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The Complete Walker IV 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Complete Walker IV is certainly complete and now with two authors you get two people who have no qualms about telling you everything that you ever wanted to know on the subject. Fletcher has now teamed up with Chip Rawlins and the union is rewarding for readers. The old and the new illustrations (by Vanna Prince and by Hanna Hinchman) are numerous and remarkable. It is certainly the best researched and most thorough book on backpacking I have seen, but more importantly, it is written in an original and entertaining style. The authors do not loose sight of the importance of understanding life outside the ¿civilized world¿ and that the equipment is only a means to that end. The first chapter is ¿Why Walk¿ and the last is ¿Learn of the Green World.¿ They review representative samples of the gazillion items available to backpackers these days. I liked it when they described their personal experiences and experiments with everything from air mattresses to zippers. Much more than a ¿Consumers Reports¿ on backpacking gear, they have covered ¿how-to¿ in detail. Some examples are: Options for menus and a complete description of typical meals as well as a healthy dissertation on nutrition. There is an equation for calculating the volume of a pack that you will need for a trip. Good information on foot care including getting feet ready, preventing problems, boot fit, and a ¿freaking marvelous¿ exercise for tired feet. They cover how much water to carry, when to drink, but also details on water purification (16 pages) that appear well researched and important. How to fit and adjust a pack,and on and on, including good comments and ideas from readers of prior editions of the book. Fletcher tells a good story about meeting a fellow in death valley who had (inadvertently?) stolen a water cache and it made him wonder about his caches that his life would depend on in the coming days. Rawlins reports include tables on insulated cups, tents, water filters, and stoves in his ¿cruel world¿ experiments, often with surprising results. Both authors include their personal habits and preferences on everything from afternoon tea to ziploc bags. They review issues to consider and parts to inspect before you spend your money on gear. They add some sanity to a world of marketing hype and outrageous claims about fabrics, insulation and gadgets. Their approach is direct, but not too direct. They cover backcountry ethics and add some philosophy, but only where appropriate. Some information and illustration is identical to the previous edition, but only where befitting. Their humor and writing style held my interest for 845 pages. If you can afford only one book on backpacking, I recommend this one. Freaking marvelous.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found Walker IV last year and it became invaluable over the course of the summer. Knowing what to take is everything if you're going out for two weeks and I think I saved myself alot of grief knowing what to choose for my 45 pound pack. I thought I was a pretty seasoned backpacker. The Complete shaved off at least 5 pounds of stuff I really didn't need. It's a handy resource in more ways than one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An immense amount of information. No other single source has as much information about the nitty gritty of what you need when backpacking. I've read all of Colin Fletcher's published books, from Thousand Mile Summer forward. He is a great story teller. In this tandem book with Chip Rawlins, there is not much of the story telling. A cover to cover read is a little tedious, but necessary, just so you have an idea of all the information contained in the book. Later, when you really need to know, you know where to find it. This is the classic gear book. Find out about the thermal death point, how to walk on snowshoes, why not to dent the top of your hat, how to find water in the desert, how to fit your pack, ...
hhalliday on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading this one a little at a time & almost done with it now. Many surprisingly beautiful passages for a reference book about hiking. Example: the description of the author's experience of very briefly feeling empathy for a snake because he witnesses it yawning & napping.
jeff.maynes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Complete Walker IV is touted, right on its own cover, as "the Hiker's Bible." While this trope is frequently bandied about, it is well earned in this case. This book really is the definitive volume on hiking, and it should be on the book case of anyone interested in it.In this fourth edition, long time author Colin Fletcher takes on a co-author, Chip Rawlins. Chip (in the book, they use their first names, and so I will follow suit here) tends to discuss modern equipment, and both talk about technique, practice and the very nature of the activity. My use of the term "talk" is quite deliberate. The book is setup as a conversation, with each taking turns discussing the topic at hand. One really feels that you are at a local mountain shop, listening to the old hands discuss hiking and gear. Not only is it endlessly informative, but it is also really entertaining.Much of the book is made up of discussion and review of equipment options. While this part of the book is rather dated (a lot has happened in the world of hiking gear since 2002), the section is by no means unhelpful. Rather than simply picking models and reviewing them, Colin and Chip discuss the theory behind the products - what they are meant to do and how new technology helps achieve those goals. While you may not turn to them for a tent recommendation, you should turn to them before looking for a new tent. They arm the reader with the right questions, the right set of standards for judging new equipment. One weakness of the conversational format is that they do occasionally stray into some rather weak defenses of their way of thinking about hiking (e.g., Colin's opposition to hiking guidebooks). In the text, Colin especially, explicitly points out that he does not have an argument, and that he has heard from thoughtful critics of his views. Yet, the case he wants to make in these instances remains substantially underdeveloped, and are, as a result, rather forgettable asides. Despite this complaint, this is a book that should be in every hiker's library. It provides you with an excellent introduction to the theory of gear selection, it provides you with some tips and instruction, it provides you with ample discussion of the value of hiking, and best of all, it is overflowing with the love of walking and the outdoors that drives us. Highly recommended.
Gutshot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nicely illustrated, well written, and broken down into logical subjects. I read, or rather skimmed, an older version, Complete Walker II or III. Outdoor gear changes so much that those additions aren't much use anymore. In this addition the original author has brought in a second, younger author to help keep the information up to date. What's more they've turned it into an almost conversational volume. It's like sitting at the feet of two experts and listening as they chat, simply soaking in their wisdom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago