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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11
votes
3answers
448 views

What to look for in a quality tarp?

I'd like to purchase a tarp as some point, both to put up over a small camp at some point, and to use over a hammock. When I've camped with my uncle he's used a folded over builders tarp, which has ...
12
votes
4answers
565 views

Taking care of hiking backpack

I've had a 60 L backpack for almost seven years now. Nothing on it is broken and it fits my needs, so right now I don't have any thoughts about replacing it (Getting a light pack might be the only ...
23
votes
1answer
459 views

How are sleeping bag temperature ratings determined?

One things that has always troubled me when buying a sleeping bag is the temperature rating. When looking at a bag that claims to be a +15°F bag (for example) how do I know that it is really good ...
7
votes
2answers
251 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to select paracord

What important features should I pay attention to when buying paracord for hiking (such as different types, load limit, etc)? I just use it for bear bags, tarp lines, etc.
11
votes
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?
10
votes
1answer
562 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
248 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
91 views

Recommended windproof matches?

I was looking for some good windproof matches - not for any specific use, but just because I considered they may come in useful in some environments. Has anyone any experience with any particular ...
6
votes
0answers
35 views

How do I store my sleeping bag for long periods? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the best way to store my sleeping bag for long periods of time? We're at the point where we have more than one set of gear. We use different gear for different ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Do reusable “hand coolers” exist?

I often carry around a couple of reusable hand warmers when hiking or just around the outdoors when it's cold. They don't take up much space, they're easy to reuse (just boil) and they provide a fair ...
5
votes
1answer
93 views

How can I improve on the straps on my travel pack?

I'm not back packing in the wilderness. I hope that doesn't disqualify me from asking a question that I think is still relevant for back-packers in general. I have an MEI Travel Pack that I'm pretty ...
7
votes
2answers
639 views

What is a good starter kit for beginning indoor climbing?

If I want to get started on indoor climbing, what is the bare minimum I need to have, assuming I don't want to rent equipment?
7
votes
2answers
502 views

Can oiling keep tools from rusting?

Even stainless-steel can rust, and I've seen axes and saws that were visibly rusted. I've been told that wrapping the metal parts of the tools in oiled paper will prevent this. Can oil really be used ...
14
votes
1answer
290 views

Chalk: pure, plus drying agent, liquid?

Having only used pure chalk without added substances so far, I wondered how the other types perform. Most of the information I could find online is either somebody ranting against a certain type, or ...
8
votes
2answers
256 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
384 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?
9
votes
5answers
431 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
14k views

What is the fastest method to 'break in' full leather boots?

After purchasing full leather boots (similar to these boots) I had many blisters for the first few hikes until I broke in my boots. What are the fastest ways to age the boot so that when my foot ...
8
votes
1answer
97 views

What is the minimum gap needed for a windscreen on a cat can stove?

I've constructed a cat can jet stove as described here. He has a windscreen design, but it seems to be overkill (and doesn't work for my pot). I've tried a couple of my own now, but they are all ...
9
votes
1answer
231 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
377 views

Gas or liquid fuel lighter?

My backpack of course has a rechargeable gas lighter. I am considering buying a good Zippo, as I feel it more resistant, and it does not need to be kept with your hands to stay on. Would you suggest ...
19
votes
1answer
344 views

Putting in contact lenses when outdoors

I am wearing contact lenses on a daily basis. Many times, when outdoors, I cannot put in my contact lenses (because of limited time or just no sterile conditions). Is there any cleaner I could safely ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What sleeping bags are needed for a northbound thru-hike of the AT

If you were attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, starting roughly now (being mid to late March) and going northbound, how many sleeping bags and of what types would you need, assuming cost ...
13
votes
1answer
534 views

Kilimanjaro expedition - trousers - softshell vs. gore-tex

I am going on an expedition to Kilimanjaro and I'm going to buy new trousers specifically for this purpose. Some agencies recommend to take soft shell trousers and I'm not sure if it would be the best ...
10
votes
2answers
452 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
134 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
2answers
108 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
1answer
489 views

What can be safely trimmed on a backpack

When trimming weight there are a lot of options. Lighter gear, less gear, etc. One of those options is to take an existing pack and trim off "unnecessary" extras. For instance, I have (no kidding) ...
13
votes
3answers
391 views

What makes a good head lamp?

I'm looking for a decent head lamp, with a bright light and good battery life. Most on the market these days seem to be LED based, but aside from those three (perhaps obvious) considerations are there ...
7
votes
2answers
526 views

What are the advantages / disadvantages of a rock climbing hat made from hard plastic to one made out of carbon fiber?

What are the advantages / disadvantages of a rock climbing hat made from hard plastic to one made out of carbon fibre? I have done a Google search already, but wanted some pointers with people who ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How to patch holes in waterproof/breathable jacket?

I have a waterproof/breathable rain jacket which has a few holes in it (caused by a minor bicycle crash, in case that information is relevant). They are not too big, about 5mm across. How can I ...
6
votes
1answer
93 views

What levels of 'waterproofness' and 'breathability' should I be looking for in a ski jacket?

When looking at items like jackets and ski trousers and other clothing, I see stats on the garments similar to the following: Waterproofness - 10000mm Breathability - 15000g/m Lining - 100% Polyester ...
11
votes
2answers
751 views

What things should I look for when buying a compass?

Compasses seem to come in all shapes, sizes and (especially) prices! What sets a good compass apart from a bad one and what are some good characteristics to look for when making a purchase?
12
votes
2answers
199 views

Is it practical to get a satellite phone for communication from remote areas?

When going into remote areas, it would be great to be able to communicate with the outside world, for emergency purposes or just to be able to call home on long trips. Is it practical for an average ...
10
votes
1answer
395 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
120 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? ...
6
votes
1answer
352 views

What should I look for when buying a Lensatic Compass

Lensatic Compasses seem to be priced from $5 to $100 USD. What features should I look for when buying one?
5
votes
1answer
371 views

How do you punch out toes in ski-touring boots?

I've got a pair of custom moulded Scarpa Spirit 4 touring boots where the big toes are bit too tight (I've lost the nails after a day or two of touring more than once). What is the proper technique ...
9
votes
3answers
139 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
285 views

what are the differences between high-end sleeping pads and cut to fit foam mats

I'm pretty tall and I find that to purchase a brand-name sleeping pad means shelling out serious $$$. To solve this I have always just purchased a roll of foam padding that I could cut to make sure it ...
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. ...
7
votes
2answers
319 views

Is there a functional safety difference in types of helmets

From a pure safety standpoint is there a functional difference between a climbing helmet, cycling helmet, etc? Is a cycling helmet actually the safest solution for a cyclist, or would the greater ...
6
votes
1answer
351 views

Does Fjällräven produce serious outdoors gear, or is it just trendy? [closed]

I noticed that there is a lot of (quite expensive) Fjällräven outdoors gear for sale here in Germany and am curious whether this is a brand worth looking into, or whether their products are more ...
10
votes
2answers
235 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
966 views

What should you do if you are bitten by a rattlesnake?

You should obviously avoid rattlesnakes if at all possible. But if you do get bitten by one, what should you do? What supplies can be brought ahead of time to allow for the best treatment, and what ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Are there any cheap 1:25K electronic maps for the UK or Europe? [closed]

I have looked at offerings from MemoryMap and Anquet, but once you scale beyond a small area they become prohibitively expensive.
17
votes
6answers
346 views

When buying a backpack, what should I pay attention to?

I know one can compare backpacks by the following: Content (in liters) Number of external pockets (for quick accessable water bottles for example) Hip belt available are not Waterproof / Water ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Do polarized sunglasses protect against snow blindess?

Will regular polarized sunglasses protect me against snow blindness? And if not what type of glasses/goggles will protect me?
5
votes
2answers
364 views

How can you prevent trekking pole locking mechanisms from slipping?

When using trekking poles with a twist-and-lock locking mechanism, I've experienced slipping (the poles will slightly collapse during use, making you frequently extend and re-lock it). Is there ...