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Amir Gafur

This globetrotting emergency medicine doctor hasn't ever lived in the same town for more than 5 years—and now Amir Gafur is on the camping trip of a lifetime. In his Q&A, he shares his tips on maintaining work-life balance and what makes for an ideal camping buddy.

Photography by Kitfox Valentin @kitfoxvalentin

Hi Amir, welcome to the Field Tester Q&A! Tell us about yourself.

I'm an emergency medicine doctor, I've been living in Brooklyn for a few years now. I'm currently packing up to embark on a camping trip from Alaska to Oregon.

Sounds like an adventure. Where were these Field Testers pics taken?

My buddy and I were camping in upstate New York in Mt. Wittenberg (near Phoenicia) and Mt. Slide—it's the tallest peak in the Catskills.

Tell us about your upcoming trip, what's the plan?

I’m flying out to Anchorage, Alaska. My friends and I are going to buy a car and spend 2 or 3 weeks in the Kenai Peninsula and Church National Forest. Then we’ll drive down through British Columbia and Washington before ending up in Oregon.

Sounds like a perfect adventure. Have you done a lot of camping?

I did a few hikes when I was in my early 20s and realized I wanted to live in it a bit more—my first trip overnight camping was Macchu Pichu in Peru, and I've been into the outdoors ever since then. When I moved to Brooklyn, I started doing Capoeira, and that's how I met my friend Kitfox (he took the pictures for this Field Tester session) and we've become camping buddies. 

What drew you to Capoeira?

I was looking for a martial art that had a music component to it—and I kinda got addicted. There’s a community aspect to Capoeira—people sing in a circle, while two people “play." It’s called "playing" instead of fighting. 

How’d you end up in Brooklyn?

I was born in New Orleans and my parents are Pakistani by ethnicity—I’ve never lived in the same city for more than 5 years. We moved to Texas and I lived in Houston until I was 18, then went to UT Austin, then I lived in Fort Worth for 4 years. Then Philly for training, and I’ve been in Brooklyn since then.

What kind of gear do you take on trips?

Backpack: Gregory Baltoro 65L, it’s good for 3 to 5 day trips
Knife: Esee 6”, it can chop logs, start a fire, and it’s compact and lightweight
Sleeping bag: REI Radiant three-season bag
Tent: Big Agnes
And--I never go without bear spray, especially after a bear came into our camp last fall.

      What do you look for in a camping buddy?

      Someone who’s willing to share the burden and doesn't mind getting dirty… Camping’s all about dividing tasks up—one person sets up the tent while the other person handles food, things like that.

      What are some of your favorite trips so far?

      Cone Peak in Big Sur. It's got 360-degree views, the mountains meet the ocean, the weather’s always perfect. Yosemite—the sun reflecting on all the granite… It lives up to the hype. And Sapa, in northwest Vietnam, which has steep hills covered with rice terraces.

      What’s on your bucket list for traveling?

      Patagonia, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, and I’d always be up for a trip to Brazil.

      How do you tackle boredom when you’re off the grid?

      I’m always busy doing something! I haven’t had that problem yet (laughs).

      Favorite book?

      Doctor on Everest inspired me to get into emergency medicine, specifically wilderness medicine, which is a niche area that a lot of people don’t even know exists. This guy writes about staying at Basecamp on Everest, working with people coming up and down the mountain.

      You seem to have discovered a good balance of professional achievement mixed with adventure. Any advice for other young people looking for the same?

      Keep putting yourself in new situations so you're always learning.

      {{ get-the-look }}

      What did you think of the Wool & Prince shirts?

      I’m wearing the Work Shirt in Olive in a lot of these pictures—wore it all day for a few days and it was just right. It’s so breathable, and the fit wasn’t too tight or too loose.

      Amir is 5'10", 170 lbs, and wears a size M.


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