National Outdoor Book Awards Recognizes Best Outdoor Writing

From a no-holds-barred account of three women hiking the John Muir Trail to a spellbinding story of survival following a fall into a crevasse atop Mount Rainier to exploring rugged gorges and secret slots of the Grand Canyon, this year’s winners of the National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) had evocative themes that kept judges turning the pages.

The annual awards program recognizes the best in outdoor writing and publishing, and named 12 winners and three honorable mentions in nine categories.

We also know one of the recipients: Kristin Hostetter, one of two winners in the Instructional category. We’ve tested gear with Hostetter and also reviewed her winning book, Backpacker Magazine’s Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair: Step by Step Techniques to Maximize Performance and Save Money, in May (click here to see our write-up).

NOBA said of Hostetter’s winning entry:

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.

With the holidays coming, there may be a perfect title among the winners listed below that’ll resonate with fans of outdoor adventure and wilderness exploration.

Winners in each category (honorable mentions also noted):

Outdoor Literature

Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts 

The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan

Honorable Mention: Before They’re Gone:  A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks by Michael Lanza

Natural History Literature

The Forest Unseen:  A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell


Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

Anything Worth Doing: A True Story of Adventure, Friendship and Tragedy on the Last of the West’s Great Rivers by Jo Deurbrouck

Design and Artistic Merit

Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest by David Hall


For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Laura Jacques

Nature and the Environment

The Melting Edge: Alaska at the Frontier of Climate Change by Michael Collier

Honorable Mention: Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History by Carol Gracie

Honorable Mention: Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior by Andrew E. Derocher and photographs by Wayne Lynch


AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography: Creating Great Nature and Adventure Photos by Jerry Monkman

Backpacker Magazine’s Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair: Step by Step Techniques to Maximize Performance and Save Money by Kristin Hostetter

Outdoor Adventure Guidebook

Grand Canyoneering: Exploring the Rugged Gorges and Secret Slots of the Grand Canyon by Todd Martin

Nature Guidebook

A Field Guide to the Southeast Coast & Gulf of Mexico by Noble S. Proctor and Patrick J. Lynch

To read reviews on each book based on comments and insights provided by members of the NOBA judging panels, click here.



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