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An oriented map, done in a few different ways. Normally I rotate the bezel to TN/0 degrees, then line up the edge of my compass (or the meridian lines inside the bezel) with the edge of the map. As a cheat, you can use grid lines on the map, but this will be slightly less accurate.

How-to video || Map & Compass: Adjust for declination & orient the map

Backcountry navigation is an art. The basics can be learned quickly, like dead reckoning, reading a map, and using an altimeter watch. But extensive practice is necessary to seamlessly and flawlessly apply these skills in the field, especially when under duress or in challenging situations, like off-trail in a heavily forested area with rolling hills. […]

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sd-filming

Backpacking instructional video series: Navigation, 5-star camps, fire-starting, & more

Sneak peek and behind the scenes at the @andrewskurka video shoot. Stay tuned! #sierradesigns #milesfromordinary A photo posted by Sierra Designs (@sierradesigns) on Apr 27, 2016 at 8:03am PDT This spring Sierra Designs and I filmed seven instructional videos. The first was launched last week, and the remainder will air every other week through the […]

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A deep field of elite runners at the 2016 Run Rabbit Run 100

UTMB dreams and qualifying nightmares

The qualifying requirements for Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), Europe’s marquee 102-mile ultra marathon, are unique and complex — and, some might say, brazen. They also underwent significant changes for the 2015 season. To help avoid disappointment or mid-season race shuffling (as I just went through), I thought I would provide an overview, and some insight […]

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The Suunto Ambit2, displaying my altitude, vertical gain, and vertical loss during a run.

Long-term review: Suunto Ambit2 GPS watch || Training + navigating revolution

It’s rare that a product radically changes my outdoor experience or gear systems. I include the Therm-a-rest NeoAir, SPOT Satellite Messenger (long-term review), and Trail Designs Sidewinder (gear list) on this list, as well as the the Suunto Ambit GPS watch, which is the subject of this long-term review. In short, the Ambit helped take my […]

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The Suunto Ambit2

Family tree: Key differences among Suunto GPS watch generations and models

Suunto has released twelve distinct GPS sport watches, beginning with the original Ambit in 2012. This number does not include additional bezel, glass, and color configurations. Because older watches are still being sold, and because new watches will likely be introduced, I thought it would be useful to explain in a single place the major […]

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As you're running a 7-minute mile through town and towards Alpine Gulch Trailhead, consider all of the climbing ahead of you.

San Juan Solstice 50M || Notes for next time

It’d been seven years since I last ran the San Juan Solstice 50M, and wish I’d kept a record like this one: Training After the Colorado Marathon, I increased my mileage and — much more significantly — my weekly vertical. Before the taper, I put in three consecutive weeks with 80+ miles and 15k+ climbing. I did not […]

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What are you willing to sacrifice to save weight? Space, storm resistance, condensation management, modularity, price? The ZPacks Hexamid weighs half as much as the High Route Tent.

Imperfections: A self-critique of the Sierra Designs High Route Tent

It’s not perfect, and — depending on your trip conditions, personal preferences, and recreation budget — it may not be the most appropriate shelter for you. In a perhaps refreshing change of tone, I’d like to discuss real and perceived flaws of the Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL, and in some cases explain why they […]

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Bring it!

Pitching instructions & tips: Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL

The Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL has a unique but straightforward pitch. After one or two backyard practice rounds, you probably will be comfortable with the basic configuration, especially if you have previously pitched an A-frame tent or tarp, or a pyramid tarp with a square- or rectangular footprint, or both. Of course, practice makes perfect. […]

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