Andrew Skurka's "Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide"

Many of us would jump at the chance to hike alongside professional adventurer and super-long-distance hiker Andrew Skurka. Perhaps pick his brain about backcountry gear, supplies, skills.

After all, the 30-year-old has traveled more than 30,000 miles via foot, ski, and packraft. And his solo long-distance trips — like the 4,700-mile Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile Sea-to-Sea Route — are notorious for their detailed level of planning.


Super long distance hiker Andrew Skurka's The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide comes out February 2012.

Well, actually you can hike with Skurka. He's also a professional guide and for $200+ a day, he'll help you improve your outdoor skills on a three-day Ultimate Adventure or seven-day Wilderness Adventure group course.

Don't despair if you don't have the funds for a Skurka-guided trip though. The guidebook version, The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, comes out in February from National Geographic Books.

In Skurka's first book, the long-distance hiker promises to share his hard-earned backpacking gear and skill know-how, which "will allow you to love hiking, while still remaining safe and comfortable while camping."

From the book description:

Whether you’re a first-time backpacker, an occasional weekend warrior or a seasoned long-distance trekker, you’ll love this guide. Learn exactly what you need to carry — both on your back and between your ears — for all seasons and circumstances through a show-and-tell of clothing, footwear, backpacks, shelter and sleep systems, and more, as well as through detailed articles on foot care, campsite selection and hiking efficiency. Skurka’s practical and priceless recommendations give you all the tools and techniques you’ll need to hit the trail.

The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide is 224-pages long and will begin shipping on February 21, 2012. It retails for $19.95.

Purchase the book directly from Skurka and he promises to sign each copy before it ships.

It may not be quite the same as hiking deep into the backcountry with the man National Geographic described as “one of the best traveled and fastest hikers on the planet," and whom Outside and National Geographic Adventure both named "Adventurer of the Year.”

But, Skurka's written advice just might help you pursue your own adventures of the year.

Here's The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide trailer.

 

Wonder how one becomes a professional adventurer? Read Skurka's response, "How I Make a Living as an Adventurer."

(Top image Andrew Skurka; Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Brooks Range, Alaska)

Filed under: Gear News, People & Organizations

Related Content

"The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide" by Andrew Skurka  |  National Geographic

Comments

.ghost.
120 reviewer rep
137 forum posts
January 9, 2012 at 9:27 a.m. (EST)

I take it the market for ultra-lightweight hair pomade is still wide open?

kelly83686
45 reviewer rep
27 forum posts
January 9, 2012 at 10:48 a.m. (EST)

That was hilarious!  Had to look up what "pomade" actually is, but this is the funniest thing I've read all day!

Had a chance to see and listen to Mr Skurka in person a few months back at the Golite store in Boise, ID. 

Patman
REVIEW CORPS
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January 9, 2012 at 4:42 p.m. (EST)

So how does one become a "Professional Hiker"? Seriously...

denis daly
87 reviewer rep
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January 9, 2012 at 5:58 p.m. (EST)

Patman said:

So how does one become a "Professional Hiker"? Seriously...

 Have no idea but the articles he pens abd speaking engagments are just part of his job. He also won adventurer of the year last year by NG. Nice guy from all accounts. Nice job to have...

gonzan
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
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2,148 forum posts
January 9, 2012 at 9:40 p.m. (EST)

How to Become a Professional Hiker:

  • 1- become experienced enough to take on some superhuman, slightly crazy, inspiring expedition or trek that no one else has done yet
  • 2- Plan said superhuman, slightly crazy, inspiring feat
  • 3- Convince outdoor companies and filthy rich persons to throw money and all the latest gear at you to cover expense of said feat
  • 4- complete said feat
  • 5- don't get killed while completing trek of awesomeness 
  • 6- alternate between doing additional awesome outdoor activities, writing about all of the above, and traveling around to outdoor-centric events waxing profound about the awesome feat and your all around awesomeness.
  • 7- Profit!

;)

Ok, I jest but I don't think it's that far from the truth, LOL! And I am not dissing Skurka in the least, more power to him :)

bheiser1
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January 9, 2012 at 11:10 p.m. (EST)

I'm still trying to get my head around treks like these:

"... his solo long-distance trips — like the 4,700-mile Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile Sea-to-Sea Route..."


Even the shortest of those is double the length of the AT and nearly double the length of the PCT ...

giftogab
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January 10, 2012 at 12:10 a.m. (EST)

I suck.

Skimanjohn
72 reviewer rep
311 forum posts
January 10, 2012 at 10:33 a.m. (EST)

No body sucks.Everyone has their own "extreme adventures" at all spots on the adventure scale.Some just never get enough and know how to make a living from it.ymmv

Skimanjohn
72 reviewer rep
311 forum posts
January 10, 2012 at 10:34 a.m. (EST)

Forgot to add that rather than by his book and support his goals I will put that $20.00 into my own kitty for my next adventure.

skibum12
9 reviewer rep
119 forum posts
January 10, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. (EST)

Does he have a real job?

Family Guy
2 reviewer rep
692 forum posts
January 10, 2012 at 9:04 p.m. (EST)

I am pretty shocked at the commentary here.

Does he have a real job?  Well, he tests gear for manufacturers and suggests changes which make it into production.  Ever hear of Golite?

I suspect that most of you would learn a lot from his book but maybe old dogs can't be taught new tricks.

I have been following Skurka for years and he has done things that I can only dream about.  Keep going Andrew so some of us can live vicariously through you.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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January 10, 2012 at 10:53 p.m. (EST)

I also think Skurka works pretty darn hard, plans relentlessly, and makes sacrifices to accomplish what he's done. More power to him.

It's not an easy life, nor is it for everyone, but who's to mind that he's managed to do it successfully as an adventurer, guide, writer, speaker, gear tester, etc. I don't feel like there's a lot of fluff about him either; his accomplishments speak for themselves.

FYI, he wrote on twitter about this thread:

Interesting comments about livelihood, trailspace.com/articles/2012/…. If it had been that easy to achieve, more would be doing it.

Ben Cerise
57 reviewer rep
59 forum posts
January 10, 2012 at 11:07 p.m. (EST)

Famos friends or relatives? Maybe went to Harvord (sp?) where they teach you to create a job rather than get one? Maybe he's real smart or lucky? Or, most of us, like me, are just plain jealous and wonder what the hell went wrong? Kidding! I hike for me.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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January 10, 2012 at 11:15 p.m. (EST)

Yes, Skurka is smart. He earned an economics degree from Duke.

He's also disciplined and hard-working, as evidenced by his accomplishments.

Anyone who's interested can read more about him with some media links here:

http://andrewskurka.com/about-andrew-skurka/

(FYI, I've never met the guy, but I do admire his work ethic and accomplishments.)

Ben Cerise
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January 10, 2012 at 11:15 p.m. (EST)

...and, all that ultra light gear only works/FITS (tents, sleeping bags & mats, and clothing) if you are average height and weight. Us tall slender guys and you short petite gals must suffer.

Patman
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January 11, 2012 at 7:39 a.m. (EST)

My inquiry was totally serious. While this path perhaps isn’t feasible for a married man like me, I’m fascinated by people who are so decisive about what they want (life and career wise) and make it happen. I got a real charge out of reading about this fellow.

Thanks,

Patrick

Wolfman (Wolfgang Greystoke)
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456 forum posts
January 11, 2012 at 9:54 a.m. (EST)

Hell of a Guy!  More power to him making a living doing what he loves.  I am assuming that he loves this stuff, I can't see someone walking 30,000 miles for "Fun" and not loving it!  :)   To have a life like that would be quite the adventure, pun intended.  I'm jealous, but also know that if you want something it's more about doing it then anything else. i.e. it's up to you to make it happen!

Patman I think any one that can make a living doing what they love is much better off then most of the world.  If this is something that you desire, I say go for it!  We know you have the drive and ability, just from reading your trip reports!

Wolfman

FromSagetoSnow
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January 11, 2012 at 10:07 a.m. (EST)

 

Wolfman said

I can't see someone walking 30,000 miles for "Fun" and not loving it! 

When I was a public school teacher people used to say that I must love my job (I kinda did) and I'd come back with, "You work at Home Depot. Do you love your job?"

Friend would say, "Well, no, my job blows!"

Me, "Well then why do I have to love mine?"

I actually kinda like my job but I'm just sayin...

Alicia
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January 11, 2012 at 10:49 a.m. (EST)

Interesting points about job-life-love.

Personally, I think it's best if you're in a job that makes you happy and fulfills and challenges you in some ways. But in addition to a job you love, that can also mean a job that allows you to live the type of life you want when you're not at work (assuming you're not miserable at the job).

For many, having a job with a good work-life balance can be even better than having a job that you love, but that doesn't give much balance outside it.

I recently read the book Don't Miss Your Life: Find More Joy and Fulfillment Now by Joe Robinson. I'd recommend it to others here (though Andrew Skurka probably doesn't need to read it). It's basically about what the title says and valuing the enjoyment and experiences we get out of life versus the tasks we get done.

Some of it's obvious for those of us who already recognize the value of being active outdoors, but it's still an interesting read.

gonzan
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January 11, 2012 at 1:12 p.m. (EST)

If comment came across as belittling Skurka or his accomplishments, I apologize; nothing could be further from the truth. I admire and give the man huge props and credit. 

I am still working very hard at reaching the point where I can do what I am passionate about full time, and am inspired by those who have secured that for themselves.

Alicia
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January 11, 2012 at 1:36 p.m. (EST)

gonzan said:

If comment came across as belittling Skurka or his accomplishments, I apologize; nothing could be further from the truth. I admire and give the man huge props and credit. 

I am still working very hard at reaching the point where I can do what I am passionate about full time, and am inspired by those who have secured that for themselves.

 No apologies needed, Gonzan.

FromSagetoSnow
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January 11, 2012 at 2:46 p.m. (EST)

 I agree Alicia. I used to get a lot of my self-worth from who I was at work and what kind of job I had.  Now I use my job to help me accomplish the things I want to do outside work.  My goal now is to wean myself off the need to have a job and still do what I want with my time.

It seems like all the fun jobs I've had (lifeguarding, fighting forest fires, working for an NPO) never seemed to pay very well.  I guess that one definition of work is something no one would do without being paid. 

denis daly
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1,057 forum posts
January 11, 2012 at 4:33 p.m. (EST)

If anything his career as well as his helpful attitude he's helped weekend adventurers aand newbie's become thru hikers . Andrew Skurka is a do'er. I enjoy his writeings when he pens and like his good nature when he speaks to groups. I really don't know one person who wouldn't like his career? He's an embassador for hikers and companies. I hope he does what he does for a lifetime...I  think alicia is right and sage, work to do what we love to do.

Seth Levy (Seth)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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January 11, 2012 at 5:31 p.m. (EST)

Hi Trailspace Community - in response to some of the questions Members posed in this forum, Andrew Skurka wrote a brief article, entitled: "How I Make a Living as an Adventurer."  It's a fascinating read, and takes a bit of the mystery out of the work of the "professional adventurer."

skibum12
9 reviewer rep
119 forum posts
January 11, 2012 at 6:18 p.m. (EST)

Ok he's got a real job  Sorry my mistake.  I thought this was a part time thing that he did.  Never heard of him.  Good for him though.

Alicia
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January 11, 2012 at 8:11 p.m. (EST)

I think this whole conversation has been interesting, and it's nice to know it inspired Andrew Skurka to write a blog to answer the questions directly.

Pretty cool!

skibum12
9 reviewer rep
119 forum posts
January 12, 2012 at 7:10 p.m. (EST)

I by no means meant to insult this individual.  The more I have just read about him the more I wish my life was like his.  Amazing.  

Guyz
153 reviewer rep
235 forum posts
January 18, 2012 at 6:04 p.m. (EST)

This guy is a legend on the trail. Would love to attend one of his events.  He is one determined individual.  I ordered his book when I heard it was being released from NG.  I remember he commented on learning to live with less. His lifestyle is very disciplined.  He has a great deal of family support for his adventures.  I don't think his has any money thrown at him.

Gib
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4 forum posts
January 19, 2012 at 1:35 a.m. (EST)

Well, I guess the real point here is to get out there and do it, whatever your inspiration.  The 1968 Complete Walker was mine and in '76 I raised money for a "hike-a-thon" and did 1,000 miles on the AT. It was a fund raiser for Project Concern International, which is still doing good works, and donors helped fund my trek and got to read about it via letters and newspaper articles.  (Bogs but no blogs.)  My Svea stove was a new thing on the trail then (camp fires were the norm), Camptrails was my backpack, REI was my sleeping bag, and Synergy Works was a parka maker with a new product called Gore Tex.  I didn't turn it into a career, although there were opportunities like that available (a test hiker for Kelty and a newspaper writer doing articles as he hiked).  But as many of you know, as the world gets crazier, spending a week or a month hiking in mountains and woods is zen sanity.  Thank you Andrew Skurka, and Rosie Swale-Pope, and Alicia, and all.  Keep the faith.

Tamerlin
93 reviewer rep
36 forum posts
January 27, 2012 at 1:06 p.m. (EST)

FromSagetoSnow said:

 I agree Alicia. I used to get a lot of my self-worth from who I was at work and what kind of job I had.  Now I use my job to help me accomplish the things I want to do outside work.  My goal now is to wean myself off the need to have a job and still do what I want with my time.

It seems like all the fun jobs I've had (lifeguarding, fighting forest fires, working for an NPO) never seemed to pay very well.  I guess that one definition of work is something no one would do without being paid. 

 I'm working on a similar goal myself, because the only way to ensure that you'll have a job that you truly love is to create it yourself.

Our society conditions people to go to school, go to college and get a degree, then go work in a cubicle making some dumbass' wallet fatter like good little mindless automaton... and look where it's gotten us.

I think that there's actually a huge value problem there also. Lifeguarding and fighting forest fires actually matter, because they save lives and property. Middle managers don't do squat, and usually cause more problems than they solve, yet they get paid better than the people they mis-manage. The farther you go up the scale, the less relevant the role, yet the higher the pay... look at the CEO compensation packages if you wonder what I mean... 

Callahan
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January 28, 2012 at 2:06 p.m. (EST)

what is  a real job ????

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