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Random House The Complete Walker IV

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Random House The Complete Walker IV camping/hiking/backpacking book

THE Classic Compendium of Backpacking.


  • Entertaining and informative


  • 'Tis a weighty tome
  • Last revision starting to show its age

In the 1970s Colin Fletcher inspired a generation to get outside with his books The Thousand Mile Summer and The Man Who Walked Through Time. He then started the "Complete" series and told us the nuts and bolts of doing it. 

The newest revision (now only 16 years old but still seems surprisingly current) has a new format where Colin and his co-author Chip Rawlins do a back-and-forth on various topics, which may put off fans of earlier editions. I found Rawlins to be a worthy curmudgeon-in-training and a good foil to the elder statesman.

Never preachy, the discussions of gear and techniques are balanced. Fletcher stresses that everyone finds their own unique style, and has proven his own adaptability over the decades by embracing new gear and ideas.

There is a TON of information here (the word "Complete" is, after all, featured prominently in the title) but the book contains an excellent index. Less-than-fanatical gearhead types can easily pick and choose their topic of the day. 

Still the best single reference book for backpacking.

Happy Camping


Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $3.79 on

Really good book.. Lots of info in it.


  • Tons of info
  • For real... tons of info


  • Tends to get a bit boring

Got this book used on Amazon. It's good, don't get me wrong, it's just a massive amount of info. I still have yet to finish it. Mostly because I can only read 2 or 3 pages at a time.

There are other editions on Amazon for sale. Make sure if you check it out to get IV; III was written in the '80s or the early '90s... so the info in those are old.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $8 on Amazon

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Price Historic Range: $12.93-$25.95
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