Archive | How To RSS feed for this section

Thoughts and conclusions about ski shopping for Amanda

Shh, Amanda is getting a new alpine touring ski setup for Christmas. While I’ll have to pick up the tab, it’s a win for me, too: If my wife can now backcountry ski, I’ll get to backcountry ski more. Ski shopping is a good excuse to create another spreadsheet — it’s useful to compile and [...]

Read full story Comments { 26 }

Characteristics of an expert navigator: Part II — Proficiency in the understanding and uses of tools

This post is part of a series on the characteristics of expert navigators. I’d recommend first reading the Introduction and Part I, and then returning to this latest installment. Within a few days of starting my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2002, I began dead-reckoning using my watch and the Databook. With surprising accuracy, I now had [...]

Read full story Comments { 15 }

Characteristics of an expert navigator: Part I — Equipped with proper tools

This is Part I of a series on the characteristics of an Expert Navigator. Read the Introduction. More installments are forthcoming. Every “Ten Essentials” list I’ve seen has included a map and compass, and modern versions sometimes also include a GPS. If only the first characteristic of an expert navigator — being equipped with proper [...]

Read full story Comments { 8 }

Characteristics of an expert navigator: Introduction

Learning how to navigate was one of the most important and liberating skills that I have developed as a backpacker. On my earliest trips, when my navigation skills were at best rudimentary, I was unable to safely or confidently leave the security of obvious footpaths, foolproof blazes, and accurate signage. I also struggled to reliably [...]

Read full story Comments { 7 }

My clothing system for backpacking in peak mosquito season

Last month I guided two week-long backpacking and packrafting trips in Alaska’s Hayes Range, a sub-range of the Alaska Range located just east of Denali National Park. Were it not for some scheduling constraints, I would have preferred to schedule these trips at another time of year since they coincided precisely with the region’s peak [...]

Read full story Comments { 25 }

My new Suunto Core, plus how I use my watch while backpacking

It was time to replace my Highgear Summit watch after many years of reliable service. Its face was scratched up; its buttons have become loose and its water-resistance has become questionable; and, aesthetically, I was looking for an improvement, maybe even worthy enough to wear on the altar in August. I settled on the Suunto [...]

Read full story Comments { 30 }

Hunter Education Course Review: a wasted opportunity for CPW to meaningfully educate a first-time hunter

Last month my friend Rob and I took a Hunter Education Course offered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). This course is a prerequisite to applying for or buying a hunting license, and it’s taught by volunteer instructors that are trained and certified by CPW. The twelve hours of instruction were split over a Saturday [...]

Read full story Comments { 29 }

Advice to “Strider,” aspiring NCT thru-hiker, overwhelmed and beaten down by the Spring melt

Earlier this week I received an email from Bruce Matthews, Executive Director of the North Country Trail Association, asking a small favor to place an encouraging phone call to Luke Jordan (a.k.a. “Strider”), who is currently attempting a thru-hike of the NCT. Luke started his trip on March 27 at the NCT’s western terminus, Lake [...]

Read full story Comments { 7 }

Female hygiene: a backcountry guide and tips

Introduction from Skurka: I’m qualified to write about many backpacking matters. Female hygiene best practices is not one of them. For this topic, I asked Trinity Ludwig to share her wisdom, figuring she must have a few pointers — in September 2012 she and her two hiking partners, Shelley and Sarah, finished an 11-month 1,785-mile [...]

Read full story Comments { 61 }

Ten most popular how-to articles of 2012

This website was re-launched in early-January, in advance of the release of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide in late-February. Its front-end and back-end were both greatly improved: new layout, improved navigation, blog, social interactivity, and professional online store, all managed with a slick WordPress content management system. I hope visitors have appreciated the new website, and [...]

Read full story Comments { 1 }