Nature Matters: Backpacking as a Walker or a Camper

By KBJR News 1

May 9, 2011 Updated May 10, 2011 at 9:09 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) With spring comes the itch for "walkers" and "campers" to stay outside for extended periods of time.

But in talking with a very experienced "walker" David Hoole learned that before any adventurer leaves home it's best to decide what sort of traveler they are.

These two youngsters are set for outdoor adventure traveling light and fast. But without the gear to stay out for an extended period of time they'' soon be heading for home.

Experienced walker Andrew Skurka knows how important it is to pack the right gear.
"This was the Alaska Yukon Expedition, 4700 miles and in addition to backpacking also had skis and a pack raft."
Skurka recently stopped walking for a bit to offer some tips to people at Fitger's in Duluth.

"I sort of divide backpackers into two camps, two different spectrum. There are walkers and then there are campers. And I'm what you could describe as an extreme walker, I basically only camp so that I can walk again tomorrow."

The Bodes' are interested in lightening their loads. They're facing an upcoming trip with a lot of up and down travel.

"We're planning on taking a six day backpacking trip from the south rim of the Grand Canyon out the North rim of the Grand Canyon."
Mary Bode asked how best to lighten the load for her legs.

"I had the old school heavy leather boots and needed to replace them and I was really relieved to hear him say I could go with something lighter and get away with it."

Skurka says "walkers" can get more enjoyment out of their time afield by lightening their load.
Tent walls are abandoned for the coverage of a tarp. Alcohol stoves for cooking are considerably lighter than canister stoves. Skurka doesn't even use a full sleeping bag.
The weight saving liberates travelers from much of the burden associated with backpacking.

"I tend to over pack for everything and I think he's giving me the confidence to go lighter." It's a really freeing feeling knowing that you can pretty much go anywhere and know that you can be okay."

Just watch where you're going (kid trips and falls) and take care ... I'm David Hoole for nature matters.

Andrew Skurka's Alaska trip was recently featured in National Geographic.
You can read the article and get more lightweight backpacking tips on
his website .