Kraig Adams has been gaining a lot of attention over the past few years with his stunning documentaries of his hikes around the world. His simple style immerses viewers into the incredible beauty of the trails he hikes. When I first watched his Hornstrandir (Iceland) documentary, I was instantly hooked on his channel. His ability to both strike awe and offer guidance to people considering doing the trail, is extremely rare to come by.
With the global lockdown in full effect, I got the chance to chat with Kraig about his trips so far and his plans for the future.
My name is Kraig Adams. I’m a Filmmaker, Minimalist and Hiker. I grew up in Upstate New York, but for the last 8 years I have lived in Brooklynn, NY.
What got you into hiking?
I think I hiked like most people in most families, just occasionally with brothers and sisters and parents. But I never lead my own hike, I was never the first person in the column while hiking or never did the planning.
This all started 8 months ago when I decided to start planning, picking the hike, doing the prep and going off to do it by myself, or with other people.
Is there any standout trail that you have completed?
Ive probably done more international hikes at this point than in the US. I think one of my favourites was in Spain.
Unlike like most of my hikes, I had no idea that this trail existed or what it was like until a week before when I did my research and booked my flight. But the Picos De Europa trail up in Northern Spain – right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s in a National Park. I had no idea it was there and I didn’t know anything about Spain. It is a loop for about 80 miles and it was beautiful. It was challenging, but it was the most isolation I’ve ever experienced in a week of hiking.
What is your experience of Solo hiking?
I get so many people baffled and worried for me. Telling me that I should never hike by myself. It seems so natural for me to be out there at my own speed, peace and quiet just with my own thoughts. It’s how I love to hike – by myself.
People don’t like it when you’re alone for some reason. It baffles people. They can’t picture themselves hiking alone so it’s quite funny.
What big Hiking trips have you got planned?
The Original plan was to do the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) starting what would be two weeks from now, but I had to cancel. So that kinda opens up my entire summer!
The plan was to get rid of the apartment, to pair down my gear to just a backpack and hike for 4 months. But plans have changed.
I think my plan is to keep the apartment in Brooklynn and then go off and do invdividual hikes and to break the PCT into smaller bites. Such as Mt. Whitney, Uinta highland Trail, Lake Tahoe rim, Timberline loop trail, Mt. Rainier. There are so many individual day hikes and multiple day hikes in the US that I can do. But I’ve got my eyes set on one hike – the GR2O in Corsica.
That’s a straight-forward, difficult hike that I’ve done all the research for. I’ve got the flight itinerary, so as soon as things open up as far as travel, I’d love to do the GR20 and just crush that hike.
I tell ya, I’ve been waiting for the weather to get better to hike pretty much anywhere in Northern Europe. Ever since my Iceland and Hornstrandir videos blew up last year I’ve been wanting to get back to Iceland and Scandinavia. I’d love to hike in Ireland and the UK. I’ve never hiked there so I’d love to do that.
What one thing can you not hike without?
It’s probably going to sound dumb, but I love my sun hoodie. I hike as light as possible and have one change of clothes, so the sun hoodie keeps the sun off my neck, which is such a problem sometimes. The first couple of hikes I went on, you can see how sunburnt I got in my videos, because I didn’t have any sun protection. When I did put sunscreen on, it would just sweat right off, because I was going up hills. So just getting something to put around my neck and put a hood on made a huge difference! It’s the best. I love it.
What is your top tip that you offer people when hiking internationally?
My mind immediately went to food. Maybe because hiking internationally, I’ve had the chance to eat food that I’ve never had before. Like in Spain, it was Fabada (white bean stew) and trying different chorizo.
I do have food that I bring, like bars and nut butters and pre cooked meals. But I recommend when hiking internationally that you pick up some local hiking food. Something weird. I do want to hike in Japan so I’m sure there’s going to be some weird food that I can take and feature in my videos there.
When I go to another country, I do want to hike like them. So food is a cool way to do that. When I come to Ireland, I have to try Beef and Guinness stew.
Apart from Hiking, what other outdoor sports/activities are you involved in?
I’ve been skiing all my life. I’ve only done that in US states like Colorado and New York but ever since hiking the TMB and visited Switzerland, it’s made me want to venture off onto bigger slopes because. I thought a slope like Breckenridge in Colorado was big, but I’m sure if you go to France or Switzerland or Austria there are even bigger ski resorts. So that’s something I’d like to get into.
Skiing is great. My brother has shown me a bit of cross-country skiing and skinning up mountains. If mountains are too snowy to hike, it might be fun to do some videos where we skin up and ski down – Totally untouched slopes. I think that would be something cool to get into for the winter months.
Have you ever received negative feedback about documenting your solo hikes?
Like most things, there’s progressive and conservative. I’ve even seen some push back to documenting hikes. Both photo and video, but especially video. A lot of people online (and in person sometimes) it rubs them the wrong way for me to share these secrets. Like “How dare I get more people out on the trail”. It’ such a silly concept to be selfish in that way of not wanting everyone to experience these beautiful things.
There is an element of being helpful and helping people practice safety and efficiency on the trail as far as planning where to sleep, what to eat, what to pack etc. But then again, when I research a hike, I almost don’t want spoilers. So I’m very curious as to why people watch my videos and enjoy it. I don’t know if I’d watch my own videos as a hiker. So it’s a weird balance of showing it, inspiring and also being helpful.
Kraig also has a podcast that you can listen over at Kraigadams.com. He has a tonne of shows where he interviews other Filmmakers and hikers about their experiences on the trail.
Keep a close eye on Kraig’s social channels. At a time like this, people like Kraig help keep our imaginations wild and aspire to get back out there.
If you haven’t discovered Kraig’s work by now, do yourself a favour and head over to his Youtube channel
Thank you, Kraig.