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Backpacking recipes: Ingredient information & sourcing

By Andrew Skurka / March 3, 2015 /

This page is intended to provide a single source of information about ingredients that I use in my backpacking breakfast and dinner meal ideas, which I will be posting over the next few months. Many of them are used in more than one recipe, so this page will prevent redundant information and allow for easy updating.…

Lessons learned in Big Bend National Park’s Mesa de Anguila

By Russell Johnson / January 2, 2015 /

Editor’s Note. Russell has been on two of my guided backpacking trips, and in April will join a third. He considers himself an “advanced beginner” backpacker, getting out a few times per year on trips of 2-4 days each. In mid-December I did a short trek with my wife and two sons at our favorite…

Top tips: Efficient backpacking trip planning, preparing, & packing

By Andrew Skurka / October 23, 2014 /

The first year I offered guided backpacking trips and courses in 2011, preparations for them were disastrously inefficient. My systems were nicely refined for solo thru-hikes, but I learned that groups of up to 10 clients for 3, 5, or 7 days at a time entail much more: more logistics, more food, more group equipment,…

Be Prepared? Absolutely. But against what? Why and how to assess environmental and route conditions.

By Andrew Skurka / May 30, 2012 /

On every backpacking trip, I have three primary goals. In order of importance, they are to: Survive, Maintain a realistic level of comfort, and Have “fun,” the definition of which is subject to personal interpretation. When I embark on a trip, I always try to abide by the Boy Scout motto — “Be prepared” —…

Sample: Environmental and Route Condition Assessment

By Andrew Skurka / May 30, 2012 /

Below I have included the Environmental and Route Condition Assessment that I assembled for a Backpacking Fundamentals course in Yosemite. It is a good template to use in assessing the likely environmental and route conditions for upcoming trips of your own. Read this post for or an explanation of why and how to assess environmental and route conditions. You…

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…

Food planning for multi-day backpacking trips and thru-hikes

By Andrew Skurka / January 31, 2012 /

I plan for a trip in two stages: 1. The theory. On my computer, I develop, refine, and perfect every aspect of the trip, notably my gear, supplies, route, and logistics. To do so, I rely heavily on applications like Excel, Word, National Geographic TOPO!, and Google Maps. 2. The tangible. I obtain everything that…

Creating and printing a custom mapset with TOPO!

By Andrew Skurka / January 24, 2012 /

Are you planning a trip that is not addressed specifically and perfectly by an existing guidebook or mapset? Then you should learn to use TOPO!. Among this program’s shortcomings is the inability to export and print multi-page custom mapsets, so in this post I’ll explain an alternative and efficient technique.

Train for a long-distance hike

By Andrew Skurka / December 19, 2011 /

Prior to leaving for a long-distance hike there is a lot to do—you have to buy gear and supplies, pack maildrops, organize maps and guidebooks, etc. But it is important that you are physically, as well as logistically, prepared for your hike. This page explains how I condition myself for my long-distance hikes. “Training” or…