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Technical Skills

Outdoor Technical Skills

Dead-Reckoning Navigation with Andrew Skurka

For on-trail hiking, this is the single most important navigation skill. Use dead-reckoning to predict your ETA at future landmarks and to approximate your current location.

Backcountry navigation is an art. The basics can be learned quickly, like dead reckoning, reading a map, and using an altimeter watch. But extensive practice is necessary to seamlessly and flawlessly apply these skills in the field, especially when under duress or in challenging situations, like off-trail in a heavily forested area with rolling hills.

Learn Map & Compass with Andrew Skurka, Part 1: Adjust for declination & orient a map

A compass can be invaluable for navigation, and should be part of a larger toolkit consisting of a topographic map, watch, altimeter, and GPS. In the first of two videos on using a compass, Sierra Designs brand ambassador and National Geographic “Adventurer of the Year” Andrew Skurka explains two basic skills: how to adjust for declination and how to orient a map.  

Dispose of Waste Properly: Digging Catholes LeaveNoTraceCenter LeaveNoTraceCenter

When nature calls while you're out in nature, do you know how to go? Disposing of waste properly is an important part of every outdoor adventure, especially when it comes to disposing of our human waste. In this Skill Series video, we will discuss why human waste is a problem, the four objectives of proper human waste disposal, and how to dig a Leave No Trace cathole. 

PCT Bear Hang

Once bears and other wildlife become conditioned to our food, they become attracted to our campsites, homes, and trails, seeking us out as a source for food. This behavior can lead to aggression in some instances. Sometimes when bears become habituated to humans with food conditioning, land managers have no choice but to euthanized these bears.

One solution is the PCT Bear Hang.