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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3
votes
3answers
125 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
393 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
93 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
311 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
787 views

Best type of rope for glacier travel?

What sort of rope would be ideal for glacier travel? I have a 10mm 60m rope, but this is quite heavy. Would a 9mm 50m rope be suitable for a team of three, crossing glaciers in the Swiss Alps?
5
votes
1answer
171 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
225 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
127 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
136 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?
10
votes
3answers
956 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
72 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 ...
11
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
307 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
10k 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
750 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
186 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
107 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
182 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
344 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
822 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
84 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
489 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
620 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
108 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What equipment do I need as a beginner outdoor rock climber?

What are the bare essentials that I need in terms of equipment when it comes to rock climbing? I've done indoor rock climbing but always rented my equipment from the rock-climbing gym. (For the ...
4
votes
1answer
258 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
325 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
865 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
180 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
7k 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
277 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
361 views

Will Iodine Tablets Ruin My CamelBak?

In the past, I have gone backpacking with some fairly expensive, heavy water purification tools. But the more I read about water safety in California's Sierras (here and here), the less I think these ...
8
votes
2answers
260 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
922 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
202 views

Does anyone have an account of someone using a survival tin in a survival situation

I have read several books about survival and outdoor field craft skills. Many of these books suggest building a survival kit out of an Altoids tin or something similar. These kits include very basic ...
10
votes
2answers
109 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
264 views

What should I do if I break a shoelace in the wilderness?

If I'm hiking in the wilderness and my shoelace breaks, what's the best way to go about fixing it assuming I have no spare?
14
votes
3answers
210 views

What are the key features to look for in mobile device apps for hiking/camping?

I've used EveryTrail and was satisfied but am looking for something better... What are the features I should focus on for selecting an app? What bells and whistles are really useful on the trail?
25
votes
5answers
5k views

How does one dry clothes in humid weather?

What are some quick ways to dry clothes in moist weather?
11
votes
2answers
112 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?
6
votes
1answer
134 views

How to get started with packrafts?

I love hiking and I'm starting to love longer cycling trips too. I've done combined cycling/hiking trips (cycling to the trailhead of a hike). Last summer I met someone who carried an inflatable raft ...
12
votes
1answer
115 views

What qualities should I look for in a good walking pole?

I've seen walking poles range from <£10 to >£100 - and to a casual observer there doesn't often seem to be much to distinguish them, with both having good grips and shock relief / suspension. What ...
15
votes
3answers
828 views

The best solution for carrying a D-SLR when hiking

I am planning a multi-day hike in the Drakensberg area of South Africa. This is a beautiful landscape with interesting flora and fauna. Consequently I want to have my Digital SLR close to hand. I ...
4
votes
1answer
35 views

What pre/post season maintenance is recommended for a 2 cycle outboard motor?

I just acquired a used Yamaha 50TLR. I'd like to know what kind of routine maintenance I should preform to keep it in good working order.
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Avoiding compression when packing synthetic sleeping bag

I came across the following comment (From durable 3-season bag.): don't forget that synthetic doesn't last nearly as long even if you take extremely good care of it (i.e. never compress it) – ...
12
votes
3answers
663 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
815 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 ...
24
votes
1answer
544 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
285 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 ...