Planning

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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…

How to get sponsored

By Andrew Skurka / December 19, 2011 /

If you are looking for product and/or financial support for your next expedition, this article may help. It explains sponsorships types, the sponsorship process, and what companies want in return for their sponsorship. What it means to be “sponsored” There are about three levels of sponsorship: Tier 1: Free or discounted gear; Tier 2: Tier…

How to hike a “fast” thru-hike

By Andrew Skurka / October 20, 2006 /

The secret is not hiking at a faster speed, but hiking for more hours. This article is reprinted here with permission from Backpacking Light Magazine. Fall 2006 During the summer before my senior year of college, when I probably should have had an internship that could be leveraged into a “real” job after graduation, I…