Most outdoor experts agree that skill, knowledge and experience are at least as important (if not more so) than the gear one carries into the wilderness. If so, what skills and knowledge are most important? Many of the nearly 100 articles on this website could be listed in this category, but as a practical matter, I include only those articles that focus on the most important skills and knowledge. From my experience, these topics seem especially important for wilderness hikers: Layering, Essential Gear, Art of Walking and Hiking.
Hiking books, articles and websites often make references to the layering of clothing. Most of these references and discussions lack any real depth. The Fine Art of Layering goes into considerable depth (18 pages) and recommends a four-layer rather than the traditional three-layer system. This article extends layering principles to sleeping systems and to the extremities.
The same problem (i.e., lack of depth) can be found in about typical references to essential gear for wilderness travel. Seeking Truth About the Ten Essentials seeks to correct this. This article (18 pages long) starts with a broadened definition of “essential” that goes well beyond minimum survival. In the process, it touches on nearly 30 categories of “essential” gear. It also includes analysis of several questionable items that appear on most “minimum essentials” lists: map, knife, first aid, extra food.
The article Developing the Art of Walking and Hiking starts with a basic premise: walking and hiking can be viewed as an art, as a science and as a chosen style or philosophy. The article then proceeds to thumbnail 16 different walking and hiking styles from which to choose. When viewing walking and hiking philosophically (i.e., focusing on values and priorities), this article assists in clarifying one’s primary values and priorities.
If these three specific skill and knowledge areas are not of prime importance, consider checking out the other 11 articles in this category.