Questions relating to any physical gear for engaging in those activities discussed in The Great Outdoors. Examples include packs, knives, bikes, kayaks, and climbing harnesses.

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12
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2answers
2k views

How to carry dslr camera when rock-climbing

I am interested in hearing how people take their dslrs onto multi-pitch-rock-climbs. I have carried mine up in a small pack, but I end up taking hardly any pictures, since it is so cumbersome to get ...
12
votes
1answer
206 views

What do I need to be aware of if I'm considering purchasing a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)?

Obviously, I can't just buy it, push the button and expect a helicopter to show up. Are there monthly or registration fees? Do I need to get a permit or register with someone? How does it all work? ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the proper way to tarp tent to avoid condensation?

I tried pitching a tarp instead of a tent this weekend. In worked well, kept off the rain etc, except for the condensation. It was far worse than any condensation I've ever had in a tent. We had ...
11
votes
3answers
441 views

How effective are portable electric fences?

I am worried about bears and wolves when camping so I'm looking at portable electric fences. Are they effective and more importantly just how dangerous are they?
11
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2answers
2k views

How do you safely cut wood with a knife?

Several people have talked about having single edge knife so that you can cut down small trees. What is the proper way to cut or carve wood with a knife?
11
votes
2answers
772 views

Why does my belay device have two holes?

I have a belay device that looks like: which I used when I am belaying someone who is top roping or leading. However, my rope only goes through one of those slots. What is the purpose of the other ...
11
votes
1answer
483 views

What should you look for when buying hiking socks?

A quick search online shows there are dozens of different types of hiking socks, with different materials, thicknesses, and properties. In general, what should you look for when shopping for hiking ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I know what size ice axe I should get?

I'm going to start mountaineering. Is there a recommended size per height/weight for ice axes for general mountaineering?
11
votes
1answer
216 views

How precise is a pedometer for estimating on a backpacking trip?

In practice, how precise is a pedometer for estimating your progress on a trail? For example, if I'm to hike 10 miles, how far should I expect to be from the 10 miles marker? Is there data comparing ...
11
votes
5answers
457 views

How can rope/cordage be packed to minimize tangles?

I generally pack my cordage in little bundles like Unfortunately for any significant length (100' for instance) it just turns into a wadded mess when I try and use it. How can I pack this stuff ...
11
votes
1answer
580 views

What is the difference between Gore-Tex and Mountain Hardwears DryQ?

They both are waterproof but what are the differences and is one better?
11
votes
2answers
111 views

What to look out for when buying used backpacks

I'm looking to buy a used backpack in the near future. What are the key things I should look out for/avoid when inspecting used paks?
10
votes
5answers
502 views

How to reduce the annoying sound of falling raindrops on a tent?

Every time I go camping and it starts to rain, I can't sleep anymore because the raindrops that fall on the tent causes a really loud and annoying sound. Is there any technique or tool to avoid or at ...
10
votes
6answers
185 views

How to avoid the layer of ice inside a water bottle during winter activities?

Is there a special way to avoid the layer of ice that forms inside a water bottle during winter activities?
10
votes
3answers
922 views

Safe Way to Mark a Carabiner

At the crag this weekend I noticed that my climbing partner's carabiner had a great feature: a red line painted such that you know the carabiner isn't locked until the red is hidden. I love this ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

What makes nylon an effective material for hiking pants?

I often see 100% nylon pants a lot in stores. What properties does it have that make it effective when hiking? Is it effective in all seasons or just under certain conditions?
10
votes
3answers
177 views

How do you know if smaller brands of climbing equipment are safe?

There is a local shop that sells small brand name gear for pretty good prices. I am looking at their harnesses and quickdraws and would like to know: 1) Whether the equipment is safe - say compared ...
10
votes
2answers
473 views

Starting cross-country skiing off trails

I've done a bit of crosscountry skiing on trails at local mountains, but I'm more interested in getting off the trails and out into the woods. The terrain around here is pretty steep in general with ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

How do I mount a hangboard in an apartment?

In the last few months I have come to the conclusion that I need to have a fingerboard at home if my climbing is to get to the next level. But the problem is that I live in an apartment. How can I ...
10
votes
1answer
649 views

Minimum equipment recommendations for hammock camping

I'm looking to try out some hammock camping on our next trip to the wilderness, but I don't have any of the gear yet. I could buy it all, but as it's a trial run it might not make sense to pour a ton ...
10
votes
2answers
107 views

How do I make a fin selection for various surfing conditions

There are many surfing fin designs available for modern surf boards. What are the criteria for selecting: Tri-fin Bi-fin Mono-fin No fins And why would I want to have larger or smaller surfing ...
10
votes
2answers
251 views

Staying dry in severe weather

I've been in pretty big storms before on campouts, but only two were big enough that the water would seep in through the sides of the tent. One of those times I used a tarp, rope, trees, and ...
10
votes
2answers
266 views

How should I correctly use poles and other equipment to avoid back pain on long hikes?

3 of my lower vertebra have irreparable damage, so I have various workarounds to minimise pain and swelling at home and in the office, and even on short term hikes (ibuprofen FTW) but on a longer hike ...
10
votes
2answers
782 views

Using a Girth Hitch in Alpine Draws

I've recently started making my alpine (or "trad") draws by girth hitching one end of a sling to the gear side carabiner and then clipping and passing the rope side through as usual. The girth hitch ...
10
votes
1answer
90 views

Satellite phone payment plans for irregular use

I've been looking if there is an alternative to renting a satellite phone when it's to be used in absolute emergencies only. As far as my searches showed, most prepaid plans have very short ...
10
votes
1answer
251 views

How does the Esbit stove perform in cold & wind?

I was on a group trip this weekend where a fellow hiker brought an Esbit stove which uses hexamine fuel tabs. The temperature was not what I would consider extreme. Temperatures in the high 30s to ...
10
votes
1answer
98 views

How well does solar recharging work when strapped to the backpack?

This answer recommends solar cells to recharge batteries. However, this likely works best during a layover day. I usually don't have those. For a nice-to-have situation, how well does it work to ...
10
votes
1answer
299 views

What are the tradeoffs for a Tomahawk over an Axe

I've watched a few videos on cutting tools and the use of axes. However I'm not clear on what the advantage (or disadvantage) is of a tomahawk style axe over a typical belt or hand axe, such as this ...
9
votes
4answers
157 views

How to get started on canyoning?

Since I saw one of the last EOFT-films I am really curious about trying canyoneering, but I canĀ“t quite figure out how to get started. What would you suggest to try it? What would be the minimum of ...
9
votes
2answers
658 views

Kayaks vs canadians from a beginner's perspective

As far as I know canoeing is the generic term which contains e.g. canadians and kayaks. What do I have to look for as an absolute water sports beginner in terms of: costs knowledge (eskimo roll and ...
9
votes
2answers
994 views

Thinking about a road trip out West

My wife and I are thinking of taking a road trip from northwest Ohio to "out west" - Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, etc. I've never been farther west than Indiana, so it's a whole new ...
9
votes
2answers
277 views

How can I make/improvise a rope on a trip?

If I'm out in the wilderness and find myself in need of a rope I don't have with me (forgotten, not enough, another snapped), how can I make one? Are there any natural ropes I could use with minimal ...
9
votes
4answers
8k views

How do I remove mildew from a tent?

Similar to this question, but mildew tends to be very resistant to removal. I sadly failed to keep my tent dry enough, and now it has a couple of mildew spots. They're not bad, but I would rather ...
9
votes
4answers
384 views

Is there a portable / comfortable pillow suitable for camping / backpacking?

I quite like my pillows to give a lot of lift - I usually sleep with two relatively beefy ones. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a good equivalent whilst camping, with the normal pillows ...
9
votes
4answers
513 views

How bright a flashlight would I realistically need for searching through terrain?

Modern flashlights have brightness up to several thousand lumens which is great. However it's not clear how bright a flashlight I might realistically need. Suppose I want to go on a search party such ...
9
votes
1answer
73 views

What factors should I be aware of when storing a kayak?

I've seen various images / comments online of how people decide to store their kayaks. Some people wall mount them, some have a rack, some stack them with padding, some hang them (horizontally / ...
9
votes
4answers
172 views

Will any filter/pump purifier last through longer hikes?

I've been reading a lot of product reviews, and filter/pump solutions seem to be very high maintenance, very heavy, or both. Are there any lightweight filters which can be relied on for many liters ...
9
votes
1answer
912 views

What are “Aggressive” climbing Shoes?

This question was borrowed from a comment on this question. But what is meant by an "aggressive" climbing shoe? What is the difference in a non-aggressive shoe? And when would you use one over the ...
9
votes
3answers
141 views

How to find objective reviews of outdoors gear? [closed]

It is often difficult to know what to look for when shopping for outdoors gear. Is there some magazine, website, or other resource that does Consumer Reports style objective evaluation of outdoors ...
9
votes
2answers
65 views

How to store fuel tablets for travel

I'm looking into using some fuel tablets for cooking with a stove like this esbit as a backup/emergency stove when rafting. However I have heard that the fuel can easily foul food, clothing, etc. ...
9
votes
1answer
147 views

How do you sharpen a hand chain saw?

For group hikes where we plan on having a fire, I carry a hand chain saw for dead wood. We've used ours for a while now and it is definitely getting dull. How do you sharpen this?
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Walking trailers

Heavy backpacks can spoil the pleasures of being in the outdoors. There are two ways to resolve this: Carry less Find an alternative to the backpack While the first option is usually the best one, ...
8
votes
2answers
430 views

When should I retire my rope

I know there is a degree of "gray" in this question but: I have a Beal Top gun II 10.5mm, I've had this rope for around 4 years now and I'm starting to think about retiring it. It's been used ...
8
votes
2answers
279 views

How do I check paracord to determine if it's genuine?

Given some paracord, is there a simple check that I can make to check that it's genuine and not the cheaper knock off stuff? Number of strands seems like the most obvious point, but is there anything ...
8
votes
2answers
91 views

Foam vs hardshell climbing helmets?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of climbing helmet design (foam or hardshell)? Foam Hardshell PS: I do not intend to compare them by how much they cost.
8
votes
3answers
640 views

Will the benefit of an axe outweigh the drawbacks and win over a large knife?

I've hiked some in my life, and gotten used to carrying a small axe for chopping wood for the fire. But after I bought my self a large fixed-blade bowie knife, I find myself relying less and less on ...
8
votes
2answers
381 views

Do bag liners add the same warmth value to all sleeping bags?

I have a bag liner that claims to add 15 degrees to the "range" of a sleeping bag. Is it reasonable to assume that it would work the same for all bags? For instance, would it extend a 40 degree bag ...
8
votes
2answers
287 views

Does wash in waterproofing work on a non-waterproof shell?

I'm considering an ultralight (non-waterproof) shell and Nikwax wash-in waterproofing as a rain layer. I'd like it to be waterproof through several wearings (a week or more). Does this result in ...
8
votes
2answers
121 views

Is it necessary to carry a knife sharpener?

Under the assumption that an emergency kit like the ones listed here are for the emergency of getting lost and being stranded for days, how necessary is a knife sharpener?
8
votes
2answers
256 views

Does a groover have to stink?

I have used several different products and none of them work that well. Bottom line, is there a product that will subdue the offending groover? So a groover is a river toilet. On multiple day river ...