Review: More Everyday Wisdom by Karen Berger

More Everyday Wisdom

by Karen Berger

for Backpacker: The Magazine of Wilderness Travel

©2002 The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, WA

206 pages

Backpacker More Everyday Wisdom

Karen Berger is a fun writer. Everything is light hearted yet gets to the important points quickly, without beating around the bush (sorry, had to put that in there). For most of her examples she focuses on the popular Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States of America. The trail runs from the lower state of Georgia all the way up to Maine. Most of the tips, however, are easily applicable to hikes anywhere, especially in North America and similar latitudes in Europe.

What makes this book stand out is that the author got the questions from other hikers. She has hiked many of the longest North American trails straight through and has hiked in numerous countries. She lectures, she writes articles and books and edits hiking magazines. Berger is a sought-after hiking guru and here in one place she gets through the answers to hundreds of questions asked of her over the years.

I really like her incredible bluntness tinged with humour. She covers as much ground in her writing as she does in her hiking: clothing advice (no blue jeans!), spotting and preparing for weather conditions, advice on leading hiking trips, how to pick and pack your bag, water and food, traveling to your starting point (what can I take on a plane?), animals and plants of the friendly and not-so friendly varieties, choosing the type of hiking suited to you, training for your hike and woman-specific advice (this advice is especially important for menstruating women hiking in bear country).

The photos that run throughout the book, by the author and her husband Daniel Smith, are black and white and well chosen to illustrate the points she discusses.

As a reformed runner, I am getting more into hiking as a slower and just as enjoyable form of outdoor recreation. Even through I am mostly a day-hiker with a few overnighters thrown in here and there (oddly enough they were almost all in the winter!) there are several tips in Berger’s book that I can use and some points that I already knew were explained in a way that made sense. Now I have a reason for doing what I do and I am less likely to do something else because I have a good reason not to.

If you are a casual day hiker interested in doing some longer day hikes and overnighters, this book is for you. If you are an experienced long-distance hiker then you may want to borrow it from the library and have a read anyway for some extra tips and maybe a laugh at the hiker humour.

One Response to “Review: More Everyday Wisdom by Karen Berger”

  1. Karen Berger says:

    Hey, I just stumbled on your site and wanted to say thanks for the review, and I’m glad you liked the book and found it helpful. It’s great to get comments from readers — it helps me learn what is helpful, and what isn’t.

    I thought you might like to know that I’m continuing to write more and more how to and adventure travel articles. I don’t want to put link apam in your comment box, so the best way to find me is to go to and type my name in the little search box — that’ll bring up a bio with links to my articles.

Leave a Reply