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Very long-term review: Samsung Chromebook || 90 percent of computing needs for $200-ish

By Andrew Skurka / November 6, 2019 /

Five years ago I bought the second-generation Samsung Chromebook 2 for business travel. Versus my primary machine — at the time, a conventional Windows laptop — the Chromebook was: Half the size and weight, Quieter and cooler, Faster at startup (8 seconds!), and Less expensive to replace if it was damaged or stolen. It proved…

Beginner backpackers: Start here || Advice, info, tips & resources

By Andrew Skurka / November 3, 2019 /

This is a one-stop resource to help you learn to backpack, or backpack better. It: Establishes a philosophical context; Advises on gear, supplies, skills, fitness, and locations; and, Links to useful resources and additional reading. For such a comprehensive primer, it’s length is very manageable. It’s intentionally succinct — it’s high signal, low noise. I wish…

I’m hiring: Backpacking guide(s) for 2020 season

By Andrew Skurka / October 30, 2019 /

For the 2020 guiding season I plan to hire at least one additional backpacking guide, and possibly two or three. Interested in joining our team? Read on. Position description The work will be short-term and seasonal. It should be considered a supplement to steadier full-time work, an additional contract in a larger freelance portfolio, or…

Preview: Sierra Designs Flex Capacitors 25-40L, 40-60L and 60-75L

By Andrew Skurka / October 29, 2019 /

The original Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor backpack has performed and sold well since it was released three years ago. So Sierra Designs recently expanded the Flex Capacitor series with two new editions, while also updating the original. I was involved with the design and launch of the original Flex Capacitor. But I haven’t been affiliated…

Hunt report: Successful but not elegant

By Andrew Skurka / October 28, 2019 /

For two seasons Noel, Steve, and I had hunted GMU 12, a productive — and popular — unit in northwestern Colorado. We had some success, tagging a young bull in 2017 and having an almost successful timber sneak last year, but had made several realizations about the location: To reliably find elk, we had to…

8 adventurous running & hiking loops in Rocky Mountain and Indian Peaks

By Andrew Skurka / October 23, 2019 /

For the first time since 2013, this year I didn’t race and I won’t log at least 3,000 miles. Nagging injuries, lack of race entry luck, and a growing guiding program all played a role, as did an absence of desire — whatever I’d been running towards in my mid-30’s, I felt like I’d reached…

Review: Gore Wear H5 Gore-Tex Shakedry Jacket || The holy grail?

By Andrew Skurka / October 21, 2019 /

Nearly four years ago we first heard about Shakedry, a new “permanently beading” waterproof/breathable membrane technology from Gore-Tex that eliminated the need for a DWR-treated face fabric and that purportedly wouldn’t wet-out. If true, that’d be a big deal, because it would solve one source of failure of modern rain shells. The North Face was…

Review: Salomon X Alpine Pro || For high mountain runs + high routes

By Andrew Skurka / October 19, 2019 /

For years I’ve been an enthusiastic user of Salomon trail running shoes, with my all-time favorites coming from the Sense family — the Sense Pro, Sense Pro 2, and SLAB Sense Ultra. But Salomon has never broadly or successfully extended the winning features of its trail running shoes — notably, the glove-like fit, reliable outsole…

Quickstart Guide: Iceland’s Laugavegur & Fimmvörðuháls

By Katherine Kane / October 17, 2019 /

Editor’s note. In 2008 I completed the classic Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls treks as a warm-up to a longer east-to-west traverse of Iceland. I posted how-to information afterwards, but it’s relevancy is diminished by my fast-and-light style and by subsequent changes in regulations and conditions. So I asked Katherine Kane, who has been on several of…

Clean water on-the-run || Review: Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Filter Bottle

By Andrew Skurka / October 16, 2019 /

Motivated by the impending arrival of winter, last month and earlier this month I undertook five of the most fun and most adventurous trail runs of my life. Natural water sources were abundant during these 5- to 11-hour efforts, but I was skeptical of their quality. By late-summer in Rocky Mountain National Park and the…