WASHINGTON (Jan. 19, 2012)—As someone who has hiked more than 25,000 miles, National Geographic Adventure and Outside magazines’ Adventurer of the Year Andrew Skurka knows something about how to efficiently and effectively plan for an adventure. In his new book THE ULTIMATE HIKER’S GEAR GUIDE: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-0920-8; Feb. 21, 2012; $19.95 paperback), Skurka shares his favorite gear and insider tricks to plan and execute a successful hiking trip for both novice and experienced hikers.
Skurka is a writer, speaker and adventure athlete. During college, where he earned a business degree and planned on working on Wall Street, he worked at a high-adventure summer camp and hiked the Appalachian Trail. Since then, he has taken adventure from a lifestyle to an occupation and never looked back. He has hiked everywhere from the Grand Canyon to South Africa, with his recent solo 4,700-mile loop around Alaska and the Yukon profiled in the March 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine.
THE ULTIMATE HIKER’S GEAR GUIDE is a practical and credible resource for everyone from nature walkers to multiday backpackers. Skurka first examines how to prepare for any trip by focusing on the objective of the journey as well as must-know information about environmental and route conditions that are likely to be encountered, such as temperatures, precipitation, vegetation, wildlife and insects, and water availability. He also shares tips on how to increase the number of miles and hours hiked per day. He combines logistical information with personal accounts of his hikes, including some experiences that helped him learn to become what he considers an “ultimate hiker.”
Skurka offers recommendations for the best gear for hikes in a variety of different conditions. He highlights the most useful and best quality:
- Sleeping bags and pads
- Maps and navigation aids
- Trekking poles
- Cook systems
- Water and small essentials
In addition to usual hiking gear, Skurka includes more unconventional supplies — such a Fancy Feast can that can be used as an alcohol stove. He details how to know when different pieces of equipment are necessary and how to choose the correct sizes and pieces for your personal comfort. He also describes how best to pack a backpack and keep its contents dry.
Beyond the best hiking gear, Skurka shares his best insider tricks throughout the book. Each chapter includes a “How 2” section with quick tips such as how to maximize the performance of a tarp system or make some of Skurka’s favorite dinners, the best way to size trekking poles or how to pack water.
His personal experiences are highlighted in the “Tried and True” sections, which explain specific skills such as how he cares for his feet or finds a good campsite. “Skurka’s Picks” offer his personal preferences for the type of outerwear, navigation and other gear he brings on a hike. The book ends with sample gear lists for different places, including North Country Winter, Mountain West and Philmont Scout Ranch.
Filled with colorful photographs, inspiring personal stories and practical recommendations, THE ULTIMATE HIKER’S GEAR GUIDE is a fun and comprehensive resource for hikers and nature lovers of any experience level.
About the Author
A 2003 graduate of Duke University, Andrew Skurka is a sponsored long-distance backpacker, paid speaker and writer. He has hiked 25,000-plus miles since 2002. Named “Adventurer of the Year” by National Geographic Adventure (describing him as “a Gen Y version of Thoreau”) and Outside magazines, and “Person of the Year” by Backpacker magazine, he has also been featured in Men’s Journal. Skurka has appeared in numerous newspapers and television broadcasts. More information can be found at www.andrewskurka.com.