Do you dream of adventure? Do you want to backpack a long trail, hike up high peaks or across pristine wilderness areas? Do you want to accelerate your transition to lightweight or ultralight backpacking? Do y0u want to build the confidence to be self-sufficient in the outdoors, to plan your own trips, or share the adventure of a lifetime with your son or daughter?
I dreamed about those things too. So I read a bunch of stuff about backpacking online and I started buying a lot of gear. Truth is, I had no idea what I was doing, I had my share of hiking fiascoes, and wasted thousands of dollars in the process. If anything, I discovered my calling which is to help new hikers and backpackers get the training they need without having to go through the trial-and-error process I went through.
Which is why I am eager to work as a guide for Andrew Skurka’s new Ultimate Hiking Trips. These are guided three-day and seven-day trips that provide you with hands-on training to become self-sufficient in the backcountry. There’s a curriculum where you’re taught how to plan a trips and gear/food lists for different routes and environmental conditions, about on-trail and off-trail navigation, how to take care of yourself in adverse conditions on a multi-day trip, and all about fast-and-light camping and cooking techniques. All of the learning is hands-on, some of it up-front before the trip, but most of it in-situ on your guided adventure.
Designed for beginner-to-intermediate backpackers, the purpose of the guided trips is to pass along the black magic voodoo skills that skilled backpackers learn the hard way. You don’t have to know how to filter water, predict the weather from cloud cover, ford streams, or pitch a tarp to go on these trips. You’ll get the opportunity to learn how to do that and more, in addition to trying out gear, some of it ultralight, from different manufacturers to learn how it works and see if you’re comfortable with it. That’s the benefit of a multi-day trip: you can get a lot of hands-on experience in challenging terrain with people who’ve mastered these skills and know how to teach them.
But the point of Andrew’s guided trips isn’t to turn you into a ultralight backpacker; it’s teach you the skills and decision making processes required for adventure travel in remote locations. While learning more skills can help you reduce the weight of your backpacking gear, that alone is insufficient for routes in challenging conditions where you may need to carry extra gear, food, and fuel. The point of Andrew’s trips, in fact his mission, is to teach you how to think through what you need to be safe and comfortable based on your chosen route and environmental factors.
In fact, if you’ve never attended one of Andrew’s Ultimate Hiker talks, you’re in for a treat. The guy likes to teach and he’s a walking encyclopedia of war stories and experience who’s very open to sharing his knowledge with others.
About the Guided Trips
Andrew’s Guided Trips are all set in challenging, picturesque locations like New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Pisgah National Forest, Shenandoah National Park, Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Northern California’s Henry Coe State Park. There you’ll meet up with Andrew and one or more assistant guides, including Mike Clelland, Alan Dixon, Buzz Burrell, Paul Magnanti, Brian Robinson, Thomas Ruriano or myself. With a 6-1 student-t0-teacher ratio and maximum of 12 students per trip, we’ll make sure you have a great time, receive a lot of personal 1-1 attention and see the sights.
- Group gear, e.g. first aid supplies, repair kit, emergency communication device, etc.
- Breakfasts and dinners
- Loaning of hardgoods like shelters, sleeping bags, and cooksets if you need or want to try something
- $100+ of free product from sponsors
- Discount coupons for up to 50% off retail from sponsors
- Transportation between our group meeting point and the trailhead (Wilderness Adventures only)
- Discounts are available for 2 or more participants.
- Gratuities for the Assistant Guide are greatly appreciated. They typically range from 5-10% of the trip’s cost.