In today world, where everyone is an author and access to experts often involves wading through some mud, there are a few books that every outdoors fanatic can turn to for the cold hard facts. Whether hiking, climbing, kayaking or backpacking, camping requires at least some know-how. Here’s a breakdown of what’s sitting on my bookshelf.
Freedom of the Hills – The Mountaineers
Originally written as a textbook for instructors, Freedom of the Hills is widely regarded as the bible for all things in the mountains. Currently in its 7th or 8th addition, it holds step by step directions, theories and practices for anything and everything involved with safe, secure and enjoyable mountain travel. Included are written explanations, hand drawn diagrams, graphs, charts, lists and a total breakdown of everything you’ll need to know to get out into your favorite mountain range. When people ask where to get the most knowledge, the answer is always Freedom of the Hills.
The NOLS Cookery – Edited by Claudia Pearson
When it comes to food packing, storage and consumption, there is no better book than The NOLS Cookery. Apart from the standard selection of recipes, almost all of which are phenomenal, the NOLS Cookery includes a step by step explanation of food packing, storage and preparation. This includes formulas that answer the time old questions like “How much fuel should I bring?” or “How many calories should I eat?” It also teaches cooking techniques as basic as fire cooking and as advanced and back country baking. Even with the years under my belt, I cannot stress how often I reference this book.
Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backpackin’ Book – Allen O’Bannon & Illustrations by Mike Clelland
Allen and Mike have been writing and illustrating outdoor skills books for some time now. If your habit has to do with heading into the mountains they most likely have a book for you. As far as books go, these are probably my favorite series. They’re incredibly easy to read and are paired with cartoon style illustrations that are just as easy to interpret. If you’re headed out on the trail, pick up a copy of either the Really Cool Backpackin’ Book or Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips.
The Outward Bound Wilderness First-Aid Handbook – Jeffrey Isaac, P.A.-C.
As one of the industries oldest wilderness schools, Outward Bound has made a name for themselves as a leader in everything outdoors. Their wilderness First-Aid Handbook details incidents, practices and how-to’s for any emergency situation. Well written and easy to read this book carries with it the expertise of author Jeffrey Isaac, one of the country’s most experienced backcountry doctors.
Outdoor Leadership – John Graham
Outdoor Leadership, written by John Graham details the mindset, skills and techniques behind becoming a successful outdoor leader. Often, books on leadership get overlooked by your day-to-day, or weekend warrior. Leadership skills in the outdoors pertain to all people, professional guides or not. When a storm rolls in and things get bad, it’s important to have a basic understanding on how to react, respond and communicate even if you’re just out with friends. In this book, Graham details risk management, self confidence, communication skills and many other aspects that involve successfully working as a group and with other groups while in the outdoors.