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.
Continue reading Book Review: The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide, 2nd Edition
Well, it’s that time of the year again when many backpacking bloggers create a list of their favorite new gear from the prior year. How on earth (or why) can these folks have a slew of new backpacking gear year after year? Methinks they are focused on gear, not getting out often and walking. But I digress…
Then some of these bloggers publish web stats for their blog during the prior year. Really? How boring.
A few backpacking bloggers may only post some of their favorite pictures taken during the prior year or do a simple recap of some trip reports – I like what some of the “few” do. The rest, meh.
What is interesting is that campers and full time RVers who blog generally don’t do this. They simply keep writing about their adventures.
My backpacking gear hasn’t changed much in the past 4 or 5 years, so nothing to write about here. Same goes for our camping gear. Somewhere on this website are lists of the gear and equipment we use. You should be able to easily find those if you are interested.
Given this pessimistic outlook on gear, there is one piece of equipment that has been critical for every single backpacking or camping trip I have done since 2003.
Back in June I wrote a post, Please Help Save Off-Trail Hiking in Anza Borrego.
In October I posted an update, “We the People…” made a difference at Anza Borrego, where I stated,
The State indicated that the management of Anza Borrego State Park will continue to administer the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Cultural Preserve Management Plan of 2012, which is a huge victory.
The biggest challenge for “We the People” is the State is not transparent and it is often difficult to find out about the stuff they pull such as the proposed ban of off-trail hiking in Anza Borrego.
I am always dubious of statements made by politicians and government hacks, and have been looking for news to confirm my last post. What these politicians and hacks say they will do often does not happen. Today I received good news via an email from the California Department of Parks and Recreation:
Continue reading Update on Off-Trail Hiking in Anza Borrego State Park
Back in June I asked folks in this post to Please Help Save Off-Trail Hiking in Anza Borrego. It just dawned on my that an update to the situation was never communicated here.
Continue reading “We the People…” made a difference at Anza Borrego
THIS IS A BOOK I WON’T BE READING
Colin Fletcher is known as the “Father of Backpacking” and Robert Wehman has just published the only biography of the reclusive man.
You can purchase the book from Amazon as a Kindle version for $9.99 or paperback for $18.53. I have never heard of the author but the reviews have generally been very good.
I did buy it for a friend, but will pass on reading it myself.
Continue reading Walking Man: The Secret Life of Colin Fletcher (a biography)