Outdoor Skills Books

The best outdoor skills books, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. The latest review was added on March 18, 2019. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.

Recent Outdoor Skills Book Reviews

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Falcon Guides The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking

While no book about sea kayaking is enough to make you a pro paddler (this requires training and experience), "The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking" provides a comprehensive outline of the skills required by aspiring sea kayakers. The 6th edition (2018) has been updated and revised by Wayne Horodowich, who is Derek Hutchinson's (original author) longtime friend and paddling partner. Because of the contributions of two different authors, I found some of the chapters a little disjointed and out-of-date. Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Pacific Adventures Press The Hungry Spork

This is a very practical and useful book focused on long distance hiker meal planning, but is also just as useful to anyone who goes out on multi-day trips. I have never been a real foodie, so when I go out on multi-day trips I generally don't spend much time planning for what food I'll bring which means I end up with tortillas, energy bars, nuts and candy bars, etc.  I also stopped bringing a stove a long time ago to save weight, so I don't have any hot food or drinks during a trip. For the longest… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Random House The Complete Walker IV

THE Classic Compendium of Backpacking. 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… Full review

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Backpacking Food: Recipes, Rations, Stoves and Storage by Andrew Skurka

Recipes, cookware, and tips for the UL-minded, much of which will also prove useful at other comfort levels. Ultra-hiker Andrew Skurka condenses his many thousands of miles worth of trail food wisdom into this little (37 page) book. I am reviewing the "Pre-edition v2" which I purchased as a $5 pdf file in early 2016. As of June 2017 the project still seems to be in the pre-edition phase (you can get the pdf here). The book opens with brief, first-person accounts of some "food-related mistakes" Skurka… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
The Mountaineers Books Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills

This is an excellent resource for information related to general mountaineering, but also for a broad range of topics from basic backcountry equipment and navigation, to rock and ice climbing, and a number of other associated topics. The most significant aspect of this book that sets it apart from other mountaineering/climbing references is not necessarily the specific material within the book, but how that content comes into being. This book is a great resource for any experienced back country… Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
The A.T. Guide (2016 Northbound)

"The AT Guide" by David (Awol) Miller is one of the most comprehensive and easy guides I have used. The guide lists services to get you to Georgia and local hostels and services to get you home from Maine. It lists the water sources and has detailed maps of towns for resupply and rest. It also lists shuttle suppliers and outfitters to exchange or repair gear. Kennels close to the trail are listed for those with hiking buddies.. It's revised yearly because costs change from service providers. It's… Full review

rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Globe Pequot Lipsmackin' Backpackin'

Lipsmackin' Backpackin' is a look at the recipes and menu planning of the Long Distance Backpacker. The book takes you from Breakfast to Drinks and all in between. The recipes are easy to follow and instructions, but the key item you will need is a dehydrator to put together your meals. They also have a page on meal systems for people who like to plan by the day. CopyRight: 2000  ISBN:13-978-1-56044-881-5 I've had Lipsmackin' Backpackin' for well over a year. It's been one of the many cookbooks… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Falcon Guides Backpacker The National Parks Coast to Coast: 100 Best Hikes

A great resource for 100 of the most iconic hikes in our National Parks. Excellent skills sections. Beta on each hike from finding the trailhead to GPS coordinates. With the celebration of the 100th anniversary of our National Parks this year, it is timely to see the publication of the hiking guide The National Parks Coast to Coast, 100 Best Hikes. I was quite intrigued to see what hikes would be considered 100 of the best hikes of our National Parks. This nicely organized book starts with a two-page… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Justin Lichter Trail Tested: A Thru-Hiker's Insights Into Hiking and Backpacking

An informative read into a unique travel style. The book offers great tricks and insights to try out the next time you hit the trail. Justin's many miles of experience manifest themselves in humility and pragmatism. He makes you realize that he's just a dude, and if he can do it, you can too. The book is divided into well organized topics related to long-distance ultralight thru hiking. Justin then gives suggestions from experience, on the best gear and/or techniques to use related to the topics. Full review

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