Hiking 101 with Andrew Skurka
As new parents, it was difficult for us to imagine how we were ever again going to enjoy outdoor adventures. Thank goodness we discovered the magic off hiking. Hiking has been the perfect family activity since we can vary the level of difficulty while still exploring the natural beauty of a destination.
We know a lot of our listeners would like to try hiking for the first time, or just do a bit more of it over the course of the travel season. So we invited hiking expert Andrew Skurka, author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail.
Andrew Skurka was named “Adventurer of the Year” by Outside Magazine and National Geographic, so this guy clearly has some serious hiking chops. However, he can also bring it down to a beginner’s level, and he does that very well in the introduction to his book…and on this episode of the RVFTA podcast.
Finding Your Why
Andrew starts off by talking about the three most important questions that any hiker needs to ask:
- How much time do I want to spend hiking vs. camping?
- What environmental conditions am I likely to encounter?
- What gear, supplies, and skills will keep comfortable and safe in these conditions?
Andrew points out that many newbie hikers start out with the gear, when really that should be your last consideration. He also talks about finding your ‘why’, and this is such a great way for families to begin planning their very first hiking adventures.
We were also thinking a ton about our listeners with preteen or teen kids who may be thinking about planning a backpacking adventure. Andrew has some great advice for making sure that the trip you plan is actually the trip that will satisfy everyone’s objectives.
Choosing Your Gear
Of course, we had to talk to Andrew about gear, since he did write the book on it. So in the second segment of the episode, we ask the truly tricky question: how on earth do you navigate the sea of options to find things that actually work for you? Andrew gives us great tips on…
- Emergency gear
But mostly you have to hear him answer our last question: What should we bring on any hike, no matter length or difficulty? We definitely didn’t expect his answer.
Our Personal Gear
We have been consistently hiking with our kids for the last eight years, so even though we are not experts, we wanted to share the gear that has worked well for us. Here are links to all the items mentioned in the last segment of the podcast:
- Men’s Linwood Ripstop Pant
- XPG Men’s lightweight low cut sock
- Meindl Light Hikers
- Grand Mesa Low Hiker
- North Face Recon backpack
- Snake River Fleece Vest
- Rainy River Parka
- Women’s XPG 2.0 Waterproof Low Hikers with Gore Tex
- Rainy River Parka
- Elias 20 Liter Backpack
- Endicott 45 Liter backpack
- Triune Skort
- Aruba Roll-Up pants
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See you on the hiking trail!
Stephanie + Jeremy