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Long-term review: DeFeet Wooleator Sock || Go-to sock for a decade-plus

By Andrew Skurka / January 23, 2018 / 12 Comments

In December I visited my parents in Massachusetts, and my mom had waiting for me a box of possessions that I needed to bring back to Colorado or throw out. Along with newspaper clippings from the Sea-to-Sea Route, a Valentine’s Day card from a high school sweetheart, and running logs from the pre-Strava era, I…

Review: Showa 282 Gloves || Preferred cold & wet solution, but imperfect

By Andrew Skurka / October 30, 2017 / 30 Comments

When hiking or running in cold and wet conditions, keeping my hands comfortable has been a chronic challenge. On multiple occasions I’ve pulled into a campsite, trailhead, aid station, or my house with inoperable and painful fingers. To minimize (or perhaps even, to end) this suffering, this summer I looked beyond conventional rain mitts like the REI…

Reader question: Are Cuben Fiber shelters & backpacks worth the cost?

By Andrew Skurka / March 8, 2017 / 57 Comments

A question from reader Patrick H.: Most backpackers who look beyond REI while researching gear have probably learned of Cuben Fiber, either in a standalone conversation or as a fabric option for shelters, backpacks, and accessories made by cottage brands like Hammock Gear, Katabatic Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs and others. Cuben stands out, partly because equipment made with it is exorbitantly…

Backpack Hunt Gear Lists for Big Game (elk & deer) || Introduction

By Andrew Skurka / October 26, 2016 / 10 Comments

Next month I will be hunting elk and deer during Colorado’s third rifle season. As with my previous fall hunts, this will be a backpack hunt: I will carry an overnight load and have a mobile camp. I’ll be joined by Steve, a friend and running partner. Essentially, we’re going on a conventional backpacking trip in the Colorado…

Favorite reads: Backpacking & hiking blogs, websites, and forums

By Andrew Skurka / October 20, 2016 / 57 Comments

Expectedly, I follow many blogs, websites, and forums dedicated to backpacking (and perhaps secondarily to hiking, camping, and the outdoors). As an avid backpacker, I appreciate new gear reviews, skill tutorials, meal recipes, and information on destinations and routes. And as an outdoor blogger myself, other outlets help keep my finger on the pulse of the…

My guyline system for tents, tarps, and hammocks

By Andrew Skurka / August 22, 2016 / 124 Comments

The guyline and tensioning systems normally found on backpacking shelters (including tents, tarps, and hammocks) share two flaws: Insufficient cordage is provided. This limits stake-out locations, which is especially problematic in rocky or hard-packed ground. Natural anchors like trees, downed logs, exposed roots, and large rocks cannot be used, nor can deadman anchors in the winter. These anchors…

Dinner Recipe: Peanut Sauce & Noodles

By Andrew Skurka / June 9, 2015 / 100 Comments

 This Thai Peanut Noodle recipe competes with my Beans & Rice for the crowd favorite. It goes on nearly every single guided trip, and on most personal trips, especially if I have a prepared batch of sauce already in the fridge. The sauce is worthy of at-home use. Amanda and I have a container of it in…

Dinner Recipe: Beans + Rice with Fritos & Cheese

By Andrew Skurka / March 4, 2015 / 77 Comments

This meal is my favorite. It goes on every single backpacking trip. I never get tired of it. Clients love this recipe. Need more convincing to try it? Key Stats Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz Total calories: 668 Calories per ounce: 117 Few individuals have struggled to consume the entire meal, but if you have a…

Minimizing the effects and aftermath of wet feet

By Andrew Skurka / April 3, 2012 / 90 Comments

“These are waterproof, right?” asked the customer to the Campmor sales clerk, as he walked around the footwear area testing out a pair of backpacking boots. Out of intrigue, I stopped to watch how the conversation would unfold, despite needing to get back to the area where my gear and skills clinic would be starting…

Vapor Barrier Liners: Theory & Application

By Andrew Skurka / December 29, 2011 / 199 Comments

Occasionally during the FAQ portion of my slideshows, and frequently at the start of every winter, I receive questions about vapor barrier liners (VBL’s). The content and tone of these questions suggest a general misunderstanding of and slight mystery about them, so in this article I’ll attempt to offer a comprehensive review of VBL’s based…