Jan 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm #1284075
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.
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.Jan 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm #1823932
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.)Jan 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm #1823935
The First Edition is:
– Consistent in its voice and chapter structure
– Beautifully laid out
– 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.Jan 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm #1823950
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Reminder to orderJan 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm #1823981
Figured I would give it a shot, hopefully a good read. If not I will mock you without mercy on Trailspace. :)
RyanJan 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm #1823982
Ryan – If you're as funny as the "ultralight hair pomade" guy from TrailSpace, you're welcome to mock me anytime.Jan 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm #1823984
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.
RyanJan 13, 2012 at 12:51 am #1824147
@dan_quixoteLocale: below the mountains (AK)
That was hilarious! I know what "Dapper Dan" actually is, and this is the funniest thing I've read all day!Jan 13, 2012 at 4:57 am #1824170
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
Pomade has multiple uses for the Ul hiker. YOu could use it to start a fire in the rain!Jan 13, 2012 at 10:32 am #1824274
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
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?Jan 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm #1824527
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 RanchJan 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm #1825433
@adw245Locale: Chula Vista
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.Jan 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm #1825436
Do members get a discount? :-)Jan 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm #1825474
Dang! Too bad there's not a gear guide for regular hikers. (non- ultimate hiker)
;)Jan 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm #1825485
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.Jan 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm #1825571
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
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!Jan 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm #1825576
That exchange should be the Foreward in your book.
Good post!Jan 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm #1825577
It essentially is — what I wrote above is a summarized version of the Introduction and Chapter 1.Jan 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm #1825606
@mckittreLocale: Seldovia, Alaska
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.)Jan 17, 2012 at 4:50 am #1825643
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
i'm going to order my copy sometime this week, but i have to know, are there pomade coupons at the end :)Jan 17, 2012 at 5:32 am #1825648
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
Just placed my pre-order. Say Andrew, does your book have and UL tips for soothing an angry wife? I ask because she's seen that I 'bought ANOTHER backpacking book' and isn't too happy.Jan 17, 2012 at 9:43 am #1825744
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Every time you need a book or piece of gear, just suggest to your wife that she ought to go out and buy another pair of shoes or a purse. This works exceptionally well for me :)
Another method is to budget a "slush fund" for each partner. Each gets their own play money to spend as they see fit. Equal amount of money for each. This works well too.
You can also do the "buy her a present before gear purchase" strategy. Flowers work well and often result in additional benefits :) However if you buy too much gear, she will figure it out and ask, "what did you buy or what did you do wrong." So the giving a present approach takes time, skill, and finesse.
And then there is the "just sneak it in" methodology. That works well too.
Now if you are really good, work on your sales technique. Make the purchase "her" idea. I did this with a $14,000 tent trailer a few years ago. Not only did she think it was her idea, but she paid for it!!Jan 17, 2012 at 9:58 am #1825754
"…then there is the "just sneak it in" methodology."
This one is my favourite. My methodology is:
1) Hoard the key(s) to the mailbox
2) Order all the gear you want well in advance of when you need it
3) Intercept parcel and hide it your gear closet
4) Since you ordered it well in advance, when she finally sees you using it and asks where you got it, just say 'oh this old thing? I've had it for a while'.Jan 17, 2012 at 10:29 am #1825777
"We talked about it; don't you remember?"Jan 17, 2012 at 10:39 am #1825784
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"We talked about it; don't you remember?"
Will, that only works if YOU remember all the things that SHE talks about. Herein lies the problem, typically men don't listen. We are thinking about other things. So you have to work at the listening skills. And how do I know this? Do a lot of driving and once I listened to Dr Laura while putting in some serious windshield time. She said it is a fact that women are better listeners :)
You got it down. Since I am at home most of the time, it is easy to intercept packages. When I am on the road, I have the packages sent to our private mail box. Pretty easy it be a sneak :)
But truth be told, she spends much more on stuff than me. There is little that I need, so she struggles to come up with ideas for my birthday, Father's Day, Christmas, etc. To be honest, I would prefer we just skip them altogether, but that is not going to happen. So she is thrilled if I give her a list of gear items.
So, I shall just let her buy Andy's book. Pretty simple. Just print out the page from his Website and leave it on my desk.
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