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Instructional Books:

National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA)










Best Book Lists


















Winners of the Instructional Category
National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA)


The most important book award program in the outdoor field is the National Outdoor Book Awards.  Past winners of the Instructional Category are listed below:


Snow TravelWinner.  Snow Travel: Skills for Climbing, Hiking, and Moving Across Snow.  By Mike Zawaski.  The Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 9781594857201.


Whether you are a hiker or climber, sooner or later, you’re bound to find yourself on snow slopes.  Steep snow, of course, can be hazardous unless you are prepared.  This fully illustrated, comprehensive guide, by a long time outdoor instructor and trainer Mike Zawaski, is designed to help keep you safe.  It covers pre-trip planning, self arrest, use of crampons, and advice on how to recognize and evaluate potential hazards.


Amazon.com:  More Information or Purchase


Guide to Digital PhotographyWinner.  AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography: Creating Great Nature and Adventure Photos.  By Jerry Monkman.  Appalachian Mountain Club.  ISBN 9781934028506.


If you’ve been prospecting for just the right book on outdoor digital photography, look no further.  You’ll strike pay dirt with this new Appalachian Mountain Club guide.  Accomplished photographer Jerry Monkman who has worked for a variety of national outdoor and wildlife magazines, nicely elaborates on the subject in one easily readable and visually instructive book.  The book covers equipment, lenses, lighting, composition, exposure, and processing software.  The text is supplemented with case studies and expert advice.  This is outdoor photography after all, and Monkman doesn’t leave out suggestions on taking photos in adverse weather.  You’ll find plenty to be mined from this fine reference, and you won’t even need a pick and shovel. 


Amazon.com:  More Information or Purchase



Guide to Outdoor Gear MaintenanceWinner.  Backpacker Magazine’s Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair: Step by Step Techniques to Maximize Performance and Save Money.  By Kristin Hostetter.  Falcon Guides.  ISBN 9780762778317.


If you were to search the outdoor world for someone to write about repairing gear, you wouldn’t find anyone better suited for the job than Kristin Hostetter.  Hostetter has been Backpacker Magazine’s gear editor since 1994, and she knows a thing or two about the subject.  In the Complete Guide, Hostetter has consolidated her wide ranging knowledge into one comprehensive volume covering the repair of all sorts of equipment:  boots, packs, sleeping bags, clothing, stoves — and oh, how could we forget? — she also includes a special chapter on what can be done with a roll of duct tape.  The information from her book is particularly useful when you’re out in the field.  Stuff happens out there, and with Hostetter’s clear and helpful instructions you’ll be back on the trail in no time.  Add it all up, throw in the book’s classy and intelligent design, and this guide scores right at the top of its class. 


Amazon.com:  More Information or Purchase


Cycling BibleWinner.  The Cycling Bible:  The Complete Guide for all Cyclists from Novice to Expert.  By Robin Barton.  Falcon Guides, Guilford, CN.  ISBN  9780762769995


The title of Robin Barton’s 350-page work couldn’t be more apt: it is, indeed, a bible, covering all aspects of cycling from recreational riding to road racing to mountain biking.  Nicely designed and filled with crisp, instructive color photographs, the Bible includes up-to-date information on equipment, step-by-step tutorials on cycling technique, sage advice on safety and fitness, helpful hints on maintenance and repairs, and great rides throughout the world. 


Amazon.com:  More Information or Purchase


Girl on the RocksWinner. Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success.  By Andrew Bisharat.  The Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 9781594852701


Andrew Bisharat is a senior editor at Rock and Ice magazine and he couldn't be better suited to write about sport climbing.  He is an accomplished, versatile climber and an equally accomplished author.  Bisharat's clear descriptions along with plentiful and instructive photographs provide thorough coverage of the sport.  It's all there and all nicely done: history, gear, climbing moves, falling, belaying, motivation, and more.


Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase




girl on rocksWinner. Girl on the Rocks:  A Woman's Guide to Climbing with Strength, Grace and Courage.  By Katie Brown.  Photos by Ben Moon.  Globe Pequot Press/Falcon Guides, Guilford, CN.  ISBN 9780762745180


Katie Brown is one of the foremost female climbers in the world and couldn't be better suited to write this book.  It's a very well done "how-to" guide, embellished with a classy, contemporary design and crisp I-wanna-do-that photographs.  What's so appealing about this book is that it speaks to women with a woman's voice.  Climbing, as Brown says is empowering, and through her words and example, she inspires women to try new things, live a full life and climb away.


Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase

Road Bike Repair

Winner.  Road Bike Maintenance.  By Guy Andrews.  Falcon Guides, Guilford, CT.  ISBN 9780762747467.


One word describes this full-color book on how to repair and maintain your road bike: wow!  Everything you wanted to know about keeping your bike in tip-top shape is here, all pleasingly presented in step-by-step, crisp photographs and clear and understandable text.  Whether you're an experienced hand with headset wrench or have never changed a tire, this is the book to have.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Ultimate WhitewaterHonorable Mention.  Whitewater Kayaking: The Ultimate Guide.  By Ken Whiting and Kevin Varette.  Heliconia Press.  Beachburg, Ontario.  ISBN 9781896980300.

This splendidly done, full-color book lives up to its title.  It is the ultimate guide to whitewater paddling.  Authored by two world renowned kayakers, its coverage is extensive, ranging from basic concepts to cutting edge paddling techniques.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com




Mt BikeWinner.   The Complete Mountain Biking Manual.  By Tim Brink.  Ragged Mountain Press, Camden, ME.  ISBN 9780071493901.



One look at this book and you'll want to grab your bike and head for the trail.  Colorful, comprehensive and competently written, the Complete Mountain Biking Manual lives up to its title


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Outdoor SportsWinner: Ragged Mountain Press Guide to Outdoor Sports By Jonathan and Roseann Hanson, published by Ragged Mountain Press.


This 340-page book covers hiking, backpacking, sea kayaking, rafting, climbing, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.  While no one book can cover all of these activities comprehensively, it does an excellent job of getting the beginner started in the right direction.  Its tips and sidebars on equipment are instructive and well done--and it has one of the best chapters on outdoor clothing found anywhere.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Cover: Knots & Ropes

Winner: Knots and Ropes for Climbers By Duane Raleigh. Illustrated by Mike Clelland. Published by Stackpole Books.


Knots and Ropes is not a fancy book.  It's less than 100 pages in length and there's no color photography.  But it is the book's plain and simple approach which makes it so appealing and useful.  Duane Raleigh's text along with Mike Clelland's clever, but clear and understandable illustrations, remove the mystery surrounding climbing knots and makes tying them a snap.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Cover: Extreme Alpinism

Winner: Extreme Alpinism: Climbing Light, Fast and High By Mark F. Twight and James Martin.  Published by The Mountaineers Books.


In both temperament and content, this book is a clear departure from past instructional texts in mountaineering--and outdoor texts in general.  Directed to accomplished climbers, this a master class for those who risk it all by venturing into some of the most dangerous places in the world.  Content of the class: character, attitude, training, fitness, nutrition, clothing, equipment and technique.  Class instructional aids: well designed book with graphic and dramatic color photographs throughout.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Wilderness GuideWinner: The National Outdoor Leadership School's Wilderness Guide By Mark Harvey.  A Fireside Book Published by Simon & Schuster


The National Outdoor Leadership School is one of the outdoor world's most respected wilderness education programs.  They were one of the first schools to extensively promote and instruct wilderness users in the techniques of treading lightly and minimizing impact on the outdoors.  This is their manual: a compilation of many years of experience, a backpacker's handbook filled with practical and well-tempered advice about equipment, planning, clothing, traveling, navigation, and safety.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Fly-tying GuideWinner: The Orvis Fly-Tying Guide.  By Tom Rosenbauer.  Illustrations by Rod Walinchus.  Fly Pattern Photographs by Henry Ambrose.  Published by The Lyons Press, New York. 


Never tied a fly before?  This is the book to get.  With its clear, step-by-step instructions, great color photographs, and uncluttered and thoughtful design, you'll find yourself tying up streamers, nymphs, as well as dry and saltwater flies in no time.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Sea Kayaker's HandbookWinner. The Complete Sea Kayaker's Handbook.  By Shelley Johnson.  Published by Ragged Mountain Press, Camden, NH.  ISBN 007136210X.


It's all here in one well organized, well illustrated and well written book:  equipment, clothing, technique, navigation, safety, camping and trip planning.  The title says it all.  It truly is the complete sea kayaker's handbook.

More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Mountain Traveller's Handbook

Honorable Mention.  The Mountain Traveller's Handbook.  By Paul Deegan.  British Mountaineering Council, Manchester, UK. ISBN 0903908476.


Packed with solid and useful advice, use this creatively designed and colorfully illustrated book to plan treks and explore the mountains of distant lands.


Amazon.com:  More Information or Purchase



Basic Canoeing

Winner. Basic Canoeing: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started.  By Jon Rounds and Wayne Dickert.  Photographs by Skip Brown.  Illustrations by Taina Litwak.  Published by Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA. ISBN 0811726444


This intelligently conceived book starts from the beginning and takes you step-by-step through the techniques of canoeing. Basic Canoeing stands out with its clear writing, effective design, and the liberal use of photographs and illustrations. 

More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Rock Climbing

Winner.  Rock Climbing: Mastering the Basic Skills.  By Craig Luebben.  The Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 0898867436


Looking for an up-to-date and reliable instructional book on climbing?  Look no further.  Long time guide and instructor, Craig Luebben takes you through the paces, covering top roping, sport climbing, traditional climbing and bouldering.  A lucid text is amply supplemented with instructive photographs, understandable illustrations and a clean and crisp design.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Basic KayakingWinner.  Basic Kayaking:  All the Skills and Gear You Need to Get Started.  By Wayne Dickert and Jon Rounds.  Photographs by Skip Brown.  Illustrations by Roberto Sabas.  Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.  ISBN 9780811732109


Once again Stackpole Books scores a winner with their series on basic outdoor skills.  The photographs, creative design, and clear and understandable text combine to make this book a marvelous introduction to the exciting sport of whitewater kayaking.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Glacier Mountaineering

Winner. Glacier Mountaineering:  An Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue.  By Andy Tyson.  Illustrated by Mike Clelland.  Edited by Michael Kennedy.  Climbing Magazine, Carbondale, CO.  ISBN 1893682129 


Without a doubt, this is a reliable and straightforward instructional text covering the knowledge and skills necessary for safe glacial travel.  Its real strong point is the accompanying illustrations by Mike Clelland: delightfully whimsical but remarkably clear and understandable.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Extreme Kids

Winner. Extreme Kids: How to connect with your children through today's extreme (and not so extreme) outdoor sports.  By Scott Graham.  Wilderness Press, Berkeley.  ISBN 0899973736


Healthy, adventurous outdoor activities are a great way to connect with your children.  And here's a book to help you make that happen.  Extreme Kids has the low-down on how parents and children can safely participate together in sports like rock climbing, surfing, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and many others.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com





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