Friday, April 18, 2008

Book Review: Complete Sea Kayak Touring

Title: Complete Sea Kayak Touring (paperback, 2nd Ed.)
Author: Jonathan Hanson
ISBN-10: 0071461280

I read this book cover to cover and did not want to put it down. I was very disappointed when it seemed to end suddenly and the next pages were additional resources in the appendix. The title is accurate. This is a complete guide to Sea Kayak Touring. Everything in the book is useful for any sea kayaker, but it is of particular value to those who are planning to spend one or more nights on a sea kayak trip. All topics I can imagine are well covered from equipment, clothing, technique, rescues, provisioning, packing, seamanship, navigation, repair, customization, storage, rack and travel, camping... You name it!

The author has decades of experience as a sea kayaker and professional guide, and this gives great credibility to his advice and opinions. His trips, which range from the Arctic Circle to Baja California, have provided him with a repertoire of anecdotes that he sprinkles throughout the text. I found myself laughing out loud at some of these stories, and reading them to others.

Jon gives you both sides to every controversy, and admits to his own biases, sometimes very humorously. You'll come away with both sides and armed with the facts to make your own decisions, such as, "Should I buy a kayak with a rudder, a skeg or neither?" There are many such areas of sea kayaking that can confuse the beginner. You will come away with confidence in your knowledge to evaluate the alternatives out there.

The book has a strong commitment to safety. Sometimes it may seem excessively so, but you can decide for yourself how many parachute flares to carry on your expedition. Jon makes the recommendations. Certainly, if you are in the arctic waters yourself far from any help, all of the recommended equipment will be of some comfort to you. Jon provides you the criteria to evaluate what equipment you will need in what situation.

Another very appealing feature of Jon's writing is his sensitivity toward wildlife, and low impact camping. He advises appropriate behavior when paddling with sea mammals, and in responsible camp, and fire site selection.

Although I borrowed this book from the library, I now want it on my shelf for future reference. This book is a must read and also a must have. So, I'm adding it to my wishlist.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate with various retailers on the internet, so I may make a commission on the purchase of certain items that I recommend.

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