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Map & Compass: Find & transfer bearings in the field & on a map

By Andrew Skurka / August 11, 2016 /

This is the second of a 7-video instructional series from Sierra Designs. This one, as well as the first, are dedicated to map and compass, which is a subcategory of navigation. If you haven’t already, learn to adjust for declination and to orient a map. Got it? Good, let’s move on to a more advanced…

GPS sport watch settings & displays for backpacking

By Andrew Skurka / August 2, 2016 /

Most backpackers wear a simple watch, an altimeter watch like the Suunto Core, or no watch at all. My pick, however, is a GPS sport watch. In this post, I will explain how I customize the watch’s settings and displays for backpacking trips. The case for a GPS sport watch I used a simple watch…

Map & Compass: Adjust for declination & orient the map

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2016 /

Backcountry navigation is an art. The basics can be learned quickly, like dead reckoning, reading a map, and using an altimeter watch. But extensive practice is necessary to seamlessly and flawlessly apply these skills in the field, especially when under duress or in challenging situations, like off-trail in a heavily forested area with rolling hills.…

Backpacking instructional video series: Navigation, 5-star camps, fire-starting, & more

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2016 /

Sneak peek and behind the scenes at the @andrewskurka video shoot. Stay tuned! #sierradesigns #milesfromordinary A photo posted by Sierra Designs (@sierradesigns) on Apr 27, 2016 at 8:03am PDT This spring Sierra Designs and I filmed seven instructional videos. The first was launched last week, and the remainder will air every other week through the…

My new 14,000-word e-book about backpacking food

By Andrew Skurka / January 6, 2016 /

A few minutes ago I uploaded a 14,000-word manuscript to FedEx Office. I’ll be giving away free paper copies of it later this week at Outdoor Retailer at the Sierra Designs booth — swing on by! This manuscript is entirely about backpacking food: what and how much to pack, trail-tested stoves with which to cook…

Optimal pacing for an ultra marathon | Q&A w/Bob Shebest

By Andrew Skurka / October 7, 2015 /

  What is the optimal pacing strategy for an ultra marathon, especially for a mountainous trail course? Since Run Rabbit Run 100 last month, this question has been of great interest to me: by being more conscious of it than other elites, I think I finished better than I should have given my talent, fitness,…

A backpacker’s training plan for a 100-mile ultra marathon

By Andrew Skurka / September 16, 2015 /

On Friday I’m racing Run Rabbit Run 100 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The official distance for this ultra marathon is 102.7 miles, though the consensus among participants is more like 107. There is 20,000+ vertical feet of climbing and elevations are often around 10,000 feet. It will be my longest race of the year, and my first 100-mile race since…

Backcountry First Aid & Emergencies || SD LIVE (August 20, 2015)

By Andrew Skurka / August 16, 2015 /

Live recording SD Live: First Aid and Emergencies from Sierra Designs on Vimeo. Pre-episode teaser The next SD LIVE will broadcast on Thursday, August 20, at 5:30 PM PDT. Register here to join. In this 45-minute live show, I will discuss Backcountry First Aid and Emergencies, specifically: Preparedness Wilderness medical training Items in my solo and…

Planning a high route? Three critical mental adjustments.

By Andrew Skurka / July 31, 2015 /

Within the backpacking community I have sensed increasing interest in “high routes,” such as the the Sierra High Route, Wind River Range High Route, and Kings Canyon High Basin Route. I think this concept will continue to expand, with most of the emphasis on “route” rather than “high,” since there are thematically similar opportunities in…

Exporting & printing topographical maps from digital sources

By Andrew Skurka / July 24, 2015 /

Today we’re fortunate to have excellent online mapping platforms like CalTopo, Hillmap, GaiaGPS, and AllTrails. But until these platforms are available deep in the backcountry on devices that don’t break or need recharging, as part of my trip planning routine I export and then print my digital maps into a field-friendly paper set. Here is how:…