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Drop 4.4 oz from the ULA Catalyst in 5 minutes

By Andrew Skurka / June 6, 2019 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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

By Andrew Skurka / May 8, 2019 /

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…