The Backpacker’s Handbook by Chris Townsend is one of those book titles that has achieved almost legendary status in the outdoors and walking communities.

The book, which is in it’s 4th edition, provides something of interest for every reader and that is truly a rarity today.

The author, Chris Townsend, is an well respected long distance walker throughout the world and is well known as a regular magazine contributor ( Chris is also the author of many popular outdoor reference books. Chris is very active on the web through his blog ( and is also a BMC Ambassador (

The Backpacker’s Handbook is divided into 9 sections / chapters with each being clearly illustrated throughout and features plenty of the authors own photographs (which is nice to see). The sections take you through from the early planning stages onwards to equipping yourself and living on the trail safely and in comfort.

The sections are well laid out with useful snippets highlighted throughout for quick reference. For those who like to dip straight into a topic they are interested in, the book features a very comprehensive index allowing you to easily find the relevant content.


The “Carrying The Load” section is something that is often overlooked in many walking books and offers some good advice on choosing the correct backpack for your needs from day packs through to more heavy duty packs for long distance trips. Valuable advice is given on adjusting the pack correctly and how to put on heavy packs without causing injury to yourself.

The “Wilderness Kitchen” chapter was of particular interest to me as I have always struggled to plan out my supplies correctly when taking part in a long term adventure. Chris covers this topic with the detail that only someone as experienced as he is could and has been of great help to my planning method along with the food and equipment I take with me.

The book is simply full good advice throughout.


The Backpacker’s Handbook is, in my opinion, one of the most comprehensive book’s covering walking and backpacking that I have ever read. The style of writing is clear and concise and it is obvious that the author is both truly passionate about the topic and very experienced in the outdoors.

Some areas are a little dated and the author uses imperial measurements instead of metric which may be annoying to some readers but apart from those few minor issues, it offers excellent advice for the walker and I would recommend it to anyone.

The Backpacker's Handbook

Quality of Content - 9
Overall Design - 8
Value for Money - 9


Top Notch!

The Backpacker's Handbook is, in my opinion, one of the most comprehensive book’s covering walking and backpacking that I have ever read.

Date Published: 2011
Format: 19 x 2 x 23.1 cm
ISBN: 978-0071754897
Cover Price: £14.88
Available From: Amazon

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