Extend Your Learning! – Andrew Skurka

This is meant to be a final ‘send-off’ post for our Plan Like a Pro course and guided trips with links, books, and other resources meant to further your education if you like, on your own terms. It starts with some of our favorite books, classes, apps, online communities and podcasts; and then it goes deep on categories mirroring the curriculum modules.

Have suggestions for this list?

Let us know! We can update it so it becomes more valuable as time goes on, as new equipment is released, and as best practices evolve to suit ever-changing times.


Books can be useful for picking up technical skills or being brought into another hiker’s worlds and experience.

Where you’ll find me: The last climb of Kate MatrosovaRiveting account from behind the scenes of SAR (Search & Rescue)

The Last Traverse: Tragedy and resilience in the winter whites

Ultralight Backpackin’ TipsClassic book from Mike Clelland with great illustrations

Thirst: 2600 miles to home

Ultralight Winter TravelSuperb resource for those interested in winter travel

Weather: A field guide

The Packraft HandbookTHE book to get if you’re interested in packrafting

Squiggly Lines

Bear Attacks: Causes and avoidancePeople fear what they don’t know, but once you understand why bears act the way they do, you’ll become more confident in bear country

Staying Alive in Avalanche TerrainAnother classic. Essential reading if you plan on winter camping/backpacking anywhere near avalanche terrain.

*Many other great book suggestions can be found on Cam Honan’s site, The Hiking Life


We live in a digital world, and there are a lot of great tools at our disposal. Here are some of our favorites.

SeekHelps to identify plants & animals.

PeakfinderIdentify certain peaks around you.

FarOut Used to be Guthook. Great for long trails.

GaiaGPSOne of the best navigation apps.

CalTopoAnother fantastic navigation app to go with its powerful desktop suite.

All TrailsSimple app/website.

OnX BackcountryGood for skiing.

Peak Visor

SAS Survival GuideInteresting survival tips you may find valuable.

Courses & Certifications

Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do to become more proficient in the backcountry. Here are some great classes you should consider.

Andrew Skurka Guided TripMy 3, 5, 7, or 11 day guided backpacking trip focus on backcountry and off-trail skills. Your course fee is directly subtracted from the trip cost.

Wilderness First Aid (WFA)Great intro course for outdoor enthusiasts.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR)The gold standard for guides and other outdoor professionals.

Swiftwater Rescue CoursesEssential for anyone integrating river travel or significant water crossings into their journeys.

AIARECrucial for anyone traveling in avalanche terrain. Broken up into levels.

MountaineeringThere are a lot of sub-categories here, so take a look around and see if one piques your interest.

Summer StrongAn interesting fitness-based course that focuses on ‘mindful interval training’, which you can do in your living room or backyard-no gym required!

River Safety & RescuePerfect for packrafters.

Performance Nutrition & Meal Planning for BackpackersFabulous course for those who want to take their food to the next level.

Adventure-ReadyA more in-depth course that focuses on nutrition.

Online Forums

Great places to meet like-minded others, trade gear, talk shop, or even find hiking buddies.

FacebookThe OG. Still lots of specific groups for certain trails, national parks, etc. Good resource!

Reddit UltralightWhere all the nerds hang out. Including me.

Backpacking Light ForumDeep reservoir of topics going back 20 years. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a thread on it here.

Reddit UL Gear SwapBuy/Sell UL gear. Very active.

Backpacking Light Gear SwapBuy/Sell UL gear. Very active.


Rather than list them all individually, you can find some great lists and a blurb about most of them Here, Here, and Here. Try them out and see what you like!

Other than the standard hiker podcasts, I’ve found a lot of valuable information on the Huberman Labs podcast. This is mostly about physiology, neurology, and psychology, but a lot of it ties right into food, nutrition, physical fitness, etc. Shout out to Katie Gerber for the recommendation!

Goal Trips

Need some inspiration? Check some of these ideas out.

33 Must do treks

AllTrails: Best hikes in the U.S.

The Outbound: 25 Badass hikes

Wildland Trekking: 10 best national park hikes in the U.S.

Conditions Assessment

I find the best learning takes place when you understand basic principles of weather and topography and then experience them happen in real-time. There are lots of great tools out there to give you even more context and historical data on where you’re headed.

NASA Worldview

Sentinel HUB, Playground, and EO Browser

Mountain Forecast

Book: Mountain Weather

Book: Mountain Weather-The field guide

Book: Weather: A field guide


Prevent injuries, hike longer, and enjoy yourself more.

REI-Hiking Fitness Tips

Adventure Alan-How to train for hiking & backpacking

Clever Hiker-Training for a backpacking trip

The Trek: Yoga for backpackers

Garage Grown Gear: How Yoga helps backpackers

Backpacker: Training to avoid injuries

Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof. Fantastic work that will keep your hoofs in great shape after all the abuse you put them through.

The New York City Ballet Workout by Peter Martins. Similar to Yoga and pilates, Ballet teaches grace, balance, core strength, coordination, etc. This book is also a great primer on strength stretching, which will keep you going longer and stronger. No, you don’t have to learn to pirouette to gain benefits from these exercises.

Gear List

Everyone’s favorite. Other than ‘The Ultimate Hikers Gear Guide’, which is essential reading, most up-to-date gear-related advice or tools are scattered across the web.











Fueling your body properly is key. Food goes hand in hand with fitness and other preparations you make before heading out.

Book: Adventure Ready by Katie Gerber & Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson

Book: Peak Nutrition by Mercedes Pollmeier & Maria Hines

Class: Adventure Ready by Katie Gerber

The Hiking Life: The Hikers Diet

REI: Meal planning for Ultralight Backpacking

Clever Hiker: Lightweight backpacking food ideas

Hyperlight Mountain Gear: Ultralight Food Prep

Backpacking Light: Making your own food

Greenbelly: 76 food ideas from the Appalachian Trail

Maps and Navigation

Don’t just ‘stay found’. Know where you’ve been, where you’re going, and why.

Book: Squiggly LinesNavigation in adventure races

Book: NOLS Wilderness Navigation

Book: Finding your way using Map, Compass, Altimeter, & GPS


More important than the latest and greatest gear

In-person navigation class (REI)

How to tie knots

The Hiking Life – Skills

Adventure Alan – Skills

Keep up with us!

You can find our guides & instructor’s contact information HERE.

Au Revoir!

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