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The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher
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The Complete Walker IV (edition 2002)

by Colin Fletcher, Chip Rawlins

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220452,892 (4.21)3
Member:Mikenielson
Title:The Complete Walker IV
Authors:Colin Fletcher
Other authors:Chip Rawlins
Info:Knopf (2002), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 864 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:hiking, backpacking all kinds

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The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher

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Showing 4 of 4
covers everything, explains gear choices and usage.
  Mikenielson | Jan 1, 2013 |
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. ( )
  jeff.maynes | Aug 17, 2011 |
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. ( )
  hhalliday | Aug 3, 2009 |
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. ( )
  Gutshot | Jul 15, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Colin Fletcherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rawlins, Chipmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375703233, Paperback)

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 delightful collection 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Discusses the latest developments in backpacking equipment and in attitudes towards the environment, and provides information on hiking techniques, clothing, first aid, cooking, selecting a campsite, and wilderness life.

(summary from another edition)

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