Andrew Skurka surely has one of the world’s best jobs: He’s essentially a professional backpacker. Or adventurer, maybe. When he’s not writing books on backpacking essentials, he leads guided trips, teaching newcomers and hardy veterans alike the intricacies of backcountry travel and off trail navigation. Skurka is well-known for bagging some truly incredible solo expeditions, like the nearly 7,000-mile-long Great Western Loop. National Geographic even named him their Explorer of the Year in 2007 for his adventuring exploits.
So who better to show you what to bring on a backpacking mission? Nobody, that’s who. Skurka is about as expert as it gets when it comes to fast, light, thoughtful packing for a backcountry trip. I asked him for a virtual peek into his bag for a typical late summer alpine trip in the Mountain West. Wanna pack like a pro? Wanna know what brands the world’s best backpacker trusts? Here you go.
Note: Skurka sent me seven separate lists, all spreadsheets, some of which were many pages long. Because of that, I’ve included only the “Critical” and “Suggested” entries in his gear list, though he also included “optional” and “unnecessary” as well. Also should be noted that he works closely with Sierra Designs, so their gear shows up a bunch.