The Complete Walker IV Paperback – 1 May 2002
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"Undoubtedly the best how-to book in the backpacking field."
From the Inside Flap
For the first time since 1984, we have a new edition of the classic book that "Field & Stream called "the Hiker's Bible." For this version, the celebrated writer and hiker Colin Fletcher has taken on a coauthor, Chip Rawlins, himself an avid outdoorsman and a poet from Wyoming. Together, they have made this fourth edition of "The Complete Walker the most informative, entertaining, and thorough version yet.
The eighteen years since the publication of "The Complete Walker III have seen revolutionary changes in hiking and camping equipment: developments in waterproofing technology, smaller and more durable stoves, lighter boots, more manageable tents, and a wider array of food options. The equipment recommendations are therefore not merely revised and tweaked, but completely revamped. During these two decades we have also seen a deepening of environmental consciousness. Not only has backpacking become more popular, but a whole ethic of responsible outdoorsmanship has emerged. In this book the authors confidently lead us through these technological, ethical, and spiritual changes.
Fletcher and Rawlins's thorough appraisal and recommendation of equipment begins with a "Ground Plan," a discussion of general hiking preparedness. How much to bring? What are the ideal clothes, food, boots, and tents for your trip? They evaluate each of these variables in detail--including open, honest critiques and endorsements of brand-name equipment. Their equipment searches are exhaustive; they talk in detail about everything from socks to freeze-dried trail curries.
They end as they began, with a philosophical and literary disquisition on the reasons to walk, capped off with a delightfulcollection of quotes about walking and the outdoor life. After a thoughtful and painstaking analysis of hiking gear from hats to boots, from longjohns to tent flaps, they remind us that ultimately hiking is about the experience of being outdoors and seeing the green world anew.
Like its predecessors, "The Complete Walker IV is an essential purchase for anyone captivated by the outdoor life.
"From the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I decided to see what the latest version of the Complete Walker (IV) had to offer partly for nostalgia. . Even though it was printed in 2002, I found it extremely useful covering a lot of the changes that have taken place philosophically as well as technically since Colin Fletcher wrote the first version. Obviously a book published in 2002 will not critique the latest gear but it does provide thoughtful insights on where the current technology fits.
Chip Rawlins is a welcome addition and with his contributions helps the book cover today's wider scope. I especially like the comments attributed to each author to give a perspective on what's happening today and leverage each man's experience. And that's what this book is all about, experience! I'll still need Amazon Reviews, YouTube, and Internet for research and relearning my passion but I'll rely on Colin and Chris to help me see the journey more clearly.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
OH MY GOSH. 800+ pages of the most useful, precise information i've ever read anywhere (and i've read a lot). these two guys know their stuff, and are eloquent, realistic, CLEAR, and mildly humourous when they talk about it. this is so far above & beyond the quality of other books on the subject - i'm blown away. i've been reading it nonstop for 5 days. it covers everything: shoes (from full-scale boots to trail runners to hiking sandals & tons in-between), socks, packs, tents, clothing, weather, food, cooking, stoves, lights, hats, animals... the authors have EXTENSIVE experience and it really shines through. there is an extensive listing of additional reading material on every subject they discuss, plus gear lists from various trips of their own. this is a treasure trove.
as a HUGE plus, the book is fun to read. witty, wry humour and their very honest accounts of their own dumb mistakes help readers not to feel like we're begging at the table for crumbs of their vast banquet of knowledge.
if you feel like you could stand to learn a little more about ANY aspect of backpacking, this book will totally exceed your expectations. it's THE MOST useful book i've read in a long, long time.
I found it strange to read Rawlins writing about his ex-wife over and over again in these pages.
Regarding equipment reviews I don't see much point in reviewing specific gear choices as so many products in the outdoor industry are replaced every couple of years now. This is a static snapshot at best and it would be better to cover design generalities rather than specific tents and packs that will be out of production by the time you read this book.
I'd also prefer to see more discussion about technique than equipment.
The author is a colorful character named Colin Fletcher, although for this edition (which came out in 2002) he has a co-author named Chip Rawlins. He needs the co-author since he was just short of 80 in 2002, so wasn't getting out on the trails as frequently as he used to. And there's a lot of new gear out there.
Over the years Fletcher has written a number of books about his long hikes, including a six month walk through the Grand Canyon.
The Complete Walker IV contains a huge amount of information, much of it irrelevant to me, since I wont be snowshoeing through mountains or crossing the Colorado river on my air mattress. But it also contains great information if, like me, you are planning on doing some brief campouts in the spring and summer, including two and three night backpacking expeditions with young sons.
This is why I decided to re-read the book in it's new edition. After all, there's plenty of stuff that didn't even exist in 1970, like fleece clothes and self-inflating sleeping pads, as well as huge improvement in things like tents and backpacking stoves. So figured it was worth re-visiting the book.
And I wasn't disappointed. The Complete Walker IV is still a breeze to read (skimming or skipping the irrelevant sections), written with elegant humor and vigorous prose and loaded with advice on equipment and technique. It is very comprehensive, and also offers many suggestions for additional reading. For example, based on their recommendations I looked at a number of books on first aid and mountaineering medicine and have purchased two through Amazon.
So highly recommended if you have any interest at all in the subject - still "the hiker's Bible" as it was first labelled by Field and Stream in 1968.