The Great Outdoors: A User's Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Heading into the Wild (and How to Get Back in One Piece) by Brendan Leonard
THE GREAT OUTDOORS is a funny, easy-to-read introduction to the major outdoor activities. The first part of the book explains WHY one should ever want to go outdoors. Most obviously, "Time Outdoors is Good for your Physical Health." After the first 2 "Intro to the Outdoors" chapters, the succeeding chapters are categorized by "venue."
There are lots of Q&A about getting started in the outdoors. Brendan explains what kind of gear to buy, and what stuff you should have in your backpack. The points made are substantial. For example, you might think that the type of socks to wear when hiking is a trivial point. Not so! explains Brandan. Cotton socks hold water, and can lead to blisters. (I already knew that point, but many beginner hikers do not.)
The first few chapters have several "Best of" lists. Such as, the best adventure books, or best hikes of all time. Here's one that really helped me: "Top 5 Smartphone Apps for Adventure." I confess I didn't know about ANY of them!
Chapter 2 is called "Staying Alive." It discusses survival skills and things like how long you can go without food or water. Perhaps the funnest read is, "How do I Protect Myself against a Swarm of Bees." It turns out that you should NOT run in a zigzag fashion. Instead, run in a straight line to the nearest car or building. And don't jump in a lake; it runs out the bees are pretty clever; they know you'll have to come up for air, so they deviously wait for you to come up.
Here's another excellent section: "What Should I Carry in a Survival Kit." Brendan suggests some items that just weight 6 oz total, and cost $11. Excellent!
All in all, I found this to be a funny, useful book. Although written in a witty, funny style, there are tons of excellent points. I admit I was surprised; prior to reading THE GREAT OUTDOORS, I honestly thought it unlikely a book like this would bet of 5-Star quality, but I confess it really is that good. The illustrations are really cute and funny.
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher.