Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide

The Ultimate Hikers Gear Guide, by Andrew Skurka ★★★★★
This book is well written, and well printed, in a style fitting for National Geographic. Skurka is a professional adventurer, and advocates the ultralight technique, having developed a number of devices himself, including an alcohol stove made out of a cat food can. While the book is titled as a gear guide, it is really much more than that. Skurka offers numerous anecdotes of mistakes that he has made, including being horribly mispacked for his first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail when he was just a kid. The book abounds with advice on making the ultralight hike an enjoyable experience, whether hiking in the rain, desert, or frozen tundra of northern Alaska in winter. Skurka writes well, and the book was a joy to read. In addition, his appetites seem to parallel mine, as he doesn’t call for bizarre recipes for the trail. Rather, his advice on food, as for shelter, clothing, shoes, backpack, and other equipment is very commonsensical and something I would identify as consistent with the way I would tend to do things. This is not a book on the subtle details of backpacking, such as planning a trip, route finding, camp-building, etc. Skurka focuses on the experience of hiking and de-emphasizes the experience of camping. Camping advice will best be found elsewhere.