This is meant to be a final ‘send-off’ post for our Plan Like a Pro course and guided trips with links, books, and other resources meant to further your education if you like, on your own terms. It starts with some of our favorite books, classes, apps, online communities and podcasts; and then it goes deep on categories mirroring the curriculum modules.
Have suggestions for this list?
Let us know! We can update it so it becomes more valuable as time goes on, as new equipment is released, and as best practices evolve to suit ever-changing times.
Books can be useful for picking up technical skills or being brought into another hiker’s worlds and experience.
Where you’ll find me: The last climb of Kate Matrosova – Riveting account from behind the scenes of SAR (Search & Rescue)
Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips – Classic book from Mike Clelland with great illustrations
Ultralight Winter Travel – Superb resource for those interested in winter travel
The Packraft Handbook – THE book to get if you’re interested in packrafting
Bear Attacks: Causes and avoidance – People fear what they don’t know, but once you understand why bears act the way they do, you’ll become more confident in bear country
Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain – Another classic. Essential reading if you plan on winter camping/backpacking anywhere near avalanche terrain.
*Many other great book suggestions can be found on Cam Honan’s site, The Hiking Life
We live in a digital world, and there are a lot of great tools at our disposal. Here are some of our favorites.
Seek – Helps to identify plants & animals.
Peakfinder – Identify certain peaks around you.
FarOut – Used to be Guthook. Great for long trails.
GaiaGPS – One of the best navigation apps.
CalTopo – Another fantastic navigation app to go with its powerful desktop suite.
All Trails – Simple app/website.
OnX Backcountry – Good for skiing.
SAS Survival Guide – Interesting survival tips you may find valuable.
Courses & Certifications
Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do to become more proficient in the backcountry. Here are some great classes you should consider.
Andrew Skurka Guided Trip – My 3, 5, 7, or 11 day guided backpacking trip focus on backcountry and off-trail skills. Your course fee is directly subtracted from the trip cost.
Wilderness First Aid (WFA) – Great intro course for outdoor enthusiasts.
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) – The gold standard for guides and other outdoor professionals.
Swiftwater Rescue Courses – Essential for anyone integrating river travel or significant water crossings into their journeys.
AIARE – Crucial for anyone traveling in avalanche terrain. Broken up into levels.
Mountaineering – There are a lot of sub-categories here, so take a look around and see if one piques your interest.
Summer Strong – An interesting fitness-based course that focuses on ‘mindful interval training’, which you can do in your living room or backyard-no gym required!
River Safety & Rescue – Perfect for packrafters.
Performance Nutrition & Meal Planning for Backpackers – Fabulous course for those who want to take their food to the next level.
Adventure-Ready – A more in-depth course that focuses on nutrition.
Great places to meet like-minded others, trade gear, talk shop, or even find hiking buddies.
Facebook – The OG. Still lots of specific groups for certain trails, national parks, etc. Good resource!
Reddit Ultralight – Where all the nerds hang out. Including me.
Backpacking Light Forum – Deep reservoir of topics going back 20 years. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a thread on it here.
Reddit UL Gear Swap – Buy/Sell UL gear. Very active.
Backpacking Light Gear Swap – Buy/Sell UL gear. Very active.
Other than the standard hiker podcasts, I’ve found a lot of valuable information on the Huberman Labs podcast. This is mostly about physiology, neurology, and psychology, but a lot of it ties right into food, nutrition, physical fitness, etc. Shout out to Katie Gerber for the recommendation!
Need some inspiration? Check some of these ideas out.
I find the best learning takes place when you understand basic principles of weather and topography and then experience them happen in real-time. There are lots of great tools out there to give you even more context and historical data on where you’re headed.
Book: Mountain Weather
Book: Weather: A field guide
Prevent injuries, hike longer, and enjoy yourself more.
Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof. Fantastic work that will keep your hoofs in great shape after all the abuse you put them through.
The New York City Ballet Workout by Peter Martins. Similar to Yoga and pilates, Ballet teaches grace, balance, core strength, coordination, etc. This book is also a great primer on strength stretching, which will keep you going longer and stronger. No, you don’t have to learn to pirouette to gain benefits from these exercises.
Everyone’s favorite. Other than ‘The Ultimate Hikers Gear Guide’, which is essential reading, most up-to-date gear-related advice or tools are scattered across the web.
Fueling your body properly is key. Food goes hand in hand with fitness and other preparations you make before heading out.
Book: Peak Nutrition by Mercedes Pollmeier & Maria Hines
Class: Adventure Ready by Katie Gerber
Maps and Navigation
Book: Squiggly Lines–Navigation in adventure races
More important than the latest and greatest gear
Keep up with us!
You can find our guides & instructor’s contact information HERE.