Category Archives: Book Review

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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Walking Man: The Secret Life of Colin Fletcher (a biography)





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.


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Rabid, the book

Rabid the book cover

In 2013, during a 5 month period, Libby Zangle hiked all 2,663 miles of the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail. In 2014 she published Rabid: The Pacific Crest Tail. ‘Cause Therapy Ain’t Working. There was no endorsement from Oprah; Rabid is not on any best seller list. Libby isn’t famous. She isn’t a hero.

If this paragraph sounds familiar to you, then you read my post Wild, the book, where I wrote:

In 1995, during a 3 month period, Cheryl Strayed hiked 1,100 miles of the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail. In 2012 she published Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. After an endorsement from Oprah, Wild topped the best seller lists. Cheryl became famous. She is a hero to many people.

There is no similarity between either women or either book.

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