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Backpacker Radio

Mar 21, 2022

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Andy Laub.  Andy is a thru-hiker, documentarian, cinematographer, director, editor, visual effects artist...basically all things under the sun dealing with making videos.  His work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BBC World, Amazon Prime, Hulu & PBS World Channel.  His first trail documentary, As It Happens, has more than a million views on YouTube.  We chat all about his backpacking career, what goes into a professional video production, juggling his adventures while being a parent of two youngsters, and we go deep on his latest project, THRU, a six-part series featuring his 2018 thru-hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail.  Whether you nerd out on video stuff or not, I guarantee you'll enjoy this chat.  It's a fun one. 

We wrap the show with a more formal announcement of the winner of the Backpacker Radio Sponsorship, we get a fan submission patent-pending about drinking sunscreen, and do a triple crown of thru-hiking phrases, clichés, and acronyms. 

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Organifi: Use code “backpacker” for 20% off at

Enlightened Equipment: Use code “ultralight10” for 10% off Enlightened Equipment’s Stock Revelation Quilt or Torrid Jacket at

Bedrock Sandals: Head to today! 

Interview with Andy Laub

Time stamps & Questions

00:06:22 - QOTD: Do you Wordle?

00:10:12 - BPR Announcements: Trail Days Road Trip & Meetup Location

00:14:56 - Introducing Andy Laub

00:15:20 - Where’d you get into backpacking? 

00:17:42 - What was your AT start date?

00:18:35 - Did you start at the stars?

00:19:41 - When you’re stuck, do you think like a film narrator?

00:20:01 - Were you in front of or behind the camera?

00:20:56 - Discussion of on-camera hand gestures and film angles

00:22:14 - Is there a bubble in February on the AT?

00:23:05 - What research did you do pre-trail?

00:24:30 - Tell us about meeting your first trail friend.

00:25:33 - Tell us about The Dusty Camel.

00:27:02 - Tell us about your time at the Discovery Channel.

00:28:45 - What’s Ian’s background at this point?

00:29:14 - Was the idea for the PCT film first or the idea to hike?

00:29:25 - Tell us about the PCT in 2011.

00:32:10 - What was your film equipment and how heavy was it?

00:32:35 - How do you decide who films what?

00:34:06 - Is it tough to capture both the highs and the lows?

00:36:53 - Is it harder for you to be in front of or behind the camera?

00:38:19 - What doors did As It Happens open for you?

00:39:16 - How did the National Geographic Society project come about?

00:41:05 - How did you go from As It Happens to the production value of THRU?

00:43:22 - What other equipment do you have on trail?

00:44:39 - Discussion about the cinematography and camera gear of THRU. 

00:47:48 - What was the secret videography weapon Chaunce brought on the AT?

00:48:28 - What’s the process of making a documentary?

00:51:22 - Are you recording your flashbacks while hiking?

00:52:18 - Are you directing all of the footage on trail?

00:53:40 - Do you decide what you want the scenes to look like while hiking?

00:57:09 - How do you keep everyone on the same page?

01:00:16 - Do you need to have a lot of patience or social awareness?

01:03:07 - How did you put the group together?

01:04:44 - What packs did you use?

01:07:47 - Discussion about the group dynamic.

01:09:40 - Discussion about square tarps and gear weight.

01:10:03 - Is there a way to lighten heavy camera equipment?

01:11:27 - What are your three top tips to take something amateur and make it look high class?

01:14:34 - If you could go back and critique As It Happens, what feedback would you give?

01:16:16 - Are there ever moments you wish you could have captured on camera?

01:19:25 - What is THRU?

01:22:46 - Did you have any crazy grizzly encounters or oh shit moments?

01:27:25 - Do death-defying moments hit differently now that you have kids?

01:31:37 - Who does the graphics in THRU?

01:33:20 - What’s the dumbest thing you did on the hike?

01:34:12 - Discussion about the PNT’s trail types, usage, and season/weather window.

01:37:11 - Did you miss any miles?

01:37:56 - What’s your full trail resume?

01:38:25 - What are some of the films you made between trails?

01:41:56 - How do you maintain your positivity in the face of climate change?

01:43:34 - Discussion about climate change.

01:48:22 - What’s your dream project?

01:51:30 - Were you on the fence about bringing a drone?

01:53:45 - Discussion about the future of the PNT and value of the National Scenic Trails.

01:56:54 - How can people watch THRU?

01:58:43 - Will there be a season 2?

02:01:25 - Lobster facts!

02:04:17 - Discussion about trees.

02:06:00 - Thank you!


Trek Propaganda

Listener Voicemail

Triple Crown of hiking catchphrases/lingo

5 Star Review

Trail Days


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A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Jason Lawrence, Christopher Marshburn, Sawyer Products, Brad and Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Patrick Cianciolo, Matt Soukup, and Jason Snailer.

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