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#126733 - 01/13/10 06:08 AM New to backpacking - book recommendations
mi77915 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 5
Loc: michigan
Hi,

I am new here and new to backpacking. I am looking for a good introductory book the will help me get started in this great hobby. The only thing that I have done that is related to backpacking, are some short hikes thru my local nature center (these trails are less then 1 mile in length). My plan is to do some hiking on local trails that will last a good part of a day, no overnights just yet. The only gear that I have so far is a good pair of hiking boots. So, I am a complete "newb" at this, any suggestions on where to start?

Thank you,

Tom

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#126734 - 01/13/10 07:10 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: mi77915]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher.
_________________________
Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#126735 - 01/13/10 07:45 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: mi77915]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1153
Loc: Florida panhandle

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#126866 - 01/16/10 04:12 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: PerryMK]
mi77915 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 5
Loc: michigan
I got a copy of "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. From what I have been reading about this book, it should be pretty close to what I originally wanted.

Tom

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#126869 - 01/16/10 05:04 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: mi77915]
Eugene Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/09
Posts: 60
Loc: San Diego, CA
Karen Berger's Backpacking and Hiking book is really easy to read and has nice illustrations. It covers the basics for beginners.

Ray Jardine's book may be a good second book to read as it gets much more advanced. It's more oriented towards a long distance hiker, but there's still a lot that you can apply to shorter hikes. He may be a little irritating to read...he comes off as a bit of a pompous hippie to me, and I've heard from other that that's the way he actually is, but don't let that stop you from getting what you can out of his book.

I've heard Complete Walker is good, but I haven't read it yet.

There's also a For Dummies book that appears to be pretty comprehensive, but I haven't read it yet.

The last two books are on my reading list. Even though a lot of the basic stuff is old knowledge, it sure doesn't hurt to review.
_________________________
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#126930 - 01/17/10 08:27 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: Eugene]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1719
Loc: Napa, CA
My favorites include:

Compleat Walker---the most recent version is huge, with way too much information about everything! And Fletcher's two other books, the 1000 mile Summer and The Man Who Walked Through Time are both wonderful.

Sierra North and Sierra South--great guides.

Read those and you won't have any more time for books, you will be too excited about getting out on the trail!
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#127537 - 01/28/10 07:59 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: balzaccom]
Bobc Offline
member

Registered: 11/07/09
Posts: 26
Loc: SC
The Complete Walker, all are good, The Man who walked through time. Off the Beaten Path

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#127890 - 02/02/10 06:58 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: mi77915]
AtomBum Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 1
Loc: Michigan
I see that you are in Michigan, there is a book written by Jim DuFresne called Backpacking in Michigan that gives a fair level of detail on about 50 different hikes. It tells you how difficult each trail is, about how long it should take, and there are maps, which is nice. It's nice to see the huge variety of trails available close to home.

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#128081 - 02/04/10 07:34 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: mi77915]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Then you didn't want much, backpacking-wise. There are also far better books available on the AT, such as White Blaze Fever or a number of other books by hikers who actually did hike the whole trail for real. Bryson's book is entertaining and highly amusing, but absolutely worthless if you want to learn anything about backpacking as it really happens.

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#128082 - 02/04/10 07:36 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: scottyb]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Heartily agree - I read the original Complete Walker as my only guide to getting started, then took a trip at a local park. (Of course the original was about 200 pages shorter than the current version.)

For beginners' books, anything by Chris Townsend or Karen Berger is also good.

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#128096 - 02/04/10 01:53 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: mi77915]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Washington State, King County
To get a perspective on the whole "lightweight" backpacking movement, I suggest either "Lightweight Backpacking & Camping: A Field Guide to Wilderness Hiking", by Ryan Jordan, or "Lighten Up!", by Don Ladigan. The former is more extensive, the latter is a quicker read with a lot of illustrations.

A lot of people find that they enjoy backpacking much better if they can significantly reduce their pack weight without paying too-o-o much money to do so or overly compromising either safety or comfort. Getting it right (or at least "less wrong") to begin with can save a lot of money in cycles of replacing gear with ever lighter variants.

So I suggest that you get one of these from your local library; ask the librarian about "interlibrary loan" if your immediate library system doesn't carry either one.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#128145 - 02/05/10 07:33 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: BrianLe]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Karen Berger's Hiking Light Handbook is also very good. It's not as "hard core" as the two you mention, so it is a good transitional book for those who don't want to move all the way to the ultralight end, or want to wade in (knowing that they will change gear twice: once to light, then to ultralight.)

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#128261 - 02/06/10 02:02 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: Glenn]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Washington State, King County
Yup, and if you want to "complete the whole set", a couple of other books on lightweight backpacking are "Trail Life: Ray Jardine's Lightweight Backpacking", by Ray Jardine and "The Boomer's Guide to Lightweight Backpacking", by Carol Corbridge.

I don't think of the first two that I mentioned as incredibly "hard core", or at least, they don't necessarily force the reader into a "go crazy over this stuff or leave it completely alone" sort of false choice. I personally would still go with one of the first two that I mentioned, leaving the reader to sort through for themselves what kind of ideas appeal to them and which do not (yet ... or perhaps ever).

To be fair, I haven't read Karen Berger's book in detail (I don't think?), but having been through the others to some degree at least there is of course a lot of redundancy between them. Jardine is renowned for being pretty opinionated, so good to calibrate that and recognize that not everyone considers his personal opinion on various topics the "one and only valid way", but his personal spin can be helpful too.

Still, my suggestion is to pick just one book, and for me it would be the one by Ryan Jordan.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#128282 - 02/06/10 04:50 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: BrianLe]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
If I could have only one, and knew I was headed toward ultralight, I agree: Jordan et. al. are excellent.

By "hard core," I'm referring to the bleeding edge a few years ago, when Jordan's book first came out, not where it is today. If I remember the book right, there's a definite bias toward frameless packs, alcohol stoves, closed-cell foam, and single-wall shelters - and 12-pound base weights when "traditional" was twenty or more. Now, since ultralight has gotten the attention of mainline manufacturers, those 12-pound base weights are possible with more "traditional" gear: reasonable-size internal frame packs rarely exceed 3 pounds, double-wall solo tents like the BA Fly Creek or MSR Carbon Reflex come in at 2 pounds or so, dependable canister stoves compete with alcohol at very equal weights, and inflatable pads like the NeoAir take comfort out of the "luxury" category (but none of this stuff gets you out of the "expensive" category.)

As a guide to ultralight, Jordan's is the best out there. But Berger's approach is a little more oriented toward the beginning (and usually traditional) backpacker - which I thought the original poster was. If the OP has any taste at all for ultralight, though, Jordan's book is great.


Edited by Glenn (02/06/10 04:50 PM)

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#128310 - 02/07/10 12:42 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: Glenn]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
In addtion to the excellent articles on the home page of this website, http://www.backpacking.net/, here's one from Backpacking Light, for free! Backpacking 101


Edited by OregonMouse (02/07/10 12:46 AM)
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#137381 - 08/08/10 03:35 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: PerryMK]
Ol Dirty Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/08/10
Posts: 8
Loc: Rockingham County; NC
Can anyone tell me about this book "The Complete Idiotís Guide to Backpacking and Hiking"

I'm considering buying this book, but I was hoping to find a review on it here. My searching skills may be very poor; I couldn't find a review. I don't mean to hi-jack this post; however, it seems like a good place to post my question as it's right on topic.

Are the books suggested here for absolute beginners?
I have camping experience, and I navigate without trails, through woods almost nightly while raccoon hunting with my hounds. Although I am not completely new to the woods, I need a book that will show me how to pack, tell me what to pack, and alert me to situations that I have not thought of.
I looking for a book in extrema layman's terms to begin with.


Edited by Ol Dirty GNATS (08/08/10 03:43 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling errors

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#137474 - 08/09/10 10:09 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: Ol Dirty]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Ol Dirty GNATS
Can anyone tell me about this book "The Complete Idiotís Guide to Backpacking and Hiking"

I'm considering buying this book, but I was hoping to find a review on it here. My searching skills may be very poor; I couldn't find a review. I don't mean to hi-jack this post; however, it seems like a good place to post my question as it's right on topic.

Are the books suggested here for absolute beginners?
I have camping experience, and I navigate without trails, through woods almost nightly while raccoon hunting with my hounds. Although I am not completely new to the woods, I need a book that will show me how to pack, tell me what to pack, and alert me to situations that I have not thought of.
I looking for a book in extrema layman's terms to begin with.


Might be good or bad, but imo, if you want a book, just get the original..

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Walker-IV...5966&sr=8-2

realisticly speaking though, you may find that by having a few discussions with people here, looking at a few gear lists (some of us post ours) from people here and on www.backpacking.net (look at the "18 pound three day list" and the "27 pound 7 day list") You may find that if you are already use to being outside, you may be just fine with advice from other sources than a book.

That isn't to say just believe everything you hear on the internet of course, but really - it's just walking wink

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Winter list.
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#137517 - 08/11/10 12:54 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: phat]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1719
Loc: Napa, CA
We've got a gear list on our site as well...not "bleeding edge" but we still get out and cover more ground than most people.

_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#138471 - 09/07/10 11:15 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: PerryMK]
goohoo Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/07/10
Posts: 1
Complete Walker has any e-book available? thanks.

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#141405 - 11/03/10 06:02 AM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: goohoo]
mi77915 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 5
Loc: michigan
Thanks everyone!!!! Lots of great info in this thread. I have read (part of the suggestions here), "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, and I just finished "AWOL on the Appalachian Trail" by David Miller. Both were good books, I enjoyed reading both of them. Thanks again for ALL your suggestions and recommendations!!!

Tom

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#160574 - 01/17/12 11:49 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: mi77915]
spwhite24 Offline
member

Registered: 03/11/11
Posts: 20
Loc: Bucyrus, OH. USA
Take a look at the KNACK Hiking and Backpacking by Falcon Guides. I like it and have bought copies as gifts for ones starting out.

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#160609 - 01/18/12 03:12 PM Re: New to backpacking - book recommendations [Re: spwhite24]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
As a practicing Old Codger, I was always kind of turned off by the "collection of factoids" arrangement of this book (and several other recently-issued books.) However, based on your recommendation, I may have to take a closer look the next time I'm at the local bookstore. Maybe I'll get used to all this new-fangled modern stuff yet (I even bought a Nook Simple, and am actually using it - one book I'm currently reading is the newest version of Chris Townsends Handbook.)

Thanks for the recommendation.

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