Skip to content

Gear

Categories

Crampons & ice axe: Recommendations for the High Sierra

By Andrew Skurka / May 26, 2019 /

In July I’m running six trips in Yosemite National Park, split between two guide teams: two intro-level 3-day courses, and four more advanced 5- and 7-day trips. We will be hiking sections of the John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra High Route, and Yosemite High Route, in addition to other trails and off-trail routes. Because…

Long-term review: Osprey Aether/Ariel Pro 70 || Tough mid-weight load-hauler

By Andrew Skurka / May 21, 2019 /

Recently I had to look through photos of the Great Western Loop from 2007. My, my, I had such a small and light pack. But the trend has been moving in the wrong direction ever since, and for about a year I’ve been using a pack that has more volume and weighs more than anything…

Standout gear for cold-and-wet conditions in the Appalachians

By Andrew Skurka / May 19, 2019 /

Last week my guiding season kicked off in the beautiful — but soggy and unseasonably cold — mountains of West Virginia, with four 3-day/2-night learning-intensive Backpacking Fundamentals courses, split between two guide teams. Based on the conditions assessment that we performed during the Planning Curriculum, we expected rain and cool temperatures. But I was hoping for…

In my pack: Six items for rain & ticks in West Virginia

By Andrew Skurka / April 28, 2019 /

Next month I am guiding two 3-day overnight backpacking trips in West Virginia, which has all the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains but a fraction of the backcountry traffic versus the range’s more eastern destinations like Shenandoah National Park. I’m being joined by Alan Dixon, Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”), Ron Bell, and Matt Bright. This week…

Long-term review: Black Diamond Rhythm Tee with NuYarn, innovative nylon/merino blend

By Andrew Skurka / April 24, 2019 /

At the end of a Black Diamond media lunch at Outdoor Retailer last November, I was given a t-shirt that we’d been quickly briefed about but that seemed like vastly inferior product seeding relative to the new powder skis and airbag packs that’d really wow’d us. I’m notoriously particular about my athletic clothing, and I expected this…

Long-term review: Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs || Pricey perfection

By Andrew Skurka / April 17, 2019 /

After my first trip last spring, I cut out the boxer brief liner of my favorite hiking shorts, which were designed for running and which I’d scored at Marshalls for $15(!) a few years earlier. The elasticized liner had lost its rebound, resulting in an imperfect fit and insufficient support. The shell was still in…

Preview: Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 || Lighter & stickier than predecessor

By Andrew Skurka / February 6, 2019 /

The Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 will be available soon, in April 2019. This third-generation model remains purpose-built for long trail races and training runs, and the iterative changes seem entirely likable. Like most Salomon models, the Ultra is a neutral shoe that is designed for narrow and low-volume feet. But it has more forefoot volume…

Long-term review: LOKSAK OPSAK || Food storage enhancer

By Andrew Skurka / January 5, 2019 /

LOKSAK OPSAK bags are made of heavy-duty plastic and have a hermetic seal. When closed, the bag is airtight, waterproof, and odor-proof (the “OP” in OPSAK). On some trips, I use the 12″ x 20″ size ($6, 1.5 oz) as a lone food sack or as a liner inside a wildlife-resistant Ursack. I also like the 9″…

Just released: CalTopo app for Android

By Andrew Skurka / December 22, 2018 /

The website CalTopo has been my go-to mapping platform for four over years. I primarily use it to make and print topographic maps, including for all of my guided trips and high route guides. It has come a long way since I began to use it, with regular improvements to the user-interface and imagery database.…

Review: Salomon Sense Pro 3 || Smooth speedster for soft ground

By Andrew Skurka / December 13, 2018 /

The Salomon Sense Pro 3 is a fast, smooth, and aggressively lugged trail running shoe that is best for narrow/low-volume feet and soft or loose surfaces. Even though the Sense Pro 3 will replace the Sense Pro 2 and shares nomenclature with the Sense Pro 1, it most strongly resembles the S/Lab Sense 6 SG, which was the…