I grew up hiking, but the idea of strapping on a 35-pound backpack and hiking around did not looking appealing at first glance, until Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backpackin’ Book: Traveling & camping skills for a wilderness environment!
When I was in college I worked at our campus bookstore and shelved this book written by Allen O’Bannon with illustrations by Mike Clelland. When the text department was slow I would find myself wandering over to the Physical Education section and leafing through pages of backpacking tips and tricks. I would get distracted from other tasks by all of the fun and informative illustrations in this book. Later I looked up what class PHED 121 was, and what do you know – Backpacking. I signed up for the class the next semester.
Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backpackin’ Book covers information from equipment to travel techniques and trip planning to weathering a lighting storm. Plus, there’s a whole section on pooping in the woods. This is a popular topic among trail-traveled backpackers; but a potentially embarrassing topic for newbies, so no worries, with this section you’ll really know your scat. *wink*
This book is incredibly informative for those new to backpacking and veterans looking for new ideas. It’s not your typical learn-about-backpacking book; it has a sense of humor. When I was reading it, I felt like I was getting advice from a trail-savvy friend instead of getting lectured by a backpacking know-it-all. Plus, did I mention I love the illustrations in this book? I’m a visual person, so technical reading slogged down with text can be a snooze-fest for me. This was nothing like that, the illustrations combined with the conversational writing style, in my opinion, gives this book five trekking poles, or hiking boots, or some other clever rating system for backpacking books.