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Bear Canister Basics

By Andrew Skurka / December 19, 2011 /

Bear canisters are hard-sided plastic or carbon fiber cylinders with a removable lid that is designed to protect its contents (namely, food and other scented items) from bears. The canister’s shape, hardness, and lid seal mechanism (which require opposable fingers to open/close) make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for bears to access the canister’s…

Seven steps to lighten up

By Andrew Skurka / December 19, 2011 /

I spend most of my day walking, so I optimize my pack for on-trail ecstasy by keeping it light. However, I don’t go “stupid light” by sacrificing too much functionality, durability, comfort etc. for the sake of saving a few grams. Here are seven tips to lighten up: 1. Create a gear list. In a…

Make your own: Fancy Feast Alcohol Backpacking Stove

By Andrew Skurka / December 10, 2011 /

I received my first Fancy Feast stove from Ryan Bozis (aka Major Slacker), who attended one of my presentations in Virginia in Spring 2006. I of course thanked him for it, but given how simple the stove was, I could not imagine that it was better than the stove that I had used for most…

A Guide to Canadian Topographical Maps

By Andrew Skurka / April 2, 2010 /

When I am planning a trip in the United States for which a pre-produced mapset is unavailable, I usually make my own with National Geographic TOPO! software. In TOPO! I can pan seamlessly across USGS topographical map images, like how I can pan across a Google Map; I can markup the maps with symbols, text…