I wanted to take a moment to highlight some new reading material that I’ve recently been working my way through, and provide a quick review for each. Highlights include a true story of a journey through a melting world, some science fiction, the newest backpacking gear, and an overview of backpacking gear in general with selection guides for beginners.
On Thin Ice by Eric Larsen and Hudson Lindenberger focuses on a final journey through the melting ice sheets of the Arctic, pulling hundreds of pounds of gear over precarious, dissolving sheets of ice. Through a journey that should have ended in catastrophe, a series of lucky moments and smart decision making is the difference between making it home and being swallowed by the collapsing ice. With a eye on the slushy waters of climate change, this book is well written, enthralling, and opens the eyes to the immense changes happening to our planet here and now. Although I won’t spoil anything here, it’s an excellent read that I highly recommend due to the fact that it’s a true story, and has scientific significance.
The Ultimate Hikers Gear Guide (second edition) by National Geographic and Andrew Skurka digs deep into backpacking gear. It covers every facet of equipment from tent materials, pole design, to even food, nutrition and hydration. It covers every major piece of gear, including examples, fairly detailed descriptions, and even includes personal pack lists from Andrew himself. There are a few shameless plugs on some of Skurka’s designs despite the intro stating a focus otherwise, and they get a little more attention than most, but other than that coverage is vast, fair, and I mostly agreed with the recommendations. It’s a good read for beginners, but does assume at least some common sense be applied.
Backpacker Magazine has published their annual gear guide. This year’s coverage depicts 157 products, ranging from rain gear, to backpacks to tents, and even includes smaller items like cooking gear and bottles. You’ll not read this for the reviews as they’re short, shallow and offer little in the way of detail, and it only focuses on new gear, so long standing favorites get left out, however, those who are simply interested in getting introduced to the newest gear to hit the market should look no further.
Wool by Hugh Howey is a collection of five books which follows the lives of several individuals who live in a concrete tower buried within the earth. Trapped by the now toxic air of the outside world, they live their lives mostly content through the rules and routines set forth by the leaders higher in the Silo, with only a small, blurring window to the outside world. That is, until members start to question where their history went, why they are there in the first place. Once one member is sentenced to die for breaking the rules, via a death walk to manually clean their only window into the dark, ruined outside world, a domino of curiosity, rage and a demand for the truth begins that results in an interesting story about reclaiming control, discovering truth and finding meaning in death. It’s a series that will surprise and isn’t afraid to kill of multiple main characters, but a great read if you’re patient and can handle slow moving stories that have big pay offs.
So check these out. I’ve quite enjoyed all of them, and they’re excellent ways to increase your knowledge about gear, the climate around us, or to simply pass the time while waiting out a torrential downpour while camping. Let me know if you have any questions!
The Hikers guide and On Thin Ice were provided to me at no cost, but Wool and Backpacker’s Gear Guide I paid for myself.