Archive | Skills

Founder's Bridge over the Nantahala River, with Chris Willett and Daddy Mention. Note the 75L pack, which still wasn't big enough to fit all my stuff plus my sleeping pad. I bought trekking poles at the NOC shortly after this photo was taken.

Learning to backpack “the hard way”: How I wasted my money and (nearly) ruined trips through trial-and-error

Nearly ten years ago, on May 5, 2002, I started my first long-distance hike: the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail. The AT was one of my first backpacking trips as well — the first had been only two months earlier during Spring Break, when I’d gone to Yosemite Valley by myself and had gone on two one-night trips, to […]

Continue Reading

[email protected] – Ultimate Hiking Gear & Skills Clinic

Earlier this Spring I had the opportunity to present at Google’s main campus in Mountain View, CA, as part of the [email protected] program. Special thanks to Andrew de los Reyes for organizing and marketing the event — it was a huge success. The video below is fairly representative of the clinic with which I’m currently […]

Continue Reading

Nine skills that will allow you to go lighter

Two years ago my younger sister and her boyfriend went on their first backpacking trip together—a weekend-long summer outing in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Based on our shared genealogy, she apparently assumed she’d been blessed with comparable backpacking wisdom as her older brother, so she borrowed some equipment I’d left in my parent’s basement and […]

Continue Reading
In wet conditions, such as those in the Wind River Range in July, wet feet are inevitable despite best efforts to avoid them.

Why “waterproof” shoes will not keep your feet dry

Here’s a reality check: if you are backpacking in wet conditions—which could entail prolonged rain, dew-soaked grass, melting snow, un-bridged creek crossings, or even just high humidity—your feet are going to get wet. So-called “waterproof” footwear will not keep your feet dry. Advertisements and marketing that makes such claims are false and disingenuous, and they […]

Continue Reading

Objectives in writing The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide

My first book, The Ultimate Hiker’s Guide, is officially released today. If you pre-ordered a signed copy directly from me, thank you, and you will be getting it shortly—I shipped an quantity of orders last week. It has been both exciting and interesting to read feedback from early reviewers, like Kraig Becker at The […]

Continue Reading

How to hike a “fast” thru-hike

The secret is not hiking at a faster speed, but hiking for more hours. This article is reprinted here with permission from Backpacking Light Magazine. Fall 2006 During the summer before my senior year of college, when I probably should have had an internship that could be leveraged into a “real” job after graduation, I […]

Continue Reading