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Backpacker Radio

Jan 16, 2023

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined once again by Andrew Skurka. In his fourth appearance on the show, we cover some uncharted territory here, including an overview of a guided trip from last year that went less than according to plan, how to best scout the weather for where you're backpacking (and why relying on trip reports can be a mistake), his thoughts on the Durston X-Mid, how someone who lives in the flatlands should train for a backpacking trip out west, why he was able to PR his marathon time in his early 40s (which is a handful of years past the traditional running prime) and why he's gifting Juliana a trash bag. We also go into why Andrew got into hunting, what tips he has for new hunters, gear advice, and why he butchers his own meat. Skurka's episodes are always full of practical advice for the backcountry and this one is certainly no exception.

We wrap the show with the top footwear from the Appalachian Trail in 2022, the triple crown of gaming consoles, and the most exciting thing we've learned in the new year.

Good To-Go: Use code “TREK25” for 25% off at

Enlightened Equipment: Use code “TREKPOD10” for 10% off Enlightened Equipment’s Stock Revelation Quilt or Torrid Jacket at

Gossamer Gear: Use code “TAKELESSTREKMORE” for 15% off at


Interview with Andrew Skurka

Time stamps & Questions

00:05:25 - QOTD: What’s the most exciting thing you’ve learned in the new year?

00:10:49 - Reminders: Support us on Patreon! Badger Sponsorship goes live January 30!

00:13:20 - Introducing Andrew

00:14:27 - What have you been up to since you were last on the show?

00:15:05 - Discussion about marathons and athleticism

00:17:52 - Discussion about shoe technology, shoes for hiking vs. running, and shoe life length

00:23:18 - Will you be going for another personal record?

00:24:12 - Have you sustained any major injuries related to running?

00:24:50 - What’s your exercise routine?

00:25:37 - Tell us about the guiding year you had.

00:29:46 - How did you pick the ideal location within Olympic National Park?

00:32:13 - What portion of the trips were off trail?

00:33:15 - Discussion about group dynamics and reactions to non-optimal trip conditions

00:36:00 - What went well on the trips to the Olympics?

00:36:55 - Will you modify fitness expectations for 2023 trips?

00:39:25 - Any other lessons from the 2022 session?

00:40:22 - Discussion about Skurka’s guides

00:41:55 - What components go into a “good” guiding service?

00:43:11 - What is your minimum threshold for new guide hires?

00:47:25 - Were there any standout new hires from this year?

00:50:27 - Do you find it challenging to get on trail for personal reasons?

00:53:04 - What do you see being more realistic moving forward: hiring out the administrative side or the in-person guiding side?

00:55:43 - How do you recommend getting backcountry weather forecasts?

00:59:53 - What do you think about the iPhone satellite SOS communication feature?

01:03:31 - Did anything else come out over this year that you’re really excited about?

01:06:00 - Did you change any of your gear this year?

01:07:20 - Discussion about the Durston X-Mid

01:09:00 - Discussion about DCF and gear improvements

01:12:44 - Discussion about the lifespan and waterproofing of tents

01:16:00 - What’s the most underdeveloped piece of gear that cottage companies are missing?

01:19:05 - What are your training tips for people living in low-elevation, flat areas?

01:23:18 - Backpack rain cover or no cover?

01:27:00 - Zach & Chaunce’s gear over time

01:27:44 - How many bear vaults can a ULA Catalyst fit?

01:28:38 - What was your interest for getting into hunting?

01:29:45 - Discussion of elk versus mule deer and meat amounts

01:30:48 - Have you gotten pushback on hunting from your followers?

01:32:47 - Discussion about elk herd management in Colorado

01:35:35 - Discussion about butchering and processing the elk meat

01:37:43 - Is there a leave no trace element of hunting?

01:40:10 - How did you learn what to do?

01:46:40 - What are the chances of there being a Skurka guided hunting trip in the future?

01:48:40 - Do you have any resources to recommend?

01:50:04 - Have you had any funny encounters with animals while hunting?

01:52:14 - What fabrics are ideal for being quiet and invisible while hunting?

01:53:00 - What lessons have you learned since beginning hunting?

01:54:44 - Do people hunt mountain goats or big horned sheep?

01:55:50 - What do you want people to know about the 2023 guiding season?

01:56:42 - Tell us about your scholarship program.


Trek Propaganda

Triple Crown of gaming consoles


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A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Austin Ford, Brad & Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Brent Stenberg, Christopher Marshburn, Dayne, Greg McDaniel, Kristina Diaz, Matt Soukup, Mike Poisel, Patrick Cianciolo, Paul Packman Sealy, Sawyer Products, and Tracy “Trigger” Fawns.

A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: Dcnerdlet, Jacob Northrup, Jeff LaFranier, Keith Dobie Jr, Liz Seger, and Peter.