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Archive | Backpacking Know-how

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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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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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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salewa-lite-train-outsole

Early impressions: Salewa Lite Train Trail Running Shoe

Update (June 15, 2016): Also read my full review. Earlier this year Salewa launched its “Mountain Training” category with three distinct models for trail running and hiking. The Lite Train is the most minimal of the bunch, but most definitely still shares hallmarks of Salewa footwear, like robust design and impeccable construction. I will eventually write […]

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Color correct sample, as of May 10

Teaser: Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent

In August 2014 I drew the first sketches of the Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent. In the ensuing 18 months, we made up four prototypes, and I tested the design extensively in southern Utah and the Rockies. In designing the High Route Tent, I wanted a shelter that would be: Suitable for harsh 3-season conditions and moderate winter conditions; Optimized […]

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