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Backpacking in the rain: helpful gear and skills|| SD LIVE (March 31, 2015)

By Andrew Skurka / April 7, 2015 /

In last month’s SD LIVE event, I discussed multiple ways to help maintain a relative level of comfort and safety when backpacking in the rain. Some methods are simply a matter of packing differently or packing more: sleeping clothes, camp shoes, breathable footwear, group tarp, down insulation, and a pack liner. Other methods are techniques:…

Sometimes it rains. Next SD LIVE event: Tues, Mar 31

By Andrew Skurka / March 23, 2015 /

The next SD LIVE online event will air at 11:30 am PDT on Tuesday, March 31. I will start it off by sharing a series of tips I’ve learned about backpacking in the rain — foot care, fire starting, campsite selection, gear selection, etc. In the second half, Michael Glavin, the Brand Manager of Sierra…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Check lists & systems for 3-season conditions

By Andrew Skurka / March 22, 2015 /

With just a 13-item collection of hiking and backpacking clothing, is it possible to be comfortable here? And with that very same kit, also here? And here, too? I think it is. Earlier this month I introduced the Core 13, a tight collection of hiking and backpacking clothing that can be mixed-and-matched to create appropriate systems for every…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Sleep — Items 12 & 13: Sleeping clothes

By Andrew Skurka / March 18, 2015 /

In climates with regular and long-lasting rain events, high humidity, and/or weak sunlight (due to shade, cloud-cover, or low sun angle), getting damp, wet, or even soaked seems to be an inherent part of the backpacking experience. If you wish to dry out completely during a backpacking trip in the eastern woodlands, Pacific Northwest, or Alaska, I’d recommend you find a…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Items 10 & 11: Rain Jacket & Rain Pants

By Andrew Skurka / March 17, 2015 /

In a few instances I will leave behind my rain gear, notably short backpacking trips in dry environments when there is no precipitation in the forecast, and longer trips in hot and humid environments when a soaking is actually welcomed. But otherwise I bring something to help keep me dry when it rains. A rain…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Stop — Items 8-9: Insulated Jacket & Pants

By Andrew Skurka / March 16, 2015 /

During cool camps, cold nights, and crisp mid-day rest stops, I retain my body heat with a puffy jacket containing down or synthetic insulation. If I expect nighttime temperatures below about 30 degrees, or long camps with temperatures below about 40 degrees, I will add insulated pants to my kit. Down- and synthetic-filled garments are far more thermally efficient…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Go Suit — Item 7: Fleece Top

By Andrew Skurka / March 16, 2015 /

In warmer months, a fleece top may offer adequate insulation for lower overnight temperatures. However, it is less thermally efficient (i.e. less warm for its weight) than down- and synthetic-insulated jackets, which I will discuss later in this series. So I do not consider fleece to be an optimal “stop” piece when backpacking. Applications Instead, I include a…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Go Suit — Item 5-6: Pants & Underwear

By Andrew Skurka / March 15, 2015 /

In temperatures too cool for running shorts (less than about 50 degrees), I wear hiking pants and underwear. Probably more often, however, I wear pants only to protect my legs from brush, sun, and bugs. In these instances, the additional warmth of pants is actually a liability. Pants and underwear are Items 5 & 6 of…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Go Suit — Item 4: Running Shorts

By Andrew Skurka / March 15, 2015 /

So long as I’m not bushwhacking, being pestered by biting insects, or needing to protect my legs from intense sun, in warmer conditions I wear shorts. But I don’t wear “hiking shorts” like the Mountain Hardwear Canyon Short or “convertible pants” like the prAna Stretch Zion Convertible Pant that can be made into shorts. Instead,…

Core Backpacking Clothing || Go Suit — Item 3: Bug Shirt

By Andrew Skurka / March 10, 2015 /

I learned the hard way that mosquitoes and blackflies can bite through my knit polyester and knit merino wool hiking shirts. Another lesson: A rain jacket is effective insect protection, but wearing one in the High Sierra during the middle of the day under a blazing sun is completely unbearable. A better bug strategy is a dedicated…