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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4
votes
2answers
318 views

How can I keep my backpack safe?

I went on a hike with my wife the other day in Norcal. This place had a creek that led into a cave that you can swim in. We both left our backpacks at the cave entrance and then swam through it to the ...
3
votes
2answers
477 views

How do I properly use the cinch-straps that came with my daypack?

I just purchased a daypack to stuff inside my larger backpack while travelling. It came with cinch-straps but I'm not sure of the proper way to use them (if there is one). The daypack is a North ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “expedition-weight” mean with regard to clothing?

I'm going on a trip to Alaska in September, including a guided camping/trekking trip in Denali. In the packing list I received from the company, they recommend having an "expedition-weight" top and ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

What features to consider when buying a bouldering slipper?

I've been using the same Evolv shoes for bouldering that I bought for top-roping. It seems like they're worn enough to start considering a new pair of shoes. Since I'm doing bouldering almost ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

reliability and performance of NIS mounting plates (x-country skis)

How do NNN bindings mounted on cross-country skis with NIS mounting plates compare with the screwed-in versions in terms of reliability (are they more likely to break) and performance (do I get ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

NIS mounting plate for x-country skis: why only for NNN bindings?

I see a lot of higher-end cross country skis now have an NIS mounting plate to enable the mounting of bindings without drilling any holes (and easy adjustment). But why are the only NIS compatible ...
8
votes
3answers
172 views

How to select a good GPS receiver?

What should one look for in the specifications to determine whether a handheld purpose-built GPS receiver provides good navigational consistency under reasonably normal, low-speed conditions? Highly ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Selecting backpacking cooking pot – teflon, aluminum, steel, titanium, or cast iron?

What are the relative advantages / dangers of different cooking wear? I'm a one-pot gourmet that has been using the same stainless steel pot for 15 years, but am considering an upgrade. Some things I ...
4
votes
3answers
231 views

Can I get away with less advanced food storing methods if backpacking in areas where meeting bears is unlikely?

A page like this one, as well as a number of questions on this site, discuss how to pack food safely from bears. What about other animals? This post advices a pretty sophisticated way to protect food ...
2
votes
3answers
301 views

Comfy inflatable pillows for car camping

I use a combination of an 18"x18" inflatable pillow and a Thermarest compressible one, the largest size (commonly seen at REI and similar stores). However, the inflatable often slips out and I just ...
4
votes
3answers
762 views

Should food be in a bear bag/canister even when I'm hiking?

I've read that in the western US, backpackers need bear canisters or bear bags, for bears or for other animals. For example, a post comparing different methods is here. I must admit I'm a bit ...
8
votes
5answers
299 views

Water-resistant shoes for Trekking in New Zealand

My spouse and I are going for 3-weeks vacation on the southern island of New Zealand. We intend to go for one multi-day trek (the Kepler Track), and a few more day treks. Do we need water-resistant ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
176 views

Different kinds of Down: comparing insulation

There's many different kinds of "down" filling: "100% down" must legally be only down, while "down" can be any mixture containing down. Then there's "fill power" ranging from about 400 to 1200, which ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

ski damaged from sticks, leaves, soil, etc?

Obviously cross/back-country skis can be damaged by skiing over rocks, stones, gravel and asphalt, but what about other, softer objects exposed when the snow starts to melt, like sticks, roots, ...
14
votes
2answers
211 views

How much gear will the AT eat?

We're planning on hiking the AT, and this question prompted me to ask: What gear should we expect to replace, and how often, on the Appalachian Trail? Assume that we know basic gear maintenance and ...
4
votes
1answer
418 views

Why are there ropes on fingerboards?

I picked up a couple fingerboards from the pro shop, and hung them on the rafters in our basement. However, I have no idea what the ropes are for, unless someone might tie the boards to a tree. What ...
0
votes
1answer
123 views

What kinds of stores sell multi-mode (adjustable-brightness) flashlights? [closed]

Which types of vendors sell multi-mode (adjustable-brightness) flashlights? Both online and offline vendors. Both sellers of new flashlights and used ones. I know that outdoors stores sell them, but ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Caveats of dual (propane, liquid) fuel stoves

My MSR Whisperlite has served me well for more than 10 years. It started leaking a few weeks ago, and I'm looking for a proper replacement. I've read some good reviews about dual fuel stoves ...
6
votes
1answer
411 views

What is a “fast pack” setup for a tent?

Reading around forums and in products, I see descriptions and weights for a "fast pack" setup for tents. What does this mean and what is it used for?
3
votes
3answers
129 views

Facility to test cold weather gear in London UK

I'm debating what equipment to buy to prepare for a cold weather in mountain terrain and felt it might be useful to test what different temperatures feel like while wearing chosen equipment. My ...
8
votes
2answers
432 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Do cross-country skis need to be broken-in?

I recently bought a new pair of cross-country skis that matched my weight (with or without a backpack), but when I tried them out for the first time (over a two-day period), I didn't have as much grip ...
7
votes
1answer
333 views

Do folding cross country skis exist?

Do folding (or telescoping) cross-country skis exist and if so are they useable? Update: Or are there small cross-country skis that are short enough for easy transport, yet still capable of providing ...
5
votes
1answer
180 views

What to do about slippery plastic soles of cross country ski boots

I have a relatively new pair of NNN cross-country ski boots and noticed the plastic sole is much more slippery than previous boots I've owned (older SNS and SNS Profil). A quick look at the selection ...
6
votes
2answers
238 views

End-of-season maintenance / storage tips for ski boots?

After several trips with poor fitting hire ski boots, and having had no end of trouble finding suitable fitting hire boots at the current resort, I went and bought a fitting pair. The boots have been ...
7
votes
1answer
132 views

Trekking Pole Length

I was recently convinced to buy a pair of trekking poles for backpacking. But how long should they be? What is the optimal length to adjust my trekking poles, when carrying a heavy pack? I have ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

Are folding poles suitable for cross-country skiing?

There are several manufacturers selling folding/collapsible poles, usually for hiking or splitboarding. Are they also suitable for cross-country skiing?
11
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

SkyDive Equipment

In 2009 I successfully completed the AFF course, after a stop due to the birth of my son I'm going to resume regular activity. I currently have 31 jumps, all carried out by renting the equipment, and ...
14
votes
5answers
3k 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?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Dome tents vs popup tents, are there any inherent pros or cons besides price and ease?

I was lucky enough to be given an almost new double skin popup tent. Where I'm camping right now it's got windy a couple of times and rainy a couple of times. A friend of mine who is camping in his ...
16
votes
3answers
331 views

How should I check climbing equipment to tell whether it is still safe to use?

I have, unfortunately, not had the opportunity to go climbing (and thus use my climbing equipment) for a couple years. I know that such equipment, especially the rope and webbing, can degrade over ...
21
votes
5answers
11k views

Tent and sleeping bag: pack inside or strap outside a backpack?

When I bought my pack, we were told to always pack the tent and sleeping bag in the pack. Since then I have seen a lot of articles and hikers doing the outside. What are the benefits on packing the ...
5
votes
3answers
788 views

What gear for sleeping in wild camping in western Scotland in May?

I intend to go camping in Scotland (mainly the Isle of Mull, that is Western, central Scotland) next week, i.e. last week of May. I have read quite a lot about the weather and know I should prepare ...
10
votes
6answers
192 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?
8
votes
3answers
109 views

Packing delicate equipment for a hike

I always try to avoid taking much delicate on a hike, but sometimes it either can't be helped or I decide I want to take it anyway (camera would be the prime example!) How can I best pack such ...
7
votes
1answer
193 views

Difference between a Fingerboard and a Hangboard

This is just a climbing terminology question: What is the difference between a Fingerboard and a Hangboard? Maybe there is no difference at all? Maybe it's subtle? I have been Googling around and ...
5
votes
1answer
368 views

Repairing a North Face Tent rain cover

I have bought a North Face RoadRunner 3 tent 10 years ago. It is a great tent, and it served me well during a 9-month trip to South America. The problem is that the transparent part of the rain ...
13
votes
1answer
884 views

What is a good material to patch holes in backpack?

I have a backpack with rip-stop material that is quite beaten up from scrambling over granite boulders. What are some good materials for patching the holes, what kind of thread should I use, and how ...
6
votes
2answers
85 views

Snowshoes for hilly terrain

What are the snowshoes criteria that I should look for if I want to snowshoe on a hilly terrain ?
16
votes
2answers
522 views

How can I prevent my sun glasses from fogging up when skiing?

When I'm cross-country skiing, I usually wear glacier glasses to protect from the intense glare off the snow. When I'm moving, they usually stay clear . Whenever I stop though, my glasses seem to fog ...
12
votes
2answers
680 views

What is a buff?

What is a "buff", how is it used, and why should I have one? I've seen them advocated in numerous places, but I'm not sure why a tube of cloth is better around my neck than a scarf, etc.
15
votes
2answers
111 views

Apart from down, is there any outdoor material that should not be stored stuffed?

Down sleeping bags and down jackets should not be stored in the stuffbag, but as loose as possible. Tents, as far as I know, can be stored stuffed as long as they are dry. Are there any other ...
4
votes
1answer
282 views

Can a PVC rain jacket also be used as a windbreaker?

I have a Columbia 100% PVC rain jacket. It has a nylon lining. Can PVC material be used as an effective windbreaker? Are there any side effects (such as making me sweat a lot more) that could ...
6
votes
3answers
362 views

How do I light a spirit (ethanol) stove when it's cold?

I am very happy with my storm-proof spirit stove. When others are struggling to find a place outside the wind, I can cook wherever I like — provided I can lighten my ethanol fuel. Trangia stove in ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What characteristics should I look for in a good torch/flashlight?

I'm looking to buy a flashlight/torch (or build my own even if that works out cheaper), and am looking to take the following into consideration: Good battery life (LEDs would probably suit best in ...
10
votes
3answers
188 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
8k views

Climbing rope is rated to X UIAA falls. What is a UIAA fall?

When looking at buying climbing ropes, they are rated to a number of "UIAA falls". What does that mean?
10
votes
2answers
294 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 ...