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Gear List: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Brooks Range, Alaska in early-summer

By Andrew Skurka / June 7, 2019 / 19 Comments

In the second half of June I’m running four 7-day guided trips in Gates of the Arctic National Park, split between two guide teams. Gates encompass the western half of the famed Brooks Range, which spans 1,000 miles across Alaska and which arguably offers the greatest wilderness trekking in North America. The terrain and conditions…

Drop 4.4 oz from the ULA Catalyst in 5 minutes

By Andrew Skurka / June 6, 2019 / 38 Comments

For 5- and 7-day guided trips this summer in the Brooks Range and Yosemite National Park, I plan to carry (and review afterwards) the ULA Catalyst. Its key specs: 48 oz (3 lbs 0 oz, 1360 grams) 4,600 cubic inches (75L) Twin aluminum stays Durable fabrics throughout Generous hipbelt pockets and front stash pocket Made…

The Trail Show: Episode 82 is live

By Andrew Skurka / June 3, 2019 / 1 Comment

Last month I hosted The Trail Show crew for a multi-hour recording of Episode 82, which is now live. They’re a great group and it was a fun evening.

Why are thru-hikers already in the High Sierra?

By Andrew Skurka / June 3, 2019 / 77 Comments

Last week an alumnus, Rod, sent me photos of Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers in the High Sierra, climbing over Forester Pass. The photos were taken May 26, but he didn’t know the party. (Update, June 7. In a recent Instagram post, these photos were credited to Justin McCormick, and are of Jonathan Frankson and Abby.…

Wilderness medicine training: When have I actually applied it?

By Andrew Skurka / June 3, 2019 / 13 Comments

This past weekend I took my biannual wilderness first responder (WFR) and CPR re-certification courses. Between refreshes on the patient assessment system, prerequisites for a FSA, and rescue breaths, I thought about the instances over the past eight years when I’ve had to apply my training. As a new WFR in 2011, I remember being…

New look, same field-proven content

By Andrew Skurka / June 1, 2019 / 23 Comments

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,…

Quickstart Guide: Hayduke Trail

By Samuel Chaneles / May 28, 2019 / 1 Comment

Visit Engineered for Adventure for more information about and by Sam. For years I have wanted to explore the American Southwest, with its iconic walls, rock formations, and mesas. But as a college student I’ve always struggled to get out there, due to the summertime heat and aridity.  This year, however, record snowpack in the Four Corners…

Crampons & ice axe: Recommendations for the High Sierra

By Andrew Skurka / May 26, 2019 / 23 Comments

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…

Long-term review: Osprey Aether/Ariel Pro 70 || Tough mid-weight load-hauler

By Andrew Skurka / May 21, 2019 / 10 Comments

Recently I had to look through photos of the Great Western Loop from 2007. My, my, I had such a small and light pack. But the trend has been moving in the wrong direction ever since, and for about a year I’ve been using a pack that has more volume and weighs more than anything…

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

By Andrew Skurka / May 19, 2019 / 25 Comments

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…