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OWNER REVIEW - Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backpackin' Book - R. Lyon

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  • richardglyon
    To get next year s queue started. HTML is posted in the Tests/OR folder here: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%20Ba
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 26, 2006
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      To get next year's queue started. HTML is posted in the Tests/OR folder
      here:
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%20Ba\
      ckpackin%20Book%20R%20Lyon/
      <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%20B\
      ackpackin%20Book%20R%20Lyon/> . Happy New Year to all! Richard

      ALLEN & MIKE'S REALLY COOL BACKPACKIN' BOOK
      A Flacon Guide by Allen O'Bannon And Mike Clelland!

      Owner Review by Richard Lyon
      December 26, 2006

      Reviewer's Backpacking Background

      I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the
      Rockies since 1986. I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take
      three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes
      5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a
      long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced
      marches too. Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not
      yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose a bit of extra weight over
      foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.

      Product Details

      Author: Allen O'Bannon
      Illustrator: Mike Clelland! [He uses the exclamation point as part of
      his name.] [Note: In this review I occasionally refer to "the authors,"
      plural. While Mike! (yes, he uses the exclamation point after his first
      name when it is used alone) is never quoted, Allen often sets out his
      collaborator's point of view on a particular topic, and the
      illustrations are usually discursive and always helpful in getting a
      point across. I think he's earned co-author status.]
      Publisher: The Globe Pequot Press (http://www.globepequot.com
      <http://www.globepequot.com/globepequot/index.cfm> )
      Year purchased: 2006
      First published: 2001 by Falcon Press. Now in its fifth printing.
      Size: 6 x 9 inches (15 by 23 cm) (listed and measured)
      Weight: 8¼ oz (235 g) (measured)
      MSRP: $14.95 US
      Paperback, 162 pages. Heavily and hilariously illustrated with cartoon
      drawings by Mr. Clelland!.

      Review

      I bought this book because I so much enjoyed – and learned from
      – the authors' earlier Falcon Guide, Allen & Mike's Really Cool
      Telemark Tips. With its homey style, explanations in everyday English,
      and funny yet instructive illustrations this earlier book provided more
      information and led to more improvement than a dozen lessons. It wasn't
      merely useful, it was fun to read the book and try out the tips. So
      when I saw their Backpackin' Book at an airport bookstore I thought it
      might teach me some things about hiking and camping. At the least it
      would be good airplane fare and good for a laugh.

      Good for a laugh, many laughs, it definitely is. This book delivers
      much more than humor, though. It's now at the top of my list of books
      that I recommend to anyone who expresses an interest in backpacking, or
      anyone who requests a book about backpacking basics. Why? For one
      thing, the authors touch upon all of the basics that a novice should
      consider in preparing for the backcountry. Unlike Telemark Tips, the
      Backpackin' Book is not anecdotal; it contains organized and informative
      discussions of both principles and specifics. For example, the first
      chapter, "Dressing and Packing for the Outdoors," begins with a
      discussion of why and how to employ layering in clothes and then
      addresses the pluses and minuses of different fabrics, upper body
      layers, lower body layers, head layers, feet and hand layers, wind
      layers, bug protection, and rain layers appropriate for different
      climates. None of these sections is more than a page or two (usually
      including at least one cartoon drawing), but each suffices to get the
      reader thinking about what he or she needs. That's not to say the book
      is incomplete or superficial. From techniques for loading one's
      backpack to a very thorough list of other resources for the beginning
      backpacker, there's enough here to get anyone well started in
      three-season camping. (Winter camping is the subject of another Falcon
      Guide, Allen & Mike's Really Cool Book of Backcountry Skiing.)

      Allen's writing is direct and lucid and Mike!'s drawings are funny and
      informative. The authors intend to stimulate thought, not lay down
      fixed and fast rules. The reader won't find checklists for anything
      (though an appendix includes a useful set of categories that any
      backpacker should consider). While the authors do sometimes note their
      own choices and make suggestions about gear and techniques, with an
      emphasis on minimalist packing and inexpensive gear, neither is rigid or
      judgmental. To the contrary, both encourage the reader to develop a
      personal style and kit that suits his or her preferences and the chosen
      terrain and climate, and they poke gentle fun at ideologues of any
      stripe. The cartoon preceding the Introduction in my copy, focusing
      upon scientific measurement of the weight of a hat tassel, is at once
      the funniest and most insightful indictment I've ever seen of
      ounce-counting excess. All done in good part, though, as the text on
      what gear to carry stresses the benefits of going light and includes
      many practical tips on how to save weight.

      They don't lecture about gear, but Allen and Mike! are strict when it
      comes to respecting the backcountry and its permanent inhabitants, and
      the book includes a succinct appendix on Leave No Trace camping.

      Will an experienced backpacker learn anything from this book? I
      certainly did, and I've been hiking for more than four decades. I
      didn't adopt a new philosophy, try a new technique, or buy new gear, as
      this book is pitched toward the beginner, but I did pick up a few new
      tips or refinements that I will incorporate into my backcountry wardrobe
      and gear closet.

      Reading this book gave me much more than that, however. The authors'
      enthusiasm and obvious love of the backcountry reminded me why I hike
      and camp. What Allen and Mike! value the most and try to teach through
      this book is something they call backcountry style, with that word used
      in its broadest sense. To quote from Allen's Introduction, "Good style
      helps define a set of ethics for us as outdoor users." Another quote
      from the Introduction:

      "Some of the practices I talk about are more about courtesy to others
      than anything else. Some are just techniques designed to make you a
      better camper. Other practices help to minimize the effect you have on
      the land, whether you recognize it or not. Take the time to consider
      and accept those techniques and practices that ring true to you. If you
      are unsure of something, don't blow it off as the opinion of some
      crazy zealot – give it a try, ask opinions of others, and do some
      research. Only through education and experience can you learn more
      about the true nature of things. This is how you develop your skills
      and knowledge and protect the places you love."

      A great way to develop one's own style, I'd say. Every page of this
      book is infected with this sense of style. The authors let their
      readers know of nature's wonders and constantly point out that
      backpacking, after all, should be fun. The attitude and enjoyment of
      the greenest novice to the most experienced backpacker should benefit
      from that approach.





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 1, 2007
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

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      • rayestrella1
        Approval: OWNER REVIEW - Allen & Mike s Really Cool Backpackin Book - R. Lyon Hi Richard, Another fine review. I may have to find this book! One question, if
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 8, 2007
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          Approval: OWNER REVIEW - Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backpackin' Book -
          R. Lyon


          Hi Richard,

          Another fine review. I may have to find this book!

          One question, if the book is titled "Allen & Mike's" not "Allen &
          Mike!'s" why do you have the ! with Mike's name?

          I can find no edits. The very last line may smack of projection as it
          is hard to say for sure what anyone "should" do.

          You can place it here;

          Reviews > Books > Field Guides > Allen & Mikes Backpackin Book

          Thanks,

          Ray
        • richardglyon
          Ray, He uses the exclamation point everywhere else so I went by majority vote. Their other books are just as good as this one, and just as funny. I know that
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 8, 2007
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            Ray,
            He uses the exclamation point everywhere else so I went by majority
            vote. Their other books are just as good as this one, and just as
            funny. I know that you do a lot of winter camping so you might like
            the Backcountry Ski book especially. Richard
            --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
            <rayestrella@...> wrote:
            >
            > Approval: OWNER REVIEW - Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backpackin'
            Book -
            > R. Lyon
            >
            >
            > Hi Richard,
            >
            > Another fine review. I may have to find this book!
            >
            > One question, if the book is titled "Allen & Mike's" not "Allen &
            > Mike!'s" why do you have the ! with Mike's name?
            >
            > I can find no edits. The very last line may smack of projection as
            it
            > is hard to say for sure what anyone "should" do.
            >
            > You can place it here;
            >
            > Reviews > Books > Field Guides > Allen & Mikes Backpackin Book
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            > Ray
            >
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