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#143254 - 08/08/08 02:45 PM Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Hi all,

I am an avid reader on outdoor topics and I have heard author Colin Fletcher's name mentioned a few times here on the forum. I understand that he was the man credited with starting the backpacking movement in the 1960's.

I have located a source for some of his books, but now have to select which ones to order.

Some or the titles are:

- The Complete Walker: The Joys and Techniques of Hiking and Backpacking
- The NEW Complete Walker: The Joys and Techniques of Hiking and Backpacking
- Complete Walker III
- The Man Who Walked Through Time
- The 1000-mile Summer in the Desert and High Sierra

So to those who are familiar with Colin Fletchers books; are they any good and could you recommend one of them?

Addition: I just found a copy of The Complete Walker IV at Chapters, it seems to be an updated version (2002) of the previous 3 books, it is huge at 864 pages. Have any of you read it?

Thanks,

Mike



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#143261 - 08/08/08 03:26 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: SwampDonkey]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3607
Loc: TX
I liked "The Man Who Walked Through Time" though I found it a bit...crunchy...at times. I also have The Complete Walker III and it is filled with great info.

I reccommend buying the newest version of The Complete Walker and getting the Man Who Walked Through Time from a library or used book store.

-Blast
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#143281 - 08/08/08 04:57 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: SwampDonkey]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Colin Fletcher has a number of great reads. The Complete Walker series is constantly outdated but still a fine read in all four editions. I would go for IV if you were interested in the most modern stuff.

I have an article reviewing all his works here:

http://www.outdoors-magazine.com/spip.php?page=article&id_article=281

The Man Who Walked Though Time and 1000 Mile Summer are classics.


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#143289 - 08/08/08 05:35 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: Schwert]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2921
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I believe I'm the one who keeps bringing up Colin Fletcher on this forum.

I have been reading and re-reading The Complete Walker III for about 20 years. I have hand-stitched the binding at least twice, so that tells you my esteem for this author and this book. These days, I mostly browse through the brilliant mini-essays he embeds in amongst the how-to sections. Highly readable and highly recommended.

I also found the first edition of The Complete Walker, complete with book jacket, at a second-hand store. Absolutely fascinating to go back in history regarding equipment, technique, first aid, etc. etc.

-----------
Another book you should really have, relating to survival in hard times (but not backpacking), is Barry Broadfoot's "Ten Lost Years 1929-1939, Memories of Canadians Who Survived the Depression". ISBN 0-7737-7094-1. I believe this was re-printed upon the author's death a couple of years ago. These are short excerpts of interviews with people who lived through those times, what they experienced and how they got by. I go through it again every year. Essential reading IMO.



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#143305 - 08/08/08 07:15 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: dougwalkabout]
justmeagain Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/07/07
Posts: 67
Fletcher has a wonderful, dry British sense of humor and this is reflected in in the Complete Walker series. I have all four versions. I've read the first version cover to cover and have skimmed parts of the last three versions. For a how to backpack book the Complete Walker is as good as any and much more readable than most. Any time you write about gear the information is dated by the time the book hits the shelves, but that's not really the point of the books. Mainly the book's a great motivator to get out there.

This page from my mate Bruce on Fletcher.
http://www.oregonphotos.com/Colin-Fletcher1.html

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#143311 - 08/08/08 08:06 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: dougwalkabout]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
I have all four editions of "Complete Walker" and I think the definition of a real geek is laying out all 4 books and reading them all at the same time...page by page grin

The "stuff" is the glue that holds all of Colin's great writing together in these. His "Sample Day..." story which appears in all editions is a real classic of style.

I know Colin was my inspiration to walk, and still is. I wonder if Chip will do a CW V.

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#143314 - 08/08/08 08:13 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: justmeagain]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Nice link to the history pages Justmeagain. Somewhere I have an old Frostline 60/40 I had my Mom sew. cool


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#143331 - 08/08/08 10:13 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: Schwert]
tomfaranda Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Croton on Hudson, NY
i read a long time ago - the Complete Walker - and then recently read the Complete Walker 4. in fact reviewed CW 4 on amazon.

It would be fascinating to compare the two, based on improvements in equipment -
Colin Fletcher was an excellent and breezy writer. I also read as a couple of other posters above did, "The man Who Walked Through Time."

The Complete Walker 4 was co -written with someone else whose name escapes me - not as stylish a writer as Fletcher.


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#143334 - 08/08/08 10:38 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: tomfaranda]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2921
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Yes, AFAIK, Mr. Fletcher was clipped by a car while out for a stroll and minding his own business. Another writer helped out with the latest (IV) update.

I hope the idiot driver is rotting somewhere, paying a personal price for stupidity, negligence, and being a self-absorbed SOB. If a cell phone was involved, it should be strapped to a Taser and shoved in the appropriate place. But perhaps I am being too lenient.


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#143339 - 08/08/08 11:00 PM Re: Colin Fletcher Hiking/Backpacking Books [Re: tomfaranda]
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Thank you for all the great recommendations folks.

I just finished "On Your Own in the Wilderness" by Townsend Whelen/Bradford Angler and really enjoyed this historical look at outdoor life.

So even though my Visa card has been smoking lately (a package arrived from Smokey Mountain Knife Works today), I am going to order The Complete Walker IV and just to make the free shipping level, I am going to add Cody Lundin's new book "When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need For Surviving Urban Catastrophes".

Would these two authors be considered "opposites" in writing style?

They should keep me entertained for quite a while.

Mike


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