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The Ultimate Desert Handbook : A Manual for Desert Hikers, Campers and Travelers Paperback – March 26, 2003
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...This is a reference book that people who want to be serious [desert] hikers should own in their collection." -- Judy Hedding, About.com
From the Author
I intended The Ultimate Desert Handbook to be the reference I always wanted to have with me when exploring the desert, but could never find on the shelves. Not just a ordinary trail guidebook, the Ultimate Desert Handbook was written to provide hikers and other desert visitors with information on the deserts of the world, the peoples, plants and wildlife of North America, and how to safely coexist and survive in a new and perhaps unfamiliar part of our world. The book's 296 pages covers all aspects of desert hiking, backpacking, wheeled travel, equipment, navigation, and survival. Whether it's getting water out of primitive wells, using a map and compass, trip preparation, clothing recommendations, emergency water collection techniques, or GPS navigation tips, the Handbook provides much needed information on how to thrive in the desert environment. The book also contains extensive historical background and modern examples to demonstrate the importance of desert skills to the reader. Whether you're an experienced 'desert rat' or a newcomer to the desert, you'll find The Ultimate Desert Handbook provides more useful information on the desert than anything else in print. May it help you enjoy countless desert adventures of your own!
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Top Customer Reviews
It is rare to see as much scope and range in ANY survival book as one sees in this. I probably own 30 survival books, but even though this book is tailored specifically for desert survival and hiking, this book could go toe to toe with any survival book anywhere.
The information on Navigation is so comprehensive that is literally has pertinent information from numerous other fields. For example, in addition to talking about compass usage, the author also discusses the use of both GPS AND utilizing a sextant. That is very unusual.
The author also mentions the use of "highways" in navigation along with "dead reckoning" which is very rarely mentioned in navigation books.
He also discusses how to calculate the actual distance of large formations important to the desert traveler that may have concerns about how much available water and the distance to those points. In addition, there is an excellent discussion about how to find water, and the author's own experience using traditional methods of sourcing water such as his negative experiences with solar stills which are routinely recommended by the overwhelming majority of survival books and survival experts.
The author also extensively covers numerous means of travel in the desert, such as vehicle, walking, Mountain biking. The only means of transportation not mentioned is motor crossing (motorcycles).
The author goes into great detail about venomous creatures and First Aid. Fascinating, and very up to date.
All in all, contrary to the title, this book is an outstanding general survival book.
And yes, this book does appear to be the "Ultimate Desert Handbook."
It is both a joy and a RARE experience to find ANY author as well rounded and well versed as Mark Johnson.
In other words, an outstanding work, and an outstanding value for someone interested in traveling both the deserts of the USA, and someone interested in both general and desert survival.
The book covers all the basics: finding water, navigating, keeping fed, and acquiring help. In addition, it has little tips that show the author's vast experience and make desert hiking all the more comfortable and enjoyable. One of the more memorable is his recommendation to put reflective tape on one's shoes when hiking by moonlight, thus making your feet easier to see and decreasing the chance of stepping on something prickly or lumpy.
If you're a desert rat like me, or if you're going to be traveling through the desert, I highly recommend this book.
The author's warnings regarding suspicious people and unexploded ordinance are sound and valuable advice. I was surprised to see that one reviewer considered this hysterics. I grew up in the South and remember reading a newspaper account of someone injured by an old shell from guns silent since 1865. I suspect unexploded bombs from WWII could be at least as dangerous. The same reviewer also appeared to think map care and being properly equipped were unnecessary as well, so I guess we'll just have to disagree.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was hoping for info about the people, culture, and native flora and fauna.Read more