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The Complete Walker IV Paperback – April 30, 2002
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From Library Journal
This is the fourth update of Fletcher's 1968 original. This manual is considered the backpacker's bible and has sold more than 400,000 copies in its previous incarnations. In addition to information on hiking, this also includes tips on wildlife, tents and paraphernalia, outdoor cooking, clothing, etc..
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"Undoubtedly the best how-to book in the backpacking field."
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The Complete Walker series, and especially The Complete Walker IV, are different books in that they specifically talk about gear. Colin Fletcher references specific items that are, with very few exceptions, obsolete. However, I would still recommend reading this book here in 2012. Fletcher has a really great prose style that is entertaining. He also captures the spirit and the passion for hiking. Chip Rawlins adds a lot of technical information that Fletcher was not completely up to date with at this point in his life.
This book is not for someone who is looking for specific gear recommendations.
If you really like this book, I would also recommend getting ahold of the earlier editions. It's very interesting to see how the gear had developed over the 30-odd years. It's also interesting to see how Fletcher's own opinions and theories about hiking have changed.
(Oh, and the other book? "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Complete Idiot" by John Muir. Ab-so-lute-ly perfect!)