Thursday, April 5, 2012
Book Review: The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide: Tools & Techniques to Hit the Trail by Andrew Skurka
Have you ever been in REI looking at sleeping bags, clothing, boots, and shelters and found yourself overwhelmed with the different materials and options? What is the difference between this polyester shirt and this nylon shirt? Should I go synthetic or down on this sleeping bag? How accurate is this temperature rating? It can get overwhelming fast especially if you aren't an impulse shopper and want to make a really informed decision on your purchase.
National Geographic has just recently published a book entitled The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide: Tools & Techniques to Hit the Trail. Andrew Skurka is the author. If you are unfamiliar with this dude then let me introduce: Adventurer of the Year by Outside and National Geographic Adventure magazines; Person of the Year by Backpacker magazine; over 30,000 miles of trekking. Needless to say, the honors speak for themselves and his knowledge of current techniques, gear, and materials are invaluable. He has tried to condense this knowledge into the Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide.
This book is very informative and easy to read. It has great pictures and an awesome index for referencing. Topics include: clothing, footwear, sleeping bags and pads, shelters, navigation, trekking poles, food, cooking systems, water systems, packing, and small essentials. Skurka provides excellent comparisons of the different materials that comprise today's hiking and camping gear. These comparisons help provide making a better informed decision on what to purchase and the correct purpose to apply you acquisitions. What I found really helpful are the Tried and True sections of the book that include topics on foot care, packing, and finding the right camping spot. Skurka also details his choices in the various topics covered. These are called Skurka's picks. There is also a comparison chart at the end of the book providing packing essentials for the different terrains and climates of the USA and what to pack for those differences.
Overall this is an excellent guide and one that will last for a while. You can pick this book up at www.andrewskurka.com for $19.99 and any books purchased from the author's website will be signed by Andrew Skurka. If you want to go a cheaper route, you can get it from Amazon.com for $13.01 with no signature. You can follow Andrew Skurka on Twitter http://www.youtube.com/user/askurka.