All posts by ngatel

Book Review: The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide, 2nd Edition

This is a review of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail, by Andrew Skurka, published by National Geographic. I don’t do many book reviews. I have uploaded close to 700 posts and pages to this site and I think there are only 5 or 6 book reviews.

There was a time when book reviews were the domain of newspapers and magazines with full time writers who reviewed books for their readership. The purpose of the reviews was to recommend good books and to warn readers about the poor ones, while at the same time providing feedback to the author.

Today this has changed. Retail websites, especially Amazon, allow their customers to post reviews and then the website calculates an overall rating base on customer feedback (i.e. 4.2 out of 5). Unfortunately on these websites, it is the rare reviewer who has any stated qualifications to provide a book review of value or worthy of consideration.

The other thing that has changed is the blogs (like this one) that post book reviews. How this usually works, is the publisher or author offers a free book in exchange for a review.  There is no requirement for a positive review, but in my opinion a free item in exchange for a review makes an objective review very difficult for most people; although there are some folks who are completely truthful in their reviews.

Last month I received an email that National Geographic was looking to provide advance copies of The Ultimate Hiker’s Guide to some bloggers in exchange for a review and would I be interested. Well, I don’t do quid pro quo. So I wasn’t interested in a free advance copy. The book won’t be available until March 7th. However, I was planning on purchasing the book, having read the first edition several years ago. Based of this offer for a review, I was able to purchase a copy in advance, and I paid the full retail price.  So let’s get on with the review.

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Sewer Crap

Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

I thought the title might be an attention getter. With a little thought and the proper maintenance procedures, dealing with RV waste isn’t the awful task many make it out to be, and you should never have a Cousin Eddie moment. So I thought I’d share some of the sewer crap accessories we I use. To be accurate, sewage is not a we thing. Sewage is 100% percent my responsibility, except for the task of generating said sewage.

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Does A Weight Distribution Hitch Increase Tongue Weight?

The short answer is, No.

 

Often trying to find detailed information on trailer towing is difficult at best.

When we bought our current trailer and tow vehicle I knew that we would be close to the maximum capacity specifications for both. Most of the self-proclaimed or perceived experts would say buy a bigger tow vehicle if you are going to be close to the tow vehicle’s maximum specification for gross trailer weight and/or tongue weight. In other words, “buy a bigger gun.”

I am not a hunter and I have never hunted. But I know you don’t hunt elk with a pocket knife (too small) or a rocket propelled grenade (too big). You use a rifle with the correct caliber of bullet and other attributes that combined are a match for taking an elk. And so it is with our tow vehicle. The manufacturer (Ford) says we can safely tow a trailer that weighs up to 9,200 lbs fully loaded as long as the tongue weight is between 10% and 15% of the trailer’s weight and the tongue weight doesn’t exceed 920 lbs using a weight distribution hitch also known as a WDH, and at the same time the tow vehicle cannot exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or any Gross Axle Weight Ratings, and the Combined Gross Vehicle Weight.

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