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The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available!
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Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/12/2012 16:14:12 MST Print View

I am thrilled to announce that my forthcoming how-to book, The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide, will be released on February 21st by National Geographic Books.

I am accepting pre-orders on my (new!) website now.
This is the only source for signed copies, besides my events.

Watch the book trailer!

Here's the back cover copy:

Supreme long-distance hiker Andrew Skurka shares his hard-earned knowledge in this essential guide to backpacking gear and skills. Described by National Geographic as “one of the best traveled and fastest hikers on the planet,” and named “Adventurer of the Year” by Outside and “Person of the Year” by Backpacker, Skurka recounts what he’s learned from more than 30,000 miles of long-distance adventures, most recently a 4,700-mile 6-month loop around Alaska and Canada’s Yukon.

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.

Thanks to everyone who engaged in conversation with me while I was putting this book together. Also thanks for making BPL a great informational resource -- the knowledge base in this community is off the charts.

Edited by askurka on 01/12/2012 17:23:20 MST.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Comparison on 01/12/2012 16:18:44 MST Print View

Hi Andrew!

Thanks for your great work! I purchased an earlier draft edition of your gear guide. Can you briefly summarize what has changed between earlier drafts and the final edition?

I'm definitely buying either which way, but I'm curious.

If you care to address it, I'd also be curious what the NatGeo editors told you in the lead up to the final edition (what they wanted out, what they wanted in, etc.)

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Re: Comparison on 01/12/2012 16:26:25 MST Print View

The First Edition is:

- Complete
- Edited
- Consistent in its voice and chapter structure
- Beautifully laid out
- 4-color
- Sprinkled with quick tips and how-to's

The First Edition also has more content:
- Each chapter ends with "Skurka's Picks," in which I list specific products that I use and why
- Technique spreads on campsite selection, foot care, packing a pack, and hiking efficiently
- Recommended gear lists for the Eastern Woodlands, North Country Winter, Desert Southwest, and Mountain West.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
The Ultimate Hikers Gear guide--REMINDER on 01/12/2012 16:53:56 MST Print View

Reminder to order

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/12/2012 17:54:37 MST Print View

Figured I would give it a shot, hopefully a good read. If not I will mock you without mercy on Trailspace. :)


Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Re: Re: The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/12/2012 17:58:01 MST Print View

Ryan - If you're as funny as the "ultralight hair pomade" guy from TrailSpace, you're welcome to mock me anytime.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/12/2012 18:07:17 MST Print View

I thought that one was especially good too. Sorry, I'm not quite up to ultralight pomade standards. Besides, I'm a Dapper Dan man.

Looking forward to your book Andrew.


Edited by ViolentGreen on 01/12/2012 18:08:00 MST.

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
Re: Re: Re: Re: The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/13/2012 01:51:57 MST Print View

That was hilarious! I know what "Dapper Dan" actually is, and this is the funniest thing I've read all day!

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/13/2012 05:57:31 MST Print View

Pomade has multiple uses for the Ul hiker. YOu could use it to start a fire in the rain!

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Boy Scouts??? on 01/13/2012 11:32:58 MST Print View

i'm sure a great deal of the material will be redundant for me, but i'm sure there is a 10 year old boy in my house who might like to read it from someone rather than hear from dad, again.

how easily digested is the material for a Boy Scout?

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Gear Guide & Boy Scouts on 01/13/2012 21:00:57 MST Print View

Steven -

It's a longer text than most Boy Scouts will want to read, but there are some things that they will like:

- About 75 images

- "Versus" charts, where entire chapters, fabrics, or product types are summarized, e.g. tarps v tarptents v single-wall tents v double-wall tents, or fleece v down v synthetic insulations v down insulations.

- A Gear List that is specific to Philmont Scout Ranch

Aaron W
(ADW245) - MLife

Locale: Chula Vista
The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/16/2012 15:21:10 MST Print View

I just pulled the trigger on your book and a map set.

Now I can give my draft edition away to a friend who is getting in backpacking.

Chris Bowman
(jcbowman) - M

Locale: ORF
member discount on 01/16/2012 15:43:34 MST Print View

Do members get a discount? :-)

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide -- Now available! on 01/16/2012 17:24:16 MST Print View

Dang! Too bad there's not a gear guide for regular hikers. (non- ultimate hiker)


Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
A Gear Guide for Regular Hikers on 01/16/2012 17:45:05 MST Print View

Jeff -

Interesting thought (which I know was partly in jest). Let me comment...

The emphasis on *weight* among the lightweight backpacking community often misses the point -- having a light pack isn't in itself necessarily beneficial. Instead, the award is what you can *do* with a light pack, though what you can do isn't perfectly correlated with pack weight either. The weight issue is also a cause for concern among newbies and old-schoolers, who equate "going light" with being unprepared and/or flimsy gear.

So instead of writing a "lightweight backpacking book," I wrote a book about the backpacking gear, supplies and skills that are necessary to love *hiking*, while still staying safe and comfortable while *camping.* I'm not proposing an alternative approach to backpacking. I'm telling you, "If you want to enjoy hiking, read this book. If you want to hate hiking, read a NOLS book or (too often) Backpacker magazine."

To help make this point, I created a fictitious character, the "Ultimate Hiker" which is a backpacker (like me) who optimizes their entire system for putting one foot in front of the other. They assess the environmental and route conditions they will encounter on a trip so that they can be adequately (and not over-) prepared. They have good backcountry skills, so they can supplement what they don't carry on their back with what they carry between their ears. They know how to use gear correctly, so they don't have to take foolproof items that are oftentimes very heavy (e.g. double-wall tent compared to a tarp). And so on.

The book is written for backpackers who want to *at least sometimes* be *more like* an Ultimate Hiker. Really, it's written for beginners and intermediates who are stuck being "Campers-by-Default," who I define as backpackers who do not have the know-how to actually enjoy hiking. Unless they are willing to suffer, these hikers simply prefer to spend most of their day camping, because walking is intolerably miserable.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
kudos on 01/16/2012 21:10:58 MST Print View

That's a very precise, thought-through vision for a book, with a clearly defined audience in mind.

Edit: if the writing is as readable as your last post, the book should also be very approachable by your intended reader. Again, well-done!

Edited by spelt on 01/16/2012 21:13:04 MST.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: A Gear Guide for Regular Hikers on 01/16/2012 21:29:57 MST Print View

That exchange should be the Foreward in your book.

Good post!

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Re: Re: A Gear Guide for Regular Hikers on 01/16/2012 21:31:53 MST Print View

It essentially is -- what I wrote above is a summarized version of the Introduction and Chapter 1.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Re: Re: Re: A Gear Guide for Regular Hikers on 01/16/2012 23:15:06 MST Print View

Looks nice! (and like an expensive one to print - lucky to snag Nat Geo as a publisher).

I am quite definitely neither an "ultimate hiker" nor a "regular" one, instead muddling along in my own universe of "oddball adventurer".

But we get about a million questions about gear and such when we give public presentations, and I think your book might provide a good place to send folks to that will be much more comprehensive (and more suited to most people's plans) than my bizarre set of experiences.

(now I should probably stop reading internet threads and go back to writing my own book.)

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
i'm liking it on 01/17/2012 05:50:00 MST Print View

i'm going to order my copy sometime this week, but i have to know, are there pomade coupons at the end :)