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Map & Compass: Adjust for declination & orient the map

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2016 /

Backcountry navigation is an art. The basics can be learned quickly, like dead reckoning, reading a map, and using an altimeter watch. But extensive practice is necessary to seamlessly and flawlessly apply these skills in the field, especially when under duress or in challenging situations, like off-trail in a heavily forested area with rolling hills.…

Backpacking Stoves: Five complete systems for soloists & groups

By Andrew Skurka / November 27, 2015 /

What are the backpacking stove systems that I use in 3-season and winter conditions when solo, as a couple, or in a group? In this multi-post series I will detail them, with complete gear lists and in-depth explanations of my selections. This is not meant to be a definitive list of viable stove systems. There are literally…

Backpack trip planning checklist: To do before you go

By Andrew Skurka / April 22, 2015 /

I have planned hundreds of backpacking trips. Many have been personal outings, ranging from long weekends in nearby destinations to multi-month thru-hikes in faraway places. The rest have been guided, when I’ve been accountable to paying clients. To maximize my working efficiency and to prevent oversights when getting backpacking trips out the door, I use a trip planning checklist — a spreadsheet,…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Intro: With just 13 items, go anywhere in 3-season conditions

By Andrew Skurka / March 9, 2015 /

To backpack anywhere in 3-seasons conditions, how few articles of clothing are needed to mix-and-match appropriate systems? I say: thirteen — the Core 13, I’ll call the collection. However, a decent argument could be made for 11, and for a narrower range of applications or conditions, even fewer are relevant. For instance, just 9 for the Colorado Rockies and…

Female hygiene: a backcountry guide and tips

By Trinity Ludwig / March 11, 2013 /

Introduction from Skurka: I’m qualified to write about many backpacking matters. Female hygiene best practices is not one of them. For this topic, I asked Trinity Ludwig to share her wisdom, figuring she must have a few pointers — in September 2012 she and her two hiking partners, Shelley and Sarah, finished an 11-month 1,785-mile…

“Stupid light”: Why light is not necessarily right, and why lighter is not necessarily better

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2012 /

On most trips, my primary objective is to enjoy my hiking experience. Camping, from my perspective, is simply an 8-hour opportunity to recharge before another rewarding day of constant forward progress (CFP). To be this “ultimate hiker,” my gear, supplies and skills must be optimized with regards to: Weight, because carrying less allows me to…