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George Floyd

By Andrew Skurka / June 4, 2020 /

When I sat down on Monday morning to map out blog and social content for the week, everything seemed unimportant. I know that hundreds of thousands of Americans were protesting the unnecessary death of another black man and systemic racism more broadly this weekend, but let me tell you about how much I love the…

Tips for handling harassment on the trail

By Alexandra Lev / May 21, 2020 /

While hiking alone on a trail, has a man ever slowed down a little when walking past you, and perhaps even brushed your shoulders ever so slightly, giving you that uneasy feeling and prompting you to look over your shoulder the rest of the way? Or how about a man on the trail who asks…

8 very adventurous loop runs & hikes in the Colorado Rockies

By Andrew Skurka / May 19, 2020 /

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: ZOLEO Satellite Communicator || Seamless messaging

By Andrew Skurka / May 18, 2020 /

The satellite messaging market only has two players: SPOT and Garmin, with the latter getting most of the market share. For a product that’s now so ubiquitous and high-dollar (largely because of the subscription revenue), I’d like to see more brands competing and innovating in this space. Here’s a new one that’s worth consideration: the…

Women-specific gear: What’s the difference, and do you need it?

By Teresa Hagerty / May 13, 2020 /

On my first backpacking trip, I used a rented backpack, a massively unwieldy sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad better suited for a guest room. My pack must have weighed over 50 pounds.  In the years that followed, I have gained hands-on knowledge with almost every gear category, and I have bought and replaced a…

Encouraging sign: Rocky Mountain to reopen May 27

By Andrew Skurka / May 13, 2020 /

Rocky Mountain National Park announced yesterday that they will begin a phased reopening starting on May 27. The press release is here. Most relevant to this readership, backcountry camping will be permitted right away, and will continue through the fall as normal. Even though Rocky is a National Park, the release points out that under…

Tutorial: Plan a backpacking trip in these 7 steps

By Andrew Skurka / May 11, 2020 /

This year I will plan twenty-nine backpacking trips. They are scheduled June through October, run three to seven days, and are scattered throughout North America in the high desert, eastern woodlands, mountain West, and Alaska. In addition, I will also ready our 240+ clients, who are of mixed ages, genders, fitness, and experience. To pull…

Should I stay home or can I go? Navigating Covid-19 restrictions

By Andrew Skurka / May 8, 2020 /

Based on what we currently know about Covid-19 and on the best practices that you plan to follow, you may deem the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19 acceptably low. And, therefore, you want to start your trip. I would generally concur with you: thoughtful behavior in a backcountry setting — which has constant air…

New normal: How can Covid-19 risk in the backcountry be minimized?

By Andrew Skurka / May 7, 2020 /

In 2020 I’m hopeful that my personal and guided backpacking trips will take place. But it won’t be business as usual — on both private and commercial outings, individual behaviors and program protocols must reflect the new risk of Covid-19. The preceding post is an objective assessment of this risk, and it serves as a…

Covid-19: What’s the objective risk to backcountry travelers?

By Andrew Skurka / May 5, 2020 /

To mitigate a risk, it’s essential to first understand it. For example, if I were planning to hike the John Muir Trail/PCT in the early-season, I’d want to know about hazardous creek crossings. And if I was planning to drink water from natural sources on that trip, I would want to be familiar with the…