Open main menu

Outdoor Skills Books

The best outdoor skills books, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. The latest review was added on August 25, 2020. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.

In order to show you the most useful information, we have omitted some unreviewed products. View the complete product list »

Recent Outdoor Skills Book Reviews

rated 5 of 5 stars
Frank Amato Publications The Curtis Creek Manifesto

"The Curtis Creek Manifesto" is probably the number one book available on the basics of fly fishing. The author and illustrator, Sheridan Anderson, created a unique and entertaining guide that will provide everything a person needs to know to get started fly fishing and it's done in a book that is only 48 pages long. It has been considered a classic ever since it was first published in 1978. About twenty years ago I was just getting into fly fishing and during a fishing trip a friend recommended… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Patagonia Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques For Tenkara And Rod & Reel

In-depth, but engaging book focused on simplifying fly fishing. It is a great balance of skills, stories, and phenomenal photography. A great book for anyone interested in flying fishing or just interested in learning new skills. Written by Yvon Chouinard, Craig Mathews, and Mauro Mazzo, Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara and Rod & Reel is a fantastic book on the art and lifestyle of fishing in it most basic form. All three of the authors are lifelong fisherman with decades of experiences. Full review

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 Because of the contributions of two different authors, I found some of the chapters a little disjointed and out-of-date.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