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Just released: CalTopo app for Android

By Andrew Skurka / December 22, 2018 / 13 Comments

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.…

Admission: Yes, I sleep with my food

By Andrew Skurka / December 21, 2018 / 28 Comments

In a post yesterday I shared my recommended food storage techniques. Some readers responded skeptically to my fifth method — sleeping with it — so I thought I’d discuss it more fully. I’m intentional about when and where I’ll do it, and I don’t have a death wish. First, a disclaimer Sleeping with your food seems riskier than…

Tutorial || How to store & protect food from bears & mini-bears

By Andrew Skurka / December 20, 2018 / 36 Comments

You’ve set up camp for the night and cooked dinner. Now what should be done with the Snickers, salami, peanut noodle dinners, and the other calories that will sustain you for the remainder of your backpacking trip? Protect from what? Most backpackers seem to protect their food overnight because they’re worried about bears. In places…

Long-term review: Suunto 9 Baro || Legit flagship watch, needs firmware fix

By Andrew Skurka / November 29, 2018 / 42 Comments

For five months I’ve been using the Suunto 9 Baro GPS Sport Watch on a near daily basis, mostly while trail and road running, and occasionally backpacking. With few exceptions, it has supplanted my trusted Suunto Ambit3 Peak (long-term review). It’s the nicest Suunto watch that I’ve used yet, but has one significant blemish that…

Long-term review: Garmin inReach Explorer+ || Sat comm + GPS unit 2-in-1

By Samuel Chaneles / November 28, 2018 / 4 Comments

For different trips, I often wear and carry different gear. But some items are so vital that they end up on every trip — and my Garmin inReach Explorer+ is one of them. Since its release in early-2017, I have used my inReach Explorer+ on many trips around the globe, including on the southern Appalachian Trail,…

How to choose: Jetboil backpacking stoves || Zip v. Flash v. -Mo v. Joule

By Andrew Skurka / November 16, 2018 / 20 Comments

Yesterday I attended a Jetboil press event in Boulder. It was an opportunity to examine the product line and to speak with Jetboil reps in a less time-crunched setting than Outdoor Retailer. Stove system overview To simplify decision-making for its dealers and customers, Jetboil seems to have worked hard to keep its product line tight. It…

Brand intro: Norrøna || Premium & technical, ubiquitous in Norway

By Andrew Skurka / November 14, 2018 / 5 Comments

Outdoor Retailer is an opportunity to learn about brands I’ve never heard and brands about which I know little. So when I was invited into the Norrøna booth, I said yes. Norrøna is a 90 year-old Norwegian company that is still owned and managed by the original family. The intended application, materials and construction quality, and…

Preview: Salomon X Alpine Pro || For scrambly runs, maybe high routes

By Andrew Skurka / November 12, 2018 / 7 Comments

When running and racing on trails, I normally wear Salomon Sense or Salomon Ultra shoes. But for hiking and backpacking, I currently have to look elsewhere. For two years my go-to has been the La Sportiva Bushido (my review; and my preview of the Bushido II), which is perfectly suited for high routes: they’re securely fitting, durable,…

Preview: Altra Tusher || Hiking boot with zero drop & foot shape

By Andrew Skurka / November 11, 2018 / 25 Comments

My coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018 starts with Altra, which has developed a cult-like following among hikers and runners for its zero drop shoes, wide lasts, and gender-specific fits. Altra revealed three new shoes at the show: the Tusher, Grafton, and Wahweap. They will be available in July 2019. Availability is uncertain at this…

Review: SPOT X Satellite Messenger || I’ll keep my inReach, thanks

By Andrew Skurka / October 23, 2018 / 24 Comments

Exactly one week after Garmin announced the inReach Mini in May, SPOT released its first new device in five years and its first device with two-way satellite messaging. The SPOT X retails for $250, weighs 6.7 oz, and features a 2.7-inch dot matrix illuminated screen and physical QWERTY keyboard. It looks like an orange Blackberry with an over-sized antenna.…