The Complete Walker IV

Colin Fletcher

Book cover

“Complete” is the right adjective.

I have to confess that I got this book for Elise as a birthday present and then proceeded to read it myself. (In my defense, it was a side present anyway.) CW has some sections on the philosophy and aesthetics of hiking, but mostly, it is all about gear–what you need for backpacking. I read it in advance of our Nova Scotia trip this summer, though I don’t think we’ll be doing anything quite serious enough to be called backpacking.

Fletcher is a pleasant guide, and it definitely takes a good voice to get a reader through nearly 800 pages on equipment. Interestingly, for a book that is all about gear, CW seems completely non-commercial.

I wouldn’t really recommend this book as a straight-through read (for others), though I would definitely recommend it as a reference/dip-in book. For me, it was a perfect way to be able to keep feeling excited about an upcoming hiking trip while waiting for it to actually come.

I will probably have to go back through when deciding on gear, but there were a couple of things that really stood out to me–I cannot imagine buying any camp stove except the alcohol-burning Trangia (“the haiku of stoves”!), and I was utterly charmed by the description of a visit to the headquarters of pack-maker Osprey.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars