Photograph by Murfy Kristiadi, My Shot
When it comes to hiking lighter, we get our advice from the guy so serious about going fast and light that he uses a catfood can for a cooking stove—the master himself, Andrew Skurka. Skurka, our 2008 Adventurer of the Year, has covered more than 30,000 miles of long-distance trails, including the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide. Here Skurka shares nine skills you can learn right now to safely carry less and lighter gear on your next trip. These kinds of tips, plus much more, are covered in his comprehensive new book The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide (National Geographic Books), which comes out later this month. You can pre-order a signed copy from Andrew here.
Ultrahiker Andrew Skurka's Nine Skills to Help You Pack Lighter
1. Assess your true needs.
Where, when, and for how long you are going are the primary determinants of the conditions you will encounter. Research the temperatures, precipitation, sun exposure, water availability, snow coverage, hours of daylight, bugs, wildlife, and remoteness you will encounter. If you know the conditions you can realistically expect, you can pack accordingly. Uninformed backpackers justify poor gear choices on the grounds of unfounded “What if...” and “Just in case...” scenarios.