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The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka
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The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka is already a classic backpacking book comparable to Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker or Ray Jardine's Trail Life. Supreme long-distance hiker Andrew Skurka shares his hard-earned knowledge in this essential guide to backpacking gear and skills. Described by National Geographic as "one of the best traveled and fastest hikers on the planet," and named "Adventurer of the Year" by Outside and "Person of the Year" by Backpacker, Skurka recounts what he's learned from more than 30,000 miles of long-distance adventures, most recently a 4,700-mile 6-month loop around Alaska and Canada's Yukon. Whether you're a first-time backpacker, an occasional weekend warrior or a seasoned long-distance trekker, you'll love this guide. Learn exactly what you need to carry-both on your back and between your ears-for all seasons and circumstances through a show-and-tell of clothing, footwear, backpacks, shelter and sleep systems, and more, as well as through detailed articles on foot care, campsite selection and hiking efficiency. Skurka's practical and priceless recommendations give you all the tools and techniques you'll need to hit the trail.Great for beginners and experienced backpackers.Learn to reduce weight and hike smarter.About the Author - A graduate of Duke University, Andrew Skurka is a sponsored long-distance backpacker, paid speaker, and writer. He has hiked 25,000-plus miles since 2002, most recently on a 4,700-mile loop around Alaska and the Yukon. Named "Adventurer of the Year" by National Geographic Adventure (describing him as "a Gen Y version of Thoreau") and "Person of the Year" by Backpacker Magazine, he was also featured in Outside and Men's Journal. Skurka has appeared in numerous newspapers and television broadcasts..Author - Andrew Skurka.Binding - Paper.Pages - 224.Publisher - National Geographic.Year - 2012.ISBN - 9781426209208.
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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.
The author has strong opinions about clothing and gear (he tends towards the ultra-light end of gear preferences) and at times will share them with the reader while he explains various gear and clothing options. While the author certainly has more experience than I do and is quite reasonable and logical with his reasoning about his preferences I believe that while some of his preferences may indeed be best for him, there can be excellent reasons why someone else (including me) could make different choices. Fortunately, the author is good at fairly discussing the various options even if he seems to have definite preferences.
I came across his google talk and skills clinic concerning some of his many adventurous hikes and the skills developed and applied along the way. The Sea to Sea Route (from the Tip of Maine to the Tip of Washington State) that he solo hiked blew me away. I think it was 7200 miles or so. He averaged 33 miles a day hiking from sun up to sun down completing the unbelievable journey in 11 months.
In this great manual he is walking me through all of the things that he has learned about gear, weather, terrain, environments, food, safety etc. It is packed with his approach to ultra light hiking, and the skills necessary to grow proficient and capable of the same. Of course he has a gift for such travel but the skills and knowledge that he shares will benefit even the novice to the most seasoned hiker. Put it like this ..."I am sure that after 33,000 hiking miles I can believe what Andrew has to say."
This is a National Geographic constructed manual with beautiful illustrations and chock full of great personal stories that help to explain his perspective about gear to use in various hiking, and ultra light hiking scenarios. I am so glad that I found this great book. And thank you Andrew for writing it.
I strongly recommend it.
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