on February 28, 2004
I am a hiker, so I looked at the book from a hiking perspective and found it excellent. It is by far the best hiking book I've seen that specifically addresses the unique rigors of being in the heat for lengthy periods. Johnson has a nice little ranking system for each journey, from ranges from one star for easy treks and 4 stars for the strenuous ones. I do think his ranking system is just a trifle soft. Some of the hikes that get 4 stars aren't really that difficult, nor do they have exceptional elevation gains. But this is a minor criticism.
The bext part of the book is the descriptions of how brutal heat can wither the human body. Johnson gives helpful tips on how to protect your skin, face and eyes from the ravaging effects of the sun. I once hiked 24 miles Rim to Rim in one day in the Grand Canyon without sun glasses and can attest how vicious an experience that was on the eyes. He also stresses that you'll need a minimum of one gallon of water, per person, per hour when you're in 100+ degree temperatures. Many scoff and say, "That is too much water!" Believe me, it isn't.
All in all, a good book and one which every desert hiker or desert fan should own.
on August 15, 2003
This is the only book you will ever need for desert survival in any desert around the globe. It covers introductions to the world's deserts, with emphasis on North American deserts. The book covers general skills pertaining to desert survival (Water, shelter, food, navigation etc.) and also has sections on desert hiking, biking and photography that were good for the novice and refresher for the expert. The chapter on desert transportation was excellent and a subject often over looked in similar titles. Over all I found the book to be quite good for the novice hiker to experienced desert dwellers like extreme adventures and military types.
on April 14, 2003
I thought this book was excellent. The style of the writing is easy to read and the subject matter was practical and comprehensive. The pictures, charts and graphics were superb, too. I had trouble putting the book down because it was so interesting. The book covers many areas that you may not think about until you get out in the desert. I have already bought an extra copy to give as a gift.
on December 6, 2004
There there isn't as much literature on desert hiking and desert survival as there is for other environments. I've read most of the desert books out there, and this is the best of all of them, and that includes the much overrated SAS desert survival book. The Ultimate Desert Handbook covers much more than survival, but the survival section alone is worth the price, with a large amount of truly useful information that has proved true for me by experience. But there's a lot more. Water, acclimatization, clothing and equipment, navigation, backpack and vehicle preparation, information on specific deserts of the world - nothing is left out. I know of no other desert book that comes close to providing as much information as this one, and that's about all that needs to be said.
on July 25, 2003
This book is a very clear, readable explanation of how-to safely explore desert areas. The author does an excellent job of covering all the technical topics of desert exploration and survival, without boring or overwhelming the reader. I highly recommend this book.