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Book review: Trailside Guide: Hiking and Backpacking

Trailside Guide: Hiking and Backpacking, New Edition Trailside Guide: Hiking and Backpacking, New Edition by Karen Berger

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I've always liked hiking trails and walking through the woods, and last year I went backpacking in Manistee National Forest. A friend who knows about my interest in backpacking gave me this book to borrow.

I'd much rather learn about hiking and backpacking while actually on the trail, so I can't say I especially enjoyed this book. But that's more a statement about book-learning versus hands-on learning than a reflection of the book's quality. It's full of useful advice and makes a decent primer for the novice backpacker.

The book broadly covers many hiking and backpacking topics, and is a livelier read than you might expect thanks to the author's humor and a decent number of illustrations and photos (some showcasing the clothing and grooming fashions of backwoods hikers).

The author provides tips for purchasing and using clothes, packs, cooking equipment, tents, and other gear. She suggests that you shop based on quality, not price, and keep in mind that although hiking gear may be expensive up front, it allows you to take many inexpensive vacations.

Additional topics include comfortable walking habits, packing and preparing food, wilderness safety and survival, finding (or avoiding) wildlife, and navigation methods.

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