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Actually, there is a “right way” to backpack: The limits of “hike your own hike”

By Andrew Skurka / November 16, 2016 /

One interaction I distinctly recall from the Appalachian Trail was in Virginia, with a fellow thru-hiker who was outwardly critical of my approach. I had been moving at a relatively quick clip, in the hopes of finishing the entire trail in about three months, before the start of my fall semester. “You’re hiking too fast…

What inspires you to backpack? The hiking, the camping, or both?

By Andrew Skurka / October 25, 2012 /

Earlier this week I cheered the death of the “lightweight backpacking” label, along with its misguided ultralight (UL), super ultralight (SUL), and extreme ultralight (XUL) derivatives. With this post, I hope to offer a more representative, more useful, and more inclusive framework for thinking about backpacking and backpackers. For those of you who have read…

Is the “lightweight backpacking” label dead, along with its UL, SUL, and XUL derivatives? I hope so.

By Andrew Skurka / October 23, 2012 /

Recent posts by Martin Rye, Dave Chenault, Mike Clelland, and Jaakko Heikka on the state and future of  “lightweight” and “ultralight” backpacking have given me the motivation — and a good opportunity — to dust off two related posts that I first drafted six months ago but that never went live. This is the first. When I…

“Stupid light”: Why light is not necessarily right, and why lighter is not necessarily better

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2012 /

On most trips, my primary objective is to enjoy my hiking experience. Camping, from my perspective, is simply an 8-hour opportunity to recharge before another rewarding day of constant forward progress (CFP). To be this “ultimate hiker,” my gear, supplies and skills must be optimized with regards to: Weight, because carrying less allows me to…

Learning to backpack “the hard way”: How I wasted my money and (nearly) ruined trips through trial-and-error

By Andrew Skurka / April 26, 2012 /

Nearly ten years ago, on May 5, 2002, I started my first long-distance hike: the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail. The AT was one of my first backpacking trips as well — the first had been only two months earlier during Spring Break, when I’d gone to Yosemite Valley by myself and had gone on two one-night trips, to…

[email protected] – Ultimate Hiking Gear & Skills Clinic

By Andrew Skurka / April 5, 2012 /

Earlier this Spring I had the opportunity to present at Google’s main campus in Mountain View, CA, as part of the [email protected] program. Special thanks to Andrew de los Reyes for organizing and marketing the event — it was a huge success. The video below is fairly representative of the clinic with which I’m currently…

Hiking should be fun, not work, so lighten up

By Andrew Skurka / December 7, 2011 /

Light is right and less is more, especially when you are backpacking. A lightweight pack is safer and more comfortable, and more FUN, than a heavy pack full of overbuilt and unnecessary stuff; and it makes the backcountry more accessible for anyone who does not want to (or cannot) carry a traditional pack, which should…

The Pros & Cons of Going Solo

By Andrew Skurka / May 10, 2010 /

Delta Junction, Alaska I enjoy solo wilderness travel. I also enjoy group wilderness travel. There are pros and cons to each, but certain trips are best done solo, while others are best done by two or more individuals. In the case of this expedition, the reason I’m doing it solo basically comes down to the…