Gift Guide

Walking Softly in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking / Edition 4

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (32) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $5.92   
  • Used (21) from $1.99   


The ultimate manual for wilderness travelers and campers, Walking Softly in the Wilderness is the groundbreaking guide that first taught backpackers how to enjoy a genuine wilderness experience that leaves nature undisturbed.
In recent years backpacking gear and practices have undergone many changes, and all are noted and expertly evaluated by author John Hart in this new edition. Covering the latest in "ultralight" gear choices, as well as downloadable maps, portable GPS devices, and the world of online information, Hart is a sure-footed guide to this changing scene.
The qualities that established this guide as the bible of camp and trail have also been polished and honed: its level-headed advice on trip planning and packing; insights for getting the most from a wilderness trip, whether a challenging mountain scramble or a leisurely family outing; and wisdom about dealing with the unexpected, from bears to flash floods to injuries. Seventy line drawings illustrate topics ranging from bear-bagging to rigging a tarp shelter. Extensive resource listings include wilderness agencies, gear suppliers, and online information sources.

Complete guide for both novic and veteran backpackers who want to explore the wilderness expertly and gently.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578051236
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 4/11/2005
  • Series: Sierra Club Outdoor Adventure Guide
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 520
  • Product dimensions: 4.48 (w) x 11.02 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

John Hart
John Hart is the author of Hiking the Great Basin and Storm Over Mono: The Mono Lake Battle and the California Water Future. He lives in Sonoma County, California.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Backpacking in the twenty-first century 2
2 Breaking in 9
3 The gear you need & how to choose it 16
4 Boots 31
5 Clothing 48
6 The pack 64
7 The bed 84
8 Shelter 101
9 Stove & kitchen 118
10 The rest of the load 138
11 Designing the trip 154
12 Planning food & fuel 167
13 Packing & preparations 177
14 To the trailhead 188
15 Life on your own two feet 192
16 Finding the way 207
17 Making camp 234
18 Fire & food 244
19 Shelter & bed 261
20 Sanitation & clean water 269
21 Breaking camp 281
22 Ultralight & other variants 286
23 Desert, canyon & coastline travel 301
24 The winter wilderness 313
25 Hiking & camping with kids 342
26 Trouble! 356
27 Some common medical problems 364
28 Threats from the environment 373
29 Problem animals & plants 385
30 Where the wild things are 412
31 Toward a wilderness forever 443
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2000

    Walking Softly in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking

    This book expounds endlessly on how best to limit the impact of people on the backcountry in the very best traditions of the Sierra Club. It's more of a philosophy book than a 'how to' book. If anyone wants to learn how to backpack and/or camp, he would be better advised to buy the several books by Karen Berger and Chris Townsend, in particular The Backpackers Handbook.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    Walking Softly in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking

    The original edition of this book was published in 1977 and it and the succeeding editions are sponsored by the Sierra Club. If you are a supporter of the eco values of the Sierra Club, that is reason enough to buy the book and you will be completely in sync with the authors basic proposition that we should care for the backpacking environment. I agreed with that thought in the first edition and still agree with it all these years later in this edition. Having said that, I do not value this book highly and do not recommend it to anyone, specifically not to novice backpackers. Here is the problem; the book expends the vast majority of its pages in the detailed listing of the component parts of gear such as packs, boots or tents and spends almost no time in telling you how to utilize the gear efficiently. The very essence of backpacking is doing. Putting the pack on and going. This book goes to great lengths to itemize the various straps on a backpack but really glosses over the where and how to use it and all the other gear associated with backpacking. In other words, it definitely is not a 'how to' book. For that, I recommend 'The Backpacker's Handbook' by Chris Townsend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)