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I was browsing the National Geographic website a few weeks ago when I came across a post for the ultimate hiker’s gear guide written by the famous long-distance hiker Andrew Skurka.  I read the synopsis of the book and within a few minutes I purchased my copy from Amazon.  Anyone who is interested in long backpacking trips should read this manual as it is an amazing resource written by an experienced backpacker and hiker.  Andrew covers all the tools and techniques, reviews different gear models with its pros and cons, provides his recommendations, and offers sample gear kits for trips in different parts of the United States.  Although it’s written from the perspective of a male hiker, I even found it very useful.  This is a great guide to add to one’s hiking/backpacking collection!

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Textbook for Sierra Club's Wilderness Basics Course

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to get back into backpacking, which I did a lot of during my graduate school days in Indiana.  If I want to upgrade my hiking trips this year, then I need to get out my dusty backpack and refine my backcountry skills.  The Sierra Club offers a 10-week course, the Wilderness Basics Course, for those interested in hiking, camping, and backpacking.  Once a week some 200 outdoors enthusiasts meet for a few hours and through lectures, slides, videos, presentations, and demonstrations learn about fitness, nutrition, sanitation, first aid, gear, navigation, trip preparation, animals, weather, and much more.  A car camp, desert backpack, navigation trip, and a snow camp are planned for students of varying levels.  So far I’m enjoying the class and looking forward to the trips.  I’ve never camped in the snow before so it will be a challenge.

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Book Review

A couple of months ago I read an excellent book about maps, Maphead, by Ken Jennings.  This is not a book about hiking, but as hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, we look at maps all the time.  Maphead is a very intriguing book and once I started I couldn’t finish reading it.  It covers a wide range of topics including geocaching, the low performance on geography tests in the United States, the art of collecting maps, the National Geographic Bee competitions, GPS devices, world travelers, and digital map making.  Jennings is both informative and witty in his approach to the subject matter.  I highly recommend this book!

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Book Review

Seems like this is my first book review/recommendation in a while.  Anyway, I was really engrossed in Into Thick Air last week.  For those of you who like witty travel narratives with an informative view of other cultures, then this is for you.  Author Jim Malusa recounts bicycling to the lowest point of six continents.  I don’t want to give too much away so in other words, read this book!

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