Breathability: an explanation of its importance, mechanisms, and limitations

By Andrew Skurka / May 1, 2012 /

Outdoor fabrics are frequently described as being “breathable,” and this is (except in one case) a desirable characteristic. My observation based on clinics and online writings is that the concept of breathability is generally understood, but usually superficially. Further, there is some confusion about how it relates to “ventilation” as well as some unrealistic expectations about…

Why “waterproof” shoes will not keep your feet dry

By Andrew Skurka / March 1, 2012 /

Here’s a reality check: if you are backpacking in wet conditions—which could entail prolonged rain, dew-soaked grass, melting snow, un-bridged creek crossings, or even just high humidity—your feet are going to get wet. So-called “waterproof” footwear will not keep your feet dry. Advertisements and marketing that makes such claims are false and disingenuous, and they…

My sock systems for backpacking in 3-season conditions

By Andrew Skurka / January 17, 2012 /

In normal 3-season conditions, I carry just two pairs of socks on my backpacking trips. In wet climates I carry a “daytime” pair and a “sleeping” pair, whereas in dry climates I carry two “daytime” pairs. But there’s slightly more to it than that. This is the first of what I hope will become a…