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Tips: How to buy backpacking gear

By Hunter Hall / March 14, 2021 /

Consider this a handy introductory guide to buying backpacking gear, with the emphasis on how to buy instead of what to buy. I’ll discuss the ethos of buying gear and the kind of mindset you should try to get into before purchasing anything, as well as the kind of traps you should avoid.  My personal…

Video tutorial: Research historical temperature & precipitation data

By Andrew Skurka / March 12, 2021 /

In a recent post on my favorite resources for researching the conditions that I will likely encounter on a backpacking trip, I plugged the Environmental Centers for Environmental Information, which tracks temperature and precipitation data for thousands of locations throughout the United States. It’s an extremely helpful website, but it can be difficult to navigate…

In celebration of Oden

By Andrew Skurka / March 5, 2021 /

In late-November I tried calling Dr. Jason Cordeiro to schedule an at-home euthanasia appointment for Oden, our beloved 17 year-old orange tabby cat. I couldn’t hold myself together long enough to leave a coherent voice message, so we confirmed over text a date for the following week. But Oden bounced back before that dreaded day…

Template: Environmental & Route Conditions Assessment

By Andrew Skurka / March 2, 2021 /

Nineteen years ago at the start of my first real backpacking trip — an over-my-head thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail — I was simultaneously over-, under-, and mis-prepared, and had justified many decisions on the basis of what if and just in case. For example, I had three methods of purifying water but only “water-resistant”…

Considerations when flying to a backpacking destination

By Brandon Chase / February 26, 2021 /

If you need to travel long distances, perhaps over several days, to reach a backpacking destination, how you can assure that you’ll have all the necessary gear when you finally get there? I suggest two measures: Choose the most appropriate method of travel, and Plan around known restrictions. The easiest & fastest option: Fly and…

Recommended listening: Roman Dial and The Backpacking Podcast

By Andrew Skurka / February 26, 2021 /

Two podcasts from the past week that may be worth your time: Buzz Burrell interviews Roman Dial For this week’s installment of the FKT Podcast, Buzz interviewed Roman, which makes for a lot of legend in one episode. Roman is probably the best storyteller that I know, due to both storytelling skills and Alaska-themed content.…

High routes and the rare Sierra Nevada red fox

By Andrew Skurka / February 25, 2021 /

The Sierra Nevada red fox (SNRF) is a subspecies of red fox that has become genetically isolated since the retreat of the last ice age and is one of the rarest mammalian carnivores in North America. High routes in the High Sierra — notably the Sierra High Route, Kings Canyon High Basin Route, and Yosemite…

Trip planning research: My go-to resources

By Andrew Skurka / February 22, 2021 /

A six-week hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, starting at the US-Mexico border on June 6, 2006, sounded hot and dry to me. But fifteen years ago I had no experience with southern California or deserts generally, so I didn’t know how to properly prepare my gear, supplies and skills. What clothing, sleeping bag, and…

Last call for planning course starting Feb 22

By Andrew Skurka / February 17, 2021 /

On Friday we will be shutting down registration for Session 1 of our 9-week online planning course, which starts Monday, February 22. If you miss this opportunity, consider Session 2 or Session 3, which start March 15 and April 12, respectively. If the timing of these latter sessions works better for you, you can still…

Trip Planner Template: Stay organized & track details

By Andrew Skurka / February 11, 2021 /

In preparing for a backpacking trip, especially outings that are beyond the normal weekend getaway in a familiar place, I rely on a handful of tools that collectively help me to be more efficient and thorough in my planning efforts. Previously I’ve posted about two of the most important: Backpacking gear list, and Environmental and…