Saturday, March 24, 2012

Win a Free Copy of "The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide"



I know, I know. It's been a while since I've posted. As a mea culpa, I've giving away 3 copies of The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka.  This is a great read for any gear junkie and is full of tips from one of the world's greatest long distance hikers.

To enter to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog and post your #1 gear tip.  Only one entry per person.  3 winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday, March 28th 2012 at 6:00 PM MST and will be announced on this blog.

Good luck everyone!  I can't wait to see your favorite gear tips.
Win a Free Copy of "The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide"SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

109 comments:

kcwins said...

Tired of terrible coffee on the trail? Buy empty tea bags and fill them with your own mix. Tie em' off and get your morning fix. Or in my case morning, noon and night.....

Ed said...

Looks like Im 1st to post Jason!! Id love a copy. I assume your post means Wed 28th instead of 2008...otherwise Im a few years late!! lol. I could say my #1 tip is to keep it lite...but I think my most important tip would be the ol scouts rule: "Be prepared" for the worst. I know it sounds boring, but how many stories to you think we will hear about this year where someone goes out for a quick hike and dont get found for a week or so?? "The more you know, the more you can go."

Jason Klass said...

Oops, thanks for catching that Ed. I corrected it.

timo said...

Keep all magnetic stuff away from your compas. Don't hold compas near watch or camera. There could be some suprizes like osprey hydra form magnetic attachment...

TheInfamousJ said...

My #1 gear tip? Oh dear ... that is a tough one. How about I give you three and you choose?

- make your own stuff sacks with old priority mail tyvek envelopes. Then your stuff sack will always fit whatever it is that you are putting in it. (I made one for my Swiss wood stove.)

- a snow stake can double as a potty hole digger. I know some people use sticks, but I like the speed with which a snow stake can do, instead. And it is still a stake for my tent at the end of the day. Also: Rather than having to worry about aim, if in a forested area (where I normally hike), defecate onto the leaf litter and wipe and add it to the pile, then dig your hole. Now, slide that bit of leaf litter with its extra contents into the hole. Cover. Mark with an X of sticks. Instant perfect aim!!!

- strap chair! tie the strap in a knot to make the chair rather than making a dedicated thing. When not using it as a chair, that strap can be use to lash things to your pack, strung as a clothes line, etc. Sure, your bear bag line can do this too, but it makes the strap chair multipurpose. I have 3 yards of 1/5 inch webbing to make my strap chair.

Unknown said...

A small makeup mirror on a retractable keychain is a godsend when hiking with a child carrier

Michael Smith said...

Carry food in a bear canister even if not in bear country. Yes, it adds weight but it's faster than hanging food in a bag (especially at night) and it keeps wildlife wild. LNT principle #6: Respect Wildlife - don't feed animals by storing food inadequately.

jjlash said...

Been prepping for a Philmont trip this summer so really focused on getting the weight down. After watching one of your videos the group really started looking at everyday things to serve as lightweight alternatives.

My tip: a McDonalds Flurry spoon. It weighs 0.2 ounces is flexible enough so it doesnt break and is long enough to reach the bottom of a quart zip-top bag.

Bro. Pete said...

In the fall instead of a vest or a bright pack cover I put a couple of surveyor streamers on the back of my pack.

Kevin A. Turner said...

Nice, look forward to this drawing. And welcome back to posting :)

Tip: Go through your gear at least a day ahead of your trip. Nothing worse then last minute packing or getting to the trail and finding out you left you fire kit at home and end up having to rub two sticks together to get that fire goin (has happend to me :) )

Erin said...

Hate to say the obvious, but make sure you like the people with whom you're hiking :)

Noam Gal said...

Buy Quaker Instant Oatmeal 10 packs for breakfast. Shake and tear the top of the bag, pour the water inside, and stir with your spork. The bag can hold the liquid just fine.
I recommend it with cold water as well as hot, if you are too lazy to boil water in the morning.
2 packs make a filling breakfast while on the trail.

Dredgerie said...

I hold to the basics: Carry your 10 essentials no matter what, even for a short day hike. You never know what might happen.

Roman said...

Duct Tape is good enough to repair your TAR. The small hole in my mattress is closed for 2 years now with almost zero cost.

Cesar said...

My gear tip is not to get too hung up on gear! Get out there and have fun in nature, spend the night, and if the gear you have worked well for you, great. If not, or if your system of gear could be improved, find out what would work best or better for YOU. There are so many options when it comes to gear, I say learn what is best for you by doing. If things don't go well with a new piece of gear, just sell it online someplace, or give it to a friend.

Steve Bunker said...

My #1 gear tip is to clean-up and restock right after a trip. I find that if I wait even a day I'll Invariably forget something and I may not realize it even when I'm getting ready for my next trip.

Paul said...

Welcome back. I don't blame you if your time is being spent fishing :).

My tip: Keep your tent at the top of your pack. In bad weather you won't be wasting time pulling out other stuff and getting it wet when all you want is a shelter!

Chris said...

1) Know how to survive in your surroundings without relying on all that high tech gear. There is no replacement for basic survival skills.

2) Always carry a good knife and a fire steel!

James said...

My number one gear tip is to only carry three pairs of socks. This is the perfect number to have to help keep the weight of your pack down, but still have plenty to wear. One pair on your feet, one pair in the "wash", and one pair for sleeping.

john personna said...

Mine is a post-hike tip, but people seem to think it's novel. Hang your hydration pack off your car's headrest, and you sip on the way home.

Lorethian said...

Welcome back and I hope you caught a big one.

Except for my 10 essentials I evaluate any item I have not used on two trips in a row. It probably is not needed and usually I remove it from my pack.

Ryan Wheeler said...

My #1 gear tip is that sometimes you gotta pack an item or items that serve no purpose other than to cheer you up.

PNW_John said...

Here is my gear tip: Review the gear you pack often and remove items that never seem to leave your pack when you are out. Chances are, you don't need those items anyway.

Lance said...

Jason, so glad to see you posting again! I'd love to have a copy of the book!

My gear tip is this. Even if you're just day hiking in a wild area, take an emergency shelter. They only weigh a few extra ounces and will save your life if the weather takes a drastic turn for the worse.

JakeLi said...

Be sure to have the slowest hiker at the front, that way no one will be left behind.

Michael said...

Hey, Jason! Man, I was wondering if you were OK since you've been gone for a while. I hope all is well.

My "tip" is something I've been teaching my six year old daughter: "If you take care of your gear, your gear will take care of you."

This is something very important for the lightweight backpackers. Some of our gear is fragile and if we take a little bit of extra time to care for it, it will last a long time. Plus, it's a good philosophy to avoid a disaster in the backcountry.

Michael

Jacob said...

I buy Smart Water only for the bottles. The bottles, especially the ones with the sport bottle tops are tall and thin making them fit easily in the side mesh pocket of my backpack and are light. Now that I hike with a Platypus bag for water, I still carry one or two in my pack to use as a backup or for making drinks on the trail. I'm always paranoid that the Platypus will fail one day.

JEFF ENGLAND said...

My #1 gear tip is a small bottle of hand sanitizer. You know, the alcohol based gel? It works great a a sanitation item, but has been used in a pinch to clean a wound and when trying to start a fire in damp weather.

Garrison said...

Welcome back Jason!

My #1 gear tip is about fire.

Manage the way to make a "sheath" from a bar of fatwood for your firesteel. Both items are waterproof and a fine firestarter combo ready in case of nasty weather.

Cheers!

Alisa said...

If you're taking a first timer on trail make sure you help them pack. It is surprising what people do or do not bring when left to their own devices.

Jerzyshore said...

Use an alcohol stove. Light weight, burns hot, never fails, fuel available just about anywhere. I have one I made from a beer can, and one from a cat food can literally for pennies. Best fuel - Heet in the yellow bottle - burns cleanest and hottest, but literally any alcohol will do.

Jerry G

Unknown said...

Preparation: Make a Excel etc spread sheet putting all your camping gear with weights. Make a copy then edit this copy choosing what you think you well take with you. Make changes as needed eliminating what you don't want. Save this or end of trip comparisons.

Unknown said...

Preparation: Make a Excel etc spread sheet putting all your camping gear with weights. Make a copy then edit this copy choosing what you think you well take with you. Make changes as needed eliminating what you don't want. Save this or end of trip comparisons.

kevonionia said...

Make sure your tent (and everything else) is secured to your pack. I lost my oldest tent last year leaping over boulders while bushwhacking down Lost Creek because I didn't have it secured well enough. It fell down in the crevices and I couldn't get to it. Not only felt dumb cowboy camping that night, but was bummed 'cause I did a major violation of LNT.

pinoakrd said...

nylon stockings are a great item to carry. I use to sleep in at night for warmth, but also an almost endless list of uses: Sun-screen for arms and legs, leg and arm warmers, water filter, stops chafing, will pull small cactus spines out, burns slow to add to a resistant fire, wrist warmers, braid for a rope, use as a tie, sock liner,.....

Dylan said...

I already own the book, and i wanted to let everyone know that it is an excellent book. The basic layout includes 1 part about planning. The second and biggest part is about gear. And the Third part is full of example gear lists. In the second section, Andrew goes through all of the different options and then includes parts where he explains what he uses. I would recommend dropping the $20 if you don't win one of the three copies here.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

I like to take a pair of flip flops along to wear at night. For stream crossings I tie a piece of para-cord around the back to help keep them on when there is a strong current.

b.bacher said...

My number 1 gear tip? Look at your hiking buddies: if their gear is falling apart, don't buy it, despite how much they claim they love it.

I usually carry 3 forms of firestarting materials with me when hiking in the Catskills. You never know!

b.bacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erick Fry said...

I leave the sleeping back stuff sack home and let the sleeping back fill the bottom of the pack as you go up and down with other supplies. It makes for a full bag no matter what which works great for pack comfort especially with a frameless pack.

Paul said...

Get a scale. Weigh everything.

Barrett said...

My #1 gear tip....hmmm. start hiking with what you have. Acquire lighter and better stuff as you go. Don't be condescending to those that are starting out or do not hold your UL philosophy. Be encouraging to those that are new. Ask people what they like and dislike about the gear that is different than yours without telling them how superior yours is to theirs. This sounds like multiple tips, but they are all part of one tip

tip; hike your own hike.

pure_mahem said...

For fresh eggs on the trail crack your eggs into a Nalgene before leaving. Then you don't have to worry about them breaking while your hiking and when you need a couple you can just drop them out one at a time. no mess as long as you keep the cover on your nalgene.

Warren G. said...

If you only have a 35* bag and want/need to be prepared for signficantly colder conditions and you also have both an ultralight weight and a lightweight down jacket, take both and use your l/w jacket as pants to keep your legs warm. That way you don't need a pair of down pants.

Anonymous said...

At season's beginning start slow, I always overdo it and then waste a week or two healing up while I could be on the trail.

Anonymous said...

Start slowly at the beginning of the hiking season. I always overdo it and then spend 2 or so weeks healing when I could be on the trail. Especially not good here in Canada, because our season is so short.aripm

Dave Triano said...

The absolute best way to go lighter into the wilderness is to take a hard look at your lifestyle and food choices, lose the extra body weight most of us carry, and feel GREAT in the process!

Apexsummit said...

#1 Tip: Don't stop hiking in the winter. I hike all year long, you will need to adjust your gear to the season but the up side is that you will get in a lot more hiking and you won't have to get yourself back into condition in the spring.

James Steele said...

Hiking with an umbrella will keep you drier and in the shade but also add a heavy duty rubber band and you'll have a pack cover.

Chris said...

My favorite re-purposed container for gear is a small 2 inch McCormick spices plastic bottle. The lid will screw off or has a flip top.

My favorite use is to fill them with Vaseline soaked cotton balls for tinder. When I have extras I give them to my outdoorsy friends as gifts. With the cotton balls of course.

Anonymous said...

As I tell my scouts: don't chase "coolness" when it comes to gear; stick with practical and what works for you.

Gerardo said...

Don´t carry a sharpening stone, sharpen your knife before you start your trip, if is not a very long one, it should keep the edge all your trip.

¡Earplugs! Practically weightless, sometimes it's a must have for a good sleep and quality rest. Specially if you are not travelling alone (snores, etc.), if you have to sleep at crowded refuges, hostels... Sounds of the wild are nice, sounds of the people are not. :)

Megan Barber said...

Don't chance anything. Be prepared and take even the littlest survival or medical course you can find. It doesn't have to be $1000's of dollars, just have the basic first aid and CPR for yourself, your friends, and others on the trail.

Jason Manning said...

I can't say I have much experience yet, but I've learned that Camelbak-type water bladders are worth it. Keeping weight close to you and balanced is far better than having unbalanced water bottles hanging off of the sides of your pack.

Brian said...

Jason, I thought you fell off the face of the earth after not seeing a post for so long. I hope all is well with you and I'm glad to see you posting again as I used to visit your site about every other day.

Tip: To pack food spices like salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc., take a plastic straw and heat one end of it in a flame until it becomes soft and pliable. Bend the end over onto itself and crimp it with a multi-tool pliers or hold it down with a rock. Pour a spice into the open end and repeat the sealing routine. When you want to use the contents you can cut off one end, pour out what you need and then reseal the open end. It is small, light-weight and easy to pack.

cwhite said...

I wrap duct tape around a popsicle stick to save space. Glad I did when I had to sew a tent back together after the wind blew the 2nd tent to shreds. I taped all the rips and then sewed through the material, and tape, to fix it.

Anonymous said...

Jason;
Glad to see your posting again, many people were wondering what was up. The book give away has sparked some great hiking tip discussion, thanks for restarting with a bang.

vvsrj said...

Do not compromise a good night's sleep by shaving too many grams off your sleeping system. I prefer my pad a bit on the heavy side in order to sleep (over)comfy, but as always, YMMV.

Alex A said...

If the weather man says it’s going to be sunny; pack like it’s going to rain. If the weatherman says that it’s going to rain; be prepared for a deluge.

Jeff said...

Always be prepared with a backup system for treating water, even if it is just extra fuel for boiling.

By: Game-on said...

My #1 Tip: Shop Goodwill! Half the fun of ultralight hiking is inventing new ways to optimize your gear and enhance your hiking experience. You’ll be surprised at the breadth of quality camping gear you’ll often find at Goodwill and at dirt cheap prices. With a little imagination you can repurpose perfectly good items into the next great advancement in ultralight hiking. For a few dollars, you can cannibalize retired gear and use it to make the ultimate mod to your existing equipment or outdoor wear. Like hiking, at Goodwill you never know what discover except that one man’s trash can become the ultralight hiker’s treasure. Best of all, the few dollars that you do spend at Goodwill all goes to a good cause.

Martin said...

Use confty shoes/boots that does not give you blisters. Few things destroys a trip as easy as blisters!

Lx said...

No need for heavy paracord for your bear hang (you are probably not hanging 550lbs of food). Use a lightwight kite line...

Anonymous said...

always take toilet paper. pack it in two different waterproof packs.

Neil said...

Have QuikClot Sport or QuikClot Sport Silver in your first aid kit.

Levi Perigo said...

Have a gear closet -- work to organize and maintain it.

J. David Boyd said...

Never take anything new on a trip, only items that you have used and tried, and know how to use.

Explorer_Sam said...

My #1 gear tip- What works for other people won't necessarily work for you.

runningfromseptember said...

Ditch the tents! Get a 10'x12' tarp or bigger. They are a fraction of the weight, and are extremely customizable. And they are cheap!

flatblackcapo said...

If your wife buys herself a 30L pack and she buys you a 75L pack she knows more about backpacking than you do.learn to layer correctly. Ok ? I am glad to see you are back Jason.
Kevin

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Anonymous said...

Just saw Skurka this weekend- the book looks great.

My tip: Asian grocery stores have more interesting camp food than the camp store. Lots of dehydrated and freeze dried stuff to choose from- especially drinks and noodles.

shadowmib said...

My #1 tip is the most useful thing you can carry is also the most ultralight... Knowledge. It weighs nothing, but can mean everything.

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jim rockett said...

I made a lite cheap wind screen out of alum tape (auto parts store). I just pealed off the backing and doubled it over on itself. Hold the ends together with a paper clip. You can roll it up or fold it.Fits inside my cooking pot.

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Barbara D Russell said...

Female Hikers: Want an awesome sleeping bag/bivvy that is LIGHT and SMALL? At 8.5 oz, about the size of a Nalgene bottle, and about $50 bucks, it is my go-to for hikes where weight matters. No tent needed; it is durable, breathable, heat reflective and - ta da!- a waterproof survival shelter. The folks at Suvive Outdoors Longer rock with their Escape Bivvy Shelter. I love it!

My next favorite thing? Sparkie by Ultimate Survival. What I love is that it fits my hand and it is easy to use. Macho guys can use the bigger Blastmatch, but I don't have the hand strength to use it.

My Ultimate favorite for fire? cotton balls super-saturated with petroleum jelly stuffed into a match kit tube. Take another match kit tube and stuff it with REI Stormproof matches. Tie them together with 10 feet of duct tape. You'll have two different sources of ignition (matches and the flint strip on the bottom of each match kit) and two sources of tinder: the saturated cotton balls and the duct tape.

ccorbridge said...

My gear tip: after every trip find something you didn't need, but you brought along. pick something to eliminate every time. this is easy at first, then harder. makes you re-justify everything you "must" have.

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Anonymous said...

perhaps jason fell on his spork?

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Dylan Rose said...

Tenacious tape is great for just about anything and comes in a small case. Can be used for repairs on anything from waders to tents & sleeping bags to clothing.

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Gear tip: If you have a friend who is a nurse have her score a couple of intravenous bags of physiological saline. They make cheap hydration packs. They fit easily into pack side pockets and take up very little space when empty.

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Among all the available trekking in the world Everest Base Camp Trek is ranked in fourth place because of its own glory as the highest peak of the world and loyal Sherpa people. Since Everest Base Camp Trekking provide an opportunity to the travelers to say have been to the base of the world & highest mountain Everest Base Camp Trek is extremely popular among all the travelers who visit Nepal for trekking. The Mount Everest Base Camp Trek is perfectly lead by NEST ( Nepal Explore Summit Trek )
Everest Flight
Everest flight which is also named as mountain flight. Early in the morning more than fifteen to twenty airplanes leave the runway of international airport on Nepal to attend Everest flight along with eighteen passengers. Mountain Flight can be considered as good alternative for those people who cannot make their Everest base camp trekking and other trekking in central and eastern region because one can have amazing aerial view of long panoramic mountain range during Everest flight.
Car Rental In Nepal
Car Rental service in Nepal can be a most easier with NEST Adventure Care Rental in Kathmandu Nepal .we are offering Cheapest Vehicle Rental in all over lad on Nepal wide range vehicle service and luxury transportation service to our customers for giving them the best of comforts with Tour Trekking , and adventure outdoor activates in Nepal.
NAR PHU VALLEY TREK
Nar Phu valley trek is conducted in two separate valleys respectively Nar and Phu of Manang District. The two separate valley Nar and Phu use Tibetan-Burman language named Narpa with the intent to avert Manang and Gyasumdo to understand them. This area is granted permission to trek from 2003 only before it was inhabited by its local Tibetan origin Nepali citizen only. Because of its severe seclusion Nepal government has not allow it to explore by single trekkers and a guide is obligatory. NEST ( Nepal Explore Summit Treks ) always in a head to operate your Trekking in Nar phu Valley

Eugene Rodriguez said...

I had to think about this on so I have two.
One--- Buy a scale. You can't reduce your weight if you don't know what you are carrying.

Two--- Plastic water bottles. Reuse poweraid, gatoraid or any other water bottle. Saves weight and money.

Eugene