sit and read me book,, no warm and fuzziness.
What is it. It is an answer guide for what gear is best for each trail and condition. Read more
Very informative review of gear and equipment. Great insight into what you need and what you really need and how to figure that out based on what you plan to do on your hike. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Melissa
Very good information about backpacking gear, and more importantly, why what kind of gear makes sense in different situations. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tod
Great unbiased review of hiking products. Refer to it time and time again; heads me in the right direction for further research relating to me level of skill and need. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Great book...perfect toilet reading material. Lots of great ideas for camping stuff geeks.Published 1 month ago by JReedy72
Good, practical advice for making gear selections prior to AT through-hike in 2015. Skurka is really hardcore and some of his gear decisions were fine for him, but not sapplicable... Read morePublished 1 month ago by William J. Sauber
Hands down the best book I've read so far on ultralight hiking and general good knowledge about gear, their material properties, and hiking/camping techniques. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Dewaine Brown