Posts by Andrew Skurka

New look, same field-proven content

The website that most readers are familiar with launched in late-2011, shortly before the release of the first edition of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide. It was designed by Bracia, which like my company is mostly a one-man operation, and was a technological leap in my web presence. Its aesthetic was vastly superior to the preceding website,…

Crampons & ice axe: Recommendations for the High Sierra

In July I’m running six trips in Yosemite National Park, split between two guide teams: two intro-level 3-day courses, and four more advanced 5- and 7-day trips. We will be hiking sections of the John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra High Route, and Yosemite High Route, in addition to other trails and off-trail routes. Because…

Standout gear for cold-and-wet conditions in the Appalachians

Last week my guiding season kicked off in the beautiful — but soggy and unseasonably cold — mountains of West Virginia, with four 3-day/2-night learning-intensive Backpacking Fundamentals courses, split between two guide teams. Based on the conditions assessment that we performed during the Planning Curriculum, we expected rain and cool temperatures. But I was hoping for…

Gear list: West Virginia & Appalachians in May

My guiding season starts this Friday in West Virginia, where Alan Dixon, Joseph “Stringbean” McConaughy, Ron Bell, Matthew Bright, and I will be leading two consecutive intro-level 3-day trips (May 10-12 and 13-15). Seneca Creek National Recreation Area encompasses Spruce Knob, the state’s high point, and is not far from other popular backcountry areas like Dolly…

In my pack: Six items for rain & ticks in West Virginia

Next month I am guiding two 3-day overnight backpacking trips in West Virginia, which has all the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains but a fraction of the backcountry traffic versus the range’s more eastern destinations like Shenandoah National Park. I’m being joined by Alan Dixon, Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”), Ron Bell, and Matt Bright. This week…

Long-term review: Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs || Pricey perfection

After my first trip last spring, I cut out the boxer brief liner of my favorite hiking shorts, which were designed for running and which I’d scored at Marshalls for $15(!) a few years earlier. The elasticized liner had lost its rebound, resulting in an imperfect fit and insufficient support. The shell was still in…

Book review: Thirst, by Anish || Honest & accurate depiction of PCT FKT

“Better her than me,” I said multiple times during Thirst: 2600 miles to home, by Heather Anderson (“Anish”) about her record-setting thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013, which she completed in 60+ days at an astounding pace of over 43 miles per day. This glorified diary is an honest and accurate depiction of…

Book review: The Sun is a Compass || Bellingham to Kotzebue, Alaska

Nine years ago I randomly met Caroline Van Hemert on a gravely beach along Alaska’s Lynn Canal, between Juneau and Haines. She approached as I was cooking dinner and soaking in a splendid sunny evening. It was kind of dreamy, I won’t lie — I was halfway into my Alaska-Yukon Expedition, and she was the…