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Footwear & Footcare: Would you suck on these toes? || SD LIVE (July 22, 2015)

By Andrew Skurka / July 21, 2015 /

Live recording Footwear and Foot-care from Sierra Designs on Vimeo. Pre-episode teaser During the next SD LIVE event, I will discuss Footwear and Footcare. Tune in tomorrow: Wednesday, July 22, 11:30am PDT. The program will run 30-45 minutes. Topics will include but are not limited to: Shoes Socks Gaiters Maceration Blisters Calluses This is intentionally a live…

Tips for quality sleep in the backcountry || SD LIVE (May 12, 2015)

By Andrew Skurka / June 4, 2015 /

SD Live: Sleeping Comfortably in the Backcountry from Sierra Designs on Vimeo. In our May episode of SD LIVE, Sierra Designs Brand Manager Michael Glavin and I shared our tips for getting quality sleep in the backcountry. This topic should be of great interest — I know many backpackers, especially first-timers and beginners, struggle to…

Sleeping well in the backcountry. Next Sierra Designs LIVE event, Tues May 12.

By Andrew Skurka / May 5, 2015 /

The next Sierra Designs LIVE event will broadcast on Tuesday, May 12 at 11:30 am PDT. Register for the event and tune in here. Our topic will be: Sleeping well in the backcountry. This is a challenge for many, and I plan to offer a series of tips — related to campsite selection, hydration and…

Backpack trip planning checklist: To do before you go

By Andrew Skurka / April 22, 2015 /

I have planned hundreds of backpacking trips. Many have been personal outings, ranging from long weekends in nearby destinations to multi-month thru-hikes in faraway places. The rest have been guided, when I’ve been accountable to paying clients. To maximize my working efficiency and to prevent oversights when getting backpacking trips out the door, I use a trip planning checklist — a spreadsheet,…

Backpacking in the rain: helpful gear and skills|| SD LIVE (March 31, 2015)

By Andrew Skurka / April 7, 2015 /

In last month’s SD LIVE event, I discussed multiple ways to help maintain a relative level of comfort and safety when backpacking in the rain. Some methods are simply a matter of packing differently or packing more: sleeping clothes, camp shoes, breathable footwear, group tarp, down insulation, and a pack liner. Other methods are techniques:…

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,…

DIY Skyline Trolley for Cats and Dogs

By Andrew Skurka / May 18, 2014 /

Last week I partnered with Petco to share tips with pet parents about being outdoors with dogs this summer. While dogs are certainly the customary four-legged friend when hiking and camping, there are safe ways in which cats can enjoy the beautiful summer months, too. Here’s one idea: Our beloved domestic orange shorthair cat, Oden,…

Characteristics of an expert navigator: Part II — Proficiency in the understanding and uses of tools

By Andrew Skurka / November 26, 2013 /

This post is part of a series on the characteristics of expert navigators. I’d recommend first reading the Introduction and Part I, and then returning to this latest installment. Within a few days of starting my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2002, I began dead-reckoning using my watch and the Databook. With surprising accuracy, I now had…

Characteristics of an expert navigator: Part I — Equipped with proper tools

By Andrew Skurka / November 11, 2013 /

This is Part I of a series on the characteristics of an Expert Navigator. Read the Introduction. More installments are forthcoming. Every “Ten Essentials” list I’ve seen has included a map and compass, and modern versions sometimes also include a GPS. If only the first characteristic of an expert navigator — being equipped with proper…