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Gear list || Backpacking Field Repair Kit for broken, lost & worn out gear

By Andrew Skurka / February 19, 2020 /

Due to extended use, hard use, and sometimes human error, backpacking clothing and equipment will break, tear, and wear out. Personally, in the field I’ve experienced: Torn trekking pants, rain gear, puffy jackets, sleeping bags, and backpacks; Leaking seams on shelters; Bent, splintered, and fractured trekking pole shafts; Cracked sunglasses; Punctured and cracked water bottles; Dead headlamp batteries; Slow leaks in air sleeping…

Gear List: Backpacking Foot Care Kit for blisters & maceration

By Andrew Skurka / February 19, 2020 /

How many hiking and backpacking trips have been set back, or even ruined, by blisters, maceration, and other podiatric woes? Quite a few — including some of mine, unfortunately. To eliminate or minimize these issues, I carry a dedicated foot care kit. This kit is a separate entity than my backpacking first aid kit. While…

Gear List: Backpacking First Aid Kit for soloists & groups

By Andrew Skurka / February 19, 2020 /

A first aid kit is rightfully considered by most backpackers to be a must-have item. To check this box, you have two basic options: Purchase a prepackaged commercial version like the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight that has been vetted by medical professionals; or, Create your own, based on the specifics of your group, itinerary, and…

Review: Black Diamond Sprint 225 Headlamp || Upgraded Iota

By Andrew Skurka / January 17, 2020 /

On most backpacking trips last year, I carried the Black Diamond Iota Headlamp (my review). Its 150 lumens were plenty for 3-season conditions; it weighed only 1.9 ounces (56 grams) and packed away small; and I loved that it was rechargeable, so that I could keep AAA batteries out of the waste stream and so…

Review: SAXX Kinetic HD Boxer Briefs || For higher output activities than original

By Andrew Skurka / January 13, 2020 /

When I learned that SAXX had redesigned its Kinetic Boxer Briefs (my long-term review), I was frankly nervous. Over the past two backpacking seasons I’d worn them for over 100 days in Alaska, the High Sierra, Colorado Rockies, and Appalachians, and I’d yet to identify a flaw. So a redesign struck me as risky, with…

Preview: Showa 282-02 || Winter-ized + black

By Andrew Skurka / January 7, 2020 /

After reviewing the Showa 281 and 282 gloves two years ago (281 review, 282 review), I contacted Showa urging them to develop a more outdoor recreation-specific version. In particular, I wanted to see a rain mitt (not glove) in a subtler color and with a wrist cinch. I got no response and dropped it. Their…

Nine-year review: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

By Andrew Skurka / December 13, 2019 /

In spring 2011 I purchased the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles, and used them for about 450 days over the next eight backpacking seasons. Some of this use was mild (i.e. short days and on-trail) but a considerable portion was not — they probably endured over 1,000 miles of talus and scree, spring…

Blast from the past || Review: Clifton 1 Reissue

By Andrew Skurka / November 15, 2019 /

Winter arrived early on the Colorado Front Range, pushing me out to the gravel multi-use trails and quiet county roads about a month earlier than usual. I wasn’t prepared for it: my inventory of road-worthy shoes consisted of just one pair of Hoka One One Clifton 5 (my review) with nearly 600 miles on them.…

Preview: Sierra Designs Flex Capacitors 25-40L, 40-60L and 60-75L

By Andrew Skurka / October 29, 2019 /

The original Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor backpack has performed and sold well since it was released three years ago. So Sierra Designs recently expanded the Flex Capacitor series with two new editions, while also updating the original. I was involved with the design and launch of the original Flex Capacitor. But I haven’t been affiliated…

Review: Gore Wear H5 Gore-Tex Shakedry Jacket || The holy grail?

By Andrew Skurka / October 21, 2019 /

Nearly four years ago we first heard about Shakedry, a new “permanently beading” waterproof/breathable membrane technology from Gore-Tex that eliminated the need for a DWR-treated face fabric and that purportedly wouldn’t wet-out. If true, that’d be a big deal, because it would solve one source of failure of modern rain shells. The North Face was…