The Backpacker's Field Manual

A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills

by Rick Curtis, Director, Princeton University Outdoor Action Program
Published by Three Rivers Press division of Random House, March 1998

 The Backpackers Field Manual

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Since its release in March 1998 it has sold over 50,000 copies!



From the Publisher

The Backpacker's Field Manual is a comprehensive guide to backpacking skills and equipment by the director of one of the country's most respected college outdoor programs. Advanced and novice backpackers alike will value it for its readability and huge range of information. The book includes over 100 detailed illustrations and dozens of "Tricks of the Trail" sidebar information for backpackers. Chapters include:

From the Author

The Backpacker's Field Manual is the only book of it's kind. There are many excellent books on backpacking, but none designed especially to be usable in the field. The Backpacker's Field Manual was written to be "the book" that you take with you on a trip. It is excellent for pre-trip planning as well as the best on-trail reference for everything from map & compass to stove repair and first aid. This is an excellent field resource both for individual backpacker's and for outdoor programs and is considered to be the best backpacking field manual available for University outdoor programs in the U.S. The Table of Contents is included below and you can see a sample of the book by checking out the Map & Compass Section of Chapter 6 - Wilderness Travel or Dealing with Emergencies section from Chapter 8 - Safety & Emergency Procedures.

The Backpacker's Field Manual grew out of the Outdoor Action Program Leaders Manual which has served as a teaching and field book for trip leaders in Princeton University's outdoor education program. It has been field tested and revised over the past ten years by trip leaders on hundreds of outdoor trips across the country.  The book has been completely rewritten and updated to provide the most up-to-date information available.

In order to accommodate all the new information in the book, previous sections from the third edition that focused specifically on outdoor education programs are not included in the new edition. This material will still be available here on the Web with continuing revisions. I am exploring the possibility of a Special Edition for Outdoor Programs that includes these additional chapters.

Purchasing The Backpacker's Field Manual

Special Material for Outdoor Education Programs

These sections are not included in the retail version of the book but are provided here on-line for reference for outdoor programs:

The Backpacker's Field Manual Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Trip Planning

Chapter 2 - Equipment

Chapter 3 - Food & Nutrition

Chapter 4 - Hygiene & Water Purification

Chapter 5 - Leave No Trace Camping

Chapter 6 - Wilderness Travel

Chapter 7 - Weather and Nature

Chapter 8 - Safety & Emergency Procedures

Chapter 9 - First Aid and Emergency Care

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The Outdoor Action World Wide Web Site is part of the Outdoor Action Program at Princeton University. Princeton University provides this service for the convenience of members of the University. The information provided here is designed for educational use and is not a substitute for specific training or experience. Princeton University takes no responsibility for the contents herein and assumes no liability for any individual's use of or reliance upon any material contained or referenced herein.

Copyright 2001 Outdoor Action Program, Princeton University.