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10 Best Books to Take Backpacking

Behind The Green Mountain Headquarters

I like to bring paperbacks with me when I go on long backpacking trips. I don’t necessarily read a lot before my head hits the stuff sack, but it is nice to have a little entertainment when you’re the only person in the shelter or to block out the ink black darkness of the Appalachian forest.

Here are some of my favorites for a lonely solo hike:

  1. Serial Murderers and their Victims
  2. The Werewolf’s Guide to Life: A Manual for the Newly Bitten
  3. How To Survive An Alien Abduction: And Other Useful Information
  4. Bear Attacks: The Deadly Truth
  5. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
  6. Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down: A Survival Guide to the Apocalypse
  7. The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism
  8. The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
  9. Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked and Spewed
  10. Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects

What are some of your backpacking trip favorites? (Leave a comment)


  1. Jeffrey Dahmers Backcountry Cooking on a Budget

  2. Here I thought it was all going to be Thoreau and Muir. But then I realized the secret…

    I actually read the Zombie Survival Guide a while ago. Very informative and useful! And written by Mel Brooks' son. Good times.

  3. I love using the Kindle app on my iPod touch. Lightweight, can be used after dark and many, many books available. I recharge it with a small Amzer solar battery (which also works for my cell phone).

    Amir K9CHP

  4. Ah, nice celebratory post.

    I like "Goodnight Moon" – It's a perfect backpack weight and the strangers in a shared shelter may appreciate you reading it aloud to them.

  5. Ah reading aloud – that's a twist that a solo hiker wouldn't have thoughy of. Heh heh.

  6. Not the list I ecpected – but I like it.


    1. Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse.

    2. Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae.

    3. 1984

    4. The Forever War

  7. I'm surprised no one has picked up on the picture in this post. It's located behind the Green Mountain Club headquarters in Vermont, maintainers of The Long Trail. Almost as funny as my book selection. :-)

  8. Actually I didn't want to say this but if I show up at a shelter and the only person there is reading 'Serial Murderers and their Victims' I would probably do the extra 10 miles and hit the next shelter.

  9. I did indeed notice the sign. I have been on the Short Trail many times, having worked there for a year… I won't say too much, but the field staff and I often had some fun with the Short Trail. It's special.

  10. "Wilding Freaks, Sadomasochists, Moonlight-Stranglers, and other Weirdos"

  11. Mountain House Guide to Dehydrating People – The Other White Meat.

    Can You Hear The Voices?

    Field Guide To AT Land Sharks.

    Deadly and Disfiguring Microbes.

    The Role of Mice in the Black Plague.

  12. I really like the one about dehydrating people….

    How about:

    The New England Guide to Piranha Fishing

    Guide to Inedible and Poisonous Plants on the AT

    The Hantavirus Fact Sheet (actually published by the CDC)

  13. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Committing the Perfect Murder

    The Ultimate Trail Magic – Cannibalism

    To Serve Man (credit to The Twilight Zone on this one)

    How to Manage Your Aggressive Somnambulism

    Lost Person Behavior (actually just read this one)

  14. You guys are obviously enjoying this thread. :-) Have you thought about getting out one of these weekends? Work off some of this cabin fever. It should be warm down south….

  15. Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon

    Death in Big Bend

    Both are real books. I've hiked both parks and fortunately am not written up in either publication.

  16. I like "What's That Noise?" Is it too close to the truth for the rest of you?

  17. There’s a book called “I HIke” which I happen to have gotten an early pre-release copy of. It’s a stellar backcountry read! :)

  18. Any Travis McGee novel by John D. MacDonald

  19. I read Game of Thrones on my only (so far) solo backpack. I realized fairly quickly that I don’t like Game of Thrones.

  20. I often carry “Mountains and Rivers without End” by Gary Snyder. “Ranger Confidential” would be an interesting choice.

    I also like “Goodbye to a River”.

  21. Without a doubt, Das Kapital or The Communist Manifesto. Highly recommended for *all*

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