Ron Bell of MLD to help guide Fundamentals courses in West Virginia

Ron Bell, the founder and owner of Mountain Laurel Designs, one of the most innovative and influential ultralight backpacking gear companies, will be joining Alan Dixon, Joe McConaughy, and me as a special guest on the Backpacking Fundamentals course in West Virginia, May 10-12, 2019.

Ron last joined us in 2012, and I’m excited to have him back. He has exceptional understanding of gear design, manufacturing, fabrics, materials, and trends. His insights on shelters, sleeping bags, and backpacks should be fascinating. Ron is also great company, and is deeply embedded in the backpacking community.

Ron Bell overlooking the Shenandoah Valley

Unlike most of my other guided trips, there are still some spots open in West Virginia. View availability here, and apply here.

I’m still sorting out the fourth guide for the May 13-15 session. My leading applicant is a DC-based alumni with a PhD in environmental sciences, with a specific focus on the ecology and geology of the Appalachians, who has also thru-hiked the Sierra High Route, Wind River High Route, and the Rocky Mountain section of the Pfiffner Traverse. TBA.

Posted in on February 15, 2019


  1. Victor on February 21, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Where in WV will you be doing the backpacking fundamentals?

    • Andrew Skurka on February 21, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      Most likely in Monongahela National Forest, where I have a pending commercial permit. Seneca Creek is my first choice, though if our groups are 10 or less we might be able to get into Dolly Sods (pending the permit).

  2. Victor on February 23, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Great choices. Dolly Sods is one of my favorite places. Davis is a great little town just west of Dolly Sods. They have a couple good restaurants and some pretty good beer to celebrate after a backpacking trip.

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